Tulsa organizations launched campaign to memorialize Tulsa race massacre

Tulsa, Okla.— The Black Wall Street Memorial committee and Tulsa Community Remembrance Coalition launched the “10,000 Brick Campaign” throughout May to build a memorial to Black Wall Street in honor of those lynched during the 1921 Race Massacre.

Beginning May 1, the month-long campaign will allow individuals to personally take part in building this powerful space and to raise funds for these important organizations. Individuals are encouraged to purchase one of 10,000 commemorative bricks that will surround a memorial. The brick will feature the purchaser’s name, business or quote.

“Tulsa, Oklahoma has a legacy that we have been silent about for too long and it is time to end the silence,” said Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, the founder of the Black Wall Street Memorial committee. “Our coalition is committed to ensuring that the legacies of hundreds of African Americans murdered at the hands of racial violence is permanently woven into the scrolls of American history.”

Black Wall Street was a thriving hub of black entrepreneurship, and was bombed and burned to the ground between May 31 and June 2, 1921. Scores of white mobsters came from the southern part of the city in trucks and airplanes to carry out the violence. The Black Wall Street Memorial will honor the history and legacy of the community and all those who lost their lives in the massacre.

“I am so proud of this community for coming together during this uncertain time to pay homage to the souls we lost to the 1921 Race Massacre,” said Benjamin Crump, national civil rights attorney and National Legal Consultant for Black Wall Street Memorial Committee. “We must never let America forget.”

Over the course of the past year, the Tulsa Community Remembrance Coalition has also worked alongside the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, to honor the history and the lives of this

sacred land through a series of soil collections. Each soil collection serves to memorialize the life of a 1921 Tulsa Massacre lynching victim. The jars of soil will be housed inside the Historic Vernon AME Church on N. Greenwood as a part of the memorial.

For more information about the memorial and the process for purchasing a brick, visit the Black Wall Street Memorial website, https://blackwallstreetmemorial.com/ and Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/blackwallstreetmemorial.

Black Leadership Organization Continues Social Justice Movement

For black social justice organizations in America, 2020 is a demanding year, with the presidential election, as well as other state and civic elections, the African American vote will be critical in many races. This year is also a census year, where everyone must be counted.

Recognizing these challenges, one organization has already mapped out programming to offer its network an extensive range of courses aimed at addressing specific needs. Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD), is a national Leadership Training Program designed to help rebuild the black social justice infrastructure to organize communities more effectively and re-center black leadership in the U.S. social justice movement.

Focusing on African-Americans, people from the Caribbean and Africa, and Afro-Latinos, the organization offers training in various areas.

Highlighted courses this year, include: Transforming Conflict, Leading from Black Wholeness, and Assessing Political Conditions Together.

BOLD leaders say they have selected and prioritized those components of the organization’s longer training to address specific needs that former participants have identified as long-standing issues in their work— each of which seems likely to present even greater challenges in light of 2020’s pressures.

“If we are going to be leaders, particularly with the social justice movements, then our responsibilities as leaders is to ensure that we are both effective and careful, and not misleading folks,” said Baltimore resident Tré Murphy, who has been involved with BOLD since its inception in 2012. “Part of the response to BOLD has really been that we can manage conflicts and, by more creatively and effectively, that has allowed us to hold our folks more accountable and not push ourselves out. So, we can mend conflicts more effectively.”

The Transforming Conflict course is designed for individuals who are seeking to acquire skills to navigate movement and organizational conflict more effectively.

Leading from Black Wholeness is designed for directors and lead organizers to strengthen their connection to their “own innate resilience, as well as learn practices to cultivate that resilience, a skill that’s even more necessary in times of increased pressure and stress.”

The Assessing Political Conditions Together course explores how politics “lives in our bodies, and how we can shift those shapes in service to embody our political vision and analysis more powerfully and strengthen our ability to take more effective collective action.”

BOLD has become the premier national training intermediary focused on strengthening the black social justice infrastructure by transforming the practice of black organizers in the U.S. to increase their alignment, impact and sustainability to win progressive change, according to organization leaders. In February, BOLD sought to continue to “unleash the collective powers of its organizers, trainers, mentors, mentees, alumni, Advisory Council members, and allies during its annual National Gathering in Baltimore. This four-day event brought together BOLD alumni from across the country and previous years’ training to reflect and celebrate the year’s progress.

“BOLD is one of the best-kept secrets where many don’t know about BOLD. They find out through the network that it has been building,” Murphy said. For more information about BOLD, visit: www.boldorganizing.org.

