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Festival to Highlight Black ‘Films with a Purpose’

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “It is critical for black filmmakers to share their talent,” says program founder, Sandra Evers-Manly. “We must create avenues that allow people to express themselves through the arts. In my opinion, film is one of the most powerful mediums of art there is. The goal is to make sure that black artists are in an industry that is welcoming; an inclusive industry where they don’t have to fight to tell their stories. We have seen some breakthrough but still have a long way go.”

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

On Saturday, October 12, at Los Angeles Center Studios in California, and in conjunction with its anniversary, the nonprofit Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) will present its inaugural Faith-based Inspirational Film Festival.

The 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. event at Los Angeles Center Studios in California will feature “Emanuel,” the story of a white supremacists’ murder of nine African Americans at bible study. There will also be a screening of “Amazing Grace,” the documentary of the late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. A question and answer session with several prominent local pastors will follow each screening.

Past Lifetime Achievement Honoree Lillian Benson, First Black Female Film Editor in Hollywood with Famed Actor Glynn Thurman at BHERC’s A Great Day In Black Hollywood

Past Lifetime Achievement Honoree Lillian Benson, First Black Female Film Editor in Hollywood with Famed Actor Glynn Thurman at BHERC’s A Great Day In Black Hollywood

“This is also our 25th year for our main film festival which provides a forum for emerging African American filmmakers,” stated Sandra Evers-Manly, who founded BHERC.

“It is critical for black filmmakers to share their talent,” Evers-Manly states.  “We must create avenues that allow people to express themselves through the arts. In my opinion, film is one of the most powerful mediums of art there is. The goal is to make sure that black artists are in an industry that is welcoming; an inclusive industry where they don’t have to fight to tell their stories. We have seen some breakthrough but still have a long way go.”

The 25th annual African American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase festival will open with the Los Angeles Premiere of Five films funded by Films With a Purpose (FWAP) a BHERC initiative. The Festival will take place Wednesday October 23 – Sunday, October 27, 2019 held at Cinemark 18 Theatres at The Promenade @ Howard Hughes LA Complex in Los Angeles, California and The Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles.  The Festival will present a combination of over 90 documentaries and short films, over 50 filmmakers and concludes with a Q&A after each film block. The community-at-large is invited to celebrate the artistry of this year’s filmmakers whose projects cover diverse topics, stories, techniques and broad themes multi-layered with humor, drama, and reality.

Lillian Benson with BHERC’s Festival Director John Forbes

Lillian Benson with BHERC’s Festival Director John Forbes

The Opening Night Reception and Award Gala are set to be held at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles to honor the behind-the-scenes professionals who have made laudable contributions to Black Hollywood and the community on Friday, October 25. Hosted by award-winning and veteran Actor/Director William Allen Young the 2019 class of honorees are:

  • Ivan Dixon Award of Achievement: Charles Floyd Johnson, Executive Producer CBS Television Series, “NCIS,” three-time Emmy award winner and first African-American to produce a Primetime Drama Series;
  • President’s Award: Neema Barnette, Writer\Director\Producer, First African American Woman to direct a primetime sitcom and receive a major studio deal;
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Oz Scott, Director\Producer and Executive Producer “Black Lightning”;
  • Paul Robeson Legacy Award: Harry E. Johnson, Sr., President and CEO, The Memorial Foundation (Builders of the King Memorial)
  • Community Service Award: Pat Prescott, Morning Show Host, 94.7 The Wave

One of the highlights of the Festival is the annual Youth Diversity Film Festival for Middle and High School students. These aspiring young filmmakers study the craft at local arts organizations and schools in the Los Angeles community and across the country. Closing the Festivities on Sunday, October 27 will include the classic Soul Food & Film Reception.

Past BHERC Honorees the famed Black Stuntmen's Association with Sandra Evers-Manly. Also in picture Academy Award Winner Actor Louis Gossett, Jr.

Past BHERC Honorees the famed Black Stuntmen’s Association with Sandra Evers-Manly. Also in picture Academy Award Winner Actor Louis Gossett, Jr.

The mission of BHERC is to advocate, educate, research, develop, and preserve the history and future of African Americans in film and television.  BHERC also supports the work of student filmmakers including those who have become blockbuster producers, directors, and creators of some of Hollywood’s most significant, and most memorable movies.

The organization provided scholarships and supported the early works of filmmakers such as Gina Prince-Bythewood and Ryan Coogler.  Prince-Bythewood directed groundbreaking films like “Love & Basketball,” and “The Secret Life of Bees.” Coogler, of course, earned fame by directing the global phenomenon, “Black Panther.”

So, how did the cousin of Civil Rights Icon Medgar Evers become so intertwined in the film industry? “I would ask my mother, ‘Why don’t you see us on TV,’” Evers-Manly said, referring to the shortage of African Americans on the tube when she was growing up in California. “My mother finally said, ‘Change it,’” Evers-Manly recalled.  “It was as simple as that for her. “While a lot of people came to Hollywood to be actors and actresses, I came to try to bring about change for more of our images in front of and behind the scenes,” Evers-Manly — a former President of the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP — told NNPA Newswire.

