Read about important Crossroads Charlotte events, information and activities.
Some stories worth sharing this week:
- The Arts & Science Council has created a website that allows arts patrons to designate their donations for individual cultural groups rather than contribute to a large overall fundraising campaign. The site, power2give.org, is part of ASC’s effort to reach beyond its annual winter fund drive and help donors identify more strongly with specific organizations and plans.
- It’s been interesting to follow the progress (if you want to call it that) of the Eastland Mall site as chunks of the once-thriving shopping center change hands. The latest twist: The Texas development firm that bought much of the property last year is selling a 1.4-acre sliver of it along Central Avenue to the city for $771,150. The city had been leasing the property, which holds a CATS transit center. What would you like to see on the Eastland Mall site?
- Brace yourselves. Here come the post-revaluation tax bills.
- The Rev. Phillip “Flip” Benham, a preacher convicted this year of stalking a doctor who performs abortions, was arrested Saturday for violating Charlotte’s noise ordinance while protesting outside the Pride Charlotte Festival. An indication of how explosive the subject can be: The Observer had to disable the comments section for its story on the arrest.
- From the good reverend and his intolerance we turn to the U.S. Army and a shining example of the opposite: Officers at military bases throughout the world preparing American servicemen and women for the Sept. 20 expiration of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” as official U.S. policy. We especially enjoyed this exchange between Charlotte Country Day alumnus Guy Allsup, a captain at Fort Jackson, S.C., and a private, who answers a question by saying, “Sexual orientation has nothing to do with our mission, sir.” Allsup replies, “I’ll buy that.”
Jazzy rhythms reverberated through Myers Park recently when Crossroads Charlotte and local producer Quentin “Q” Talley hosted the band the Stephen Gordon Group for a live, free performance outside Fabo Café on Selwyn Avenue.
The members of a racially mixed and ambulatory crowd of young and old shook their hips as the trio played under an awning overlooking the adjoining parking lot. Guitarist Andrew Williams smiled broadly as he effortlessly worked the frets of his Epiphone Broadway, which, for the uninitiated, is also known as a jazz box.
He was joined on drums by his son, Jesse Williams, and band leader Stephen Gordon on keyboards.
While quirky, jazz-inspired fusion music is nothing new, Williams said he always feels privileged to bring his derivations of traditional jazz sounds to a new audience, whether they’re young or old.
“We play the roles we play in our everyday lives, but when you play music, you also bring joy,” Williams said.
Tom Hanchett and wife Carol Sawyer are regular faces at many of Charlotte’s cultural events. Hanchett, staff historian for Levine Museum of the New South, said the city often gets a bad rap for not being especially diverse.
“But there are multiple Charlottes, and there always have been,” he says. Events like the festival at Fabo’s “are a way for us to be different together.”
Those who attended Saturday’s Civic Summer School: “Making Your Voice Heard: Tried & Used Communication Strategies,” walked away with tangible lessons and action items. The articulate and thoughtful panel included Brandi Williams, a strategic public relations consultant; Vanessa Faura, a communications professional with Wells Fargo; and Shannon Hames, Development Director at Right Moves for Youth.
The attendees varied in age and technological aptitude. Those in the group who had not grown up online expressed some resistance to social media communications, while those raised in a more virtual world were interested in learning how to better navigate it. Guided by KIWI Project Manager Jason Fararooei, the panel shared their wealth of experience through practical advice.
Growing up black in the South, I understood a few things: Watermelon was meant to be eaten with salt; fish was eaten every Friday night; and race was not discussed, especially not in public.
Well, at least that was how it went in my house.
As a child, I was very interested in history, particularly the history of black Americans and the civil rights movement. I vividly remember asking my mother millions of questions about how she felt growing up in a segregated society. How did she feel when Martin Luther King Jr. and President Kennedy were killed? Did she ever participate in a march or sit-in?
Her answer was usually boring, what I have come to call “a good Negro answer.” That means she answered diplomatically, making sure not to show she had an opinion about race or felt anything about the race-related changes happening nationally, regionally and in her own neighborhood. She made sure I understood there were some things you just didn’t talk about, and race was one of them.
Well, times are changing – or so it seems. Recently, I have had the opportunity to speak about race and culture quite a bit.
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