COVID-19: Black Churches Employ Innovation To Worship During A Pandemic

Black churches in America have faced the challenges of wars, arson and racism written into the law.

Following several slave revolts, including Nat Turner’s Rebellion in 1831, Virginia passed a law that required that a white person be present during service. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an unprecedented challenge for Black churches which, in part, is financial.

In the wake of a killer pandemic impacting all businesses and local travel, African American churches across the U.S. have been forced to be innovative and make quick adjustments to hold services.

Paul James, pastor of CareView Community Church in Lansdowne, Pa, told the media that, “counterintuitive to most churches, especially the Black church… where we’re just glad to get together because of how hard life has been historically for us here in America. Church has been a safe place for us. It’s been a safe harbor. Now here we are faced with the inability to come together.”

On the first Sunday of the COVID-19 crisis in America, March 15, many churches either held service or cancelled it, as the initial news of the seriousness of the pandemic was just becoming public. President Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, just two days beforehand.

Now, weeks later, many Black churches are using conference calls, Facebook Live, Instagram, YouTube and other video conferencing technologies to hold services. A serious complicating factor for all churches is the inability to pass the collection plate. The revenue collected every Sunday pays salaries and the mortgage at many Black churches. Online fundraising has become an answer but for many churches, in-person cash donations are more effective.

The importance of faith and the church for African Americans in America is unquestioned. Church has not only been a place of worship but a refuge in times of trouble. It has been a meeting place away from white racism and oppression. Black church pastors provided almost all of the key players in the civil rights movement. The church was the headquarters and meeting place for planning and organizing in the African American struggle for freedom. In many Black communities the church is the rock and community cornerstone, particularly for seniors.

Dr. Willard Maxwell Jr., who is the pastor of the New Beech Grove Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia, found another way to bring his flock together. Maxwell held service standing at a podium in the parking lot outside of the church. He livestreamed the service live on Facebook. Many parishioners stood outside of their cars during service while others sat and listened.

Courtesy Photo

Dr. Willard Maxwell Jr., who is the pastor of the New Beech Grove Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia, found another way to bring his flock together. Maxwell held service standing at a podium in the parking lot outside of the church. He livestreamed the service live on Facebook. Many parishioners stood outside of their cars during service while others sat and listened.

Dr. Willard Maxwell Jr., who is the pastor of the New Beech Grove Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia, found another way to bring his flock together, Maxwell held service standing at a podium in the parking lot outside of the church. He livestreamed the service live on Facebook. Many parishioners stood outside of their cars during service while others sat and listened.

Dr. Chris Carter had service in church observing the “six feet apart rule.” Members of the choir at his church, New Hope Baptist Church in Hampton, Va. sang six feet apart from each other and were shown on a Facebook livestream. Both churches already had livestreams every Sunday but now the technology is essential for service in a way it had not been in the past.

On Sunday, March 29, President Trump extended the period for federal guidelines to deal with the deadly COVID-19 pandemic to April 30, 2020 — which would be after Easter Sunday — arguably the biggest gathering of churchgoers of the year.

The numbers of COVID-19 deaths continue to rise. In New York City, officials are currently setting up a field hospital in Central Park. That unthinkable scene was matched by the city setting up a hospital inside the Jacob Javitz Center on the West Side of Manhattan.

At Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, a makeshift morgue was set up in a large trailer, after the hospital morgue, which typically can accommodate twenty bodies, quickly filled to capacity. Black churches and other institutions are now forced to plan for the unknown.

What history has taught us is that nothing has ever stopped the institution of the Black church. But COVID-19 is one of its most difficult challenges to date.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke

Neighborhoods With ‘Medical Deserts’ Have Emergency Needs During COVID Pandemic

A zip code has become a life or death matter. Families that live more than an hour from a hospital may face a death sentence based on their address. A long ambulance ride increases the risk of death. Patients with respiratory emergencies, like the ones caused by coronavirus, are particularly vulnerable.

According to the American Hospital Association Annual Survey, over 1,000 hospitals in our country have closed since 1975. As a result, communities from coast to coast have populations in which residents must drive more than 60 minutes to reach an acute care hospital. These places are called “medical deserts.” They exist in every state.

Now is the time to strengthen known weaknesses in our healthcare safety net. We desperately need new investment in our healthcare infrastructure. A recent study by the UK Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team anticipates the “capacity limits of the UK and US health system being exceeded many times over.” It warns that “even if all patients are able to be treated, we predict there would still be in the order of 250,000 deaths in Great Britain and 1.1-1.2 million deaths in the US.”

