The Black Suit Initiative jumped on the political bandwagon and hosted its first mock Presidential Hope-FULL Speech and Debate at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Greensboro in October. Three Page High School Students, Tavares Nichols, Andrew Walker and Taej'won Baldwin and Grimsley High School student, Malcolm Rembert, spent several months developing their campaign platforms, with the assistance of educators and community political advisors. Campaign topics included healthcare reform, a "green revolution" and a high school career exploration program for at risk youth. However, the candidate receiving the most votes, Tavares Nichols, ran a campaign promoting a new entrepreneurship program called P.A.C.E(Potential Achievement Course Engagement). Under his Presidential leadership, P.A.C.E. would provide programs for potential entrepreneurs at local community colleges. At the completion of their courses, these graduates would be eligible for grant funding for business startup and/or low interest loans. This well attended event, allowed audience members the opportunity to vote for their favorite candidate following their speeches. The community could also vote on Facebook through November 8. LyZion Tillman, a Page High School senior and poet, presented his original poem, "Hope-Full". In his spoken word segment, Tillman said, "I'm Hope-Full that one day you will look beyond the color of my skin, the coarseness of my hair and the confidence in my swag and you will see me; a dreamer, a lover...a human." Tillman's poem embraced unity and accountability; a message which resonated throughout the entire program. Although the election is over, for the next 6 months, each candidate is responsible for developing and executing a community initiative which will positively impact Greensboro based upon their campaign platforms. Be on the lookout for more great stories!
The Black Suit Initiative has partnered with the Children’s Home Society to provide young men with workshops designed to better prepare them for making sound, responsible decisions in their future.
Some of the workshops have dealt with understanding the health and legal ramifications of illegal drugs and the misuse of prescription and over the counter drugs. The workshops, developed by Jasmine Perry, Youth Empowerment Center Coordinator with the Children’s Home Society, allow for candid discussions about a growing epidemic among African American males.
Beyond these discussions, Perry developed a panel of distinguished males to speak openly about issues important to young men. Topics included females, dating, sex, education, careers and racial stereotypes. These workshops are a required component in helping young men earn their black suits.
The Ascena Retail Group, Inc. selected Evainna Ross/The Sparrow’s Nest, Inc. as one the winners of the Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards recognizing individuals who help
empower women and children. This new annual awards program honors the lifelong contributions of Roslyn S. Jaffe, who co-founded the first dressbarn store in 1962.
“Ascena’s philanthropic vision is simple: empowering women and children to be their best,” said David Jaffe, CEO of Ascena Retail Group, Inc. “Across our communities there are amazing stories about individuals working tirelessly toward this goal.”
These ‘everyday heroes’ are making the world a better place for women and/or children in the areas of education, health, social reform, and self-esteem. “We specifically chose individuals whose non-profit organizations may not be well known, but have the potential for major impact with the recognition and financial support that comes with the award,” said Elise Jaffe, Executive Sponsor for Ascena Cares.
The Sparrow’s Nest, Inc. received $25,000 in recognition of their work in the community.