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24 Sep

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IMPACT HOSTS 7th CONSECUTIVE YEAR OF SUCCESSFUL CBCF ALC EVENTS

September 24, 2013 | By |

Martin family

Events include Emerging Leaders Town Hall, ‘PREVIEW: A Red Carpet Affair 2013,’
the Young Elected Officials Roundtable, & #ThatAfterParty

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  On Thursday, September 19 through Saturday, September 21, 2013, IMPACT hosted three standing-room only events — a town hall, roundtable discussion, and an upscale red carpet event — during the 43rd Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) Annual Legislative Conference (ALC). IMPACT featured more than 20 notable panelists during the Emerging Leaders Town Hall and the Young Elected Officials Roundtable, and with all three events combined hundreds of young professionals participated.

African-American legislators, policy professionals, and community advocates led discussions at the Emerging Leaders Town Hall and the Young Elected Officials Roundtable. Both events equipped young professionals and budding politicos with the knowledge and tools needed to sustain a career in public policy, engage their local community, and network with their peers.

IMPACT’s CBCF ALC events featured appearances by the Trayvon Martin family, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), Political Analyst Jamal Simmons, Florida State Rep. Alan Williams, several Capitol Hill Chiefs of Staff, and many more.

Quick Highlights:

On Thursday, September 19, 2013, from 6 pm- 8 pm ET, IMPACT hosted “PREVIEW: A Red Carpet Affair” at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, DC to honor our nation’s young leaders. Each month, IMPACT features a young professional, dubbed IMPACT Leader of the Month, who makes significant positive contributions to their communities, both professionally and philanthropically.  In the month leading up to PREVIEW, individuals were encouraged to vote for the person who embodies IMPACT’s three core principles (civic engagement, political involvement, and economic empowerment) through their professional accomplishments and work in the community.

IMPACT presented Jamal Sowell with the IMPACT Leader of the Year award. During the event, Representatives Carson, Butterfield, Meeks, and Horsford gave remarks. Official red carpet photos are available.

On Friday, September 20, 2013 at 10 am ET, IMPACT co-hosted its annual CBCF Emerging Leaders Series Town Hall sponsored by Union Pacific. Serving as the event’s moderators, Jeff Johnson and Angela Rye led the first panel discussion and addressed the community’s ongoing response to the Trayvon Martin tragedy and best practices for empowering the community to advance the dialogue in a solutions-oriented and action-based manner. Later, the second panel discussed the state based and legislative strategies for addressing racial profiling, Stand Your Ground laws, and gun violence more generally.

The Town Hall aired on newsone.com. Panelists also engaged with audience members during a Q&A session. Video interviews of each panelist–conducted by an IMPACT member–are available upon request. Official pictures from the Town Hall are also available.

The panelists included:

  • Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN)

  • Jeff Johnson, Activist and Host, The Intersection

  • Judith Browne Dianis, Co-Director, Advancement Project

  • Phillip Agnew, Executive Director, Dream Defenders

  • Rev. Dr. Jamal H. Bryant, Pastor, Empowerment Temple AME Church

  • Michael Skolnik, Political Director for Russell Simmons and President, GlobalGrind.com

  • Florida State Rep. Alan Williams

  • Florida State Sen. Oscar Braynon

  • LaDavia Drane, Executive Director, CBC

  • Chanelle Hardy, SVP, National Urban League

  • Janaye Ingram, Executive Director, National Action Network

Roland Martin also delivered brief remarks.

On Saturday, September 21, 2012 at 10:30 am ET , IMPACT hosted the Young Elected Officials Roundtable at 10:30 am ET.  The panel featured policy professionals, lobbyists, and the Obama Administration.

The panelists included:

  • Jamal Simmons, Raben Group (Moderator)

  • Stephanie Young, Press Secretary for House Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

  • Shawna Watley, Senior Policy Advisor, Holland & Knight

  • Yohannes Abraham, Chief of Staff, White House of Public Engagement

  • Virgil Miller, Chief of Staff, Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA)

  • William Jawando, Director of Corporate and Government Affairs at Discovery Communications

  • Nina Smith, IMPACT Director

These panelists not only talked about their personal experiences in the political field, but they also gave advice to a room filled with politicians, young professionals, and students. Video footage is available upon request.

Video interviews of each panelist–conducted by an IMPACT member–are available upon request. Official pictures from the Roundtable are also available.

