Healthcare Inequalities

By TaTyana Wilson

HAMPTON, Va. – The new era of Civil Rights is in healthcare and inequalities, according to Dr. L.D. Britt, Chair of Surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School. The former President of the American College of Surgeons addressed the many healthcare disparities facing the nation today at the 41st annual Black Family Conference at Hampton University.

"The reason why this is important is because by 2050, America's population will be majority people of color," said Britt.

Britt is working to confront these problems head on and change the healthcare industry. He received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of health to fund his national research into healthcare disparities.

"Forty-five thousand people die every year because they do not have health insurance," said Britt.

Fifty-nine percent of of black people live in the top 10 southern states that do not offer the Medicare expansion plan, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

In addition to living in areas that do not offer Medicare, individuals of color are more likely to be working in low-wage jobs and industries that do not offer health coverage, according the Kaiser Family Foundation.

There is a direct correlation between the lack of health insurance and life expectancy.

There is a 20-year difference in life expectancy between people living in parts of the country with the most wealth and highest education levels, compared to those living in poor, uneducated regions, according to a study published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

These studies show that it is difficult for minorities to have a healthy life expectancy without access to adequate healthcare. And, those with lower incomes are less likely to be able to afford health insurance, which further reduces access to healthcare.

This year's Black Family Conference focused on "Adding Years to Your Life and Life to Your Years." According to community members and faculty, the opening session had the greatest impact and it really set the tone for the rest of the conference.

"I wish that more people would've come out," said Eumeka Taylor, Co-chair of the planning committee for the conference. "Because I believe everyone could've benefited from that speech."

Student Entrepreneurs Balance Life and School

By Jada Middleton

Being a student working towards a degree while also starting a business is challenging. Students must manage their time and money wisely in order to graduate and keep their business afloat.

At Hampton University, dozens manage to do just that.

"The biggest struggles students face is time management, recognizing that not all money is good money, and that sometimes the best business decision is to turn down an opportunity, especially if someone isn't going to value your work or your time," said Dr. Travell Travis, who teaches Introduction to Entrepreneurship.

Some student entepreneurs plan their days hour by hour while others struggle to find the perfect balance.

Sophomore Sierra Gibson has been a makeup artist since high school. She won best makeup artist at The Beauty Bash Experience, where students who do hair and makeup show off their work. Gibson has a strict self-imposed schedule including when she goes to bed and when she wakes up. She credits that with everything she accomplishes in between.

Events like The Beauty Bash Experience help bring attention to entrepreneurs, especially for students who are trying to run a business without the benefit of majoring in business.

There are different avenues to success. Some do it without any education or background knowledge, while others take classes or major in business.

Ebonee Anderson, a senior MBA major, started her business over a year ago making natural face and body scrubs. She calls it "Ebonee Essentials." She had to temporarily suspend operations because she didn't have enough time for school.

"I wasn't able to find time to do my school work and have time for my business. I felt like I was constantly going and never got a break for myself," Anderson said. "I had an idea and felt like I needed to act on it but never thought about how much time and work was needed. In August, I plan to have my business going because I enjoyed what I was doing."

Anderson said the head of the entrepreneur department, Dr. Oliver Jones, helped her find a clear path to tackling business and school.

Jones helps students become successful entrepreneurs while completing his own projects. His first project was in Jamaica in 1988.

"Students are able to travel with me when I have important conferences, so they're able to see how being an entrepreneur really is. I explain to them how I have multiple businesses and still find time to be a professor," said Jones. "I love to see them grow from the beginning because it's a risk they're taking to better themselves."

Jones teaches Financing New Business Ventures, which allows students to start their businesses with the ideas they have. Students learn to write business plans, pitches and most importantly get one-on-one time with Jones to talk about their businesses.

When pitching an idea, students must make sure investors and others see the potential. Business pitches include a very detailed plan. It include: the targets of the market size and growth projections, a business model showing costs, pricing and margins, team skills depth, domain experience, and track record, intellectual property and sustainable competitive advantage, customized marketing strategy and realistic sales plans, five-year financial projections of revenue and expenses, specific investment size request and equity offered, and discussion of likely liquidity events and exit strategy.

