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Civilian oversight of law enforcement needed more than ever in Memphis

civilian 600In 1994, the controversial shooting of Jesse Bogand – a 68 year old resident of Orange Mound – outraged the citizens of Memphis. This and other similar incidents pushed the Memphis City Council to create a Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB), which according to the City Of Memphis website would be "an independent, non-police Mayoral Agency with...the power to receive, investigate, hear cases, make findings and recommend action on complaints."

Though seemingly a positive step forward for our city, many have lamented that CLERB has insufficient power to accomplish its assigned tasks. For instance, CLERB can only hear a case after the Memphis Police Department's Internal Affairs has completed their investigation. Moreover, CLERB has no subpoena powers, and as such MPD officers' presence at a hearing is purely voluntary.

More troubling is the fact that the extent of CLERB's disciplinary power is a non-binding recommendation to MPD.

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Memphis parent backs HB190 and the value of school choice

porter-ed-600There are few things more important to me than the quality of my children's schools. After all, I know that a great education is crucial to their success as adults.

I also believe that parents know their kids better than anyone else, and should be able to decide what is best for them.

Fortunately for me, I happen to live in a neighborhood with schools that meet the needs of my kids. But many families across Tennessee are not as lucky. Thousands of students across the state are forced to attend schools that are failing or otherwise inadequate.

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Funk, R&B and soul icons, Bar-Kays, celebrate 50 years by giving back

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The Bar-Kays are donating a portion of the proceeds raised during their 50-year celebration to support their "fab-five charities."

Throughout 2014, the iconic band will observe their golden anniversary in the music business. The year-long observation will culminate with the Bar-Kays 50th Anniversary Celebration Gala Dec. 4 at the Cook Convention Center and Canon Center of the Performing Arts.

During the gala, a special presentation will be made to what that the Bar-Kays call their "fab-five charities" – the Down Syndrome Association of Memphis, United Way of the Midsouth, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Stax Music Academy and the Allen Jones/Marjorie Barringer/Bar-Kays Scholarship Fund.

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From Mammy to Michelle Obama:

mammytomichelle 600Mammy and first lady Michelle Obama may seem like an odd pairing – two figures that couldn't be more different, some might say. One being a Princeton University and Harvard Law School alumna; the other a symbol of joyful servility, a stereotype used to justify slavery.

At first blush, just the consideration of the two might seem to indicate that perceptions of African-American women have come a long way and evolved for the better. But how much progress has actually been made relative to perceptions about African-American women?

March annually is observed as Women's History Month. And with scholars such as syndicated columnist Julianne Malveaux noting that, "It pains me to watch Black Women's History so swallowed that we are almost invisible," The New Tri-State Defender decided to probe the stereotypes and perceptions.

 

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AAC Tourney crown up for grabs

Tournament 600The inaugural American Athletic Conference Tournament is being played out in Memphis, with University of Memphis fans hopeful that their fifth-seeded Tigers can claim the tourney championship.

With Cincinnatti, Louisville, SMU and UConn seeded ahead of them, the Tigers are especially happy to have what amounts to home court. Whether it proves to be an advantage will start to show on Thursday when Memphis takes on UConn in a game set to be shown on ESPNU at 8 p.m.

Memphis fans will need no prodding to get up for UConn. The Huskies took both games from the Tigers, with Memphis falling short in an overtime challenge at the FedExForum.

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