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2011 May

24 May

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Meet The Interns – Mariel Prevatt

May 24, 2011 | By |

Mariel Prevatt is a native of Trinidad and Tobago and has lived in the Washington, DC area since 2004 when she began her studies in Journalism at Howard University School of Communications.  During her undergraduate studies, Prevatt worked at a small woman-owned public relations firm as an executive assistant.  She also volunteered in the Feeding the Homeless Program through Bethel Church and was a member of the Caribbean Students Association.  After graduation, she worked at the American Dental Education Association in their Center for Public Policy and Advocacy.   She is currently a Juris Doctor candidate at Howard University School of Law with expected graduation in May, 2012.  In this IMPACT internship, Prevatt is most excited about encouraging students to participate in public policy activities and making strategic connections.

24 May

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Meet The Interns – Kimberly Wilson

May 24, 2011 | By |

At just 23 years old, Kimberly Wilson’s accomplishments and experience as an event planner, publicist, writer,  law student, publisher, promoter, educator, organizer, activist and philanthropist have established her as one of a kind. Following the notion, to whom much is given, much is expected, Kimberly consistently sets high personal standards and goals. Never satisfied by the norm, Kimberly is motivated by service, change and human need.

Academically Kimberly has always been very successful. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Honors citations in Communication from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2009, she immediately enrolled in  the Juris Doctorate program at Howard University in Washington D.C. specializing in the field of entertainment and sports law. Professionally, Kimberly could never be overlooked! Her professional level, hands-on experience in music, television production, radio promotions, writing, and corporate communication place her ahead of the rest. Kimberly started off her career in the entertainment industry while in high school in New York interning at Clear Channel Communications. As the first intern ever hired from high school, she was on a path to success. From there, during her undergraduate career she interned in Corporate Communications at XM Satellite Radio, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammys) spearheading the Grammy U Representative and then worked at BET Corporate Headquarters in Off Channel Marketing and Promotions and as a Marketing Representative in D.C. for several years while attending the University of Maryland, College Park. Just recently, Kimberly served as the Communications and Programs Assistant for the Prostate Health Education Network, where she helped plan and coordinate the African American Prostate Health Disparity Summit during the Congressional Black Caucus’ 2010 Annual Legislative Conference. She is also currently the co-producer of ‘The Diva Lounge,’  – an exclusive networking event series in NYC, DC and ATL for females in the entertainment industry with Shayna D of Sirius XM Radio. In February of 2010 Kimberly was also named one of Washington D.C.’s “Top 30 Under 30” by WKYS and one of the Top Young Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2010. In addition, she currently works in the legal department at Radio One, Inc and is very excited about joining IMPACT-DC in the summer of 2011.

24 May

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Meet The Interns – Safiya M. O’Connor

May 24, 2011 | By |

Hello, my name is Safiya Malika O’Connor and I am a native of the DMV by way of Kingston Jamaica. I attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Maryland and graduated out of their (AOIT) Academy of Information Technology Program. This upcoming fall I will be a senior at the University of Virginia. In May 2012, I will receive two Bachelor’s degrees, one in Political Theory and the other in African and African-American Studies. After graduation, I aspire to teach elementary education then receive my Master’s in Public Policy and my PhD in Educational Policy and pursue a career in public education policy. I believe that the experience I will gain through teaching will give me and edge and a better perspective in trying to reform our public education system. While at UVa, I have taken on many leadership roles, one of which is being the Editor-in-Chief of PRIDE Magazine. PRIDE Magazine is a student led publication that specifically targets the African American, African, and Caribbean students at our university. I am also involved with the Student Council committees on diversity initiatives and student life, the Black Leadership Institute, the University Programs marketing committee, and the student branch of the Virginia Education Association (SVEA). This summer I will be interning for the second time at the National Education Association in the Government Relations department. I am very passionate about issues surrounding urban public education and policy. I am very excited and appreciative of the opportunity to intern at IMPACT this summer. I believe that the 3 core principles (“political involvement”, “civic engagement”, and “economic empowerment”) of IMPACT directly align with what I want to do with my life and what I hope to give back to my community. I am excited to learn and grow under the directors of IMPACT as well as from my fellow interns.

