*ATLANTA – With one in 10 eligible voters now between the ages of 18 and 23 – an estimated 73 million voters of color, and as millions of children and young adults across the nation prepare to return to school in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the new protocols it necessitates, Usher’s New Look (UNL) today announced its fall 2020 educational programming that marks its most extensive back-to-school initiative since the Foundation launched 21 years ago.
A major highlight of the robust fall curriculum and programs is the relaunch of UNL’s groundbreaking I Can’t, But You Can campaign, a youth-led voter registration and awareness initiative designed to equip young people between the ages of 12-19 with educational insights about democracy and the democratic process. I Can’t, But You Can also offers youth various opportunities to impact upcoming elections, with the goal of impacting policies and positive outcomes in their communities across the country.
In light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign has been reimagined into a predominantly virtual experience, launching on Thursday, September 24 (Registration Link). Among the topics to be covered are: the definition of democracy and how it is exercised in the U.S.; a review of voting rights and the Constitution; the importance and impact of voting on federal, local, and state levels; a thorough review and explanation of the Presidential election process; and an analysis of how technology and social media platforms can be leveraged to increase awareness and voter turnout. The launch event will also feature live performances and opportunities for participants to engage in virtual fellowship and collaborative activities.
Originally launched in 2008, UNL’s I Can’t, But You Can campaign harnesses the power and energy of young people to increase the number of registered voters around the country. In 2008, youth-led rallies were held in nine cities (Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York, and Oakland).
“Usher’s New Look is proud to re-launch our I Can’t, But You Can campaign to help our young people become better informed about democracy and the democratic process,” says Careshia Moore, president and CEO of Usher’s New Look.” “Now more than ever, young people have the power to impact change. So in keeping with UNL’s mission to activate, motivate and inspire the power within our young people, we are pleased to be at the forefront of the conversation and to be driving that conversation into action.
And this is just the tipping point, as our programming calendar for the fall and through the rest of the year is more robust than ever.”
Adds Geoff Streat, COO of Usher’s New Look, “We designed this campaign to allow participants to engage with speakers, performers and experts all gathered to collaboratively unpack the history of voting and voting rights, the importance of voting, and how elections are conducted in the U.S. This virtual summit will be followed in subsequent weeks by a series of virtual sessions with content experts on voter mobilization, voting rights, and other related topics to facilitate expanded dialogues around the I Can’t, But You Can curriculum. Additionally, youth will have the opportunity to participate in voter outreach efforts, including through socially distanced events and digital platforms.”
This year, UNL will also offer new content and expanded developmental and educational avenues for students to learn and engage virtually. Highlights include a new Disruptivator Club concept, modeled after Debate or other high school clubs where students will have the opportunity to, learn and demonstrate leadership skills, collaborate and “disruptivate” issues such as access, voting, mental health, racial injustice and more. The Disruptivator Clubs will also provide safe and positive environments for teens to discuss the effects of racism, socioeconomic inequality and the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental health and overall well-being. The Clubs will allow more students throughout the world to engage with the Usher’s New Look curriculum that currently serves over 150 students each year.
“Developing effective solutions to complex issues like racial injustice, climate change, and public health crises requires leadership that represents the interests of the people that put them in office. While we are seeing unprecedented numbers of citizens (including youth under the age of 18) taking to the streets to voice their outrage and desire for change, it is imperative that we also express our voice through voting. Even though voting is reserved for individuals 18 and over, youth can share their voices and impact elections outside of casting ballots,” concludes Ms. Moore.
About Usher’s New Look
Usher’ New Look was founded 21 years ago by musical performer Usher Raymond as a young man barely out of his teens. Since then, the Foundation has been at the forefront of driving conversation into action and mobilizing communities – including the private sector – and the public to work together around the issues of community empowerment, youth development, economic disparities and health. Over the course of 21 years, the organization has served more than 50,000 young people and has galvanized a movement towards positive change in how young people of color perceive themselves and the world around them.
UNL offers comprehensive programming that develops passion-driven, global leaders from middle school through college. Throughout the summer of 2020, UNL hosted 300 high school and college-level students for its annual Summer Leadership Academy, as well as a landmark UNL Disruptivate Racial Inequity & Mental Health Trauma Summit.
UNL is on a mission to transform the lives of underserved youth through a 10-year comprehensive program that develops passion-driven, global leaders. UNL’s peer-to-peer program model and curriculum provides Access, Awareness and Empowerment to youth in underserved communities, in order to guide them on a pathway to leadership and help them make educational and career choices that match their passions.
