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Greater Metro

With the community’s youth in mind, April 4th Foundation ‘steps’ forward

April4 600The April 4th Foundation will hold its 14th annual fundraising banquet on Friday, April 4th at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Peabody Hotel.

The banquet supports the foundation's youth component of the "Footsteps" Program, which teaches students about the civil rights era through direct interaction with civil rights icons and visitation of historic places. The mission of the foundation is to "Tell the story...pass it on" and in the process detail the sacrifices and successes.

The Rev. Johnson Saulsberry Jr., founder of the April 4th Foundation, said the banquet has become "everything we wanted it to be, but there's always room for growth. We look for that growth through the young people that we have in our youth program to help us grow into a bigger and better organization in the future."

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Is Wilkins the man to unseat Cohen?

wilkins 600A first floor suite in the historic 14-story Shrine Building at the corner of Front Street and Monroe Avenue is ground zero for The Law Offices of Ricky E. Wilkins. The architecture is exquisite and furnished with the trappings of success. But Wilkins is willing to trade much of it for a fulltime seat in Congress.

"I'm a lifelong Memphian who was raised in South Memphis. I want to give back to the community any way I can," he said. "I've been practicing law for 23 years and volunteered my time, talent and resources because I care about the community. So running for Congress is a natural extension of giving back."

Wilkins is challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen for the right to represent Tennessee's Ninth Congressional District, an area entirely contained in Shelby County and includes the city of Memphis and portions of Collierville and Germantown.

 

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More is better as Civil Rights Museum flashes peek of future

museum 600The National Civil Rights Museum gets much more than a facelift with its $28 million renovation.

That certainty was on display Wednesday as The New Tri-State Defender took advantage of a preview tour. Care has been taken to maintain the integrity of the museum, which opened in 1991. And while 100 percent of the original content still is there, technology has moved in, with multiple, virtually interactive and touch-screen displays.

The changeover has been underway since last November and the sounds of continued work spoke to the museum's evolution as members of the media got a sneak-peek tour. The doors of the unique museum are set to reopen at 11 a.m. on April 5th. The wish list for the reopening scenario includes a visit by President Barack Obama, who has not yet said whether he will accept the extended invitation.

 

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‘Teens 4 Pink’ join fight against breast cancer

teens 600Teen girls won't be pretty in pink this year just for the fun of it. Many have signed up to duke it out with breast cancer as "Pink Ambassadors" for the Sisters Network, a national organization of African-American breast cancer survivors.

"We are just so excited about launching this new initiative with teen girls," said Carolyn Whitney, president of the Memphis chapter. "Out of the 40 national affiliates of the Sisters Network, Memphis was chosen as one of two pilot cities to kick off this new program with teens. The other pilot project is in Houston."

From Whitney's vantage point, "Teens 4 Pink" couldn't have begun in any other American city but Memphis for one simple but tragic reason. 

 

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Memphis uses music in push for Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment

healthcare 600Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has teamed with several local hospitals and community partners to launch a musical message encouraging citizens to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace by the March 31st deadline.

"Music resonates with the people of our city in a way that is difficult to explain. That's why this idea of slipping a critical message into the melody of a song was a pretty safe bet from our perspective," said Wharton.

The song at the center of the campaign is "The Marketplace," a rewrite of the 1979 soul classic "Come Go with Me" made famous by Teddy Pendergrass. It showcases Memphis vocalist and keyboardist, Will Graves. T. O. Crivens, who is featured as the lead guitarist, produced the regarding.

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‘Go Phigga’ comes from the heart

gophigga 600Fresh off a trip down south to Austin, Texas, 29-year-old rapper George Purnell, aka Go Phigga, of Bottom Coast Ent/Numb3rs Committee, was still in rare form as we began our interview. Turned up and passionate about music and the mark he plans to make on it, he left no stones unturned when speaking about his experiences, influences and perceptions of the music business.