A spinoff of BHERC is an initiative, Films With a Purpose – or FWAP.  This endeavor is an innovative, invitation-only fund established to provide independent and diverse students and filmmakers who need funding to tell the stories that no one else will.  “This is the one area that I truly believe in,” Evers-Manly stated.

Past Youth Diversity Filmmakers with talented actress Wendy Raquel Robinson, festival directors and teachers

Past Youth Diversity Filmmakers with talented actress Wendy Raquel Robinson, festival directors and teachers

Unlike BHERC, Evers-Manly said FWAP has a goal to support the production and completion of diverse films. FWAP, selects films that tell stories to inspire, educate, uplift, challenge and in some cases bring about action.  The FWAP fund is more than an advocate for filmmakers of color. It is an innovative and provocative resource for use in “assaulting the ills that plague our society, that scream for action and answers; giving a platform to a new generation of filmmakers and artists,” Evers-Manly noted.

Both efforts share a common goal, which is to continue to support African Americans in filmmaking.  “We have to help infuse the pipeline within Hollywood and get more diversity behind the scenes,” she stated. “We must tell stories that uplift and educate about our community, being mindful of important issues that impact our community. We must have films that have purpose.”

For tickets log on to www.bherc.org or call (310) 284-3170. For more information about BHERC, visit www.BHERC.com. For addition details on FWAP, visit www.filmswithapurpose.com.

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Fighting an Unjust System, The Bail Project Helps People Get Out of Jail and Reunites Families

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

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Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.
Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily — many find it challenging to pay bail

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build — and as the pandemic raises the stakes higher — advocates remain adamant that it’s more important than ever that the facts are straight, and everyone understands the bigger picture.

“The U.S. doesn’t have one ‘criminal justice system;’ instead, we have thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal systems,” Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner found in a study released by the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative.

Together, these systems hold almost 2 million people in 1,566 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,850 local jails, 1,510 juvenile correctional facilities, 186 immigration detention facilities, and 82 Indian country jails, as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories,” the study authors said in a press release.

With hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily, many find it challenging to pay bail.

Recognizing America’s ongoing mass incarceration problem and the difficulties families have in bailing out their loved ones, a new organization began in 2018 to offer some relief.

The Bail Project, a nationwide charitable fund for pretrial defendants, started with a vision of combating mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system.

Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

“We have a mission of doing exactly what we hope our criminal system would do: protect the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that we know can criminalize poverty,” Johnson stated.

“Our mission is to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system,” she insisted.

Johnson said The Bronx Freedom Fund, at the time a new revolving bail fund that launched in New York, planted the seed for The Bail Project more than a decade ago.

“Because bail is returned at the end of a case, we can build a sustainable revolving fund where philanthropic dollars can be used several times per year, maximizing the impact of every contribution,” Johnson stated.

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

Johnson noted that officials created cash bail to incentivize people to return to court.

Instead, she said, judges routinely set cash bail well beyond most people’s ability to afford it, resulting in thousands of legally innocent people incarcerated while they await court dates.

According to The Bail Project, Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by cash bail, and of all Black Americans in jail in the U.S., nearly half are from southern prisons.

“There is no way to do the work of advancing pretrial reform without addressing the harmful effects of cash bail in the South,” said Robin Steinberg, Founder, and CEO of The Bail Project.

“Cash bail fuels racial and economic disparities in our legal system, and we look forward to supporting the community in Greenville as we work to eliminate cash bail and put ourselves out of business.”

Since its launch, The Bail Project has stationed teams in more than 25 cities, posting bail for more than 18,000 people nationwide.

Johnson said the organization uses its national revolving bail fund, powered by individual donations, to pay bail.

The Bail Project has spent over $47 million on bail.

“When we post bail for a person, we post the full cash amount at court,” Johnson stated.

“Upon resolution of the case, the money returns to whoever posted. So, if I posted $5,000 to bail someone out, we then help the person get back to court and resolve the case,” she continued.

“The money then comes back to us, and we can use that money to help someone else. So, we recycle that.”

Johnson said eliminating cash bail and the need for bail funds remains the goal.

“It’s the just thing to do. It restores the presumption of innocence, and it restores families,” Johnson asserted.

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PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina

NNPA NEWSWIRE — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and other participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.
The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Administrator to honor legacy of environmental justice and civil rights at event in Warren County, site of protests that launched the movement 40 years ago

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2022) – On Saturday, September 24, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will travel to Warren County, North Carolina to deliver remarks on EPA’s environmental justice and civil rights priorities and the progress we’ve achieved since the first protest and march that launched the movement 40 years ago this week. Administrator Regan will make a significant announcement on President Biden’s commitment to elevate environmental justice and civil rights enforcement at EPA and across the federal government and ensure the work to support our most vulnerable communities continues for years to come.

Administrator Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.

Who:
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan
Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Environmental Justice and Civil Rights Leaders
Warren County residents and community leaders
Additional stakeholders

What: Remarks on EPA environmental justice and civil rights priorities and honoring the legacy of the environmental justice and civil rights movement
When: Saturday, September 24, 2022,
Doors Open: 11:30 AM ET
Program: 12:45 PM ET
;
Where: Warren County Courthouse
109 S Main Street
Warrenton, NC 27589
Livestream: A livestream of this event will be available at epa.gov/live.

The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane

Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …
The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …

The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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