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NFL Scores Win with National Response to COVID-19

NNPA NEWSWIRE — In an interview with NNPA Newswire, Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and others at league headquarters are conscious and respectful of how the virus has affected the nation and the entire globe.

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The commissioner and all of us remain completely aware of the reality of what's going on." Commissioner Roger Goodell, and others at league headquarters, are conscious and respectful of how the virus is affecting our nation and the entire globe. (Photo: NFL)

In the wake of the unprecedented novel coronavirus pandemic, the National Football League (NFL) — perhaps more than any other sports league and many other major corporations — has strived to rapidly respond to needs in local communities throughout the nation.

In an interview with NNPA Newswire, Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said, “The commissioner and all of us remain completely aware of the reality of what’s going on.” Commissioner Roger Goodell, and others at league headquarters, are conscious and respectful of how the virus is affecting our nation and the entire globe.

The NFL’s Draft-A-Thon, a fundraising effort that takes place simultaneously with the NFL Draft on April 23, will allocate funds to six national charities and their local chapters. The charities include: The American Red Cross, the CDC Foundation, Feeding America, Meals on Wheels, the Salvation Army and United Way.

In addition to the Draft-A-Thon, the NFL, along with its teams and players, have come together to support communities throughout the nation as everyone attempts to tackle the issues arising from the COVID-19 disaster.

“The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) encourages all professional sports to follow the extraordinary lead of the NFL in their national response to the devastating impact of COVID-19 across America.,” emphasized Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., President and CEO of the NNPA.  “In particular, African Americans have the highest number of fatalities from COVID-19. The NNPA appreciates the responsive leadership of the NFL as this pandemic continues to spread and disproportionately impact our families and communities.”

Here’s a snapshot of what the NFL and its teams and players have done thus far:

More than 70 Philadelphia Eagles employees and their families, including coach Doug Pederson and his wife Jeannie, participated in a community blood drive at Lincoln Financial Field in response to the dip in blood donations across the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter recently gave about $20,000 to help coronavirus patients. Hunter’s grandmother, Joy Gayle, works as a nurse at a hospital in New York. He has been getting regular reports from her about how “crazy” things are at the hospital, including a shortage of supplies.

Cleveland Browns team seamstress Becky Zielinski has led a service effort in collaboration with Mask Making Miracles, who are a local group of volunteer seamstresses who wanted to help during this crisis. Together, Becky and Mask Making Miracles have helped produce 2,678 masks. Browns’ staff also provided support from their homes by cutting fabric for the Mask Making Miracles group. The masks were recently donated to University Hospitals (UH) medical professionals. UH is currently collecting masks from several community groups, and after collecting 100,000 masks, they will donate all remaining masks to local nursing homes and others in need.

Don Shula and three former Miami Dolphins players who, like their coach, went into the restaurant business, are teaming up to provide free meals during the coronavirus crisis to first responders, healthcare workers, and needy families in South Florida. The food relief program, funded by a $250,000 grant from Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross through the Miami Dolphins Foundation, will also keep restaurant workers employed.

Dairy MAX and the New Orleans Saints in partnership with GENYOUth, will contribute $50,000 to the COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund to support local schools with the purchase of resources needed for meal distribution and delivery, as well as protective gear for sanitation and safety. Each school can receive up to $3,000 in grant funds, administered by GENYOUth. The application and additional information can be found at www.dairymax.org.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are purchasing 45,000 Jaguars-branded protective masks for distribution later this month throughout the Jacksonville area. Sourced through a Jacksonville company, the masks will be distributed by the Jaguars to local companies still operating and interacting with the public. Also, masks will be distributed to not-for-profit groups whose mission is currently focused on local COVID-19 efforts.

NFL team doctors joined the frontlines in fighting COVID-19. For health professionals, fighting this surging pandemic has become an all-hands-on-deck call. This is why, in March, a few days after free agency opened, the NFL Physicians Society decided to suspend all football-related medical visits, including physicals for free agents and draft prospects. Instead, they are volunteering their time and expertise to support the fight at their local area hospitals.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ wide receiver Mike Evans and his Mike Evans Family Foundation have pledged a total of $100,000 for COVID-19 relief efforts, with $50,000 going to the United Way Suncoast in support of efforts in the Tampa Bay region. The Foundation will also donate another $50,000 to Evans’ hometown of Galveston, Texas, to further aid in COVID-19 relief efforts there.