Later that night, IMPACT came together to celebrate our collective accomplishments–CBC Members, CBC Chiefs of Staff, and everyone who makes a difference in our legislative processes–while also giving back.

The event, Influencers: #ThatAfterParty provided us with the unique opportunity to continue the #NoJusticeNoSleep movement by holding a party WITH A PURPOSE — benefitting the Trayvon Martin Foundation.

Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin’s father, and Javaris Fulton, Trayvon’s brother were in attendance. Additionally, newly appointed Executive Director of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, Kim McRae also attended.  Official pictures from #ThatAfterParty are also available.

IMPACT (@teamIMPACT) 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.

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11 Apr

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Summer Internship 2013

April 11, 2013 | By |

IMPACT-Logo

Founded by a group of emerging leaders in 2006, IMPACT is an organization whose purpose is to: (1) enhance knowledge of the political and legislative processes; (2) foster civic engagement, and; (3) enhance economic empowerment opportunities for other emerging leaders, ages 21 to 40. Whether these leaders have joined corporate America, became CEOs of their own companies, worked on Capitol Hill, lead non-profits, or are officials elected to lead their cities, states, or our Nation to greatness – the mission of IMPACT is to strategically link these leaders with one another to help in accomplishing their goals.  To that end, our primary means of accomplishing this mission is to host a range of events catering to young professionals including forums,workshops, receptions and galas.

IMPACT partners with businesses, organizations, and high-powered leaders to host candidates’ forums, roundtable discussions, lecture series, workshops, and strategic networking events. Some of the events we have hosted in the past include forums at the Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, panel discussions at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions of 2012 and work with various organizations to help people become and stay #VoteReady.


IMPACT is currently in the process of interviewing for Summer Interns.

Interns are expected to blog for our website, assist with Expansion and Development ideas, research various topics, like community service ideas and civic engagement organizations, and ensure that IMPACT has proper support for our events.  Because IMPACT does not have an office, we communicate via email on the daily bases.  With that, the time commitment is usually between 10-15 hours a week.

Necessary skills include, but are not limited to:

  • Completing assigned tasks within time allotted.
  • Completing tasks with minimum supervision.
  • Ability to be responsive and engaged with the Staff.
  • Interest in personal growth and willingness to step outside of one’s comfort zone.
  • Clerical skills.
  • Interest in and experience with social media campaigns.

 To Apply: Email Krystal.Leaphart@impact-dc.com an updated resume, cover letter and two 500 word writing samples.  The deadline for these applications is close of business April 30, 2013.  Interviews will be scheduled with qualified applicants.

11 Apr

By

Summer Interns 2013

April 11, 2013 | By |

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Founded by a group of emerging leaders in 2006, IMPACT is an organization whose purpose is to: (1) enhance knowledge of the political and legislative processes; (2) foster civic engagement, and; (3) enhance economic empowerment opportunities for other emerging leaders, ages 21 to 40. Whether these leaders have joined corporate America, became CEOs of their own companies, worked on Capitol Hill, lead non-profits, or are officials elected to lead their cities, states, or our Nation to greatness – the mission of IMPACT is to strategically link these leaders with one another to help in accomplishing their goals.  To that end, our primary means of accomplishing this mission is to host a range of events catering to young professionals including forums,workshops, receptions and galas.

IMPACT partners with businesses, organizations, and high-powered leaders to host candidates’ forums, roundtable discussions, lecture series, workshops, and strategic networking events. Some of the events we have hosted in the past include forums at the Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, panel discussions at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions of 2012 and work with various organizations to help people become and stay #VoteReady.


IMPACT is currently in the process of interviewing for Summer Interns.

Interns are expected to blog for our website, assist with Expansion and Development ideas, research various topics, like community service ideas and civic engagement organizations, and ensure that IMPACT has proper support for our events.  Because IMPACT does not have an office, we communicate via email on the daily bases.  With that, the time commitment is usually between 10-15 hours a week.

Necessary skills include, but are not limited to:

  • Completing assigned tasks within time allotted.
  • Completing tasks with minimum supervision.
  • Ability to be responsive and engaged with the Staff.
  • Interest in personal growth and willingness to step outside of one’s comfort zone.
  • Clerical skills.
  • Interest in and experience with social media campaigns.

