Texans Can Academies Sponsors Back-to-School Fund Drive for Upcoming School Year

Texans Can Academies Sponsors Back-to-School Fund Drive for Upcoming School Year

Countdown to Class 2018 school uniform drive has begun

DALLAS – July 31, 2018 – Texans Can Academies, a non-profit organization giving young Texans a second chance at life through education, today announced that they are sponsoring a back-to-school fund drive, Countdown to Class, for their students who need assistance getting ready for the approaching school year. As summertime comes to an end, students across the state of Texas are gearing up for the upcoming first day of school. While some are out shopping for new clothes or visiting their campus to pick up their school uniforms, others are faced with the dilemma of affording new clothes. Texans Can Academies understands the challenges a lot of families face with back-to-school expenses and wants their students to begin the school year with confidence and refreshed outlooks.

From now until September, Texans Can Academies is hosting their annual Countdown to Class 2018 Uniform Drive to raise funds that will benefit students at their 14 campuses across the state of Texas. The open-enrollment public charter high school has campuses located in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. The funds from the drive will benefit students and their families by providing brand new clothes that fit properly to wear as the school’s uniform of khaki pants and white collared shirts. A $75 donation will provide one pair of pants, two shirts, socks and a belt for one student.

“We know the expense of school supplies and clothing can put a major dent in the household budget for a lot of families,” said Richard Marquez, President and CEO of Texans Can Academies. “All donations will help our families provide back-to-school items so that their children will feel proud and comfortable during the school year. It’s especially important for teenagers to feel confident in what they are wearing when they are in school so they focus on learning.”

A 2018 study by Deloitte found that the average United States household planned to spend $510 per child on back-to-school shopping. The National Retail Federation estimates that families shopping for students this year will spend the most on clothing, about $237 per school-age child.

The cost of clothes and school supplies for teenagers can create financial and emotional strains on families that cannot be met and can lead to a child dropping out of school. Texans Can Academies takes steps every year to offer solutions to any obstacles students face outside their classrooms to help them remain in school and graduate.

“We know that if children don’t have school supplies or the proper clothes to wear to school, they may decide to stay home,” continued Marquez. “Our goal throughout our campuses and programming is to break down barriers to educational success. We are asking for help to raise funds for our kids to have clothes they are proud to wear to school throughout the school year. All children deserve to come to school wearing clothes that fit comfortably and feeling like they look their best.”

Texans Can Academies believes in providing the highest quality education for all students. The high school’s curriculum has been designed to prepare their students for life beyond high school graduation with skills and concepts such as Marquez Reading, thinking skills, college preparation, workforce etiquette and more. Classes are structured with a learning, yet nurturing environment that touches on student-centered decision making.

Serving the education system for 33 years, Texans Can Academies provides open enrollment, public high schools of choice for students who have struggled in traditional high school settings. To participate in Texans Can Academies’ 2018-2019 Uniform Drive, please visit www.texanscan.org/countdown2class2018.

About Texans Can Academies
Celebrating 33 years of providing the highest quality education for all students, Texans Can schools are graduating thinkers. Texans Can Academies are a unique network of 14 charter schools located in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. The schools are tuition-free, open enrollment, public high schools of choice serving students who have struggled in a traditional high school setting. To date, more than 143,000 youth have been given a second chance at life with the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Cars for Kids is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization benefiting Texans Can Academies and is the only car donation program in Texas that is operated by the charity it serves. For more information, visit: www.texanscan.org or www.carsforkids.org.

Hip-hop Icon MC Lyte Talks about her Role as National Spox for the NNPA’s Discover The Unexpected HBCU Journalism Program

Hip-hop Icon MC Lyte Talks about her Role as National Spox for the NNPA’s Discover The Unexpected HBCU Journalism Program

By Tyvan Burns, Diamond Durant, Denver Lark (#TeamOptimistic, NNPA DTU Journalism Fellowship)

Hip-hop pioneer MC Lyte is the national spokesperson for the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s (NNPA) Discover The Unexpected (DTU) Journalism Fellowship program.

Her passion about education and her desire to create opportunities for HBCU students are two of the many reasons she partnered with the NNPA and Chevrolet, the program’s sponsor.

