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.

Lamar Odom’s cry for help illustrates value of mental health care, coverage

There is a greater emphasis on recognizing and receiving treatment for issues such as grief, anxiety, and depression, all of which fall under the umbrella of mental health.

There is a greater emphasis on recognizing and receiving treatment for issues such as grief, anxiety, and depression, all of which fall under the umbrella of mental health.

Lamar Odom is in critical condition in a Las Vegas hospital after reportedly losing consciousness while indulging in a weekend filled with drugs, all while battling untreated mental illness.

Lamar Odom is in critical condition in a Las Vegas hospital after reportedly losing consciousness while indulging in a weekend filled with drugs, all while battling untreated mental illness.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

As people flock to social media to offer prayers for former NBA star Lamar Odom, who won two championships with the LA Lakers and is now fighting for his life in a Las Vegas hospital, his struggles with drug addiction and untreated mental illness have surfaced.

 

Mental Health Awareness week was October 5 – 10, but the importance of receiving the necessary treatment for mental health issues cannot be understood in a week. There have been concerted efforts by many advocates and associations to preach the significance of addressing issues that impact mental health and encourage individuals to seek help, instead of suffering in silence.

Mental Health awareness week may have just ended but the issue of dealing with mental health issues is a daily struggle for many.

Mental Health Awareness Week just ended but the issue of dealing with mental health issues is a daily struggle for many.

One of the major impediments to receiving mental health treatment is the perception that the treatment is too expensive.

Many people are unaware that most health insurance plans now include mental health care as part of the basic plan. In fact, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, mental health can no longer be used to exclude individuals from coverage.

new adAccording to Healthcare.gov, “all Marketplace plans cover mental health and substance abuse services as essential health benefits.”
All healthcare plans must cover:
•Behavioral health treatment, such as psychotherapy and counseling
•Mental and behavioral health inpatient services
•Substance use disorder (commonly known as substance abuse) treatment

These inclusions are designed to reduce the financial impact of receiving treatment for many issues that fall under the umbrella of mental health. Among those issues that qualify as mental health concerns are grief, anxiety, and depression as well as other more severe diagnoses.

A list of diagnoses covered under mental health.

A list of diagnoses covered under mental health.

The other huge impediment to receiving mental health treatment is the stigma many feel is associated with being diagnosed with a mental illness.

This concern is recognized as being a considerable problem in the African-American community which is why education and awareness is so vital with this issue. Untreated mental health conditions can lead to suicidal and homicidal thoughts and actions.

Acknowledging that there are personal problems that are beyond your understanding is a good step in the right direction. The next step is to contact your insurance advisor and make sure you have a plan in place to deal with mental health concerns.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr., your Insurance Advisor, is a senior writer at OnPointPress.net and a Licensed Insurance Professional working with HealthMarkets. 

Contact me directly at (646)309-1938 for your health insurance questions and concerns

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–

Million Man March 2015 revisits unresolved issues critical to Blacks

Participants in the Million Man March on the Washington Mall on October 16, 1995.

Participants in the Million Man March on the Washington Mall on October 16, 1995.

By Carmen Glover

Twenty years ago on October 16, 1995, my brother Paul, was an engineering student at Howard University in Washington, DC. He heeded the call by the Nation of Islam’s Minister Louis Farrrakhan and Former NAACP leader Dr. Benjamin Chavis, the national director of the March, to show up at the Washington Mall in support of the Million Man March and the organizers’ goal of addressing the issues which caused Black men to be viewed as “an endangered species.”

A sea of Black men and boys gathered peacefully to address issues critical to the Black community.

A sea of Black men and boys gathered peacefully to address issues critical to the Black community.

Dubbed “The Million Man March: A Day of Atonement and Reconciliation,” the event was targeted to Black men, who were charged with cleaning up their lives and returning to home to offer hope, love, strength, healing and skills to improve and strengthen their families and communities.

“Standing on the mall, looking out, was a sea of Black men and boys. It was a powerful feeling to be a part of that,” said, Paul, now a successful entrepreneur and CEO of the engineering firm Complete Development Solutions (CDS). “I am glad that I went.”

The Million Man March drew a dedicated mass of Black men and boys.

The Million Man March drew a dedicated mass of Black men and boys.

As participants return to the mall this Saturday, October 10 for the “Justice or Else Rally” to re-assess the state of the Black male condition, the decline in Black communities, Black disenfranchisement, Black voter suppression, and a host of other issues relevant to the Black experience in the United States, one question will resonate: What has changed since the Million Man March was held 20 years ago?

Unarmed Black men are still being murdered or brutalized by renegade police officers, without provocation while Black women have now joined the ranks of those being preyed upon by law enforcement officials and regular citizens; Black children are losing their lives in greater numbers due to gun violence and Blacks, especially in the south, are being disenfranchised at the voting booths, with states such as Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina instituting repressive laws and initiatives designed to make it difficult or impossible for Blacks who are poor to vote, as is their right.

Million Man March.

Million Man March of 1995 is revisited on Saturday, October 10, 2015 to address unresolved issues and concerns in the Black community.

While the mood 20 years ago was described as one filled with hope and unity, this time around the mood is expected to be sprinkled with the anger and disappointment born of unfulfilled dreams and expectations. In 1995, Min. Farrakhan referenced Malcolm X and the struggles that the fiery civil rights leader experienced in resolving inequalities in the Black community. Today, police brutality, the Supreme Court’s destruction of key portions of the Voting Right Act and the plight of Black families will all be given attention at the “Justice or Else Rally,” which commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.

In 1995 and today, many unresolved issues plague the Black community. While the “Justice or Else Rally” will not answer all questions related to the Black condition, its impact is expected to be just as significant as that of the Million Man March 29 years ago. The “Justice or Else Rally,” is organized to be a solid reminder that consistent action is necessary to effect the positive change that is needed to improve opportunities and outcomes across the USA. If you can make it to Washington for this historic event, go and let your voice be heard.–OnPointPress.net-

 

Health insurance is highlighted during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Many people are unaware of the costs associated with fighting cancer. Take the time to learn how you can be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Many people are unaware of the costs associated with fighting cancer. Take the time to learn how you can be prepared for the worst case scenario.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The bombardment of neon pink on your television screens and in your neighborhoods is a reminder that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The goal is to encourage everyone to be proactive and visit their doctors to try and prevent cancer growth, in addition to helping fund research for cures for cancer.

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The desired goal is to prevent cancer from spreading by having it detected as soon as possible, but there are too many people who still have to cope with that dreadful diagnosis. While many have become aware of the physical toll a cancer diagnosis can have on a family, the financial toll should not be understated.

Let Breast Cancer Awareness Month be a reminder to be proactive with your health and plan for your family's future.

Let Breast Cancer Awareness Month be a reminder to be proactive with your health and plan for your family’s future.

This fall, when you speak to your health insurance agent, ask about ways you can be protected if you or a family member is diagnosed with cancer. Many people do not realize that most health insurance plans only offer limited assistance in case of diagnosis of cancer. For many people, the cost for a second opinion, experimental treatment, or treatment at the best facilities in this country becomes an out of pocket expense.

The unfortunate reality is that there are countless people who have had to use all of their savings, borrow money, sell their possessions or their homes, to fund their recovery efforts. However, there are very affordable plans available to assist individuals and families faced with fighting cancer. So while you’re wearing your pink in acknowledgement of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, remember to contact your insurance advisor and protect your finances and health at the same time.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr., your Insurance Advisor, is a senior writer at OnPointPress.net and a Licensed Insurance Professional working with HealthMarkets.  Contact me directly at (646)309-1938 for your health insurance questions and concerns

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–