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Chairwoman Waters Introduces Bill to End Homelessness in America

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “In the richest country in the world, it is simply unacceptable that we have people living in the streets,” said Chairwoman Waters. “Today, there are over a half million people experiencing homelessness nationwide. Nearly 160,000 of them are children and nearly 38,000 are veterans who we have failed to support after their service to our nation.”

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The letter was signed by House Committee on Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal and Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel.

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced H.R. 1856, the Ending Homelessness Act of 2019, legislation that provides a comprehensive plan to ensure that every person experiencing homelessness in America has a place to call home.

“In the richest country in the world, it is simply unacceptable that we have people living in the streets,” said Chairwoman Waters. “Today, there are over a half million people experiencing homelessness nationwide. Nearly 160,000 of them are children and nearly 38,000 are veterans who we have failed to support after their service to our nation.

“In Los Angeles County, there are over 50,000 people experiencing homelessness, nearly 5,000 of whom are children, and over 3,800 of whom are veterans.

“As Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, I have made it a top priority to focus on this crisis. That is why I have introduced the Ending Homelessness Act of 2019, which would provide $13.27 billion in new funding over five years to federal programs and initiatives to prevent homelessness.

“It is time for Congress to step up and provide the resources and funding necessary to address this important issue and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that every American has a safe, affordable place to call home.”

The Ending Homelessness Act of 2019 would appropriate $13.27 billion in mandatory emergency relief funding over five years to several critical federal housing programs and initiatives, providing the resources that these programs need to effectively address the homelessness crisis in America.

This bill includes the following funding amounts over and above what is already annually provided for these existing U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs:

  • $5 billion over five years to McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, which is expected to provide 85,000 new permanent housing units;
  • $2.5 billion over five years to for new Special Purpose Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV), which is expected to provide an additional 300,000 housing vouchers and would give preference to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless;
  • $1.05 billion annually in mandatory spending dedicated to the National Housing Trust Fund, which in the first five years of funding is expected to create 25,000 new units affordable to extremely low-income households, with a priority for housing the homeless;
  • $500 million over five years in outreach funding to ensure that homeless people are connected to the resources they need and;
  • $20 million for states and localities to integrate healthcare and housing initiatives, which provides technical assistance to help state and local governments coordinate their healthcare and housing initiatives that are funded by federal programs.

This bill is supported by the Center for Supportive Housing, Community Solutions, Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, Drug Policy Alliance, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Leading Age, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, National Housing Conference, National Housing Law Project, National Housing Trust, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Rural Housing Coalition, PATH (People Assisting the Homeless), Public Housing Authority Directors Association, Stewards for Affordable Housing for the Future, and TELACU Residential Management.

Click here to view the legislation, an executive summary, and a section-by-section. Congresswoman Waters first introduced the Ending Homelessness Act in 2016.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Eric Smith

    Eric Smith

    March 26, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Maxine waters is an truly GREAT BLACK WOMAN BLACK by GOD

    • Beatrice Jones

      April 24, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      Eric, I’m curious why you think she’s great. She’s against the President who has done more for the black community than any other in 50+ years. Just curious.

      • Maria

        May 26, 2019 at 9:07 pm

        Beatrice, what exactly has Trump done more for the Black community than any other in 50+ years. Just curious.

        • Rocco

          June 26, 2019 at 7:34 pm

          1. He signed a bill that forgave 300 million in leftover unpaid debts from Katrina.
          2. He has implemented the Opportunity Zone program that gives big tax incentives to develop business and infrastructure in low income at risk neighborhoods.
          3. Black unemployment has been reduced by 4% down to the lowest in history.
          4. Wages for everyone have increased by 3-8% depending on industry. This is the first time in three decades wage increase exceeded cost of living.
          5. He signed the first legislation to reform overly punitive sentencing and has pardoned many black people that suffered under Clinton’s 3 strikes rule.
          6. Finally, Mr. Trump has brought confidence and real hope to the community by showing them THEY CAN. Do life without endless soul crushing handouts. In a word, dignity and boy oh boy there is so much more coming!!!

          These are not all but just some highlights. There is so much the MSM is hoping you won’t find out.

          P.S. Trump fought Palm Springs to build MaraLago as a non discriminatory club. He insisted his club be the first to accept EVERYONE of all colors. Back then no club existed there that was not segregated if you can believe it. Trump insisted his would be open.

