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2012 October

29 Oct

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IMPACT, AARP-DC and The Root Host Second Presidential Debate Watch Party at Howard University

October 29, 2012 | By |

Hundreds of Howard University students and IMPACT supporters participated

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, October 16, 2012 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, IMPACT (@teamIMPACT), AARP (@AARPDC) and The Root (@TheRoot247)  hosted their second 2012 presidential debate watch party at Howard University’s Digital Auditorium. In 2012, IMPACT has worked to ensure college students and young professionals are #VoteReady. Their non-partisan conversations during the presidential debates take the next step toward being vote ready and understanding the issues we are voting for.  IMPACT, AARP, The Root, and Howard University Democrats and Republicans led a  post-debate discussion.


IMPACT continued its ongoing Twitter Town Hall series from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. ET earlier that day.  Participants used the hash tag #VoteReady and had an open discussion with (@teamIMPACT), (@AARPDC) and (@TheRoot247) with university and college students nationwide. Since its August inception, IMPACT’s Super Tuesday Twitter Town Hall Series has made more than 15 million impressions with retweets from celebrities, legislators, authors, journalists, bloggers, and a plethora of organizations.

On October 3, 2012, more than 200 George Washington University students gathered in the university’s Marvin Center Continental Ballroom for IMPACT, AARP and The Root’s first presidential debate watch party. GWU Democrats and Republicans, along with other supporters, cheered and moaned as they watched former Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama debate on the big screen.

IMPACT  (@teamIMPACT), AARP (@AARPDC) and The Root (@TheRoot247) live tweeted during the debate watch party.

To RSVP for IMPACT’s 2012  Election Night Party,  please go to: http://www.impact-dc.com/debates2012.

IMPACT is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage and build a network of young professionals of color to foster civic engagement, increase knowledge of the political and legislative processes, and enhance economic empowerment opportunities. For additional information about IMPACT, visit www.IMPACT-dc.com.

AARP-DC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates.

The Root is the leading online source of news and commentary from an African-American perspective. Founded in 2008 under the leadership of Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University, The Root offers a unique take on breaking news, provides solid analysis and presents dynamic multimedia content. The Root is owned by the Washington Post Company.  

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04 Oct

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IMPACT, AARP, The Root Host Presidential Watch Party

October 4, 2012 | By |



More than 200 George Washington University College Democrats and Republicans joined to watch first presidential debate

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  On Wednesday, October 3 at 8 p.m. ET, IMPACT (@teamIMPACT), AARP (@AARPDC) and The Root (@TheRoot247) hosted its first 2012 Presidential Debate watch party. In 2012, IMPACT has worked to ensure college students and young professionals are #VoteReady. Our non-partisan conversations during the Presidential Debates take the next step toward being vote ready and understanding the issues we are voting for. The AARP, GWU NAACP, GWU College Democrats, GWU College Republicans led a post-debate discussion about domestic policy, specifically the effect of Social Security and Medicare on college students and young professionals.

More than 200 George Washington University students gathered in the university’s Marvin Center Continental Ballroom to watch the first presidential debate. GWU Democrats and Republicans, along with other supporters, cheered and moaned as they watched former Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama debate.

On Oct. 16, IMPACT will host another presidential debate watch party  from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET at Howard University’s Digital Auditorium. IMPACT will continue its ongoing Twitter Town Hall series with a focus on Medicare at 1 p.m. Participants will use the hash tag #VoteReady and have an open discussion with IMPACT (@teamIMPACT) regarding Medicare.

To view a transcript of IMPACT’s live tweet during the debate watch party, please check our Twitter: @teamIMPACT.

To RSVP for IMPACT’s 2012 Presidential Debate Watch Parties, please go to: http://www.impact-dc.com/debates2012.

IMPACT is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage and build a network of young professionals of color to foster civic engagement, increase knowledge of the political and legislative processes, and enhance economic empowerment opportunities. For additional information about IMPACT, visit www.IMPACT-dc.com.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world’s largest-circulation magazine with nearly 35 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP’s millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, our bilingual multimedia platform for Hispanic members; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Root is a daily online magazine that provides thought-provoking commentary on today’s news from a variety of black perspectives. For additional information about The Root, visit www.theroot.com.

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03 Oct

By

IL: Jamal A. Sowell

October 3, 2012 | By |

Congratulations to our October 2012 IMPACT Leader of the Month, Mr. Jamal A. Sowell. Mr. Sowell is special assistant to University of Florida (UF) President Bernie Machen and the assistant corporate secretary to the UF Board of Trustees. In that role, he acts as director of special projects and a strategic advisor to the president and the board, enhancing relations, communications and operations to promote seamless university leadership. As a member of the President’s Cabinet, Mr. Sowell also works with university, community, business and government leaders – and networks with legislators, donors, alumni, students and faculty – to ensure timely advancement of key presidential and board initiatives.

