Mulberry Street was overflowing with hundreds of people as they gathered to witness the Breaking of the Chains grand reopening ceremony of the newly renovated National Civil Rights Museum on Saturday.
Reflecting myriad differences and a common appreciation for the significance of the event, they stood shoulder to shoulder on the day after the 46th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination at the Lorraine Hotel. They already had been stirred by the Freedom Forward Parade that began at the Cook Convention Center and proceeded along Second Street to the museum than incorporates the old hotel.
Audible laughter could be heard as journalist, actor, director and producer, Tavis Smiley, jokingly said twice that he wanted the ceremony to move as swiftly as possible, so as to not prolong seeing the inside of the newly renovated center.
If you missed the news about the disappearance of Malaysian Flight 370 over the Indian Ocean, you must have been buried in sand. For three weeks, we have been bombarded with theories – was it terrorism? Pilot error? Something else? Now the story has evolved. Were pieces of the plane found? Is everyone dead? How do the families of the presumed dead feel? (This is a really stupid question. How does the clueless reporter asking such a question think the people feel?)
CNN may well have been called MPN – the Missing Plane Network. An evening of watching covered the same angle with a different host and guests. Some of the focus was certainly understandable, but other networks managed to find news of things going on that did not involve Flight 370. Still, the prevalent and relentless emphasis on the missing plane was excessive.
Couldn't some of the airtime granted Flight 370 have been used for equally critical matter? There were 239 people on that plane, and there were more than 300 killed in 2013. I'm not suggesting an equivalency in the two types of tragedies, but I am suggesting that the media might focus more on gun violence, its sources and possible solutions to end senseless violence. Of course, that might anger the National Rifle Association whose specious slogan – guns don't kill, people do – ignores the harm done by the proliferation of guns in our nation.
On March 19th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded $115 million over five years to 21 organizations to provide technical assistance (TA) and capacity building to health departments, AIDS service organizations (ASOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) implementing high-impact prevention and improving outcomes in the care continuum for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Not one of the new CDC grantees is a black organization. The effect of this decision is that black organizations have been locked out of leading technical assistance and capacity building in this country for the next five years.
It is obvious why this should be an issue of concern for black people, for the overall public and for anyone who is sincerely interested in ending the AIDS epidemic in America. Let's look at the numbers: There are about 1.2 million Americans living with HIV today. Nearly 50 percent of them are black. Of women living with HIV in the U.S., nearly 64 percent are black; among gay and bisexual men, the rate is 32 percent.
Recent Supreme Court decisions on voting rights and political contributions have rescued the Republican Party from the brink of political oblivion and instead threaten to permanently undermine the very fabric of American democracy.
The court's 5-4 decision last week in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission eliminated the aggregate cap on individual campaign donations. The ruling promises to, in the words of dissenting Justice Stephen Breyer, "open a floodgate" that will engulf American politics on an unprecedented scale. Ending limits on political contributions to federal candidates means that the court has willfully amplified the already powerful voices of the rich campaign donor class. Chief Justice John Roberts countered Breyer with the reasoning that the decades-old limit on individual donations represented a 1st amendment violation of free speech. From this perspective a dollar in campaign contributions has the equivalent power of $100,000, a notion that is absurd.
Dear Lucy: I work for a company where I get to see a lot of what really goes on because my job is at a low level in the organization. People assume that I am not paying attention because of my status. But I do. What I see is a lot of backbiting, meanness, lying, frustration and little respect for the customer, the boss or each other. I try to be a pleasant team player. My efforts don't really matter. I need my job but enough is enough. I am feeling tainted by all the negativity. What can I do to stay in the saddle?
– Rough Rider
Dear Rough Rider: Sounds to me like everybody is having a rough ride! Here are some things to consider.
If this has been going on longer than three years, chances are it will not change without a drastic change in leadership. You don't control that.
Sometimes, no matter how pleasant we may be, a spirit of anger and resentment when anchored, will not be pulled up by one person's attempts to be nice. You don't control that.
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