Friday, February 28, 2014

More Civic Revelry as Black History Month draws to a fulsome and frigid close.

If you are still working your schedule for tonight to decide whether to stop at Karamu’s mixer before or after stopping by the Cleveland NAACP Open House, there are yet several other civic worthy choices to add to the mix:

• Esperanza is launching its Alumni Association tonight at Pura Vida restaurant on Public Square. Esperanza raises funds to provide education, support and scholarships to Hispanic students in northeast Ohio.

Tonight’s event, which starts at 6PM and runs until 11PM, promises heavy hors d’oeuvres, valet parking and live music by Son Gitano. Tickets are $50 [$90/couple]. For more information, call 216.651.7178.

• A good option for the whole family is being offered by the Rockefeller Park Community of Opportunity & Equity, which is sponsoring this month’s Fourth Friday Family Film Night at St. Matthew United Methodist Church, 8601 Wade Park Ave. Tonight’s offering is The Great Debaters, in honor of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the black youth who helped shape Black History in America.

Co-produced and directed by Denzel Washington, the film stars Washington along with his fellow Academy Award winner, Forrest Whitaker. Oprah Winfrey was also involved in the production.

Showtime is 7PM. The doors open at 6:30PM and refreshments are served. 
Questions? Call  216.231.7622.

• Finally, we would be remiss if we did not pause to note tonight’s retirement celebration for the Rev. Roland Hayes Crowder, who is retiring after 48 of service at Second Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, one of the early outposts of African American spirituality and culture on Cleveland’s west side.

I first encountered Rev. Crowder one summer when I was home from college and working at the old Parcel Postal Annex at the north end of West Ninth St. Even a callow fellow could not help but notice Rev. Crowder’s gracious bearing, and the gentle spirit of caring and concern for others he radiated even in that depressed environment.

The banquet in honor of his ministerial career begins at 6:30PM tonight at the Cleveland Airport Marriott on West 150 St. The Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and former longtime pastor here at Antioch Baptist Church.


For more information, call 216.252.1050.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kasich, Foundations, Parties, and Making Black History

Gov. John Kasich delivered
State of the State address
yesterday in neighboring
Medina County.
We had planned to watch online the State of the State speech yesterday but family exigencies intervened.  We did manage to catch the latter part of it in the car on the way home and what we heard the Governor saying made us curiouser and curiouser. He sounded so compassionate and so concerned about education that he might have passed for a Democrat.

Of course, the measure of an elected official is not what he says but what he does. We will be watching and reporting on which of the Governor’s promises and commitments find themselves supported by state dollars and new legislation. But at this point we will confess that the Governor has surprised us once or twice already during his term in office.

Meanwhile, we posted yesterday about tomorrow’s Blueprint Roundtable on chronic social issues affecting generations of African Americans. This promises to be an important public conversation that has as one aim the establishment of a multigenerational dialogue among black men of all ages, philosophies, and orientations.

The event runs from 11:30AM to 1:30PM. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Attendees may register either online or by calling 216.448.0607.

We will try to post live from the site, but the Clinic’s Bunts Auditorium is a true bunker and we may not have internet access even from our trusty hotspot.

The Presidents Council Foundation, BPA Charitable Foundation, Karamu and more

Also upcoming this week is the annual meeting of The President’s Council Foundation. Foundation officers will lay out the organization’s vision for the next three years, recognize the most recent graduating class of Emerging Entrepreneurs, and place last year’s successes in context alongside the Foundation’s strategic plan.

The program, which is being held at The Club at Key Center, will begin at 6:15PM, preceded by a 45-minute period of registration, networking and hors d’oeuvres.

If you plan to attend, you should probably call Erica Penick at 216.771.8702 at extension 225 tomorrow, since the RSVP deadline was Valentine’s Day.

Black Professional of the Year nominations due this Friday

The Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation annual meeting is coming up on March 12, at Tri-C’s Jerry Sue Thornton Building, 2500 East 22 Street. This year’s Black Professional of the Year will be announced during the meeting, which is scheduled for 5:30PM-7:30PM.

Dr. Michael Schoop, president of the college’s Metro Campus, will deliver the
Dr.Michael Schoop
keynote address for the meeting. Also on the agenda are the swearing of new trustees and recognition of the Foundation’s 2013 Class of Scholars.

This event is free and open to the public but seating is limited. Guests are required to RSVP by emailing their intentions to with the subject line “Annual Meeting RSVP” or by calling 216.229.7110.

