Beyond the Hashtag: Next Moves for Action

In partnership with PBS Black Culture Connection, we are discussing the importance of direct action working with digital activism to solve some of the issues affecting our community.

Students Share Their Best at the NAACP ACT-SO Atlanta Culinary Arts Competition

Youth from across the Atlanta area took part in Atlanta NAACP's ACT-SO Culinary Arts Competition. Our partners, Sodexo, shared these great moments on Twitter.

NAACP ACT-SO steers African-American students to success

The TSU Allstars of Teens Step Up Inc. practice for their dance performance at the ACT-SO Competition in Newark, New Jersey. 4/11/2015 (Robert Paniconi | NJ Advance Media)

Tariq Harris was in no shape to do much of anything, schoolwise, after his grandmother died in January.

Not his artwork, not even his love for animated film projects. The 18-year-old student at Arts High School in Newark even bombed two midterm exams.

"The grief was holding me back," he says.

Art teacher Kennis Fairfax encouraged Harris to join an NAACP enrichment program that he thought could help the young man tap back into his talent, as well as cope with his loss.

ACT-SO -- the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics - gives students like Harris the motivation to succeed and an opportunity to showcase their gifts in the arts, humanities, sciences and business.

The name maybe long, but what it has done for the past 26 years for African-American high school students across the state is worth every syllable.

"I like being around people who are gifted," says Alexis Green, a 19-year-old vocalist from Irvington. "I like the energy. We're youth and we're actually doing something positive."

The exposure is huge. The relationships the students build are lasting. The excellence they pursue is honed in local chapters, for which students meet weekly and practice with volunteer mentors on their discipline of study.

ACT-SO is known as the Olympics of the mind, and is true to its mission. The organization had Central High School in Newark buzzing with creativity and intellect on Saturday, as some 170 students competed for a chance to advance to its national competition in Philadelphia.

Kayla Childs, a senior at New Brunswick Highschool, plays an original composition at the ACT-SO Competition in Newark, New Jersey. 4/11/2015 (Robert Paniconi | NJ Advance Media)

In the stairwell leading toward the lower level of the building, you could hear the strains of a violin being played by Quatir Coleman, of Camden. The 15-year-old was practicing Bach Sonata No. 2 in A minor: Allegro.

On the landing above him, another member of his chapter, Naima Hazzard, was holding her cell phone close to ear, singing "Skinny" by Birdy. Later in the day, the 16-year-old singer performed a classical piece -- "Nina" by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi.

All over the building, there was something going on to stimulate the senses. On the second floor, there were sculptures of found objects, papier mache and clay; paintings using oil, water colors and acrylic; drawings made with colored pencils, pencil and charcoal.

Different genres of dance -- from ballet to modern - were being performed in the auditorium. In classrooms, there was poetry, short story and playwriting. There also were presentations in photography, filmmaking, architecture, the sciences and mathematics.

Kevin Carolina, of Piscataway High School, was waiting in the hallway, pacing, studying his mathematical material: "Racial Profiling in African-American Men: A Statistical Study."

"One of the main things I like about this program is being able to develop your craft more and to be able to encounter different people, different professionals and to develop stronger relationships," the 15-year-old says, "and to also be surrounded by young African-American individuals who have the same goals in life as me, which is to be successful.''

He was in good company, too.

Megan Hill-Glover, of Bridgewater-Raritan High School, and Camila Morocho, of Science Park High School in Newark, had heady topics on their plates.

First, research into the roles of the lipids in the pathogenesis of accelerated atherosclerosis in HIV-infected individuals.

This went straight over my head until Morocho, 18, explained that her experiment proves that atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of arteries over time because of plaque, happens much quicker in people with HIV.

Thanks, young lady.

Then Hill-Glover, 17, walked me down her scientific aisle with this number: The differing bacterial growth colonies between organic and nonorganic poultry meat.

She broke it down this way, telling me that her experiment proves there is larger bacterial growth on organic poultry because farmers use chicken feed that is lacking in pesticides and herbicides. But that's not a problem, she says, because the bacteria goes away when the meat is cooked. The problem, she says, is the nonorganic meat. It has antibacterial strains that can affect how antibiotics work in our bodies.

Got it.

(L to R) Shyann Felix, Siarra Grace, Mariam Cannon, and Mikayla James do vocal exercises in the halls before performing at the ACT-SO Competition in Newark, New Jersey. 4/11/2015 (Robert Paniconi | NJ Advance Media)

The level of concentration and commitment to their interests is amazing. And the same holds true for the volunteers who come year after year to judge and revel in this talent.

Read more of this story on NJ.com here.

ACT-SO Olympian Profile - Why Do You ACT-SO?

We caught up with our #ACTSO olympians at the NAACP Annual Convention in Las Vegas.

Atlanta NAACP college students register voters, see the Ferguson beyond the headlines

Blake Stoner is a sophomore at Morehouse College. Samantha Richards is a junior at Clark Atlanta University. Credit Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Blake Stoner is a sophomore at Morehouse College. Samantha Richards is a junior at Clark Atlanta University. Credit Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

As several Ferguson officials resigned this week, Atlanta college students under the direction of the NAACP spent their days meeting the city’s residents.

