The 5th Annual Men of Excellence Gala hosted by The New Tri-State Defender yielded myriad images and moments of inspiration at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis on Saturday night.
Judge Joe Brown of television fame was the keynote speaker, delivering a penetrating address that noted myriad points supporting his bottomline: there is a whole lot of more work to be done to improve the quality of life for African Americans in Memphis and the nation.
It was the first TSD gala event since President and Publisher Bernal E. Smith II put together a local ownership group to purchase the 62-year-old newspaper. The center of attention was the 2013 class of honorees. Smith called them "deserving men from all walks of life and experiences, men that have demonstrated excellence in their work and commitment most times despite great challenge and obstacle."
As many suspected, the turnout was low – about 7 percent of 417,174 registered city voters. And of those concerned citizens, a dominating majority, 60 percent, wanted no part of a half-cent sales tax increase to extend pre-k and bring the property tax down.
Ordnance No. 5495 Local Option Sales Tax went down with a thud – 17,636 against; 11,659 in favor. The outcome moved opponents such as the Rev. Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr., a former school board member and pastor of The New Olivet Baptist Church, to think in biblical terms of the underdog David sling-shoting down the giant Goliath.
Proponents of the referendum had much deeper pockets for their campaign but still got slammed in Thursday's election.
Annual Feed the Need Thanksgiving Nov. 28
If the outreach workers of Telisa Franklin Ministries have their way, every homeless person on the streets of Memphis and Shelby County will enjoy a nice, traditional meal this year on Thanksgiving Day. At the fifth annual Feed the Need last year, TFM fed 500 men, women, and children, nearly a third of the local homeless population.
In addition to the Thanksgiving meal, participants were also given blankets, coats, toiletries, shoes, health screenings, haircuts, and other personal services offered by local business owners. This year's event is slated for Thursday, Nov. 28 at the Hollywood Community Center, 1560 Hollywood Street.
Volunteers and others who would like to donate any items of clothing or food, should contact Telisa Franklin at 901-281-6337.
"When life gets hard, remember that all of the hard work that you put in will eventually pay off, and that it won't be much longer before you are rewarded for it. So Keep reaching for the goals and dreams that you create with your heart and soul and every time that you are able to achieve an accomplishment, be sure to make another goal, and another dream, so that you will never stop growing in life my friends! It may get hard for you every day, but never quit on your dreams, continue to push forward and with God's strength and a strong heart you will be able to overcome these challenges." – Unknown
Reaching a milestone is not only a time to celebrate but to reflect on the journey and grow. This 5th Annual TSD Men of Excellence Awards is certainly a milestone for us. More importantly, it's an indication of our growth and commitment to our mission to inform, inspire and elevate the quality of life of our readership and the overall Greater Memphis community.
The 2013 Men of Excellence salute also has given me a chance to think deeply upon personal trials and triumphs and the perseverance to overcome obstacles towards achievement and success. It is this sentiment that marks the underlying theme of this event and this evening.
It took about a year and a half to get the Memphis Chapter of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. up and running. On Sunday evening (Nov. 17), the organization received its charter and the 18 founding members were installed during a two-hour ceremony in the Little Theater of The LeMoyne Owen College's Alma C. Hansen Student Center.
"I challenge you to work together and walk together," exhorted Dr. E. Faye Williams, the NCBW's national chair and installation speaker. "We should be ready to make a difference in somebody's life. We have a duty to help our young brothers and sisters who're coming behind us."
Williams presented the charter to Dr. Brenda J. Taylor, chair of the Memphis chapter, as family and friends observed. "We've got to work together. I think we can do it. We will make a difference in the city of Memphis," she said.
Voters packed a conference room at The Benjamin L. Hooks Library on Poplar Ave. on Monday evening to receive two sides to the story of the upcoming (Nov. 21) vote concerning the half-cent sales tax increase for Pre-K funding.
By a show of hands, some voters – about a dozen – indicated they had already voted, which had me wondering if they really had understood the proposed Ordinance No. 5495 Local Option Sales Tax. The other 100 or so undecided voters focused in on the educational fruit provided by Barbara U. Prescott, Ph. D. and Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr., both former Memphis School Board Commissioners and still champions for the Memphis community.
Dr. Prescott argued for the increase; Dr. Whalum was against it. Prescott's "yes" position was anchored in her belief that the City of Memphis needs this money to make sure our precious babies don't end up ignorant by the 3rd grade.
For the past 16 years, the Holiday Festival Parade has given area youth a positive outlet to express their creativity, and provides an opportunity to showcase their talents.
Organized by Hazel Moore, founder of the Academy for Youth Empowerment, each year the annual event brings thousands of Mid-South students and parents to the Whitehaven community to fellowship and celebrate the upcoming holiday season.
The 2013 Holiday Festival Parade will be held on Saturday (Nov. 23rd) and begins at 10 a.m. The parade is set to commence at Southland Mall, traveling North on Elvis Presley Blvd, and will conclude at Craft Street near Graceland.