"I offer to take students to Richmond to register their business because I know things can get confusing when it comes to the legal aspect," Jones said. "I feel proud when I help my students with their business because some of the students go through a lot and start discouraging themselves, so I'm here to lift them up."

Travis, who teaches Intro to Entrepreneurship teaches students how to write business plans. When he's not teaching, he's preaching at City of Refuge in Richmond, Virginia and working on his new book "Don't Eat the Baby."

"If you don't have a business plan, you don't have a business," Travis said.

A business plan includes projected earnings in the first five years, who might invest, the location, type of business, and descriptions of the service or product.

But even with a business plan, things outside a student's control can bring everything crashing down.

Mia Foster, senior entrepreneurship major, is one of Jones' students. She started doing hair and traditional sew-ins during her freshmen year at Hampton and has expanded her business, AR Styles, to making wigs and selling hair. Mia had it all figured out in the beginning when she was just doing hair. Whenever she didn't have class, she would allow clients to schedule appointments with her and she has always kept up with the latest trends in the hair industry, which increased her clientele.

"Everything was going good. I don't have to worry about school finances because my business helps me," Foster said. "Unfortunately, my house caught fire two months ago putting me in the worst situation. I had to move back home in Norfolk and commute back and forth with my clients all over Hampton, Newport News and Norfolk."

Two months after her house catching fire, Mia was offered a booth in a salon so she could continue with her business. This opportunity made things easier for her clients and allowed her to raise her prices because she's in a shop with more opportunities. Being in the shop means more people can see Foster's work. There are other clients who get their hair done by other hairdressers but can still see the work she does.

"I wanted to give up after the fire happened, but I kept telling myself you've come so far, you have clients and people on your team counting on you, you can't give up like that. Luckily all my supplies were still in good condition, but I needed a break. I thought I had school under control, but I saw my dreams crumbling right before my eyes and that's when my grades started to change," said Foster.

Foster has been able to get everything back on track despite the challenges she encountered. School is almost over for her and she has reached a milestone in her business.

Travis, her professor, understands what it takes.

"It goes back to the focus driven balance, if they know how to get up early, stay up late, know how to do business on the weekend," he said. "Then, there are others who are basically flunking school because they're pursuing this dream that might not happen."

Time management is important, but managing finances is a also big deal because without money, or managing money efficiently a new business owner will run into problems.

"I wake up every day at 5 a.m. so I can get my day started. The night before I write down my plans and I just wake up and get going. School rarely gets in the way because events happen over the weekend or after classes end," said Gibson, the makeup artist.

Gibson's business requires a different schedule because she's busy when there is a big event going on like senior ball or a fashion show. Seeing how Gibson prepared the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha for their probate was professional and organized. Her morning routine is to ensure she has time to herself, which includes yoga and mediating. Her first client came at 10 a.m. and she had several more clients until 4 p.m. After doing make-up for 6 hours she was able to finish up her schoolwork and attend the probate.

"I don't stress a lot over my business and school because I feel like I have enough time in my day to get done everything that needs to get done. When you map out your day there's nothing you can't complete," Gibson said.

Gibson has her business up and going, but she runs into problems when it comes to finances.

"I don't save my money the way I should. When I put in work and get money, I feel the need to reward myself, which I realize is a bad decision after the fact. Living off campus I have extra expenses and sometimes I only make enough to cover those expense," said Gibson.

She has been working hard to expand her business on other campuses nearby so she can meet her financial goals.

"One thing I've learned since I started my business is patience and self-motivation," Gibson said. "Without patience I don't think people can get as much done because you're too busy panicking. Things happen, it's life, but you must learn to move on from those things and motivate yourself to be the best you can be."

Passion and Diligence are Keys to Success

By Asia Rollins

HAMPTON, VA - A CBS News National Correspondent must deliver deliver accurate, meaningful news to gain the trust of viewers. For a black woman, the journey to being in front of the camera is very hard work.

Jericka Duncan told students at Hampton University on April 12 that her ability to effortlessly deliver news may look easy, but it requires a combination of passion and diligence, especially when life gets hard.