Mr. Sowell joined the President’s Office in January 2011 after serving five years in the United States Marine Corps, including combat operations in Afghanistan. During his time in the Marine Corps he was a company executive officer, platoon commander, anti-terrorism force protection officer and a martial arts instructor. A frequent public speaker, Mr. Sowell travels throughout the country to lecture to community and business leaders, government officials, civic groups and students on policies in higher education, leadership and the importance of relationship building in a multi-media generation. After discovering a lack of public university student representation in national scholarships, Mr. Sowell joined Rhodes Scholars Myron Rolle and Garrett Johnson in creating the Emerging Scholars Project. The focus is to assist underrepresented college students in becoming viable candidates for national fellowship opportunities.


Mr. Sowell graduated from UF, where he served as student body president in 2004-05. During that period, Mr. Sowell also served on the UF Board of Trustees and on the boards of directors of the UF Alumni Association, the UF Foundation and the University Athletic Association. In 2004, he was elected vice chairman of the Florida Students Association. There, he advocated for policy and legislation benefiting more than 300,000 students at 11 public institutions throughout Florida.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in religion with a minor in family, youth and community sciences in 2005. In 2006, after his first year of graduate school at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he enlisted as a private first class in the Marine Corps Reserve. He went on to train and graduate from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina. In fall 2006, Mr. Sowell returned to his graduate work, continuing at UMass-Amherst to study higher education administration. He supplemented his degree program with 19th century American literature classes at neighboring Amherst College, while also working with students as a career counselor at Amherst College and a student advisor at UMass-Amherst. In 2007, Mr. Sowell received a master of education degree in higher education administration and policy from UMass-Amherst.

Mr. Sowell serves as the second vice president of the Alachua county branch of the NAACP and chairman of the Freedom Fund, in which he plans and coordinates an annual philanthropic event that brings together organizations, as well as state and local officials, to raise over $20,000 in support of civil and human rights. His work in the community subsequently led him to host a community outreach program on the largest urban radio station in North Central Florida. The weekly show called “The Voice” has allowed him to address people throughout the region on issues such as economic and social empowerment.  He also used the radio show as an avenue to bring awareness to the Trayvon Martin shooting, in which he served as a marshal in the nationwide NAACP rally held in Sanford, Florida. Mr. Sowell is a sixth-generation Floridian and an Orlando native.

INTERVIEW | Getting to Know Jamal A. Sowell

What inspired you to pursue a career in higher education after your service in the military?
My major in college was in religion as my mother raised my brothers and me to be preachers.   Because of that, and since I always loved to learn about different cultures and backgrounds—and in the wake of September 11, 2001—I decided to major in religion with a focus on historic Christianity and Judaism. As I became older, I realized that it was not my calling to preach but rather to help others outside of the walls of the church, and that came in the form of education and civic activism. Both of my brothers are preachers today, so I have the utmost respect for those in the ministry.

My mother worked in higher education and my cousin served as the president of Florida A&M University; therefore, as a child I was always intrigued with the college environment.  At 21 years-old, serving as the president of the 50,000 member student body allowed me to see the interworking’s of public higher education, so that really sparked my interest in working in university administration and state policy. Since my father worked as a criminal and defense lawyer, I always had a passion for civil and human rights. As a teenager growing up in the Pine Hills neighborhood of Orlando, my brother and I were beat up many times by drug dealers and thugs, so as I became older, I realized that it was ordained for me to have those experiences as it ignited my desire to fight for those who could not fight for themselves, physically or emotionally.

What is the key to balancing your professional, philanthropic and social commitments?
The key is to have great friends who will keep you accountable and help you balance yourself in order for you to take time out for yourself.  One of my good friends, Chris Reid, is a kindergarten teacher and singer, so he always holds me accountable about going to his musical events and trips. Though I may be busy, it has been a blessing for friends to make sure I go to their functions because I am the type not to make any time for myself as I too often get caught up with work and civic responsibilities.

At the same time, I try to intertwine all of these important life commitments together at once. For my 30th birthday, rather than having a party, I had a 30th birthday service project in order to do something with a purpose. A celebration of life in a way is a celebration of humanity, so what better way to celebrate than to give back, so I had the service project at a Boys and Girls club in the public housing area of Gainesville. A dozen of my friends came together for an entire day of service, in addition to raising money for the Boys and Girls club by also soliciting funds from donors. As a Boys and Girls Club alumnus, it has always been my goal to give back to the community once I came of age. I was able to hang out with my friends, while doing something productive.

