Riverside–Saturday evening, more than a hundred family members, friends and associates gathered in downtown Riverside to honor Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds and her work during a “golden” birthday celebration. 

Brown-Hinds, the publisher of the Voice and Black Voice News and author of the highly celebrated weekly blog, Rants & Raves, is also a professor at the University of California, Riverside. In addition, she is founder of Voice Media Ventures, a multi-media company focused on weekly news publications in print and digital formats, film and new media content. Voice Media Ventures is also a strategic communications firm that specializes in community outreach and engagement. 

Equally important regarding their impact on the community are Brown-Hinds’ efforts in support of the work done through another of her ventures, The Black Voice Foundation, in the fields of education, professional development, media, history, and the arts. 

Speakers at Saturday’s celebration were open and sincere in their recognition, praise and appreciation of Brown-Hinds for her tireless leadership, involvement, support and advocacy on behalf of the inland region. 

The evening also served to raise community awareness about several key initiatives currently championed by the Black Voice Foundation or Voice Media Ventures beginning with an introduction to “The Gore Collection.” 

Jerry Gore was known as the “Moses of Maysville,” a small agricultural community located in Northeastern Kentucky. Gore was known for his knowledge of the community’s history, especially that of the Underground Railroad. 

As a community historian and cultural preservationist, Gore led tours throughout the region, sharing a history of enslavement etched in the landscape. As a griot, he weaved the tales of freedom into the stories of many and taught the meaning of Kujichagulia, the fierce “self-determination” required for individuals to take responsibility for their own freedom and leave bondage behind. 

Throughout his life, Gore collected unique, American antebellum artifacts that his family has now entrusted to the Black Voice Foundation for its care and preservation. The Gore Collection, From Bondage to Freedom Artifacts of Slavery Exhibition will be presented by The Black Voice Foundation, Inc. and hosted by the University of California, Riverside Libraries in January 2018. 

The Brown siblings (l.to r.): Regina Wilson, Hardy Brown II, Paulette Brown-Hinds, and Lynn Renee Summers

The Black Voice Foundation (Foundation) has also gained national recognition for teaching empathy through the Underground Railroad History. Each year, the Foundation partners with local school districts to retrace a probable route of the Underground Railroad. The tour has become exceedingly successful. What began as a single tour each year has expanded to three tours annually to accommodate a growing number of participants. The tour is part of the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom and already has more than 1,000 alumni’s. In addition, The Black Voice Foundation is currently working with Claremont Lincoln University to offer a certificate in Underground Railroad Studies.

Next, the Foundation has partnered with the Black Voice News, ESRI and a select number of nonprofits and educational institutions to launch a mapping project, Mapping Black California. The collaborative community effort that is bringing together technology, data, geography and place-based study to better understand the African American community. This will be accomplished using a community-mapping framework in partnership with schools, universities, community-based organizations and businesses. 

Saturday’s celebration was held at the UCR ARTSblock, a current client of Voice Media Ventures. The project, Mundos Alternos, Art and Science Fiction in the Americas, is a wide-ranging survey exhibition that brings together contemporary artists from across the Americas who have tapped into science fiction’s capacity to imagine new realities, both utopian and dystopian. The exhibits depict how science fiction provides a unique artistic landscape in which to explore the colonial enterprise that shaped the Americas. The artists’ works also present alternative perspectives that speculate on the past and the future. The exhibit is scheduled to run through February 4, 2018. 

To support the good works of The Black Voice Foundation visit http://www.blackvoicenews.com/2017/08/01/100-maps-in-100-days/.