 To Apply: Email Krystal.Leaphart@impact-dc.com an updated resume, cover letter and two 500 word writing samples.  The deadline for these applications is close of business April 30, 2013.  Interviews will be scheduled with qualified applicants.

01 Feb

By

IL: Marvin Bing

February 1, 2013 | By |

Marvin Bing

Congratulations to our February 2013 IMPACT Leader of the Month, Marvin Bing.

Going from foster care, the Juvenile Justice System Marvin Bing has truly been grounded on the ideology of “It takes a village to raise a child.”

During the 1980’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the only thing promised to a baby born into statistical margins is a life of crime, an unsatisfactory education, and projected failure. Nobody would have placed a child born into the epitome of “hell on earth” to be the future New York State Director for the One Nation Working Together Coalition that was held in Washington, DC in 2010, and one of the Lead Organizers for the End Stop and Frisk March that put 75,000 people in the streets of New York to protest the NYPD Stop and Frisk practices.

Marvin would spend his entire childhood in the foster care system going from home to home and eventually, due to his own actions, ended up in the juvenile justice system at the age of 14. It wasn’t until 2001 upon release from his third bout with juvenile detention, that Marvin understood even in the midst of his unfortunate reality that he was called to a greater mission: to reach back and make sure no one he encountered would have to endure the same trials he experienced.

After graduating from Summit Academy in Herman, PA with honors, Marvin followed his redirected dreams and quenched his thirst through his active involvement with the Children’s Defense Fund and the Young Democrats.  Now in his late-20s the Harlem, New York resident is taking his tragic experiences turned beautiful life change as well as his love for community, belief in human potential, and his passion for the disenfranchised, and is using the sum total of his experiences as a tool to invest in himself.  In 2010, Marvin was given The Guiding Light in The Community Award named after Philadelphia Former Congressman Lucien Blackwell by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.  He was also presented with a City Council Citation of outstanding citizenship from New York Councilwoman Inez Dickens.  In 2010, he was also named by City Hall News as a person under 40 to watch in New York City Politics.

Marvin is currently attending New York University studying Film and Media Studies to finish his undergraduate degree.  The son of so-called failures builds his life on the principles of community enhancement, through strategic initiatives in the areas of political accountability, urban development, social economics, education, and social development. Marvin Bing continues to beat the statistics. He was born an exception.

INTERVIEW | Getting to Know Marvin Bing

What inspired you pursue a career in advocacy and organizing?

My path to this work was through personal trauma, maybe more mental and emotional. I lost my mother when I was two years old, and my Father was in jail most of my life. I grew up in the foster care system, and juvenile justice system. I would see all these young brilliant minds trapped in a state of trauma and only acted out because they wanted someone to listen and help them understand their situation. At the point when I was being released from my third juvenile placement, I made a conscience decision that instead of adding to the problem and statistics — that I would commit the rest of my life fighting against injustice, fighting for people who made mistakes and needed a second chance, fighting for equality amongst all people (young, elderly, LGBT, women, all people of color, workers, and anyone who wanted a fair chance at a decent and productive life that needed an extra push when they gave up on themselves).

What is the key to balancing your professional, philanthropic and social commitments?

The funny thing is that in my work and my life everything is encompassed around all these things. In everything I do professionally, I try to figure out a way to give back and keep my social promise to the people that are being disenfranchised. I think it’s hard to separate, and the more you keep them intertwined, the better organizer you will be.

What is the biggest mistake young professionals make, especially when pursuing careers in advocacy and organizing?

I think there are three. The first mistake young people make is the idea that they can’t make mistakes. Mistakes are the building blocks of greatness. Second, some young people get into organizing with the wrong intent. Sometimes the people who live to serve the public become celebrities and a lot of people see them as that instead of public servants who serve the people. Third, many young organizers come into this work wanting to be a leader before they know how to follow. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will your career in social justice or politics.

What advice would you give other young professionals who desire to excel, especially young men of color?

Believe in yourself even when others won’t, keep pursuing education, always outwork your idols, and don’t think being a person of color is a disadvantage.

What’s been the best experience of your career thus far or the most rewarding?

I think the best reward and experience in my career was meeting Bill Lynch. I was always active as an adult but once I met Bill, he gave me the confidence, the support, the knowledge, the history, and the opportunity to pursue whatever I wanted to pursue. He became a father to me and always gave me the backbone to believe in my dreams and what I wanted to accomplish for the people I cared about. Mentors who really care are a rare commodity these days, and Bill even when he was frustrated never turned his back on me, and always used my mistakes as a way to teach me to be better.

