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Women’s Theatre Festival of Memphis get its woman

Look no further than LaRita Shelby if you’re in need of a voice to express the understanding that theater is a vehicle for telling stories and that “our stories give us the power to transform ourselves and others.”
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Shelby, former Memphian, actress, singer, writer, broadcaster and media professional, has been named honorary chairperson of the second biennial Women’s Theatre Festival of Memphis (WTFM) August 7-9.
 
“I got my start in the theatre in Memphis and received exemplary training,” said Shelby, who has appeared on the air, on stages and on screens around the globe. “I accept this honor with a charge to build domestic and global cohesiveness within the creative community, and to forge new alliances among those in the creative and performing arts.”

‘Called: How One Couple Served A City’

webJAB 600A unique story that details how a woman and her husband created a ministry that began with fostering 75 children in their Memphis home without any financial support from the state or federal government is outlined in a new book entitled “Called: How One Couple Served A City.” 
 
JoeAnn Ballard, the book’s author, explains how she and her late husband, Monroe Ballard, transformed a labor of love into an endeavor that eventually led to the founding of Neighborhood Christian Centers, Inc. in 1978. 
 
“Called: How One Couple Served A City,” by Southern biographer Sheridan Hill and published by Real Life Stories, LLC, describes how Ballard’s childhood set the stage for a lifetime of compassionate service. 

A push to address economic business disparities in Memphis and Shelby County

disparities 600If a group of business leaders succeed with the initiative they announced Tuesday morning, increased minority business participation within the public and private sectors of Memphis and Shelby County will become a front-burner issue.
 
Determined to affect what they called “the disproportionate number of contracts awarded to minority and women businesses over the last twenty years,” the group sounded an alarm at a press conference at the National Civil Rights Museum.”

Black unemployment rate continues to fall

WASHINGTON – For the second month in a row, the black unemployment rate decreased, and the economy added more than 200,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department.
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The unemployment rate for blacks decreased slightly from 11.6 percent in April to 11.5 percent in May and was two percentage points lower than the 13.5 percent rate recorded a year ago. Meanwhile, the jobless rate for whites barely rose from 5.3 percent in April to 5.4 percent in May.
 
While the jobless rate for black men over 20 years old increased from 10.8 percent to 11.5 percent in May, the unemployment rate for white men decreased from 5.1 percent to 5.0 percent.

Are Republicans serious about courting African Americans?

The biggest complaints I get from black journalists when it comes to Republican officeholders and Party leaders is that they can’t get their calls returned. I used to think this was because of the reporters’ race or that some represented small, black media outlets.
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Over the years, I have spent many hours reflecting on this dilemma and have concluded two things. First, the problem has nothing to do with race or racism; it has more to do with the lack of relationships with black journalists. People return calls of people they know or have a relationship with first; then and only then will they return calls of those they don’t know.
 
Second, there is no bridge between Republican members of Congress and other party leaders to the black media. Over the years, I have tried to bridge that gap, so to speak, but with limited success.