    • Rickie

      June 21, 2019 at 7:23 pm

      Is her District prospering yet? If she has not helped her own District over 40 years of Service, how will she help the nation? She in a 4.4 million dollar home.40 years?

    • MissyT

      June 28, 2019 at 7:22 am

      Is her daughter going to be in charge of the money, making big money off taxpayers? And didn’t she and her minions cause this by their spending and resulting high taxes. She doesn’t even LIVE in her DISTRICT. She’s not a rational human and not even educated. She cited that we landed on Mars – never happened. She encouraged people to ‘get in people’s faces’ with whom you disagree – inciting harassment of someone with whom you don’t share the same point of view. She is evil and if you think God sent her, you either have the wrong God or have been brainwashed.

  2. Beth Stinger Beighley

    Beth Stinger Beighley

    March 26, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    Great job Maxine…..may everyone join you n pass this much needed bill…it is a disgrace to have families n homeless people living in the streets where they have no bathing or bathroom facilities….or water to drink or a place to get out of the freezing cold n rain! Shelter is a basic human need!! Much Success in this….may it pass quickly!❤

    • Mike Hoppe

      April 21, 2019 at 7:28 pm

      I agree.

      • Carolyn

        June 19, 2019 at 10:50 pm

        Question what have Trump done or what he claimed he done how and when

  3. Lawrence William Page

    Lawrence William Page

    March 26, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    Thank You again Maxine. There is a way to solve the problems of poverty, homelessness, most crime, and other negative consequences of the current monetary system. The time has arrived for a universal basic income, universal healthcare, and related services. When people whine about socialism have them read the Preamble to the US Constitution again. Take the time to read both of my articles on the topic.
    https://forgingnewparadigms.blogspot.com/2018/12/universal-basic-income-foundation.html

    • Fran

      June 28, 2019 at 3:50 pm

      I sure hope you are a taxpayer, because you will be paying 70 to 80 percent taxes, hope you only have a little left to live on

  4. MANINTHEHILLS

    April 4, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    On the surface, it seems good, but can never work in reality.

    And she KNOWS it.

    • Mary

      April 7, 2019 at 9:32 am

      Yes. And stupid people will read the headline not look into how the budget works for it and applaud her not realizing she’s making things worse.

    • Cakeladee60

      April 19, 2019 at 8:55 am

      You’re so right.

    • JAMES BOURNE

      June 2, 2019 at 11:32 pm

      Pie in the sky. I totally agree with you. If more attention was given to promoting the traditional family and not this constant cry from society that women can do it on their own, leaving men to question their role, much of this homelessness would not exist. Men, in today’s world, do what they do and then leave, sometimes without even realizing that they’ve been responsible for beginning another life. It is shameful that mostly democrat policies have caused these deficiencies in people’s lives. Everyone with a heart wants to help the homeless. Of course we should have places where they all can rest, eat, bathe, have bathroom facilities, etc. That is not the solution to this problem. Many people, maybe most, provided with a sparse existence would just take it and give up trying. Our welfare system has proven that. Welfare has stolen the drive from people. They don’t dream. They’re angry most of the time. This is just another welfare program that will linger forever. A few will be helped, but most will just take what they’re given and stop dreaming. This massive amount of money could be better spent. Maxine Waters should be voted out of office and someone who wants to help with real solutions should be voted in.

  5. Leckey Harrison

    April 6, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    I I wonder how this works out with local efforts. Here in Seattle, a LOT of money is spent, and the problem gets worse. So where is all the money going? Now lets add more to it? I haven’t read the bill, but I would ponder the accountability and what they use as proof it’s working.

  6. Mary

    April 7, 2019 at 9:31 am

    This is a terrible idea. Less laws would actually help homelessness more than this. She’s giving grant money…ok those are really hard to get and are super political and you need a grant writer. Mandatory spending is never a good idea either- my dad worked in government and they would have to buy new furniture to spend their whole budget so they didn’t lose the money the next year- dumb and wasteful. This whole plan makes no financial sense and doesn’t fix the problem. Having less regulations like making it legal to donate food to people after restaurants are legally required (in some places) to throw it away would be way more effective. Give money to private charities if you want to help not add laws and mandatory spending. If your idea is mandatory…it isn’t a good idea.