Black Doctor (Shawn Smith) Launches Diabetes Meal Plan For African Americans
Austin, TX — Dr. Shawn Smith, CEO and founder of the My Black Diabetes Meal Plan, has released the first-ever core product for reversing diabetes in African American pre-diabetics & Type 2 patients. It is called The 28 Day Plan. Designed to address the systemic challenges Black Americans face when dealing with diabetes, the program makes eating well a habit, not a chore.
The 28 Day Plan has taken the team over 560 hours of nutritional investigation to acquire and build. The core plan comes with easy to use software built around Black ‘soul food’ culture, detailed recipe and grocery lists, and a baseline of food combinations that have been used to take user A1cs (the three-month snapshot of blood sugar levels) from a 12 (high and unhealthy) to 5.2 (normal range).
Each plan is supported with a unique alkaline approach and backed by decades of peer-reviewed nutrition science shown to be the most impactful on blood glucose levels in long-term participants. With a growing community of Black diabetics also available through the platform, Black people facing diabetes learn quickly that they have a community of supporters who are going through the same experiences and are eager to grow together.
“We’re out to initiate a new type of Black activism & empowerment, one where serving our community in powerful ways is completely normal,” says Dr. Smith. “Since we know Black diabetics are 50% more likely to go blind from the disease and 2.5 times more likely to die from diabetic complications than their White counterparts, I believe one of the best forms of protest is to live life without the fear of death or the stress of a failing body. Unfortunately, you can’t do that if you’re A1cs are too high.
Removing Type 2 diabetes and its complications from the Black community is one way we’re giving our people their freedom back… and it’s only the beginning.”
“I’m so glad you are [My Black Diabetes Meal Plan] getting involved in this fight,” said Dr. Antonio Smith (no relation to founder) of Internal Medicine Physician at Harper University Hospital- Detroit Medical Center. “Lifestyle change is one of the most overlooked ways diabetic patients are able to permanently get off medication that I’ve seen. We needed something like this.”
The 28 Day Plan is customized and personalized for each user. The free diabetic assessment and plan are now available for use directly online at MyBlackDiabetesMealPlan.com.
The purpose of My Black Diabetes Meal Plan is to eradicate Type 2 diabetes in the Black community. With painstaking research, collaborations with internal medicine physicians, and chronically high HbA1cs.
For press inquiries, contact Shawn Smith at [email protected] or 512-456-8017.
Indiana High School Apologizes After Student is Listed in Yearbook Photo as ‘Black Guy’
*The superintendent of an Indiana high school issued a video apology this week after a photo caption in the school’s 2020 yearbook listed an African American student on the boys’ basketball team as “BLACK GUY” instead of by his name.
The image from the Brown County High School yearbook went viral on social media, prompting the video message from school district Superintendent Laura Hammack on Tuesday.
“It has been brought to our attention that that yearbook has a truly incomprehensible statement included in it,” she said. “We are currently trying to better understand what that situation is all about.”
Officials launched an investigation after being made aware of the situation, and Hammack said the school district has promised the student and his family that “this awful situation” will be addressed.
“This is a clear violation of our nondiscrimination policy,” she said.
Hammack said it was unclear exactly how the caption made it through a series of revisions with the yearbook. In a joint statement released earlier Monday with high school Principal Matthew Stark, administrators acknowledged that the yearbook is put together by a group of students in the “only class at this school where all assignments and homework are published for all to see.”
To rectify the situation, Hammack said the school district is planning on republishing new yearbooks and having the school district foot the expense.
Some Texas Longhorn Band Members Refuse to Play Alma Mater Song over Minstrel Ties (Watch)
*The University of Texas Longhorn Band will not play their traditional alma mater song “The Eyes of Texas” at Saturday’s football game against Baylor University after a survey of members revealed several students aren’t willing to play it.
The song has divided the university community in recent months over its ties to minstrel shows where performers wore blackface. According to ABC13, the Daily Texan reported that a message sent to band members by leader Scott Hanna said the survey results wouldn’t affect whether the band performs at future games. The band has yet to play at a football game this season, due to safety restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.t
Band members are “evenly divided” over playing the song, the student newspaper reported, but responses from certain instrument sections would prevent the band from playing this week. The message from Hanna said many band members wanted to have further discussions about the song, which he said he would facilitate.
Student athletes asked UT-Austin to drop the school song during this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, among other demands, threatening to forgo participation in recruiting and donor events. The university responded with plans to boost Black student enrollment and recruitment, but it kept the song and pledged to educate visitors and students on its history and context.
Below is a brief rundown of the song’s racist past.
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