My Brother’s Keeper initiative expands with funding, support (Part II)

NBA Players Association president Chris Paul attended to announce the NBA's involvement in MBK and introduce President Obama to the crowd.

NBA Players Association President Chris Paul attended to announce the NBA’s involvement in My Brother’s Keeper (MBK ) and introduce President Obama to the crowd.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On July 21, President Obama provided another update about the progress he has made in attracting new support for the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative, which was launched earlier this year. Several new partnerships were announced to demonstrate the growth of the initiative since it has been signed earlier this year. Among the most recognizable partners announced was the NBA, who teamed up with MENTOR, to announce a five-year-commitment to the initiative.

President Obama addressed the crowd to share updates on the My Brother's Keeper initiative.

President Obama addressed the crowd to share updates on the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

NBA Players Association President Chris Paul, who plays for the Los Angeles Clippers, attended the event and shared his views on the importance of the initiative. Paul’s statement before he introduced President Obama to the audience said:

“This is our opportunity to stand together as athletes, parents, mentors, and as leaders in our communities, to show our young men and boys of color with our actions that we are behind them and that their success matters.”

President Obama surrounded by participants in the My Brothers Keeper Initiative when it was initially launched.

President Obama surrounded by participants in the My Brothers Keeper Initiative when it was initially launched.

Some other notable partners announced were AT&T, The College Board, Citi Foundation, and Discovery Communications. In total, over $100 million is expected to be contributed by the growing list of partners to the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. That makes roughly $300 million committed towards providing services, mentorship, and opportunities through the MBK initiative.

President Obama shared his personal experience as he announced the growing list of collaborators  to the MBK initiative.

President Obama shared his personal experience as he announced the growing list of collaborators to the MBK initiative.

President Obama shared his personal experiences as a way to further demonstrate the necessity for the program:

“When I was in my teens, I didn’t have a father in the house. It took me a while to realize that I was angry about that, and I acted out in some ways. I was raised by a single mom. We didn’t have a lot in terms of wealth, although we had a lot of love in the house and my grandparents helped out. But despite their best efforts, sometimes I made some bad choices. I didn’t always take school as serious as I should have. I made excuses sometimes for misbehavior. The only difference between me and extraordinarily talented young men that I see all across the country is I was living in a pretty forgiving environment.

President Obama is joined by his adviser Valerie jarett and US Attorney Eric Holder in discussing the importance of My Brothers Keeper.

President Obama is joined by his adviser Valerie Jarrett and US Attorney Eric Holder in discussing the importance of My Brothers Keeper.

So that’s why, earlier this year, we launched what we call My Brother’s Keeper. My Brother’s Keeper isn’t some new, big government program. It’s actually a team effort. It’s all about a whole bunch of folks — educators, business leaders, faith leaders, foundations, government — all working together to give boys and young men of color the tools that they need to succeed and make sure that every young person can reach their potential. And so the reason that we’re here today is to announce some of the pledges that have already been made, some of the commitments that have already been made by a series of institutions that just give you a sense of the kind of progress and excitement that we’ve seen since we launched this initiative.”–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

VP Records’ pop-up exhibit makes debut at recent jerk festival

 

Jerk Festival patron examines the VP Records exhibit.

Jerk Festival patron examines the VP Records exhibit designed by Michael Thompson.–Ajamu Myrie Photo.

By Tiffany Mea

2014 marks the 35th anniversary when VP Records’ founders Vincent and his wife Patricia Chin moved their headquarters from Kingston, Jamaica to Jamaica, New York,- transforming their operations into the largest reggae company worldwide. The label celebrated with a special pop-up exhibit that debuted Sunday,July 20, at the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival 2014. The festival attracted over 15,000 patrons this year in Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, NY, and the VP Records 35th Anniversary launch event was among the main attractions.

Ribbon cutting

VP Records Co-founder Patrician Chin (c), surrounded by family and supporters,  cuts ribbon to launch the company’s  35th anniversary pop-up exhibit. -Ajamu Myrie Photo.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony kicked off at 2 p.m. VP Records Co-Founder Patricia Chin gathered with family and friends as media and fans caught the first glimpse of the historical feature, designed by Michael Thompson. Inside was an exclusive photo exhibit by Ajamu Myrie, documenting Jamaican reggae culture, an illustrative map exploring the global impact of the genre in every continent and a timeline covering each era, beginning in 1958 when the Chins established Randy’s Record Mart and Studio 17 in Kingston, Jamaica.

patc chin

Patricia Chin with Grace Jerk Festival Founder Eddy Edwards.-Ajamu Myrie Photo.

