Erica Loewe Helping to Open Doors for Black Press, Others at White House – Post News Group

NNPA NEWSWIRE — In Erika Loewe’s all-too-important job as director of African American media, she has ensured that the Black Press and other media of color have enjoyed unprecedented access to the White House and top administration and cabinet officials. “President Biden and Vice President Harris promised an administration that looks like America, and they have fulfilled that promise,” Loewe said during a recent visit to the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s (NNPA) headquarters at the Thurgood Marshall Center in Northwest, Washington, D.C.
The post Erica Loewe Helping to Open Doors for Black Press, Others at White House first appeared on BlackPressUSA.
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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia
As Karine Jean-Pierre prepares to make history as the first Black press secretary at the White House, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have continued to ensure that African Americans – particularly Black women, helm crucial posts.
Alongside Jean-Pierre, there’s chief of staff to Kate Bedingfield, Khanya Brann, outgoing press secretary Jen Psaki’s chief of staff, Amanda Finney, and senior regional communications director, Rykia Dorsey.
Then, there’s Erica Loewe.
In Loewe’s all-too-important job as director of African American media, she has ensured that the Black Press and other media of color have enjoyed unprecedented access to the White House and top administration and cabinet officials.
“President Biden and Vice President Harris promised an administration that looks like America, and they have fulfilled that promise,” Loewe said during a recent visit to the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s (NNPA) headquarters at the Thurgood Marshall Center in Northwest, Washington, D.C.
There, Loewe sat for an interview with NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., for his PBS-TV show, “The Chavis Chronicles.”
“Since day one, the Biden-Harris Administration has valued diversity, empowered Black voices, and taken a whole-of-government approach to advance racial equity,” she told Dr. Chavis during the episode scheduled to air later this year.
Loewe grew up in Miami after her mother gave birth to her in South Carolina.
She attended the University of Florida and later interned at the White House for President Barack Obama.
A prolific volunteer, Loewe has worked as press secretary and deputy communications director for U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and as deputy communications director for Congressman James Clyburn (D-S.C.).
“Jim Clyburn is one of my favorite bosses, and he’s been very clear that I need to tell people that I’m from Charleston even though I grew up in Miami,” Loewe stated.
“He’s a great man, and I’ve learned a lot from him,” she remarked.
Her early influence came from her parents, particularly her mother and grandparents.
Loewe’s father worked in the nonprofit sector and helped her to gain a focus on economic empowerment and business development.
Her mother worked for a city commissioner, allowing Loewe to spend time at City Hall.
“I have always been around people who lead and serve, to some extent,” she said.
“My parents split up, but I lived with my mom and grandparents in a house full of love and laughter,” she said.
While working in the Obama White House, Loewe lived with her family and worked under the director of African American outreach.
Now, as director of African American media, she said her life had come full circle.
“I’m back at the White House, and my mother lives with me,” she said.
Loewe said her mother battles Alzheimer’s disease, but “somewhere inside, she’s there, proud of me.”
Loewe said she has enjoyed returning to the White House and tries to stay out of the crosshairs of secret service.
“We have fun. They take their jobs very seriously and we do as well,” Loewe said.
The fulfilling part of her job is allowing access to Black media and the American public, Loewe offered.
“There’s nothing like being able to grant access to the White House for the very first time,” Loewe declared. “It’s a building people have seen on television and thought they may never get inside. But, our job is to provide access to people.”
She exclaimed that the Biden-Harris administration had provided access never before experienced by the American public.
The administration also has remained the most inclusive in American history.
“Never has there been an administration that has uplifted and supported Black women as much as President Biden and Vice President Harris,” Loewe asserted.
“It’s just a fact. Numbers don’t lie. The Honorable [Kamala] Harris is a Black woman who has lived experiences… She attended Howard University, and she’s a member of the Divine Nine, the Black Church, and an advocate for Black maternal health and accurate home appraisals for Black people.”
Loewe continued:
“There are more Black people in first time positions in the President’s cabinet. You have the war in Ukraine and Gen. Lloyd Austin, the first Black to head the Department of Defense and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Two Black people you see every day making sure that we’re providing aid to Ukraine.”
She noted the Environmental Protection Agency’s Michael Regan as the first Black person to lead there, and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, as examples of other Black appointees in the administration.
“These are not symbolic positions,” Loewe concluded.
The post Erica Loewe Helping to Open Doors for Black Press, Others at White House first appeared on BlackPressUSA.
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NNPA NEWSWIRE — Amari is one of these artists and Ghofrane is an activist. Exploring how racism has shaped her life in all aspects including her early school days, her romantic life and everyday activities, Amari’s film showcases how Ghofrane uses her experiences as impetus to work to bring change to her country for all people. A compassionate and hopeful exploration of the life and aspirations of Ghofrane, She Had A Dream sheds light on women’s roles in Tunisia’s changing society and one woman’s battle to create change for her community.
The post Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP first appeared on BlackPressUSA.
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By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D, NNPA Newswire Entertainment and Culture Editor
The documentary She Had A Dream by Tunisian filmmaker Raja Amari premieres on AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange series tonight at 8 p.m. EST on WORLD CHANNEL. Season 14 of the acclaimed documentary series captures Black artists and activists shaping and reclaiming culture, advocating for change and mobilizing for brighter futures. She Had A Dream offers an intimate portrayal of one young Black Tunisian woman’s quest for political office and her fight against racism and oppression in a society that often seeks to overlook both.
The documentary follows Ghofrane, a 20-something Black woman from Tunisia as she walks the path of self-discovery of young adulthood while running for political office in a homeland where many still view her as an outsider.
Watch the trailer below:
[This post contains video, click to play]