18 May

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Nations Best

May 18, 2011 | By |

Welcome

For NBA members, law is more than a career—it’s a commitment. United by a need to serve their communities, African American lawyers from across the nation attend the National Bar’s Annual Convention. Starting last year, during the convention IMPACT joined with the National Bar Association in an effort to celebrate the top young lawyers in the nation

Here at NationsBestAdvocates.com on June 1, 2011 we revealed our second class of Nation’s Best Advocates, the top 40 young lawyers under 40 for 2011. Last year’s class included Trial Lawyers, Judges, Professors and those working hard for nonprofits to make our world a better place. Together during a night of celebration firms, agencies, families, friends and clients showed their appreciation for the work done by these advocates.

18 May

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May 2011 – IMPACT Your World…

May 18, 2011 | By |

Welcome

For NBA members, law is more than a career—it’s a commitment. United by a need to serve their communities, African American lawyers from across the nation attend the National Bar’s Annual Convention. Starting last year, during the convention IMPACT joined with the National Bar Association in an effort to celebrate the top young lawyers in the nation

Join us at NationsBestAdvocates.com on June 1, 2011 as we reveal our second class of Nation’s Best Advocates, the top 40 young lawyers under 40 for 2011. Last year’s class included Trial Lawyers, Judges, Professors and those working hard for nonprofits to make our world a better place. Together during a night of celebration firms, agencies, families, friends and clients showed their appreciation for the work done by these advocates. If you would like to join us this year sponsorships are still available.


IL: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

Congratulations to our May IMPACT Leader of the Month: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Chief Executive Officer of Green For All. Under her leadership, Green For All has become one of the country’s leading advocates for a clean-energy economy, and one of its most important voices on the intersection of economics and environment.

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Fashion Crimes: Our Civic Duty to Fight Against Fakes

By Kenya N. Wiley, Esq.

There is no question that our society is addicted to fashion labels. Advertisements constantly feature luxury brands, song lyrics and movies associate the “good life” with wearing high-end designers like Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin, and if consumers do not have enough cash or credit to buy the “real” handbag or red-soled stilettos, they can get the fake items on the street or even online. Consumers often do not realize that the funds from counterfeits and knockoffs are used to support child labor, drug cartels, and terrorism. The sale and distribution of counterfeits also result in the loss of revenue to not only the designers, but state and local governments too.

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That Last Push

by Candice Petty, Esq.

As a little girl that dreamed of one day becoming an attorney, I was always told that I would have to be twice as smart, and work twice as hard as my classmates.  So I was and I did.  And it paid off.  I went to the best schools, worked at top firms, and at 31, by all accounts, I have “made it.” In the courtroom, my (old, white, male) opposing counsel once told me I was “hostile and aggressive.”  I took it as a compliment, especially after prevailing at the hearing. However, the same passion, fervor and intensity that have resulted in this success doesn’t seem to bode so well in my relationships.

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A Call to Action through Timeless Service: FL AKA Day at the Capitol 2011
By: Ekecia M. Grayson, Esq.

On March 16, 2011, the ladies of the Florida chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. descended in record numbers on the state capitol in Tallahassee, FL for its annual AKA Day at the Capitol. This year’s event was conducted under the leadership of Marsha L. Brown, South Atlantic Regional Director, Roslyn Phillips-Mixon, South Atlantic International Connection Chairman, Valerie Brant-Wilson, FL Connection Chairman and Ekecia M. Grayson, Esq., 2011 FL AKA Day at the Capitol Chairman, under the theme “A Call to Action through Timeless Service”.

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18 May

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That Last Push

May 18, 2011 | By |

by Candice Petty, Esq.

