June 19, 2024

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “The goal of winning a championship – how to do it together. So, when you’re managing people, it’s’ about giving them a vision and a goal and ensuring that we have the right game plan to get there. Basketball gave me a lot of those [tools]. Having perseverance, getting knocked down, failing, and regrouping,” said entrepreneur and NBA Legend Isiah Thomas.
The post NBA Icon Isiah Thomas Has Quickly Become an Entrepreneurial Legend first appeared on BlackPressUSA.
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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia
Isiah Thomas played basketball with the tenacity not often seen in today’s game.
Whenever a team outscored his Detroit Pistons, it only meant a negative mark in the loss column, but never total defeat for Thomas.
An NCAA champion at Indiana, and a two-time NBA champ with the Pistons, much like basketball, Thomas has followed up his on-court success with an almost peerless triumph in the business world.
He told the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s live morning show, “Let It Be Known,” that his accomplishments as an entrepreneur result from what he learned playing basketball.
Thomas said building with the right individuals, seeking sound advice, and closely monitoring the success of others have made him a giant in several industries.
“The first [being a business owner] teaches you in terms of basketball is teamwork. You have to work together collectively to make something happen in terms of vision and goal,” Thomas stated.
“The goal of winning a championship – how to do it together. So, when you’re managing people, it’s’ about giving them a vision and a goal and ensuring that we have the right game plan to get there. Basketball gave me a lot of those [tools]. Having perseverance, getting knocked down, failing, and regrouping.”
Thomas hasn’t experienced getting knocked down in his business ventures, always displaying a deft touch and a championship pedigree in boardrooms.
The chair and CEO of ISIAH International LLC and Isiah Imports, Thomas has an extensive portfolio of investments.
His holdings include Isiah Real Estate, Cheurlin Champagnes, One World Products, GRE3N and RE3 Recycling, Sweetgreen, and Popcorn Indiana.
“I started my firm in 1990 to uplift the second-generation behind me out of poverty,” Thomas stated.
“We always talk about generational wealth. The best way to do that is to start and get involved in the business. I didn’t know that I was an ESG company – environmentally and socially conscious when I started. I was always interested in investing in things that impacted the community, impacted the family, and had a chance to make sure there was some legacy coming behind. My economics teacher told me to invest in things that I like. So, one of the first investments was popcorn because it was a staple in my home. After all, we didn’t have a lot of food, so my mom would pop a lot of popcorn.”
Thomas’ Indiana Popcorn, which comes in red packaging, marked him as one of the first to put colors on popcorn bags.
His foray into the industrial hemp business also counted as significant and rare.
“When you talk about industrial hemp and carbon reduction – industrial hemp takes more carbon out of the air than any other plant on the Earth,” Thomas asserted.
“What you see at Isiah and One World is how to replace plastics in automobiles. Looking at hemp and carbon reduction, it goes across every business, even the cosmetics space. It runs the gamut of its usage, and at One World, we have the largest supply of hemp on this side of the equator.”
Thomas’ Cheurlin Champagne is also one of the best. The bubbly is pressed from the first grapes. He’s the most prominent African American owner and importer of first pressed grape champagne globally.
“Anytime you buy champagne, you should ask if it’s from the first pressed. That’s important,” Thomas stated.
He also noted how his champagne allowed him to remain in the agricultural space.
“I didn’t realize I was entering the agricultural space when I entered champagne,” Thomas said. “I learned that the soil, the sun, and the farmers make the best grape.”
For the legend, it all comes back to the family.
His late mother, Mary Thomas, remains an inspiration.
“We were poor, but my mother was always positive and always gave of herself,” Thomas stated.
“I remember walking in the snow with my mom, and I had holes in my shoes, and I put cardboard in them. I looked at her, and she had glad bags over her feet. We were on welfare, but she used the money not to pay rent or buy food but to ensure we got an education.”
With his children and other family members having roles in Thomas’ businesses, the legend said his mission for them remains simple.
“We put them through school. They got student loans using the “Thomas Bank,” and we require them to come back, put in six months or a year, free labor. That’s how they pay off their student loans,” Thomas stated.
After that, there are no strings attached, he said.
