ESSENCE understands that our readers are busy working jobs, being mothers, and pushing the culture forward. That’s why each month we round up some of the trending news you may have missed and offer you the “sound bite” version that’s easy to digest.
In this month’s edition, we’re highlighting Global Citizen’s announcement of their new ambassador (hint: he’s a Grammy-Award winning rapper and actor), spotlighting two Black chefs whose cuisine makes them stand out from the crowd, and offering kudos to D.C. public schools along with activist Tony Lewis, Jr. for changing their enrollment forms to better serve the district’s students.
Read about all of this and more below.
Agent For Change
Common is probably best known for his conscious rhymes and melodic flow, but his passion for activism cannot
be denied. In May the Grammy Award–winning artist, actor and philanthropist signed on as an ambassador for Global Citizen, an organization and movement of committed activists working to dismantle systemic causes of extreme poverty. In this role the author of Let Love Have the Last Word (his second book) advocates for the elimination of the cash bail system, which leaves thousands
of people awaiting trial behind
bars simply because they don’t have the money to be released.
“I want to help the people who are oppressed because of their skin, beliefs and economics,” Common said following the announcement of the partnership. “I’m always
in a fight for that.”
All Things Considered
Exploring Expressions of Depression in Single Black Mothers, a new study led by Rutgers University-Camden nursing professor Rashida Atkins suggests that clinical depression in this group should not be diagnosed using the same criteria as non-Blacks. The research indicates that single Black women’s despondency is often triggered by stressors related to housing, poverty, parenting and the lack of quality health care.
Black Chefs Rising
Bryan Furman, the owner of B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue in Atlanta and Savannah, and James Beard Award winner Kwame Onwuachi, the executive chef of D.C.’s Kith/Kin, are among Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs of 2019. The two standouts were chosen for the culinary publication’s 31st class of talented cooks. Currently African-Americans account for only 12.5 percent of the nation’s chefs and head cooks.
Kwame Onwuachi Facebook
The More You Know
Delaware State University is making a large investment in Black history. The HBCU recently announced the establishment of the Center for Global Africa, which has a mission to educate the descendants of enslaved people about their roots on the continent and their journey to America. The center will also foster a present-day bond between African-Americans and their place of ethnic origin.
Balancing The Scales
On the heels of the First Step Act, the country’s most sweeping criminal justice reform law in decades, there is a new report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics with data confirming that there has been a steady decline in the prison population in the United States. The shift is well represented by the imprisonment rate of Black women. From 2000 to 2017, those numbers have decreased by 55 percent.
Getty Creative Images
"When I say opportunity, I’m talking about real opportunity. Opportunity to dig into one’s own potential—one’s own inclinations, talents and God-given gifts—and bring out the best of what is in them." —Vivian Nixon, executive director
of College & Community Fellowship, discussing the path forward for formerly incarcerated women of color. Read more on her story here.
Courtesy of Vivian Nixon
Our Place In History
The Civil War is often summarized as the North versus the South, but the team behind the newly opened American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Virginia—once the capital of the Confederacy—aims to change that. Historian Christy Coleman is creating a nuanced portrayal of the war that includes the stories of known and unknown women and African-Americans, among others.
Courtesy of the American Civil War Museum
The enrollment forms at D.C. public schools look a little different this year. Thanks to the efforts of community activist and author Tony Lewis, Jr., the forms now include an option to report traumatic issues a child may be dealing with at home, such as the incarceration of a parent, homelessness or death. The update is geared toward helping educators understand how to better support their students.
D.C. Public Schools
A Pipeline For Greatness
Senator Kamala Harris wants to secure a bright future for young women and marginalized groups. In May the 2020 presidential hopeful introduced the 21st Century STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act. If passed, it would allow $40 million in grants to go to school districts to improve participation in STEM education for girls, students of color, LGBTQ and disabled students and disadvantaged youth.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
What About Us?
Working Mother magazine’s newest study on diversity in the workplace proves that there is a long way to go in achieving parity for African-American and Latina women. The findings in “Best 2019 Companies for Multicultural Women” reveal that both groups didn’t make any gains in attaining leadership roles at the country’s top firms in 2018, although their participation in leadership programs has increased.