Meet Me In The Lobby: AKAs to Promote Mental Illness Awareness, National Bankers Association Speaks Out, National Baptist Convention Leadership and Church Security

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AKAs  Promote Mental Illness Awareness

The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will host a mass dancing and public forum on July 16th in Chicago’s Grant Park.  Part of the sorority’s Leadership Seminar, the line dancing and public forum event entitled “AKA Launching 1908 Dance Moves for NAMI” is expected to attract nearly 600 sorority members, guests, and NAMI representatives.

266714_orig“By hosting this mass dance activity and panel discussion in Grant Park, we are hoping to attract individuals from the Chicago area who may not participate in a formal gathering to join us and increase their knowledge of mental illness,” stated Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson, AKA’s international president.

In January 2015, AKA and NAMI started a partnership to increase awareness of mental illness in the African-American community.  AKA is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African-American college-educated women on the campus of Howard University in 1908.


National Bankers Association Speaks Out


The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) awarded $3.5 billion in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocations to 76 financial entities around the country in 2015.  However, none of the country’s minority banks received any funds.

Ironically, the NMTC Program is designed to encourage economic development in underserved communities throughout the United States.  According to the CDFI Fund’s own records, less than 8% of awards have gone to minority entities.  “In 2009, the General Accounting Office issued a report detailing a disparity in NMTC awards to minority entities.  The numbers have actually gotten worse, not better,” according to Michael Grant, President of the National Bankers Association.

This lack of inclusion of minority controlled entities has raised much concern and public response to what’s being called a “shut out” for minority banks.  For more, go to

National Baptist Convention Leadership and Church Security

In the wake of the Charleston, South Carolina church shootings and recent church burnings, the National Baptist Convention, USA is advising its members to increase church security .


Jerry Young, President of the National Baptist Convention, USA

From installing security cameras to adding armed security guards, Jerry Young, President of the National Baptist Convention, USA, recently stated, “We are in consultation even now with the experts to assist us in making sure we get to all of our constituent churches instruction, advice and suggestions as to how they can actually beef up security around the worship centers.”

While other denominational leaders oppose some of these stated tactics, Young wants his membership to “do everything that is humanly possible” to protect themselves and prepare for a safer future. Founded in 1886, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. (Convention) is the nation’s oldest and largest African American religious convention with an estimated membership of 7.5 million.




Promotions and Awards:

1c707ed9227fa0a3650e8760c8f19267Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of the National Council of Negro Women in 1935, was born in July 140 years ago.  She was known as an educator, civil rights activist, public servant assisting five presidents and one of the most respected women of color of the early Twentieth Century.  Here are 10 important facts about this shero.


Don Cravins  Jr. was recently named the National Urban League’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Executive Director of the National Urban League’s Washington Bureau.  Cravins Jr. was a former U.S. Senate Chief of Staff and a former member of the Louisiana House and Senate for the Opelousas-based districts.



Lt. Colonel Eldridge Franklin Williams, an original Tuskegee Airman, died at age 97 earlier this month at this Miami, Florida home.  Born in Washington County Texas, Williams attended Xavier University in Louisiana and then received his Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan.  The Alpha Phi Alpha member retired from he military in 1963.  He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Barack Obama in 2007.  Williams also authored a book describing his life story entitled “Without Wings I Soared.”Eldridge_Williams_with_gold_medal_of_honor_photo



The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. recently lost several prominent members:  Dr. William Franklin Hickson, Jr., Honorable Taylor Livingston Baker, and Ellwood Johnston.  Dr. Hickson was recognized in 2014 for 60 years of membership by the Epsilon Omega Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.  He entered South Carolina State at age 16 and earned a bachelor of science degree in biology.  In 1962, he received a doctorate in dental science from Meharry Medical School.  Dr. Hickson practiced dentistry in Delaware, New Jersey, and South Carolina.  Dr. Hickson passed away on July 7th in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Judge Baker served in the Superior Court of Indiana’s Marion County for 24 years.  He attended Morehouse College and the  Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis.  Judge Baker was also the first African American city prosecutor of Indianapolis.  Judge Baker died July 5th at the age of 79.

Born in Philadelphia, Ellwood “Woody” Johnston, Jr. became well-known within the music industry as a promoter, producer and tour manager.  He worked with entertainers such as Patti LaBelle, Eddie Murphy, TLC, and Mary J. Blige to name a few.  Johnston, a devoted fraternity member, was 59.


Global Social Media News Service (GSMNews), is a Washington, DC-based company that provides “real time” social media news coverage of specific activities, conferences and news events, as well as curate, ongoing news and information on a variety of topics, from healthcare and sports to African American and Latino events.

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