What’s next for you in your career? What should we look out for?

Every day there is an injustice happening and every day there is legislation being introduced to hurt or setback a group of people. I will continue to organize against attacks on voting rights, union rights, LGBT rights, women’s rights, and inequality in employment and wages. You should look out for the 50th Commemorative March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, as well as more advocacy work around foster care youth and young people in the juvenile justice system.

What is your Twitter Handle? What email address can people use to reach you?

You can reach me on twitter at @MarvinBing or simply email mbingjr@gmail.com.

16 Jan

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IMPACT HOSTS SUCCESSFUL INAUGURATION EVENTS

January 16, 2013 | By |

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sarah Misailidis
Phone:  (202) 643-1340
Email:
Editor@IMPACT-dc.com

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – From Friday, January 18, 2013 through Sunday, January 20, 2013, IMPACT hosted several events during the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

The Inauguration of President Barack Obama was an opportunity for our nation to not only celebrate four years of progress, but also look forward to the president’s second term. For young professionals, the second term of President Obama offers another opportunity to further invest in programs and strategies designed to improve the lives of individuals and communities that have been historically neglected.

With that in mind, during Inauguration 2013, IMPACT hosted a suite of events to ensure that young professionals stay politically involved, engaged, and economically empowered.

IMPACT’s 2013 Inauguration events included:

  • Honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through service on the National Mall – Saturday, January 19, 2013;
  • 2013 Politicos & Influencers: An IMPACT Jazz Brunch (Ticketed event) – Sunday, January 20, 2013; and,
  • Hip Hop Ball II – A Gala for Young Professionals (Ticketed event)  - Sunday, January 20, 2013.

Our events allowed for friends and supporters of IMPACT to network and celebrate with other young professionals as well as elected officials, community leaders, and entrepreneurs during the Inaugural Weekend of President Barack Obama.

Quick Highlights:

On Saturday, January 19 from 9 am – 12 noon ET, IMPACT participated in honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by hosting an event during the MLK Day of Service. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined IMPACT in greeting more than one hundred volunteers at the MLK Memorial all gathered to beautify the area surrounding the memorial.

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On Sunday, January 20 from 1 pm – 3 pm ET, IMPACT hosted an Inaugural Jazz Brunch honoring “Champions of Change.” These “Champions of Change” are individuals who give their time and talent to improve the lives of individuals and communities, and we were excited to recognize their accomplishments. Distinguished guests at the event included: Congressman Andre Carson (IL), Civil Rights activist and labor leader Dolores Huerta, Louisiana State Representative Ted James, and Florida State Representative Alan Williams.

 
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Later that evening, from 9 pm – 2 am ET, IMPACT co-hosted  the Hip Hop Ball II, along with Russell Simmons’s Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, at the the Harman Center in Washington, DC. Celebrity guests at the event included: Angela Simmons, Lala, 2 Chainz, Tyson Beckford, Terrence J, Swizz Beats, John Legend, and Kevin Liles among others.

Video footage is available upon request. Additional official photos from these events are also be available upon request. Photos courtesy of Chris Thomas/Imagine Photography and Andrew Mangum/Andrew Mangum Photography.

For more information, check the #IMPACTInauguration hashtag on Twitter.

IMPACT (@teamIMPACT) 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.

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17 Dec

By

IMPACT Your World… Winter 2012/2013

December 17, 2012 | By |

December 17, 2012

In this quarter’s newsletter, IMPACT focuses on health and wellness issues. From HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness during AIDS Awareness Month in December to  addressing the relationship between obesity and food insecurity throughout the year, these select contributors give you their take on health issues plaguing minority communities.

