March 30, 2015

Believe in Ohio Prepares High School Students for the Future

Believe in Ohio is a free new program from the Ohio Academy of Science that helps high school students prepare for the future. The program was developed in collaboration with Entrepreneurial Engagement Ohio with the support of the Ohio Board of Regents and the Ohio General Assembly.

Believe in Ohio is the only statewide Ohio student STEM education program to integrate entrepreneurship and innovation as pathways to create future jobs. The program helps prepare students to become “competitors” in Ohio's innovation economy of the future and to be part of Ohio's next generation of innovators who will create the new product services and jobs of the future through the application of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Ohio was once one of the most innovative, entrepreneurial and prosperous states in the Nation, however, over the last 40 years it lost its way along with hundreds of thousands of good jobs. Unlike other states, Ohio confronted the problem and created the Ohio Third Frontier, which has been the catalyst for the creation of Ohio's Innovation Economy of the Future.

Regrettably, however, few Ohio students know that Ohio’s Innovation Economy includes dozens of venture development organizations and incubators, and many of the nation’s leading research universities and other research and development programs. Thus, one of the principal goals of the Believe in Ohio program is to tell students that “It’s Time to Believe in Ohio Again” and that Ohio is a good place for them to create their future.

Believe in Ohio helps students understand the challenge and opportunity the future presents and how to prepare for it through STEM forums, virtual field trips and online courses into Ohio's Innovation Economy of the future. It also helps students develop the critical thinking skills they will need later in life.

Believe in Ohio helps students understand the importance of a STEM education and entrepreneurial mindset if they are to become competitors in Ohio's Innovation Economy of the future. It does this through engagement with STEM and entrepreneurial experts and mentors, and participation in STEM Commercialization Plan and STEM Business Plan competitions in which students compete for nearly one million dollars in cash awards and scholarships. The program inspires students to pursue their education and careers in Ohio by introducing them to Ohio's R&D and entrepreneurial ecosystem that offers great opportunities for them to create their future.

To find out more about the Believe in Ohio program, visit our website at or call The Ohio Academy of Science at 614-914-5095.

March 27, 2015

Believe in Ohio Program to Establish Urban STEM Network

As part of its “All Hands on Deck” Inclusive Competitiveness strategy to reach all Ohio high school students, the Believe in Ohio (BiO) program of The Ohio Academy of Science today launched a statewide campaign to create the Urban STEM Mentor Network. Inclusive Competitiveness is an interdisciplinary framework of policies, strategies, practices and metrics to improve the performance of underrepresented Americans in the Innovation Economy.

The Urban STEM Mentor Network will support Ohio’s next generation of innovators to create new products, services and jobs through the application of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). BiO is the only statewide Ohio student education program to integrate entrepreneurship and innovation as pathways to job-creation.

Based on the principle of “Each One Teach One,” over the next six months, beginning in Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati, the BiO Urban STEM Mentor Network campaign will recruit mentors from African American, Hispanic and other STEM business professionals and entrepreneurs, educators and college and university students. The goal is to increase dramatically the number of mentors in Ohio’s urban areas for the 2015-2016 school year.
Dr. Julian Earls
If our state and country are going to continue to be prosperous, then all parts of our society need opportunities to become innovators and competitors in today’s Innovation Economy, including youth in Ohio’s urban areas,” said Dr. Julian M. Earls, Retired Director of NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland and lifelong mentor and advocate for minority STEM education.

For that to happen, however, we need accomplished African Americans, Hispanics and others in STEM from all over Ohio to serve as inspirational role models and mentors for our urban youth,” continued Dr. Earls, who is also President of Entrepreneurial Engagement Ohio, the collaborative partner with The Ohio Academy of Science of Ohio in the development of the Believe in Ohio program. “Students can be successful when they see people ‘who look like them’ who have made successes of themselves and are willing to help them.”

