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Chicago Defender

Homeless Man Awarded Black History Figure of the Year Award; Receives New Home and Wedding

CHICAGO DEFENDER — Earl Walker, Owner of W&W Towing Company, surprised the 21-year-old homeless man and his family as part of a Black History Celebration.

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Eric Collins receives a Black History Award at Bishop Larry Trotter’s (right) church, Sweet Holy Spirit. (Photo by: chicagodefender.com)

By Katara Patton

Eric Collins and his young family recently received a big surprise; Earl Walker, Owner of W&W Towing Company, surprised the 21-year-old homeless man and his family as part of a Black History Celebration honoring heroes of the community. Collins, along with U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush and Former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr, received the Black History Men of the Year Award for 2019. The annual event entitled, The Sweet Holy Spirit Black History Awards, was sponsored by Bishop Larry D. Trotter and the Sweet Holy Spirit Church of Chicago.

Collins marries Emani Todd.

[/media-credit] Collins marries Emani Todd.

Collins received his award as well as a generous gift from Walker to put an end to the label of homelessness that has plagued Collins. Collins, his girlfriend Emani Todd and their 2-year-old and 6-month old sons, have been homeless for a combined three years. Collins has had a string of bad luck of being laid off a few jobs. However, he has refused to leave his family. In fact, it was just in 2017 that Collins and his family were living in a friend’s 1995 Chevy Tahoe in Zion, Illinois.

One night in the winter of 2018, Collins and his family returned from eating at a friend’s house and discovered that the truck in which they were residing was shot up with over 20 bullets. Collins obviously was distraught. Not only was the family’s temporary dwelling shattered with glass, but their belongings were destroyed.

Collins however refused to waver. Faced with the possibility that his young family might be separated, he turned to an old friend who lived in a subpar dwelling that lacked numerous necessities. The friend offered Collins the basement of the unstable home where rats and roaches were visible and active. Collins went out and purchased milk crates that would hold an old mattress from the ground, hence allowing his girlfriend and their two kids to sleep free from the rats on the floor. Collins sacrificed himself by sleeping on the floor to ensure that Emani and the babies were safe and comfortable.

Collins has managed to keep his family together in the Salvation Army Shelter located at 800 W. Florence in Chicago, Illinois. He and Emani have continue to struggle to find employment and of course, housing. But Collins has not given hope of marrying Emani. His desire is to ensure that they are forever bonded.

Walker recently learned of Collins’ struggles and agreed to finance the couple’s wedding at the Sweet Holy Spirit Church. Walker also surprised Collins with a job offer at Walker’s restaurant in Oak Forest. In addition, Walker presented the young couple with keys to a new car and a beautiful spacious apartment located in the 7800 block of Luella. The apartment is large enough for their two young sons, 2-year-old Laurell and six-month old Kentrell.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Defender

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#NNPA BlackPress

Chicago Defender Newspaper Moves to Digital Only with its July 11 Edition

NNPA NEWSWIRE — After 114 years of using ink on paper to deliver news that informs, educates and empowers the African American community throughout the Windy City, Real Times Media, parent company of the Chicago Defender, has announced that the Chicago Defender will move to a digital-only format with its July 11 edition. The final printed edition will be delivered Wednesday, July 10.

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“There is so much opportunity for the Chicago Defender to grow nationally and become a premier player in the African American media space,” said Hiram E. Jackson, chief executive officer, Real Times Media.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

After 114 years of using ink on paper to deliver news that informs, educates and empowers the African American community throughout the Windy City, Real Times Media, parent company of the Chicago Defender, has announced that the Chicago Defender will move to a digital-only format with its July 11 edition. The final printed edition will be delivered Wednesday, July 10.

“This is not a sad day, it’s an exciting time,” said Hiram E. Jackson, chief executive officer, Real Times Media. “We have several hundred thousand people reading on our website and we have more than 200,000 Facebook followers, so when you compare that to printing 20,000 newspapers once a week, there’s no comparison,” Jackson said.

“At the end of the day, it’s about impact and influence. Influencing the community; influencing the politicians and the business people — and you can’t do that with less than 20,000 readers a week and now we’ll publish every day. When you take a city like Chicago where black people are everywhere, with the printed version we couldn’t reach everyone,” said Jackson.

The iconic Chicago Defender, which the legendary Langston Hughes once penned articles for, has always been respected as one of the most important newspapers in the history of the Black Press.

