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Greater Metro

Services Saturday for Rep. Lois M. DeBerry; accolades flow on

Lois DeBerry-plus2-600The family of Tennessee State Rep. Lois M. DeBerry and the public that she served will say goodbye to her during services set for Saturday, Aug. 3.

Rep. DeBerry – the first female Speaker Pro-Tempore and the second African-American to hold that position – died Sunday afternoon at Methodist Hospital South after a bout with pancreatic cancer. She was 68.

The family of Rep. Lois M. DeBerry, known to many as "Lady D," announced the following service arrangements:

Family Graveside Service:

MLGW conference set for Aug. 2 to back neighborhood progress

MLGWneighborhood-300Memphis Light, Gas & Water will present its annual Neighborhood Leaders Conference at the MLGW Joyce M. Blackmon Training Center at 4949 Raleigh LaGrange from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Aug. 2.

The conference will feature multiple workshop sessions where attendees can learn about Memphis' "most pressing neighborhood issues" while networking with other community leaders.

This year's theme is "Neighborhoods Get Down to Business" and the main focus is addressing the community's environmental and business concerns.

Community leaders and officials will be in attendance on behalf of their own neighborhoods, but will be sharing knowledge that can be applied to every community.

Aug. 10 forum: Mass Imprisonment and the Black Community

massprison-250Prisons and jails are the 21st century plantations for black people in the United States, say the organizers of Mass Imprisonment and the Black Community; A National Crisis – forum set for Aug. 10.

Sponsored by the Memphis Black Autonomy Federation (MBAF), the forum will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Java Complex, 1423 Elvis Presley Blvd.

Although African Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, they account for nearly half of the total 2.3 million prisoners in America, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice. The disproportion can be directly tied to the high level of black unemployment, says JoNina Ervin, the acting chair of the MBAF.

Community champion Rep. Lois DeBerry dies at 68

Deberry1-400"Christian, trailblazer, role model, a strong advocate for children, education and promoting women, fighter, leader, mentor, and most importantly a friend who supported and helped many in so many ways. She was strong, stern and no-nonsense, but very kind, compassionate and big- hearted."

That's the reflection of Gales Jones Carson, a member of the Democratic National Committee, upon the passing Sunday of State Rep. Lois DeBerry, the longest serving member in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Carson's reflection has elements echoed by many.

With family and friends nearby, Rep. DeBerry, 68, died about 12:30 p.m. at Methodist Hospital South. The way she handled her extended challenge from pancreatic cancer was emblematic of how she lived her life and served her district in South Memphis.

SCLC to pump up ‘Operation Take Back’ push

sclcDSC-600August has been designated "Operation Take Back" by the Memphis Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), coinciding with a project developed to "minimize crime in the Memphis community."

SCLC President Dwight Montgomery and chapter members pitched the program during a "Crime Solution Luncheon" held Tuesday at Greater Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Fellowship Hall 1098 S. Wellington Street (at McLemore). During the session, Mayor AC Wharton Jr. addressed the group about his vision for continued crime reduction in Memphis.

Through Operation Take Back, SCLC is asking church pastors to:

ASD Supt. Chris Barbic – A man you must know!

Chris Barbic-600With Memphis home to 68 of the 85 schools in the bottom five percent of the lowest performers and many of those students African Americans, Achievement School District Supt. Chris Barbic is a man whose thoughts bear special scrutiny by the African-American community.

The ASD's goal is to move the bottom 5 percent of schools in the state to the top 25 percent in five years. This week, Barbic was making the rounds, spreading the word that 12 months into operating schools, its students are showing signs of progress. That get-out-the message tour coincided with the release of annual TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program) Proficiency results measuring students in grades 3-8 in reading, math, social studies, and science.

Barbic's two-minute spiel, which he folded into a 100-minute conservation at The New Tri-State Defender on Tuesday, basically covers this ground:

Kenya-Memphis connection budding

Kenyan-600Four Kenyan governors will be in Memphis Monday through Wednesday (July 29-31), with the goal of cultivating a sharing of ideas to "enrich operations and propel the counties represented by the governors to internationally expected standards."

The Ramogi Economic Forum, whose president is Eng. Charles Kodi, is coordinating the governors' visit. The non-profit organization's goals include providing information on business and investment opportunities in Kenya to stakeholders. It mainly targets U.S. financial institutions, academic institutions, non-profits, aid organizations, hedge funds, state and local governments and faith-based organizations.

The visiting contingent will include: from Nyanza and Western Kenya, Jack Ranguma – Kisumu Governor, Cornel Rasanga – Siaya Governor, Cyprian Awiti – Homa Bay Governor, and Sospeter Ojaamong' – Busia Governor.