In response to hunger relief needs related to the COVOID-19 health emergency, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay issued a million-dollar challenge to Colts Nation: as soon as $200,000 was raised locally for relief boxes from Gleaners Food Bank, Irsay would unlock a $1 million gift on top of that for his fellow Hoosier neighbors.

“I am so proud of our community and so proud to call Indianapolis home because Hoosiers come together, whether in times of celebration or in times of great need. Today is no different,” Irsay said. “Everyone is being affected in some way by these challenging times, but many of our friends and neighbors are being hit particularly hard. But in our usual Indianapolis way, people are coming together and reaching out to help.

“That’s why I challenged those who could afford to give to help make a difference in these upcoming days and weeks,” Irsay continued. “I send my deepest thanks to everyone who helped push us past $200,000 in donations to Gleaners to help feed those in immediate need, and I am pleased to add more than $1 million to that total.”

Click here to see the many other ways the NFL family is responding to COVID-19.

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Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Amari is one of these artists and Ghofrane is an activist. Exploring how racism has shaped her life in all aspects including her early school days, her romantic life and everyday activities, Amari’s film showcases how Ghofrane uses her experiences as impetus to work to bring change to her country for all people. A compassionate and hopeful exploration of the life and aspirations of Ghofrane, She Had A Dream sheds light on women’s roles in Tunisia’s changing society and one woman’s battle to create change for her community.
The post Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D, NNPA Newswire Entertainment and Culture Editor

The documentary She Had A Dream by Tunisian filmmaker Raja Amari premieres on AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange series tonight at 8 p.m. EST on WORLD CHANNEL. Season 14 of the acclaimed documentary series captures Black artists and activists shaping and reclaiming culture, advocating for change and mobilizing for brighter futures. She Had A Dream offers an intimate portrayal of one young Black Tunisian woman’s quest for political office and her fight against racism and oppression in a society that often seeks to overlook both.

The documentary follows Ghofrane, a 20-something Black woman from Tunisia as she walks the path of self-discovery of young adulthood while running for political office in a homeland where many still view her as an outsider.

Watch the trailer below:

A dedicated, charismatic activist and a modern, free-speaking woman, Ghofrane in many ways is the embodiment of contemporary Tunisian political hopes still alive years after the Arab Spring. She Had A Dream follows Ghofrane as she works to conquer her own self-doubts while attempting to persuade close friends and complete strangers to vote for her. As audiences follow her campaign, they also follow the dichotomies of her life as a woman striving for a role in politics in the Arab world and as a Black person in a country where racism is prevalent, yet often denied.

“The 14th season of AfroPoP shines a light on the collective power, strength and resilience of Black people and movements around the world,” said Leslie Fields-Cruz, AfroPoP executive producer. “Viewers will see artists use their platforms to push for progress and human rights and see ‘ordinary’ people do the remarkable in the interest of justice.”

Amari is one of these artists and Ghofrane is an activist. Exploring how racism has shaped her life in all aspects including her early school days, her romantic life and everyday activities, Amari’s film showcases how Ghofrane uses her experiences as impetus to work to bring change to her country for all people. A compassionate and hopeful exploration of the life and aspirations of Ghofrane, She Had A Dream sheds light on women’s roles in Tunisia’s changing society and one woman’s battle to create change for her community.

She Had A Dream airs on AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange Monday, April 11 at 8 p.m. ET on WORLD Channel and begins streaming on worldchannel.org at the same time.

AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is presented by Black Public Media and WORLD Channel. For more information, visit worldchannel.org or blackpublicmedia.org.

This article was written by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Twitter or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.

The post Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Sextortion” refers to sex being used as currency instead of money for services or products — in this case water. According to the Water Integrity Network (WIN), the testimonies collected from women over the past five years in Kibera and Mukuru Kwa Njenga, which are some of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, point towards an invisible, unspoken, and sinister consequence of corruption in the water sector i.e. sextortion. Sex for water is not a new phenomena.
The post Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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BBC Africa is reporting Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, is facing a water shortage because of changing weather patterns and aging water facilities. The article reports, “Residents in informal communities like Kibra pay private vendors for water, meaning they now control the supply and access to water in the community.” The privatization of water access has led to an increase in the exploitation of women and girls in exchange for water.

“Sextortion” refers to sex being used as currency instead of money for services or products — in this case water. According to the Water Integrity Network (WIN), the testimonies collected from women over the past five years in Kibera and Mukuru Kwa Njenga, which are some of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, point towards an invisible, unspoken, and sinister consequence of corruption in the water sector i.e. sextortion. Sex for water is not a new phenomena. Check out the 2018 ANEW documentary short below:

The water crisis and the sexual exploitation of girls and women as a result of the water crisis shows no signs of slowing down.

