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Emma Shaw Celebration, 95-years Young

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On August 10th - 12th, 2007, the Shaw family descended on San Bernardino for a birthday celebration. They celebrated the 95th birthday of the Matriarch of the Shaw Family, Emma Shaw.  On Friday evening, the Shaw family and friends gathered at the home of Rikke Van Johnson, her oldest living grandchild, for a family get re-acquainted evening.  On Saturday, the Shaw family and friends came together for an all-day birthday celebration at the same location.  On Sunday morning, the Shaw family gathered at Greater New Jerusalem Church of God in Christ for a good ol' fashioned church service.  A certificate to Emma was presented by State Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod.

Emma was born to James Armstrong and Gertrude Bohanon August 10, 1912 in Tallulah, Louisiana where she grew up and attended Madison Parish Training School.  While in school she met her future husband, George Shaw.

Emma married George February 6, 1933, and to this union God blessed them with six sons and five daughters.  They lived in Tallulah until 1942 and then migrated to Las Vegas, NV, looking for a better life for their family.  In 1944, the family picked up once again and moved to San Bernardino. 

George worked in construction until he retired.  He was also the only Black barber in San Bernardino for many years.  This trade was passed on to his children and his grandchildren.  Emma worked as a housekeeper to help make ends meet.  It was hard times in those days and the parents struggled to keep their family together.  Even though their resources were limited, that did not prevent Emma from sharing with those who were even less fortunate.  Whenever anyone stopped by, Emma always seemed to have food to share and give to them.

Emma has always belonged to a church and made sure that her children went every Sunday.  She joined New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, which was then under the leadership of the renowned Reverend David Campbell.  While in service there, she became affectionately known as Mother Shaw.         

After the passing of Reverend Campbell, Mother Shaw changed her membership to Greater New Jerusalem Church of God in Christ, which is under the leadership of Elder Herbert C. Pugh.

Mother Shaw always sees some good in everyone, no matter who they are.  She always has a smile and good advice for anyone who would partake of her wisdom.  Her favorite sayings are: ‘I'm telling you now, you need to get right with God and live a saved life, because time is winding up and soon, cause this world is coming to an end,' or ‘It's an individual affair, everyone must seek Jesus for himself.'

Miss Black USA 2007 Speaks Candidly to Black Voice News

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By Shantiqua S. Stuart


On June 1st, 2007, Ms. Kalilah Allen-Harris was crowned Miss Black USA at the Miss Black USA Pageant in Gambia, West Africa. According to Ms. Allen Harris, the Miss Black USA competition was more than just a beauty pageant. 

Kalilah Allen-Harris
The Miss Black USA pageant is a nonprofit organization that opts to promote positive images of African American women while giving them educational opportunities through scholarships.  The organization has become one of the largest scholarship contributors to African American women this year. In fact, the swim suit segment of the pageant was replaced by a fitness segment as a way to promote community health and positive images of all types of women.

After being announced the winner, Ms. Allen-Harris admitted to being extremely excited, yet in a state of shock.  "I didn't believe it because the young women that competed with me in the pageant were remarkable...it was really an honor to be chosen among such high quality, talented, beautiful women," says Ms. Allen-Harris.

At the age of fourteen, Ms. Allen-Harris was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes.  She said, "There's an estimated 6.2 million people who have diabetes and have never been diagnosed," therefore, she is inspired to educate others that are affected by the disease.

Despite her obstacles, Ms. Allen-Harris received a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, and she is currently studying orthopedic medicine at Meharry Medical College School of Medicine. The twenty-two year old has "always" wanted to be a physician. Ultimately, she would like to specialize in orthopedic surgery. 

After her win Miss Black USA sat down with the Black Voice News:

Q: Why did you decide to compete for Miss Black USA?"

A: "It is an organization that strives to uplift Black women...it gives Black women the opportunity to showcase their talents and their beauty and to be judged on their own signatures as oppose to the more so European standards of beauty."

Q: What challenges did you face before winning Miss Black USA?"

A: "Medical school was a challenge. I missed all of my finals in order to attend the pageant...  There were times when I would just break down and cry because everything was so hard, but I always knew that through prayer and in God's "will" everything would workout just the way it was suppose to. It was just real overwhelming. Prayer was my best asset during that time to help get me through."

Q: I understand that the pageant's contestants visited many historical locations, such as the James Island and Kunte Kinte's village. What were your thoughts about these experiences?

A:  "I was overwhelmed with emotions...I didn't expect to be affected, ...I really felt like my ancestors feared for their lives...I can feel them watching us...and we can only imagine the horrible things that they had to endure...I did feel as though a weight had been lifted, being able to learn and experience and finally having the opportunity to grieve...I have nothing but respect, admiration, and love for what my forefathers had to go through."

Q: What are your future plans as a beauty contestant?

A:  "This is it. I feel like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, it's been great, it's been a blessing, and I'm going to do all that I can during my reign to make a good impact on society. I don't feel as if I need to continue to compete in pageants in order to be a good productive member of society." 

Q: Who have been your role models?

A: "My mother is definitely a role model in my life. My mother and my grandmother are the strongest women that I know; they have taught me everything that I know about life."

Q: What do you think is the greatest health crisis for the African American youth?

A: "STDs are most easily controlled. They are obviously preventable. It really comes into what we are willing to teach our youth, and what we are willing to accept from our children as far as sexual behavior."

Q: What advice would you give to young Black women who are trying to accomplish their goals and dreams, but are faced with impediments?

