It’s Famous Friday!

Tanya M. Odom is a writer, coach, global consultant and Diversity and Inclusion, equity, and civil rights thought leader.  She is African American and Irish American.  Odom’s education includes a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Vassar College and a Masters in Education at Harvard University.  Tanya contributes to publications like the Huffington Post, cnn.com, Bloomberg News, The Village Voice, and Diversity Woman Magazine.  She has written about leadership, diversity, mindfulness, and self-compassion.

Tanya has worked globally over 20 years in 40 different countries.  She has focused on topics of Youth empowerment/mentoring, Diversity and Inclusion, Challenging Conversations, Race/Racism, Inclusive Leadership and more.  And to top it all off, she’s fluent in Spanish!

Tanya gained her social skills over time, but from an early age and through college, she has developed them.  For the first seven years of her life, Odom grew up in a diverse community with people from different backgrounds.  Her parents were also interested in social issues and wanted to help others.  They ran a drug rehabilitation program, and her interactions with the people in the program began the growth of her social grace.  “…My ability to talk to different people, to be a bridge-builder, to be in community with people, and also to just see people that others have deemed as outsiders or other started really, really young,” says Odom.  When Tanya was in college, she would have classroom discussions, and a common topic was race.  She would hear about difficult situations, from childhood bullying to pay equity.  However, when she went into those challenging conversations, she brought her mother’s saying with her.  “There are bad acts, not bad people.”  I think this is an amazing mindset to have in general, but especially when being involved in conversations that can be difficult to talk about.

With all her experience, Tanya Odom has excellent insight into the multiracial community and how it is evolving.  In one article, she expresses how we can be “agile” in our learning about multiracial identity and why it’s important.  Multiracial people are one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States.  The 2010 census was the second time that people taking the survey could check more than one box concerning their race (2000 was the first time). Due to this new opportunity, demographers have access to more information regarding the multiracial population.  From 2000 to 2010 the population of multiracial children in the U.S. went up by 50%.  This information will continue to expand and change, so it is important that we continue to give the demographers our information in any way we can! Checking more than one box, or describing your ethnicity, is a great way to do so in surveys like the 2020 census. Did you complete your 2020 Census? Odom says “agility is an important part of learning and awareness in diversity and inclusion.”  In one article, Tanya gives several tips to help us be “agile” in our learning about the identity of multiracial people. Two of the tips include letting multiracial people self-identify and learning more about national groups that talk about multiracial identity and families, like Project RACE!

I appreciate Tanya’s hard work and dedication to helping the multiracial community and those in need.  Her devotion to helping social issues in this world is amazing, encouraging and inspiring.  In an interview for Vassar Quarterly, Odom said she wanted to make a difference, and that is exactly what she is doing!

 

Madelyn Rempel, Project RACE Kids President

Picture Source:https://www.diversitybestpractices.com/person/tanya-odom

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It’s Famous Friday!

Famous Friday: Michael Behling

For Famous Friday this week, we’ll talk about Michael Behling. Michael Evans Behling was born on March 5, 1996 in Columbus, Ohio. Behling was born to a black father and a white mother, and grew up playing sports. He excelled in athletics so much that he went on to run track at Indiana State University where he was also a pre-med student. Two years into college, he sustained an injury that sidelined his athletic career and decided to leave Indiana State to pursue a career as an actor.

Behling began his acting career performing in commercials and was quickly cast for a small part in Fox’s Empire. Today, he is best known for his role as Jordan Baker on the CW’s show All American, which is currently the second highest trending title on Netflix. In All American, Behling plays Beverly Hills High’s quarterback and team captain. His character is multiracial just as he is, and Behling has stated publicly that he sees similarities between him and Jordan in the ways that they navigate as young multiracial men. I really enjoy this show. In fact, I spent a full day of my spring break binge watching the second season once it came out on Netflix.

Michael Behling is already becoming a successful and recognizable actor at the age of 24. He thanks his cast members for aiding him in his transition from Indiana to Hollywood, and although his original plans in track or medicine may be out the window, I’m sure we’ll see Michael Behling doing big things.

 

Karson Baldwin, President Project RACE Teens

photo credit: bleumag.com

 

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FINALLY…

At the urging of Project RACE, the Census Bureau has finally made a Census 2020 FACT SHEET for the multiracial community!

Fact_Sheet_for_Multiracial_Audiences

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It’s Famous Friday!

Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi

It’s Famous Friday. This week’s focus is on musical artist Lewis Capaldi. Lewis Marc Capaldi was born in Glasgow, Scotland on October 7th, 1996. Capaldi is of Scottish, Italian, and British descent. His mother Carol, is a nurse while his father Mark, is a fishmonger. Growing up as the youngest of four siblings, Capaldi began learning to play the guitar and drums at the age of two. His singing career began seven years later when he started singing in restaurants and pubs near his home in Bathgate, which is where he lives today.

As many young artists do, Lewis began uploading his music onto SoundCloud when he was a teenager. SoundCloud is an online music platform and is recognized as the, “largest community of artists, bands, podcaster, and creators of music.” After recording a video of himself singing, Capaldi was discovered by manager Ryan Walter. Shortly after, in March of 2017, Capaldi released his first song, “Bruises.” His career took off from there, with the song acquiring over 28 million plays on Spotify alone, making him the fastest unsigned artist to reach 25 million plays in Spotify history. Not long after, Capaldi signed with Universal Music Group and his music is now distributed by Virgin EMI Records as well as Capitol Records.

Capaldi’s fame has since continued to grow. By 2018 he was named Vevo’s “Artist to Watch.” In the same year, he also joined renowned singer-songwriter Sam Smith on his, “The Thrill of It All” tour. Capaldi then proceeded to release two albums, titled “Breach” and “Divinely Uninspired To a Hellish Extent,” for which he received massive recognition. Capaldi’s track, “Someone You Loved” made him BBC Teens Award’s “Best British Singer” in 2019. Most recently, the same song landed him a Grammy nomination for “Song of the Year.”

Matheson Bossick

Project Race Teens Vice President

Sources:

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/feb/18/brit-awards-2020-lewis-capaldi-winners-dave-stormzy-tyler
  2. https://www.google.com/search?safe=strict&sxsrf=ALeKk03N-V42KFwFxBxs685H8Pr1me7C6A%3A1584654715260&source=hp&ei=e-lzXryoDduxtQbkrqDgAw&q=lewis+capaldi+albums&oq=lewis+capaldi+albums&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0i20i263j0j0i22i30l8.1250.8359..8983…1.0..0.280.3119.2j7j8……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i131j35i39j0i67j0i20i263i70i251.hTvGgGqx1Vo&ved=0ahUKEwj80ZHrwqfoAhXbWM0KHWQXCDwQ4dUDCAg&uact=5
  3. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-8025709/Inside-Lewis-Capaldis-parents-home-singer-lives-despite-making-millions.html
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Capaldi

Photo From:

https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/entertainment/2020/01/31/heartbreak-singer-lewis-capaldi-gives-light-hearted-interview-to-malaysian-press

 

 

 

It’s Famous Friday!

Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams was born on August 5,1981, to his African American father Reginald Williams, and Swedish mother Johanna Chase. He is best known for his role as Dr. Jackson Avery on ABC’s primetime medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. He has also appeared on Law and Order, Beyond the Break, The Cabin in the Woods, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.

Prior to beginning a career in acting, he followed in his parents footsteps by graduating from Temple University with a double major in African American Studies and Film and Media Arts.  Williams then taught high school in the Philadelphia public school system for six years before his career skyrocketed.

In 2005, Williams began to study acting and was chosen to participate in the New York Actors Showcase presented by ABC Television. His acting career took off with an appearance on Law & Order as the character Kwame and then with a role on the show Greek. It was in 2009, during season seven of Grey’s Anatomy, that Williams began appearing as Dr. Jackson Avery which would then lead to him being named as a regular on the show.

Throughout his career, Williams has received recognition for both his acting and his looks.  In 2011, he was named the TV Actor of the Year at the Young Hollywood Awards.  He has also been ranked highly by viewers for his handsome features on a popular television viewing poll.  Along with acting, Williams has also been successful in modeling, voice acting and aspects of activism.

 

 

Skylar Wooten, Project RACE Teens Vice President

 

Picture by Taylour Paige, https://www.justjared.com

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Wait for it…

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It’s Famous Friday!

Mandy Gonzalez

Mandy Gonzalez was born on August 22, 1978, to a Mexican father and white mother.

She has had a successful career as an actress and singer and is best known for her roles on

Broadway. These roles include the fabulous Angelica Schuyler from the musical Hamilton,

Elphaba from the musical of Wicked, and Nina Rosario in the original cast of In the Heights.

From an early age, Mandy Gonzalez’s grandmother saw her passion for music and signed

her up for singing lessons. She attended Saugus High School in Saugus, California. It was in

high school that Gonzalez got involved with theater. For one year, Mandy went to California

Institute of the Arts. However, when she was offered a job as a backup singer for Bette

Midler, she dropped out of college and went on tour from 1999 to 2000. After touring with

Midler, Mandy Gonzalez decided to settle in New York City. In 2001, Gonzalez was a

standby actress for the character of Amneris in the musical Aida, but after landing a role in

Dance of the Vampires, in 2002, she has been on stage ever since!