As she continues her great acts of philanthropy, MC Lyte said that music and journalism are much alike, as they are both used to tell stories.

MC Lyte became great friends with Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA, through his work in hip-hop and civil rights.

When she got the call about the NNPA’s DTU program, she said that she was happy to help out; she said that representing the DTU program is a great fit.

When it comes to her philanthropic work that grew out of her music career, MC Lyte said that she always wanted to give back. That sense of altruism manifested early on in her music career with her hit single “I Cram to Understand U,” which included a strong anti-drug message, geared towards the Black community.

MC Lyte made it her responsibility to advocate for young people and to shed light on the deluge of heroin and crack cocaine that flooded her Brooklyn neighborhood in the 70’s and 80’s.

“I don’t think that I really do anything for me, per se,” MC Lyte said. “It’s about getting out there, [using] the MC Lyte name, to form partnerships with bigger entities and to gain access to resources and sharing those resources with the people who need them the most.”

Hip-hop pioneers like Salt-N-Pepa and Rakim inspired MC Lyte to partake in the music industry at such an early age. MC Lyte also vividly remembered how the Bronx-born, hip-hop group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five helped to shape her storytelling rap style.

MC Lyte said that “The Message,” the Furious Five classic featuring Melly Mel, painted a picture of life in the Bronx that was very different from her life in Brooklyn, where she was born and raised. “The Message” influenced MC Lyte to gravitate towards the storytelling aspect of hip-hop. MC Lyte described “Lyte as a Rock,” her first album, as “a book of poems and short stories.”

“It was easy to get into a [creative] space and just write,” MC Lyte said. “My mother made me write an essay for whatever I wanted to do.”

MC Lyte said that young artists, who are pursuing careers in the entertainment business, should educate themselves about royalties, build a trustworthy team and seek legal advice when necessary.

“Never sign anything without counsel and always sign your own checks,” MC Lyte advised.

Reminiscing about her career in the music industry, if given the opportunity to change or do anything different, MC Lyte said that she would have said “yes” more often and been more open to trying new music genres and collaborating with unexpected artists.”

Although, MC Lyte is often credited as a pioneer in hip-hop culture, her passion to ignite change on a greater scale was alive from the very beginning. She was one of the first female rappers to speak out against sexism and misogyny in the industry. Her voice shook up the male-dominated hip-hop scene and helped pave the way for female MC’s that followed in her footsteps, like Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott.

Tyvan Burns (Norfolk State University), Diamond Durant (Morgan State University) and Denver Lark (North Carolina A&T University) are 2018 Discover The Unexpected Journalism Fellows representing #TeamOptimistic. Check out more stories by #TeamOptimistic at nnpa.org/dtu.

Final Week for HBCU Students to Apply for NNPA DTU Journalism Fellowship

Final Week for HBCU Students to Apply for NNPA DTU Journalism Fellowship

The deadline for HBCU students to submit an application for the 2018 Discover The Unexpected Journalism Fellowship, or DTU, is April 30.

The DTU Journalism Fellowship includes:

  • 8-week multi-city journalism fellowship working with National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) newspapers in Atlanta, New York City, Washington D.C. and Norfolk.
  • $10,000 scholarship and a $5,000 stipend for living expenses provided by Chevrolet
    access to an all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox for a road trip of a lifetime!

This is the first year DTU is open to all HBCUs. DTU was launched at Howard University in 2016. Last year, the program expanded to include Clark Atlanta University,  Morehouse  College  and Spellman College.

The DTU Fellowship is looking for HBCU studentswho are multi-media savvy and have a passion for storytelling.

DTU Fellows will be assigned to write stories that spotlight positive and powerful people and events. The Fellows will be responsible for all aspects of storytelling: writing, videography, photography, research, on-camera reporting and social media posting.

The Fellows will be placed in two 3-person teams. Over the course of the internship, each team’s road trip will take them to two different cities where they will spend four-week intervals working alongside experienced staff at NNPA member newspapers.

The participating NNPA newspapers are: The Washington Informer, The Atlanta Voice, The New Journal & Guide in Norfolk, and The New York Amsterdam News.