A: "I would tell them that perseverance is all that you need. God is first, and then when you decide that you are going to put him first in your life, you really have nothing else to do. You just let it go and put it in his hands and what is suppose to happen, will happen as long as you are proactive and you have perseverance."

Q: Who would you support, Hillary or Obama, if those were the only two choices?

A: "They both have very strong points that I support, and they both are making history...I may wait a little closer to election time to see if they are both consistent throughout this campaign before I make my decision."

Ms. Allen-Harris says that after winning Miss Black USA, a typical day for her has been the same as any other day, except for the fact that she receives more emails and phone calls, and she is scheduled to make more appearances. Miss Black USA has already participated in the River Region Black Business Expo in Montgomery, Alabama. She is also expected to attend a BET Girls Summer Camp in Columbia, Alabama, this week.

National Night Out Events Set For Bloomington And Muscoy

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National Night Out - an event to strengthen neighborhood pride and to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness - will be celebrated in the communities of Bloomington and Muscoy this year thanks to San Bernardino County 5th District Supervisor Josie Gonzales.

Supervisor Josie Gonzales
"I am personally inviting the residents of Bloomington and Muscoy to come out and take part in the celebrations," said Supervisor Gonzales. "This is a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet your neighbors, build up a sense of community pride, and forge partnerships with county and local law enforcement to keep your communities safe."

These family-style events will be held on Tuesday, August 7 from 4 to 6:30 p.m.  Bloomington's celebration will be held at Ayala Park, located at 18313 Valley Boulevard. The Muscoy event will be held at Vermont Elementary School, 3695 Vermont Street.

The San Bernardino City Unified School District and San Bernardino County Sheriff Department will be supporting the event, along with other County departments. There will be free food, giveaways, music and entertainment. McGruff, the Crime Dog also will make a special guest appearance at each celebration.

"We're going to have a great time so bring your kids, your lawn chairs, and your community spirit," said Gonzales.

The County Board of Supervisors will present a resolution at 10 a.m. on August 7 to County Sheriff Gary Penrod proclaiming "National Night Out in San Bernardino County."

Supervisor Gonzales allocated $10,000 to offset the costs for the two community celebrations in Bloomington and Muscoy.

The National Association of Town Watch, a non-profit organization that works with thousands of crime watch groups and law enforcement agencies, created National Night Out 24 years ago. This year more than 35 million people nationwide are expected to participate in "America's Night Out Against Crime" celebrations.

For more information on these events call the 5th District office at (909) 387-4565. For more details on National Night Out visit the website at www.natw.org.

The 5th District includes the unincorporated areas of Bloomington, Muscoy and Arrowhead Farms, the city of Rialto, major portions of the cities of Colton and San Bernardino, and a segment of the city of Fontana.

Related and Shield of Faith Breaks Ground on Low-Income Housing Project

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Related and Shield of Faith, co-developers of Tivoli Plaza and Shield Village, an affordable intergenerational rental apartment project being built on 3.6 acres in Pomona, recently broke ground on 90 apartments that will serve low-income seniors and families. Bishop Henry B. Alexander, Saki Middleton, Related California and Councilman George Hunter led the ceremony.

l-r: Bishop James Newman (Diocesan of Mexico), Mr. Saki Middleton (Related Financial), Mr. James E. Campbell (Pres. of Shield of Faith Economic Corp), Minister Jason Scott (VP of Shield of Faith Economic Corp), Dr. Marty Alexander (First Lady of Shield of Faith Christian Center), Bishop Henry B. Alexander (Sr. Pastor of Shield of Faith Christian Center), Dr. W. Jim Jimerson (Asst. Pastor of Shield of Faith Christian Center).

"This project is one of many joint venture developments that Related has with faith-based organizations throughout the State of California to develop both affordable and for-sale housing," said Saki Middleton, partner acquisitions/development with Related. Shield of Faith and Related's venture brings together a local church with extensive experience providing socio-economic and spiritual service to the community and an experienced private developer that has developed more than 6,000 units of housing in California.

"It is valuable for churches and other faith-based entities to participate in the revitalization of our communities since religious groups are so central to the life and the values of our families," said Bishop Henry B. Alexander, the pastor of Shield of Faith Christian Center.

Congregants and community members join hands in prayer prior to the groundbreaking ceremonies.

Riverside Poly High School Student Wins Nation Top Honors

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Riverside Polytechnic High School junior Ryan Williams French only had 10 minutes to perform his skit, but he played four roles depicting Civil Rights era personalities to win the nation's top honor in his category in the 2007 National History Day competition.

Ryan Williams French
"I'm quite amazed," the 16-year-old winner of the competition's Senior Individual Performance prize said Friday in Riverside. He returned home from the competition at the University of Maryland on Thursday, the day he found out he won.

Ryan's project finished first in its category, according to results posted on the National History Day Web site. Over 500,000 students nationwide participated in National History Day competition this year.

To prepare for his quartet of quick-change roles that included playing the parts of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, Ryan said he spent two months searching for vintage clothes and other props from the Civil Rights Era. The audience was so amazed, that some even cried during his performance.

"It was incredible," National History Day spokesman Mark Robinson said of Ryan's performance in a phone interview Friday. "It had all the historical qualities, but he's a tremendous performer. He made the story of Martin Luther King come alive."

Ryan maintains top honors with a gpa of 4.2, he hopes to attend Yale University in 2008.

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BVN National News Wire