Sunday, May 25, 2014

About USA Memorial Day

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. It was formerly known as Decoration Day and commemorates all men and women, who have died in military service for the United States. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day and it is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season.

What do people do?
It is traditional to fly the flag of the United States at half-mast from dawn until noon. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. Memorial Day is combined with Jefferson Davis' Birthday in Mississippi.
Memorial Day has become less of an occasion of remembrance. Many people choose to hold picnics, sports events and family gatherings on this weekend. This day is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season for cultural events. For the fashion conscious, it is seen as acceptable to wear white clothing, particularly shoes from Memorial Day until Labor Day. However, fewer and fewer people follow this rule and many wear white clothing throughout the year.

Public life
Memorial Day is a federal holiday. All non-essential Government offices are closed, as are schools, businesses and other organizations. Most public transit systems do not run on their regular schedule. Many people see Memorial Day weekend as an opportunity to go on a short vacation or visit family or friends. This can cause some congestion on highways and at airports.

Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers, who had died during the American Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women, who died in any war or military action.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. The current name for this day did not come into use until after World War II. Decoration Day and then Memorial Day used to be held on May 30, regardless of the day of the week, on which it fell. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends. This meant that that, from 1971, Memorial Day holiday has been officially observed on the last Monday in May. However, it took a longer period for all American states to recognize the new date.

Source: timeanddate

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Twin Nigerians enrolled for M.D./Ph.D program

For thousands of applicants seeking entry every year into highly competitive M.D./Ph.D. programs, the path can be arduous because acceptance rates are low. But for identical twins Dolapo and Bukola Odeniyi, who graduate this month from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, their path to becoming medical doctors and researchers was set years ago in their homeland of Nigeria. The sisters made a joint decision at the age of seven about their careers when Dolapo incurred injuries to her leg in a horrific vehicle accident. Her wounds were treated in a hospital that was so loosely regulated and with such substandard care that she developed a severe infection which nearly resulted in the amputation of her right foot.

The injustice of a system that seemed tilted in favor of the wealthy left an indelible mark on the young girls. “From that moment on, we knew we wanted to help others get access to affordable, quality care by becoming physicians,” said Bukola. Bukola received further confirmation about their career destiny when she briefly enrolled in a Nigerian public school and met a classmate with a cleft palate, a birth defect that is usually easily treatable. “Here is this poor girl, with this awful defect, and nothing is being done about it. But her family could not afford the treatment,” she said.

In their quest to become physicians, the twins began doing research immediately before beginning their undergraduate career. The sisters, both double majors in biology and chemistry, became intrigued by the opportunities research could provide. They immediately realized a M.D./Ph.D. program would provide the best training to work with underserved patient populations, from a clinical and research perspective.

Their father dreamed of broadening the opportunities available to his children, so he brought Bukola and Dolapo, their older brother (also a UALR graduate), and their mother to the U.S. through a federal program known as the “Green Card Lottery” in early 2001. The program makes a limited number of visas available for immigrants each year if they meet certain eligibility requirements. The twins, Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School co-salutatorians, came to college as members of UALR’s Donaghey Scholars, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minorities Participation, and University Science Scholars programs. They have been McNair Scholars since the summer of 2013.

While at UALR, their academic accomplishments have reflected their ambitions to gain acceptance to a quality M.D./Ph.D. program. For example, Dolapo was listed as a co-author in a 2013 issue in the American Journal of Physiology Renal Physiology for her contributions to research that seek to improve the shelf life of organs available for human transplant. Meanwhile, Bukola earned multiple research grants.
Both delivered numerous presentations at state and national scientific conferences, accumulating top awards for their research along the way.

Last year, the twins targeted and applied to M.D./Ph.D. programs that had built-in service components, particularly for underserved communities, and that also provided close mentoring relationships. And there was one other non-negotiable item they both insisted upon. “We wanted to be together,” said Bukola. “If they were willing to have one of us, they had to take us both.” With news of their recent acceptances to several programs, the twins have edged closer to fulfilling their dreams. They have committed to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for their post-baccalaureate training, where they hope to continue work begun as undergraduate researchers with their mentors Alexei Basnakian, M.D., Ph.D. and Elvin Price, Pharm.D., Ph.D.

