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The Birmingham Times

PRESS ROOM: UAB International Festival with food, music, dance and art on March 30

THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES — Celebrate cultures from around the globe when the University of Alabama at Birmingham presents the UAB International Festival on Saturday, March 30.

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UAB International Festival

By Shannon Thomason, UAB News

Celebrate cultures from around the globe when the University of Alabama at Birmingham presents the UAB International Festival on Saturday, March 30.

The festival will feature food, music, art, film and cultural traditions to provide both UAB Blazers and the Greater Birmingham community a chance to “travel around the world” in a day.

Headlining performers for UAB’s International Festival are Grammy-nominated Panamanian hip-hop group Los Rakas, American-Palestinian choreographer and “So You Think You Can Dance” finalist Janelle Issis, dance company Step Afrika, and UAB African dance troop Tribe.

Guests can also look forward to a growing list of international and local food and merchandise vendors, including African Embroidery, Coconut Hut, K&J’s Pastries, Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese Cooking, Red Sea Ethiopian & Mediterranean Restaurant, Ruscelli’s Food Truck at Mojo Pub, Red Sea Grocery, and more.

The UAB International Festival will take place from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Hill Student Center, 1400 University Blvd. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $5 for UAB faculty and staff, and free for UAB students with a valid ONE Card. Purchase tickets online and visit the UAB International Festival online at www.uab.edu/internationalfestival for information, activity and performance schedule, vendors and other important updates.

In addition to the outdoor concert and vendors, attendees can also enjoy a short-film series, interactive cultural activities, an international fashion showcase and live cultural performances, as well as family-friendly entertainment at the Kids’ Corner, sponsored by the Birmingham Museum of Art.

This article originally appeared in the Birmingham Times

Crime

How to spot signs of, report elder abuse

THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES — Approximately one in 10 older people living in the United States has experienced physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse or neglect, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.

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Lonely senior woman in wheelchair indoors (Photo by: Leonid | Adobe)

By Holly Gainer

Approximately one in 10 older people living in the United States has experienced physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse or neglect, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.

To understand how to keep your elderly loved ones safe, whether in your care or in the care of others, Patricia Speck, DNSc, a board-certified family nurse practitioner who specializes in forensic nursing, family and sexual violence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, explains the different types of elder abuse and how to spot signs of and report suspected abuse.

Physical and sexual abuse

Physical abuse is defined as the intentional use of physical force that results in illness, injury, pain or functional impairment.

“Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns and bedsores are signs of physical abuse,” Speck explained. “If you notice sudden changes in behavior, particularly when the suspected abuser is around, that is a sign that you should seek help for your loved one.”

Speck says health care providers should suspect abuse if they see subdural hemorrhages (or bleeding that occurs outside the brain as a result of a head injury) and eye, nose and mouth injuries.

“Nurses should particularly look for signs of intentional injuries, such as contusions of lips, cheeks, soft palate, facial fractures, missing hair, particularly in odd places and not where you would expect to see balding,” Speck said. “Bruising and skin tears in odd places, like the abdomen or under the arm or in the crotch, are also common signs.”

Another common indication of abuse is for people who spend most of their time in wheelchairs.

“If there is injury to an older person who is being restrained in a wheelchair, you would look for friction burns on the abdomen or wrists, different patterns in bruising and skin tears,” Speck said.

The majority of sexual assault cases to older adults are in the community; but many are reported from institutions, and in most cases the perpetrator is known by the victim.

Speck says signs of sexual abuse include unexplained venereal diseases, genital infections, and bleeding and tearing in the genital area. They also include bruises to the buttocks and around the inner and outer thighs.

Psychological abuse

Psychological abuse is one of the most common types of abuse. Suspected signs include unusual changes in behavior or sleep, fear or anxiety, sadness, and isolation.

“Isolation is one of the worst symptoms of psychological abuse,” Speck said. “Many older people who are being abused by a loved one don’t want to tell other people what their son or daughter is doing to them because it is their child. This leaves the victim feeling very alone and depressed.”

Speck says control is a major issue in psychological abuse.

“The abuse could come in the form of scolding, insults and degradation; but it could also be less obvious to see,” Speck said. “For example, if a loved one or caretaker keeps a walker or wheelchair just out of reach of the person so they can’t get up and around. Another example might be withholding glasses or dentures from the patient so they can’t eat or see.”

Common signs of abuse may occur when one notices that the patient is unwilling to communicate when a certain person is in the room or nearby.