  7. Nikki

    April 8, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    It will take more than money to fix the homeless problem. The mental problems are over whelming and there are few places to accomadate their care.

  8. Itara O'Connell

    April 12, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    The homeless experiment is over. We need hundreds if not thousands of mental health facilities country-wide that are state of the art, comfortable and well staffed. This is truly a national emergency and should have funding priority. The issue has been – do people have the right to live on the street, dump their trash and excrement where ever they want.I say no. Living on the street is not okay for the mentally ill, families or others and not okay for the community. If you are not able to house yourself, we will make other arrangements.

  9. Michael G Hoppe

    April 21, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    Ms. Waters is another TRUE AMERICAN HERO!

  10. Fed Up

    May 27, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Homeless here in L.A. since 2008. I’m not a drug addict or a drunk or somebody who is mentally ill. I’m a college educated person who reads about 200 books so I’m no moron either. All this homelessness you see around you is all on the Democrats. They have an agenda. And that agenda is to make life in this country so expensive that anybody who is making under 100K a year has to rely on some kind of government assistance to survive. Thousands of homeless people is all part of that plan. Allowing this country to be flooded with illegal immigrants is part of that plan. L.A. has around 1,000,000 illegal immigrants. That is why we have a shortage of apartments in L.A. And that shortage is why all of the landlords here are getting away with price gouging. The rents in L.A. aren’t just expensive anymore. They are way over-priced. I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life where I was making 2 to 300 dollars a day. But these days you need to make around 400 a day just to afford a single apartment in this city. Anything less than that and you’re living with roomates, the government is subsidizing your rent with a Section 8 voucher, or you’re just working your butt off so you can hand over all of your money at the end of the month to your landlord. And if you’re somebody who sees no shame with the government subsidizing your rent you still have to get in line with a bunch of illegal immigrants because if they have a kid who was born here the kid is a U.S. citizen and they qualify for government handouts. The “Progressives” have set this country back over a hundred years. And not 19th Century America either. Welcome to 19th Century Russia where if you weren’t born into the gentry you’re just a serf living on somebody elses’ land. And they’re making sure you stay a serf because as far as they’re concerned whatever you earn during the course of the year is what they’re entitled to for rent.

  11. Stanley Grant

    June 3, 2019 at 5:08 am

    EXCELLENT bout time someone stepped up to attempt to end homelessness! Thank God for Congresswoman Waters! Who cares enough to make the first move! God bless her efforts!

  12. Zuma Dogg

    June 20, 2019 at 4:34 am

    LOL! Maxine Waters introducing a BILL to end homelessness. Makes everyone feel good. We’re gonna end homelessness!!!! LOL! Except Maxine Waters has been elected official in charge of L.A. district that has fallen into worse homelessness and trash filled streets than most other places in America. Has Maxine Waters not been doing anything about it, until now? She is completely inept and too dumb to have a single toilet fixed. Her people in her district should surround her and shout her down.

  13. Harold Hern

    June 21, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    I have been homeless for over 9 years .

  14. mary mitchell

    June 23, 2019 at 7:17 am

    SHE HAS BEEN IN OFFICE FOR ALONG TIME WHY DIDN’T SHE TRY TO HAVE THIS BILL PASSED BEFORE

  15. T. White

    June 25, 2019 at 8:42 am

    Our Country need to rewrite eviction laws, because that’s why we have a large population of homeless people. Most people get a check each month, but because of previous evictions and criminal records they are denied housing. Also, a majority of homeless people have mental illness, and dealing with being homeless makes their mental problems worse. The price of apartments is to high for people who only make minimum wage. That also keeps people from getting an apartment because of the income rule. Someone need to fix this for problem fast. Thanks Mrs.Water! It’s time out for all this hate we need to show love and compassion to make changes that truly help people.

  16. Lisa

    June 28, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    That must be the HUD definition count. The real count (McKinney Vento) is over 2 million and 35% are CHILDREN. I stronly support this bill and hope everyone here will contact their representatives and urge them to support it. No human should be without a safe, decent place of their own to lay their head.