Duncan was the keynote speaker for The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) 2019 Region 1 Conference at Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

"When you find your passion you don't really look at it as a job," said the CBS News correspondent. "You want to get up in the morning."

Duncan's struggle and desire to be a face of representation for other African Americans inspire her, she said. Being in that role pushes her to do her best every day.

"You have to be focused and not let little things get in the way of what you desire," Duncan said.

Duncan's style of delivering news has allowed her to make a name for herself. While reporting, she likes to keep things simple. Duncan believes that truth, accuracy and multiple perspectives are keys to a great story.

Her ability to serve as a role model to younger aspiring students encouraged students at Hampton.

"One of the most inspirational things that Jericka said was being in the place and leading by example," said student Jordan Carter.

Duncan told students it is important for people of color to be represented in the newsroom and attain positions of power.

"There aren't many African- American journalists on the forefront of broadcast," said student Jaylen Harris. "There needs to be a change and I hope to do that in the future."

Family is Everything to KTAs

By Kennedi Jackson

Family will always support you, even when no one else does.

That was the key message for top communications scholars Friday during the induction ceremony into Kappa Tau Alpha (KTA) at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Your family "has the biggest part in getting you here," said Dr. Michael DiBari, a photography and visual arts professor who also teaches Senior Capstone.

DeBari was the keynote speaker at the induction into the nation's premier honor society.

The society invites only the top ten percent of junior and seniors. Some family members attended to support students.

"If I could impart anything, it's to remember your family and do good work," said DiBari who was inducted into KTA as a graduate student.

Dibari spoke of his own personal experience with winning a high school wrestling competition, and the significance of having your family recognize your achievements.

After the speech, students were presented with their certificates, pins, membership cards and honor cords, then said the KTA pledge in unison.

Afterward, students swarmed for pictures with their friends while cake was cut in the back of the room. Students said they were pleased to have an extra distinction on their resumes.

The atmosphere in the room was as expected of students receiving such an honorable distinction. Smiles could be seen all around the room. There was a small turnout of family and friends, but the ones who did come definitely made it known that they were there. They whooped when names were called to show how proud they were.

Kappa Tau Alpha is the college honor society that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communications. Members are selected based on these qualifications. It is the seventh national honor society, founded at the University of Missouri in 1910. Their symbol is the key, a symbol for knowledge and communication. The organization continues on with new members here at our home by the sea, leading journalistic excellence for years to come.

Project HBCU Goes to Baltimore

By Jala Tucker

Two Hampton university students traveled to Baltimore Friday, April 12 to inspire private high school students to attend a Historically Black College/University (HBCU).

During workshops at Roland Park Country School, an all-girls school in the north of the city, Jada Graham and Jala Tucker explained the value of an HBCU education and helped students with the personal statements on their applications.

About 25 students attended the workshop and said they wanted to apply to Morgan State, and Hampton, but most chose Howard, one of the top two highest-rated HBCUs in the country. About 10 students made progress on their applications.

"Even if we just make an impact on one student, I know we are doing something good," Graham said.

The workshop was part of a nonprofit, Project HBCU, created by Graham and Tucker, which specializes in giving students advice on college admissions.

The two entrepreneurs want students to understand their potential for higher education and hope to inspire them to travel outside of their comfort zones. Several students complained about the lack of opportunity in a small market like Baltimore.

The top reasons to go to an HBCU include "not having to be the voice for all Black people," Tucker told the students.

According to Tucker, typically, when black students go to Predominantly White Institutions, they are seen as the spokesperson for black people, since there are not as many black students to share their experiences. At an HBCU, students can freely have their voice without having the burden of representing the entire black community, the two explained.

A personal statement is the first step and one of the most critical parts of a college application.

"Show admissions who you really are in your personal statement," Tucker told them. "Make them want you at their school,"

Gamal Codner Tells Hampton Students how to be Successful Entrepreneurs

By Olivia Johnson

Hampton, VA--Entrepreneurial skills and networking are vital to today's students, a self-made millionaire and life coach told Hampton University students Friday. Gamal Codner, who flipped three start-up companies into a six-figure income, told students how to do what he did.