“If you suspect abuse and are speaking to the patient as part of an investigation or as a friend or relative who is concerned, and you notice the older person’s behavior changes, that should be a major indicator of abuse,” Speck said. “The problem is that moving an older person from their living environment may be disorienting. It takes time to figure out what happened.”

Financial abuse

Financial abuse is defined as the illegal or impromptu use of an elder’s funds, property or assets. Examples include forging an older person’s signature, coercing an older person into signing documents, such as a contract or will, and the improper use of power of attorney.

Speck says financial abuse is common among seniors, especially those with dementia or cognitive impairment; but despite their mental state, the best thing to do is believe them when they complain of missing funds.

“When an older person complains, believe them and listen to them,” she said. “If a loved one is in an assisted-living facility and complains that things are missing, pay attention to that. It is important to do this until you have evidence to prove otherwise.”

Not listening or disregarding complaints about financial abuse will cause the victim to feel shame for not being believed and will also create fear and skepticism when it comes to reporting future instances of abuse. Providers want to create a trauma-informed safe environment.

Neglect

According to Speck, there are three types of neglect — physical, emotional and self.

“Physical neglect is defined as failing to attend to a person’s medical hygiene, nutrition and dietary needs,” she said. “It may also involve not giving them the medications they’ve been prescribed or not changing their bandages on time.”

Emotional neglect also causes pain and distress.

“We often see emotional neglect when an older person is infantilized by their caregivers,” she said. “Abandonment is also a common problem, where someone is left at an emergency department or the hospital.”

Self-neglect is a growing concern and appears when a person chooses not to be treated by a health care provider. Signs of self-neglect include attempted suicide, withdrawal, anxiety, psychosomatic ailments such as stomachaches and headaches, and difficulty sleeping. The older person may desire to be alone, but social support is so important to the older person’s health.

What to do if you see signs of abuse

As the elderly population continues to grow, understanding the signs and symptoms of abuse is an important way to care for your loved ones. Speck says the best thing to do is to be gentle and listen.

“Older people need you to be patient with them, so be patient and listen twice as long as you speak,” she said.

When communicating with an older person whom you suspect has been abused, make sure the person knows what you are saying. If a document or something they need to read is involved, make sure the letters are large enough so they can read the print.

Also, use trauma-informed care principles of safety and transparency to communicate with them in a place where they feel comfortable, and ask them about their hearing and vision preferences.

“They may not be able to see well in a bright room, or they may be sensitive to loud speech and need you to speak in a slow, calm manner using their language,” Speck said. “Avoid medical-ese. Ask them if they have any difficulties, and offer to help them make the environment safer for them. They will be more cooperative and trust you if you show that you are putting their needs first.”

If you suspect abuse, talk with them when the two of you are alone. Offer to take that person to get help and let them know you are worried about their safety and well-being. Many communities have Coordinated Community Responses to Elder Abuse, with a variety of services for the older person. Be proactive, identify older persons at risk, and participate in the development of Coordinated Community Responses to elder maltreatment. In Alabama, Adult Protective Services supports and enables county departments to protect elderly and disabled adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation and to prevent unnecessary institutionalization.

In Alabama, to report abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders or vulnerable adults:

  • IMMEDIATE DANGER? Call 911 if that person is in immediate, life-threatening danger.
  • Call the HOTLINE at 1-800-458-7214 to report abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders or vulnerable adults when suspicious.
  • For services to support elder persons in your community, call 1-800-677-1116 TO PREVENT, the Eldercare Locator (a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging), to speak with someone who will connect you to services for older adults and their families and prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders or vulnerable adults.

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times

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Education

City’s Young Basketball Talent on Display at Skills Clinic 

THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES — Dozens of area children were at A.H. Parker High School on Friday for a basketball skills clinic as part of the Young3, an initiative for children ages 7-14. Young3 is part of BIG3, a professional 3-on-3 basketball league that came to Birmingham on Saturday.

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Ayden Walton uses the glass during one of drills. (Photo by: Amarr Croskey For The Birmingham Times)

By Time Staff Report

Dozens of area children were at A.H. Parker High School on Friday for a basketball skills clinic as part of the Young3, an initiative for children ages 7-14.

Young3 is part of BIG3, a professional 3-on-3 basketball league that came to Birmingham on Saturday.

“Our goal with this [Young3] program is to inspire youth across the nation to shoot for their dreams,” said Jerome Williams, president of the Young3 initiative and former NBA global ambassador and 9-year NBA veteran.

