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Art mixed with the KKK leaves a bad aftertaste

Art mixed with the KKK leaves a bad aftertaste
 
I’d gone to Montreal for a conference and, because I fell in love with the city, decided to stay a few more days to explore it. I was with my travel companion, a woman who’s working on a start-up site about art, and she asked me to tag along with her to check out Montreal’s contemporary art scene.
 
At our second stop, a very nice attendant made small talk and asked about our art-hopping plans. Maybe I looked as bored as I was because the attendant asked if I was enjoying the trek. “I like the pretty colors, but ... ,” I said. I’m not that shallow, I swear. I just have a preference for art that is bold and in my face.
 
“What’s next?” the attendant asked. My companion told her we were headed to “Come and See” by British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman at DHC/ART.  

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Colon cancer education – a grassroots appeal

Colon cancer education – a grassroots appeal
“It’s gross.”
 
“It’s embarrassing.”
 
“ It’s not exactly dinner table conversation, if you know what I mean…”
 
Those are just a few of the statements I hear when I ask Memphians why our community doesn’t talk about getting a colonoscopy. The truth is this: a colonoscopy isn’t gross. It isn’t embarrassing. It’s discreet, simple, and life-saving. 
 
For twenty years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work at the grassroots level to educate our city about the importance of a colorectal screening. I’ve personally given over 200 speeches. My small practice has provided colon cancer education at over 1,000 events. I’ve partnered with the Memphis Grizzlies’ Community Health team, local political leaders, dozens of churches and businesses, and countless community leaders. I’ve even released an Emmy-nominated commercial to spread our message. 
 

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Reparations for North Carolina sterilization victims

 Reparations for North Carolina sterilization victims
Victims who were sterilized in North Carolina between 1929 and 1974 – approximately 7,600 people – have until the end of June to file a claim with the state, according to government officials.
 
This month marks the final push to identify victims and their families, who will receive reparations in June 2015 from a $10 million fund. North Carolina is not the first state to publicly acknowledge this practice, but it will be the first state to offer compensation for it.
 
Currently, the state estimates that close to 3,000 victims, born in or before 1961, may still be alive. 
 

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Black church group urges African Americans to withhold contributions to NPR

Black church group urges African Americans to withhold contributions to NPR

The National Black Church Initiative, a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches, called on all African Americans May 27 to withhold donations to National Public Radio after it cancelled “Tell Me More,” its only program featuring an African-American host, and regularly addressing issues and concerns of the black community.

 NPR announced a week ago that it was canceling “Tell Me More” as part of a series of cuts to address the network’s long-standing budget deficit. The announcement included the elimination of 28 positions throughout NPR.

 NBCI president, Rev. Anthony Evans, conveyed the group’s position in a letter to NPR CEO, Jarl Mohn.

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Unusual poll: Black support for Tea Party

Unusual poll: Black support for Tea Party
When you normally think of Tea Party supporters, the first image that comes to mind is an anti-Obama mob mixing Confederate flags and old school yellow Gadsden flags, flapping coiled rattlesnakes in the wind. Step outside the Beltway, head mostly south, and you could find a rally or two with a rifle-toting Duck Dynasty lookalike.
 
Yet, a recent YouGov poll – while showing a general decline in Tea Party backing – altered that perception when it showed a combined 18 percent African-American support for the tea party. Not black Republican support – overall black support. While only three percent of African Americans indicated “strong support” for the Tea Party, a surprisingly high 15 percent of African Americans said they “somewhat support” the Tea Party, as well as 15 percent who “neither support, nor oppose” the Tea Party.
 
Added up, that’s 33 percent of black voters who don’t oppose the tea party.
Granted, none of these numbers correlate to any remarkable shift of black voters to the Republican Party. Keeping with tradition, that same YouGov poll shows only five percent of African Americans identify as Republican.

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The ‘Auntie Maya’ I knew

The ‘Auntie Maya’ I knew
Many people will remember Maya Angelou for her phenomenal career.  She was a true renaissance woman – an author, teacher, dancer, performer, radio personality and a producer.  I will remember her as a sister friend, a wise “auntie” who didn’t mind pulling your coat. She was a generous spirit who made time for virtually any who asked, a gentle and kind spirit.
 
If you dropped by when a meal was being served, she asked you to sit down and enjoy the assembled company.  If you came and it was not the meal hour, she never hesitated to offer a cup of tea and a snack.  She knew before you did that you needed a hug an encouraging word.  I’ve seen her take the hat off her head and give it to someone who admired it.
 

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The Congressional Black Caucus rift

The Congressional Black Caucus rift
There was troubling news from Washington last week that should probably be put into perspective. The rift is not due to the usual Democrats vs. Republicans hostility, or a fight between rival government agencies. This one is internal and especially troubling for black folks.
 
The Congressional Black Caucus, the all-Democrat coalition of African-American lawmakers, is undergoing somewhat of a crisis of conscience these days, with members now going after each other in public, much to the delight of Republicans.
 
At its core, the issue is over the Dodd-Frank Act, the set of banking regulations set forth following the 2008 financial collapse. Wall Street, with the help of Republicans, would like to unravel the legislation, allowing banks and financial institutions to return to the bad old days of the freewheeling excesses that nearly bankrupted the country.

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