Greater Metro

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.


TSD selects 2013 Women of Excellence

newWOElogo-600As arduous tasks go, selecting only 50 honorees for the 6th annual presentation of The New Tri-State Defender's Women of Excellence ranks right up there.

The selections now have been made and the list of honorees for 2013 is complete, with the Women of Excellence (WOE) Champagne Brunch and Awards Celebration set for 10 a.m. Saturday, April 27 at the Memphis Botanic Gardens, 750 Cherry Road.

"We had another phenomenal response from the community this year with over 100 nominations," said Bernal E. Smith II, President/Publisher of The New Tri-State Defender.


The Soulsville Charter School Class of 2013 is college accepted

3StaxStephani-300At The Soulsville Charter School, the shared focus is on preparing the students for success in college and beyond.

Acceptance letters – dozens of them – help build the case for mission accomplished. This year, each senior in the graduating class has just such a letter. It's the second consecutive year that every senior has been accepted to college, all of them to four-year programs. The details show many of the students headed to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country, and many with substantial scholarships.

"Each of the school's classrooms is themed around a college or university and on most mornings this time of year, we announce college acceptance letters over the intercom," said NeShante Brown, executive director of The Soulsville Charter School (TSCS).


Memphis ranks among worst U.S. cities for allergy sufferers

3allergies-400Things aren't looking good for people with allergies in Tennessee. Not only is the pollen apocalypse on its way, three of the state's major cities made the Asthma and Allergy Foundation's annual list of the 10 worst places for spring allergy sufferers.

These so-called allergy capitals are ranked based on pollen levels, use of allergy medications and the number of board-certified allergists in the areas, according to a foundation statement.

Everyone in the United States can expect their allergies to be worse this year, thanks to an unusually wet winter, the foundation says.


People’s Conference provides venue to counter racism

DSC 1190-600The People's Conference on Race & Equality was envisioned as "a place where people could take constructive action against racism" and about 1,000 people showed up for the cause.

The event unfolded at the Fairgrounds, with attendees undaunted by the wet conditions. It was organized by Memphis United, a collaborative of groups and individuals.

Jacob Flowers of the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center said the event went as well as it could given the day's conditions.


‘Klu, Klux, Flop’ & free speech

KKKKlanMain-600It took me a while to actually realize what I was witnessing. My preliminary thoughts could've been that of the collective nature of many Memphians. The thought that Memphis Mayor AC Wharton Jr. and Police Director Toney Armstrong should've have urged denying the Klu Klux Klan a permit for their Easter weekend rally in downtown Memphis.

Yes, I've heard the conversations bouncing off of barbershop walls that Armstrong needs to focus on his officers, many of whom seem to have lost their People Skills Manual of late. I was later part of a conversation – more like a debate – about the "not-so-black" decisions that our mayor makes. During my time at this Wing Joint, I promise you that the Flaming Hot Wings would be considered ice cold when compared to what they had to say.

Then comes the day of the KKK rally and you would've thought that President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, Sasha, Maliya, their Grandma and the dog Bo were about to walk down Adams Street. That's how thick the police presence was.


Mission possible – no texting and driving

NoText-1-600One event with two focuses – raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and showcasing local businesses – drew dozens to the Grand Ballroom at Rhodes College last Saturday (March 23).

The host was the Collegiate Life Investment Foundation (C.L.I.F.), which built the evening around its first fashion show entitled "Distracted Runway 1.0." At the base of the foundation is a painful story.

On Feb. 1, 2012, Clifton B. Gibbs, a Christian Brothers University graduate and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., was critically injured in a car accident involving another car, whose driver was driving distracted, and a school bus. Two days later, Gibbs, 23, died from his injuries.


Youth violence prevention to get conference stress

Youth safety will be the item of interest when Memphis City Schools and the Memphis/Shelby County Children and Youth Council hosts a public forum April 4-5.

From 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. each day at the Teaching and Learning Academy, 2485 Union Ave., the third annual "Assuring Safe Futures for Our Children Conference" ( will present the latest innovations in youth violence prevention and intervention.

"This is our time to inform the masses – from parents to professional staff who work with children every day – about new practices in youth violence prevention," said Ronald Pope, MCS director of Student Engagement.


Youth ‘responsibility’ march now a part of community’s future

StudentResponsonbility-600It's Saturday, April 20 and a throng of high school students, their parents and civic-minded citizens assemble to march and make a statement that area students have to step up their game to get a good education.

It could happen – and it will happen – if all goes according to the plan outlined Tuesday at the National Civil Rights Museum by Mayor AC Wharton Jr. and Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr. Dorsey E. Hopson II, Esq., interim superintendent of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools, joined them.

The mayors presented a proclamation naming the date of the march as "Student Responsibility Day." It will begin at 10 a.m. at City Hall and end in the museum's courtyard.


KKK specter may already have ‘helped’ Memphis

kkk-600While the long buildup to Saturday's Ku Klux Klan rally in downtown Memphis has helped the event draw national attention, public and political watchers here say the KKK's impending visit has served to bring many people closer together to focus on issues with long-term impact.

Planned to protest the renaming of several parks honoring Confederate war history, the rally by the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is set for 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on March 30 on the steps of the courthouse at 140 Adams.

"I'm asking Memphians to just ignore them physically, but it's been beneficial to remind us to forever be aware of the evil within the hearts of too many people in this country; whether it's racism, sexism or any type of bigotry that rears its ugly head," said Wharton.