Any student who is at least 18 years of age, attending an HBCU in their sophomore, junior or senior year and majoring in journalism or mass communication is encouraged to apply.

Students are required to submit:

  • Resume with GPA
  • Video submission
  • Technology/social media profile
  • Writing sample

The completed applications and video submissions will be screened and evaluated to select six DTU Fellows based on application scores.

Students can apply for DTU 2018 through April 30th on the program’s website, www.nnpa.org/dtu

Sonya Lewis
708.439.0326 (mobile)

Four schools selected for P-Tech grant program

Four schools selected for P-Tech grant program

DALLAS —  L. G. Pinkston, Seagoville, South Oak Cliff and Wilmer-Hutchins high schools have been preliminarily selected to receive a grant for the 2018–2020 Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) Success Grant program.

“Dallas ISD, Dallas County Community College District, University of North Texas Dallas and 63 industry partners are committed to working collaboratively to ensure that students graduate with workplace skills which will provide a clear pathway from high school to college to career,” said Israel Cordero, Dallas ISD Deputy Superintendent of Academic Improvement and Accountability. “The receipt of the P-TECH Success Grants further enhances educational opportunities for our students.”

A total of 14 schools in Texas have been preliminarily selected to receive the grant from the Texas Education Agency. The purpose of the 2018–2020 P-TECH Success Grant Program is to solicit grant applications from eligible applicants who will spend 28 months strengthening and refining current practices that will advance their existing P-TECH campus to distinguished levels of performance, as measured by the P-TECH Blueprint.

“Campuses will utilize funds from the P-TECH Success grants to enrich the curriculum and reinforce workplace learning skills,” said Usamah Rodgers, Dallas ISD Assistant Superintendent of Strategic Initiatives and External Relations.

Dallas ISD’s 18 P-TECHs offer students a chance to earn up to 60 college hours or an associate degree as they earn their high school diplomas. Learn more here.



By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

Three icons of their respective industries were honored at the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s annual Torch Awards dinner at The Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), James Farmer of General Motors, and Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, a student of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and pastor of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco took home the coveted trophies which are bestowed upon those who demonstrate excellence in their chosen profession or endeavor.

This year’s honorees join a legacy of high-achieving, community-serving African Americans.

“The San Francisco Sun Reporter gave me a voice,” said Lee, as she accepted her award from NNPA National Chair Dorothy Leavell, NNPA President Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., and NNPA Foundation Chair Amelia Ashley-Ward, the publisher of the Sun Reporter.

Lee called Ashley-Ward, the publisher of the Sun Reporter, “truly a treasure,” before tearing into a recent secret FBI report that identified some activists in the Black community as “Black Identity Extremists.”

Farmer, whom Chavis praised as one of the most active advocates of the Black Press, completed more than 50 years of dedicated service to “not only his profession, but to the many organizations he served,” Chavis said.

A 1967 graduate of Central State University in Ohio, Farmer entered the automotive industry that year at Airtemp Division, Chrysler Corporation, as an advertising clerk, according to his biography.

There, he began a relationship with the only Black newspaper in Dayton, Ohio, the Dayton Black Express newspaper. After 10 years with Chrysler, Farmer took a position at General Motors where he continued to advocate and support the Black Press—a relationship that continues today.

Farmer said he appreciated the honor and will cherish it.

“This is a group that’s really in my heart,” he said of the Black Press. “If I gave up on the NNPA, I know corporate America could too.”

Brown, who also serves as president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP and was only one of eight students who took the only college class ever taught by King, said the Black Press has and remains vital in America.

“Again, and again, you have heard from this ‘Dream Team’…this five-star [leadership team],” Brown said of Chavis, Leavell, Ashley-Ward and the leadership of the Black Press. “What African American leaders ought to be about in this nation. You have the chemistry to relate to all people around the word with compassion and courage and I hope you will keep this ‘Dream Team’ intact.”

The ceremony included remarks from Houston Forward Times Publisher and NNPA Vice Chair Karen Carter Richards, who said it was important that the Black Press honor its own.

“If we don’t honor our own, who will? Tonight, we are here to honor distinguished individuals in their fields,” Richards said.

Jackson Caesar, the nephew of gospel great Shirley Caesar, performed two solo songs during the awards ceremony while the group, One Vision Band, provided the entertainment.

Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III, the Senior Pastor of the Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, served as keynote speaker.

Foster Elementary families receive help during time of need

Foster Elementary families receive help during time of need

DALLAS— Clothes, food and household essentials provided by Buckner International fill a normally empty room at Stephen Foster Elementary School.

The room was twice as full earlier this week, but students and families have steadily taken and used these essentials while their homes remain without gas or water due to the recent gas leaks in the area. And while it’s otherwise been business as usual at Foster Elementary thanks to tanks of natural gas provided by Atmos Energy, the donated items have been crucial for the school’s families.

“The students and their families obviously didn’t expect to have their gas shut off, so they’ve been very thankful to have any kind of support during this time,” said Buckner International Director Candace Gray.

Gray said the organization immediately reached out to Foster Elementary after the gas leaks in the area. Many of the clothes and supplies come from the non-profit’s Humanitarian Aid Center. Also, Buckner International has used their mobile laundry unit to wash clothes for the students and their families.

“We are very thankful to Buckner International for the support they have given our families during this time,” said Foster Elementary counselor DeLauren Kruzel. “Having access to household essentials and clean clothes gives our families a much greater piece of mind.”

NNPA, NAACP Sign Historic Partnership Agreement

NNPA, NAACP Sign Historic Partnership Agreement

(From left-right) Derrick Johnson, the president and CEO of the NAACP; Leon Russell, the chairman of the NAACP; Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of the NNPA, and Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA sign a strategic partnership agreement to join forces in focusing on key issues that affect the Black community, during the 2018 NNPA Mid-Winter Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

THE DALLAS POST TRIBUNE — The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a trade group representing more than 200 Black-owned media companies, signed a historic, strategic partnership with the NAACP, one of the most influential civil rights group in the world, during the NNPA’s Mid-Winter Conference in Las Vegas.

“Sometimes you have to take a step back and reconnect in order to move forward,” said NAACP chairman Leon W. Russell. “Signing this agreement is taking that step back and it says it’s time for us to recommit to each other and work together to move our people forward.”

NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., who once served as president of the NAACP, called the partnership historic.

“This [signing] consummates a working relationship of two of the world’s largest organizations focused on the empowerment of Black people,” said Chavis.

NNPA National Chairman Dorothy Leavell added that she’s very pleased with the new partnership.

“I attempted to do something similar in the nineties and I’m very determined now,” said Leavell. “We are going to set a precedent and I hope we will be able to repeat this with many other national organizations, because if we solidify our strength, things will be different for all of us in the United States of America.”

Derrick Johnson, the president and CEO of the NAACP, said one of the things he and Russell share in common is the rich tradition of the NAACP.

“Anytime we move away from that [tradition], we lose our way,” he said. “The NAACP would not be here, if not for William Monroe Trotter, a civil rights activist, newspaper editor and real estate businessman based in Boston, Massachusetts; the NAACP would not be here today, if not for Ida B. Wells, a newspaper writer…the NAACP would not be here today, if not for W.E.B. DuBois and his “Crisis’ magazine. I commit today, that we will be joining the NNPA.”

Johnson added that the NAACP is as strong as its volunteers and the Black Press is as strong as its readers, many of whom are NAACP members.

The signing, which took place on Friday, January 26 was attended by a number of NNPA members, staffers from both organizations and Gary, Indiana Mayor Karen Freeman Wilson, the first African American woman to hold the office of mayor in the state of Indiana.

“We have to take the resources that we have in our collective communities and we have to use these resources in a way that educates our children and benefits our people,” Wilson said. “We also have to support [Black] businesses.”

Wilson added that Black consumers have to let go of the stereotype that Black businesses are inferior to White businesses.

Wilson also noted that African Americans aren’t receiving a fair shake from the federal government and, in her city, finances are a challenge she’s trying to meet head-on.

“Many of the answers depended on the state, but last night, a light bulb went on and it was that we can’t wait on the Republican governor to save Gary,” she said. “So, I said to my team that whatever the governor does or doesn’t do, we are going into the war room and we will stay there and not come out until we have a plan.”

Wilson joined Russell, Johnson, Chavis and Leavell in advocating for a strong relationship between the NAACP and the Black Press.