"Failing is good; if you never failed before, you won't know what not to do," said Codner, a Florida State alumnus.

Codner became an entrepreneur in college when he created a website similar to Instagram and Facebook where students could post and comment on the site about parties in the area. The website became so popular that major companies such as McDonalds began to ask Codner for his help.

After missing out on an opportunity to sign a contract with Gatorade to further expand his business, Codner began social media marketing his own businesses and businesses he contracted with. In his first month he made $107,000.

"You don't have to be the best; you just have to be different," Codner told the engaged students, who were jumping at the opportunity to ask questions.

Like the students, Codner is a young African American who wants to be an independent business man. Growing up poor, he never imagined the positions he would attain.

Now, Codner wants to give back to his community by creating a scholarship fund for young black students looking to start a business. An application form is available on his website,

Brains aren't everything when it comes to success in business, Codner said.

"Some of the richest people I know are dumb," Codner said. "It's average people who are rich, normal, every day people. You have to maximize on every opportunity."

A Painful Overcast on Legacy Park

By Sydney N. Shuler

The placement of a bronze George H. W. Bush statue in Legacy Park at Hampton University stirred up controversy with students, alumni and national leaders in the black community, some of whom said they were outraged by the inclusion of a figure known for encouraging fear using aggressive black stereotypes during his presidential campaign.

President William H. Harvey, a longtime friend of Bush, has defended the choice stating that Bush's policies directly benefited historically black colleges and universities and brought $40 million in scholarships, faculty research grants and other beneficial programs at Hampton.

"I found him to be an extraordinary man of love, values, principles, standards, honesty, compassion, loyalty, camaraderie, and character," Harvey wrote in a 2018 op-ed for The Daily Press in Newport News.

Some black leaders are outraged by the choice, one is even seeking a public rebuke while others are circulating a petition advocating for the removal of the statue.

Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr., a black Democratic representative of the First District of Missouri, and his father William Lacy Clay, Sr., who also served in the GOP and helped found the Congressional Black Caucus, are commissioning the CBC to publicly oppose the new statue.

The backlash since the ribbon-cutting ceremony Hampton University's new Legacy Park, a waterfront garden featuring eleven statues of Hampton University supporters, has included current students and the alumni association.

Bush "is not one that you can hold up as someone who believed in equal justice for all,"Clay Sr. said in a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "He steadfastly and vigorously opposed any specific proposal to ameliorate the inequitable, bigoted treatment of black citizens."

Clay Jr. believe Bush's appointment of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in order to replace the Civil Rights champion, Thurgood Marshall, was harmful to the black community and went goes against equal rights representation, according to an article by Chuck Raasch in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

During the 1988 election against Michael Dukakis, Bush supporters created the Willie Horton attack ad. William R. Horton is a black American convicted felon in Massachusetts who was imprisoned while Dukakis was governor. Horton was a recipient of Dukakis' "weekend pass" policy. The harsh mugshot and dapper photos of George H.W. Bush and Dukakis, historians believe, played into the black stereotypes of criminal behavior that ignites fears in whites.

The Hampton University Alumni Association posted a petition protesting the George H.W. Bush statue to the HU Board of Trustees and to Dr. Harvey on

"It is an absolute embarrassment, that the institution that produced Booker T. Washington, Mary Jackson, Alberta King, and thousands of others that have stood on their shoulders," the petition reads, "that the Board of Trustees and ultimately the university's long-term president, William R. Harvey somehow found it morally acceptable to memorialize this man on our beautiful campus."

The petition recalls the on-campus protests following the announcement of Bush as the commencement speaker in 1991.

"It's no wonder why his visit to a Hampton University ... a historically BLACK university, was protested by the student body, faculty and staff resources collectively," the petition reads.

"He has some good things and some bad things as well," Edwards said. "His legacy should be remembered for being instrumental in getting the United Negro College Fund started. I don't think people know the history."

