The BND Buzz Media Camp 2021 Newsletter

The BND Buzz features highlights from the BND Summer Media Camp 2021, which focused on food deserts and food insecurity in the Richmond, Virginia area. Please enjoy a glimpse of what our students learned and documented during the camp’s two weeks from July 12-July 23, 2021. And stay tuned for details about the virtual BND Fall Media and Creative Writing Academy that will take place each Saturday from 10 am to 12 Noon October 16 -November 20, 2021. Click here for the full BND Buzz media camp newsletter.

It’s a wrap! BND Summer Media Camp Iteration 5

It’s a wrap. The BND Summer Media Camp 2021 has ended. I can’t express my joy at seeing the growth in our eight campers in two short weeks. Their future success is ensured, thanks to our extraordinary guest presenters throughout the program. We kicked off our second week on Tuesday (July 20) with a session on drone reporting, led by the Richmond Mercury’s award-winning Ned Oliver. Prolific author, journalist and professor Wayne Dawkins joined us on Wednesday (July 21) to discuss journalism ethics, before we headed to the Virginia Museum to take in “The Dirty South” exhibit. The students loved it.

Today’s (July 22) session featured a powerhouse of media experts: Dr. Linnie S. Carter, Vice President of College Advancement, HAAC; Jeff Wilson, Vice President and Chief of Staff at Padilla; Santia Nance, Vice President and Associate Director at The Martin Agency; Leha Byrd, an amazing PR specialist, educator and entrepreneur; and Heidi Wilson, chairwoman, Department of Journalism at Virginia Union University. These experts schooled our students on how to prepare for college, job interviewing skills, positioning themselves for promotions, continuing education, salary negotiation, investing and savings, and entrepreneurship. (Important stuff that I didn’t learn until adulthood.)

As if that weren’t enough, several of my former VCU and NCA&T college students shared their journeys, too. I was blown away by the realization that these three young women, Myja Gary (Zoom), Mariya Moseley (ABC World News Tonight) and Chandelis Duster (CNN), now help deliver the news to audiences GLOBALLY.

Finally, a visit from Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Michael Paul Williams, recipient of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, further made our day! Mike shared with our campers several tips for becoming better writers, and encouraged them to read and practice their craft until it “becomes a concerto.”

A special thanks to Dr. Gary Banks of Ephesus SDA Church and Academy, Mrs. Saundra Rollins and all of our special guests, sponsors, volunteers and former BND campers Ellis Henderson II, Emani Henderson, Johari Edwards, Mikayla Compere and Dedrick Shorter. Mariya Moseley and Kimberly Fields, I could NOT have conducted this program without your dedicated, consistent and loyal assistance. Work produced by our students will soon be posted on this website, along with information about upcoming youth-centered programming!

The BND Summer Media Camp 2021

Register Now

The 2021 Media Camp Focus

“Food deserts are a chronic problem in the Richmond (Va.) region, one that threatens the overall well-being of its residents and can cause a slew of ill effects,” states a 2019 Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial. “According to the USDA, 60,545 Richmond residents lived in a food desert in 2015.”

Students participating in the BND Summer Media Camp 2020 will report, write, photograph and video stories that illustrate how the city’s lack of access to fresh food leads to poor emotional, physical and mental health. Such conditions often result in poor performance in school, poor social skills and, often, crime. While learning about initiatives to stem the tide of food insecurity, BND Media Camp students will present stories for digital audiences that will show how Richmond-area food banks, food kitchens, grocers and urban gardeners are working to curtail food deserts so that more children and adults can enjoy healthier lives and lifestyles. Students will meet each weekday from 9 am – 3 pm at Ephesus SDA Church, Richmond, Virginia. Snacks and beverages are included in this free program. Students participating in the program are required to be current on all vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccination.For more information please visit: orclick this link to complete an application.

Sponsors: Dominion Energy, NBC 12 News, MLH Assets Management, Bank of America, Johnson Inc., John Rich, Maxamus Insurance LLC, S.H. Adams, Sarah Brown, Debbie Burns, Nikki Nicholau, Dr. Linnie Carter and Charles Taylor.

Details: 804 683-7203


Clint Smith, How the World Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

Clint Smith

Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, 2020 Emerson Fellow Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks—those that are honest about the past and those that are not—that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation’s collective history, and ourselves.

A deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, How the Word Is Passed illustrates how some of our country’s most essential stories are hidden in plain view—whether in places we might drive by on our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth, or entire neighborhoods like downtown Manhattan, where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women, and children has been deeply imprinted.

On June 22, 2021 at 12 noon, join the New America Fellows Program, Clint Smith, and Adam Harris, Class of 2021, for a conversation about the role memory and history can play in making sense of our country and how it has come to be. Register Here.

