port of harlem magazine

June 11 - June 24. 2015

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DC Comes Home

raven goodwin, michael walton, kenny lattimoreUniversity of Southern California graduate and world class sprinter Michael Walton (photo left, middle) is an active philanthropist who calls the District of Columbia home.  In 2002, he created the Michael Walton Foundation as a way to give back to and connect with the DC community.   Recently, the Foundation enlisted the help of fellow celebrity Washingtonians Raven Goodwin and Kenny Lattimore to teach, encourage, and motivate young Washingtonians.

Through the Foundation’s partnership with Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington, DC, they held a day-long Let’s Make History event where the celebrities motivated the students to create successful destinies and thus become a part of history.  During the sessions, the celebrities, along with local volunteers helped fulfill the Foundation’s purpose of fostering leadership skills in young people by helping them identify and cultivate their talents, set goals, and make informed career choices.

"Through this forum we were able to show high school students that we, as a community, care enough about them to plant seeds of positive achievement in their lives," said Walton.

For Goodwin, her achievements in acting started at the tender age of 4.  For many, she may be best known as Teddy Duncan's best friend, Ivy Wentz, on the Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie. However, these days devoted fans tune in to see her every week on the groundbreaking BET drama series, Being Mary Jane.

Goodwin went on to say that she really tried to connect with the students at the expo.  She added, “Hopefully, I can help them understand me, because we are all the same,” as she recalled being a “popping gum and jumping double-dutch,” youngster in DC who used “profanity.” 

However, Goodwin clarified that her future includes resuming her education in film school. She also wants to continue working as an actress and teach and develop new talent.

The beloved Lattimore is an award winning singer-songwriter who is keenly aware of the importance of helping others. He has his own charity, the Kenny Lattimore Foundation, which mentors youth in arts, entertainment, and education.  Nevertheless, he was excited to participate in Walton’s DC event.

Lattimore, who is on tour promoting his new record, Anatomy of a Love Song, shared that he often returns home to DC.  He added that he is grateful for the platform he has in the music industry because it gives him an opportunity to work with kids.  He continued, “Finding a connection is challenging sometimes, but finding a connection with young people so that you can give them some information that can impact their lives is so important.”

As an involved Dad with a pre-teen son, Lattimore is concerned about the perception of Black fathers. He explained, “It is of tremendous importance that we get behind our kids and be present and a part of their process of development.”  As for his new record, he added, “I always try to do music that represents the total person and our total life experience.”

“Through workshop sessions and keynote speeches from stars like Kenny and Raven, students got a first-hand lesson on perseverance and got plenty of social and emotional tools that they can use throughout their high school journeys," Walton added. While the DC natives felt compelled to inspire youth in their hometown, they often look to each for support. Walton said of himself, Lattimore, and Goodwin, “we inspire each other.” 

champion services travel - group travel

Road Trip: Save Gas

 black road trip
Ah, the summer road trip, that classic American experience. But long drives through steamy weather can burn through a lot of gas and cause untold wear and tear on your car’s engine and systems while putting you at risk for overheating. Doubling down on tactics to help your car run better will not only improve fuel efficiency, but could also help you avoid spending a large chunk of your vacation time in the breakdown lane waiting for a tow.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), there are lots of ways to conserve fuel on hot weather road trips that also will help prolong the life of your car. “In summer, drive during cooler parts of the day,” reports the group. “Cooler, denser air can boost power and mileage.”

While it may seem counterintuitive, using your car’s air conditioning is actually a smart idea in hot weather. “Today’s air conditioners create less drag on the engine than driving with the windows open,” says AAA. Meanwhile, if you have a hybrid, pre-cool it before you get in so it can devote more electricity to driving when you are out on the road. But don’t warm-up (or pre-cool) a conventional car, as the extra idling doesn’t do the car any good and just wastes fuel and creates extra heat. Another key tip for hot weather driving is to park in the shade when you can.

