College students host branding panel, provide tips for aspiring entrepreneurs

(From Left to Right) Kim Brown – Entertainment Journalist Franklin Oates – Proven Prodigy Productions Omar Crenshaw – CPCC Student Life Coordinator DaVita Galloway – Co-Owner of Dupp&Swatt Devin Johnson – Film Producer (ShotByDJ) Calvin Cleveland – Co-Owner of F.O.S. Lifestyle What is your Brand Panelist

(From Left to Right)
Kim Brown – Entertainment Journalist
Franklin Oates – Proven Prodigy Productions
Omar Crenshaw – CPCC Student Life Coordinator
DaVita Galloway – Co-Owner of Dupp&Swatt
Devin Johnson – Film Producer (ShotByDJ)
Calvin Cleveland – Co-Owner of F.O.S. Lifestyle
What is your Brand Panelist

On September 30th 2015, some of Charlotte’s youngest, most creative minds came together for a branding panel at Central Piedmont Community College.

The event was called “What Is Your Brand.”The panel was created to give students insight into what it takes to be successful in the business world, specifically for those who are interested in owning their own businesses.

Panelists included influential community members such as Devin Johnson, known as ShotbyDJ, who is a film producer in the area. He has worked with many well-known rap artists in the music industry; entertainment Journalist Kim Brown, who has contributed to publications such as XXL, BET and the Charlotte Fashion Week; and the duo known as Dupp and Swatt, owners of a multipurpose creative space where people are encouraged to create in whatever way suits them.

The panel was exceptional and the students were eager with questions during the event. Students were given the realities of working in entertainment and the sacrifices that have to be made to be successful. Students were also given insight into professional etiquette, and what kinds of things employers seek in their employees. The event ended with students quickly approaching the stage to ask more questions.

There was a focus on mentoring during the event, and many of the students took down the information provided by panelists. Some of the panelists stated that they were more than happy to serve as mentors and it is expected that they are able to connect with the students. This was a successful event and many students are asking for another chance to pick the brains of some of the most influential people in the community–OnPointPress.net.

Jamaica’s Heroes’ Day celebrated with grand Berlin concert

Tenor Soloist, Steve Higgins, delighting the audience with his rendition of popular Jamaican songs. In the photograph are Honorary Consuls for Jamaica, Mr. Mirko Miljus, from Serbia (centre),  Mr. Joern Follmer, from Munich (second right) and Mr. Marian Valko (right) from the Slovak Republic.

Tenor Soloist, Steve Higgins, delighting the audience with his rendition of popular Jamaican songs. In the photograph are Honorary Consuls for Jamaica, Mr. Mirko Miljus, from Serbia (center), Mr. Joern Follmer, from Munich (second right) and Mr. Marian Valko (right) from the Slovak Republic.

The Jamaican Embassy in Berlin celebrated an early National Heroes’ Day on October 8, 2015, capitalizing on the presence in Germany of tenor soloist, Steve Higgins, the main performer at a reception/concert to commemorate the important historical day.

Her Excellency Mrs. Margaret Jobson gave brief remarks to an audience of approximately 150, comprising members of the Diplomatic Corps, Jamaica’s Honorary Consuls in Munich, Serbia and the Slovak Republic, the public and private sectors and the Jamaican community. In her address, she pointed to the significance of National Heroes Day and the contribution of the seven heroes in changing the course of Jamaica’s history.

Members of the Jamaican community in Berlin.

Members of the Jamaican community in Berlin.

On exhibition were mounted photographs of the heroes with brief biographical data on each. Two short videos, From Tainos to Morant and Discovery and National Heroes were shown during the cocktail hour before the concert. As the Jamaica Tourist Board co-sponsored the event, a short tourism promotional video showcasing the varied tourism product that Jamaica has to offer was also presented along with a display of collateral material.