In this issue, Omonigho Ufomata makes a striking analogy between the popularity of hip-hop and the use of condoms. Omonigho questions stark statistics, which show African-Americans still bearing the brunt of the AIDS/HIV pandemic. Eyang Garrison argues that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps combat hunger and obesity in lower-income families. With the looming fiscal cliff and other economic challenges facing the country, many social programs face potential cuts; Eyang believes that means trouble for Americans as they continue to work to curb hunger and obesity. Dr. Rani G. Whitfield, also known as “The Hip Hop Doc,” paints a picture of an HIV/AIDS-free world—a world where patients with HIV can live “normal” lives. Whitfield explains how education and public policies can make an huge IMPACT to eliminate this pandemic.   Finally, Larissa J. Estes uses interactive maps in her piece to illustrate the fight against HIV/AIDS. She highlights www.AIDSVu.org  an accessible detailed map, which shows where the highest HIV rates are–calling attention to areas in the United States where treatment and prevention is needed.

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Condoms & You: Partners in the fight
By: Omonigho Ufomata

We are the hip-hop generation—and by most standards—the most informed generation, with the greatest resources.  But are we the lost generation in the fight against HIV/AIDS? We don’t have to be.

The 1980s was the decade of hip-hop; LL Cool J, Biz Markie, Dougie E. Fresh, NWA and other groups gave us a new genre of music that would forever define our culture. The ‘80s was also a time when a new disease appeared that would go on to kill millions of people across the planet.  Since the first reported case of HIV/AIDS 31 years ago, AIDS has killed more than 33 million people globally.

HIV/AIDS  has both progressed in its strains and reach as a global pandemic, but today, we have more tools than ever to prevent and manage the disease. So why do young people age 17-39 make up the highest rate of infected persons in the United States with African Americans bearing the highest burden of infected persons?

According to the CDC, the keeper of AIDS statistics in the United States, 50,000 new infections were recorded in 2010.  When those numbers are analyzed according to race, the CDC accounts for blacks at an estimated 44 percent of those infected in spite of accounting for only 14 percent of the U.S. population.http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/us.htm

We should be unsettled by these numbers. We have the information we need to fight this disease.  HIV spreads primarily through sexual intercourse and we know that condoms are 95 percent effective at preventing HIV transmission when used properly. The reality of our generation is that we are having sexual intercourse and there is no excuse for not using a condom every time. The myths about size, tear and functionality are hindering our ability to fight HIV/AIDS and negotiate our sexual health.  The most important player in the fight against HIV/AIDS is YOU.  By making condom use a regular practice regardless of whether we are in monogamous relationships means we are taking responsibility not only for ourselves but our partners too.

Routine HIV testing should be as commonplace as getting a physical, but should occur more often – every three months rather than annually.  Our generation is not the lost generation in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  It is our personal responsibility to make condoms and testing as mainstream as the hip-hop sounds that dominate the airwaves and radio.

Omonigho Ufomata serves as Director of Global Advocacy & Policy with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation; the nation’s largest non-profit provider of HIV care.  She advocates for better policies around condom distribution; testing, treatment and care for people living with HIV/AIDS through AHF’s programs in 26 countries around the world.  Previously, Ms. Ufomata served as the Director of the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (OAA).   Ms. Ufomata has also worked in the government affairs practice at K&L Gates, LLP and as a legislative staffer for Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) and later with the House Ways and Means Committee, Democratic Staff. Ms. Ufomata received a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Kentucky State University and M.P.A. from The George Washington University.  Born in England, Ms. Ufomata is a native of Nigeria; and resides in Washington, DC.  

SNAP Out Of It
By: Eyang Garrison

Hunger and obesity are serious problems affecting millions of children and adults in the United States with food insecurity and poverty at the most fundamental levels. In 2010,  more than 48 million Americans were struggling against hunger and more than 60 million people were living in poverty. Since the 1970s, obesity rates have more than doubled in adults and children.

While it may seem counterintuitive, hunger and obesity can coexist within the same family and community. Research shows that low-income and food insecure populations are especially vulnerable to obesity due to risk factors directly associated with poverty. One of these risk factors is the absence of full service grocery stores in urban and rural areas, also known as “food deserts.”  According to a 2009 USDA report to Congress, 23.5 million people in the U.S. are living in low-income areas that are more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store. Additional risk factors for obesity among low-income and food insecure populations include a lack of opportunity for physical activity, limited access to health care, and high levels of stress. As a result, vulnerable families (often minority populations) are at a greater disadvantage than their higher income counterparts.

