TSD Memphis


Greater Metro

Pledge of abstinence ceremony set for 40 Mid-South girls

pink-girls-600Forty girls from throughout the Mid-South will receive a charge to remain abstinent from sexual and substance abuse behaviors during the inaugural Promise Ball Oath Ceremony & Ring Presentation at the Cook Convention Center on Sunday (April 21).

Pinky Promise International (PPI) is sponsoring the event, which begins at 5 p.m.

The participants – high school students in grades 9-12 – will make their pledges before a crowd expected to number about 900. Vivian Scott Chew, Intercontinental Music Executive, Founder and Principal of TimeZone International will be the keynote speaker. Chew is the wife of Ray Chew, musical director for "American Idol."


Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival, No. 27 underway

AinA-600If the Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival, Inc. were a person who had just turned 27, what would one who knew him or her well say?

"At 27, alive and well, 100 percent plus and moving on up," said Yvonne B. Acey, the festival's associate director.

"We are quite excited and quite grateful for those who started with us and helped us along the way and gave us encouragement."

Acey said people often ask her and her husband, Executive Director David L. Acey Sr., "Why Africa? Why April?"


Dine out and fight AIDS on April 25

dineoutsign-500Friends For Life will celebrate its 5th annual Dining Out For Life® in partnership with 39 of Memphis' finest restaurants on April 25.

Memphis is among 60 cities participating in this national effort, which raises more than $3 million annually for AIDS service organizations throughout the country and Canada. Food Network stars Ted Allen and Daisy Martinez, Project Runway All-Stars winner Mondo Guerra, and actress Pam Grier, are the national spokespeople for the event.

"I'm attracted to Dining Out for a few reasons. I like the group, and they do an enormous amount of good," sad Allen. "But the real reason is because the event is such a winner for everyone. The true heroes in the fight against HIV/AIDS are the activists and researchers, but we can't all do that."


Hanley and Aspire mesh at barbeque and registration

Aspire-600It may have been stifling hot last Saturday (April 13) evening for grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and for fun and games, but Alexius Wilson didn't seem to mind. The 9-year-old gallivanted around the school grounds at Hanley Elementary and jumped in and out of inflatable bouncers, all while her mother, Veronica Black, kept a vigilant watch in the shade.

Black was one of several dozen parents who attended the family barbeque and registration drive hosted by Aspire Public Schools, a nonprofit organization operating 34 high-performing, open-enrollment and neighborhood charter schools in California. Aspire was assigned the operations of Hanley in 2012 to begin managing the school in the fall of 2013.

"My baby wanted me to come up here to see what was going on. So I signed her up (for the 2013-14 school year)," said Black, 41, the mother of seven girls, including Alexius. "I want her to learn more about technology. She's a good student. She even shows me stuff that I don't know."


Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival, No. 27

David-and-Yvonne-500This year marks the 27th Anniversary of the Africa In April Cultural Awareness Festival, which is scheduled for Wednesday through Sunday (April 17-21).

The festival, which unfolds downtown at Robert R. Church Park (Fourth Street at Beale Street), will showcase the Republic of Senegal from an international perspective using a various mediums – education, economics, culture, fashions, arts/crafts, music, history and cuisines.

A host of African dignitaries and other celebrities are scheduled to attend.


Angel Ray shows ‘a heart to help others’

Memphis-Family-Shelter-600iTEEN REPORT: Many people think that teens only think about themselves. Well, I'd like those people to meet one teen that doesn't fit that description at all.

Angel Ray is a 17-year-old Southwind High School student with a heart to help others. Recently, Angel hosted a fashion show in the Hickory Ridge Mall that featured several teen models. Designed to motivate youth through something positive, the fashion show was also to benefit the community. The proceeds from the show went to the Memphis Family Shelter.

Angel says she wanted to do an event to help a charity that wasn't widely known and doesn't get as much recognition as some of the more popular events. After locking in on the idea, the next step was finding sponsors for clothes, food and decorations. One of her sponsors was Belle of the Ball Consignment, which provided several of their dresses for the fashion show's prom sequence.


TV’s Judge Joe Brown jumps into Juvenile Court Clerk race

JudgeJoe Brown-600Television star Judge Joe Brown attended a fundraiser recently at the Bruce Turner Law Office to kick off the campaign of Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks, who is running for Juvenile Court Clerk.

