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Second Black-Owned Store Opens at National Harbor

THE AFRO — Rocky Parrish is not the kind of man who likes to ride the wave he makes them. Whether in his one time role as an outspoken sports talk host at D.C.’s 106.7 The Fan, or now as a full time sports retail businessman, Parrish has never knocked on doors he’s always kicked them in.

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By Mark F. Gray

Rocky Parrish is not the kind of man who likes to ride the wave he makes them. Whether in his one time role as an outspoken sports talk host at D.C.’s 106.7 The Fan, or now as a full time sports retail businessman, Parrish has never knocked on doors he’s always kicked them in.

This weekend, Parrish will become the second Black retail owner at the National Harbor Waterfront when his RockDeep/RDevine sports apparel “boutique” brings his business back to his roots in southern Maryland. The 1990 graduate of Oxon Hill High School – whose mother lives in the shadows of the Gaylord Resort and Conference Center – is set to debut his “dual concept” athletic and casual footwear, literally in his backyard.

“It’s important for me to bring this store to my old neighborhood,” Parrish tells the AFRO.  “It adds a little something to be in Oxon Hill even though its called Waterfront National Harbor these days.”

There won’t be any three stripe, swoosh, or interlocking vowels on merchandise in the store.  Parrish, whose radio personality was aggressive and in your face, is, in reality, subtle and understands in order for his brand to become a big baller in the shoe game he has to let the style do the talking. He is not overpricing his items and nothing in the store will cost more than $100. Parrish is hoping that competitive prices and unisex athletic fashions will be a hit with tourists and local residents as well.

“How am I going to charge somebody a hundred dollars for a pair of shoes when I couldn’t afford 100 shoes when I was growing up,” Parris said in the midst of preparing for the building’s fire marshall inspection.  “Our goal is to provide functional styles that are high quality so everybody can afford them.”

Parrish promises to be on the cutting edge with conventional styles of sneakers augmented by those with eccentric designs and colors.  Since women comprise most of the clientele breaking into yoga apparel would put him in rare company among Black manufacturers in the game just starting out.

This spring has been a corporate whirlwind for the brand in the neighborhoods surrounding the Woodrow Wilson Bridge- which connects southern Maryland to northern Virginia.  Since February, RockDeep/RDevine has opened two Virginia locations. The first opened in the Delray section of Alexandria on February 16 and on May 4 they cut the ribbon on the second store in Old Towne Alexandria.  “I remember 40 years ago when if you looked like us you would be taking a chance walking in that neighborhood,” Parrish reflects. “Now I’m selling shoes in a building owned by the Mason’s. That’s just happenstance.”

By the end of 2019, Parrish hopes to open a store in D.C. Parrish says there is the potential to capture the first responders market who yearn for “quality and functionality” in their work equipment.

However, Parrish’s business model is not the conventional one where the company hopes to become solvent enough to either be purchased by a large company or be sold altogether.  He is motivated to make his mark on his community allowing others to buy into the RockDeep/RDevine franchise and to make his mark by helping others with profits from his business.

I want to do what [Robert Smith] did for the students at Morehouse, that’s what drives me.” said Parrish. “The more consumers support us the more we can do for the community.”

Parrish doesn’t have any grand plans for the store’s opening other than, “cutting the ribbon and promising folks will leave with great deals.”

This article originally appeared in The Afro

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NAACP Launches #WeAreDoneDying Campaign, Empowering Black and Brown Communities to Take Action Against Senseless Killings of African Americans

THE AFRO — The campaign is a Call-to-Action and highlights the NAACP’s policy interests and supported legislation for African Americans and people of color, a large demographic that is often left out of recovery effort conversations. The integrated and interactive content will create actionable steps for people to feel empowered by demanding action from their state’s elected officials on issues such as healthcare, education, criminal justice, economic justice, and voting rights.

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The NAACP has launched a campaign entitled #WeAreDoneDying, aimed at exposing the inequities embedded into the American healthcare system and the country at large. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

Washington, D.C. (May 7, 2020) – The NAACP, the nation’s foremost social justice organization, has launched a campaign entitled #WeAreDoneDying, aimed at exposing the inequities embedded into the American healthcare system and the country at large. From COVID-19 to running while Black in America, the abuse faced by people of color, particularly African Americans is devastating.

The campaign is a Call-to-Action and highlights the NAACP’s policy interests and supported legislation for African Americans and people of color, a large demographic that is often left out of recovery effort conversations. The integrated and interactive content will create actionable steps for people to feel empowered by demanding action from their state’s elected officials on issues such as healthcare, education, criminal justice, economic justice, and voting rights.

“With crumbling economic infrastructure, our community members face tough choices as access to food, good jobs, and a quality education slips further away,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP. “These issues are compounded by the lack of strong leadership from the White House. In the absence of adequate guidance, Black lives are adversely affected. We will no longer stand idle as our people suffer discrimination, marginalization, and are offered as disposable for poor decisions by this Administration.”

As the incidence of COVID-19 cases and deaths rise, the Black community is experiencing the worst outcomes. With more confirmed cases and deaths than any other country, African Americans are facing the brunt of this virus. The numbers continue to rise each day while states reopen non-essential businesses with little to no evidence that the country is ready.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the deep-seated racial disparity in America embedded in all aspects of life,” said Leon W. Russell, Chairman, NAACP Board of Directors. “The NAACP Empowerment Programs’ 111 years of advocacy and fighting for the rights of Black people positions us to lead the fight for our community’s interest during this time of uncertainty.”