Founded in 1905 by Robert S. Abbott, The Chicago Defender fiercely covered and railed against Jim Crow laws; openly championed the Great Migration; tackled segregation head-on; and loyally kept its readers abreast during the Civil Rights era.

The Defender is a member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), the trade association that represents the Black Press of America – African American-owned newspapers and media companies throughout the U.S.

Keeping with tradition of the 192-year old Black Press of America whose first newspaper, “Freedom’s Journal,” published its first issue in 1827, most members of the Black Press still publish print products. However, nearly all are delivering content on both digital and print platforms.

“It is simply time for the Chicago Defender to break away from the printed page and put more focus on bringing our readers daily content from the African American perspective and increasing the impact of our community voice,” Jackson said.

The company remains committed to being an iconic news organization, but must double-down in the areas where we are seeing growth, Jackson said.

“Ceasing print operations allows us to do that,” he said.

Although the Chicago Defender will no longer print a weekly edition, the brand will continue to highlight pivotal moments via special print editions to create more capacity to actively engage with the community.

With this transition, the publication will retain its existing editorial and management staff and continue to offer its signature events: Men of Excellence, Women of Excellence, and activities surrounding the Bud Billiken Parade, Jackson said.

Bolstering the Defender’s digital transition, Real Times Media has robust plans to continue digitization and licensing of the Chicago Defender archives via strategic partnerships that will generate significant revenue for the brand through 2029.

Jackson said the Defender also will be able to cover more national stories and, if the beloved Cubs win a world series, “We can cover it that night,” he said.

“There is so much opportunity for the Chicago Defender to grow nationally and become a premier player in the African American media space,” Jackson said.

“However, we must continue to courageously evolve our focus to reflect the habits of our readers and our audience and stay focused on those vehicles that genuinely serve our client base. If we do not evolve dramatically, we will be left behind without a clear path for continued success,” he said.

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Black History

Production Observes Journey of Enslaved in America

CHICAGO DEFENDER — As chairman of the social science department at Kennedy-King College, Ted Williams III is always examining the issues that impact Urban communities. In wondering how to commemorate August 2019, the 400-year anniversary acknowledging the first occurrence of an enslaved African being brought to Virginia, Williams decided on “1619: The Journey of a People.” The 90-minute production, 1619, will premiere on August 24 at Kennedy-King College. A preview will take place from 7 – 9 p.m.on Wednesday, June 19 at Bronzeville Community Clubhouse, 3847 S. Giles Ave.

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Ted Williams III (Photo by: chicagodefender.com)

As chairman of the social science department at Kennedy-King College, Ted Williams III is always examining the issues that impact Urban communities. In wondering how to commemorate August 2019, the 400-year anniversary acknowledging the first occurrence of an enslaved African being brought to Virginia, Williams decided on “1619: The Journey of a People.” The 90-minute production, 1619, will premiere on August 24 at Kennedy-King College. A preview will take place from 7 – 9 p.m.on Wednesday, June 19 at Bronzeville Community Clubhouse, 3847 S. Giles Ave.

“I am part academic and part performer, so this is a great sort of melding of the two worlds I exist in,” he said. “Performing Arts has a way of reaching people’s hearts and minds.”

Williams said the goal of the production is to create a visually inspiring experience for the audience. He said it isn’t purely a historical piece alone.

“It looks at the journey of the enslaved person and what does it mean to be American today,” he said. “We’ll look at reparations, the National Anthem protest and racial nomenclature.”

Other issues will include the church, which will be explored through some performance pieces, as well as the liberating ideologies of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. The performance will also examine the Black Lives Matter movement from a contemporary perspective and relationships between Black men and Black women.

Williams said he has a wonderful team of dancers, actors and spoken word artists. He said he wants the piece to move and inspire people. It will feature jazz, gospel and hip hop.

“It should make us hopeful about the future and inspire us to where we can go and be,” he said. “I want people to walk away reminded of the past but inspired toward the future.”

Williams said while he has done a lot of commercial work and theater work. This production is something he is most excited about.

“It’s so much bigger than me. I couldn’t be happier for this opportunity,” he said.

He encouraged people to bring their family to the shows.

“People should come ready to have some fun but [to] really be moved in the spirit,” he said. “It will counter some of the unfortunate narratives we see so much in our neighborhoods.”