Candice Petty who submitted this picture late! Hey Candice....As a little girl that dreamed of one day becoming an attorney, I was always told that I would have to be twice as smart, and work twice as hard as my classmates.  So I was and I did.  And it paid off.  I went to the best schools, worked at top firms, and at 31, by all accounts, I have “made it.” In the courtroom, my (old, white, male) opposing counsel once told me I was “hostile and aggressive.”  I took it as a compliment, especially after prevailing at the hearing. However, the same passion, fervor and intensity that have resulted in this success doesn’t seem to bode so well in my relationships.

Today’s young, professional Black woman is independent, fiercely determined and self-assured.  But outside of the courtroom or boardroom, these same attributes take on a negative connotation.  Instead of “assertive,” we are “abrasive.” Instead of “confident” we are “demanding” and “bitchy”.  The pantsuits we put on to conquer the legal, medical and business worlds have supposedly stripped us of our delicate femininity. But wait!  What about all the songs on the radio praising “independent women”?  Listen a little more closely.  What is really being coveted is the same overvaluation of consumerism and ostentatious displays of wealth that have forever plagued the Black culture.  Music entertainers wax poetic about how this girl “be killen ‘em” and how she is both “book and street smart.”  But when confronted with the Amazon/Michelle Obama archetype, the Jezebel/Kardashian ideal is always chosen instead. Kim Kardashian is praised as a beautiful, rich, and smart businesswoman that has made herself into a marketable and highly profitable brand.  Her success and ability to provide for herself were accomplished within the confines of the Jezebel ideal – she only became famous after her “leaked” sex tape and most of her notoriety is because of her appearance.  It’s also worth noting that she isn’t too smart, intimidating or assertive.   She remained a Jezebel, and in doing so, never stepped outside of that feminine ideal.  It’s not the appearance of success or wealth that’s the problem – what seems to be the roadblock for Black women is the notion that in achieving our success, we have completely discarded the traditional gender roles. We are perceived to be doing everything men do – and better.

So, are we required to check our personas at the door once we step foot inside the home, take off the pantsuit, and put on an apron?  Should we have to?  In all fairness, I do believe that maintaining a successful relationship requires a totally different skill set and approach than is required to shatter the glass ceiling.  But can a Black woman be strong, assertive and independent and also be seen as an ideal wife?  For awhile, we had Michelle Obama as our proof that this was possible.  She was our ray of hope, our shining example that we too could go to Harvard Law School, be an ambitious career woman and also marry a successful, attractive Black man that would one day become President.  But now, her novelty has worn off and her j Crew outfits are no longer flying off the shelves.  If Michelle is no longer the solution to all of our ills, what hope is there?  I don’t have the answer, and I’m not sure that there is one.  But I do know that achieving career success and getting married are not mutually exclusive.  We have redefined what it is to be feminine, we haven’t stepped outside of it.  This in and of itself is proof that we can continue to evolve and reconcile this apparent conflict.  After all, the pendulum has to swing from one extreme to the next before coming to rest in the middle.  And it will be up to us to give it that last push.

***

Candice Petty is an attorney practicing in California’s Silicon Valley.

18 May

By

A Call to Action through Timeless Service: FL AKA Day at the Capitol 2011

May 18, 2011 | By |

By: Ekecia M. Grayson, Esq.

On March 16, 2011, the ladies of the Florida chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. descended in record numbers on the state capitol in Tallahassee, FL for its annual AKA Day at the Capitol. This year’s event was conducted under the leadership of Marsha L. Brown, South Atlantic Regional Director, Roslyn Phillips-Mixon, South Atlantic International Connection Chairman, Valerie Brant-Wilson, FL Connection Chairman and Ekecia M. Grayson, Esq., 2011 FL AKA Day at the Capitol Chairman, under the theme “A Call to Action through Timeless Service”.