The Green Car Reports website suggests utilizing cruise control and overdrive features on cars that offer them on long summer roads trips; these features help normalize the energy demands of the engine which in turn helps conserve fuel.

According to AA1car.com, a leading online information resource on auto repair and maintenance, placing a sunshade under the windshield and cracking the windows when parked can help keep the interior cool between drives. This can also “lighten the cooling load on the air conditioner when the vehicle is first started.”

The website also reports that changing old dirty motor oil with a fresh higher viscosity one will help keep your car’s engine lubricated and running smoothly on those summer road trips. “For example, you might want to change from 5W-30 to 10W-30, 10W-40 or 20W-30 for hot weather driving,” reports AA1car.com. “Synthetic motor oils are even better for high temperature protection.”

Of course, some fuel saving tips apply any time of year. For instance, jackrabbit starts are a big no-no; drivers should always try to accelerate gradually. Taking your foot off the gas as early as possible when approaching a red light is another way to save gas. Keeping filters clean, maintaining recommended tire pressure and driving at the speed limit are additional ways to conserve fuel, reduce emissions, and treat your ride nicely.

Of course, summertime road trips can also be hard on drivers and passengers, so pack plenty of sunscreen — especially if you plan to have the windows open (or top down)—and bring along a cooler with healthy drinks so everyone can stay hydrated.

Cooperating on Gambia

 kylie baker in gambia

This has been a busy month for American based charities working with the people of the Gambia.  EDGE Institute began a West Africa education tour June 5.  During the tour they are holding educational seminars for teachers and students in Bakau, Gambia and Saint Louis, Senegal. “We are picking up our pebbles to make ripples in West Africa!,” said Kylie Barker, Educational Director of EDGE institute (pictured above), who is leading the trip with their one year old son, Justus, and a team of three volunteer educators.

tina thompson in gambia 

The Global Mission Society and New Hope Academy had a joint fashion show at the Landover Hills School on the following day,  June 6. Child models and entertainers entertained more than 100 people as the Society and the school raised funds for their many Gambian programs. (Photo above: Tina Thompson of the Global Mission Society.)

clothes for Gambia

All three Metro Washington organizations have been working together and sharing information on how best to execute programs with the Port Of Harlem Gambian Education Partnership (POHGEP).  POHGEP is still seeking gently used clothes to send to the Baobab Youth Development Association and Secca Memorial School. (Photo: Young Gambians sporting clothes.) (To donate, call Wayne Young, 202-378-8905).

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Rethinking Cuba: New Opportunities for Development

airbnb in cuba 
Airbnb was not the first to start entrepreneurship in officially communist Cuba.  The island nation was already changing even before President Obama took historic steps to make peace with Cuba.  One observer noted on Cuba’s turn from strict communism at the Rethinking Cuba:  New Opportunities for Development discussion at the Brookings Institute by saying, “You cannot be half pregnant.”

The Cuban Government had already recognized 201 occupations where people can legally be self-employed before Obama’s announcement.   However most of those occupations on the list are “medieval” such as knife sharpener while practicing law is not, which leads to a discussion of the list being an act of “state abandonment versus economic freedom,” said Ted Henken of Baruch College.

Airbnb, the American online company that matches those needing a place to stay with those offering a place to stay, just announced that it is now open for business in Cuba.  Its business model is in line with President Obama’s promise that “the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba,” says Henken, co-author of Entrepreneurial Cuba: The Changing Policy Landscape.   Through Airbnb, Americans will conduct business with Cuban private entrepreneurs, which will then cause the communist government to engage with private Cuban companies.

Currently, Cuba imports twice and much as it exports.   Its tourism industry accounted for 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2013, but it expected to grow with normalization of relations with the United States.

From Our Archives:
One Cuba – Two Very Different Discussions
Our Cuban Cousins

Ban the Box Advocates Meet
WH Staff

 ban the box advocates
Many returning citizens often struggle with the job and housing application process when they are required to “check the box” indicating they were once incarcerated.