Williams said there are a lot of things for Black people to be hopeful about.

“We had some challenges, but we have a brighter future,” he said. “It’s important for us to keep the faith and celebrate the uniqueness of our struggle.”

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Defender

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Advice

Parenting Points: Redirecting Your Child’s Attention

CHICAGO DEFENDER — Gently redirect your child(ren) to what they are expected to do or where they should be. Remind them of the goal or mission and agree on a set time for its completion. Whether it is homework or watering the lawn, this directive will reset their focus, give them a clear and attainable target and make them accountable to get it done.

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Marnita Coleman (Photo by: iammarnita.com)

Okay, so who doesn’t get a little distracted? From time to time, everyone does. Our children are no exception to the rule. They are very easily distracted, so instead of getting frustrated and flying off the handle, be prepared for when it happens.

Gently redirect your child(ren) to what they are expected to do or where they should be. Remind them of the goal or mission and agree on a set time for its completion. Whether it is homework or watering the lawn, this directive will reset their focus, give them a clear and attainable target and make them accountable to get it done.

Remember, the keyword is “gently” redirect. You are meant to build them up. Therefore, speak in warm tones with age-appropriate words and remember to smile. A loud or harsh response doesn’t always yield an immediate turnaround of obedience from your child(ren). Acting and reacting with patience and love will create win-win situations.

We want our children to know the successful feeling of staying on task; a sense of accomplishment is a huge booster of self-esteem and we should help them achieve this.

So, stay calm. We must be with them when they go astray and we must be there to help them get back on track!

Marnita Coleman is an author and host of The Marnita Show, a parenting show heard daily across the globe. For more information, log onto TheMarnitaShow.com.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Defender

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Advice

Parenting Points: Enjoying Life Together!

CHICAGO DEFENDER — Parents be mindful not to drag your children through life. How can you expect them to be grateful when their special time with you revolves around weekend errands? We know these duties are necessary but throw in a special treat that involves activities you both enjoy every now and then. Let your children know how mindful you are of them and that you value their time.

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Marnita Coleman (Photo by: iammarnita.com)

Marco and his 10-year-old son, Troy, rose early on Saturday to spend all day together.

“The early bird catches the worm,” Marco would always say.

The first stop on their route was to the barbershop for a fresh haircut and then onto the car wash. Marco was adamant about having a clean ride. Just before heading home to mow the lawn, they dropped by Walmart for some household supplies.

When they finally reached home, Troy asked, “Dad, when are we going to spend some time together?” Marco was perplexed because they had been together all day. However, Troy was referring to quality time.

Parents be mindful not to drag your children through life. How can you expect them to be grateful when their special time with you revolves around weekend errands? We know these duties are necessary but throw in a special treat that involves activities you both enjoy every now and then. Let your children know how mindful you are of them and that you value their time.

Marnita Coleman is an author and host of The Marnita Show, a parenting show heard daily across the globe. For more information, log onto TheMarnitaShow.com.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Defender

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Chicago Defender

ABC 7 Chicago Presents a Special Edition of ‘Heart & Soul’

CHICAGO DEFENDER — ABC 7’s “Heart & Soul,” a news series that taps into Chicago’s vibrant African-American community, celebrates African American Music Appreciation Month and the Chicago Gospel Festival. Heart & Soul, hosted by Cheryl Burton and Hosea Sanders with Terrell Brown emceeing the gospel concert, will air on Sunday, June 23 at 11:00 p.m. and Sunday, July 7 at 1 p.m.

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Cheryl Burton and Hosea Sanders

ABC 7’s “Heart & Soul,” a news series that taps into Chicago’s vibrant African-American community, celebrates African American Music Appreciation Month and the Chicago Gospel Festival. Heart & Soul, hosted by Cheryl Burton and Hosea Sanders with Terrell Brown emceeing the gospel concert, will air on Sunday, June 23 at 11:00 p.m. and Sunday, July 7 at 1 p.m.

“Heart & Soul”is the winner of multiple Chicago Emmy Awards and an Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Best Public Affairs Program Award.

This special edition captures an incredible night of gospel music at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.  Soul-stirring performances by Maranda Curtis, who will be singing “Nobody like You Lord,” and Anthony Brown, who will sing “Blessings on Blessings,” are spotlighted.

The special also profiles those who have made a name elevating the genre.

