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NNPA Leadership Launches New Community-Focused Initiative at Mid-Winter Conference in Fort Lauderdale

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “We must leave a footprint in all of the communities where we have a presence and where we are making an impact,” stated NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards. “As we visit different cities, we must connect with the communities we serve and leave a lasting impression. In doing this initiative, we must also highlight the newspaper(s) in those respective cities to make sure they’re included in the effort. We must work collaboratively together and make every community remember that the NNPA was on the scene and should never be forgotten.”

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Bobby Henry, Publisher, The Westside Gazette; Ms. Gwendolyn Shaw, Owner/Director, The Red School House; and Karen Carter Richards, NNPA Chair.

The Red School House Chosen as Inaugural Recipient

NNPA Community Impact

By Jeffrey L. Boney, Associate Editor, Houston Forward Times

As part of the first phase of an established marketing plan for the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), the leadership of the storied organization announced the launch of their inaugural “NNPA Community Impact” initiative to kick-off the 80th Anniversary of the NNPA.

This initiative was championed by NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards, who believes the NNPA should regularly highlight organizations that are making an impact, or people who are making a difference, in their respective communities, but rarely get the recognition they truly deserve.

“We must leave a footprint in all of the communities where we have a presence and where we are making an impact,” stated NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards. “As we visit different cities, we must connect with the communities we serve and leave a lasting impression. In doing this initiative, we must also highlight the newspaper(s) in those respective cities to make sure they’re included in the effort. We must work collaboratively together and make every community remember that the NNPA was on the scene and should never be forgotten.”

Just this past week, at the start of the 2020 NNPA Mid-Winter Conference that was held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the NNPA put this initiative into action as they worked alongside local publisher Bobby Henry of The Westside Gazette to honor The Red School House as the “NNPA Community Impact” inaugural recipient.

“The Red School House has served the Fort Lauderdale community for more than 52 years and has taught and developed many upstanding African Americans who have moved on to make their own impact in various communities around the nation,” said Bobby Henry, Publisher of the Westside Gazette. “I was honored to work with the NNPA to select The Red School House as the ‘NNPA Community Impact’ inaugural recipient in my city.”

The NNPA and The Westside Gazette saluted The Red School House by presenting them with a check for $500, as well as hosted a pizza party for the kids.

From vision to planning to becoming a reality in 1968, The Red School House has provided a safe, caring and learning environment for children whose parents were working, and has become a staple in the community for over 50 years.

Mrs. Julia was employed as a bus driver for the School Board of Broward County and was married to her husband, Mr. Harvey Shaw, who was employed as a Longshoreman for Port Everglades. The couple had 5 children and because everyone in her family found themselves working, Mrs. Julia recognized that there was no one at home to raise the children in the family.

After recognizing this dilemma, and to ensure the family’s children were properly cared for, Mrs. Julia declared “someone has to stay here and keep these kids.”

That is when and how The Red School House was birthed. It was the old-fashioned tradition of including the home, church and community that became the catalyst behind Mrs. Julia using her home as a primary place to start caring for her family’s children.

That house now stands as a legacy for the family and for the community.

In addition to caring for her own family’s children, Mrs. Julia also wanted to give back to the community in which she lived for so long. As a result, the doors of The Red School House were officially opened in September of 1968 with only 25 students. The early years of The Red School House were built on the shoulders of her family. Although the whole family worked at the school at one time or another, The Red School House was mainly run by the women of the family.

After the untimely death of an aunt who worked at the school, in 1983, Mrs. Julia asked her daughter, Ms. Gwendolyn Shaw, to come home in 1984 to take over operations.

At the time of her mother’s request, Gwendolyn was living in Chicago and was working at Jet Magazine and at Motorola Corporation. Because her mother wanted her to become the Director of The Red School House, Gwendolyn made the decision to move back home and honor her mother’s request. In 1986, they were able to renovate the school, which had previously operated out of two buildings. They consolidated the school into one building without ever closing their doors. In 1993, the playgrounds at the school were reconstructed to make them safer for the children and all of the teachers became CDA certified.

Mrs. Julia passed away in 1998, leaving Gwendolyn with the sole responsibility of running the business. As part of their regular school routine, every morning they start the day with devotion, with all children and staff front and center. Gwendolyn comes forth and sets the atmosphere for the day and afterwards, the students return to their classroom setting.

They are taught the basics of reading, writing and math skills; Black history; World History; geography; science; life skills; participation in events such as field trips to the laundromat to wash their clothes, to the grocery store to expose them to grocery shopping, to Wal-Mart for Back-to-School shopping; community clean-up; cooking; sewing; hygiene classes; Bible class; social skills and development; sign language; three foreign languages (German, Japanese and Spanish); performing arts; manipulative skills; and homework is sent home twice a week.

Outdoor play is part of their daily schedule (twice a day) and gymnastics (physical education) is every Friday at the community L.A. Lee YMCA.