As an Emergency Medicine Physician and Chair of the Health Committee of Black Women for Positive Change, I call on the nation’s leaders to immediately implement three recommendations to improve access to medical care and thereby save lives before it is too late.

(1) The U.S. Congress Should Pass Legislation to Create Free Standing Emergency Departments (FSEDs).

FSEDs are 24-hour, 7 day a week, emergency departments established in communities that lack immediate healthcare services. Stand-alone emergency departments are physically separate from hospitals. They can be independently owned, hospital owned or, government owned, and are staffed by emergency medicine physicians. FSEDs are available for walk-in patients and accept patients arriving by ambulance. These facilities treat and discharge patients while also transporting admitted cases to full-service hospitals by ambulance or helicopter. FSEDs can be quickly built and maintained at a fraction of the cost of large hospitals. FSEDs are just as effective at providing time sensitive critical medical care services as hospital associated emergency departments. FSEDS can be a vital safety net for people who live in medical deserts.

(2) Convert Unused Spaces into Temporary COVID Hospitals

Health care facilities and providers can quickly become accelerating vectors for the transmission of COVID-19. It is important for that reason to not only increase the number of critical beds with ventilator capability but also to physically separate COVID and non-COVID patients. We need to immediately convert unused spaces into dedicated Temporary COVID Hospitals. If that is not done immediately, patients that are ill from non-COVID medical diseases can be infected by providers and other patients increasing their morbidity and mortality. Since every State in the U.S. now has empty conference centers, cruise ships, coliseums, concert halls and other large venues those unused spaces can be converted into Temporary COVID-only Hospitals. Physically separating patients is a critical step to decreasing mortality and morbidity rates.

(3) Expand Medical Flight and Ground Transportation Capacity.

To strengthen our emergency and intensive care capacity, we need to rapidly put an increased number of ambulances and medical flight helicopters into service. Expanding transportation capacity must include enhanced staffing with medical personnel. The physical location of patients in medical deserts, and their health care resources should not factor into their access to transportation. Since the coronavirus pandemic is straining transportation systems there is a need to establish “Uber-Like” emergency transportation models, that can facilitate transportation to hospitals and emergency medical facilities.

Dr. Stephanie Myers, former Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and National Co-Chair of Black Women for Positive Change comments, “Dr. Crowder’s recommendations to address the Medical Deserts in underserved communities, is timely and urgent. Her vision should be included in the new policies being considered by federal, state and local governments. We must act fast to reduce the death rates associated with coronavirus. We are only at the beginning of this pandemic and have the opportunity now to put in place the medical capacity Americans will need.”

Valda Crowder, MD, MBA, is a Board-Certified Emergency Medicine Physician who serves as Chair of the Health Committee for Black Women for Positive Change.

Leaders Of A Beautiful Struggle Presents: Black Power Happy Hour

Come fellowship with Baltimore’s grassroots leaders while supporting a local, Black owned business. This a great way to network, learn and build with great Black minds around Baltimore!

March 12, 2020 @ 6pm, Next Phaze Cafe & Lounge, 112 East Lexington St., Baltimore, MD

Learn about the business:

Nestled in downtown Baltimore at 112 E Lexington Street directly across the street from the Clarence Mitchell Court House, NEXT PHAZE CAFE is one of the latest additions to the city’s list of places for residents, businesses, conventioneers, government employees and visitors to find the food they love. But we’re more than just a great cafe.


Courtesy Photo/Leaders Of A Beautiful Struggle

Book Release – Dear Khloe: Love Letters to My Little Sister


Trailer # 1

DEAR KHLOE – Official Trailer #1

St. Clair Detrick-Jules’ debut photography book Dear Khloe: Love Letters to My Little Sister, which beautifully showcases 101 Black women embracing their natural hair, has been called “one of the best examples of sibling love I’ve ever seen” (Keturah A. Bobo, illustrator of the NYT bestseller I Am Enough). “I put together this book because it’s one thing for us to tell young girls to love themselves; it’s another for us to show them how it’s done,” Detrick-Jules explains. “As a Black woman, an older sister to two young Black girls, and a filmmaker and photographer, I felt like I not only had the capability to create this project, but that I also had the responsibility to do so.”


Courtesy Photo


When the kids at her then-four-year-old sister’s elementary school began making fun of Khloe for her afro, Detrick-Jules, an award-winning Afro-Caribbean filmmaker and photographer, set out to create something to show Khloe that her natural hair is beautiful.

The recent Brown University graduate and proud DC native traveled around the country for nearly two years photographing and interviewing 101 Black women and girls — ages four to 65 — with natural hair; the result is Dear Khloe: Love Letters to My Little Sister, a large-scale visual anthropology that explores the deep, complex relationship between Black women and their hair.