One of the good things that Edwards was referring to, as well as one of the reasons for honoring the 41st president is his significant involvement in propelling the UNCF to where it is today. After being recruited to lead UNCF fundraising drives at Yale University, Bush went on to become the UNCF chairman of Texas. He also donated partial proceeds from his autobiography to UNCF. While president, he signed Executive Order 12677, which created a Presidential Advisory Board on HBCUs, a group created to strengthen Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by advising the president & U.S. Secretary of Education.

And, there were students who were torn between the good things Bush did for African Americans and the bad, like increasing funding for HBCUs while continuing the war on drugs which incarcerated Black Americans at an alarming rate.

Bush founded the Yale chapter of the UNCF and was a long time ambassador for HBCUs. He worked to improve the recruitment of graduate and undergraduate HBCU students for part-time and summer federal positions and increased HBCU funding.. HBCUs received a total of $776 million in 1989 and $894 million 1990, an increase of $118 million, right after his election.

Still, Edwards acknowledged the darker side of his legacy. "George Bush did not stop that War on Drugs, he kept it going," he said. Some current students spoke out to local news media about their opposition to the statues and said the administration should have explained the choice. Statues included Rosa Parks, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Taft, and several local figures important to the history or support of the university including founder Samuel Chapman Armstrong and President Harvey.

"Some of the statues were definitely deserving, but when you have someone like George H. W. Bush who was honorable, do not get me wrong, but as far as the other people up there and what they mean to the campus, I think that students and alumni deserve an explanation."

"First of all, I believe that the chief reason for [Legacy Park] is promotion of learning," Dr. Harvey said in an article by Brandi Howliet in The Hampton Script, "I want students to research these figures. Be thankful."

The Hampton Players bring a musical classic to Little Theater

By Asia Rollins

HAMPTON, VA-- When the audience first saw Sophomore Nesia Banks, she was wearing a black corset and long dark tulle skirt. The Wicked Witch of the West was yelling at the flying monkeys who were aiding in her evil plans. It was the best thing about The Wiz, said one very biased audience member.? "My favorite part of the shows was seeing my daughter perform," said Irena Banks. "I grew up in the '70s and watched the movie all the time as a kid, so it was nice seeing everything come together."

The Wiz, a musical from the 1970s based on The Wizard of Oz, was the latest production of The Hampton Players, the University's theater department. The show premiered March 20 and ran through the 24th.

Hampton's version of The Wiz added modern dance moves from the past few years, modern slang and added modern musical touches, while remaining the same musical that holds a special memory in the hearts of audience members.

"It's fun, it's funny and they make relevant references," said student usher Addison Adams. "We got to see them opening night and seeing them improve with each show has been a cool experience."

The musical tells the story of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion in the context of 1970s African-American culture. It is a household classic in African-American families. Audience members seemed excited to see the story come to life.? Part of modernizing the show included costuming the Tin Man in a silver sweatsuit paired with tennis shoes. Cast and crew members have prepared a show with complicated sound, lighting and costume changes. They pulled it off without any noticeable errors. That let the audience, especially the proud mother Irena Banks, focus on the acting and singing.

"My favorite song was "No Bad News," so I kind of just emulate what I've already seen," said Wicked Witch Nesiah Banks. "If people come and remember my character's name and what I did, that makes it even more humbling, but I just want people to enjoy the show."

Defamation of a New Legacy

By Kobie Polk

The somber mood was enhanced Monday by the overcast sky and misty rain as a group of Hampton University students saw – most for the first time – the bent and twisted glasses on the bronze statue of Rosa Parks.

Parks' statue was vandalized about a week after it had been unveiled on Founder's Day. After it was repaired, police say, it was vandalized a second time.

"Honestly, it's a shame," said David Glover, Chief of Hampton University police. Glover said the department was trying to figure out who did it and why. If it was because, as rumored, students were unhappy over the amount of money spent on the park – given the amount of unfinished projects and problems on campus – Glover said that was a mistake.

"If that's the case, I get the message, but I don't agree with how they did it," he said during an interview.

The statue was one of 11 representing notable figures, most African American, who contributed to the history of the university. Legacy Park, with its central fountain and landscaping, sits on the waterfront near the founder's mansion and Memorial Chapel overlooking the James River.