In a roped off area of the exhibit, Mrs. Chin debuted a short documentary video for the press. From ska to rocksteady, roots reggae to dub, lover’s rock to dancehall, VP Records has been at the forefront of Jamaica’s musical evolution. The video which was narrated by Sirius XM reggae personality Pat McKay, revealed the social and political history of Jamaican music and explained how VP Records is a key contributor to its growth, development and future.

crowd

A large crowd awaits performances by Maxi Priest and Etana at the Jerk Festival.-Ajamu Myrie Photo.

The label plans to take this traveling exhibit into other markets throughout the rest of the year, including Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival in Florida. More details will be announced at a later date. For more information contact tiffanym@vprecords.com–OnPointPress.net

NFL, Roger Goodell, face crumbling, tarnished image

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be busy working on penalties for off-the-field indiscretions. There needs to be more emphasis in preventing those occurrences.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be busy working on penalties for off-the-field indiscretions while addressing the need for preventing those occurrences.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Thursday, July 24, National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell levied a two-game suspension on Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice’s suspension stems from a domestic violence incident with his then fiancé, now wife, Janay Palmer. While the length of the suspension generated a great deal of criticism of Goodell’s judgement, the larger issue is the alarming number of NFL personnel facing criminal charges and the shaky NFL image that is presented to the public.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice received a 2 game suspension last week that many felt was  not enough.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was punished with a two-game suspension last week, causing national uproar from fans who felt the punishment was inadequate.

Part of the uproar about Rice’s suspension stemmed from the length of suspension for  legal issues and the discrepancy in penalties levied by the NFL for drug offenses. Some people believe the NFL commissioner is painting himself in a difficult corner when it comes to these inconsistent penalties. ESPN NFL Writer Jim Trotter was blunt:

“Once perceived as being too tough and inflexible, [Goodell] now comes across as being too soft on domestic violence — even at a time when the league is courting female fans.”

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslem is paying $92 million as penalty arising from a federal fraud investigation. However, he has not violated any NFL conduct policies.

Cleveland Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam is paying $92 million as penalty arising from a federal fraud investigation. However, he has not violated any NFL conduct policies.

The NFL has demonstrated that there is considerable difference between breaking specific NFL drug rules and vague NFL conduct rules. Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has agreed to pay a $92 million penalty as a result of a federal fraud investigation. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello issued a statement on Haslam’s case, which said: “There have been no allegations of any personal conduct that it is violation of NFL policy.”

There have been numerous personnel from different teams arrested this offseason, with the charges varying from Driving Under the Influence (DUI) to attempted murder. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has amended his initial inclination to suspend players immediately who are arrested and has repeatedly stated, “We have to let the [legal] process play out before we determine if any sanctions are necessary.” This change  in attitude has resulted in roughly two years passing without players being suspended under the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.

Greg Hardy, of the Carolina Panthers, has also received a conviction due to  domestic assault on a woman. Though his case is being appealed, Goodell could still levy a penalty.

Greg Hardy, of the Carolina Panthers, has also received a conviction due to domestic assault on a woman. Though his case is being appealed, Goodell could still levy a penalty.

Goodell will have plenty of cases to resolve over the next several weeks. Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy was found guilty on July 15 of assaulting and threatening a  female. However, Hardy and his defensive team have been granted an appeal and a jury trial for this case is expected to occur early next year. Hardy will be free until the trial is over, but that does not preclude the NFL from making a judgement in the interim.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news for months due to his arrest for DUI and drug possession. Goodell has yet to penalize Irsay but has stated that the possibility exists.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news for months due to his arrest for DUI and drug possession. Goodell has yet to penalize Irsay but has stated that the possibility exists.

Additionally, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news because of his arrest and DUI and drug charges. An owner having legal problems has brought extra attention to how the NFL is dealing with NFL personnel having legal problems. Many fans have voiced their displeasure with the process. The NFL also has the continued link to Aaron Hernandez and his ongoing murder trials as reminders of the legal problems facing different players in the league.

Browns wide receiver is facing a one-year suspension for failing another drug test. His appeal will be held on Aug. 1.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is facing a one-year suspension for failing another drug test. His appeal will be held on Aug. 1.

There is also the appeal hearing scheduled for August 1 in the case of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has already received a year-long suspension for failing another drug test. Gordon was also arrested for DWI this summer after learning of the suspension and upcoming appeal. With the NFL regular season just six weeks away from starting, the NFL would like all of the emphasis to stay on the field of play. San Francisco 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith is also expected to face some sort of penalty after having a number of off-the-field issues last season that led to arrests.