Her Excellency Margaret Jobson (centre), Ambassador of Jamaica to Germany, is pictured here alongside Gregory Shervington (left), Jamaica Tourist Board Regional Director for Continental Europe based in Germany, and Embassy of Jamaica in Berlin staff members, Deniese Sealey, Counsellor and Troy Levy, Attaché, Accounts and Administration during the Heroes’ Day concert/reception held on Thursday, October 8, at the Jamaican Embassy in Berlin.

Her Excellency Margaret Jobson (center), Ambassador of Jamaica to Germany, is pictured here alongside Gregory Shervington (left), Jamaica Tourist Board Regional Director for Continental Europe based in Germany, and Embassy of Jamaica in Berlin staff members, Deniese Sealey, Counsellor and Troy Levy, Attaché, Accounts and Administration during the Heroes’ Day concert/reception held
on Thursday, October 8, at the Jamaican Embassy in Berlin.

The concert opened with drumming by Joseph ‘Blue’ Grant, a Jamaican singer, Songwriter and Producer who resides in Berlin. Mr. Steve Higgins gave a masterful performance, entertaining the gathering with songs of a wide variety of musical genres from traditional folk to classical. Also presenting some traditional dance moves were the Prime Time Dancers, a German dance group which specializes in Jamaican dance forms.

The Western Regional Foundation for Disabled Children/Westhaven Children’s Home was the beneficiary of donations from those attending the event. This charity will also receive the offering collected at the Embassy’s Independence Church service in August–OnPointPress.net–.

NABJ congratulates member Kevin Merida on new ESPN job

Longtime NABJ member Kevin Merida is leaving his post as managing editor at the Washington Post for an executive level position at ESPN.

Longtime NABJ member Kevin Merida is leaving his post as managing editor at the Washington Post for an executive level position at ESPN.

WASHINGTON (October 20, 2015) – The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) congratulates member Kevin Merida on his appointment as editor of “The Undefeated,” ESPN’s website centering on the intersection of race, culture, and sports.

Merida will be a senior vice president and editor and oversee the content, the direction, and the strategic initiatives undertaken by the site. He joins “The Undefeated” from The Washington Post where he had been managing editor since February 2013 and on staff for 22 years. Upon his appointment at the Post, he became the paper’s first African-American managing editor.

“Kevin is an exceptional journalist who has worked his way up from reporter to editor covering a range of topics, from news of the day to national politics,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover. “Kevin is a transformative leader who has driven pointed editorial coverage of important news stories while balancing the need to create newsrooms that are nimble, flexible, adaptable, and creative. He has mentored talented journalists and helped them to create notable work.”

“Kevin is a remarkably accomplished journalist, editor and leader whom we have long admired and desired to join ‘The Undefeated,'” said Marie Donoghue, ESPN Executive Vice President for Global Strategy and Original Content. “Today’s announcement represents a key step in the evolution of the site and ESPN’s commitment to this ambitious project.”

Before serving as managing editor Merida was the paper’s national editor. Merida was named NABJ’s Journalist of the Year in 2000 in recognition of his storytelling abilities, his commitment to the craft of journalism, and his drive to be an industry influencer by encouraging others to raise the bar.

Merida a Washington, D.C.-area native graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism. He is the co-author of the biography “Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas” and co-author of the bestselling “Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs.” Merida who will remain in Washington, D.C., is married to author and former Post columnist Donna Britt with whom he has three sons. NABJ congratulates ESPN on this appointment and wishes Mr. Merida much success at ESPN.

An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide. For additional information, please visit, www.nabj.org.–OnPointPress.net.

MBDA allocates $10.2 million for new business, job creation grants

Learning the keys to starting a new business is crucial to success, experts say.

Learning the key rules to starting a new business is crucial to success, experts say.