High on the Hog with Steve Satterfield and Jamila Robinson

Stephen Satterfield

Netflix’s new limited series, High on the Hog, follows food writer Stephen Satterfield as he explores how African Americans in Philadelphia and other parts of the country transformed American cuisine. 

On the next Inquirer LIVE – Thursday, June 10, at 5 p.m. – join Satterfield and Inquirer food editor Jamila Robinson for a conversation about High on the Hog, Philly’s robust food scene and culinary history, Juneteenth, and African American contributions to America’s kitchens. Register Here.

The Boston Glove Film Festival – 2021

Subscribe to the Boston Globe Newsletter for more of these events!

Meet the Media

Join these June 2021 virtual programs to learn more about the people who shape the news and keep us informed.

Free Spirit Conference 2021 Programs

Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media
Monday, June 21, 6:45 – 7:30 p.m. Eastern

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson will receive the 2021 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media. Register here.

Isabel Wilkerson

A Conversation with Abby Phillip on Her Path to the CNN Anchor Desk’
Wednesday, June 23, 2 – 3 p.m. Eastern

Phillips shares her experiences in a Q&A with the Free Spirit scholars. Donors are invited to watch. Join here.

‘From Freedom Riders to Racial Justice’
Thursday, June 24, 2 – 3 p.m. Eastern

Rick Rojas, a reporter for The New York Times and alum of the Free Spirit and Chips Quinn Scholars programs, moderates a conversation with Freedom Rider Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton and activist DeRay Mckesson sharing their life experiences and discussing the role of the media in civil rights movements. Donors are invited to watch this Free Spirit scholars program. Join here.

Abby Phillip
Rick Rojas
Register Now

The BND Summer Media Camp teaches and trains 16 middle and high school students about the news industry to encourage them to pursue journalism as college majors and as careers. The first two-week camp in June 2018 was hosted in a cramped and overly warm church room located in Richmond, Virginia’s south side. A church van, that can best be described as “worn and torn,” was our transportation for field trips to an urban garden, a television station, a newspaper, and a major public relations and marketing firm.

Despite that first summer camp’s sometimes challenging facilities and equipment, students still tell us how much they enjoyed the two-week program in which they met numerous local and national news media professionals who taught them the value of reading, writing and news literacy. Students were even more proud to create articles, podcasts and photography that were uploaded to a website and local news. In addition, a local television news station stopped by to capture their efforts. 

Since that first media camp, the BND Institute has hosted two additional camps in 2019 and a virtual camp (due to the COVID pandemic) in 2020. And one year ago, Mikayla, who was a participant in our first media camp, told us that upon graduation from a Chesterfield County, Virginia high school that she plans to study journalism at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia! That is so exciting and we could not be more proud of Mikayla who just completed her freshman year of college!! Yay, Mikayla!!

The BND Institute of Media and Culture’s Summer Media Camp has had an incredible journey over the past three years, and we look forward to continuing this important work in 2021 with a renewed focus on food deserts in Richmond and surrounding communities!

Contact Bonnie Newman Davis for more details!

Register Now!

BND Summer Media Camp 2021

Meeting at the Table

Journalist Wanda Lloyd and Author Tina McElroy Ansa discuss race, culture and community on Feb. 23

In the aftermath of the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other African Americans, plus the worldwide protests that followed, editors Tina McElroy Ansa and Wanda Lloyd created a project to bring voices of African-American women together to honestly and transparently share how race and culture have affected them in ways related to their families, their careers and their communities. The book editors will share their journey and those of the book’s contributors during a Feb. 23, 2021 conversation on Zoom. The program, presented by the BND Institute of Media and Culture, begins at 6:30 p.m. The program is free of charge but registration is required. Click this link to join the program.

Meeting at the Table

Journalist Wanda Lloyd and Author Tina McElroy Ansa discuss race, culture and community on Feb. 23

Cover art contributed by Synthia Saint James.

In the aftermath of the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other African Americans, plus the worldwide protests that followed, editors Tina McElroy Ansa and Wanda Lloyd, created a project to bring voices of African-American women together to honestly and transparently share how race and culture have affected them in ways related to their families, their careers and their communities. The book editors will share their journey and those of the book’s contributors during a Feb. 23, 2021 conversation on Zoom. The program, presented by the BND Institute of Media and Culture, begins at 6:30 p.m. Registration is required for this program that is free. Click here for the program’s Zoom link.

The essays in Meeting at the Table: African American Women Write on Race, Culture and Community will not only enlighten readers, but offer paths into the vital conversations across racial, cultural and communal divides.