Jose Osuna, Director of External Affairs at Homeboy Industries, added, “I spent 13 years in California State Prison. Yet before that, I had a successful career, and as a result, my resume is still on file in many places, so I still get calls. If I needed a job, there are plenty of opportunities but the federal contracting issue is putting people in horrible positions because they cannot hire me.”

Osuna was one of several 11 formerly incarcerated citizens and the Live Free campaign staff who met with White House officials and Congressional Black Caucus staff to urge the Obama Administration to implement federal level fair chance hiring by ensuring that federal agencies and federal contractors are eliminating unnecessary barriers to the employment of people with criminal records by banning the box on all federal job applications.

“You can’t resolve policy issues surrounding fair hiring and the formerly incarcerated unless you have those impacted in the room,” said Akim Lattermore, community leader with the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, about the meeting with national policy makers.

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port of harlem gambian education partnership

Millennial Week DC Events

 millennial week dc

Millennial Week-DC will present a lineup of events throughout the District June 13 – 20. The week of presentations, panels, and social events provides  opportunities for the nation’s largest generation to come together, learn, network, and thrive.

See Also: More 20-Something Americans Are Staying Single, Gallup Report Says

East River JazzFest – DC

east river jazz 

CAM-FAM III is sponsoring a series of free and low-cost jazz sets in Washington starting Friday, June 12 at Francis Gregory Library in SE Washington to Monday, June 15 at the Height Library on Benning Road, NE.  Click here for a full list of sets including information on the performers.

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 wayne young with benjamin banneker

POH publisher Wayne Young with
Benjamin Banneker reenactor
at the Colonial Market Fair at the Banneker Museum and Historical Park, Oella, Maryland.
Banneker was a Senegambian-American.

Washington, DC
The Art of Collecting Vinyl (presentation)
Smithsonian American Art Museum
8th and F, NW
Fri, Jun 12, 4p-7p, free

Jazz at the Gregory - DWQ Jazz Band
The Friends of Francis A. Gregory
Francis A. Gregory Library
3660 Alabama Ave SE
Sat, Jun 13, 6p, $25

The Old Town Arts and Crafts Fair
Market Square
301 King St
Sat, Jun 13, 3p-8p, free

Pride Festival & Concert
En Vogue perf oms
3rd -7th Pennsylvania Ave NW  
Sun, Jun 14, 12p-9p, free

Millennials and the Remaking of US Cities
The Urban Institute
2100 M Street, NW
Tue, Jun 16, 6p-7p
Reception at 5:30p, free

Millennial Hiring Fair
The Woolly Mammoth
641 D St, NW
Tue, Jun 16, 1p-4p, free

Rise of an Empire
The Black Gay Men on Screen
A Conversation with Kevin Beard
Petworth Library
4200 Kansas Ave, NW
Thu, Jun 18, 7p, free
(at Height Branch, Thu, Jun 25, 7p)

Jamaican Postcards
Anacostia Community Museum
1901 Fort Place, SE
Sun, Jun 21, 2p-4p, free

Baltimore, MD
The Columbia 2015 Summer Festival
Thu, Jun 12-Sat, Jun 27, free to $

Colonial Market Fair
Banneker Historical Park and Museum
300 Oella Ave
Oella, MD
Sat, Jun 13–Sun, Jun, 14, 10a–4p, free

6th Biennial Jamaican Diaspora Conference
Montego Bay
Sat, Jun 13-Thu, Jun 18, $

New York
Hamilton Heights – Sugar Hill Cultural Festival
Hamilton Place, and West 142nd and West 143rd
Sat, Jun 13, Noon-5:30p, free

Anna Deavere Smith's Twilight: Los Angeles
Encore Presentation on Great Performances
Fri, Jun 12, 9p, free

Out in the Night
(reveals the role that race, gender identity
and sexuality play in USA criminal justice system)
PBS – Check Local Listings
Mon, June 22, 10p, free

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