 Ben Roethlisberger was among those who received 'swift justice' from the commissioner. Now it appears Goodell takes a more leisurely approach to punishment.


Ben Roethlisberger was among those who received ‘swift justice’ from the commissioner. Now it appears Goodell takes a more leisurely approach to punishment.

Goodell seems to have shifted in philosophy in evaluating matters for suspension and fines. Players like Adam “Pacman” Jones and Ben Roethlisberger received penalties before their legal processes had been completed. Terelle Pryor and coach Jim Tressel received punishment for NCAA violations. These types of premature sanctions have not occurred much recently but that has not made people forget they happened. In fact, they highlight an inconsistency in levying punishment, resulting in fans and members of the media view Goodell with suspicion and unease.

Whatever the penalties levied to the afore-mentioned NFL personnel, the bigger problem Goodell is facing is how to prevent scenarios that require punishment in the first place. The NFL has the largest workforce of the major sports in this country and is debatably the most lucrative and popular. Athletes may not be role models for their community but they tend to be idols for many fans. It is incumbent upon the NFL, Goddell and the NFL Players Association to be more diligent in working on preventing reasons for the commissioner to issue penalties under the NFL Personal Conduct Policy, while making an effort to clean up the NFL’s tarnished image through relevant, ongoing training of its personnel and representatives..–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Annual Caribbean summer STEM program underway in Barbados

Students hard at work with their projects at SPISE.

Students hard at work with their projects during the summer SPISE intensive in Barbados.

Bridgetown, Barbados, July 27: Twenty one students have been participating in the annual month-long STEM summer intensive effective July 19 at the Barbados campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI). The annual Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) is one of the flagship initiatives of the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) whose mission is to help harness science and technology for the diversification of the economies of the Caribbean.

Dr Maya Trotz of the Caribbean Science Foundation addresses students.

Dr Maya Trotz of the Caribbean Science Foundation addresses students.

This year the students will demonstrate their hands-on projects, and present their business plans and Mandarin skits at the conclusion of the program in a public forum on August 15. Another key feature of the SPISE is that post-SPISE graduates are assisted by the CSF with their university applications, and have the opportunity to participate in research internships organized by the CSF and Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology and Innovation (CADSTI).

Students demonstrating their craft.

Students demonstrating their talents.

SPISE is an intensive four-week enrichment residential summer program for Caribbean high-school students who are gifted in STEM, not less than 16 and not more than 18 years of age on July 1, and who are interested in studying and exploring careers in these and related fields. SPISE graduates have been admitted to such prestigious universities as MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Duke and University of the West Indies (UWI). The CSF believes that one or more of these STEM superstars could create the “next Google” in the Caribbean or become the Region’s first Nobel laureate in science.

The governing committee of the Caribbean Research Foundation.

The governing committee of the Caribbean Research Foundation.

SPISE 2014 runs from July 19 to August 16 on the UWI-Barbados campus with 21 students from 11 countries (Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago). The cost of sponsorship is US$6,000 per student plus airfare. All students attend free of charge thanks to generous donations from the 2014 sponsors.

Students from Jamaica participate in the debate team at the Caribbean Science Foundation.

Students from Jamaica participate in the debate team at the Caribbean Science Foundation.

Key partners in the SPISE are UWI-Barbados, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and CADSTI. SPISE is modeled after the well-known and highly successful MITES program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (web.mit.edu/mites), and includes university-level courses in calculus, physics, biochemistry and entrepreneurship taught by eminent academic and industry scientists and engineers from the Caribbean and the U.S.

The CSF is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization with headquarters in Barbados and representatives in several other Caribbean countries. Please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75UUowD7-oM to view a video which captures the real spirit of SPISE. visit http://caribbeanscience.org/projects/spise.php for more information about the SPISE, or contact Prof. Cardinal Warde at warde.csf@gmail.com or 1-617-699-1281. Donations to the CSF can be made at http://caribbeanscience.org/donation.-OnPointPress.net.

Chronixx, Junior Reid, to perform in free Central Park concert

junior reid

Reggae superstar Junior Reid has made an indelible mark on the entertainment scene with his inspiring 1989 hit “One Blood,” a song that touts unity, love, cultural identity and cooperation. He followed in Michael Rose’ footsteps to lead the exciting group Black Uhuru and enjoys ongoing success.

By Tiffany Mea

LargeUp, Okayplayer and Federation Sound have partnered to present a free show by reggae stars Chronixx and Junior Reid at Central Park SummerStage on Saturday, July 26th. The show celebrates the respective 15th anniversaries of Okayplayer and Federation Sound, and marks Caribbean culture website LargeUp’s inaugural event at SummerStage. Taking place from 3 to 7 p.m. at Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield, it’s one of five Okayplayer Summer Concert Series events happening throughout the season.