During the first vandalism, Park's glasses were bent downward in the middle and her nose was scratched. Police believe this happened during a celebration commemorating the last 100 days before the seniors graduate. A photograph circulated on Twitter, prompting alumni, employees and students to ask the question: Who would do this?

Hampton University custodian Herbert Hodge went to see the statue when he heard. He recalled growing up during the Civil Rights movement.

"It was a time when blacks couldn't go to certain places," Hodge said, describing the importance of what Rosa Parks did when she refused to give up her seat, launching the movement that brought an end to legal segregation.

Seeing her statue defaced left him nearly speechless.

"I just don't understand," he finally said. Like others, Hodge believes a student damaged the statue.

"We can't blame anyone but ourselves," he said.

Students agreed.

"Honestly, it's appalling," said Alexandria King, a sophomore English major. "I don't understand what the purpose would be. It's just stupid."

Campus police are questioning students and have obtained footage of the incident, police said. Even if justice is served, Hampton University family members like Hodge and King believe it will not undo the pain.

"It hurt me," said Hodge. "We go to a black school and it hurt me."

1619-2019: SANKOFA!

On March 30 at 5 p.m., the Peninsula Fine Arts Center presents "Imagine Isabella," a live performance representing the spirit of an Angolan Slave girl from 400 years ago and a panel discussion of the exhibit of sculptures called "Cash Crop," which closes March 31.

By Lea Luellen

Hampton VA-- Sankofa is a Ghanaian word meaning "look to your past to guide your future." The Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News is asking visitors to do just that. "African Art: Power and Identity," which opened January 18 and runs through April 28, includes sculptures, paintings, textiles, masks, and jewelry. The central exhibit, "Cash Crop," by sculptor and artist Stephen Hayes, reveals the power of the African Diaspora, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and its lingering effects over the past 400 years. ."

Hayes is a mixed media creator from Durham, North Carolina and a professor at Duke University where he teaches Art, Art History, and Visual Studies.

Though the statues have been called "graphic" by some, Hayes said the images represent a reality viewers need to grapple with

"The question is, what's too graphic for learning? It's about the transporting of people as goods and commodity and connecting it back to today and how we outsource our goods from one place to another, asking the question of who or what is the next cash crop. It's bringing a light to a past, and a light to a present," said Hayes during an interview after opening night at the fine arts center.

"Cash Crop" includes 15 life-sized statues that represent the estimated 15 million slaves brought to the colonies during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The statues are bound with shackles from their necks to their feet. Their backs are each attached to a wooden board, which shows how bodies were packed during the slave journey, representing the treatment of slaves as goods and commodities instead of human beings. All 15 statues are connected to a large wooden pallet.

"The pallet represents today and how our goods come from these third world countries. The slave ship plan reminds me of a sweat shop in a third world country. If you take the roof off, it looks like they packed people inside with just enough room to produce as many goods as possible," said Hayes in an interview with The Guilfordian, the student newspaper for Guilford College.

Hampton students who attended the opening said they were affected by the exhibit.

"The piece itself showed years of progress from the entry as property to the current state as prosperous. I was emotionally involved by just looking at the chained necks of the made me feel like me, myself was in captivity," said Josiah-Belfon Valentine, a Hampton University student.

During the opening, Hayes wore locks past his shoulders with a T-shirt saying, "There is a King in all of us." He related his work to America today, to symbolize the evolution of slavery from 400 years ago to 2019.

"You see, this is what art is about, creating a rush of emotion in individuals that causes us to think and feel," said Julianna Sarr, owner of Elixir Art Gallery in Hampton, VA.

Sarr is a multimedia artist who will be Using Hayes' Cash Crop as a backdrop for her first performance art piece, "Imagine Isabella" at the arts center on March 31st. After the interactive performance art piece, a live panel will discuss the effects of African enslavement and diaspora on America today.

Hayes has been touring the 15-piece ensemble since 2010. Its permanent home is the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C. It will be on loan to the Peninsula Fine Arts Center until March 31st.

The larger exhibit that includes Hayes' work, entitled African Art: Power & Identity, is part of a region-wide celebration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans. About twenty arrived at Point Comfort near Jamestown in 1619.

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