The students also attend field trips to all Disney on Ice productions, circus performances, Sesame Street performances and any cultural and fine arts performances that will enhance their exposure to appreciate the world of fine arts, entertainment and community activities. Twice a year, the performing arts skills of the students (ages 2 thru 5) are displayed at their annual Christmas program in December and at the Graduation performance held in May.

In the month of April, they host a Kiddie Prom that is held at the Elegant Signature Grand in Davie, FL. In the month of November, they have an etiquette class for all the 4- and 5-year-old students, where they dress up (the boys in their dressy attire with a $2.00 tip in their wallet, and the girls in their dressy attire with a purse on their arms).

The Red School House students are picked up by limousine service and taken to the Cheesecake Factory in downtown Fort Lauderdale where they dine for lunch and are taught how to model good behavior and manners.

Since inception, The Red School House has grown from 25 students to over 160 students. Even more impressive are the number of former students who are now staff members and some staff members who have worked for The Red School House for up to 40 years.

The Red School House has been in business for 52 years and has never received any federal funding, primarily because they didn’t want to change their curriculum.

“We are still as strong today as we were on that September day in 1968,” Gwendolyn states. “Our purpose has become our passion, to make a difference in our community, to care for children in providing a safe and nurturing environment, to provide educational excellence for each child. We are a traditional school with traditional values and a whole lot of love.”

This is a monumental initiative for the NNPA and is consistent with its overall mission and vision. Since its founding exactly 80 years ago, the NNPA has consistently been the voice of the Black community and an incubator for the news that makes history and impacts the country today and tomorrow.

From delivering news, information and commentary to being the largest and most influential Black-owned media resource in America to reach local markets with African American consumers. From helping to shape ideas and opinion to shaping thinking. From thought leadership to leading change. Each week 20 million Americans from all backgrounds seeking news from the Black perspective turn to NNPA newspapers.

This initiative will expand the impact and reach of the Black Press across America and in local markets to ensure the mission and vision of the NNPA remains relevant.

To learn more about The Red School House or to make a donation, please call 954.249.2901 or send it to 1205 N.W. 4th Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312.

Jeffrey Boney is a political analyst and frequent contributor for the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com and the associate editor for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is an award-winning journalist, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur and business development strategist. Follow Jeffrey on Twitter @realtalkjunkies.

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Brittney Griner Sentenced to More than 9 years in Russian Prison

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The lawyers of WNBA star Brittney Griner, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a written statement following the verdict announcement that the court ignored all the evidence they presented and that they will appeal the decision. “We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” Attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

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

WNBA Superstar Brittney Griner has been sentenced to more than 9 years in a Russian prison following her conviction on drug charges.

Her lawyers called the verdict a disappointment and vowed to appeal.

The lawyers of WNBA star Brittney Griner, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a written statement following the verdict announcement that the court ignored all the evidence they presented and that they will appeal the decision.

“We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” Attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

“The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea. This contradicts the existing legal practice.

“Taking into account the amount of the substance (not to mention the defects of the expertise) and the plea, the verdict is absolutely unreasonable. We will certainly file an appeal,” they added.

Russian officials contended that Griner committed the crime on purpose. They also levied a fine totaling about $16,400 American dollars on the basketball star.

Authorities arrested Griner on Feb. 17 at an airport in Moscow after finding less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.

She has been detained since then.

Recently, American officials revealed that the Biden-Harris administration had offered notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for the release of Griner and Paul Whelan.

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” President Biden said.

“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

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Report: Human Rights Violations in Prisons Throughout Southern United States Cause Disparate and Lasting Harm in Black Communities  

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “The U.S. has long failed to live up to its international human rights treaty obligations on eliminating racial discrimination, perhaps more so in the area of mass incarceration and prison conditions than in any other context,” said Lisa Borden, Senior Policy Counsel, International Advocacy at the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

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NNPA Newswire

NEW YORK – The Southern Prisons Coalition, a group of civil and human rights organizations, submitted a new report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination on the devastating consequences of incarceration on Black people throughout the southern United States.

With the long-term goal of eliminating all forms of racial discrimination in the criminal legal system, including the carceral system, the report describes the widespread, disparate harms resulting from the arrests, harsh prison sentences, and incarceration on Black communities.

The report also cites the devastating impacts of solitary confinement, prison labor, the school to prison pipeline, and incarceration of parents on Black families.

On August 8, 2022, the UN will review the United States’ compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination for the first time since 2014.

Among the ongoing stark racial disparities throughout prisons in the southern United States, Black people are five times more likely to be incarcerated in state prisons.

In states like Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas, where Black communities comprise 38% of the total population, Black individuals account for as much as 67% of the total incarcerated population.

While incarcerated, Black people are more than eight times more likely to be placed in solitary confinement, and they are 10 times more likely to be held there for exceedingly long periods of time.