Chronixx

Chronixx, an exciting reggae stair who has attracted a great deal of industry buzz, will perform at Central Park’s Summer Stage on July 26.

Chronixx is reggae’s brightest new star. Just 21, he has already established himself as the leader of the roots revival that has re-energized Jamaican music in the last two years. Emerging internationally in late 2012 with his Major Lazer-produced Start A Fyah mixtape, Chronixx and his band Zincfence Redemption have sold out shows across major cities in Europe, UK and North America, including each of their five previous NYC engagements, and headlined stadiums in the Caribbean.

This month’s SummerStage show, the final date on a U.S. tour in support of his acclaimed, independently released Dread and Terrible project, marks his highest profile U.S. performance yet. Chronixx made his U.S. television debut tonight on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on July 22, at 11:35pm EST on NBC.

image

Also performing at the Central Park Summer Stage concert  is Junior Reid. One of reggae’s music’s most enduring acts, “JR” is best known to reggae fans for his iconic 1989 single “One Blood,” and his work fronting Grammy winners Black Uhuru. His distinctive “tu-tu tweng” vocal style is also known to generations of hip-hop and pop fans through his collaborations with such artists as Alicia Keys, Lil Wayne, Fabolous and The Game.

Bringing the authentic bashment vibes are the Rice and Peas crew. A high-energy, NYC-based Caribbean party/movement that has gathered a loyal following of creative influencers, artists, musicians and dancers since its inception in 2007, Rice and Peas has brought diverse groups of people together in a unique environment where dancehall and Caribbean culture meet downtown. Federation Sound’s Max Glazer, LargeUp.com founder DJ Gravy and the silent killer Orijahnal Vibez handle DJ duties while Micro Don narrates the experience with raw energy, humorous ad-libs and infinite star power. -OnPointPress.net.

Shoni Schimmel, Atlanta Dream, WNBA, expand on All-Star buzz

Atlanta Dream reserve guard Shoni Schimmel won WNBA All-Star game MVP in her rookie season.

Atlanta Dream reserve guard Shoni Schimmel won WNBA All-Star game MVP in her rookie season.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

As the WNBA enters the last few weeks of the regular season, the Atlanta Dream is trying to capitalize on the momentum from the 2014 All-Star game played this past Saturday. Dream reserve guard Shoni Schimmel set a WNBA All-Star game record with 29 points en route to earning MVP honors as the East won in overtime over the West 125 – 124. Schimmel has seen her popularity surge as her flashy style of play, combined with her Native American background has made her a fan favorite in just her rookie season.

Older sister Nneka Ogwumike (l) had to watch her younger sister Chiney Ogwumike (r) celebrate victory in only the second time the sisters have faced each other.

Older sister Nneka Ogwumike (l) had to watch her younger sister Chiney Ogwumike (r) celebrate victory in only the second time the sisters have faced each other.

The WNBA All-Star game featured many highlights, including the first pair of sisters (Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike), an in-game dunk by Brittany Griner, scoring outbursts from Schimmel and the WNBA second leading scorer, Skylar Diggins. The game winning shot for the East came from 9-time All-Star Tamika Catchings, who has missed the bulk of this season due to injury. The Phoenix crowd was treated to what is likely to be described as the best All-Star game in WNBA history.

Atlanta Dream head coach Michael Cooper guided the East to an overtime victory but received the unfortunate diagnosis of tongue cancer shortly thereafter.

Atlanta Dream head coach Michael Cooper guided the East to an overtime victory but received the unfortunate diagnosis of tongue cancer shortly thereafter.

The East was coached by Dream head coach Michael Cooper, who has been diagnosed with tongue cancer in the past few days, but has helped guide his team to a sizable lead in the Eastern Conference. Cooper is expected to make a full recovery after surgery and will take a leave of absence from the team for at least two weeks. The team will have to learn to adjust as the season nears its end. Schimmel, with her All-Star game and Atlanta Dream teammates Angel McCoughtry and Erika de Souza, have already been tested as they lost an overtime game Tuesday July 22, to last year’s champions Minnesota Lynx.

Maya Moore is hoping her excellent season can translate to continued post-season success for her Minnesota Lynx.

Maya Moore is hoping her excellent season can translate to continued post-season success for her Minnesota Lynx.