The twins will fill two of only four slots available this academic year for the program at UAMS, which waives tuition for accepted applicants and provides an additional stipend during the Ph.D. portion of their academic studies. Their acceptance to the rigorous program is not surprising, given their impressive list of achievements since coming to the U.S. as young girls. “Of course, we understand that we could not have achieved all of these things alone,” said Bukola. “We would like to thank everyone who has helped us reach our dreams.”
“I believe it was the hand of God at work,” said Dolapo. “From the moment of my accident in Nigeria, until now, it has all been a miracle.

Source: UALR news

Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Bring Back our Girls" Mother’s Day Peace and Prayer Rally

Dallas, Texas (May 8, 2014) - In a show of solidarity and support for the mothers of the abducted school girls in the Chibok Borno State region of Nigeria, a host of North Texas organizations, community activists and volunteers will join SISTAWorks, Inc., a global nonprofit organization committed to empowering African girls and women through education and entrepreneurship for the “Bring Back Our Girls- Mother’s Day Peace and Prayer Rally.” This unity event will take place on Sunday, May 11, 2014 at the Dallas City Hall Plaza located at 1500 Marilla Street from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

“My vision is that this Mother’s Day rally will show the world that the City of Dallas is standing united with the Nigerian mothers who impatiently wait for the return of their young daughters,” said Rachel Roberts-Pickett, event organizer and local SISTAWorks board member. “As a mother, I can only imagine the heartache these mothers are experiencing and feel connected to both the mothers and daughters just as if they were my own neighbors or close friends. This is an amazing way to show a mother’s love by standing in solidarity and supporting of our Nigerian sisters.”

The “Bring Back Our Girls- Mother’s Day Peace and Prayer Rally” will feature speakers  including Linda Anuku and Augusta Ekong, Nigerian community activists; Dr. Sheron Patterson, UMC Clergywoman;  Julia Hayes, Dallas County Judge; Cathy Moffitt, founder of Heartfelt International Ministries; Anne Marie Weiss-Armush, president and founder of DFW International Community Alliance and Hadi Jawal, member of the Dallas Peace Center.  There will also be a showcase of African dance, cultural music and spoken word poetry. Supporters are encouraged to wear red clothing to the rally as a symbol of unity.  To obtain additional information or assist in rally preparations, please visit us on Facebook at Bring Back Our Girls Dallas Mother's Day Peace and Prayer Rally.

Some supporters of the “Bring Back Our Girls- Mother’s Day Peace and Prayer Rally” include SISTAWorks, Inc., DFW Internaitonal Community Alliance, Out of Africa, Organization of Nigerian Nationals (ONN), Dallas NAACP Branch, the Dallas Peace Center, African American Museum of Dallas, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, HeartSpace Spiritual Center, Tiffaney Dale Agency, LolaDawn, Inc., Centerpointe Hotels, the Q Network, Dynasty 2000 Fundraising & Philanthropy, DFW International Community Alliance,, South Dallas Cultural Center, Heartfelt International Ministries, Inc., the United Methodist Church of North Texas and Nappy Hair Affair.

Sunday, May 11, 2014, Mother's Day in the USA
City Hall Plaza
3 pm to 5 pm
wear RED to show solidarity

Trendy Africa Magazine supports #bringbackourgirls

Monday, May 5, 2014

Ghanaian designer; Kofi Ansah remembered

Fashion designer, Kofi Ansah who is one of Ghana's few designers to have gained international recognition died Saturday morning at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. The sudden death of Kofi has come as a big shock to the African fashion Industry. His talent and craftsmanship, and sheer boldness helped place Ghana on the international fashion map.

Nora Bannerman, a friend of Ansah stated, "I'm yet to come to terms with it. It's very shocking because I've always known Kofi as somebody who is very particular about his health like most designers we are very concerned about our health, inner and outer health so it's very shocking," she said.

Recounting her fond memories of the late designer, she said: "I remember when he first came to Ghana from the UK, he came by my workshop at the time I had a smaller studio and we talked about quite a lot very ideas; what we could do with the Ghanaian print...and then we were selected to represent Ghana in Europe so we did international shows in Paris and Düsseldorf. We were on runways with the top designers in Europe. We had big plans for Africa."

Nora Bannerman noted Kofi Ansah was special and his death will be a big blow to Ghana and the fashion industry.