The editors have collected a diverse group of women whose stories will inform, enlighten and educate readers who have some knowledge about race and culture and other readers who are looking for well-written and instructive ways to engage in the path toward social justice.

Source and Text: African-American Literature Book Club (

About the editors

Tina McElroy Ansa  is a novelist, publisher, filmmaker, teacher and journalist. But above all, she is a storyteller. She calls herself “part of a long and honored writing tradition, one of those little Southern girls who always knew she wanted to be a writer.”  She grew up in Middle Georgia in the 1950s hearing her grandfather’s stories on the porch of her family home and strangers’ stories downtown in her father’s juke joint, which have inspired Mulberry, Georgia, the mythical world of her four novels, Baby of the Family, Ugly Ways, The Hand I Fan With and You Know Better. 

Wanda S. Lloyd is author of COMING FULL CIRCLE: From Jim Crow to Journalism, published in 2020 by NewSouth Books. The memoir is a self-reflective exploration of the author’s life growing up in the Deep South and becoming a successful newspaper editor. A retired newspaper editor and a former associate professor/former chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia, Lloyd was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Hall of Fame in 2019. She served more than eight years as executive editor of the Montgomery (AL) Advertiser, a Gannett newspaper. In this role, she was responsible for all of the news content for the daily newspaper and several weekly newspapers,, the editorial page and the newsroom’s staff and resources.

Bessida Cauthorne White and Mikki Spencer discuss African-American Holiday Traditions

What makes the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s holidays special in African-American households? Although end-of year celebrations that take place in our homes probably aren’t all that different from those experienced by other ethnicities and races, I like to think that African-Americans bring an extra layer of flavor to the holidays that go beyond roasting or frying turkeys, whipping up mouth-watering macaroni and cheese or debating who makes the best potato salad.

Whatever level of intensity or simplicity we bring to such celebrations – whether they are large, full-blown, five-course meals in homes or restaurants, a quiet dinner for two, or helping to feed neighbors in need — it is important that these seasonal displays of caring and sharing are passed on to younger generations, kindred spirits and even strangers.

In this third iteration of “Kitchen Talk: African-American Holiday Cooking 2020-Part 1,” geneaologist and author Bessida Cauthorne White and media personality Mikki Spencer serve up memories that feed the soul and warm hearts. Please enjoy! The BND Institute of Media and Culture, Inc.( acknowledges these sponsors and supporters: John Rich, Program Sponsor; Michael Harvey of MLH Assets Management, Program Sponsor; Fateema Blackwell, multimedia editor; and Dexter Johnson, videographer.

Retiree’s next chapter unfolds in 18-Wheeler to Vegas during pandemic

By Bonnie Newman Davis

Executive Director, BND Institute of Media and Culture, Inc.

“Not only is Celine a Martian, but she is also the only child to ever inhabit Mars’ first human colony. After her father was lost in a great sand storm, her world was turned upside down. Not to mention, Celine’s annual Brain Booster is no longer making her smarter; it’s turning her into something alien! If only her mother believed her.”

So reads Jackie Hunter’s debut novel, “Lost in the Red Hills of Mars,” which the educator-turned author published in 2017. The book signaled a remarkable “next chapter” for Hunter, who began writing short stories and poems at age 12. After retiring from Henrico County Public Schools in 2005, the former science teacher and school administrator returned to her first love of the written word. 

“Lost in the Red Hills of Mars,” is about a 12-year-old girl who lives in the first human colony on Mars. Hunter says she wrote the book because she remembered how excited her students were when they were asked to design a human colony for Mars.

Jackie Hunter celebrates her book,
“Lost in the Red Hills of Mars.”

While still enjoying the success of her book, Hunter added another chapter to her life story in the spring of 2020 when she moved from her home in Richmond, Virginia to the bright lights of Las Vegas. The BND Institute of Media and Culture recently caught up with Jackie to learn more about her “pandemic pivot” and how she is adjusting.

BND:You’re a Richmonder who had a long, distinguished career in education. Briefly tell us about your own background and education, why you went into education, the challenges and highlights of being an educator, and the date that you retired.

Hunter:Yes, I worked in Henrico County for over 30 years.

I have what I call a “teacher personality,” “born to teach” kind of personality! When I was 19 years old, I was a Den Mother for a group of cub scouts! I got into a teacher program in my second year at Virginia Commonwealth University. In this program, students would receive monies to pay for tuition in exchange for a promise to teach in public schools. It was an excellent way to get more needed teachers into public schools. Later as a teacher, I obtained my master’s in education, focused on School Administration, from VCU. I became the assistant principal at Lakeside Elementary School and summer school principal at Highland Springs Elementary, both in Henrico County. I did that for only five years and went back to teaching middle school science, which I love, at Brookland Middle School in the latter part of my career, retiring in 2005. Hard to believe it has been so long! Following my retirement, I tutored algebra at Fairfield Middle School for seven years.