A dedicated, charismatic activist and a modern, free-speaking woman, Ghofrane in many ways is the embodiment of contemporary Tunisian political hopes still alive years after the Arab Spring. She Had A Dream follows Ghofrane as she works to conquer her own self-doubts while attempting to persuade close friends and complete strangers to vote for her. As audiences follow her campaign, they also follow the dichotomies of her life as a woman striving for a role in politics in the Arab world and as a Black person in a country where racism is prevalent, yet often denied.
“The 14th season of AfroPoP shines a light on the collective power, strength and resilience of Black people and movements around the world,” said Leslie Fields-Cruz, AfroPoP executive producer. “Viewers will see artists use their platforms to push for progress and human rights and see ‘ordinary’ people do the remarkable in the interest of justice.”
Amari is one of these artists and Ghofrane is an activist. Exploring how racism has shaped her life in all aspects including her early school days, her romantic life and everyday activities, Amari’s film showcases how Ghofrane uses her experiences as impetus to work to bring change to her country for all people. A compassionate and hopeful exploration of the life and aspirations of Ghofrane, She Had A Dream sheds light on women’s roles in Tunisia’s changing society and one woman’s battle to create change for her community.
She Had A Dream airs on AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange Monday, April 11 at 8 p.m. ET on WORLD Channel and begins streaming on worldchannel.org at the same time.
AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange is presented by Black Public Media and WORLD Channel. For more information, visit worldchannel.org or blackpublicmedia.org.
This article was written by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.
Follow The Burton Wire on Twitter or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.
The post Tunisia: Raja Amari’s ‘She Had a Dream’ Doc Premieres on AfroPoP first appeared on BlackPressUSA.
NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Sextortion” refers to sex being used as currency instead of money for services or products — in this case water. According to the Water Integrity Network (WIN), the testimonies collected from women over the past five years in Kibera and Mukuru Kwa Njenga, which are some of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, point towards an invisible, unspoken, and sinister consequence of corruption in the water sector i.e. sextortion. Sex for water is not a new phenomena.
The post Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls first appeared on BlackPressUSA.
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BBC Africa is reporting Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, is facing a water shortage because of changing weather patterns and aging water facilities. The article reports, “Residents in informal communities like Kibra pay private vendors for water, meaning they now control the supply and access to water in the community.” The privatization of water access has led to an increase in the exploitation of women and girls in exchange for water.
“Sextortion” refers to sex being used as currency instead of money for services or products — in this case water. According to the Water Integrity Network (WIN), the testimonies collected from women over the past five years in Kibera and Mukuru Kwa Njenga, which are some of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, point towards an invisible, unspoken, and sinister consequence of corruption in the water sector i.e. sextortion. Sex for water is not a new phenomena. Check out the 2018 ANEW documentary short below:
[This post contains video, click to play]