The book’s spring 2020 release coincides with the rapidly expanding CROWN Act, groundbreaking legislation which bans discrimination of natural Black hair. Four hundred and one years after the first Black people were brought to these shores, the legal system is at last catching up with the cultural tour-de-force of Black hair. Into this changing cultural landscape steps Dear Khloe.

“Compelling and inspirational . . . A powerful celebration of self-acceptance and sisterhood.” — Kirkus Reviews

“An inspiring message of love and empowerment.” — BuzzFeed News

“A self-reflective love note. The images are glorious, the anecdotes at times tender, at times seething. The entire book is powerful.” — Elizabeth Acevedo, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Poet X (National Book Award Winner)

Dear Khloe will be available via Amazon, eBay, DearKhloe.com, and select bookstores in spring 2020, and several book release events will be held across the country, including in DC, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Detrick-Jules and several of the subjects in Dear Khloe are available for interviews.

For more information, sign up for the official Dear Khloe newsletter at www.DearKhloe.com, or follow Dear Khloe on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


Dear Khloe

Dear Khloe – Official Trailer #2

Baltimore Chef Cooking Up Success

It’s easy to think that personal chefs cater only to the rich, famous or those who might be on the fringes of wealth and celebrity.

However, many top-notched cooks, like Baltimore’s Dorien Murphy, regularly answer the call to pack up his pots and pans, spices and all the groceries needed to make delicious meals for every-day folks.

With a solid 5-star rating on Thumbtack, an online service that matches customers with local professionals, Murphy counts as a chef and owner of the culinary business, Cheffin.

“My interest in cooking began at a very young age. At five years old, my passion for cooking was inspired by my parents,” said Murphy, who attended Morgan State University and later earned a degree in culinary arts from Baltimore International Academy, Murphy.

After a start in the industry as a cook at the Elkridge Country Club in Baltimore where he said he honed his skills, Murphy now is making a name for himself, cooking for businesses and private clients in Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and New York.

“[My Parents] always playfully battled in the kitchen. Mom had the best sides while Dad made the best ribs and sauce,” Murphy said.

“That passion was expounded upon as I watched primetime Food Network programming.” Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, and G. Garvin are among Murphy’s favorite chefs, he said.

Wow, he’s thrilled with business, Murphy noted that the culinary industry has never been easy and he’s has had his share of challenges.

“Balancing my love for business and culinary arts was the initial challenge,” Murphy said.

“The next challenge was centering the Cheffin values around health and creating menus that were uniquely wellness based that clients would buy into. The solution to both challenges was found through passion, perseverance and patience,” he said.

When he’s hired to cook for families in their homes or at other locations, Murphy readily informs his ultimately satisfied customers that he has a few favorite dish combinations that are inspired by the art of French and Italian cuisine that’s delivered with an American flare.

Chef Dorien Murphy

Chef Dorien Murphy

Chef Dorien Murphy's Tomato/Mozz/Balsamic Fig Croustini which features Poached Fig/Goat Cheese/Herb Bread Charcuterie and Crudite along with Italian Meats/Cheeses/Veg

Chef Dorien Murphy’s Tomato/Mozz/Balsamic Fig Croustini which features Poached Fig/Goat Cheese/Herb Bread Charcuterie and Crudite along with Italian Meats/Cheeses/Veg

Chilean Sea Bass

Chilean Sea Bass

“Chef Dorien’s Winter Salad,” which includes Poached Shrimp and Baby Kale with Shaved Fennel, Spiralized Red Beet, Kumato Tomato, and Maple Vinaigrette

“Chef Dorien’s Winter Salad,” which includes Poached Shrimp and Baby Kale with Shaved Fennel, Spiralized Red Beet, Kumato Tomato, and Maple Vinaigrette

Among those are his Chilean Sea Bass with Rosemary Forbidden Rice, Corn Bisque, and Scorched Sweet Peppers.

“The Chilean Sea Bass is a warm and renewing dish. I love how hearty yet delicate the bass is. Its flakiness lends well in consuming complete bites of the corn bisque and forbidden rice,” Murphy said.

“The scorched sweet peppers add some smokiness to the dish where all other components are light in flavor. It is definitely one of my favorites for sure,” he said.

He also features “Chef Dorien’s Winter Salad,” which includes Poached Shrimp and Baby Kale with Shaved Fennel, Spiralized Red Beet, Kumato Tomato, and Maple Vinaigrette.