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Memphis third grade reading scores dip as district builds case for retaining students

NEW TRI-STATE DEFENDER — Fewer Memphis third grade students than last year are accomplished readers, according to Shelby County Schools’ annual state test data released is discussing in meetings with parents. About 24% of third graders in Shelby County Schools scored proficient in reading on the state’s standardized assessment TNReady. That’s down from about 27% last year, and in contrast to 36% of elementary students statewide who tested proficient.

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Student read a book during a reading circle at Gardenview Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht/Chalkbeat TÑ)
Student read a book during a reading circle at Gardenview Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht/Chalkbeat TÑ)

By Lee Eric Smith

Fewer Memphis third grade students than last year are accomplished readers, according to Shelby County Schools’ annual state test data released is discussing in meetings with parents.

About 24% of third graders in Shelby County Schools scored proficient in reading on the state’s standardized assessment TNReady. That’s down from about 27% last year, and in contrast to 36% of elementary students statewide who tested proficient.

The full results from spring testing are scheduled to be released next week, but Memphis district officials shared the statistic this week at a meeting with parents on a new retention policy that will hold back second grade students who aren’t reading on grade level. The policy will begin in the 2021-22 school year.

Antonio Burt, the district’s chief academic officer, declined to speculate on why the scores dipped. Rather, he said the district would be looking to hone existing strategies — such as daily 45-minute small-group instruction and teacher leaders dedicated to foundational reading skills — and equip new second grade teacher assistants.

“The work and the need around K through 2 is so important,” he told Chalkbeat after Wednesday’s community meeting at Gaisman Community Center to explain the district’s retention plan.

“And as a state, we’re still recovering from the standards shift,” he added later about the state’s 2016 change to a new test with tougher requirements.

The news is a blow to the district’s efforts to strengthen early literacy, which has been a priority for the Memphis district. Superintendent Joris Ray and his leadership team often point to the correlation between third grade reading levels and a similar percentage of students considered college-ready on the ACT test.

Antonio Burt, the chief academic officer for Shelby County Schools, speaks to parents and teachers about the district’s upcoming second grade retention policy and strategies to improve reading. (Photo by: Laura Faith Kebede/Chalkbeat)

Antonio Burt, the chief academic officer for Shelby County Schools, speaks to parents and teachers about the district’s upcoming second grade retention policy and strategies to improve reading. (Photo by: Laura Faith Kebede/Chalkbeat)

“We know that if our kids that don’t master reading prior to third grade, they’re four times more likely to drop out of school,” Burt told parents Wednesday evening. “That same student would then be four times more likely to be incarcerated.”


Related: Learn more about the English curriculum that was introduced in late 2017


Shelby County Schools is aiming to have 90% of its third grade students reading proficiently by the year 2025. That’s higher than the state’s goal of 75% for that same year.

This year’s kindergarten class would be the first group that could be held back a year because of Shelby County Schools new retention policy, Burt said. The district will require students to meet eight of 12 benchmarks, including minimum report card grades and reading scores, throughout the year in order to pass second grade.

Candace Marshall, a prekindergarten teacher and parent, said she mostly favors the retention policy and had faced resistance at a Memphis charter school when she wanted her niece to repeat first grade.

“I don’t want her to be a statistic. It made me question how many other kids get passed along,” she told Chalkbeat.

The post Memphis third grade reading scores dip as district builds case for retaining students appeared first on Chalkbeat.

This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender

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Duo teams up for food and clothing drive for homeless veterans on Saturday

NEW TRI-STATE DEFENDER — Memphis is experiencing a serious problem with homelessness and poverty among veterans but a new nonprofit is hoping to ease the burden.

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(l-r) Jalissa Marshall and Sequoria Wilson-Chatmon are teaming up to raise funds for homeless veterans. (Photo by: /tri-statedefender.com)
(l-r) Jalissa Marshall and Sequoria Wilson-Chatmon are teaming up to raise funds for homeless veterans. (Photo by: /tri-statedefender.com)

By Destiny Royston

Memphis is experiencing a serious problem with homelessness and poverty among veterans but a new nonprofit is hoping to ease the burden.

On Aug. 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m., Help the Homeless Veterans will hosted a food and clothing drive in downtown Memphis at the corner of Adams Avenue and Main Street.

Sequoria Wilson-Chatmon, who served in the Army for 10 years and went on four combat tours to Afghanistan and Iraq, is spearheading the event that will provide food, clothing and other needed items for the homeless and those who are struggling. Wilson-Chatmon and her husband are both disabled veterans..

