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Stories for December 2013

Tuesday, December 31

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Elevating Portland

Gymnast helps kids, adults soar

What’s that flying in the air? Well, it very well could be you, momentarily denying the laws of gravity, if only for a moment once you become engaged in a sport coached by a Portland gymnast. Meet, Saidah Wilson the energy-charged founder of Bridge City Acrobatics, a new acrobatics and tumbling school that operates out of the Peninsula Park Community Center in north Portland.

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Exactly Right

‘American Hustle’ delivers on laughs, characters and fashions

Our 'Opinonated Judge' reviews the David O. Russell film, "American Hustle"

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Honoring Black Pioneers

Portland giants in their work to make for a better community were honored by family, friends, and civic leaders at a special luncheon Friday at the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs.

Monday, December 30

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Grandmaster Flash

There are lots of stories about the birth of jazz and the beginning of rock n’ roll, but hip-hop has founding fathers: one of them is DJ Grandmaster Flash. In the early 70’s Joseph Saddler was living in the South Bronx and studying electrical engineering.

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Louis Gossett Jr

Born May 27, 1936 in Brooklyn, NY, Lou has a flair for projecting quiet authority and has scored well personally in a string of diverse and occasionally challenging roles. The aspiring actor caught a break at his first Broadway audition for “Take A Giant Step” (1953), where, beating out 400 other candidates, the then 16-year-old landed the lead.

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Beverly Johnson

The first African American supermodel on the cover of American Vogue was Ms. Beverly Johnson. Beverly was attending college Northeastern University in Boston, MA when she tried her hand at modeling.

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Why All Black People Should Visit Africa

I was 23 years old when I took my first trip to Africa, and if you ask me my trip occurred a little too late. It should have happened as soon as I developed comprehension and understanding. It should have happened before the “African booty scratcher” jokes became funny to me, and before Africa became the dark continent in my mind. However, thank goodness it happened. After visiting the beautiful country of Zambia on two different occasions, I’m convinced that every Black person should visit Africa at least once. It will change your entire life. It most definitely changed mine.

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Is It Necessary To Celebrate Black History Month?

We don’t have a White history month, so why is there a Black history month? Is It Necessary to celebrate Black History Month? Read on...

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A New Era in Beauty for Black Women

This new era of beauty among Black women celebrates the mind. It celebrates our beautiful spirits, our beautiful struggles, and our beautiful hopes.

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Why We Need Another Civil Rights Movement

As a child I would often watch old clips of the Civil Rights Movement and desperately wish I could have participated. The focus and eloquence of Dr. King inspired me. The courage of the children challenged me, and the unity of Black people was something I’d yet to witness in my generation. My soul longed for the days when Black people didn’t sit around and hope for change, but actually fought for it to happen.

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Your "blackness" starts with YOU

Knowing and understanding what being black enough means to your self-preservation.

Friday, December 27

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Breaking Bad Cycles

FBI honors ‘second chance’ program

The FBI Portland Division has presented Big Brothers, Big Sisters with its annual Community Leadership Award for a second chance program that pairs adult mentors with youth, ages 12 to 17, currently involved in the juvenile justice system.

Tuesday, December 24

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Healing Hurt People

Trauma-informed program assists males of color

How do you heal hurt people? Dr. Alicia Moreland-Capuia would like to think she has an answer for young men of color who have been scarred by traumatic injuries and need help to escape a life of recurring violence and retribution.

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Beautifully Crafted Movie

'Inside Llewyn Davis' rich in storytelling and music

Joel and Ethan Coen have another hit with 'Inside Llewyn Davis' their feature film about the struggles of a young folk singer who navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

Thursday, December 19

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President Barack Obama

His story is the American story — values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family, hard work and education as the means of getting ahead, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others.

Wednesday, December 18

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Courageous Discourse

Hannah Arendt’s riveting search for the truth

A riveting and inspiring film about a visionary thinker with the courage to rigorously examine hard questions and to express and then hold to her perspective on those questions, even in the face of withering criticism.

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Holiday Rush Hour

Watching your dollar as the holidays close-in

Spending money is a familiar scene from one of America’s favorite past times. But shopping for Christmas in an economy that is still far from healthy, with many-a-pocket hollowed out, also raises concerns. How do you make sure that when the spell of the holidays where off on Jan 1, you are not left with unsavory ends?

