NewsOne Now Audio Podcast: Apple Invests $40+ Million In HBCUs


NewsOne Now Exclusive: Thurgood Marshall College Fund Head Discusses $40+ Million Apple ‘Investment’ In HBCUs 


On Tuesday Johnny C. Taylor, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund,stopped by “NewsOne Now” to make a major announcement that could literally change the lives of thousands of HBCU students across the country.

Fresh off the heels of its Apple Watch announcement, Apple released a statement through Fortune Magazine stating that it will donate a sizable gift of over $40 million dollars to Historically Back Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Fortune Magazine reported:

In an exclusive interview with Fortune, Apple’s human resources chief Denise Young Smith said the company is partnering with several non-profit organizations on a multi-year, multi-million-dollar effort to increase the pipeline of women, minorities, and veterans in the technology industry—and, of course, at Apple.

“We wanted to create opportunities for minority candidates to get their first job at Apple,” said Young Smith, who took over as its head of HR a little over a year ago.“There is tremendous upside to that and we are dogged about the fact that we can’t innovate without being diverse and inclusive.”

The Fortune Magazine article also stated:

“.. the company is partnering with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a non-profit that supports students enrolled in public, historically black colleges and universities (known as HBCUs). These schools include North Carolina A&T State University, Howard University, and Grambling State University (where Young Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism in 1978). All told, there are 100 HBCUs across the country—47 of them are considered public—and collectively they graduate nearly 20% of African-Americans who earn undergraduate degrees.

Apple is committing over $40 million to the fund, which will use the money to create a database of computer science majors at HBCUs, train both students and faculty and offer scholarships. Apple will also create a paid internship program for particularly promising students.

Taylor spoke with Roland Martin, host of “NewsOne Now” about this historic investment in HBCU’s and commitment to diversity.

“I want to make the point that this is exclusively for HBCUs,” said Taylor.

“Too often these announcements go out and part of the money goes to HBCUs and part of the money goes else where. Every one of these dollars will go to HBCU students for internships, scholarships, first time gigs, first time jobs, also to our faculty because people often times forget the HBCU faculty are the ones who are responsible for preparing these students for getting into these competitive responsible roles.”

Taylor highlighted HBCU alum Denise Young Smith, head of Global HR at Apple, as being the driving force behind this momentous gift.

Taylor told Martin that Apple did not just want to give a gift, but wanted to “make an investment in HBCUs.”

“We spent several months designing a program that would put resources exclusively into HBCUs, but would ultimately help their students become not only future Apple employees, but also part of the Apple entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Taylor.

Watch Martin and Johnny C. Taylor, President and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall Fund discuss Apple announcing their game changing $40+ million dollar investment into Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the video clip above.

NewsOne Now Exclusive: Marissa Alexander Details Her Fight For Freedom

One gunshot got Marissa Alexander sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison even though she said she was defending herself from estranged abusive husband.

Even though the state of Florida recognized the Stand Your Ground Law for George Zimmermanwho shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012, the same law did not protect Alexander from being prosecuted, charged and sentenced in what was a travesty of justice.

Four and a half years after she was convicted and sent off to jail, her conviction was overturned. She was then sentenced to three years for assault and is now under house arrest for the remainder of her sentence.

On Tuesday, Alexander spoke with “NewsOne Now” host Roland Martin via Skype about her harrowing trial, Marissa’s Law, Stand Your Ground Law and her desire to fight for criminal justice reform.

While she was incarcerated, Alexander became a “legal eye” in terms of working on her own case.

“Nobody is going to fight for your life like you are going to fight for your own,” said Alexander.

“I absolutely had to be involved in reviewing my own documentation and any instructions that my attorney gave me and anything that I can find out and read and absorb, that’s what I was doing.”

During her legal proceedings the State of Florida changed the law to state if a warning shot was fired, the state would invoke stand your ground verses leaving it up to a judge. Many call this change in the law, “Marissa’s Law.”

Alexander responded to hearing about the law named after her by laughing and saying “I didn’t know it was that. I thought it was just a warning shot law.”

Soon afterwards, she said “Marissa’s Law” would not have helped her during her case, but it may be able to help someone else.

Watch Martin, Marissa Alexander and the “NewsOne Now” Straight Talk panel discuss Alexander’s legal battle for freedom in the video clip above.

#BlackLivesMatter On ABC’s ‘Scandal’: Actor Courtney B. Vance Talks Racism, Police Brutality

Last week, ABC’s “Scandal,” starring Kerry Washington as the formidable Olivia Pope, struck a nerve all across the country. It did so not with a new outrageous plot twist or a blistering monologue by “Papa Pope,” played by Joe Morton, but through the simple act of art imitating life.

The episode causing the stir was titled “The Lawn Chair.”  In this polarizing hour of “Scandal,” a young man (Brandon) is shot and killed by a Washington DC Police officer and his father, Clarence, played byCourtney B. Vance, incites a police stand-off when he rushes to the crime scene and raises a shotgun, refusing to leave his son’s body until justice is served.

Vance joined Roland Martin Tuesday on “NewsOne Now” via Skype to discuss last Thursday’s episode of the ABC drama that sill has people talking today.

Vance explained, “These situations seem to be coming up again and again and it to me it really focuses our attention on the fact that we need to have a gloves off dialogue about Black and White.”

He continued, “It’s the deepest issue that we have. That’s why every time a situation comes up, we seem to keep going back over the same ground. We never really get to what the meat of what part of the issue is.”

Vance accounted the tensions America continues to wrestle with being centered on Blacks and Whites simply being “different.”

“We’re raised differently, and our views about police, based on the way we’re raised are different,” said Vance.

“It’s a very huge issue, which is why we need to continue to talk it through, we have to talk it out. We can’t say that we were at a place where — no we understand each other — no we don’t, we don’t.”

Martin asked Vance after reading the script for this hard-hitting episode of “Scandal” if he said I absolutely have to do this.

Vance replied, “No, I did not say that. My life is complicated.” He explained that his mother has ALS and “there is a lot that goes into making decisions about our business. And this was one of those where I’d said, ‘I don’t know if I can move that fast because they needed to know right away.”

Vance continued, “My reps took me aside and said, ‘This is one of those you’re going to have to jump on, Court’ and I took a deep breath and said, ‘OK.’”

All that and more in this edition of the NewsOne Now Audio Podcast.