St. Joseph’s Women’s Conference promotes unity

Listen to a live broadcast from the Women’s Conference at St. Joseph’s in Chesapeake, VA. From the recently emerged video of Ray Rice knocking his, then, fiancée Janay unconscious, to the disputes over the authenticity of rapper Nikki Minaj’s derriere, it seems that women are always at odds. Although experts believe the disconnect stems from variety of reasons, the truth that women are far from united cannot be denied. But…

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When “Welfare-to-Work” doesn’t

Since its inception, President Bill Clinton’s 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which limited public assistance to needy families, has garnered two sides of debate: those who believe that recipients are glorified Welfare Queens, and those who argue that the poorest Americans are, in fact, hard workers who stumbled upon hard times. Defenses can be made on either side. The truth is that there are some for whom…

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Changing Faces: The Community approach to ending teen violence

On Tuesday, as Hampton Roads youth return to school with pencils, notebooks and cool, new book bags, an elite bunch will boast that they got their supplies from Mike Johnson and the barbers at Changing Faces Barbershop in Newport News. This marks the 6th year for the “Back to School Community Day.”  Last year, it provided 150, supply filled bookbags to local youth, and this year offered free haircuts and styling, a…

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The color of police brutality

From Melissa Perry’s tribute to Missouri governor Peter Kinder’s off colored remarks about “Anglo-American civilization,” it seems that racial divide over the issue of police brutality is growing. While no official record of reported police misconduct exists at local or national levels, many have begun to question the seemingly rampant rate of minority murder by police. But are there really more minorities brutalized than whites, or is the media distorting…

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King’s dream deferred

  Stepping into the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Atlanta, GA is like traveling back in time. Vintage videos, literature about his life and relics from the past, including the wooden wagon that carried his body, adorn the walls and displays. Inside the original Ebenezer Baptist Church, his sermons play, and, if you close your eyes, Martin is with you, his passion palpable.  Present truths in his speeches are…

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Finland provides 3 important pointers for America’s failing schools

It may surprise many to know that among the countries expected to excel in educating youth is Finland. Yes, Finland.  That tiny country in Europe’s northern corner best known for…well, not much really.  But according to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Finland ranks in the top 20 nations for its successful education system. Amid calls for more educational funding and attacks on teacher tenure back in America, debates…

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To post or not to post: how employers can use social media

Though the privacy laws surrounding the world of social media have yet to become concrete, one thing is for certain: once you put something into cyberspace, it belongs to everyone, including potential employers. Nothing new, right? Recent mishaps over online posts have made national headlines. Former House representative Andrew Weiner was caught, in what is now known jokingly as “Weinergate,” sending sexually suggestive pictures to a woman who was not…

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Legendary ODU professor honored

The Amber Lantern Restaurant looked almost abandoned from the street. The words “Top Rack Marina” adorned its storefront in bold letters, the parking lot seemingly desolate except for the many boats, and, at first, you might not have even known that an event was being held in the building. A small sign pointed attendees around a corner through a lobby, then upstairs. And once you arrived, after a montage of…

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Community activist Melinease Hutchinson honored with Exemplar Award

  When Melinease Hutchinson received the Hampton Roads Gazetti Exemplar Award for outstanding community service on March 2, the only question her friends and family needed to ask was: “What took them so long?” Before Beyonce was independent, and Gloria Steinem gave birth to feminism, there was Melinease Hutchinson on the front line of community activism. “I was ahead of my time,” she boasted, an obvious smile in her voice. …

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Local chef pays it forward for families at Ronald McDonald House

When full time parent, worker and entrepreneur Chef Gina Santiago volunteered her culinary skills at Norfolk’s Ronald McDonald House (RMHC) in January, she wanted neither payment, not recognition. She was just paying it forward. In fact, it was a video that Santiago, known as Chef Gee in her culinary circles, watched one day about paying it forward that began her endeavor.  The phrase became famous in the 2000 movie Pay it…

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Thought for the Week

Growing up, I spent summers with my Granny.  Her house still serves as the childhood “home” in my memory, her neighbors’ grandchildren are with whom I grew up.  She is hard to describe in words because my Granny was that kind of woman.  The scratch-made spaghetti cooking, stiletto heel and skirt to work wearing, relentless Sunday Mass attending, scripture from memory reciting, kid-to-get-his-own-switch sending,  “OhLordhelpmepleaseJesusplease” exclaiming kind of woman, who…

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