We can see some of these disparities in recent data. Hispanics (10.4 percent) and African Americans (9.5 percent) report considerably higher rates of inadequate access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables compared to Whites (7.5 percent), according to FRAC’s A Half Empty Plate: Fruit and Vegetable Affordability and Access Challenges in America. National data finds that African-American women (82.1 percent) and Hispanic women (75.7 percent) have higher rates of being overweight or obese compared to White women (59.5 percent). In 2010, USDA data found that African-American households (25.1 percent) experienced food insecurity at rates more than the national average (14.5 percent).

Participation in federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the new name for the federal Food Stamp Program, plays a critical role in reducing hunger and obesity by improving dietary intake. For instance, USDA researchers found that the boost to SNAP benefits included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) improved the food security of millions of low-income people. SNAP also has economic benefits. The United States Census Bureau found that SNAP lifted 3.9 million Americans above the poverty line in 2010, including 1.7 million children and 280,000 seniors. And according to the USDA, every dollar in new federally-funded SNAP benefits generates up to $1.80 in economic activity.

It is clear that the program is working, yet some in Congress are trying to make harsh cuts to SNAP. The U.S. Senate’s plan for the House Agriculture Committee Farm bill includes a cut of $4.4 billion over 10 years to the program, a proposal that would trigger sizable reductions (averaging $90/month) in SNAP benefits for an estimated 500,000 households a year. The farm bill would make these same cuts and eventually end benefits completely for at least 1.8 million people, cutting the program by $16 billion. These cuts would particularly harm seniors, children and working families.

To learn more about what you can do to help protect and strengthen SNAP, visit FRAC’s Legislative Action Center.

Eyang Garrison is the school breakfast associate at the Food Research and Action Center. She works in targeted states, school districts, and schools in collaboration with national and local anti-hunger organizations to increase the number of children participating in school breakfast and the number of schools offering breakfast in the classroom free to all students. Before joining FRAC, she worked as a legislative assistant for Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI). During her work on Capitol Hill, she worked to expand the School Breakfast Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and to provide low-income families with greater access to federal assistance programs including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. In 2012, she received the “Friend of WIC Award” from the National WIC Association for her contributions in support of the WIC program. She earned a BS in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma.

The End of HIV
By: Rani G. Whitfield, M.D.

I’ve read several articles this year that discussed a possible cure for HIV/AIDS. The 2012 International AIDS Conference held in Washington DC had a “positive” theme: An HIV/AIDS-free generation. Treatment options for HIV/AIDS patients have improved significantly during the last 30 years.  The possibility of a vaccine to prevent transmission of the virus looks better, and stem cell transplants may one day provide a cure for some. Are we closer to finding a cure? Could we really end this pandemic?

HIV/AIDS remains is still one of world’s most serious health challenges. In 2011, an estimated 34.2 million people worldwide had HIV–this is up 18 percent compared to 28.9 million who were living with HIV in 2001. There were more than two million new infections in 2011, which included an roughly 330,000 children.

Globally, more than eight million people had access to antiretroviral therapy, an increase of 20 percent from 2010. A year’s supply of antiretroviral therapy costs less than $100 per person per year for the least expensive regimen, which was recommended by the United Nations Programme on AIDS. And just think, in the year 2000, the price tag was more than $10,000.

There’s no doubt medical advances have allowed us to glimpse the possibility of a world free of HIV/AIDS, but statistics still reveal alarming disparities among people living with HIV/AIDS.

There is a huge disparity among men who have sex with men (MSM). The disparity among young black MSM compared to other MSM cannot be explained by drastic differences in behavior. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other studies have dispelled the myths that black men have a greater number of sexual partners, engage in riskier sexual activity, and have higher rates of drug use than white MSM.

However, a young black MSM’s risk of contracting HIV in his lifetime is exponentially higher. The need and urgency to do research, educate, test, and treat, is heightened by these findings, but the resources, community, and public policy must be there to implement such an approach.

Despite medical advances, exclusively relying on drugs, vaccines, and stem cells will not rid the world of HIV/AIDS. HIV prevention, to be effective, must be inclusive of education, behavioral strategies, and access to quality affordable health care. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 along with the Affordable Care Act will be key sources of funding and support for health and social services for patients with HIV/AIDS.

Are we closer to the end? Yes, closer than we have ever been before, but we have a long way to go as long as specific populations continue to suffer and die from HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Rani Whitfield is a board certified family practice and sports medicine physician practicing in Baton Rouge, LA. He is a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association and medical director for the National Association of Free Clinics. He is affectionately known as Tha Hip Hop Doc. Visit his website at www.h2doc.com and/or follow him on twitter @ThaHipHopDoc.