For the sake of our children, their children, and our state, it is critical that this initiative be successful. To that end, we have assembled an extraordinary leadership team of community leaders to galvanize support across the state,” added Dr. Earls.

Mr. Johnathan Holifield ( is overall statewide director and coordinator for Believe in Ohio’s Urban STEM Mentor Network and served as subject matter expert for the Ohio Board of Regents Subcommittee on Inclusive Competitiveness. Mr. Holifield helped develop the BiO program and is a nationally recognized leader of Inclusive Competitiveness. He was founding Executive Director of CincyTech in Cincinnati, former Vice President for Inclusive Competitiveness at NorTech in Cleveland, and a founding partner of Scale Up Partners, a national Inclusive Competitiveness consultancy.

Ms. Mary McWilliams ( is the Columbus Metro Inclusive Competitiveness Coordinator for Believe in Ohio’s Urban STEM Mentor Network. Ms. McWilliams is Electronics Engineer Team Leader for the Defense Logistics Agency of the Department of Defense, and Chair-Elect of the Professional Executive Board of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Mr. Wayne Hicks ( is the Cincinnati Metro Inclusive Competitiveness Coordinator for Believe in Ohio’s Urban STEM Mentor Network. Mr. Hicks is Executive Director of the Black Data Processing Associate Education & Technology Foundation, and the owner of Hicks Enterprises consulting firm in Cincinnati.

Dr. Bilal Bomani ( is Cleveland Metro Inclusive Competiveness Coordinator for Believe in Ohio’s Urban STEM Mentor Network. Dr. Bomani is a Senior Research Scientist whose work has been featured in a TED talk.  He is Vice President of the National Technical Association – Cleveland Chapter that focuses on STEM opportunities in the Cleveland, Ohio area.

Click here to see the full bios and photos of these coordinators.
    Throughout my professional life, in the spirit of “Each One Teach One”, I have reached out at every opportunity to young people to encourage and mentor them to pursue careers in Science and Technology”, stated Dr. Earls. “Now, I am calling on my younger peers to do the same.”
    The Ohio Academy of Science and Entrepreneurial Engagement Ohio developed the program entitled Believe In Ohio, A STEM Bridge to Ohio’s Innovation Economy of the Future, with support from The Ohio General Assembly and The Ohio Board of Regents. More information is available at

    March 21, 2015

    Taser Death: David Werblow (Branford, CT)

    Unidentified Branford Police Department officers used their tasers to kill an unarmed 41-year old man, David Werblow, in front of his home on March 15. [SOURCE]  Werblow's neighbors indicate that he was tased by police at least three times.

    Police arrived at the scene as a result of a 911 call earlier in the evening reporting a disturbance at this residence. When they arrived Werblow was walking down the street of his neighborhood. There is no indication that anyone was in harm's way. The victim was unarmed. After the tasers were used the police placed him in handcuffs ... he was pronounced at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

    The American Civil Liberties Union said in 2014 that since 2005 at least 14 people have died in the state after police deployed a Taser stun gun on them.

    The ACLU released a statement on Monday regarding the Branford incident, saying while they don’t have any details on the incident, it “reinforces the need for oversight mechanisms associated with Tasers.” The release said the organization will seek any available video and documentary evidence as well as accounts of what happened.

    February 13, 2015

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    January 19, 2015

    OURstory: Martin Luther King Day

    Today's date is significant because it is Martin Luther King Day. The official holiday, on the third Monday of January, began in 1986. It was the first new American holiday since 1948, when Memorial Day was created as a "prayer for peace" day. Also it was only the second national holiday in the twentieth century (the other was Veterans Day, created as Armistice Day in 1926 to honor those who died in World War I). King is the only American besides George Washington to have a national holiday designated for his birthday (those of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee and others are celebrated in some states but not nationwide).

    Internationally, King is one of the few social leaders of any country to be honored with a holiday (Mahatma Gandhi's birthday is observed in India).