"I've dropped 3 albums already – "4ever Motivated," "M.S.O.M.1" and "M.S.O.M.1.5" – but most recently I just finished performing this past weekend at the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) Music, Art and Film Festival in Austin, Texas," said Go Phigga, clearly excited about the annual Spring Break festival that he recognizes as one of the biggest in the music game.

"I have performed at this event for like the last three or four years and I truly enjoy it and the fans because every year is different. The fans really get a chance to see you up close and personal and take pictures with you and ask you about your music. Then also there are countless mega-artists there. Like this year you had artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Slim Thugg, Bun B., Face Mobb, Big Sean, Future, Tech 9, Nas, etc. So yes, it was really nice."

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Special ‘Institute’ session asks, ‘What is a black man?’

institute 600African-American young men – several of them – took home a few life lessons after attending The Black Man Can Institute at the Juvenile Intervention & Faith-based Followup (JIFF) last Saturday (March 15th).

The Institute was a one-day series of workshops that focused on different ways to uplift, empower and inspire young men of color.

"We have a vision to bring the Institute to every city in America and be a catalyst for change in the life of a young man," said Brandon Frame, the Institute's founder. "In partnering with R.L. Thompson and Community Service, Inc., we had the amazing opportunity to complete that purpose."

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Hickory Ridge Driver License Reinstatement Center to open Saturdays

reinstatement 600The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security will open its Hickory Ridge Driver License Reinstatement Center for five Saturdays starting this week due to the high volume of customers seeking to reinstate driving privileges this time of year.

The Hickory Ridge Driver License Reinstatement Center, located inside the Hickory Ridge Mall, 6075 Winchester Rd., will serve customers from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 22 and 29, April 4, 11, and 26. (The special Saturday hours will not take place on Easter weekend.)

The extra hours of service are for reinstatement services only.

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Hamburgled?

wagetheft 600Days after class-action lawsuits claimed McDonald's is deliberately and systematically stealing employees' pay, workers and community and faith leaders protested Tuesday in Memphis – part of a nationwide series of actions calling on the fast-food giant to stop its illegal wage theft.

Holding signs that read, "Have you had your break today? I haven't but it was taken out of my check anyway," Memphis fast-food workers and supporters demanded McDonald's stop what they called illegal theft of workers' pay. Workers spoke of the company forcing them to work off the clock, work through breaks, etc.

"We want to take care of our families, but it's hard for us to do that when we don't make enough and McDonald's is stealing our wages," said McDonald's worker, Ashley Cathey. "I rarely receive a break, yet those hours are always taken out of my check. We need to get paid for the hours we work and that's why we're fighting for $15 and a union."

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Freedom Fund keynoter on a health-based mission

DrSampson 600When you release a book hoping that it will "start a movement," each time you speak in a public setting is an opportunity to extend a call to action. That's the position Dr. Sampson Davis will be in when speaks in Memphis on Thursday night.

The recipient of the Essence Lifetime Achievement Award (2000) and author of "Living & Dying in Brick City – An E.R. Doctor Returns Home" will deliver the keynote address during this year's 38th annual Freedom Fund Gala benefiting the Memphis Branch NAACP.

The venue will be the Grand Ball Room of the Memphis Cook Convention Center, with the gala to begin at 7 p.m.

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Northside becomes a Spring Break learning ground

howardstudents 600Within two classrooms at Northside High School, a classic game of "Family Feud" was unfolding.

"Name a reason why a person might turn down a job."

Two high-schoolers hesitate before a teenage boy yells the first response that comes to mind.

"Transportation!"

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

barkays 600

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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Memphis rankings!

memphisranking 600On what the Greater Memphis Chamber clearly viewed as good news day, Forbes ranked Memphis as the 2nd most affordable city in the U.S. and WalletHub ranked Memphis as the 5th best city to start a business.

Chamber officials are spreading the word about the rankings, which both were announced on Tuesday.

2nd most affordable city

Forbes recognized Memphis as America's second most affordable city when surveying the 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the country.

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