Online Tools Vital in HIV/AIDS Comprehension
By: Larissa J. Estes, DrPH

Healthy People 2020 and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy challenges researchers, healthcare providers, and advocates to increase the number of people aged 13 and older living with HIV who know their serostatus from 80.6 percent in 2006 to 90 percent by 2020 (CDC, 2012).  Though the percentage of people who know their HIV status has increased, we must implement strategies to meet these nationally established goals.  Accurate and timely data is necessary for researchers, healthcare providers, and advocates to better understand populations at risk for HIV infection, implement targeted strategies, and move towards meeting national goals for HIV prevention.

As of 2012, 1.2 million in the United States are living with HIV, and 1 out of 5 are unaware of their HIV positive status (CDC, 2012), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .  Approximately 50,000 Americans are infected with HIV each year (CDC, 2012).  African-Americans carry the heaviest burden of HIV.  In 2009, African-Americans represented 14 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for about 44 percent of new HIV infections (CDC, 2012).

On June 1, 2011, the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University launched AIDSVu (www.AIDSVu.org) to increase accessibility to accurate and timely data on HIV prevalence.  This free, interactive online mapping tool pinpoints the areas of the U.S. where HIV prevalence rates are the highest and identifies areas that urgently need prevention, testing and treatment services.  AIDSVu displays data at the national, state, and local levels and by different demographic indicators (e.g. age, race, and sex). Figure 1 shows the concentration of rates of HIV diagnosis in metropolitan and rural areas, and in northeast and southern states.

The 2012 update to AIDSVu adds social determinants of health indicators (e.g. income, insurance coverage, and education) comparison feature.  Not only does AIDSVu make the prevalence data readily accessible, it also provides local, geographically mapped information on HIV testing and treatment locations.  Knowing where the burden of disease lies helps prevention researchers, clinicians and advocates understand where to focus resources.  The ability to view not only accurate data but also the location of HIV testing and treatment locations gives individuals the opportunity to visually understand the impact and state of HIV on specific communities, spread the word, and get tested.

Acknowledgements:  Marcia Wolverton, HIV/STD Program Manager, Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Surveillance and Public Health Preparedness; Biru Yang, Epidemiologist/Biostatistician, Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Surveillance and Public Health Preparedness

References:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV in the United States: At A Glance.  http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/us.htm.pdf. Published March 2012. Accessed June 29, 2012.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators: Objective HIV -13: Proportion of Persons Living with HIV Who Know Their Serostatus.  http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/PDF/LHI-Factsheet-FINAL-6-26-12.pdf. Published June 2012. Accessed June 29, 2012.

Larissa J. Estes, DrPH is a native of Portland, Oregon. She received her B.S. in Athletic Training from Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA) and M.P.H. in Family and Child Health from The University of Arizona College of Public Health (Tucson, AZ) in 2003 and 2005, respectively. She served as the Vince L. Hutchins Fellow in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Office of Women’s Health from 2005 – 2007. Dr. Estes received her Dr.P.H. in Management, Policy and Community Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center – Houston School of Public Health. Dr. Estes is currently the Performance Improvement Manager and Accreditation Coordinator for the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Surveillance and Public Health Preparedness. Dr. Estes is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc and the Ivy League Educational & Charities Foundation (Houston, TX).

10 Dec

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December 2012 – HIV/AIDS Awareness Month Spotlight: The End of HIV

December 10, 2012 | By |

By: Rani G. Whitfield, M.D.
The Hip Hop Doc

December 1st was HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and marks the beginning of HIV/AIDS awareness month. Many events will be going on around the country to raise awareness about this dreaded disease. I’ve read several articles this year that talked about the potential end to this epidemic. The 2012 International AIDS Conference held in Washington DC this year had a “positive” theme of an AIDS free generation and not without good reason. Treatment options for HIV/AIDS patients have improved significantly over the last 30 years, the possibility of a vaccine to prevent transmission of the virus looks better, and stem cell transplants may one day provide a cure for some. But is a true end for an epidemic that has killed so many really in sight?

HIV/AIDS remains one of the world’s most serious health challenges. An estimated 34.2 million people worldwide had HIV in 2011. This is up 18 percent compared to 2001 when 28.9 million were living with HIV. There were 2.5 million new infections in 2011 which included an estimated 330,000 children. Globally, more than 8 million people had access to antiretroviral therapy, an increase of 20 percent from 2010.