Cheryl Burton sits down with gospel superstar Kirk Franklin, who has won 14 Grammy Awards and whose credits include gospel musician, songwriter, choir director and is also known for leading urban contemporary gospel choirs.

We also hear from Chicago gospel legend Reverend Clay Evans. Evans is a gospel singer and founder of the influential Chicago’s Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, which is famous for its rousing Sunday gospel services. Acclaimed singer, songwriter producer and gospel musician Pastor Charles Jenkins, who recently announced his retirement from Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, will also share his story and love of gospel music.

The fascinating history of gospel music will be explored, including tracing gospel’s roots right here in Chicago.

Heart & Soul also takes a look at the historic Pilgrim Baptist Church that was almost completely destroyed in a fire and reveals plans for the National Gospel Museum coming to Chicago.

Heart & Soul is featured on-demand at abc7chicago.com and is produced by Justyna Syska.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Defender

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Chicago Defender

The Importance of Exposing Underprivileged Youth to Travel

CHICAGO DEFENDER — In a city like Chicago — particularly in black and brown areas — children live in segregated “bubbles.” These bubbles — in addition to operating in survival mode — mentally affect the way children move and think. While many activists and mentors venture into neighborhoods to fix the problems that exist there, it is also imperative to create opportunities that take kids out of those same areas. This would expose the children to outside experiences in efforts to help them see the world and themselves differently.

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Photo by: Stock Unlimited

Survival is the primary focus for many families in underserved communities. Between crime, the lack of school funding for proper education, police tensions and the struggle to make a decent living wage, “survival” covers a multitude of concerns.

In a city like Chicagoparticularly in black and brown areas children live in segregated “bubbles.” These bubblesin addition to operating in survival mode — mentally affect the way children move and think. While many activists and mentors venture into neighborhoods to fix the problems that exist there, it is also imperative to create opportunities that take kids out of those same areas. This would expose the children to outside experiences in efforts to help them see the world and themselves differently.

This is where the gift of travel comes into play. Exposing underprivileged youth to travel sparks positive change in those who rarelyif ever get a chance to see other parts of their own city, much less the country.

Tammera Holmes, founder of the Aerostar Avion Institute, uses her non-profit to take kids out of povertystricken areas to expand their minds through aviation.

“Most minority kids in the city of Chicago have not left within a five-mile radius of their homes,” said Tammera. We’ve actually taken kids to the beach to fly kites and they had never touched sand before. So, I think that a lot of things that we take for granted as travelers, a lot of kids just don’t know.”

Personally, there wasn’t much talk about world travelers on the Southside of Chicago where I grew up in the Roseland neighborhood. In a home where my parents struggled to make ends meet to feed three girls, the only vacation that I remember ever taking was a road trip to King’s Island in Ohio. It wasn’t much, but to a 12-yearold girl who hadn’t seen any of the world, it meant everything. I boarded a plane for the first time at the age of 30 and didn’t receive my first passport stamp until I was 38. Seeing the world opened my eyes and changed my perspective and so many prejudices I had. More importantly, it gave me an insatiable appetite to want more for myselfmore experiences, more knowledge of other cultures and more connections to the world. I often wonder how many other adults feel that their lives would be more enriched if they had the opportunity to travel at a young age.

Tamar Manasseh is the president and founder of Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings in Chicago.

“Travel is essential to who we are to our spirit. If we’re made up of all these things, we have to see different things. When we don’t, I think our souls are yearning to be bigger than what they are.”

Tamar knows, all too well, the struggles that youth from poor communities face every day. She is currently working on several programs that would afford her Englewood mentees opportunities to travel the country and learn about music and agriculture.

To stretch the minds of youth through travel, we need to have larger discussions. The myth that travel is only for rich whites needs to be dispelled as African Americans have added a whopping $63 billion dollars to the tourism economy as of 2018, according to a study conducted by Mandala Research. In addition, more non-profits and grassroots organizations need to be formed to give kids a chance to see the world.

The opportunity to see more encourages kids to be more. The sense of freedom, awareness and self-esteem gained through travel is more valuable, even, than what a child can gain from a book. Obviously, it won’t solve all the problems of youth in poor communities, but travel is certainly one of the many vehicles to push toward positive change.

“Travel far enough to meet yourself” – David Mitchell

Visit www.theloveoffoodandtravel.com for more travel information. Contact: info@theloveoffoodandtravel.com.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Defender

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