“If they decide they like what they are doing in one of the companies or entities that we have, then this is a place where they can make a living, get a paycheck, pay their rent, and buy food,” he said.
“If they want to stay, great. If not, they’ve gained the experience and knowledge to go elsewhere. But, when you talk about trying to uplift your family out of generational poverty, that’s the vision of Isiah International. So the diversification of the spaces we’re in is because we have family members and me who have specialties in those spaces.”
Click here to view the full interview with Isiah Thomas.
The post NBA Icon Isiah Thomas Has Quickly Become an Entrepreneurial Legend first appeared on BlackPressUSA.
PRESS ROOM: Poetry Foundation Announces New Strategic Plan to Serve as Roadmap
Report Reveals ‘A Hidden Key to Combating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice’

From One Death – Dr. Erica Walton’s Story
Its Rodeo Time
PRESS ROOM: Poetry Foundation Announces New Strategic Plan to Serve as Roadmap
Report Reveals ‘A Hidden Key to Combating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice’
Researchers: Failure to Get Proper Rest Could Be Hazardous to Your Health
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WESTSIDE GAZETTE — The bleeding man was crying out, but the man standing over him aimed his gun down at the man on the floor and shot again, and again. Erica lived in the projects. Shootings were not uncommon. But this was the first time she had experienced the trauma of watching someone die. The ordeal lasted years as she was called to testify. “The lawyer suggested to my parents that I get counselling.” Erica recalls, “In a community where we didn’t put a lot of emphasis on mental health, I was very appreciative that my parents accepted the advice.” She processed and healed but she can still hear the dying man crying out, “Somebody, please help me.”
The post From One Death – Dr. Erica Walton’s Story first appeared on BlackPressUSA.
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By Dixie Ann Black | The Westside Gazette
“BAM!!!”
The sound of the gunshot filled the little Liberty City corner store.
The man fell, blood splattering the items on the convenience store shelves.
Little Erica was only a few steps away. She watched in horror as the man’s body hit the floor. The sound of the gunshot continued to reverberate through her ten-year-old body. She grabbed her head and ducked down to the floor to hide as the sound exploded in her eardrums.
“Somebody help me please! Please, somebody help me!” the gunshot victim lay on the convenience store floor begging for his life as the child watched. Erica was scared out of her mind, but all she could think was, I wish I could help him. I wish I could do something to help him.
A few seconds earlier, this man and another man had been arguing while Erica was paying the cashier for her chips. Now she watched with horror as the man with the gun walked over to the man on the floor.
“I’m sorry man, I’m sorry!”
The bleeding man was crying out, but the man standing over him aimed his gun down at the man on the floor and shot again, and again.
Erica lived in the projects. Shootings were not uncommon. But this was the first time she had experienced the trauma of watching someone die. The ordeal lasted years as she was called to testify.
“The lawyer suggested to my parents that I get counselling.” Erica recalls, “In a community where we didn’t put a lot of emphasis on mental health, I was very appreciative that my parents accepted the advice.” She processed and healed but she can still hear the dying man crying out,
“Somebody, please help me.”
That voice has fueled a yearning to help save lives. It has guided her like a beacon, all the way through medical school. Walton specifically wanted to return to the community that showed the need for help, even as it supported her in her dream of becoming a doctor.
“I really had support poured into me by anyone who knew I was going to medical school,” Walton says of her hometown. Yet she admits that the journey has not been a cushy one. She experienced further traumas while growing up within an underserved community. She witnessed domestic abuse, experienced the divorce of her parents and many of the losses that come along with a fractured family. However, she is grateful for her blended family of six siblings and a stepmother, who came along in time to become her biggest cheerleader as she pursued her career goals. She sees her husband Michael as making her a better person, by strengthening her in hard times. She calls him “the yin to my yang.”
Now Dr. Erica Walton has been practicing medicine since 2010. She attended Fisk University and went to Northwestern Medical School but returned to University of Miami to fulfill her residency in South Florida. She worked as a family medical practitioner but was recruited to take over the HIV clinic at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami in 2014. After undergoing a stringent AIDS Education and Training program with special training in immunology she was further equipped to work with HIV patients.