By submitting the report to the United Nations, the Southern Prisons Coalition hopes to solicit concrete recommendations from the UN Committee as well as commitments from the United States delegation about their plans to address systemic issues in the United States prison system, particularly in the South.

According to the report, several states in the United States have also failed to meet several of the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the treatment of incarcerated people, including:

  • Work should help to prepare incarcerated people for their release from prison, including life and job skills;
  • Safety measures and labor protections for incarcerated workers should be the same as those that cover workers who are not incarcerated;
  • Incarcerated workers should receive equitable pay, be able to send money home to their families, and have a portion of their wages set aside to be given to them upon release.

“The U.S. has long failed to live up to its international human rights treaty obligations on eliminating racial discrimination, perhaps more so in the area of mass incarceration and prison conditions than in any other context,” said Lisa Borden, Senior Policy Counsel, International Advocacy at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“We hope the Committee will help to shine a light on these very dark truths and prompt the U.S. to take its obligation to make significant improvements more seriously.”

“The abuses of forced labor are inextricably tied to racial discrimination in our nation,” said Jamila Johnson, Deputy Director at the Promise of Justice Initiative.

“In Louisiana, for instance, people are still sent into the fields to labor by hand in dangerously high heat indexes, for little to no compensation, and with brutal enforcement reminiscent of slavery and the era of ‘convict leasing’.”

“This report reveals the suffering of Black people in southern U.S. prisons, whose stories of marginalization and discrimination echo the racial subjugation of slavery and convict leasing during our country’s most shameful past,” said Antonio L. Ingram II, Assistant Counsel at the Legal Defense Fund.

“Despite widespread knowledge of the longstanding racial inequalities in the criminal legal and carceral systems, the United States continues to allow egregious human rights violations to persist for Black incarcerated people in violation of international law. This report serves as a sobering reminder of how far we need to go.”

Read the full report here.

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Celebrate your birthday with 10 free items

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Is your birthday coming up, and you’re not sure how to celebrate? Beat the summer heat by grabbing free ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, or a daiquiri at WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe.” Not in the mood for sweets? Head over to Jersey Mike’s or McDonald’s. Check out the rest of these Top 10 places giving out free items on your special day.

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By Angelina Liu, Entertainment Editor of The Trendsetter / Texas Metro News

Is your birthday coming up, and you’re not sure how to celebrate? Beat the summer heat by grabbing free ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, or a daiquiri at WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe.” Not in the mood for sweets? Head over to Jersey Mike’s or McDonald’s. Check out the rest of these Top 10 places giving out free items on your special day.

1. Chocolate Secrets

At Chocolate Secrets, located at 3926 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas, TX 75219, you can celebrate your birthday by getting one free piece of candy under their candy cases.

2. WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe”

Head to WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe”, located at 684 W Pioneer Pkwy Suite 100, Grand Prairie, Texas 75051, to claim a free small personal daiquiri on your birthday. Quench your thirst with signature flavors such as “Strawberry Shortcake” or “Bahama Mama.”

3. Sephora

Sign up for a free, Beauty Insider account and receive your choice of 250 bonus points, Laura Mercier, Amika or Tatcha sets on your birthday. The choice of powders, lipsticks and skincare is bound to make you look fabulous for your special day.

4. Starbucks

Need a quick pick-me-up on your birthday? Starbucks has it covered! Join the Starbucks Rewards Program seven days prior to your birthday and make one purchase. Starbucks will then email you a coupon for a free food or beverage item two days before your birthday. The birthday reward qualifies for anything on the menu, including any size handcrafted drink or food item.

5. Jersey Mike’s

In the mood for a sub? Head over to Jersey Mike’s and receive a free sub and drink. Make sure to sign up for the Jersey Mike’s Subs Email Club prior to your birthday to receive this reward. Nothing tastes quite like melted cheese and meat in between a toasted baguette, along with an icy cold drink.

6. The Cheesecake Factory

Celebrating with friends? Tell your server it’s your birthday and receive a free treat as well as a song. It may be mildly embarrassing, but hey, it’s free!

7. Culver’s

Need something cold and sweet to beat the Texas heat? Head to Culver’s for a free sundae when you sign up for their rewards program. The sweet creaminess will surely not disappoint.

8. IHOP

Want to indulge in a sweet breakfast before birthday festivities? Join the International Bank of Pancakes rewards program to receive a free stack of pancakes on your birthday. Pair your pancakes with a choice of chocolate chips, syrup, fresh fruit or a dollop of whipped cream.

9. McDonald’s

Need a snack before embarking on your next birthday adventure? Download the McDonald’s app and join MyMcDonald’s Rewards to receive free large fries. Mmm, the taste and smell of fresh, perfectly salted french fries.

10. Smoothie King

Want to celebrate your birthday with a healthier option? Enjoy a birthday smoothie at Smoothie King. Download the Smoothie King app to receive this offer.

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Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson
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