Jalissa Marshall, who is the wife of another disabled vet, will be alongside Wilson-Chatmon helping with the event to bring awareness to homelessness.

“Jalissa and I discuss these issues all the time,” said Wilson-Chatmon. “We decided it was time to turn words into actions, and that was the birth of ‘Help the Homeless Veterans Food and Clothing Giveaway.’

Being a disabled vet, Wilson-Chatmon knows the harsh reality about men and women who have served the nation who now face homelessness and hunger.

Veteran or not, people who are in need of items, food and clothing are encouraged to come to the event, as many organizations around the city that assist those in need have strict qualifications that many don’t meet. Their goal is to look out for everyone because homelessness and hunger know no criteria.

The ladies hope to serve at least 50 personnel. Wilson-Chatmon wants to continue sponsoring events like this so that she and her team can become a well-established nonprofit organization that does more than hand out items in Memphis.

She wants to provide shelter and help rebuild communities and cater to everyone, especially those who don’t meet the qualifications of the larger organizations.

“No one deserves to sleep on the streets. As a community, it starts with us,” said Wilson-Chatmon. “We hope to inspire others to act no matter how small.”

Supporters of veterans can donate items such as water and clothing at Watson’s Barber & Beauty Shop on 2236 Pendleton St., until Aug. 9.

This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender

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Push to ban plastic bag sat groceries falls short

NEW TRI-STATE DEFENDER — Plastic bags will still be used in grocery stores, despite some Memphis City Council members’ efforts to ban them. Tuesday, the council rejected an ordinance that would have required grocery stores to ban the use of plastic shopping bags.

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By Erica R. Williams

Plastic bags will still be used in grocery stores, despite some Memphis City Council members’ efforts to ban them. Tuesday, the council rejected an ordinance that would have required grocery stores to ban the use of plastic shopping bags.

“This is an effort for us to do something different in the State of Tennessee,” Councilman Berlin Boyd, who sponsored the ordinance, said before the vote.

Boyd has continued to push for the ban despite a recent state law barring cities from regulating single-use plastic such as grocery bags. He argues that using them is costing the city too much money.

“If we pass this here, it will give us the leverage to negotiate on a state level,” he told fellow council members.

Some have complained that lawmakers are considering the bans to cater to plastic-industry lobbyists. Boyd said that’s not it, pointing out that the city’s Division of Public Works spends $3 million each year to dispose of the bags.

Last year before proposing the ban, Boyd suggested a seven-cent fee on plastic bags that shoppers take from retail stores. He then reduced the proposed fee to five cents earlier this year.

In other action

* Memphis 3.0 was dropped from this council meeting’s agenda. Last month council members voted on hiring an outside consultant to review the comprehensive development plan. They will delay voting until after the consultant’s review of the plan.

The consultant has until September 17 to present findings.

The Memphis 3.0 plan had been challenged by New Chicago community members who believe the plan excludes some neighborhoods based on race. A $10 billion lawsuit filed against the city was later dismissed.

Mayor Jim Strickland has signed an executive order that allows parts of the 3.0 plan to move forward.

* Council members approved an honorary street name change for Bishop David Allen Hall Sr., longtime pastor of Temple Church of God In Christ at 672 S. Lauderdale. The resolution calls for a street name of East Georgia Ave. between South Lauderdale and South Orleans. Councilwoman Cheyenne Johnson sponsored the resolution.

* The council delayed voting on the third and final reading of an ordinance that would present new rules for public art placement.

This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender

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The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) TV Honors Winners Announced

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL — Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” earned four wins from the African American Film Critics Association, who today, announced the winners of its upcoming AAFCA TV Honors. The highly popular Netflix limited series about the infamous Central Park rape case that resulted in the arrest and false imprisonment of five Black youths, received the following group awards: Best Limited Series, Best Ensemble, Best Writing and Breakthrough Performance for Jharrel Jerome who plays Korey Wise in the series.

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Angela Bassett (Photo by: David Shankbone | Wiki Commons)
Angela Bassett (Photo by: David Shankbone | Wiki Commons)

By Sentinel News Service

Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” earned four wins from the African American Film Critics Association, who today, announced the winners of its upcoming AAFCA TV Honors. The highly popular Netflix limited series about the infamous Central Park rape case that resulted in the arrest and false imprisonment of five Black youths, received the following group awards: Best Limited Series, Best Ensemble, Best Writing and Breakthrough Performance for Jharrel Jerome who plays Korey Wise in the series.