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NorthBound

A collage of news reports detailing shootings in north Portland with a haunting chant of “bang! bang! bang!” is how Glenn Waco, an upcoming young rapper in the city’s hip-hop scene introduces listeners to his second project, fittingly titled “NorthBound”. Untrained ears may hear glorification in such a chant, but a closer listen to the entire project reveals the tale of a 21-year-old man balancing the struggles and joys of coming from what was once treated as a forgotten part of town.

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Loving and Caring Spirit

Gracie Knapper

Gracie Knapper was born on Aug. 26, 1923, in Portersville, Miss, the fourth of nine children born to Will and Ethel Johnson. She passed away, surrounded by her loving family on Dec. 11, 2013 at the age of 90.

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Support for Typhoon Disaster

Portland’s Hip-Hop community came out in full support to help victims of the Philippines disaster Typhoon Haiyan. They typhoon, which rocked the island nation in mid November, claimed over 5,000 lives and brought massive damages to millions of people.

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Nelson Mandela Memorial

A memorial Service in Portland for Nelson Mandela, the father and former president of the new South Africa, drew hundreds of people to Maranatha Church in northeast Portland.

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Portland Boxer Thad Spencer Dies at age 70

Thad Spencer, one of the heralded boxers from Portland’s former Knott Street boxing gym, died Dec, 13 2013, at the age of 70.

Tuesday, December 17

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Sanya Richards-Ross

4x Olympic Gold Medalist, Entrepreneur, Reality Show Star

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Hank Willis Thomas

Hank Willis Thomas, a prominent photo conceptual artist, grew up surrounded by art and culture.

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Marcus Stroud

A self-proclaimed “country boy” from South Georgia, NFL veteran and philanthropist Marcus Stroud remains humble and grateful for his experiences during and after the NFL. Marcus was the 13th overall pick in the 2001 draft and played for 10 years in the NFL for teams such as the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills.

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Black Girls RUN!

Black Girls RUN! was created in 2009 by Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks in an effort to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community and provide encouragement and resources to both new and veteran runners.

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Baratunde Thurston

Co-Founder & CEO of Cultivated Wit, Author, Comedian

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Cheryl Contee

Co-founder of Jack and Jill Politics, CEO at Fission Strategy, Co-Founder of Attentive.ly, 2010 Most Influential Women in Tech

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Stefanie Brown James

Growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, Stefanie Brown James knew that a career in government affairs and civil rights was the path for her. She started to get involved in civil rights when she joined the Cleveland Youth Council of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

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Shawne Merriman

From the gridiron to the boardroom, Shawne Merriman proves that there is life after playing professional football. Growing up in a rough and tumble neighborhood in Maryland, Shawne avoided the negativity and managed to channel his energy into something positive.

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Allen West

Former Congressman, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, Author

Wednesday, December 11

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Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Nelson Mandela

Remember, honor and celebrate

" There are few men or women who leave such an indelible imprint and impact on the world that they are remembered, honored and celebrated by nations near and far for centuries after they depart. There are few people for whom even all the words in every language fail to convey the magnitude and meaning of their lives. Without a doubt in mind or heart, I know that Nelson Mandela is one among a very select few." Marc H. Morial

Tuesday, December 10

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Equity Officer Admonishes Police

Urges enforcement of professional behavior

The director of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights is urging the Portland Police Bureau to respond to recent reports of an officer using a racial slur as an opportunity for daily training and making reminders about expected professional behavior.

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Racism Ignites College Protest

Lewis and Clark students call for more diversity

Lewis and Clark students and their Black Student Union are calling for more diversity on campus after a string of racist incidents. Despite bitter cold temperatures, around 200 Lewis and Clark College students showed up Friday morning for an on-campus sit-in. Organized by the Black Student Union, the event generated major support from the southwest Portland school’s mostly white students.

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Rust Belt Dignity

Stellar cast gives ‘Out of the Furnace’ much to savor

Our 'Opinionated Judge' reviews the film 'Out of the Furnace' starring Christian Bale.

Thursday, December 5

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Nurses in the Spotlight

Program aims to dismantle myths of nursing field

What do you picture when you think of a nurse? Sonya Justice’s theory is that if you’re like a lot of people she’s encountered during her 15 years as a registered nurse in an Intensive Care Unit, you equate her profession somewhat to a second-rate role to doctors, a notion she is trying to destroy with her new television program Reel Nurses Talk Show.

Wednesday, December 4

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We’re Not Broke, We’ve Been Robbed

Acting like we can’t afford spending makes us poorer

Rob Kirsh examines the budget 'crisis' and spending problem.

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Soulful Journey

‘Nebraska’ uncovers a father and son’s humanity

Our 'Opinonated Judge' reviews Alexander Payne's new film Nebraska.