89th Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Mid-Western Regional Conference held in Omaha
On March 13, 2019 hundreds of women from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) arrived in Omaha for the Magnificent Mid-Western Regional Conference. With a theme of “On Track to Exemplify Excellence,” the sorority convened at the beautiful Hilton Omaha Hotel in downtown Omaha, Nebraska.
Members from the regions eight states attended the 89th AKA mid-western regional four-day conference. Workshops and breakout sessions held throughout the convening helped to prepare attendees to accelerate their progress demonstrated through achievement in education, careers, entrepreneurship, strong families and efforts to build stronger communities.
The highly successful and inspiring events were under the leadership of Regional Director, Twyla Woods-Buford and coordinated by a host committee which demonstrated excellence and outstanding teamwork. AKA members attended from Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Nebraska.
The sorority has had a long and impactful history led by women of strong faith, committed to excellence and dedicated to action on its core mission. The events held in Omaha, Nebraska lived up to that standard in amazing ways. The AKA’s also celebrated Silver, Golden, Diamond and Legacy sorority members. The influential sisterhood strongly believes in giving honor where honor is due and is well known for recognizing their trailblazers.
The sorority hit the ground running by participating in various community service projects including working with the food pantry at Clair Memorial United Methodist. The AKA’s made large donations of food to the pantry and also helped to prepare Clair to serve the community. The members also donated eyeglasses, promoted breast cancer prevention, the support of HBCU’s and black-owned businesses.
The Public Program and Reception held on Thursday night appropriately steeped in meaningful tradition was a powerful and moving celebration attended by hundreds. Many of the participants commented that it was one of the best community events in the history of regional conferences. International President, Dr. Glenda Glover, delivered a strong call to action to emphasize the AKA’s unwavering commitment to HBCU’s.
Local community leaders and organizations were honored for significantly impacting their communities. Awardees recognized during the Public Service Awards program were: Ivan Gilreath, CEO of Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands; Kenny McMorris, CEO of Charles Drew Health Center; Chris Rodgers, Board Chair for the Douglas County Board of Commissioners; Dr. Cheryl Logan, Superintendent of Omaha Public Schools; Willie Barney, Founder and President of the Empowerment Network and James Stinson, Agent for Allstate Insurance. Each of the recipients shared their connection with the exceptional sisters of AKA.
Friday night’s step show was a show stopper as AKA’s of all ages represented their regional chapters and cities with passion, excellence, and meticulously coordinated moves.
Saturday’s “Evening of Elegance Aboard the Pearl Express” was another outstanding event highlighted by a time of celebration, networking, and togetherness. The AKA’s closed out the Regional Conference with a Prayer Breakfast and Ecumenical Service which was open to the public.
Learn more about the organization at www.AKA1908.com
Teen Summit hosted by Black Police Officers Association builds bridges, provides insights
Saturday, March 25, 2023
In its ninth year, the Teen Summit hosted by the Black Police Officers Association (BPOA) is producing great fruit and providing important insights from youth.
After a few years of hosting virtual events because of the pandemic, the Teen Summit returned to in person sessions and moved to the Village Empowerment Center. The impactful event was co-founded between BPOA and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
“We love having the opportunity to engage with the youth in the community in a positive way,” said Marcus Taylor, one of the event organizers and co-founder of the BPOA.
“Hosting the event in person allows for a lot more interaction,” said Ken Fox, another organizer and co-founder of the program.
All youth participants not only walked away with knowledge and new tools to prevent and solve problems, but great gifts ranging from iPads and chrome books to big screen televisions.
“We like to give them an opportunity to reflect on the day and think about what they have learned,” said Curtis Morgan, co-organizer and facilitator of the student panel and discussions. “The gifts also are a fun way to end the day and send them home with something unexpected.”
Students had the opportunity to attend sessions focused on what they called “real topics.”
One of the participants said, “These are the types of issues we should be talking about at school.”
In a panel discussion at the end of the event others agreed and offered their suggestions to improve the community and outlined priorities they would focus on if they were principals in their schools.
These are suggestions from students in attendance:
- Schools should have more activities and clubs for Black students.
- More opportunities to open up to discuss feeling and challenges.
- Kindness Club. Intentionally tell students what is good about them. More messages to show appreciation.
- More black teachers. Understand our culture.
- More student voices included in decision-making.
- Girls should be able to play all sports including football.
- Create QR Codes that capture student input and then respond to what students are saying.
- Explain why things are in place. Example. No Gum Policy. Why?
- Create assemblies on topics they students are actually interested in. Discuss issues that are actually impacting us. Like what we did today.
- Should make community announcements at school. Kids are dealing with problems at school and at home. Speak reality during the announcements at school.
- More people in student government that actually reflect what students want.
Issues that need to be addressed:
- School too traditional. Need to innovate.
- No events at school that touch on tough issues like this and there’s no communication about events like this.
- These are different times as we are growing up.
- We can look up the answers through technology quicker than it is being taught. Need to new teaching methods.
- Mental health.
- Everybody is struggling with something. Need to talk about it. Therapy sessions are needed with every student
- Gun violence.
- How to balance things. Home. School. Work. Family.
- Depression. Childhood Trauma. People aren’t acknowledging the issues we are facing.