“Growing up in an underserved community and seeing the disadvantages firsthand fostered in me a passion to address these issues.” Dr. Walton went on to underscore the effect of dietary choices on minorities. She is constantly educating her patients by telling them about the effects of high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. She tells her patients,
“Your HIV isn’t going to kill you, but you have these things….”
Walton was fortunate to have a professor at Fisk University who understood and addressed the pull of heritage. She is quick to point out to her patients that she grew up on the staples of a typical African American household, but through her education at Fisk she redirects her patients toward eating more nutritional versions of the foods they love.
“What people eat is rooted in their traditions, so let’s just prepare them in a way that’s not bad for you,” she tells her patients.
In addition to trying to save her patients through nutritional overhauls, Dr. Walton also attacks the “viral load” (how much of the virus is in the system) and works on keeping the immune system healthy. She points out that if the immune system is healthy, it reduces the power of co-morbidities such as heart disease, hepatitis, diabetes and more.
Dr. Walton has won two awards from the Ryan White Program for the control of HIV. The program focuses on the uninsured in each county and the effects of the services they receive.
She has been the Medical Director of the AHF Healthcare Center -Biscayne for over two years now. Some patients have moved with her from other locations because of the deep respect she shows to them. She credits this deep respect to her relationship with God. She thanks her stepmother for re-introducing her to the church after her childhood trauma and instilling confidence in her.
“In medical school I was one of only five people of color in a school of about three hundred students.” Walton pointed out the temptation to feel inferior in such a setting. Instead, she now uses the confidence she gained to encourage her patients,
“I tell my HIV folks; I want you to know you are coming to someone who does not look down on you. You are not going to die from this, and this does not define you.”
She answers the cries for help in obvious and subtle ways. One young patient with no support system was at death’s door yet refused to take medications. She treated him and called him daily to encourage him until he was recovered enough to return to his home state.
“He was the sickest person I’d ever seen, and I was able to make him feel like his life was valuable.”
In this way, that dying man’s request on the convenience store floor, “Somebody help me please!” Is answered every day.
Dr. Walton’s journey in helping to answer that request, shines light on the fact that, once again, one man’s death can result in the saving of many others.
The post From One Death – Dr. Erica Walton’s Story appeared first on The Westside Gazette.
The post From One Death – Dr. Erica Walton’s Story first appeared on BlackPressUSA.
ARIZONA INFORMANT — “For the past 11 years, the Arizona Black Rodeo kicks off with fans filling the stands for two great shows to witness African-American competitors from across the country,” said Lanette Campbell, founder and coordinator of the rodeo. “The rodeo has become one of the most popular events in the African-American community and is attended by thousands of in-state and out-of-state fans”
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By Dee Ford Byas | The Arizona Informant
Set your Labor Day Weekend off with the annual Arizona Black Rodeo on Friday andSaturday, Sept. 2-3, at WestWorld of Scottsdale (16601 N. Pima Road), and join thousands for the most anticipated African American cultural and educational community event.
The two-hour shows, at 7pm both days, showcases local and national African-American rodeo competitors, features bull riding, tie down roping, steer wrestling, steer undecorating, ladies barrel racing, relay races and “the crowd favorite mutton bustin’ and calf scramble for the little ones,” according to a press release, announcing the “hot- test show on dirt.”
“For the past 11 years, the Arizona Black Rodeo kicks off with fans filling the stands for two great shows to witness African-American competitors from across the country,” said Lanette Campbell, founder and coordinator of the rodeo. “The rodeo has become one of the most popular events in the African-American community and is attended by thousands of in-state and out-of-state fans”
This article originally appeared in The Arizona Informant.
The post Its Rodeo Time first appeared on BlackPressUSA.
NNPA NEWSWIRE — The Poetry Foundation partnered with Lord Cultural Resources, a global practice leader in cultural sector planning, to assist in its strategic planning process. In addition to gathering insights from Foundation staff, a key aspect of this process was the Audience Perception Survey which provided invaluable insights from the public on how people in the literary world perceive the Foundation and how they think it can grow.
The post PRESS ROOM: Poetry Foundation Announces New Strategic Plan to Serve as Roadmap first appeared on BlackPressUSA.