Brown is also supporting the expected candidacy of current City Court Judge Tarik B. Sugarmon, who confirms there is a "99.9" percent chance that he will seek the Juvenile Court Judge position.

Voters will make the final selection for the offices in the next general election scheduled for 2014. No primary has been scheduled so far. It is up to officials for the Democratic and Republican parties to request a primary if necessary to choose a candidate for each.


Rose Jackson Flenorl will keynote TSD’s WOE gala

rose-200Rose Jackson Flenorl represents the heart of the FedEx Corporation and she will deliver the keynote address at The New Tri-State Defender's Women of Excellence gala on April 27.

Manager of Social Responsibility at FedEx Corporation, Flenorl will speak at the Women of Excellence (WOE) Champagne Brunch and Awards Celebration at the Memphis Botanic Gardens, 750 Cherry Road.

A previous WOE honoree, Flenorl is among 250 outstanding African-American professionals and community leaders who have been honored by the TSD. All are distinguished by their civic contributions and career achievements.


Women’s Foundation taps 6 for Annual Legends Award

Rosie-Phillips-Bingham-200Six women whose work embodies the mission of the Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis will be honored at the group's Annual Legends Award Reception on Tuesday (April 16).

The Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) was founded 18 years ago. It's mission is to "encourage philanthropy and foster leadership among women and support programs that enable women and children to reach their full potential."

This year's honorees are:


Community Awareness Day at Greater Lakeview MBC targets information gap

CommunityAwareDay-1-600Joyce Glasper has a sense of what families want and need when a loved one nears the end of life. She shares that information regularly, just as she did at Greater Lakeview Missionary Baptist Church's Community Awareness Day last Saturday (April 6).

Glasper reaches out to those in need through Crossroads Hospice. She was among the service providers extending information during the awareness event held at the church at 191 East Holmes Road, where the Rev. Joe E. Hayes is pastor.

In her exchanges, Glasper emphasized the importance of making hospice patients comfortable. She also talked about helping families understand the need to let relatives in hospice choose to do things that are really special to them.


Achieve! Town Hall probes school choice, collaboration


The Achieve! Town Hall was a first step in an effort to bridge the gap between those facing decisions about school choice and the information they need to make good decisions. It included a panel discussion that probed issues related to school choice. (Photo: Shirley Jackson)

by Karanja A. Ajanaku

Some see school choice as a new arrival. Others see it as old as education itself. The extremes suggest the need for dialogue and that’s what the Achieve! Town Hall delivered at The Magnet in the Soulsville community last Saturday, March 30.

 Hosted by The New Tri-State Defender, in partnership with New America Media, the forum featured a panel of school leaders, educators and advocates. They were guided through a discussion moderated by TSD President/Publisher, Bernal E. Smith II.

The panelists were: Kevin Woods, commissioner, Shelby County Board of Education; David Hill, director of Academic Operations, Diocese of Memphis Catholic Schools; Ginger Spickler, communications coordinator, Memphis Opportunity Scholarship Trust (MOST); James Alexander, director, Memphis Academy of Health Sciences Charter School; and Keith Williams, president of the Memphis Education Association.


Memphis center stage as world reflects on Dr. King

Mason Temple-1-600A billing for the evening read: "Mountaintop Speech Commemoration." It was a summons to gather back at Mason Temple, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his last oration – often simply called "The Mountaintop Speech" – on April 3, 1968.

Forty-five years had elapsed since Dr. King gave the prophetic speech that eerily seemed to foreshadow his death. That came the next evening after he was felled by an assassin's bullet while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

So the Memphis-area community – joined by numerous others from various places around the nation – showed up Wednesday night. They answered the call amplified by the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, the union that long has represented Memphis's sanitation workers, the group that Dr. King died supporting.


A view of 1968 Memphis 45 years after Dr. King

minerva-with-dr-king-600Where were you in 1967 and on April 4, 1968? We must not ever forget our history, and if you are young, then put the stress on this notion: "We must learn of history."

Many of our leading ministers – both black reverends and white reverends – were maced downtown in 1967 while supporting the strike by sanitation workers. Even at that time we had some people who tried to do what was right and just for all the people.

The Memphis sanitation workers were an integrated group. There were some white workers who drove the trucks and supervised the black workers. The black workers could not go into the sanitation barn where the white workers ate lunch. They had to stay outside in the rain on rainy days and sometimes they would take shelter in the trucks to eat their lunch and keep the rain off.