Learn how you can join and get involved with the campaign by visiting NAACP.org.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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The AFRO Awarded $100,000 Grant by Facebook Journalism Project

THE AFRO — After receiving more than 2,000 applications for the COVID-19 Local News Relief Grant Program from newsrooms across every state in the US, all US territories and Washington, D.C., we are providing grants ranging from $25,000-$100,000 to help publishers continue serving communities during the coronavirus outbreak. These grant recipients were selected through a process led by the Local Media Association (LMA) and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and with significant contributions from the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION), Local Media Consortium (LMC), and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Thanks to these organizations’ partnership and expertise, we were able to set up a program to meet the immediate and timely needs of these newsrooms.

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Sign up for the Facebook Journalism Project newsletter to receive updates on Facebook’s ongoing efforts to support the news industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

Today, Facebook is announcing that more than 200 news organizations will receive nearly $16 million in grants through the Facebook Journalism Project’s relief fund for local news. These grants stem from $25 million in local news relief funding announced in March as part of Facebook’s $100 million global investment in news. It includes:

$10.3 million being awarded to 144 US local newsrooms as part of the COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program. The fund is supporting many publishers who are hardest hit by this crisis: nearly 80 percent of recipients are family- or independently owned and more than half are published by or for communities of color.

$5.4 million being awarded to 59 North American newsrooms that participated in Facebook Local News Accelerator programs focused on subscriptions and memberships.

Remaining funds will be used throughout 2020 to support projects focused on longer-term sustainability in local journalism. This includes $2.5 million for Report for America, helping the group place 225 journalists in 160 local news organizations for their 2020 reporting corps.

Partnering with leading industry organizations like The Local Media Association and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism to move quickly, the Facebook Journalism Project has awarded more than 600 grants across the US and Canada since the pandemic began. Additional grant programs have been launched to support journalism around the world.

COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program

After receiving more than 2,000 applications for the COVID-19 Local News Relief Grant Program from newsrooms across every state in the US, all US territories and Washington, D.C., we are providing grants ranging from $25,000-$100,000 to help publishers continue serving communities during the coronavirus outbreak. These grant recipients were selected through a process led by the Local Media Association (LMA) and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and with significant contributions from the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION), Local Media Consortium (LMC), and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Thanks to these organizations’ partnership and expertise, we were able to set up a program to meet the immediate and timely needs of these newsrooms.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role local news plays in our communities, while simultaneously threatening their very existence. Reviewing hundreds of applications on a tight timeline both illustrated the depth of need, but also highlighted the innovation that these small, independent publishers can provide for their communities when given the resources,” said Jonathan Kealing, INN’s chief network officer. “I’m excited to see new news products and more critical original reporting in these communities, thanks to Facebook’s support.”

The pool of grant recipients is notable in several ways:

  • Nearly four in five are family- or independently owned.
  • Half are published by or for communities of color.
  • Nearly 40 percent are digitally native publishers.
  • Just over a third are non-profits.

“We’re proud to support this diverse group of publishers — many of which are family- or independently owned. Not only are these journalists working tirelessly to serve people right now — they’re focused on transformation, building innovative local news businesses that can continue to serve communities beyond the current pandemic,” said Campbell Brown, VP of global news partnerships at Facebook.

The COVID-19 Local News Relief Grant Program was designed to provide support for US local news organizations serving a critical role for communities impacted by COVID-19. Funding is intended to a) respond to immediate community needs and/or b) offset some revenue shortfalls to help publishers maintain long-term sustainability during this crisis.

Facebook Journalism Project Local News Accelerator Program

Launched in 2018 to support local news businesses in their transformation to reader revenue-driven business models, the Local News Accelerator program has grown to more than 600 participants from more than 100 newsrooms worldwide.

he program includes a three-month period of workshops, now fully virtual, led by the Accelerator’s executive director Tim Griggs, regular reports on best business practices and grants administered by the Lenfest Institute and the International Center for Journalists.

Accelerator participants from the US and Canada are receiving relief grants to help safeguard the transformation they’ve achieved over the last several years and to capitalize on new opportunities. As these news organizations continue to test and learn, we’ll share their progress, actionable tips and results on the Facebook Journalism Project website.

The coaches in the Facebook Accelerator went “above and beyond to help us, teaching practical concepts and tools that we could use right away and taking time to talk through problems. Our cohort members have been encouraging, collaborative and generous with their knowledge and experience,” said Jennifer Napier-Pearce, editor of the Salt Lake Tribune, a participant in the 2020 Subscriptions Accelerator program. “We’re so grateful to Facebook for supporting local news at such a precarious time.”

The Facebook Journalism Project will host a webinar session on Friday, May 8th at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST titled “Practical Lessons to Accelerate Your Reader Revenue Strategy.” Led by Accelerator Executive Director Tim Griggs and Accelerator Program Manager David Grant, the session will give a distilled look at key tactics and strategies drawn from Accelerator publishers. To join, register to receive information about the program here: FB.me/BootcampRegistration.

News reporting has never been more critical. We’re proud to support all these news organizations as they provide critical reporting to their local communities during this challenging time.

Sign up for the Facebook Journalism Project newsletter to receive updates on Facebook’s ongoing efforts to support the news industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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VIDEO: THE RUN DOWN – DJ D-NICE / #Homeschool House Party

THE AFRO — Host Micha Green talks about DJ D-NICE’s online house party, and trending topics in the AFRO American Newspaper.

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BE INSPIRED GLOBAL

By Micha Green, AFRO.COM

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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