Local Pastor Leaves a Legacy of Unity for the Community

By Keisha Katz (originally published on TheWave.com)

One night in early November 2012, Rev. Jorge L. Vega stood outside of Full Gospel Tabernacle church on Beach Channel Drive and 41st St. in Far Rockaway. It was cold and the street lights were not on. He had been waiting for hours with his wife and a handful of church members to receive a truck that was coming with donated goods for the community. It was days after Hurricane Sandy had struck the area and his church, which had suffered significant damage, had become a distribution center seemingly overnight. He rejected the opportunity to stay with family outside of Rockaway and instead he opened the church every day to serve his neighbors.

“His concern was the Rockaways,” his wife Eva reflects. “He couldn’t leave his congregation while he’d stay in comfort.”

His devotion and love for the Rockaways began after he and his family moved to the neighborhood in 1978. At the time, Vega was a computer engineer and worked as a consultant to the U.S. Navy designing navigation programs for submarines. He loved his job and quickly became a leader among his coworkers.
Continue reading “Local Pastor Leaves a Legacy of Unity for the Community”

This Man is Searching For a Link Between Illiteracy and Racial Bias

Relentless. That’s the word Dr. Shawn Robinson uses to describe himself.

A 37-year-old husband and father, Robinson has a PHD in Language and Literacy. His research and advocacy for the education of young black males has led him from implementing literacy programs in prisons to presenting his research before a White House task force.

With the determination and confidence he displays, it’s hard to imagine that several years ago Robinson could barely read. Continue reading “This Man is Searching For a Link Between Illiteracy and Racial Bias”

Chris Chalk on Gang-life and Humanity in New Drama ‘Complications

by Keisha Katz (originally published on NBC News.com

Chris Chalk has been making his mark in the entertainment industry, landing roles ranging from HBO’s “The Newsroom,” to Showtime’s award-winning drama, “Homeland,” to playing a free black man taken captive in the Oscar winning film “12 Years a Slave.”

His latest character, Darius, on USA’s edgy new drama “Complications,” has him commanding the streets of Atlanta as a part of a gang called Vine City Crew. Created by Matt Nix, the writer and producer known for the acclaimed series “Burn Notice,” the series follows Dr. John Ellison (Jason O’Mara) after he makes the life-changing decision to save a young boy injured in a drive-by shooting, who just happens to be the son of incarcerated gang leader named EZ Tyler. While EZ is calling the shots from behind bars, Darius is making sure Dr. Ellison keeps the young boy alive at all costs.
Continue reading “Chris Chalk on Gang-life and Humanity in New Drama ‘Complications”

Tech Wave: Verizon Gives Harlem a ‘Big Payoff’

by Keisha Katz (Originally published on NBCNews.com)

“The Big Payoff NYC” event held at Madiba Harlem was Verizon’s grand finale of sorts, to show appreciation to customers who have attended their recent City Sessions panels, all a part of Verizon’s nationwide 2015 Potential of Us campaign. The event included a panel discussion with tech and media creatives to discuss how technology can be used in the entertainment industry as well as a live performance by Melanie Fiona.

The campaign, which launched in February in connection with Black History Month, celebrates not only past accomplishments within the African American community, but also looks ahead at what is yet to come and promotes utilizing technology to pursue various passions.
Continue reading “Tech Wave: Verizon Gives Harlem a ‘Big Payoff’”

Women Cracking the Code

by Keisha Katz (Originally published on SharpHeels.com)

There is a known dearth of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics careers (STEM). This is unfortunate, since we face the reality that technology is constantly evolving, and the more hands-on understanding the entire population continually gains of the seemingly vast — and  sometimes inscrutable — digital world, the greater the advantage.

However, although efforts have been made through government programs and non-profit organizations to spark a huge interest in STEM among females, it has yet to yield significant results. Given this concerning development, with smart insight from Melissa Sariffodeen (@melsariffodeen) from Ladies Learning Code (whose motto is “Digital Literacy for Women and Youth”)and HackerYou, an organization that helps adults learn computer programming (see more below),  we explored the push to increase diversity in tech careers, the obstacles women face, and the resources available to them.
Continue reading “Women Cracking the Code”

Networking at the Next Level

by Keisha Katz (Originally Published on Sharpheels.com)

Six Amazing Apps to Help Expand and Organize Professional Contacts

If you’re thinking about the conferences and events you want to attend in 2015, you might also consider downloading some essential apps to your smartphone to boost your networking experience.

There are several apps available to choose from; below are a list of some of the most popular and one-of-a-kind.  Continue reading “Networking at the Next Level”

Tech Gifts for the Holidays

by Keisha Katz (Originally published on SharpHeels.com)

Tablets and Smartwatches and Media Players, Oh My!

The season of giving has arrived, and finding the perfect gift for that tech-savvy person in your life can be a challenge.

So to kick-start your search efforts, below are five gadgets that come highly recommended this year and stand out within their respective categories.

Streaming Media Players

The Roku 3 can be expected to be on many wishlists for this holiday season.Roku-3-with-Headphones

Having sold ten million streaming media players in the United States since 2008, the company contends that they have more streaming options than their competition. (Similar streaming devices like Google Chromecast, which sells for less than half the price of the Roku 3, and Apple TV, have failed in comparison to the Roku in sales, according to market researchers.)
Continue reading “Tech Gifts for the Holidays”

Apple Pay Basics

by Keisha Katz (Originally published on SharpHeels.com)

Learn about the Latest (and maybe Sleekest and Smartest?) Addition to the Top Financial Apps

As if it wasn’t already one of the most versatile multipurpose tools of this generation, or any other, your cell phone just became worth a whole lot more.

Mobile devices have come a long way from being primarily used just to make phone calls on the go: smartphones have impacted the way we conduct business, network, read books and even manage finances. Financial applications like Mint and Level Money helped to pave the way in the economic sector of this transition, eliminating the need to physically balance a check book, but it is the recent launch of Apple Pay that may take over as the wallet of the digital era.

  Continue reading “Apple Pay Basics”

Has the cold weather got you feeling down?

By Keisha Katz (Originally published on TheGrio.com)