Mandy Gonzalez had to learn how to be an actress and stay true to her heritage along the

way. Gonzalez recalls as a child feeling different. In an article, Mandy says, “I was the only

Gonzalez in a Hebrew School, I didn’t want to be different.” Although she felt different,

Mandy Gonzalez learned to embrace who she was early on in her career. A video series

called “#HowIGotHere” tells the story of people and their path to success. One video, in this

series, highlights Mandy Gonzalez, where she talks about how she had to learn to embrace

her multiracial identity. Furthermore, she explains how she was so eager to be a part of the

show biz world, and that she was also considering changing her last name on the contract.

Then, she remembered her family and all their hard work.

I love what she told the agent, “I am Mandy Gonzalez with two Zs.” Mandy says that

this was the first time she truly learned about integrity and staying true to her heritage

roots. I am inspired by Gonzalez’s acceptance of her identity at an early age by being proud

of her heritage. After her first job on Broadway, Mandy received some harsh reviews;

however, despite this, she continued to pursue her dreams.

Further, Gonzalez also inspires me by her positive attitude and focus on the good in life

after being diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2019. For example, in one Instagram

post, Mandy writes, “…I have a range of emotions – worry and anger, for sure, but also

gratitude. Gratitude because along with millions of other brave people around the world, I

will fight it.”

Through this trial, Mandy Gonzalez wants to bring awareness about something that many

people must face. “It’s important to know that early detection is key. As a community, as a

society, we need to figure out a way so that everyone has access to a mammogram,” says

Gonzalez.

And if that wasn’t enough, Mandy Gonzalez is also the founder of the social media group

on Twitter and Instagram called the Fearless Squad. The Fearless Squad is an online

movement that is open to anyone who takes up the morals that define the group: Help each

other when we fall, Embrace differences, Look for the good, and Dream Big. Gonzalez even

named the title track of her first album, Fearless, in honor of the group.

As a multiracial theater kid myself, Mandy Gonzalez is such an awesome role model.

She embraced her heritage and followed her dreams to become a Broadway star, and tries to

empower all types of people through all walks of life.

 

Madelyn Rempel

Project Race Kids President

 

Source: https://www.survivornet.com/articles/hamilton-star-mandy-gonzalez-reveals-shes-

battling-breast-cancer-but-the-show-must-go-on/

 

It’s Famous Friday!

Famous Friday: Dr. Jonathan S. Holloway 

Dr. Jonathan Holloway has been named as the twenty first President of Rutgers University and is expected to step into the position in July. Holloway will be Rutgers’ first non-white president since the college was founded more than 250 years ago. Rutgers board of governors Chairman Mark Angelson welcomed Holloway saying, “He has a giant heart and a sense of humor. … His academic credentials are through the roof.”

It is certainly true that Dr. Holloway has a very impressive academic and professional history. He went to college at Stanford, where he received a bachelor’s degree with honors in American Studies and played football with Senator Cory Booker. Holloway went on to earn a Ph.D. in history from Yale. He began his academic career at UC San Diego and later joined the faculty at Yale in 1999. Holloway‘s academic work focused on post-emancipation American history and black intellectual history. He is a supporter of affirmative action and reparations for slavery. He became a full professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies at Yale in 2004. He chaired the governing body of Yale’s residential colleges, the Council of Masters, from 2009 to 2014. He was appointed Dean of Yale College in 2014. Holloway left Yale to become Provost of Northwestern University in 2017.

Holloway, who is 52, called himself honored to lead Rutgers, its 70,000 students enrolled and 23,000 employees. “We are still living in an era of firsts, which is exciting and shameful to be honest,” Holloway said.

Dr. Jonathan Holloway mostly grew up in Montgomery, Alabama and comes from a family of high achievers. In fact, both his brother and his sister also attended Stanford and his brother Brian played in the NFL at the same time my dad did. Holloway’s father, Dr. Wendell Holloway, was a lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force and had successful careers in government, corporate lobbying and higher education. Wendell concluded his military career on the faculty of the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, where he was the first African American to teach. Holloway’s mother Kay Trent Holloway was an elementary school teacher.

The Rutgers community is obviously delighted to welcome Holloway.

Derrick Darby, a Rutgers professor in social and political philosophy and the founding director of Rutgers Social Justice Solutions Research Collaboratory said, “The appointment of Jonathan Holloway as the 21st president of Rutgers University is an historic achievement. It cements the institution’s commitment to merging diversity with academic and athletic excellence.”