The water crisis and the sexual exploitation of girls and women as a result of the water crisis shows no signs of slowing down.
This news brief was curated by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.
Follow The Burton Wire on Twitter or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.
The post Nairobi: Water Crisis Exploits Women & Girls first appeared on BlackPressUSA.
THE AFRO — Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black youths ages 15 to 24, according to the Office of Minority Health. The same report found Black high school-aged girls were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their white peers. And, by June 2020, the CDC saw the rate of Black respondents who reported having “seriously considered suicide” was significantly higher.
The post #WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright first appeared on BlackPressUSA.
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By Maya Pottiger, Word in Black
It’s no surprise that we’re living through difficult times. After two years, we’re still in a global pandemic, which has predominantly impacted people of color. In addition, Book bans, attacks on critical race theory, and partisan political fights target everything from Black youths’ sexuality, to history, to health.
And we’re seeing the effects.
Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black youths ages 15 to 24, according to the Office of Minority Health. The same report found Black high school-aged girls were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their white peers. And, by June 2020, the CDC saw the rate of Black respondents who reported having “seriously considered suicide” was significantly higher.
For a variety of reasons — ongoing stigma, lack of insurance, most accessible — Black students often rely on the mental health services offered at school.Outside of a mental health-specific practice, Black students were nearly 600 times as likely to get mental health help in an academic setting compared to other options, according to 2020 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
In fact, mental health services in schools have been steadily gaining popularity among students since 2009, before dropping slightly in 2020 when the school year was interrupted, according to the SAMHSA report. As a result, the rate of students receiving mental health care through school decreased by 14 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.
So how are schools changing the way they address and prioritize mental health — and the specific needs of Black students — since 2020?
For school-aged people, the majority of their time is spent in a school building — about eight hours per day, 10 months out of the year. To help address mental health during academic hours, schools are trying to focus on social-emotional learning: self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills. This includes teaching kids how to be in touch with their emotions and protect against adverse mental health outcomes.
But it’s been difficult.
Though there’s been more conversation, the implementation is challenging, says Dr. Kizzy Albritton, an associate professor of school psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. There was already a shortage of school-based mental health professionals before the pandemic, which has now been exacerbated, as have mental health issues. In addition, though schools clearly recognize the importance of mental health, they aren’t always provided adequate resources.
“Unless there are more resources funneled into the school system, we’re going to see a continued catch-up issue across the board,” Albritton says. “And, unfortunately, our Black students are going to continue to suffer the most.”
In a survey of high school principals and students, Education Week Research Center found discrepancies in how principals and students viewed a school’s mental health services. While 86 percent of the principals said their schools provided services, only about 66 percent of students agreed. The survey did point out it’s possible the school offers these services and students aren’t aware. The survey also found Black and Latinx students were less likely than their peers to say their schools offered services.
Dr. Celeste Malone, the president-elect of the National Association for School Psychologists and a Howard University associate professor, says she hasn’t previously seen this degree of attention to mental health in schools.
“I see that a lot in my role for a school psychology graduate program: the outreach and people contacting me with openings where they didn’t exist previously,” Malone says. “With this increased push in funding to hire more, that’s definitely a very, very positive movement.”
Just like with many aspects of health, Black youths need different mental health support from their peers of other races. They need a counselor who understands their lived experiences, like microaggressions and other forms of discrimination or racism, without the student having to explain.
For example, in order to best address the specific mental health needs of Black students, districts need to provide information breaking down mental health stigmas; focus on hiring Black counselors, social workers, and mental health professionals; and fund anti-racist and trauma-informed mental health practices, according to the Center for American Progress.
While she hears a lot of talk, Albritton says she isn’t seeing widespread evidence of these solutions in practice.
“There needs to be a willingness, first of all, to understand that our Black students, their needs look a lot different,” Albritton says. School officials need to understand where Black students are coming from — that their families and households experience systemic and structural racism, which are known to trigger anxiety and depression. The effects of the racial wealth gap also play a role, from the neighborhood kids are living in, to the schools they can attend to the impacts on their health. Students might be bringing worries about these challenges to school, which could be reflected in their behavior. This is why, Albritton says, it’s crucial to also work with students’ families.
The post #WordinBlack: Schools and Black Students’ Mental Health: The Kids Aren’t Alright appeared first on AFRO American Newspapers .

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Onesimus. It is a name we don’t hear when we look at the history of vaccinations, but in the United States we owe a debt of gratitude to an African Slave named, Onesimus. In this video, voiced by writer and political activist, Baratunde Thurston, learn how Onesimus shared a traditional African inoculation technique that saved countless live from Smallpox and become the foundation for vaccine as we know them today, including the COVID Vaccine.

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