There is still time to submit your candidate for Black Professional of the Year. Nominations remain open through this Friday, February 28. The organization has been working to increase community involvement in the nominating process.

To submit a BPOY nomination, visit and download the nomination form.

A Smorgasboard of Civic Revelry on tap this Friday

We don’t know if people suddenly woke up and realized that Black History Month was about to end or what, but there is abundant civic merriment scheduled for Friday, the last day of this year’s Black History Month observance.

We mentioned yesterday that the NAACP was hosting an open house at its new digs, 7100 Euclid Ave., in midtown. That event, which includes a Black History observance, runs from 6:30PM-8:30PM.

Only a few blocks away, another venerable institution, Karamu, is hosting its first-ever “Mix and Mingle” mixer, featuring live music provided by Kevin Conwell and the Footprints. We assume but don’t vouch for the group leader being the Glenville councilman.

We do know that the cost of admission is $7. And that attendees should bring their dancing shoes, a willingness to socialize, and their “own spirits”. We think that makes this a cabaret.

Of course you know Karamu is at the corner of Quincy Ave. and East 89th Street, where the revelry will extend from 6PM until 10:30PM.

And the latest event to come to our attention comes from a sponsoring cast of thousands. It’s a Cavs-Jazz postgame Black Heritage event inside Bridges at the Q. We guess that means you have to buy a ticket to the game, which you can do for as little as $19 here.  The reception will take place on Level 4 and last until 11:30PM. The Unit Band will provide the sounds and there will be complimentary cocktails.

The cast of thousands? Add up the membership rolls of the cosponsors, which include the Society of Urban Professionals, the Cleveland Chapter of the National Association of Black MBAs, the 100 Black Men of Cleveland,  the Women’s Leadership Forum, the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Greater Cleveland, the Norman S. Minor Bar Association, the Black Sports Professionals, the Cleveland State University Black Alumni, the Kent State University Black Alumni,  the Men of Morehouse local alumni chapter, and maybe more …

• • •

All of this activity makes you thing there must be a whole lot of educated and healthily employed African Americans in Greater Cleveland. It could make you wonder what they might do collectively as part of some dynamic, progressive, innovative umbrella organization.

Might they have persuaded the county prosecutor to take less than 453 or so days [and counting] to bring some serious charges against the policemen who fired 137 bullets into a vehicle with two unarmed occupants

State Sen.
Nina Turner
is running for
Ohio Secretary
of State
Or could they have pooled some resources to take concerted action that might have minimized the hollowing out of the neighborhoods where so many of them grew up — Glenville, Mt. Pleasant, Collinwood, Kinsman, etc.?

Could they unite to help one of their own become the first Democrat elected to statewide office EVER? 

Now wouldn't that make some Black History in 2014 to celebrate in 2015?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Black Male Roundtable, Kasich speech, NAACP Open House

What’s Happening This Week

Black Male Roundtable, Kasich speech, NAACP Open House

A host of important events are on tap for this week. We will put up a fuller calendar later today, but we want to give a heads up on three events in particular.

First, Gov. Kasich will deliver his State of the State speech tonight at the Medina Performing Arts Center, in Medina. The tickets are all gone but you can view the event live, beginning at 7PM here.

Next, some of Cleveland’s most accomplished black men will be taking part in a Blueprint Roundtable this Wednesday, February 26 at the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic.  According to materials released by the Clinic’s diversity and community outreach offices, the roundtable will be a “multi-generational conversation about leadership and mentorship” that will address critical social issues that have faced the black community over the past 40 years, and explore how to overcome the challenges faced by the next generation.”

Panelists include Dr. Julian Earls, retired director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center; Randell McShepard, vice president of public affairs for RPM International and chairman of PolicyBridge; Dr. Charles Modlin, director of the Minority Men’s Health Center and associate professor of surgery at the Clinic’s Center for Renal Transplant; Steve Sanders, a former Cleveland Brown who is now an author, speaker, and executive director of Training Camp for Life; and Nathan Tolliver, a student, event planner and LGBT advocate.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Attendees may register either online or by calling 216.448.0607.

Finally, the Cleveland Branch NAACP is hosting an Open House this Friday, February 28 from 6:30PM-8:30PM at its new offices, 7100 Euclid Avenue.

There are a number of other community events occurring this week but we wanted especially to highlight these three. More will be posted later this evening.