Notably a year’s supply of antiretroviral therapy cost less than $100 per person per year for the least expensive regimen recommended by the United Nations Progamme on AIDS (UNAIDS). In 2000, it cost more than $10,000.

There continues, however, to be a huge disparity among men who have sex with men (MSM). The disparity among young black MSM compared to other MSM cannot be explained by drastic differences in behavior. The CDC and other studies have dispelled the myths that black men have a greater number of sexual partners, engage in riskier sexual activity, and have higher rates of drug use than white MSM.

However, a young black MSM’s risk of contracting HIV in his lifetime is exponentially higher. The need and urgency to do research, educate, test, and treat, is heightened by these findings, but the resources, community, and public policy must be there to implement such an approach.

Despite medical advances, exclusively relying on drugs, vaccines, and stem cells will not rid the world of HIV/AIDS. HIV prevention to be effective must be inclusive of education, behavioral strategies, and access to quality affordable health care. The Ryan White CARE HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 along with the Affordable Care Act will be key sources of funding and support for health and social services for patients with HIV/AIDS.

Are we closer to the end? Yes closer than we have ever been before, but we have a long way to go as long as specific populations continue to suffer and die to this 100% preventable disease.

Dr. Rani Whitfield is a board certified family practice and sports medicine physician practicing in Baton Rouge, LA. He is a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association and medical director for the National Association of Free Clinics. He is affectionately known as Tha Hip Hop Doc. Visit his website at www.h2doc.com and/or follow him on twitter @ThaHipHopDoc.

06 Nov

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IMPACT Releases #VoteReady Report on African American Access to the Polls

November 6, 2012 | By |

Research Highlights Reduced Opportunity for Political Inclusion in 2012 and Beyond

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of Election Day tomorrow, IMPACT releases the report: #VoteReady: African American Voter Access and Reduced Opportunity for Political Involvement 2012 (click here for report) as part of its #VoteReady movement. Specifically, the report analyzes findings from research on voter identification legislation, population growth, and the influence of geography on political participation, focusing on Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida. The purpose of the report is to help political organizers and policy makers target politically vulnerable African Americans who face practical voting obstacles due to geography, i.e. reduced opportunity voters (ROVs), and the lack of photo identification (ID) in 2012 and beyond.

“Even in 2012, people of color are still faced with formidable hurdles when it comes to political participation,” said IMPACT Director Angela Rye. “It is our hope that this report highlights the deficiencies in voting access in order to spur the change we so desperately need for parity in the electoral process.”

Voter ID laws are a reality that will impact future elections in states in which they have been enacted. As such, not possessing a photo ID coupled with the lack of access to a DMV office demonstrates how overly cumbersome it is for citizens to be politically involved with voter ID requirements.

Major findings from this study include:

  • Approximately 367,000 African American voting age citizens will have their opportunity to vote reduced based on Florida’s requirement that voters show photo identification or some other form of ID that displays a signature.
  • If Pennsylvania’s voter ID law is enacted for future elections, 115,000 African American voting age citizens will have their opportunity to vote reduced based on the state’s voter ID law.
  • Overall, in Pennsylvania and Florida, there are 482,000 African American voting age citizens will have their opportunity to vote reduced.
  • In Florida, African American voter growth rates rose at almost twice the rate of their White counterparts between the 2000 and the 2004 Presidential election, i.e. 34% to 19%, compared to 2004 to 2008, which was twenty times that of their White counterparts, i.e. 21% to 1%, respectively.
  • Most importantly, there is no clear method to determine the large potential impact on states’ introduction and enactment of voter ID laws. Therefore, IMPACT recommends that states continue to make voting easy, fair, and accessible.

IMPACT launched the #VoteReady movement in August 2012 to help answer three questions:

  • Am I prepared to vote;
  • Am I registered to vote;
  • Where do I cast my vote?

IMPACT’s goal is to prepare, engage, and educate youth and young professionals to ensure American citizens are equipped and prepared to go to the polls tomorrow, Tuesday, November 6, 2012. As witnessed by this report, #VoteReady will also increase voter education and engagement among those who are disproportionately affected by recently enacted voter identification laws.

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 or follow @teamIMPACT.

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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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