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Twin Cities Black Journalists announces $1K NABJ conference scholarship

MINNESOTA SPOKESMAN-RECORDER — The Twin Cities Black Journalists has announced a scholarship to send an eligible college student to attend the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention and Career Fair.

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By MSR News Online

The Twin Cities Black Journalists has announced a scholarship to send an eligible college student to attend the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention and Career Fair.

Now in its 44th year, the convention, which also boasts the nation’s largest journalism jobs career fair, expects more than 4,000 journalism students and professionals to attend August 7-11 in Miami. This year’s convention theme is “Fight the Power: Press Forward with Passion and Purpose.”

The scholarship will help cover registration, hotel and travel expenses. In addition to the scholarship, the recipient will be matched with a professional journalist from TCBJ who will serve as a mentor.

To be eligible, students must be currently enrolled in college or have graduated in the past year; must be a current resident of Minnesota or from Minnesota while attending an out-of-state college; have in interest in journalism as a career; and be able to attend at least three days of the five-day convention.

The application deadline is May 24. To apply, complete the application at bit.ly/NABJ19scholarship. For more information, contact Nicole Norfleet at nicole.norfleet@startribune.com.

Information provided by Twin Cities Black Journalists

This article originally appeared in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Arts and Culture

Former Post Staffer Releases New Film, ‘I Thought You Knew’

With the intent of addressing LGBTQ themes as well as mental health issues and how to cope with them, Haqq Shabazz’ most recent effort, “I Thought You Knew,” follows beautiful and intelligent Lavette, who has just been released from prison after completing a two-year sentence. While inside, she succeeds on her college SATs exam, realizing her desire of going to college.

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Amir Abu Haqq Shabazz, left, with Elise Neal, an actress who has appeared in several films Haqq Shabazz has produced. Phot courtesy of Haqq Shabazz.
Amir Abu Haqq Shabazz, left, with Elise Neal, an actress who has appeared in several films Haqq Shabazz has produced. Phot courtesy of Haqq Shabazz.

IN YO FACE Filmworks recently released the film, “I Thought You Knew” on the internet and is available for viewing through IMDb.

Amir Abu Haqq Shabazz, owner of Haqq Shabazz Entertainment, and staffer for the Post News Group more than 20 years ago, has produced and/or co-produced many films with Black casts and crews.

With the intent of addressing LGBTQ themes as well as mental health issues and how to cope with them, Haqq Shabazz’ most recent effort, “I Thought You Knew,” follows beautiful and intelligent Lavette, who has just been released from prison after completing a two-year sentence. While inside, she succeeds on her college SATs exam, realizing her desire of going to college.

But things swiftly spiral out of control. To her astonishment, her terrible connection with her father re-emerges as do troubles with her psychotic best friend.

It results in a life-or-death situation.

The stars of the film are Glenn Plummer, Felicia Snoop Pearson, Marcus T. Paulk, Drag-On, Lindsey Cruz, Zaina Juliette, and Michael Monteiro.

The story concept was created by playwright and executive producer Retornzia Riser and the screenplay was written and directed by Conrad Glover.

Haqq Shabazz, Damon Jamal, and Chad Montgomery, executive producers of IN YO FACE Filmworks, led a fine team of line producers in Riser, Cleo Flucker, Anthony A.B. Butler and Emily T. Hall.

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Activism

COMMENTARY: The Vote to Deny the Deniers

There is no doubt that Joe Biden was elected in 2020. By any legitimate measure, the vote has withstood challenges and been upheld. Yet, when voters were asked, “Do you believe Joe Biden was legitimately elected president back in 2020?” Sixty-three percent of voters said yes. And a whopping 34% said no.A third of voters are election deniers, all according to a CNN exit poll.

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Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. His web show is on www.amok.com
Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. His web show is on www.amok.com

By Emil Guillermo

Congressional elections remind us why we live where we live. At least in the Bay Area.

California, a safe Blue zone for the Senate, is a super-solid Blue when it comes to the Bay Area.

You won’t see Alameda’s Barbara Lee sweating the midterms.

She sought a 12th term this week and it was practically automatic.

She won in 2020 with over 92% of the vote, and this year anyone running against her is considered a masochist in need of a landslide.

That’s good for Lee and her constituents. No one is going to chase out your rep.

But is that good for democracy? Wouldn’t a little competition help sometime? Bite your tongue.

Let Lee die in Congress if she wants. She’s represented the East Bay well.

It’s the 434 other House seats we’ve got to worry about.

And that’s the problem. We’re good about Alameda County. But the country?

Republicans could easily wrest away the majority in the House with dozens of seats considered coinflips.

And in the Senate, it would take just one seat to flip for Republicans to gain control.

As I write, the results are still trickling in.

But the first national exit polls tell you why our democracy is in trouble.

There is no doubt that Joe Biden was elected in 2020. By any legitimate measure, the vote has withstood challenges and been upheld.

Yet, when voters were asked, “Do you believe Joe Biden was legitimately elected president back in 2020?”