In four days they registered more than 150 Ferguson and Jennings residents to vote, and collected contact information for another 3,000.

According to Atlanta NAACP president Richard Rose, that information will be used to help get out the vote for the April 7th municipal elections.

“It doesn’t count unless you pull the lever or punch the card or whatever the voting apparatus is. You only can participate if you go and vote,” Rose said.

Less than 12 percent of Ferguson Township’s registered voters participated in last year’s municipal elections. Ferguson Township includes other municipalities in addition to Ferguson. County-wide, the turnout was just over 12 percent.

Rose says that while demonstrations are part of political action, the visiting students didn’t attend protests while in Ferguson because that wasn’t the purpose of their trip.

For Clark Atlanta University student Samantha Richards, the week was an opportunity to see the Ferguson beyond the headlines. She said she has been inspired by the people she meant.

“I mean, there was not one person whose door we stopped at in knocking on residents doors that did not give us encouragement,” Richards said.

She said the highlight of the trip was visiting area high schools on Thursday, where she was able to give some of that inspiration back, and encourage the high school students to go beyond voting.

She said she told the students that “once you do vote your job is not done….Now it’s up to you to make sure you get the result that you want, by holding your elected council members and representatives accountable.”

Morehouse College student Blake Stoner said the work they did registering voters is only the beginning, and he wished they could have done more.

“It is good to register people to vote, but if you don’t give them the motivation to vote, they just have another right that they’re not going to use,” Stoner said. “So we did help. But more people are going to have to come. More people are going to have to do more work.”

All told, about 50 students participated in the alternative spring break organized by the Atlanta NAACP.

Continue reading the story here.

Florida NAACP Youth and College President elected as Howard U SGA President

Florida NAACP Youth and College President elected as Howard U SGA President

Congrats to Florida NAACP Youth and College President Brendien Mitchell on being elected as Howard University's Student Government Association President. ‪#‎NAACPYC‬

ACT - SO / NAACP State Student Orientation (Rowan University)

ACT-SO's local orientation was welcomed at Rowan University.

The Movement: Sounds of Revolution

Music is the voice of a Movement and can incite change. Watch this demonstration about the importance of art and civil rights.

MC Lyte Google Hangout on Air - Artists and Activism

Legendary artist, activist and philanthropist MC Lyte joins us to discuss the importance of artists taking part in activism. Also joining the conversation will be Michelle Nealy and Nicole Kenney.

NAACP Black History Month Events

 

For Black History Month, the NAACP Digital Media team has composed a list of events to commemorate our history.

Social Media:

  • NAACP will feature daily #BHM2015 historical posts on Facebook and Twitter, focusing on women who have made great contributions to society. You are encouraged to share the daily posts on your social media.
     

  • A tribute cover photo on Facebook during black history month will feature the faces eight iconic women from past and present--with one woman representing the future of the NAACP, Jazminique Holley, president of the Missouri Youth and College division.  
     

  • #AskCWB: During February, Instagram users are to submit a 15 second video using the hashtag #AskCWB, NAACP President/CEO Brooks will answer questions with a response video on Instagram.

Mobile:

  • Feb. 2, we launch our Black History Month Scavenger Hunt--with clues derived from the daily social media content. Text HISTORY to 62227 to join in, standard text messaging rates apply.

NAACPConnect Google Hangout on Air Schedule, in conjunction with PBS Black Culture Connection:

Feb. 3, 4pm ET - Image Awards - Artists and Activism Google Hangout on Air featuring MC Lyte: Legendary artist, activist and philanthropist MC Lyte joins us to discuss the importance of artists taking part in activism. Michelle Nealy (Hope Scholarship) is hosting and Nicole Kenney will be joining in the conversation. Join the conversation too using the hashtag: #AskMCLyte.

The 46th NAACP Image Awards airs live, Feb. 6 8pm ET on TV One. For more information, click here.

Feb. 17, 8pm ET--Beyond the Hashtag: Next Moves for Action Google Hangout on Air: Jazminique Holley, St. Louis NAACP college chapter leader will be discussing local college student work in Ferguson, Shekira Dennis from Houston Justice will discuss her action with their grand jury project. Author and activist Shaun King (Daily Kos, The Power of 100)  is joining us to provide insight about the importance of digital activism. Sammie Dow, NAACP Director of Youth College Division is hosting. Join the conversation using the hashtag: #BeyondTheHashtag.

Feb 24, 8pm ET--The Movement: Sounds of Revolution Google Hangout on Air: Kevin P. Turner, Univ. of Alabama-Birmingham music instructor/director will be breaking down the history of religion and art’s part in the Civil Rights Movement, with live demonstrations. ACT-SO musicians/poets are also taking part, reciting original and historical literature. ACT-SO National Director, Larry Brown Jr. will be hosting. Join the conversation using the hashtag: #SoundsOfRevolution.

Washington, DC area #InstaMeet--#NAACPMeet:

  • Feb. 28 #NAACPMeet: In coordination with Instagram and Facebook, we will meet on the final day of Black History Month at a historical Black history site in Washington, DC. To RSVP and receive the secret location, click here.

Contact your local NAACP branch or chapter for events in your area.

 

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What would you have addressed if you were President Obama?