The Lynx team continues to be led by WNBA’s leading scorer, Maya Moore, as the team strives to continue its recent championship success. The Dream players made it to the Finals three times in the last four years (’10, ’11, and ’13) but have yet to win it all. Meanwhile, the Lynx  players have been to the Finals the last three seasons and have won twice (’11 and ’13) in that span, defeating the Dream on both occasions. Both teams seem to be on a collision course for the WNBA Finals again-OnPointPress.net.

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

NYC Public Advocate decries Comcast/Time Warner merger

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James opposes the idea of a merger between Comcast and Time Warner and is sharing her thoughts in letters sent to media outlets.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has been vocal in her denouncement of the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner. Below is a letter she sent to OnPointPress.net.
Dear friend,

I’d like to bring your attention to a giant merger that will have a significant impact on consumers. As you might already be aware, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) is currently taking public comment and reviewing the proposed merger of Comcast Corporation with Time Warner Cable, Inc. to determine if the merger is in the public interest of New Yorkers.

NYC Public Advocate Letitia James addresses the crowd at an event.

NYC Public Advocate Letitia James (C) addresses the crowd at an event. She has been vocal in protecting consumer rights and she opposes the merger between Comcast and Time Warner.

If you are a consumer of Internet and cable, this merger will undoubtedly affect you directly. I urge you to seriously consider the implications that this merger may have on the quality and cost of services provided to you as a consumer and the impact this merger may have on the overall public interest. The proposal seeks to merge two colossal corporations: Comcast, the biggest cable company in the U.S. and largest media provider in the world; and Time Warner Cable, the second largest U.S. cable company.

For Comcast, New York State’s approval of the merger is essential: Comcast currently has 23,000 customers compared to Time Warner’s 2.5 million in the state. New York would account for 10 percent of the merged company’s customer base. Therefore, by having the authority to reject the merger in New York State, the PSC has the power to persuade the companies to possibly renegotiate its terms, if not stop it altogether. Internet and cable competition in New York City is already essentially non-existent. Connectivity and customer service are already delivered at sub-par and unacceptable levels. Internet Service Providers are currently able to charge consumers inflated prices as a result of poor competition.

New York City Public Advocate has launched a letter-writing campaign to derail the Comcast/Time Warner merger.

New York City Public Advocate has launched a letter-writing campaign to derail the Comcast/Time Warner merger.

I fear that the merger might only ma ke such matters worse.

We must also consider the potential impact on our most underserved communities, which are profoundly affected by the digital divide. Access to the Internet is inarguably critical to function in today’s informal and formal spaces. The costs to digital segregation are rising as we increasingly access the Internet for employment opportunities, education, entertainment, etc. If accessing the Internet becomes more difficult for low-income communities, academic and employment competition may be undermined, and could damage the prospects of upward mobility for low-income New Yorkers and further exacerbate income inequality.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05:  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (L), stands with NYC Public Advocate Tish James and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (R), while unveiling his affordable housing plan on May 5, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The mayor's $41 billion 'Housing New York - A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan', billed by his office as the most ambitious affordable housing plan in U.S. history, plans to build or preserve 200,000 apartments in the next decade. The project would serve more than half a million low and middle income New Yorkers across the city's five boroughs. New York City has some of the highest rents and property values in the nation.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 05: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (L), stands with NYC Public Advocate Tish James and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (R), while unveiling his affordable housing plan on May 5, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The mayor’s $41 billion ‘Housing New York – A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan’, billed by his office as the most ambitious affordable housing plan in U.S. history, plans to build or preserve 200,000 apartments in the next decade. The project would serve more than half a million low and middle-income New Yorkers across the city’s five boroughs. New York City has some of the highest rents and property values in the nation. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

This merger will likely lead to additional price increases, completely shutting-out families and individuals already facing difficulty paying for the service. Low-income communities would therefore be disproportionately excluded from accessing what is now considered a basic form of infrastructure and means of communication in our society. We must analyze the possible short and long-term social and economic implications of such a merger, and learn from past experience. Does less competition usually lead to better and more economical service for consumers? More often than not, the answer is no.

The PSC is continuing to take public comment on this issue. So far, 2,000 individuals have spoken up mostly against the merger. I have taken action by issuing a public statement to the PSC and offered my concerns in an article currently on the Huffington Post. Please join me in speaking up about the dangers of the merger by posting your comment with the Public Service Commission.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has vowed to  voice her concerns about any issue that she feels can have deleterious effects on New York City residents..

Share your views with the public advocate by contacting her at :Letitia “Tish” James Public Advocate, NYC,1 Centre Street, 15th Floor North, New York, NY 10007, Email: Outreach@publicadvocate.nyc.gov.–OnPointPress.net