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He Was Killed 10 Years Ago. A Discussion is Coming February 22.

Trayvon Martin was 17 years old when he was shot and killed on February 26, 2012 in a gated community he and his father were visiting in Sanford, Fla. The shooter was George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch coordinator who said the walking young man scared him and they had had physical contact. Zimmerman was found not guilty a year later. The shooting of the young man helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement—and there will be a virtual panel discussion about it all at 7 p.m. on February 22.

The event is being hosted by USA TODAY Network Florida and will discuss a host of topics, including fear of black males, parenting black children and race relations. The point: impact of his murder.

The panelists are a “diverse group of black voices from around the state that will discuss these issues,” said Rick Christie, the executive editor of the Palm Beach Post who will be the moderator.

None of those voices, however, will be Trayvon’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, “who haven’t been talkative,” according to Mr. Christie, nor probably will one be Prophet Bryce Graham, a local, young, activist pastor who was awarded in 2018 by the Miami Gardens-based Trayvon Martin Foundation for his service to the community. Is he going to participate in the discussion?

“I’ll consider it,” said Prophet Bryce, who is also the second vice president of the central Florida chapter of the National Action Network, founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton. “The topics they’re going to discuss are critically important. Especially now.”  

Indeed, click here to read a local news story about the upcoming discussion, including a full list of the panelists and, here, to attend the discussion. And, to learn more about the Trayvon Martin Foundation click here to visit its website and about Mr. Christie, here. Want to know more about sir Prophet and what he does, day in and day out? Here.

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America’s HBCUs Under Threat of Attack—During Black History Month. There Will Be a Talk Today.

Indeed, at the beginning of February, bomb threats were made at nearly 20 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)—acts of hate that sought to, apparently, impede the learning of students of color. No bombs were ever found, though several threats happened at several different schools in several different states. Including at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, where a man who claimed to be in a neo-Nazi organization made a threat on Monday to detonate bombs at the school. At each school, there were class disruptions that left students feeling anxious and worried. At 12:30 p.m. today, February 8, there will be a full discussion about it all, virtually, thanks to the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). All the right voices will be in the room, including from the U.S. Department of Education and five different HBCU presidents who had had the negative experience that shut down their schools. To RSVP and tune in, click here. The discussion will include the impact of the bomb threats and how HBCUs are planning for the future. To read a national news story about the national issue, click here. And, to learn more about the organizer, the SPLC, click here to visit its website.

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…that Maya Angelou is Now On A U.S. Quarter?

Yes. And she’s not just the first woman of color–though she is that–but the poet, writer and activist has become the first woman to appear on a U.S. quarter. The U.S. Mint released a coin featuring her likeness into circulation earlier this month; the coin was created as part of the American Women Quarters Program, through which a five-woman series of special-edition coins honoring American women will be minted over the next four years. This quarter depicts a youthful Ms. Angelou with her arms outstretched, beams of sunlight around her and a bird in flight behind her. Indeed, the bird is a reference to her widely read, coming-of-age memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, from 1969. Ms. Angelou, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 86, is the first coin in the series, which was approved by a bill that passed in 2020. Click here to learn more about the national project. And about her.

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She Is On The List

Ketanji Brown Jackson is on President Joe Biden’s narrowed list of his first U.S. Supreme Court pick. That’s because a current justice, Stephen Breyer, has announced his retirement. Ms. Brown Jackson, 51, is from south Florida. She is a 1988 graduate of Miami Palmetto Senior High School, then attended Harvard University as an undergraduate and for law school. She was nominated by then-President Barack Obama to be a federal trial court judge, while President Biden elevated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2021. “She was a star in the making,” said Nathaniel Persily, Ms. Jackson’s former classmate at Palmetto and now a law professor at Stanford University in California. “The only question was is she going to be on the Supreme Court or is she going to be president of the United States?” Read a national news story about her and her potential nomination here.

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#GiveThemDance

That is what the founder of Soul Movement, a West Palm Beach-based dance program, says all the time: give them dance. In fact, Samantha Cyprian (pictured) left her well-paying job as a school psychologist in Orlando two years ago to return home to teach dance. She spent a year at her alma mater, Dreyfoos School of the Arts, but decided she wanted to, well, give them dance.

“It was important to me that kids who looked like me, who loved dance like me, get a chance to do just that,” she said. “I wanted to do what I could to get more of them in the pipeline.”

So when she learned of an opening for a dance instructor at U.B. Kinsey/Palmview Elementary School of the Arts, she jumped at the chance. She joined the dance teacher already there, Tina Martin, and, in her first year, 12 of the 13 students who tried out for Bak Middle School of the Arts got in. That’s huge.

Meanwhile, she launched Soul Movement last year, which offers dance classes that focus on the fundamental skills of technical dance forms, yes, but it also focuses on life skills. She’s a psychologist, remember? “We want to help as much as we can to ensure a well-rounded child,” she said, “which creates a successful child.”

The dance company offers classes in Creative Movement and Pre-Ballet/Ballet/Modern for students ages 3 to 7. Classes are held from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturdays at Florida Dance Conservatory in West Palm Beach. And the first class is free! For more information, contact Ms. Cyprian at 225-268-0991 or soulmovement.artistry@gmail.com. Learn more and register for classes here. In other words, take the first step to give them dance.