To read more about this crisis, visit BBC Africa‘s series of articles and videos on Kenya’s water crisis and the Water Integrity Network’s (WIN) study on sextortion.

This news brief was curated by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Twitter or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.

The post Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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#WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright

THE AFRO — Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black youths ages 15 to 24, according to the Office of Minority Health. The same report found Black high school-aged girls were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their white peers. And, by June 2020, the CDC saw the rate of Black respondents who reported having “seriously considered suicide” was significantly higher.
The post #WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Maya Pottiger, Word in Black

It’s no surprise that we’re living through difficult times. After two years, we’re still in a global pandemic, which has predominantly impacted people of color. In addition, Book bans, attacks on critical race theory, and partisan political fights target everything from Black youths’ sexuality, to history, to health.

And we’re seeing the effects.

Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black youths ages 15 to 24, according to the Office of Minority Health. The same report found Black high school-aged girls were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their white peers. And, by June 2020, the CDC saw the rate of Black respondents who reported having “seriously considered suicide” was significantly higher.

For a variety of reasons — ongoing stigma, lack of insurance, most accessible — Black students often rely on the mental health services offered at school.Outside of a mental health-specific practice, Black students were nearly 600 times as likely to get mental health help in an academic setting compared to other options, according to 2020 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In fact, mental health services in schools have been steadily gaining popularity among students since 2009, before dropping slightly in 2020 when the school year was interrupted, according to the SAMHSA report. As a result, the rate of students receiving mental health care through school decreased by 14 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

So how are schools changing the way they address and prioritize mental health — and the specific needs of Black students — since 2020?

The Renewed Focus on Mental Health

For school-aged people, the majority of their time is spent in a school building — about eight hours per day, 10 months out of the year. To help address mental health during academic hours, schools are trying to focus on social-emotional learning: self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills. This includes teaching kids how to be in touch with their emotions and protect against adverse mental health outcomes.

But it’s been difficult.

Though there’s been more conversation, the implementation is challenging, says Dr. Kizzy Albritton, an associate professor of school psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. There was already a shortage of school-based mental health professionals before the pandemic, which has now been exacerbated, as have mental health issues. In addition, though schools clearly recognize the importance of mental health, they aren’t always provided adequate resources.

“Unless there are more resources funneled into the school system, we’re going to see a continued catch-up issue across the board,” Albritton says. “And, unfortunately, our Black students are going to continue to suffer the most.”

In a survey of high school principals and students, Education Week Research Center found discrepancies in how principals and students viewed a school’s mental health services. While 86 percent of the principals said their schools provided services, only about 66 percent of students agreed. The survey did point out it’s possible the school offers these services and students aren’t aware. The survey also found Black and Latinx students were less likely than their peers to say their schools offered services.

Dr. Celeste Malone, the president-elect of the National Association for School Psychologists and a Howard University associate professor, says she hasn’t previously seen this degree of attention to mental health in schools.

“I see that a lot in my role for a school psychology graduate program: the outreach and people contacting me with openings where they didn’t exist previously,” Malone says. “With this increased push in funding to hire more, that’s definitely a very, very positive movement.”

Mental Health Is Not One Size Fits All

Just like with many aspects of health, Black youths need different mental health support from their peers of other races. They need a counselor who understands their lived experiences, like microaggressions and other forms of discrimination or racism, without the student having to explain.

For example, in order to best address the specific mental health needs of Black students, districts need to provide information breaking down mental health stigmas; focus on hiring Black counselors, social workers, and mental health professionals; and fund anti-racist and trauma-informed mental health practices, according to the Center for American Progress.

While she hears a lot of talk, Albritton says she isn’t seeing widespread evidence of these solutions in practice.

“There needs to be a willingness, first of all, to understand that our Black students, their needs look a lot different,” Albritton says. School officials need to understand where Black students are coming from — that their families and households experience systemic and structural racism, which are known to trigger anxiety and depression. The effects of the racial wealth gap also play a role, from the neighborhood kids are living in, to the schools they can attend to the impacts on their health. Students might be bringing worries about these challenges to school, which could be reflected in their behavior. This is why, Albritton says, it’s crucial to also work with students’ families.

The post #WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright appeared first on AFRO American Newspapers .

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