- Addressing the “beauty” standard. Clear skin. Light skin. Dark skin.
“It’s great to see the event return to in person and continue giving our youth a platform to learn and give input on issues important to them,” said Jermaine Ballard, one of the keynote speakers.
He encouraged the students telling them they have already shown leadership.
“You could have stayed in bed or played video games all day, but you chose to come here to learn. You are all leaders.”
The Teen Summit is hosted annually by the Black Police Officers Association. Event organizers include: Marcus Taylor, Curtis Morgan, Ken Fox and David Preston. Guest speakers included Jermaine Ballard, Keith Station, Jennifer Clark, Jeff Williams, Galat Toung, Johnny Nesbitt and others.
For more information, please go to: https://bpoaofomaha.com/
Branding Leaders Deliver Powerful Messages at Black Business Summit
Revive Black Business Summit
Saturday, March 25, 2023 at the Revive Center Omaha
Black entrepreneurs, business owners and support organizations gathered together at the Revive Black Business Summit for a powerful, inspiring and action filled morning of networking, business exchange and sharing insights regarding Branding, Marketing and Resources.
Attendees raved about the experience as national and global branding experts shared their wisdom and experience on delivering on the promise.
George Fraser, CEO and Founder
FraserNet and PowerNetworking Conference
Dr. Fraser jump started the morning with a powerful introduction to branding. Fraser has worked with Fortune 500 companies and traveled the world teaching about branding, marketing and building strong black communities. A Black Business Hall of Fame member, Fraser talked about the challenges and opportunities facing Black Businesses nationally.
“The pandemic has forced hundreds of thousands of Black businesses to close, yet there are opportunities for those who are remarkable,” said Fraser. “Being good is not enough, we must be remarkable and excellent.”
Fraser also emphasized that a brand is a promise. “We need to find joy in what we do, be comfortable failing our way to success and have faith in the things we do.”
“Are you a brand or a logo,” said Fraser. “What is your promise and are you delivering on that promise?”
Fraser and his team are preparing for the 22nd annual PowerNetworking Conference which will be held August 2nd – 5th in Houston, Texas, rated by Forbes Magazine as the best conference in the nation for Black-owned businesses.
Devin Owens, Founder
Devin Owens was then passed the baton and took the group further down the path of branding and marketing. She began by reflecting on her own personal journey towards simplification and thus the launch of her business, Less the Agency.
She has worked with over 65 global clients and some of Omaha’s most recognizable Black-owned businesses and organizations, I Be Black Girl, the ACLU of Nebraska, STATUS Luxury Goods, Best Burger and others.
She pointed to the importance of brand consistency, voice, compass, promise and the connection between what we say and what we actually do.
One of the key messages was verbal identity: “An integrated system of words and messaging that differentiate your brand and make it recognizable across channels and touch points.”
Monique Farmer, CEO and Founder
Farmer has won national awards for her innovative leadership with branding, communications and PR. She has vast experience with corporate, public sector and small business marketing, communications and branding campaigns.
Farmer reminded the audience that in addition to our business brand, we also have a personal brand.
“What do people say when you are not in the room,” said Farmer. “That is your personal brand. What are you known for?”
Farmer walked the participants through some key components of branding:
- Brand reputation
- Visual representation
- Embedding the story
- Brand promise
Farmer is also a college professor for the University of Texas at Austin and has a compelling and engaging style of presenting.
Teddy Young, Co-Founder
Young is the Co-Founder of Stable Gray with his business partner, CharDale Barnes. Young is known for his creative and industry leading approach to branding focused on understanding the emotional connections and problem-solving approach to business.
Stable Gray was named Small Business of the Year by the Greater Omaha Chamber and recently opened a second location in the heart of the historic 24th and Lake District.
Young brought a fresh approach by introducing the attendees to the importance of the emotional connections to brands.
“What does life look like when customers experience your product?”
To become better at branding and marketing, Young said business must understand how customers feel. What are their pain points? What do they want? What is the customer’s problem that you can help solve?
“How does your business help solve that problem and how does it leave the customer feeling?”
Farmer and Young tagged team and provided a list of questions for businesses to answer in order to conduct a meaningful audit of the brand.
The summit ended with a panel presenting local resources, funding and opportunities available through the Grow Nebraska Women’s Business Center, Small Business Administration, Nebraska Enterprise Fund and the Carver Legacy Center in partnership with American National Bank. Click here for more information on these resources and funding opportunities.
Resource Panel: Ernest White, Carver Legacy Center Ambassador and Vice-President for American National Bank; Jim Reiff, Executive Director with Nebraska Enterprise Fund; April Hibbler, Small Business Administration; and Eden Butler, Grow Nebraska Women’s Business Center.
Mark Your Calendar. The next Revive Black Business Summit will be Saturday, April 22, 2023!
Click here for more information.
Mark Your Calendar. The next Revive Black Business Summit will be Saturday, April 22, 2023!
Click here for more information.
City of Omaha receives $34 million for Lead Remediation
City of Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and Deputy Administrator Edward Chu, EPA Region 7
Regional leaders from the Environmental Protection Agency and Housing and Urban Development joined together to renew their commitment to helping the City to Omaha to remove lead from the soil and paint in North Omaha.
EPA is investing nearly $30 million and HUD added $4 million.