    In honor of this date ... Martin Luther King Day ... we have the text of his speech I have a Dream. This speech by King was delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.

    "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

    But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

    In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

    So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.

    Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold, which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.

    We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our White brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back.

    There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

    I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

    I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

    I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little Black boys and Black girls will be able to join hands with little White boys and White girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.

    I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

    And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi.

    From every mountainside, let freedom ring. When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

    Sometimes I worry that Martin Luther King's legacy has been reduced by many of us to this speech. Please share your village voice about MLK ... without referring to this speech. What other aspect of his life and legacy do you think is important for us to consider on this date?

    January 18, 2015

    OURstory: Lynching in America

    Some of the most graphic photographs that I've ever seen in my life contained the images of Black men people being lynched. Collector James Allen uncovered an extraordinary visual legacy: photographs and postcards taken as souvenirs at lynchings throughout America. He published these photographs in his book Without Sanctuary. You can experience the images as a flash movie with narrative comments by James Allen, or as a gallery of photos. Please be aware before entering the site that much of the material is very graphic and very disturbing.

    African Americans suffered grievously under lynch law. With the close of Reconstruction in the late 1870s, southern whites were determined to end northern and Black participation in the region's affairs, and northerners exhibited a growing indifference toward the civil rights of Black Americans. Taking its cue from this inter-sectional white harmony, the federal government abandoned its oversight of constitutional protections. Southern and border states responded with the Jim Crow laws of the 1890s, and white mobs flourished.

    With Blacks barred from voting, public office, and jury service, officials felt no obligation to respect minority interests or safeguard minority lives. In addition to lynchings of individuals, dozens of race riots--with Blacks as victims--scarred the national landscape from Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898 to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921.

    Between 1882 (when reliable statistics were first collected) and 1968 (when the classic forms of lynching had disappeared), 4,743 persons died of lynching, 3,446 of them Black men and women. Mississippi (539 Black victims, 42 white) led this grim parade of death, followed by Georgia (492, 39), Texas (352, 141), Louisiana (335, 56), and Alabama (299, 48). From 1882 to 1901, the annual number nationally usually exceeded 100; 1892 had a record 230 deaths (161 Black, 69 white).

    Although lynchings declined somewhat in the twentieth century, there were still 97 in 1908 (89 Black, 8 white), 83 in the racially troubled postwar year of 1919 (76, 7, plus some 25 race riots), 30 in 1926 (23, 7), and 28 in 1933 (24, 4). Sadly, we still see signs that racial demons can reared their head in 2007.

    Statistics do not tell the entire story. These were recorded lynchings; others were never reported beyond the community involved. Furthermore, mobs used especially sadistic tactics when Blacks were the prime targets. By the 1890s lynchers increasingly employed burning, torture, and dismemberment to prolong suffering and excite a "festive atmosphere" among the killers and onlookers. White families brought small children to watch, newspapers sometimes carried advance notices, railroad agents sold excursion tickets to announced lynching sites, and mobs cut off Black victims' fingers, toes, ears, or genitalia as souvenirs.

    Nor was it necessarily the handiwork of a local rabble; not infrequently, the mob was encouraged or led by people prominent in the area's political and business circles. Lynching had become a ritual of interracial social control and recreation rather than simply a punishment for crime.

    Recently lynching has come to have a contemporary informal use as a label for social vilification, particularly in the media, and particularly of African Americans. However, I recall that even the Don Imus situation resulted in headlines using the word 'lynching'.

    I hope that we never use the terminology as loosely here in the Afrosphere.

    NOTE:  This was originally posted on this blog in May 2007.
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    January 5, 2015

    Happy Birthday: Kappa Alpha Psi (1911)

    My father and grandfather were both Nupes. Neither of them are with us today. However, I think that they would be pleased to know that their fraternity ... Kappa Alpha Psi ... is celebrating its 104th birthday today.

    Do you have any Nupes in your family? If so, call 'em up and say Happy Birthday!
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