WASHINGTON (October 7, 2015) — On October 7, the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) launched a search for prospective partners to operate their newly improved business center program. MBDA plans to award 29 individual cooperative agreements to operate MBDA Business Centers beginning April 1, 2016. The awards will cover a 5-year period and total $10.2 million annually. The centers will be located in areas with substantial minority populations and minority-owned firms.ad small

“Our new and improved business center program was developed based on performance outcomes of our most successful centers and where we’ve had the most impact,” said MBDA National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo. “Under the new program, the nationwide business center network is more integrated, places more emphasis on collaboration, and was designed to ensure the quality and consistency of service delivery throughout our nationwide network of business centers.”

new business sign illustration design over white

Starting a new business is an alternative that many career changers find appealing.

MBDA is looking for organizations to deliver business consulting services to minority-owned firms, providing them increased access to public and private sector contracting opportunities, financing, and capital investments. Successful applicants will be those that have experience in assisting minority firms with obtaining large-scale contracts and financial transactions; accessing corporate supply chains; facilitating joint ventures, teaming arrangements, mergers and acquisitions; conducting export transactions; and performing minority business advocacy.

It takes courage, determination and conviction to live your life's purpose and embrace new career opportunities.

It takes courage, determination and conviction to live your life’s purpose and embrace new career opportunities.

The types of organizations are encouraged to apply include for-profit entities, non-profit organizations, state and local government entities, Native American tribes and educational institutions. Applications are due December 3, 2016. More information can be found on at www.grants.gov or www.mbda.gov. A pre-application teleconference will be conducted October 15, 2015 to provide background information and answer questions about the program and application process. Details are on www.mbda.gov.

Many new college graduates and veteran employees have decided that it makes more sense to create their own jobs rather than compete for uncertain careers.

Many new college graduates and veteran employees have decided that it makes more sense to create their own jobs rather than compete for uncertain careers.

MBDA will announce more funding opportunities in coming months for additional cities and programs.This grant competition is to operate business centers in locations including Albuquerque, NM;  Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Columbia, SC; Dallas, TX, Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; El Paso, TX; Honolulu, HI; Houston, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; Memphis, TN; Miami, FL; Minneapolis, MN; Mobile, AL;New Orleans, LA; Orlando, FL;Philadelphia, PA;Phoenix, AZ; Raleigh or Charlotte or Durham, NC; San Antonio, TX; San Jose, CA;San Juan, Puerto Rico; Seattle, WA; New York, NY or Northern New Jersey; Washington, DC or Northern Virginia.

Transitioning to a new phase on your professional path is often at the root of career and personal fulfillment yet many employees find it to scary to take the first step.

Transitioning to a new phase on your professional path is often at the root of career and personal fulfillment yet many employees find it to scary to take the first step.

MBDA, www.mbda.gov, is the only Federal agency dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses. Our programs and services better equip minority-owned firms to create jobs, build scale and capacity, increase revenues and expand regionally, nationally and internationally. Services are provided through a network of MBDA Business Centers. After 45 years of service, MBDA continues to be a dedicated strategic partner to all U.S. minority-owned businesses, committed to providing programs and services that build size, scale and capacity through access to capital, contracts and markets. Follow them on Twitter @usmbda.–OnPointPress.net–

Hon. Ralph S. Thomas, newly appointed Jamaican ambassador to US

Hon Ralph Thomas, Jamaica's newly-appointed ambassador to the US, consults with Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller.

Hon Ralph Thomas, Jamaica’s newly appointed ambassador to the US, consults with Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller.

Washington DC, 10/8/15: The Hon. Ralph S. Thomas, newly appointed Jamaican ambassador to the United States, held his first meeting with US-based Jamaican leaders at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, DC on September 28, 2015.  Ambassador Thomas met with the leaders to listen to their concerns and discuss matters of importance relative to Jamaicans in the United States and the homeland.

Hon. Ralph Thomas, Jamaica's newly-appointed ambassador to the US.

Hon. Ralph Thomas, Jamaica’s newly appointed ambassador to the US.