Sixty-three percent of voters said yes.

And a whopping 34% said no.

A third of voters are election deniers, all according to a CNN exit poll.

On top of that, when asked “Democracy in the U.S. is…”

“Somewhat threatened,” said 33% in the exit poll.

But “Very threatened,” was the sentiment of 37%.

Seventy percent of the voters sensed some threat.

Voters know something is wrong. Let’s hope they voted to deny the deniers.

Fighting Lies, Denials and Misinformation

As America voted, it’s a little more than a week after the SCOTUS affirmative action hearing.

But why bury a good wedge when it’s still hot?

Democracy deniers out there aren’t ready to quit a little fear-mongering to rile up the conservative base.

One Asian American voter brought to my attention a flyer used in the closing days of the campaign.

The hit piece screams the claim “Joe Biden and Left-Wing officials are engaged in widespread racial discrimination against WHITE and ASIAN AMERICANS.”

It’s 100% false but backed up by out-of-context headlines from right-wing news sources.

But the hit piece shares the formula put forth by anti-civil rights activist Ed Blum, the mastermind behind the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) attack on race-conscious admissions at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.

And since they’ve ridden this from the lower courts all the way to the Supreme Court for years, other conservative anti-civil rights folks are willing to steal the approach.

People like the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant advisor Stephen Miller.

He’s proudly started something called America First Legal, a right-wing group intending to be the conservative answer to the American Civil Liberties Union.

No one will ever mistake the ACLU with this new-fangled AFL which believes that spreading lies as truth under the guise of free speech is part of the American way.

Sounds like good ole Republican rhetoric.

But the AFL is sending out this racist propaganda piece to voters mostly on East Coast.

Will it be a thing going forward? Asian Americans being allied with whites in all things regarding race?

It’s pure misinformation used to split apart our BIPOC diversity coalitions and deny all of us a true sense of democracy.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. See his show on www.amok.com

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Black History

Philip Bell Downing: Black Creativity Seen in Everyday Objects

The Providence, R.I.–born Philip Bell Downing was creative from childhood, always looking for ways to improve on the routines of daily life. As the son of abolitionist George T. Downing, also manager of the US House of Representatives’ dining room in Wash., D.C., and entrepreneur Serena L. deGrasse, young Philip was exposed to influential leaders all of his life. In fact, in the mid-1830s, his grandfather Thomas Downing was a key player in the United Anti-Slavery Society of the City of New York. Later, Phillip would always be at his side, watching and learning.

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Caption: Philip B. Downing Letter Box patent and photo of USPS box. Public domain patent and public domain photo by Petr Kratochvil.
Caption: Philip B. Downing Letter Box patent and photo of USPS box. Public domain patent and public domain photo by Petr Kratochvil.

By Tamara Shiloh

During the early 19th century, pieces of mail and packages could only be posted at the town’s post office. For many, this meant traveling long distances and delays due to inclement weather.

A more convenient solution was presented in October 1891, when Philip Downing’s (1857–1934) patent for the Street Letter Box made it possible for residents to leave their mail inside a tall metal box for the postman to pick up and take to their home post office.

The letter box was constructed of metal, had four legs and a self-closing hinge door that kept mail safe from the elements and potential thefts. That same year (1891), Downing received another patent for a design with a chute that would unload mail into a postal worker’s bag.

The Providence, R.I.–born Downing was creative from childhood, always looking for ways to improve on the routines of daily life. As the son of abolitionist George T. Downing, also manager of the US House of Representatives’ dining room in Wash., D.C., and entrepreneur Serena L. deGrasse, young Philip was exposed to influential leaders all of his life. In fact, in the mid-1830s, his grandfather Thomas Downing was a key player in the United Anti-Slavery Society of the City of New York. Later, Phillip would always be at his side, watching and learning.

Downing’s idea for the letter box came about because his family relocated often. In what seemed to have been every city, they too had to travel far to post mail. Like all great inventors, he saw a gap in progress, became creative and filled it.

Downing’s letter box (known today as a mailbox) has since gone through several improvements. During the early 20th century, the U.S. Postal Service approved the design of a locking curbside mailbox. Also introduced were specifications for installing curbside mailboxes that included placing the letter box 6-8 inches back from the curb.

Still, many features stemming from Downing’s invention have remained intact.

Although best known for the letter box, Downing received patents for other inventions. His first, the ‘New and Useful Improvements in Street Railway Switches’ (June 1890), was for an improvement in streetcar and train switches that allowed the switch to be opened or closed by the brakeman from the platform of the car. This patent ultimately led to the light switch. Later, in January 1917, he would, using a roller and an attached water tank, create and receive a patent for an envelope moistener.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Downing successfully filed at least five patents with the U.S. Patent Office. None, however, were more widely used than the letter box. After a long career as a postal clerk, he died in Boston in 1934. He was 77. Perhaps one day his face will appear on a postage stamp.

Read with the young ones about items used in our everyday lives, including the mailbox, created by African American men and women in Charron Monaye’s “Imagine Life Without African-American Inventors.”

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