“If Black newspapers didn’t tell our stories, no one ever would have,” said Russell, echoing the founders of the Black Press, Samuel E. Cornish and John B. Russwurm who stated 191 years ago: “We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us. Too long has the public been deceived by misrepresentations, in things which concern us dearly.”

Texas Appleseed’s LSAT Scholarship Kicks Off for 2018

Texas Appleseed’s LSAT Scholarship Kicks Off for 2018

DALLAS POST TRIBUNE — AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Appleseed, a public interest justice center, is accepting scholarship applications as part of its Diversity Legal Scholars program, aimed at diversifying the legal profession. The program helps low-income students of color expand their law school options through a scholarship that covers the full cost of a Kaplan (LSAT) preparation course, valued at about $1,299 per scholar.

The scholarship is offered three times a year, corresponding with LSAT test dates. Key dates are below:

Round 1: Accepting applications now. The application deadline is February 12, 2018. Scholarship recipients would take the LSAT on June 11, 2018.

Round 2: Accepting applications starting May 14, 2018. The application deadline is June 4, 2018. Scholarship recipients would take the LSAT September 8, 2018 or November 17, 2018.

Round 3: Accepting applications starting August 1, 2018. The application deadline is September 5, 2018. Scholarship recipients would take the LSAT January 26, 2019.

Scholarship recipients must be Texas residents and apply to take the LSAT on the designated date that corresponds to their application round. Additional requirements and details can be found at www.texasappleseed.org/diversity-legal-scholars.

According to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 4.4 percent of all lawyers in 2016 were Black, 4.7 percent were Asian, and Latinos comprised 5.6 percent of all attorneys. Texas Appleseed has awarded hundreds of Diversity Legal Scholars scholarships since its inception to give applicants a better shot at fulfilling their dreams of law school and entering the legal profession.

Long-time educator and community servant, Ada Williams, dies

Long-time educator and community servant, Ada Williams, dies

The Dallas Post Tribune logoDALLAS POST TRIBUNE — Ada L. Williams, a dedicated public servant to the Dallas Community, passed away on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at the age of 84. She had been a Professional Registered Parliamentarian in the State of Texas since 1978.

Mrs. Williams was the current sitting Board Chairman of the Credit Union of Texas and had held that position since December of 1996. She was elected and served as Parliamentarian of the Dallas Independent School District Board of Trustees from 1988 through her retirement in 2002 where she served numerous Superintendents.

Because of her significant contributions to the Dallas Public Schools, the auditorium of the DISD Administration Building is named the Ada L. Williams Auditorium in her honor. Ada Williams served DISD as Director of Employee Relations during her career there. Former Texas Governor, Mark White, appointed Ada Williams to the State of Texas Credit Union Commission where she served a six-year term.

Mrs. Williams served as President of the Texas State Association of Parliamentarians. She immensely enjoyed her work helping a diverse array of organizations with matters of parliamentary law. Throughout her life and within the last week, she volunteered her services as a proctor for those taking the registered parliamentary exams.

She became a teacher in the Dallas Independent School District in 1955, where she taught math, science and music. She went on to serve as President of the Classroom Teachers of Dallas for four years. She was President and Parliamentarian of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International; Parliamentarian of the Dallas Retired Teachers Association. Mrs. Williams became the National Parliamentarian of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in 1979. She served 10 National Presidents as National Parliamentarian and in 2015 the organization named her National Parliamentarian Emeritus.

At the time of her death, Mrs. Williams was proudly serving as Trustee at the St. Paul African American Episcopal Church. She was also on the Board of Directors of the Maureen F. Bailey Cultural Foundation. Other organizational affiliations include: Texas Reading Association, National Association of Parliamentarians, Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority with 65 uninterrupted years of service; YWCA Life Member; Dallas Arthritis Foundation. She received the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, highest award – The Sojourner Truth Award.

Mrs. Williams held a Bachelors Degree from Huston-Tillotson College where she was Miss Huston-Tillotson. She also received a Master of Arts Degree in Education from the University of North Texas. She was a proud product of the DISD schools: a graduate of Lincoln High School and N.W. Harlee Elementary School.