Out: The annual Juneteenth Freedom & Heritage Festival. In: Juneteenth Urban Music Festival.
Yes, the long-running Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival is getting a makeover. After a 21-year run in Historic Douglass Park in North Memphis, the board of directors has changed the festival's name. The location is changing too, with Robert R. Church Park on Beale Street in Downtown Memphis now the new venue.
According to Executive Director Telisa Franklin, the name change and the new location are moves made to increase the events appeal, retool it as an urban music festival, and strengthen its brand.
For the fourth year in row, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music is taking it to the streets with ArtsMemphis Presents Stax to the Max, the annual all-day, outdoor, free music and arts festival.
This year's event takes place Saturday (April 26th) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The rain date is Sunday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The festival, held behind the Stax Museum, features all-day live music, arts performances, merchandise vendors, nonprofit booths, food trucks, children's activities, health screenings by University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and more. Last year's event drew approximately 8,000 attendees despite have been delayed a day due to inclement weather.
Fourteen people gathered on a Friday morning in March for breakfast at the nationally acclaimed Brother Juniper's restaurant near the University of Memphis campus. While it is not unusual for a group to spend time together over a meal, it was apparent on this day that some individuals in the group were either totally blind, visually impaired or disabled in other ways.
"This is our Braille User Support Group, one of our outreach initiatives," said Dr. Lavonnie Perry Clayborn, research assistant professor and director of Mid-South Access Center for Technology, a non-profit assistive technology resource center located in Patterson Hall in room 119 on the U of M campus.
Mid-South ACT is a division of the Center for Rehabilitation and Employment Research (CRER), a member of the Alliance for Technology Access (ATA), and a partner with Advanced Multimedia Devices – a Partnership for Excellence Program. It was founded in 1998 and provides resources for teachers, clinicians, parents with children who have disabilities, and individuals with disabilities.
Perusing the selections on a beauty supply isle, Bianca Ward noted that it was the first time she ever had seen a beauty shop inside of a mall.
"I love the idea because people come to the mall to buy clothes, so you can come and get an outfit and get your hair done," said Ward. "I'm here today looking for some hair, accessories and a stylist."
Dozens were in attendance on Friday (April 18th) for the ribbon cutting ceremony at Discount Wigs 3 in the Southland Mall. The Grand Opening for the combination hair salon and beauty supply store followed on Saturday at 9 a.m. in the 12,000 square foot space that once housed Piccadilly Restaurant is the new home. The "3" in Discount Wigs represents the third location, with two other locations at 4685 American Way and 3249 Austin Peay.
The River City (TN) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated recently put the spotlight on transplant donations at The LeMoyne Owen College. Students and the community at large turned out for The River City (TN) Chapter's "Be The Match" Bone Marrow Drive held on the front lawn of Memphis' only HBCU.
More than 100 people attended the community event (April 12th) and 41 signed up to be tested as possible matches for people needing an organ, tissue or blood donor. Radio station KJMS V101.1 provided live remote coverage and encouraged listeners to join in the event.
With African Americans having a greater than average need for transplants, the "Be The Match" Bone Marrow Drive was the perfect opportunity to reach a large segment of the community and student population.
Inside Kairos Services, double doors opened, and children ran excitedly to a large table set up with green and gold pawns. Rather than video games and iPads, these children are excited about chess, just one of the disciplines taught during Kamp KSI.
Kairos, a nonprofit that works to help people become self-sufficient through employment, hosted an open house for the camp, which is in its second year. The camp for children ages 6-12 teaches an array of disciplines to foster critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. Herbert Lester, executive director, says the goal is to prepare children to be globally competent, which will help them secure jobs and become model citizens.
"The United States has fallen in academics compared to other countries. Our children must learn skills and competencies to compete with students from across the globe," Lester says. "Kamp KSI equips our campers to think critically, problem solve creatively and work collaboratively through fun activities that children enjoy."
Jackie Robinson Day – celebrated this week – is the annual day when Major League Baseball celebrates the incredible change and integration Robinson helped usher into the sport, and society as a whole.
Robinson broke baseball's color barrier so that more African-American players would have the chance to play the "national pastime" at its highest level.
Sadly, 60-plus years later, potential black players aren't taking advantage of that opportunity.
Last month, the league released a report that said just 8.3 percent of players on 2014 opening day rosters identified themselves as black.