Neither Burnudecia Huey, Bonnie Stevenson nor Akilah Wofford were ready to get pregnant. Two – Huey and Stevenson – were teenagers and Wofford was 23. All were single.
Getting pregnant before they chose to be is not a road any one of them would choose to travel again. Despite making bad decisions and grappling with a torrent of circumstances in some cases, the experiences have not derailed their aspirations of achieving something worthwhile in life.
"I thought it would never happen to me. I was shocked," said Huey, 18, relating her story to Minister Telisa Franklin, host of "The Telisa Franklin Show," during a taping with Stevenson and Wofford Friday evening (Nov. 22) on the topic, "Voices of Teen Moms." The segment will be aired soon on Franklin's cable TV network on Comcast 31.
Beverly Robertson still cries sometimes when she visits Room 306, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was staying at the Lorraine Motel before he stepped outside and into the path of an assassin's bullet.
During 16 years of what National Civil Rights Museum Board Chairman Herbert Hilliard calls "momentous progress and accomplishments," Robertson has viewed the room untold times as the museum's president.
Come July 1, 2014, that will end. Robertson announced her retirement Tuesday (Nov. 26) and it will be effective that day. On Tuesday afternoon, she spoke with The New Tri-State Defender.
National Civil Rights Museum President Beverly Robertson today announced her retirement, effective July 1, 2014, after leading the museum through 16 years of "momentous progress and accomplishments," Board Chairman Herbert Hilliard said.
"Since 1997, Beverly has led the museum in an era characterized by exciting progress, accomplishment, and growing national and international prestige, all of which are a direct result of her special brand of leadership and her commitment to being a steward for one of America's most hallowed historic places," said Hilliard.
"Although she is retiring at the end of our fiscal year in July, 2014, she will remain involved through the rest of the calendar year to ensure a smooth transition and continuity in leadership."
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.