Ronnie Rice, board member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Birmingham and attorney with the Alexander Shunnarah Law Firm, said, “Every day at our Boys & Girls Clubs, we encourage our members to live an active lifestyle. The Young3 initiative from the BIG3 is an exciting opportunity, not only for our members to learn more about the game of basketball from professionals, but to have a great time doing it.”

The Young3 looks to advance 3-on-3 basketball in each of the local communities it visits, but also looks to enrich a child’s experience with the game of basketball.

The following clinic participants were named to the Young3 All-Tournament Team: Christian Milteer, Terrance Atkins, Shelly Millender IV, Reagan Casper, Kamil Goodman, and Madrecus “Drec” Moreland, who was named MVP.

Some of the notable locals who attended throughout included Sheriff Mark Pettway, Kelvin Datcher of the City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office, DJ Chocolate, Principal Darrell Hudson of A. H. Parker High School, and Jay Johnson who is with College Prep U.

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times

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Entertainment

Rickey Smiley To Take Over Tom Joyner Morning Show

THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES — Birmingham native Rickey Smiley will take over The Tom Joyner Morning Show when Joyner retires at the end of the year. Joyner said that Smiley has established himself as a trusted leader on-air and in the community with his current show, captivating audiences with his authentic humor but also his unique perspective on topics important to his audience. 

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By Times Staff Report

Birmingham native Rickey Smiley will take over The Tom Joyner Morning Show when Joyner retires at the end of the year.

Joyner said that Smiley has established himself as a trusted leader on-air and in the community with his current show, captivating audiences with his authentic humor but also his unique perspective on topics important to his audience.

“I’m happy to see the landscape of Urban Adult Contemporary morning radio continue to expand with Rickey, and I’m proud of the doors the Tom Joyner Morning Show opened,” said Joyner. “Twenty-five years ago, there was no template for a syndicated Urban radio show and we worked hard to prove that we could successfully produce and market a national platform that would entertain, inform and empower African- American listeners.”

Smiley, who attended Alabama State University, also announced that Eva Marcille and Gary Wit Da Tea would be among the on-air cast members joining him to broadcast out of the Dallas studios beginning January 2020.

“It’s an honor to continue the legacy of my boss and frat brother Tom Joyner,” said Smiley. “Not only has he been a friend to my family and me over the years, but we consider him family. Tom’s mentorship has instilled in me valuable wisdom that I will carry with me through this new morning show.”

Additional details about the show will be shared in the coming months.

www.987.kiss.com contributed to this post. 

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times

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Family

You Had Me at Hello: rel‘Having your best friend as the love of your life — is the ‘life’’

THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES — Myra and Archie crossed paths inside the UAB Hospital cafeteria in January 1989. “I was working at Children’s Hospital and he was working at UAB,” Myra remembered. She met Archie when he was having lunch with one of her cousins inside the hospital cafe. When she got home, her cousin called to play matchmaker.

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Myra And Archie Arrington (Photo by: birminghamtimes.com)

By Je’don Holloway-Talley

“You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future “Hello’’ column, or know someone, please send nominations to Erica Wright ewright@birminghamtimes.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.

MYRA AND ARCHIE ARRINGTON

Live: Pleasant Grove

Married: July 30, 1989

Met: Myra and Archie crossed paths inside the UAB Hospital cafeteria in January 1989. “I was working at Children’s Hospital and he was working at UAB,” Myra remembered. She met Archie when he was having lunch with one of her cousins inside the hospital cafe. When she got home, her cousin called to play matchmaker. “As soon as I walked through the door my phone rang and it was my cousin calling me and I said ‘what, that dude want to meet me’ and she said ‘yeah, he sent his number.’”

Archie said, “I was taken by her. She had some of the most beautiful eyes so I couldn’t help but look into her eyes. I could tell she was looking at me also, but I didn‘t want to be too forward [in the moment]… and since I was working with her cousin, I knew I’d get to talk to [Myra] later.”

First date: A few weeks and a couple dozen phone conversations later, the pair went out to a golf place on the south side of Birmingham. “He wore some golf pants and golf shoes and a shirt, and I said to myself ‘uh-uh, he is gonna have to dress better than this’,” Myra said at the time to herself.

Archie remembered Myra wearing a jean dress and it “fitted her quite well,” he said, “and I was doing more looking and paying attention to her than the game…that’s when I noticed she was competitive. She really wanted to win, but I still won,” Archie said. “It was a nice first date, but I knew it wouldn’t be our last… I also had that feeling inside that this one might be the person for me.”