The festivities began with a lively jazz mixer where members hosted its welcome reception which was largely attended by state and local officials, including members of the state Senate and House of Representatives. AKA members arrived at the Capitol bright and early the following morning to embark upon a full day of advocacy. Opening session convened in the House of Representatives Chamber where current members of the state legislature educated sorority members on proposed legislation regarding topics such as health, education, economics, redistricting, social justice and human rights, and pension reform.

The subsequent session, which was conducted in the FL Historic Capitol Senate Chamber,consisted of continued presentations from state legislative leaders, including a stirring call to action from the President of the Florida Education Association, Andy Ford. The agenda also featured a special interactive presentation for undergraduate members regarding proposed legislation banning use of wireless devices while driving.



The Alpha Kappa Alpha members did not rest on their laurels during their lunch period. Their advocacy continued in a working luncheon where they participated in workshops and were delivered a keynote address by FL Lieutenant Governor, and Alpha Kappa Alpha member, Jennifer Carroll. During their working luncheon, members were trained on effective advocacy techniques which they would utilize that afternoon in their meetings with legislators from their respective districts. Members were also delighted to receive a special video greeting from Alpha Kappa Alpha member, Congresswoman Fredericka Wilson, an avid participant of FL AKA Day at the Capitol who was unable to attend this year due to congressional legislative session.

After becoming educated on the issues and equipping themselves with effective techniques for advocacy, Alpha Kappa Alpha members concluded their day by meeting with legislators from their respective districts. In these meetings, members were given the opportunity to speak to lawmakers advocating for or against legislation that impacts the minority and low-income communities which AKA members tirelessly serve. The day of advocacy concluded with the reading of resolutions in both the state Senate and House of Representatives recognizing the Florida chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. for their service to all mankind.

Historically, the members of Alpha Kappa Alpha have been convening on state capitols since 1980. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the first Greek-lettered organization established by African American college women, was founded on January 15, 1908 at Howard University in Washington D.C. This international service, not for profit organization has more than 959 chapters, with a membership of 265,000 active members throughout the United States, Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Korea, Africa, and Germany and is run under the dynamic leadership of our 28th International President, Carolyn House Stewart, Esq.

18 May

By

Fashion Crimes

May 18, 2011 | By |

Fashion Crimes: Our Civic Duty to Fight Against Fakes

By Kenya N. Wiley, Esq.

There is no question that our society is addicted to fashion labels. Advertisements constantly feature luxury brands, song lyrics and movies associate the “good life” with wearing high-end designers like Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin, and if consumers do not have enough cash or credit to buy the “real” handbag or red-soled stilettos, they can get the fake items on the street or even online. Consumers often do not realize that the funds from counterfeits and knockoffs are used to support child labor, drug cartels, and terrorism. The sale and distribution of counterfeits also result in the loss of revenue to not only the designers, but state and local governments too.

Although the terms counterfeits and knockoffs are often used interchangeably in the world of fashion, they have different meanings. “Counterfeiting” refers to stealing a brand’s intellectual property, such as manufacturing or distributing a wallet or handbag with the Louis Vuitton or Coach logo. “Knocking off” a product refers to imitating or copying a particular designer’s article. Although all counterfeits are illegal, some knock-offs may be perfectly legal if they do not constitute as “infringement.” Either way, both counterfeits and knockoffs can harm the original designers and their brands.

In a recent interview with celebrity and couture designer Kenny Flanagan of KAS Collection Inc., Kenny recalled his first experience with having his designs counterfeited and knocked off. A major department store displayed and sold apparel with a similar label (with the same letters) and design as KAS, and when Kenny’s attorney and public relations team contacted the store, they immediately took the items off the rack. Kenny has been in the fashion business since 1996, and he often educates emerging designers on the glamour and business of the fashion industry, including counterfeiting. Kenny says that because of his wide loyal fan base, his supporters often tweet and e-mail him when they spot counterfeits or knock-offs of his designs. He realizes that as his business expands, the counterfeiting will get worse.