The meeting was arranged by the deputy chief of Missions at the Jamaican Embassy, Mrs. Marsha Coore-Lobban. National and DC area leaders in attendance were Mr. Ricardo Nugent, president of the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations, (NAJASO), Dr. Jacqueline Payne-Borden, president of Jamaican Nationals Association, and Mr. Noel Godfrey,president of the Jamaican Association of Maryland.

Mrs. Coore-Lobban was commended by the leaders for her work in sustaining and facilitating Embassy services since the departure of former Ambassador Stephen Vasciannie in September, who returned to academia at the University of West Indies, Mona campus.

Photo L-R; Ricardo Nugent, President, National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations, (NAJASO), Mr. Noel Godfrey, President, Jamaican Association of Maryland (JAM), H.E. the Hon. Ambassador Ralph Thomas, Dr. Jacqueline Payne-Borden, President, Jamaica Nationals Association (JNA).

Photo L-R; Ricardo Nugent, president, National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations, (NAJASO), Mr. Noel Godfrey, president, Jamaican Association of Maryland (JAM), H.E. the Hon. Ambassador Ralph Thomas, Dr. Jacqueline Payne-Borden, president, Jamaica Nationals Association (JNA).

Ambassador Thomas personally took notes and heard from the leaders on a variety of topics that are foremost in the minds of Jamaicans throughout the Diaspora not only those in the United States, but the UK and Canada as well. In leading the discussion the Ambassador afforded each leader the opportunity to introduce themselves and provide a summary of the most compelling issues that Jamaicans in the US were confronting.

The discussion covered immigration, citizenship, opportunities for Jamaican youth, cultural awareness, carnival activity, health, mental health, HIV/AIDS, education, business and investment opportunities for the Diaspora, Obama’s Young Leaders of the America’s program, deportation issues and the incarceration of our youth were among the topics discussed.  Mr. Nugent, who nominated current Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board member NE, Joan Pinnock to her current position, spoke on NAJASO’s support at the recent Jamaica Diaspora 6th Biennial Conference 2015 and NAJASO’s presence at the conference which included participation on panel discussions.

Deputy Chief of Missions, Mrs. Marsha Coore-Lobban (far right) confers with Ambassador Thomas and Jamaican leaders at Jamaican Embassy meeting.

Deputy Chief of Missions, Mrs. Marsha Coore-Lobban (far right) confers with Ambassador Thomas and Jamaican leaders at Jamaican Embassy meeting.

Ambassador Thomas who was keenly aware of Jamaica’s number one investment project for creating national wealth, the Jamaica Logistics Hub initiative, was provided with a copy of NAJASO’s presentation on the topic delivered at the conference. In addition, Mr. Nugent provided the Ambassador with information regarding NAJASO’s current engagement of medical missions and educational support activities in Jamaica.
Dr. Payne-Borden recommended initiatives aimed at increasing the cultural awareness and educational opportunities for our youth and highlighted the current predicament of convicted DC sniper Lee Boyd Malvo.

Ambassador Thomas pointed out the need to reach out to all Jamaicans in the Diaspora who are doing well in addition to those who are facing challenges in various areas including business and cited opportunities for expanding these efforts.
The meeting was also a reunion for Mr. Godfrey and Ambassador Thomas. Both gentlemen previously worked together as young men at Victoria Mutual Building Society in Kingston, Jamaica in the early seventies–OnPointPress.net–

NABJ mourns the loss of former president Sidmel Estes

Former NABJ President

Former NABJ President Sidmel Estes has died.

WASHINGTON (October 6, 2015) – The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) mourns the passing of former NABJ President Sidmel Estes (1991-93). Estes was the first woman to be elected president of the association. She also served as an NABJ regional director and president of the Atlanta chapter. Estes, 60, died October 6.

Estes began her career at WAGA-TV/Fox 5 in Atlanta, where she served as the executive producer of numerous programs. She was the co-creator and executive producer of “Good Day Atlanta,” which became the number one show in its market and won seven Emmy Awards under her direction. In 2006, Estes left WAGA-TV to start BreakThrough Inc., a media consulting firm with clients including the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, the McCormick Tribune Fellows Foundation, the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation and the Atlanta Center for Creative Inquiry. She also taught as an adjunct professor at Emory University and Clark Atlanta University.