Other big wins went to the popular Starz drama “Power,” which begins its sixth and final season August 25th, and the CBS comedy, “The Neighborhood” starring Cedric the Entertainer and Tichina Arnold now entering its second season. Angela Bassett and Sterling K. Brown earned Best Performance Female and Male awards for their respective portrayals in the series “9-1-1” on Fox and “This Is Us” on NBC.

In all, the sixteen-year-old association will give out ten awards during its inaugural event, including honoring mega-producer Ryan Murphy with the AAFCA TV Icon Award and big three network, CBS, with the AAFCA Inclusion Award for its diverse programming and talent.

“It is impossible to ignore TV’s popularity and remarkable influence on America’s pop culture landscape today,” says AAFCA president Gil Robertson IV. “As the stature of the small screen continues to expand, it has become increasingly more diverse and inclusive, a movement that we at AAFCA wholeheartedly embrace and champion. The honorees for our first AAFCA TV Honors represent the very best of television programming. They all successfully put a mirror up to our world to tell stories that are refreshingly diverse and authentic. We feel that this new wave of innovative, thought-provoking storytelling is inspiring and deserving of celebration.”

The honorees will be feted at AAFCA TV Honors during a private brunch on Sunday, August 11, 2019 at the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, CA.

AAFCA TV HONORS 2019 Winners:

Best Drama – “Power” (Starz)

Best Comedy – “The Neighborhood” (CBS)

Best Limited Series – “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Best Performance Female – Angela Bassett (9-1-1) FOX

Best Performance Male – Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) NBC

Best Ensemble –– “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Best Writing – “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Breakthrough Performance – Jharrel Jerome, “When They See Us” (Netflix)

AAFCA TV Honors Inclusion Award – CBS

AAFCA TV Honors ICON Award – Ryan Murphy

This article originally appeared in The Los Angeles Sentinel.

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Linsey Davis Teaches Celebrating Diversity with Her Second Children’s Book ‘One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike Than Different’

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL — Linsey Davis Teaches Celebrating Diversity with Her Second Children’s Book ‘One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike Than Different’ ABC News Correspondent, author, and mother Linsey Davis returns to the bookshelf with her second children’s book titled, “One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike Than Different.”

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Linsey Davis (Courtesy photo
Linsey Davis (Courtesy Photo)

By Saybin Roberson,

Linsey Davis Teaches Celebrating Diversity with Her Second Children’s Book ‘One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike Than Different’

 

ABC News Correspondent, author, and mother Linsey Davis returns to the bookshelf with her second children’s book titled, “One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike Than Different.”

Inspired by her son’s life and growth, Davis began writing books as love letters and life lessons to her son, with an emphasis on creating characters that looked like him. “One Big Heart” focuses on highlighting how our differences bring us all together.

“I felt like for him growing up during this time it was essential to affirm what kids already know, which is basically that they have this ability to find common ground,” she says of her new book. Understanding that children know what makes them different, but not the mindset of placing labels on individuals.

“I think kids are better than adults in that way of setting aside differences and just looking for what we have in common.”

Based on a foundation of love, Davis’s intentions to bring peace and inclusion are prominent within her books. “God gave us all this one special gift, he gave us each a heart and that’s the most important part because that’s where love starts.

As a mother of a five-year-old, fulltime news reporter, and author, Davis wears many hats working around the clock feeding each aspect of her life. Writing both “One Big Heart”and her first, “The World Is Awake: A Celebration of Everyday Lessons,” Davis says brought her closer to her son as he grew, both teaching each other ways to do life.

“I think so much about the theme of this book is that the students can become the teachers, adults can really learn from children,” she states. Noting the differences between children having no preconceived notions of what is bad or good based on appearance. Believing children are taught and observe how to respond to dissimilarities, this book is a reminder to continue growing with a nonjudgmental attitude.

“I think that as life hits, you have to respond and respond right away,” Davis says, believing children should know the truth of the world they live in, adding, “I also think it’s important to let children direct the narrative.”