The proposal: Archie remembers it this way: “She asked me to marry her. We had gone out on a date and we came back to her mother’s house and we were sitting in the living room talking on the couch and the conversation was going pretty good, then all of a sudden she said ‘well, when are you gonna marry me?’ And, so, I perceived that as she asked me to marry her,” he laughed.

Myra said that was not a proposal, “I asked him a question,” she said.

“We started talking about it [marriage], our careers and things that we wanted to do, and at the time we had made the decision that we were dating each other and that there wasn’t anyone else was in the picture…,” Myra said. “I did ask him IF he wanted to get married, but he decided that he wanted to. I let him get away with that [his story] because it [their marriage] lasted.”

After their “joint decision” to marry, their families planned everything and the two were married six months after meeting.

The wedding: The wedding was at Old Saint Paul Baptist Church in Bessemer. The colors were peach and cream. Most memorable for Myra “was when my [late] brother John Lee came downstairs to me while I was getting ready and said ‘Burk — that’s what he called me — they love you out there…the church is full.’ That meant a lot because we didn’t actually send out wedding invitations, we were only going to have a reception, but people came out anyway…the church could hold about 300 hundred people and it was full,” she said.

Most memorable for Archie “was seeing her come down to the aisle to the song ‘Love Like This’ by Phil and Brenda Nicholas. As I watched her walk down the aisle … for some reason, my leg started shaking very, very profusely. I wasn’t nervous, but for some reason, that happened. Both of us will never forget that.”

Words of wisdom:  After being married for 31 years (in July), the Arrington’s have learned that forgiveness, and trust in God sustains a marriage. “First thing I learned is to do [in marriage] is forgive,” Myra said. “The second thing I learned is that just because you’re married doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have issues or things that happen in your marriage that may disappoint you, but as long as you got God in your life, and you trust God and hear from God…I’ve learned to listen to him [God] when concerning my husband. I’ve learned to ask for forgiveness for the things that I do as well, and that hollering and throwing things is a sign of immaturity,” Myra said.

Archie said put your spouse first and make sure their needs, desires, dreams and wants are first in your relationship. He also said a “better me makes a better us and sometimes sacrificing yourself and growing to a point where you’re building that person up and making sure that they know your love for them is first place in the relationship.”

The Arringtons still date, Myra said. “We communicate well with each other…

“And having your best friend as the love of your life — is the ‘life,” Archie said.

Happily ever after: The Arringtons have two children, Velencia, 30, which includes their “son in love” [her husband] Alfonso and their two children, Taliyah 10, and Jacoby 7. They also have a 20-year-old son, Jonathan.

Myra, 56, is a Bessemer native and a Shades Valley High School grad. She works as a Loss Prevention Specialist for a local bank. Archie, 56, is a West End native, and a Woodlawn High School grad. He is a patrol lieutenant with Bessemer City Police Department.

This article originally appear in The Birmingham Times

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Community

Birmingham’s Perspective on Religious Divides

THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES — Blacks and whites from around the metro area gathered for a conversation on race and religion at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on Monday during the “Bridging Religious Divides: A Local Perspective from Birmingham” event held by the Aspen Institute Inclusive America Project and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham (CFGB).

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(Left to right): Zeenat Rahman, Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, and Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner during the "Religious Perspectives on Bridging Racial & Faith Divides" event Monday night at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church (Ameera Steward, The Birmingham Times)

By Ameera Steward

Blacks and whites from around the metro area gathered for a conversation on race and religion at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on Monday during the “Bridging Religious Divides: A Local Perspective from Birmingham” event held by the Aspen Institute Inclusive America Project and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham (CFGB).

The program director for the Aspen Institute, Zeenat Rahman, moderated a conversation with Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, of Union Theological Seminary and Washington National Cathedral and Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in a panel-like format. Rahman asked why each was in Birmingham.

Pesner said he was there for all of the Jews who marched 50-plus years ago with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We, Jews, did not start marching 50 years ago in Selma [during the Civil Rights Movement], we started marching 5,000 years ago when we came out of Egypt and we will march for 5,000 more years if that’s what it takes to bring on justice,” he said.

Douglas told a story about how she and her 26-year-old watched Netflix’s “When They See Us” together from different states engaging in conversation through text. Each of his texts was distressing as he expressed his own stress about what’s going on, she said.

“When They See Us” is a series based on events of the 1989 Central Park jogger case in New York City that explores the lives of the five male suspects who were wrongly accused and prosecuted on charges related to the rape and assault of a white woman. The males were known as the Central Park 5.