A pioneer and journalism industry veteran, Estes’ contributions will never be forgotten.

“NABJ grieves for Miss Sidmel. Our hearts are so heavy. Sidmel’s in-your-face leadership style was my introduction to the best of NABJ as a new student member in 1993,” NABJ President Sarah Glover said. “‘Holy smokes! This lady is for real,’ I thought. She took news organizations to task and members, too. If you were not doing right, she would not hesitate to let you know. Sidmel was an admired journalist and loving mother. She was the working woman who media moms could model and aspire to be. She handled all her roles gracefully. I’m so sad she is gone, but her passion and love for NABJ lives on in all of us.”

During Estes’ tenure as president of the association, NABJ increased its membership to more than 2,000 journalists and was included in Ebony magazine’s list of Top 100 Black Organizations. In 1994, she was a leader and co-creator of the first UNITY: Journalists of Color conference, and was instrumental in the release of its report, “Kerner Plus 25: A Call For Action,” which outlined steps the media industry should take to improve racial diversity.

Estes was born on November 27, 1954 in Marysville, California, to Emellen Estes and Sidney Estes. She attended elementary and high school at public schools in Atlanta. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Journalism in 1976, and her Master of Science in Journalism in 1977, both from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Chicago, where she was later inducted as a charter member of the school’s Hall of Achievement.

NABJ Vice President of Broadcast Dorothy Tucker recounts the advice and mentorship that Estes offered to many.

“At Northwestern, Sid was the big sister who would give you about five seconds to cry on her broad shoulders before delivering the message that defines of our world: ‘Now wipe your eyes and get  your A– back out there.'” Tucker said.

As a result of her commitment to the community, Estes has received numerous awards from civic, community and church organizations. During her career in television and journalism, she has been recognized numerous times. Atlanta’s Mayor Andrew Young proclaimed “Sidmel Estes-Sumpter Day” on November 18, 1988, after she was named Media Woman of the Year by the Atlanta Chapter of the National Association of Media Women. She was featured in Ebony’s 100 Most Influential Black Americans in 1993, and in More Magazine’s book “50 Over 50.”

Estes was honored with the Silver Circle Award from the Television Academy and has won several Emmy Awards. She received Northwestern University’s Alumni Service Award after being elected as president of the Northwestern Black Alumni Association in 2004.

“She was a giant in our industry who helped countless young people achieve their dreams of becoming journalists through her presidency of the National Association of Black Journalists and, recently, as an adjunct professor at Clark Atlanta University,” AABJ President Eric Stirgus said in a statement from the chapter.

Estes is survived by two sons, Joshua and Sidney.

NABJ extends its sincerest condolences to Estes’ family and the countless friends within the journalism community who she leaves behind. The association will provide information on her funeral and where condolences can be sent as soon as those details are provided.

An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide. For more information, please visit www.nabj.org.–OnPointPress.net–

Jamaican delegation to participate in UN General Assembly

Hon. A. J. Nicholson will lead Jamaica's delegation to the UN General Assembly.

Hon. A. J. Nicholson will lead Jamaica’s delegation to the UN General Assembly.

Kingston, Ja, Sept. 23: Senator the Honourable Arnold J. Nicholson, QC, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade leads the Jamaican delegation that will participate in the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Minister Nicholson heads a delegation which includes Ambassador Sheila Sealy-Monteith, under Secretary for the multilateral affairs division, Nicholette Williams, assistant director of the international organizations department and staff at the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations in New York, which is helmed by  Mr. Courtenay Rattray.

Jamaica's Ambasador Courenay Rattray.

Jamaica’s Ambasador to the UN, Courenay Rattray.