Kimberly Mutcherson, professor of law at Rutgers Law School, said, “There’s often something disconcerting about celebrating firsts that feel like they’ve been such a long time coming. But I couldn’t be happier to welcome Dr. Holloway to Rutgers. He brings stellar credentials to the role of president and a commitment to representation and inclusion that can only serve us well. His appointment is a welcome reminder that excellence comes in a wide variety of people.”

Holloway also authored and edited several books including Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 1919-1941 and Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity. He wrote an introduction for a new edition of W.E.B. Du Souls of Black Folk.

 

Holloway is married to Aisling Colón, and they have two children.

  

  • by Karson Baldwin, President, Project RACE Teens

Photo Credit: Yale University

It’s Famous Friday!

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter was born on June 26, 1974 in New Jersey. His mother, Dorothy, is of Caucasian and European decent, while his father, Sanderson, is African-American. Jeter’s father, who played baseball at Fisk University, assimilated Derek into the sport at a young age. Trying to instill a sense of responsibility into the young athlete, Jeter’s parents made him sign a contract every year, outlining a set of rules for his behavior. The contract made is so that Derek was to always keep a positive outlook, and could not tell his parents that he “can’t” do something. With this mentality and his love for the New York Yankees, Jeter aspired to be a professional baseball player.

In high school, Jeter ran cross country and played both basketball and baseball. Developing into a star shortstop, Jeter batted over .500 his sophomore, junior, and senior year. His success in the sport led to him being recognized as an All-State player his senior year as well as the Gatorade Player of the Year. After his high school years, Jeter had planned to attend the University of Michigan on a baseball scholarship, but instead declared for the 1992 MLB Draft.

Derek Jeter’s professional baseball career started when he was drafted 6th overall out of Kalamazoo Central High School. After a few years in the minors, Jeter made his MLB debut in 1995, where he eventually won Rookie of The Year. His career took off from there. The legendary Yankees shortstop became a 14-time all-star, a 5-time Gold Glove Award, and Silver Slugger Award winner. Additionally, the player nicknamed, “The Captain” led his Yankees to 13 American League Division Series, 6 American League Championship Series, and won 5 World Series Championships, establishing the Yankees organization as a dynasty during this time period. His wild success as a postseason player lead to his new nickname, “Mr. November”, the month in which the MLB playoffs take place.

In addition to being an MLB star, Jeter founded the Turn 2 Foundation in 1996. The organization’s purpose is to reward students that obtain high academic marks and maintain a proactive lifestyle. Jeter is also affiliated with the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Soles4Souls, and the Stand Up to Cancer organizations.

On January 21st, Jeter was elected into the Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Receiving 396 out of 397 ballots, Jeter was one vote shy of being unanimously elected, a title held only by baseball legend Mariano Rivera. Derek Jeter along with Larry Walker will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 26th, solidifying Jeter’s mark on the game of baseball.

Matheson Bossick

Project Race Teens Vice President

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/derek-jeter
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Jeter
  3. https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/ct-derek-jeter-hall-of-fame-ballot-20200204-dq3hymzryvg4lcrnf2dcsycpq4-story.html

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Famous Friday

 

Gianna Bryant, sometimes referred to as “GiGi” was an American middle school who loved the game of basketball.  She was destined to take after her father, the legendary NBA star, Kobe Bryant. Gianna Bryant was born in Los Angeles, California on May 1, 2006. She is the daughter of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant. Her father was African American and her mother is Mexican. Her mother was a model and her father played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 years and helped them win five NBA championships..

Gianna, just like her father, took up basketball as her sport playing on her middle school team at Harbor Day School and Mamba Academy. Bryant played basketball competitively at her father’s Mamba Sports Academy, where she was coached by her father.

Just like every other aspiring athletic kid, Gianna had dreams to attend University of Connecticut where she would pursue playing basketball and join the WNBA.  There were many times when she would be seen alongside her father at Laker’s, UConn, and WNBA games. The two seemed to have shared an inseparable bond with their love of basketball.

Unfortunately now Gianna is famous because of a tragedy.  On January 26, 2020 while traveling to the Mamba Academy via helicopter with her dad, and seven others something went wrong with the helicopter and it crashed.  All nine passengers tragically passed away that day.  Gianna had such a full life ahead of her with so many dreams.  Even as many would tease her father that he needed a son to carry on his legacy, Gigi would interrupt and say, “I got this, you don’t need no boy for that.”  We now pray for the Bryant family and for her father and Gigi to rest in peace.

 

Skylar Wooten, Project RACE Teens Vice President

 

Picture by Chris Costello Via MoPho/SpashNews.com