“The winter salad is a joy and refreshing like the first snowflake of the season upon your tongue. I love how robust and healthy baby kale is,” Murphy said. “It really holds well on the plate and bonds with the stab of your fork. Baby kale is lightly bitter, it pairs with the sweetness of the spiralized beet and maple vinaigrette.

“The beet compliments the salad with a subtle saccharine tartness. Its crunchy sweet texture helps balance the acidity and harsh licorice of the rice wine vinegar,” he said.

While historically, African Americans haven’t received much acclaim as top chefs, Murphy said that too is changing.

“I believe that African Americans are continuously emerging as tastemakers in the United States and America has become more accepting of the African American voice and image, and as such, it has become more aware of the value African American expression has in a Caucasian-dominated profession,” Murphy said.

“Black chefs have distinctive relationships with flavor and cooking that add tremendous value and variation to the culinary industry,” he said.

“It is very difficult to deny or prevent the progression of food and African American culture is an integral piece of this growth.”

Overcoming Tragedy And Celebrating Life Again

Born in Norfolk, Va., and raised by a single mother, I felt a special responsibility to go to college but, at first, I failed at it – quite literally. But I turned my life around and saw a pathway to success.

Studying in London as a Frederick Douglass Global Fellow was instrumental in healing my wounds and making me whole again.

First enrolled as a college student at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., I left school my freshman year because it wasn’t a good fit for me. A year later, I transferred near home to a historically Black college, Norfolk State University, but I abruptly left during my second semester when tragedy struck in a way that I could have never imagined.

In a scuffle on campus, one of my friends, Sean Williams, was tragically stabbed to death. Like me, Sean was a classically trained vocalist. I was in such shock from his murder, I left school and didn’t even tell my teachers why.

I moved to Florida, where I fell in love and was blessed to have a son. I wanted to make a positive future for my son, but I really didn’t know how. I thought about it long and hard and decided I wanted to be a lawyer in arts and entertainment. I knew I needed to be in New York City. I knew I had to go back to school.

I got my transcripts. I put myself in a suit and put myself on a bus and, transcripts in hand, I went to the headquarters of City University of New York, CUNY.

The admissions counselor opened up my transcripts and said, “Uhhhh…”

I said, “I know.”

I had a 1.0 GPA.

“These are the grades I have,” I told him.

“I’m willing to start completely over.”

He said, “It’s going to be competitive,” but handed me a list of schools and I returned to Florida.

But I came back and wanted to attend the first school on the list, LaGuardia Community College in Queens, N.Y.

I met with a counselor. She said, “These grades…”

I told her, “If I had known when I was just young what I know now, I would have done things differently. I just didn’t know.

Unfortunately, this is what happened. I plan on being a lawyer.”

She asked: “You want to be a lawyer?” I responded, “I will be a lawyer.”

She arched her eyebrows and said, “I like the way that you said that.”

She told me what I needed to do to be admitted: take a math and English entrance exam. I passed English, but failed math by two points. I took a remedial math course, passed and was admitted. I learned I loved math and started tutoring other students. I earned my associate’s degree in legal studies and received an invitation to join the President’s Society for students with excellent academic records. That’s right, I was invited. When I received the Frederick Douglass Fellowship, I called my mother to share the good news.

In London, though, as a Frederick Douglass Fellow, I felt like an outsider. I was older than the other students. I was a father. I came from a single-family household. But I realized something profound in London. During a workshop, a videographer asked us, “Tell us a time when you had to face your privilege?”

The image of my friend, Sean, came to me. He was the motivating factor in my life. When my turn to speak arrived, I told the Fellows around me, “I lost a friend who never got to see his full potential. The biggest privilege I have is just being alive. My friend died when he was 18.”

I broke down in tears. That was one of the first moments that my friend’s murder hit me. I told the Fellows: “You all just need to appreciate just being here. Just having breath in your lungs.”

We were all crying together. We were all celebrating life together. In that moment, I realized something beautiful and profound: our common humanity.

Of the more than 330,000 U.S. students studying abroad, only 6.1 percent are African American and 10.1 percent are Latino. This is one in a series of articles by students of color who are breaking down barriers by studying abroad thanks to the Frederick Douglass Global Fellows program, which awards 10 full scholarships a year to students at Minority Serving Institutions. These students will periodically share their stories, hopefully inspiring others to apply. Join our social media campaign, #CIEEmpowered #MSInspirational #FrederickDouglassGlobalFellows that is celebrating these extraordinary students and thier experiences studying abroad. Please view and share Peire’s video story at http://bit.ly/PeireWilson. This article originally appeared in The Westside Gazette.