The UNGA session, which started on September 15 and will conclude in December, has special significance this year as the organisation will be celebrating its 70th anniversary. Importantly also, this year’s UNGA will see the adoption of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development – the successor agreement of the 2015 millennium development goals, which expires end of year.

The Honourable Minister will address the UN summit on Friday, September 25, during a ceremony to mark the adoption of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. He will also deliver Jamaica’s policy statement to the General Assembly in the plenary debate on October 2.

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Jamaica will also participate in high level meetings such as: the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs of the Group of 77 and China; the ministerial meeting of the Alliance of Small Island States and the ministerial meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Other issues of particular importance to Jamaica include: international economic cooperation; Small Island Developing States; climate change and environmental governance; promotion and protection of human rights; debt sustainability; development cooperation; crime prevention and criminal justice; the advancement of women; and the protection of the rights of children.

After the UNGA General Debate, Minister Nicholson will represent Jamaica in Chile at “Our Ocean Conference,” a forum for discussing new voluntary commitments to help protect and preserve our ocean, scheduled for October 5 and 6.–OnPointPress.net-

NAJASO honors trailblazers at its 38th annual convention

 

Mr. Earl Jarrett

Mr. Earl Jarrett received the award for outstanding service.

The National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations (NAJASO) held its 38th annual convention from July 16 to July 18, 2015 in Cleveland Ohio, USA.

The featured speakers for the conference were Mr. Earl Jarrett, general
manager for Jamaica National Building Society, at the luncheon banquet
and the Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, Jamaica’s minister of health, at the dinner banquet.
Both receptions were well attended and the final dinner banquet had an
attendance of approximately 200. Mr. Jarrett built his discussion around
the conferences theme “Building a Sustainable Future” and addressed the
audience from the perspective of a “family talk” on economic growth and
development for Jamaica.

dr

Dr. Robert Clarke, MD, (NAJASC’s executive vice president and co-founder of HELP Jamaica Medical Mission, presents a book of the organization’s history to Jamaica’s minister of health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, MD, while HELP’s co-founder, Dr.  Rudolph Wills looks on.

Minister Ferguson, a founding member of NAJASO under the Progressive
International Cultural Organization (PICO), was a student
at Howard University in Washington, DC. in 1977. The minister spoke of NAJASO’s
contributions in health as well as education, He also praised NAJASO for its
leadership in supporting Jamaica over the past 38 years and discussed
current and future initiatives to further improve and develop health
sectors in the country. NAJASO also conducted elections for its national officers.–OnPointPress.net.

 

 

 

 

Jamaican educator-advocate elected to UN’s anti-racial committee, CERD

Educator

Jamaican educator-advocate Verene A. Shepherd, OD, FCCS, BA, MPhil, PhD, was elected to the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

Kingston, JA, June 30, 2015: Professor Verene A. Shepherd, OD, FCCS, BA, MPhil (UWI), PhD (Cantab), highly respected Jamaican academic, author, historian, and human rights advocate, was elected to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on Thursday, June 25, 2015. She will serve a four-year term from 2016 to 2020. Dr. Shepherd’s election took place during the 26th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which was held in New York.

The  Jamaican Flag.

The Jamaican Flag.

“Her victory is a tribute to her longstanding engagement in efforts to eliminate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance over the globe,“ said Senator the Honourable Arnold J. Nicholson, QC, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. “The international community was impressed with her work as a member and chair, 2011 to 2014, of the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent where she was involved in helping to craft the program for the International Year for People of African Descent and the Program of Activities for the International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015-2024.”

Dr. Shepherd will be the first national of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to serve on the CERD. She was elected along with candidates from Burkina Faso, China-Colombia, Guatemala, Mauritania, Russia, Spain and the United States of America. Coming on the heels of Jamaica’s recent successful bids to the International Court of Justice, The UN International Civil Service Commission, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Minister Nicholson noted that  Dr.Shepherd would join a long list of Jamaican nationals who have distinguished themselves in the international arena..–OnPointPress.net.