“It is important for all of them [children] to see each other,” believing that lack of information is what creates fear, it is important to show diversity to promote unity, rather than exclusion, she goes on to say, “it’s about seeing every race.”

“This is just a conversation that really needs to be had about exposure and embracing diversity.”

Growing up, Davis dealt with being one of the few Black girls in her school and she understands the importance of inclusion and the isolation she felt during her years. Expressing her biggest hope is that children who read “One Big Heart” continue to search for common ground as they grow and experience the world.

“One Big Heart” will be available August 6, 2019 at bookstores and online for purchase. Follow Linsey Davis on Instagram @linseytdavis and Twitter @LinseyDavis for updates on her life and career.

This article originally appeared in The Los Angeles Sentinel.

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Organization uses art to teach developmentally disabled

WAVE NEWSPAPERS — Located on Pacific Coast Highway, one of the busiest highways in the Los Angeles County sits an inconspicuous three-story building. Looking at the front of the building, the perception is it’s a typical office space for some paper-pushing company. But, step inside the first floor and the camouflage of the building disappears to reveal what Able ARTS Work is all about. 

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Able ARTS Work (Image by: ableartswork.org)
Able ARTS Work (Image by: ableartswork.org)

By Bria Overs

LONG BEACH — Located on Pacific Coast Highway, one of the busiest highways in the Los Angeles County sits an inconspicuous three-story building. Looking at the front of the building, the perception is it’s a typical office space for some paper-pushing company. But, step inside the first floor and the camouflage of the building disappears to reveal what Able ARTS Work is all about.

Every morning, clients, one by one, are dropped off by buses and vans coming from their homes. To start the day on a good foot, they’re greeted by the big, bright smiles of the staff and a welcoming “good morning.”

Within one room, there are people with a variety of different disabilities with varying levels of ability. Some may have an autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, intellectual or developmental disabilities, neurodegenerative disorders or other socio-emotional disorders. No matter their circumstance, they’re all ready for a day of activities.

“If you talk to our students here, they don’t view [being disabled] like a bad thing or a hindrance,” Art Instructor Ellen Bae said. “They think about it as something that’s just a part of them and they’re not ashamed to say it. They’re very aware they have a disability and they’re proud to be themselves, and I think that’s really important.”

Able ARTS Work started in 1982 in a Long Beach parks and recreation building with one music therapist, Helen Dolas, the founder, and was later joined by an art therapist and five students.

Dolas founded the program while completing her master’s degree in special education. From its humble beginnings, the organization’s services have grown and are now offered at four different locations in the Long Beach and South Bay areas.

To add to its uniqueness, each location provides different opportunities for their clients, but has overall become a safe space for the disabled with their philosophy of “love before learning.”

The Long Beach location, also known as the Achieving Results Together (ART) Center, operates on a six-month semester schedule and works a community center with each student signing up for a class or two, and then attending that class for a few weeks.

The icing on the cake is Able ARTS Works has its clients suggest classes. What they suggest, the teachers sometimes make.

“A lot of times we create them because we do something in a class and find that there’s a huge interest in it,” Katie Fohrman, program and community inclusion director, said.

“For example, we decided to do a marionette and [chose] to do a dog. So, I did the dog marionette with them and they named him Snoop, like Snoop Dogg,” Fohrman said with a laugh. “And it was so popular and they loved it so much and I found that it was so beneficial that I created an entire semester class on marionette and shadow puppet making.”

But their classes aren’t only about having fun and creating something to show people. Able ARTS Work is a program that has board-certified music and art therapists, like Fohrman, who is an associate professional clinical counselor for the program as well.

When clients are at Able ARTS Work they work on building skills and courage to do things out of their comfort zones.

Staff members like Bae and Fohrman love what they do. They’re passionate about the company’s mission and love helping their clients broaden their horizons every day.

It’s not just about art and music for them, it’s about how their clients can benefit from working with them in the long-run.

“I think they definitely gain a fellowship; they gain a partnership; and they also gain the confidence to chase their dreams and pursue what they really want to do,” Fohrman said. “A lot of our clients want to be professional artists and we provide that avenue for them. We provide that avenue for them to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.”

INFORMATION BOX

Organization: Able ARTS Work

Founder: Helen Dolas

Social Media: www.facebook.com/ableartswork

This article originally appeared in the Wave Newspapers

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