According to Jay Dubiner, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Warnaco (company licenses the Calvin Klein brand), Warnaco manufacturers its apparel in a “socially responsible way.” When consumers purchase fakes they are supporting child labor, human rights violations, and criminal enterprises. Dubiner also pointed out that “counterfeiters have no reason to protect the brand,” often resulting in poor quality goods.

Harper’s Bazaar Fakes Are Never in Fashion Campaign (FANIF) has been at the forefront of bringing awareness to the dangers associated with counterfeiting. FANIF provided Fashion Cloture with tips on how to spot a fake. FANIF says “[t]he best way to spot a fake is to do your homework. Know the product, know the brand.”

“To spot a fake online, check the contact page for a legitimate address,
email and phone number. A simple fill-in contact form is a sign of a fake
site. Also, look for grammar and spelling mistakes. A general rule of thumb
for all counterfeits is if the price seems too good to be true, it probably
is. You will never be able to buy a pair of real Louboutins for $150.” Harper’s Bazaar held its 7th Annual Anticounterfeiting Summit in April 2011, and this year’s theme was “Counterfeiting 2.0: The Internet and Its Effect on the Global Counterfeiting Epidemic.” The Summit was sponsored by eBay and MarkMonitor, and promoted “the industry’s fight against counterfeits [and] new technologies.”

Congress has considered legislation to address the problems associated with online counterfeiting and knockoffs. Last Congress, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeiting Act (S. 3804) out of committee, but S. 3804 failed to pass the full Senate before the end of the Congress. On May 12, 2011, Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with Senators Chuck Grassley and Orin Hatch, introduced the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT-IP Act). The PROTECT IP Act will provide law enforcement with important tools to crack down on websites dedicated to the sale of pirated content and counterfeit goods.

The House and the Senate also introduced legislation in the 111th Congress to provide protection for fashion designs, and thus making it more difficult to “knock-off” a design. Rep. Goodlatte and former Rep. Delahunt co-sponsored the Design Piracy Prohibition Act (H.R. 2196) during the 111th Congress, but the House Judiciary Committee did not mark up H.R. 2196 due to concerns expressed by various stakeholders. Senator Schumer introduced S. 3728, the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act, during the 111th Congress, and the bill was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in December 2010. Members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America have made recent visits to Capitol Hill in support of fashion piracy legislation, and it is it expected that Members of Congress will re-introduce design piracy legislation during the 112th Congress.

The Obama Administration and members of the New York City Council have also been working to combat counterfeiting. White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), Victoria Espinel, released in March 2011 the Administration’s legislative recommendations designed to crack down on counterfeiting. At the local level, New York City Councilwoman Margaret Chin introduced legislation in April 2011 to combat counterfeiting in New York’s Chinatown area by forcing buyers of fake goods to pay a $1,000 fine or face jail time.

In the meantime, as Congress considers legislative strategies, all consumers have a civic duty to combat counterfeits and illegal knockoffs too. Kenny Flanagan of KAS Collection Inc. says that we have to “stop worrying about the label. That is what is killing designers.” Kenny says that “We have to look at quality. We have to look at the design, the art of it.”

Style expert Lloyd Boston emphasized the importance of “classics over labels” in a recent interview with Fashion Cloture.

Finally, as Harper’s Bazaar FANIF points out, we must spread “awareness about the dangers of fake products, how they take away jobs from hard working Americans as well as contribute to tax revenue loss and a down economy.” Your style should make you “a Knock-out, not a Knock-off.”

Kenya N. Wiley, Esq. is Editor-in-Chief of Fashion Cloture, a blog fusing fashion and politics. To follow Fashion Cloture, please click here.

Photo 1 credit: Kas Collection Inc.
Photo 2 credit: Harper’s Bazaar FAKES ARE NEVER IN FASHION
Photo 3  credit: The Fashion Row