What is the biggest mistake young professionals make, especially when pursuing elected office?
I work with many state and national officials; therefore, I am an avid reader of biographies because I want to find out how those officials came to be where they are. I believe that the common mistake many young professionals make when pursing elected office is not having their personal finances and life in order since, as an elected official; they are held to a higher standard. There is never going to be a perfect time for someone to get involved and run for office, but if someone’s personal life is not in order, that will cause problems in a campaign and during their time as an elected official.

What advice would you give other young professionals who desire to excel in the world of higher education, especially young men of color?
Mentorship is key; do not be afraid to ask someone to be your mentor. When I was in graduate school at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, my mentor and advisor was a Morehouse man named Shederick McClendon. He was an assistant professor in my program, and it was because of him that I learned how to intellectually articulate myself in a manner that I have carried for years. I was able to meet many of his colleagues who opened doors for me, so I will be forever grateful for him. Mentorship is a non-stop process that is always giving back, so though it takes time, we must reach back to mentor others.

What’s been the best experience of your career thus far (or the most rewarding)?
Outside of empowering others and shaping policies in higher education, my best experience would be serving my country in the Marine Corps and going to Afghanistan. September 11th was an integral day in the lives of many of my peers.  The terrorist attacks and the death of so many innocent people changed everything for me, just the way Pearl Harbor must have changed the lives of those in the Greatest Generation.  During my first year of graduate school, I decided to put all my plans on hold and enlist in the Marine Corps reserves as a Private First Class. Once I completed my masters, I fully intended to go on active duty. When I joined the service in 2006, it was the height of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, and people were growing very discontent about what was going on in the Middle East. Due to many negative perceptions, some in academia see those that join the military as ones who have no options, therefore, being that I was a leader in college, and was a graduate student, many people tried to talk me out of serving. I knew that I did not want to miss my chance to serve and be a part of history, so I stepped out on faith and decided that I wanted to not only be a part of history, but to also shape it for the good.

Many people asked if was I afraid to go to war, and I told them “no” since I knew the purpose that the Lord had in my life, and was confident that it was not my time to die. The U.S. Marine Corps helped me hone my leadership skills, and duty in Afghanistan gave me a perspective on international events and the way they were shaping our society.

We will see what the Lord has in store, so as long as I am serving others I am content. I am a simple person, but I strive to make the most of my time on this earth as I live by the quote by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays stating “I’ve only just a minute, only sixty seconds in it, forced upon me, can’t refuse it, didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it, but it’s up to me to use it. I must suffer if I lose it, give an account if I abuse it, just a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it.”

Lastly, give me three words to sum up Jamal A. Sowell?

God is good.

Contact Jamal at Marinecorpsofficer1@gmail.com

01 Oct

By

October 2012: The Law’s IMPACT*

October 1, 2012 | By |

What’s the big deal with election protection?  I’ve heard a lot about disenfranchising minorities voters this election cycle, but what is all the hype about?  What can I do?

Thanks,
Warren

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Hi Warren!  Thanks for being proactive and wanting to get involved!
Well, the short answer to your question is that Election Protection is about making sure that traditionally disenfranchised populations exercise their right to vote free from intimidation, harm, or dismay.  Who are those traditionally disenfranchised groups, you ask?  They are minorities (particularly Blacks and Latinos), young voters, and the elderly/disabled elderly.

We must adapt to the new reality that photo identification is required in certain states, and that steps must be taken to assist eligible voters in obtaining the necessary ID in order to vote.  However, studies show that those without ID are most likely to be Blacks, Latinos, low-income wage earners, young adults, seniors, and the disabled.  The following states require photo ID in order to vote: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.What can you do to help?  So glad you asked!  You can volunteer to staff a polling place on voting day as a volunteer.  The official Election Protection website can guide you when it comes to options on how to participate in your particular home state, as well as the hotline.  The phone number is 1-866-OUR-VOTE.  The website is: http://www.866ourvote.org/state.

In addition to serving as a polling place volunteer, you can lead carpools to get out the vote on election day.  Because of lack of transportation, no notice in order to order and mail in absentee/early voting ballots, lots of people, particularly low-income voters and the elderly, may not vote.  By providing rides, you can assist them in getting to their local polling place.  Get together with a group of friends and organize a carpool from a college dorm, or to and from a local nursing home.  This effort may be facilitated by your local NAACP, Voto Latino, or other organizations, so check around.

Also, be sure to check out IMPACT’s #Voteready website: www.GetVoteReady.org and follow @teamIMPACT on Twitter. There are several resources under the #VoteReady hashtag as well.

Exercising your right to vote is very important, and as young professionals interested in making an IMPACT, it’s our job to assist those that may find it difficult to do so.  Every vote counts, and we should honor those that fought for this right by exercising it, and helping others exercise it as well.

Happy voting!

written by Bari A. Williams

*The Law’s IMPACT is our monthly advice column on topics that young professionals may encounter in their daily travels.