“I’m here because I want to make sure that…the world is better for my son, his children, that he doesn’t become a Central Park 5, that we don’t have more four little girls who were bombed. I do this work for our children and so that they inherit it from us.”

Rahman then asked Douglas and Pesner how they worked to create what Dr. King called the beloved community of justice, healing and reconciliation.

Douglas said she is from the Christian-faith tradition “in which we believe in a Savior that was crucified and I always say to those in my faith community and my tribe, that ought to matter and that ought to make a difference.”

She added that Jesus wasn’t crucified because He prayed too much, He was crucified because He witnessed for something and witnessed against something in His life, in His ministry and all that He stood for. “He witnessed a place where He describes the first will be last and the last will be first. You won’t be able to see the difference,” she said, “all will be treated as the scared children of God that they are regardless, everyone will be treated equally. That’s the just future.”

Pesner said the Jewish community tells itself every year “’we were slaves in Egypt, we were freed and therefore we are to love the stranger,’ it’s…the most often repeated commandment in The Torah . . . God says you should love the stranger, identify with the most oppressed…because you, yourselves were the most oppressed . . . we’ve come obviously a long way since the civil rights era, 1.3 black men in America go to jail while one in 17 white men go to jail – that’s mass incarceration… and I ask my Jewish family, where are we? Are we actually showing up in the way that we [are] commanded 36 different times in the Torah?”

Those in attendance included Mayor Randall Woodfin, Rev. Arthur Price Jr. pastor of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, and Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Hamlin pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Woodfin said it should not be a surprise that “this very important conversation about bridging racial and faith divides is occurring right here, a spot, a church revered as ground zero for social change in this country.”

“Without question our city, Birmingham, we’re miles and miles ahead from where we were thanks to the previous generation of fearless activists, but there are still more roads to travel, more barriers to break down and that’s the spirit of this evening’s event,” said Woodfin. “And I know we’ll get there because of the people in this room, because of the people in this community, because of the people in this city.”

He added that we have a lot of work ahead of us “but I believe we are in the right place to make it happen.”

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues.

The Community Foundation leverages gifts and bequests from many people to drive positive change, bring people together to address community issues, build on opportunities and achieve measurable results, and work in partnership with others to improve the life of the local region.

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times

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Education

George French steps down at Miles; to lead Clark Atlanta U.

THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES — George T. French, Jr., will step down as president of Miles College to become the president of Clark Atlanta University (CAU). The Board of Trustees at CAU made the announcement in a press release on Wednesday. French has served as president of Miles College since 2006.

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George T. French, Jr

By Times staff report

George T. French, Jr., will step down as president of Miles College to become the president of Clark Atlanta University (CAU).

The Board of Trustees at CAU made the announcement in a press release on Wednesday.

French has served as president of Miles College since 2006.

“I am thankful and blessed to have the opportunity to lead another great institution and serve as the fifth president of Clark Atlanta University,” said French in a statement released by the university. “CAU has strong faculty, students and academics. I’m optimistic about the University’s next stage of growth and eager to build on the strong foundation CAU has established.”

French will assume the position on Sept. 1. Lucille Maugé, the chief operating officer for CAU, has been serving as interim president and will continue to do so until French takes office.

“Following a thorough search process, we’re very pleased to select Dr. French as CAU’s next president,” said Gregory Morrison, chair of CAU’s Board of Trustees. “His development expertise and proven track record at Miles College underscores his ability to continue the strong momentum Clark Atlanta has built. I am confident he will work diligently to advance CAU’s mission and reputation as a premier learning and R2 research institution.”

Morrison said French received widespread support during his visit for Clark and received strong support from our campus community and alumni. “He also was uniformly endorsed by various constituent groups that have worked with him in his capacity as the president of Miles College and selected by unanimous decision by the CAU board,” Morrison said.

During French’s tenure at Miles the college exceeded capital campaign goals – besting previous fundraising records, achieved an unprecedented financial composite score to position the school for growth, increased student access to educational funding, and more than doubled the size of the existing campus with key land acquisitions.

A native of Louisville, Ky., French earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Policy Analysis from the University of Louisville. He was competitively accepted into the University of Richmond Law School and completed two years of studies before being recruited by Miles College to serve as the Director of Development. He completed his final year of law school at Miles Law School, earning a Juris Doctorate. French received his Ph.D. in Higher Education from Jackson State University.

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times

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