BND:Did you begin writing your book immediately upon retirement

Hunter:No, I sold real estate at a Coldwell Banker and then at Ricks and Associates for a while. When the real estate market changed I started a Class A general contractor’s business with a friend and fellow teacher. Lots of houses were being foreclosed, so we would make repairs, renovations and maintained the houses for the banks until they were resold. My partner passed away in 2011 and I kept the business going for about a year after his death. 

I then had lots of free time and began oil painting and singing in my church choir.

Then my daughter and son-in-law took five teen age boys into their home to give them an opportunity to get into college. So, I paid one of my former employees to maintain my house, while I moved to Atlanta to help my daughter with the boys. I did this for two years with just a few months at my home between those years.

BND:How and why did you decide to write your book?

Hunter:When I returned home to stay, I began writing short stories, but decided I needed more of a challenge and writing that novel was the challenge I needed. I began taking classes in writing. Also, I joined several writers’ clubs, but I highly recommend Agile Writers’ Club. I think it is one of the best writers’ clubs in Richmond. In Agile Writers’ one will learn the foundation of telling a good story. 

BND:What was the process of writing like for you?

Hunter:It was a real pleasure. I went to my writers’ club meeting once a week. We were always learning something new and we expected to have written at least 10 pages toward completing our novels. We also worked in teams of three to proofread and edit each other’s work. I finished my first manuscript in about six months, but I edited and rewrote my book several times before publishing it.

BND:When was your book published? What was your reaction in first seeing your book?

Hunter:My book was published in November 2017. I had my book launching party at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond! Over 100 family members and friends, from all over the country helped me celebrate my accomplishment! It was one of my proudest moments!

BND:What has the reception been to your book?

Hunter:It sold well in the first three months and I am sure it was family members and friends giving me support. Those who read the entire book have really enjoyed it and are looking forward to the sequel. I still have sales, but not enough to live off. I have learned that it is not enough to write a great novel, but one must have a great marketing plan!

So now, I am taking classes in marketing and am planning to do a better job in that area. I have not given up on my novel becoming a financial success!

BND:With the success of your book and a busy and active social life here in Richmond, what led to your decision to move to Las Vegas?

Hunter:Richmond and Atlanta have been good to me! I will continue to maintain the friendships and relationships that I have made!  Before Corona, my friends were only a plane flight away! I love flying, but will probably not do any this year. I am working on my second novel and would love to be the local author of Vegas. There might be some opportunities here in Vegas that could not be found in Richmond.

BND:What was your family’s reaction to your plans to move?

Hunter:My family lives all over the country and in Canada. They are so excited that they will have another place to visit in Vegas!

BND:What was that journey getting to Vegas like? Did you purposely move during the pandemic? (lol)

Hunter:LOL!  Absolutely not! My daughter and I had planned to fly to Vegas and find my home together. My home in Henrico, Virginia had been on the market since January 2020. When my Realtor brought me a contract for the sale of my home in April, I wanted to delay the sale, but the buyer did not. I could have taken the house off the market but, I did not want to pay commission ($16,000) and not have sold the house. So, I closed in April.  I lived with my brother and his wife for six weeks until I realized that Corona was not going anywhere. I decided I would. Besides, mortgage interest rates were low and I wanted to find a nice home that I could afford in Vegas. 

Flying was out of the question. I decided to ride cross country (2,600 miles) with a family friend who happens to drive 18- wheelers for a living. As we traveled for four days, three nights, stopping each evening after eight hours on the road, I posted photos and our experiences on Facebook! I wanted my family and friends to see that I was alive and well! If only they knew how nervous I was about the whole ordeal!

BND:Have you settled in and if so, how? 

Hunter:Yes, I am working on it. Cautiously, checking out the malls and restaurants. There will be so much to do and see when Covid-19 is behind us! Living in Vegas will feel like a daily vacation!

Also, I am enjoying my lovely home in a planned community with lots of walking trails and parks! 

BND:What’s next for Jackie Hunter?

Hunter:I do plan to finish my second book and continue “The Rippy Effect” television show. I am considering doing a blog about black inventors. I am opened to all kinds of opportunities; I do keep my eyes open. Already, I am on my HOA Board of Directors and the Neighborhood Advisory Committee here in my new community.  Once Corona is behind us, all kinds of opportunities will be available. I plan to be ready!

To Learn more about Jackie Hunter, visit Lost In the Red Hills of Mars.