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These Four Black Women Just Made History at Harvard University

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Claudine Gay, Bridget Terry-Long, Michelle A. Williams, and Tomiko Brown-Nagin

Cambridge, MA — For the first time in Harvard’s 382-year history, four of the university’s academic departments will be led by African-American women. Professor Claudine Gay, the latest appointee, will become the first woman and the first African-American to lead the university’s prestigious Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The Crimson Harvard reports that on August 15, Professor Claudine Gay will be occupying the post as the dean of Harvard’s flagship faculty, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She is hoping it would inspire other women and people of color just like how she was inspired when former University President Drew G. Faust became Harvard’s first female president.

“If my presence in this role affirms someone’s sense of belonging and ownership, the same way Drew’s appointment affirmed my own sense of belonging, then I think that’s great,” Gay said.

Gay will be joining three other Black women who are currently seated as department heads. In 2016, Michelle A. Williams became the first black women to lead the Longwood-based School of Public Health. Tomiko Brown-Nagin and Bridget Terry-Long were also the first Black women who became deans of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Graduate School of Education in April and May, respectively.

Many are saying these appointments sparked a significant turning point at the University that only has underrepresented minorities make up only about 8 percent of its faculty.

“To now be moving into a phase of Harvard’s life where people who don’t meet that profile are now empowered to advance Harvard, it just signals that Harvard is getting ready for a new future for itself and for the country and for the world,” said John S. Wilson, a known advocate for the university’s diversity.

Meanwhile, University President Lawrence S. Bacow said, “Each of these exceptional individuals was selected because they enjoy reputations as distinguished scholars and educators, and because they are widely admired by their colleagues as extremely effective academic leaders”

He continued, “They were selected not because of their race or gender but because they each rose to the top of a rigorous search process.”

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The Promised Land is Yours

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Do you live, work, visit, worship, play, or just pass through the 78220 area?  Better yet, maybe you are looking to add a new favorite menu to your curbside/carryout food repertoire. Well there’s a new chef in town serving up a variety of delicious flavors located in the heart of the Eastside of San Antonio.

Located at 3363 E. Commerce, Ste. 102, the Promised Land International Flavors kitchen is now open and serving a multitude of flavors from around the world.  The idea behind the new location is to provide a missing variety of foods that offer nutritional value and address various health needs in the community while still providing a flare of flavors. The kitchen is open Monday – Friday with breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and lunch from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.  On any given day you can find Italian, Asian, Latin, Southern Soul, American dishes and more.  According to some of the neighboring residents and customers in the building, the Mexican Enchilada plate and the Italian Pasta with shrimp are some of their absolute favorites. 

Executive Chef Fred Johnson brings his 40 plus years of experience to his new venture Promised Land International Flavors.  Chef Fred grew up in a military family and then later served in the Navy himself.  His passion for culinary arts began when he was just 14 years old.  Realizing he was blessed with the gift of culinary skills, Chef Fred pursued his passion.  His blessing has afforded him the opportunity to teach Airforce and Navy Basic Culinary classes, he’s managed a Zio’s Italian Kitchen, he once cooked at a dinner that included the late President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, and prior to his recent end of June 2020 retirement, Chef Fred cooked seven days a week on the U.S.S. Frank Cable AS-40 ship for 1,200 servicemen when the pandemic hit. So, this well traveled Plainview, Texas native is no new kid off the block, he’s got game! 

Promised Land International Flavors had a soft opening July 5, 2020 for the residents and building tenants and currently is now open and serving the public. Promised Land International Flavors is also available for small catering events.  For more information visit http://promisedlandif.com/, https://www.facebook.com/PromisedLandif/, call (210) 238-2625, or just stop by and place your order to go.

by LaNell Taylor

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Avista Products/Black Video News Makes the News

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Spectrum News San Antonio featured Avista Products/ Black Video News in a segment about the Digital Divide.

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New Black Owned Syrup

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Sales Spike For 1st Black Woman-Owned Syrup Brand After Aunt Jemima Gets Removed From Shelves

Meet Michele Hoskins, founder of Michele Foods Inc., a multi-million dollar business whose products are sold in more than 10,000 stores nationwide. Her line of syrup products has recently seen a huge increase in sales since the owners of Aunt Jemima decided to pull its racist brand from grocery store shelves.

in 1984. That same year, Michele secured the top two largest retail chains in the Chicagoland area, which took her out of the basement and into 400 retail chains. She went on to become the first minority supplier for Denny’s, the first minority supplier for Walmart, and over the years she has partnered with some of the most respected food companies in the world – General Mills and Sara Lee.

Michele laughs when she recalls her early struggles and countless mistakes. She overcame incredible odds to turn this family secret into a formula for success. She comments, “There were no mentors for an African American female entrepreneur in the food industry in those days. I had to learn from my mistakes. Had I not been naïve, I may not have started this journey. All I had going for me was my goal and a commitment to making it work.”

Today, her products can be found in the top retail chains, more than 8,000 stores nationwide, including Kroger, Albertson’s, Jewel Foods, Publix, Safeway and more. The recipe that started it all is known as Michele’s Honey Crème Syrup, a rich, creamy confection made with honey, cream, and butter.

In addition to the original Honey Crème, her products are also available in Butter Pecan and Maple Crème flavors. These days the syrups are more than just for waffles and pancakes, they are used by cooks as condiments and in sweet and savory dishes.

Learn more at MicheleFoods.com or follow the brand on Instagram @michelesyrup

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