Reflections on the historic U.S. civil rights era often conjure up images of the grandeur-scale marches during the 60's era, restaurant sit-ins and civic uprising that played its role in advancing black America and cultivating support. Today, experts say the temperament of black activism is comparable, but takes place in digital spaces where young African-Americans share stories and invoke conversation about their struggles with friends and strangers.
Social media has become the tool of choice for African Americans who are rallying support and a newfound understanding to their causes by spreading messages through their networks and watching them go viral. Twitter, YouTube, and most recently Tumblr, have become a popular springboard for young "activists," even though some reject the label.
Several black students at Harvard University became the most recent topic in the national spotlight with their "I, Too, Am Harvard" campaign. On Tumblr, the students can be seen in photos individually holding boards with various quotes and statements to draw awareness.
Last week, the Obama Administration declared war on one million underserved students pursuing higher education throughout the United States. While the President and First Lady launch their campaign to make it easier for low-income minority students to access college, the Department of Education has launched an unprecedented assault on this same community through a new proposal that will cut thousands of college programs that disproportionately serve poor communities, single working mothers, veterans and other at-risk populations.
At a time when American employers desperately need an educated, skilled workforce to sustain economic recovery, a confused and conflicted White House is hurting the underserved communities it claims to support.
On March 14, the Department of Education published its new proposed "Gainful Employment" rule. The rule is a rehashed patchwork of regulations concocted several years ago in an attempt to prevent abuse of the federal financial aid system. Rejected through legislative process and shot down in federal court only a few years ago, the Administration has nonetheless resurrected the policy and repackaged it in an 841-page proposal that will decimate college programs and career-focused vocational training currently serving one million students.
For movies opening March 21, 2014
BIG BUDGET FILMS
"Divergent" (PG-13 for intense violence, mature themes and some sensuality) Futuristic sci-fi, set in a supposedly-utopian society where people are segregated by personality, although anyone who fails to fit into one of five groups ends-up condemned to death. Starring Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Mekhi Phifer, Ashley Judd, Zoe Kravitz, Theo James and Maggie Q.
"Muppets Most Wanted" (PG for mild action) Animated adventure set in Europe where the Muppets unwittingly become embroiled in a jewel heist hatched by a Kermit the Frog look-a-like (Steve Whitmore). Voice cast includes Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell, with cameos by Lady Gaga, Sean Diddy Combs, Celine Dion, Zach Galifianakis, Josh Groban, Tony Bennett, Usher and Salma Hayek.
The 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.
Teen 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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