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CHICAGO, IL – The Poetry Foundation is proud to introduce its new Strategic Plan, a three-year plan designed to address the immediate needs of the Foundation and lay the groundwork for the road ahead. Since June 2020, the Foundation has been actively evolving into a more transparent and anti-racist organization that better reflects, respects, and represents the poetry ecosystem; part of that process was the development of this strategic plan, the Foundation’s first since 2006.
The Foundation partnered with Lord Cultural Resources, a global practice leader in cultural sector planning, to assist in its strategic planning process. In addition to gathering insights from Foundation staff, a key aspect of this process was the Audience Perception Survey which provided invaluable insights from the public on how people in the literary world perceive the Foundation and how they think it can grow.
Strategic Plan Highlights
One main focus of the Strategic Plan was to adopt sharing as a central value of the organization. As a result, Poetry Foundation board, president, and staff collaboratively participated in this months-long process designed to underline the principles reflecting diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and commitment to anti-racism in all forms. The process entailed revisiting the mission and vision, crafting core values, setting impactful goals and developing measurable objectives.
Here are the new organizational statements to ensure that the values and ethos of the Poetry Foundation are in sync with its current trajectory.
In addition, three ambitious strategic goals and associated objectives were developed to guide the organization for the next three years. They include:
The Strategic Plan is not the end of the Poetry Foundation’s work, but the beginning. The board, staff, audiences, peers, and partners have collaborated to craft a plan that allows the Foundation to embrace and celebrate its legacy while reimagining the organization’s impact and future. More can be found at PoetryFoundation.org
Changes to Poetry Foundation Structure 
The development and implementation of a strategic plan is one of many steps the Foundation is taking to better serve poets and poetry audiences more equitably. There have been several touchpoints, including analysis, research, assessments, and planning workshops.
One considerable change is the new structure of the Foundation. The Poetry Foundation has existed as a private operating foundation, furthering its mission through programs and direct charitable activities, with grantmaking not being central to its work.
The Foundation is pivoting to a private non-operating foundation structure, meaning that it can expand its focus to include a more robust grantmaking component. With this expansion, the Foundation expects to annually spend an amount that is at least roughly 5% of its asset size on programs, direct charitable activities, and grants.
Changes to Foundation Grantmaking
The Renewal and Recovery grants program launched in April 2022, continuing the Poetry Foundation’s commitment to and support of poetry and affiliated arts organizations struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was open to those who received Emergency Grants from the Poetry Foundation in 2020–2021, through which more than $2 million were dispersed.
There is a final round of relief funding in 2022 totaling $1 million. A list of 2022 Renewal and Recovery grant recipients can be found here. The Renewal and Recovery grants are unrestricted and can be used for general operating support. Grants range in size from $5,000–$20,000 based on the size of organizational budgets and other considerations.
As announced in December 2021, the Poetry Foundation has committed $9 million over three years, beginning in 2022. Grants will support US-based nonprofit organizations through the following priorities:
Those with questions about the current state of grantmaking at the Foundation are encouraged to visit the Grants FAQ.
Poetry Forward
These changes come in time for the 110th anniversary of Poetry magazine, which was founded by Harriet Monroe and first published in October 1912. Starting this fall, the Poetry Foundation will celebrate the creative spirit that has run through those 110 years and how it might continue to move and evolve in the future.
This includes the announcement of 2022 Pegasus Awards winners, the first issue of Poetry from new editor Adrian Matejka, a fresh calendar of free poetry events, the first season of the VS podcast with its new cohosts, partnerships with other members of the literary world, and more that has yet to be imagined.
All of it informed by the Poetry Foundation’s new mission:
The Poetry Foundation recognizes the power of words to transform lives. We work to amplify poetry and celebrate poets by fostering spaces for all to create, experience, and share poetry.
The post PRESS ROOM: Poetry Foundation Announces New Strategic Plan to Serve as Roadmap first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Onesimus. It is a name we don’t hear when we look at the history of vaccinations, but in the United States we owe a debt of gratitude to an African Slave named, Onesimus. In this video, voiced by writer and political activist, Baratunde Thurston, learn how Onesimus shared a traditional African inoculation technique that saved countless live from Smallpox and become the foundation for vaccine as we know them today, including the COVID Vaccine.

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