Finalists announced for NABJ 2015 Professional Chapter of the Year

chapters

Washington, D.C. (June 23, 2015): — The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is proud to announce its three finalists for the 2015 Professional Chapter of the Year Award. This year’s finalists include the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation (PBMF), the Southern New England Association of Black Journalists (SNEABJ), and the Washington Association of Black Journalists (WABJ). The award recognizes a professional chapter which has gone above and beyond to attract and retain members, design and execute exceptional programming for its members, demonstrated a significant level of involvement at the national level, and engaged their local community, among other criteria.

“We applaud the finalists for chapter of the year, PBMF, SNEABJ, and WABJ,” said NABJ President Bob Butler. “These chapters have demonstrated why our chapters are the lifeblood of the organization. By working to engage members on a local level, they extend NABJ’s reach. They support the career development of aspiring journalists as well as seasoned professionals. These chapters also demonstrate an ongoing commitment to their respective communities, promoting inclusivity and diversity, but also engaging folks around issues important to folks locally.”

NABJ logo

PBMF has undergone a complete transformation with new leadership and is currently thriving under the direction of its president, Tory Parrish. PBMF successfully held its longstanding, annual programs, which were the 31st annual Frank Bolden Urban Journalism Workshop for high school students, the 26th annual Robert L. Vann Media Awards and the Soul Café, which is an annual music and arts showcase and scholarship fundraiser. In addition, PBMF’s “Still Feel Like Going On,” a 10-week photography project for teen boys, was more closely aligned under the umbrella of PBMF programs.

Additionally, a new Community Service Subcommittee is one of the most active of PBMF’s committees and subcommittees. Its successful initiatives have included a children’s book drive, PBMF Reads: Project Book Bridge, and a coat drive that was tied to a holiday happy hour, ‘Coats and Cocktails.’

SNEABJ represents working and aspiring journalists in print, broadcast, and online in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Barbara Morse Silva is the president of the chapter. Monthly meetings rotate among media outlets between the three states. This group has made tremendous strides during its first year as a professional NABJ affiliate chapter. They have grown their paid membership both locally and nationally while offering both community-related and journalist benefits through its programming to more than a 200 people.

The chapter also offered its first community forum called “Does Race Matter to the Media?” The forum was held in December at Brown University. The event, which drew in more than a hundred community members, educators, social activists, and journalists from all backgrounds, focused on recent high profile race-related cases including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Donald Sterling, among many others that happened in 2014.

Through hard work and dedication, WABJ has maintained strong membership support, and with attendance numbers that continue to grow. This chapter is very active in holding meetings every month and sponsoring events almost as frequently. Invited guests at its most recent meetings include leaders in the journalism industry, such as network executives and reporters. The chapter is lead by its president, Donna Walker.

In March of 2014, WABJ held one of its Hallmark programs, the Urban Journalism Workshop (UJW). Three journalism students received scholarships totaling near $5,000 for their respective endeavors in print, and broadcast journalism. Last year, WABJ also held their first “Summer SOULcial,” an opportunity for members to meet and network while enjoying some good ol’ picnic fare. At the NABJ convention in Boston, the group sponsored a networking reception where professionals united to discuss the numerous seminars and workshops designed to improve journalists’ skills in the workplace. In the fall, it was the lead organization to support a networking event sponsored by CBS, and WABJ threw its annual holiday party in December, which was also well attended.

Throughout the year, the organization co-sponsored the Diversity Job Fair in Washington, DC. It was one of the largest groups to attend the NBC Diversity mixer held at NBC 4, and it even had a group represent the pre-screening of the award- winning film ‘Selma,’ before its nationwide release. This year’s winner will be named during NABJ’s 40th Annual Convention and Career Fair which takes place August 5 through August 9 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For additional information, ticket sales and registration, please visit us at www.nabj.org.–OnPointPress.net.