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Ecumenical lunch serves dialogue to African-American church leaders and RNC

RNCLunch 600Here's the picture: An ecumenical lunch between members of several historically African-American church denominations and members of the Republican National Committee.

OK, pencil in African-American pastors from non-denominational churches, color in the Catfish Cabin and frame the whole thing in Memphis.

That's the scenario that came into view on Wednesday (March 7th), thanks in large part to Pastor Chester Berryhill and his wife Vivian, president of the National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses. They organized the lunch to welcome RNC members, who were in Memphis for the RNC's annual spring meeting.

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Who do Republicans like Rand Paul actually represent?

GAHardaway 600(G.A. Hardaway, a Democrat, represents the 93rd District in the Tennessee General Assembly, including part of Shelby County and the City of Memphis. He is currently the Secretary of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators. On Friday, he released this commentary.)

Today, in my beloved Memphis, the Republican National Committee is continuing their spring meeting. Among the various decisions being made and events taking place is one of particular interest to me: a luncheon featuring a keynote speech from Kentucky Tea Party senator Rand Paul.

That Sen. Paul is speaking at a GOP luncheon is not at all notable; what is notable is that he is doing it here in Memphis, not one mile from the place where, on April 4, 1968, our city and our country was forever changed.

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NBA names Dick Parsons interim CEO of LA Clippers

Richard Parsons_600The NBA has named Dick Parsons interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers.

League Commissioner Adam Silver announced Friday that the former Citigroup chairman, Time Warner chairman and CEO will take the position, effective immediately.

"I believe the hiring of Dick Parsons will bring extraordinary leadership and immediate stability to the Clippers organization," Silver said, according to a recent press release. "Dick's credentials as a proven chief executive speak for themselves, and I am extremely grateful he accepted this responsibility."


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Investing in black males: Why pro sports gets it and everyone else doesn’t

AAGrads 600Recently, I started thinking of pragmatic ways to bridge the gaps of opportunity for black males. Seeing that this is a free-market-based economy, with everything having value, I looked at it in terms of what our value really is to this country. That led me to wondering how much is invested in us to begin with.

It's a question I never got an answer to, but I learned a lot while trying to answer it, and when I looked at it from an investment standpoint, things began to look different to me.

For example, a stockbroker who lives in Montclair, N.J., would see quite a different quality of life than a bus driver in Baltimore. They might work equally hard at their jobs, but because so much was invested in the stockbroker when he was 13, he gets to live a better life at 45. However the bus driver didn't get that same investment as a kid and now his options are fewer. Not that there's anything wrong with being a bus driver, but the likelihood is that he did not have as many options as the stockbroker leading up to this point.

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Downbeat diplomacy for African-American musicians at International Jazz Day

IJDay 600During the grand finale of the third annual International Jazz Day concert held in Osaka, Japan (April 30th), more than 35 jazz musicians stretched across an elaborate stage in Osaka Castle Park and performed John Lennon's 1971 anthem, "Imagine." Most of them hailed from the U.S., but the lineup also included the South African guitarist and singer Jonathan Butler, the Malian songstress Oumou Sangaré, and Japanese virtuosos: pianists Toshiko Akiyoshi and Makoto Ozone and trumpeters Terumasa Hino and Takuya Kuroda.

With their bracing harmonies and deft musicianship underneath pianist Herbie Hancock's joyous South African-flavored arrangement, the ensemble looked like a miniature United Nations—and that comparison came as no surprise, considering that UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz produced the two-hour concert.

Although Osaka was host city for this year, cities in 195 other countries joined in a worldwide celebration of International Jazz Day on April 30 by staging jazz concerts and educational seminars.

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