Friday, March 17, 2017

Support Group Awards Young Educators of Color at Second Community Assembly

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 10:16 AM

Javon Thomas was among more than 200 or so educators attending the second annual Profound Gentlemen community impact assembly last Saturday, March 11, at Sedgefield Middle School in Charlotte. The organization, founded by Charlotte educators Jason Terrell and Mario Jovan Shaw, presented awards to several teachers among its more than 500 members across the country for outstanding work in helping nurture other young educators.

“Profound Gentlemen is a nonprofit organization that helps
male educators of color,” Thomas, a PG impact leader, tells Creative Loafing in this video clip. “We create a cradle-to-career pipeline for our boys of color.”

  • Shaw
Terrell and Shaw founded Profound Gentlemen when they saw a dearth of male role models of color in the nation’s education system. Only 2 percent of American teachers are black males (only 5 percent in minority-heavy Charlotte schools). What's more, the retention rates for black male teachers are lower than they are among other demographics. Terrell and Shaw knew why. Part of the problem is the eight to 12 hours a day teachers spend at work, taking parents away from their own families for a relatively low-paying job. That can be a particularly tough sacrifice for men of color, who already face numerous other challenging cultural impediments. Add to that the lack of interaction with other males of color, and the teaching environment for young black males can feel downright oppressive.

Terrell, 26, and Shaw, 27, decided to do something about it. They birthed the idea for Profound Gentlemen while roommates working with Teach for America, and got the program up and going in 2015. The program has since landed the duo on Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 list of social entrepreneurs earlier this year.

  • Terrell
Thomas, a ninth-grade English teacher at Friendship Academy in Washington, D.C., was an early recruit.
“This is our second community impact assembly. Each year we hold a community impact assembly in March where all the gentlemen from our whole network [meet],” Thomas says in this clip. “We have guys from Memphis, Washington, D.C.; we have guys here in Charlotte, in Alabama; we have guys in Georgia, as well.

“The guys from our PG network — we all come together where we’re involved in different sessions that are facilitated by the guys along with some outside leaders as well,” says Thomas. “We just kind of help each other out and share best practices on how to deal with things going on in schools, in education.”

Stay tuned to CL for more on Terrell, Shaw and Profound Gentlemen.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Robert Bush Speaks Out on Trump's Proposed Cuts to NEA Funding

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 12:15 PM

Robert Bush, president of the Charlotte-based Arts & Science Council (ASC), released a statement this morning regarding reports that President Donald Trump's first federal budget proposal would strip all funding from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA).

Robert Bush
  • Robert Bush
Bush, who was named president of the ASC in March 2014, noted the value of the arts to the country's economy. According to figures from the NEA and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released in 2013, the arts contributed $704 billion to the economy that year alone, accounting for more than 4 percent of the nation's GDP and employing nearly 5 million workers.

"Funding to the NEA serves as a significant leveraging tool that has helped create an entire industry of locally based small businesses and jobs that cannot be outsourced," wrote Bush. "Investment in the NEA provides funding that promotes artistic innovation and addresses access social, technological and healthcare issues."

Bush went on to list the ways the NEA-funded ASC helps folks here in our community, and called on local residents to contact their representatives and demand the budget not be approved as proposed.

"In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, military families can explore Charlotte museums for free, Charlotte Symphony musicians can engage with music students at Northwest School of the Arts, public art animates our community and a UNC Charlotte professor can be featured in the New York Times for re-creating a long-lost dance," he wrote.

"Everyone should have access and opportunities to experience the arts regardless of their economic status, where they live, ethnicity or disability. This budget proposal must not be approved. ASC, the cultural community and its supporters are reaching out to their representatives in Congress now and advocate to keep funding the NEA. It is my hope that fellow residents will do the same."

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Charlotte Roller Girls All-Stars Take Care of Business in Opener

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 12:19 PM

The Charlotte Roller Girls were back at it on Saturday, March 4, for another season opener at the Grady Cole Center.

Total Lizaster coached the CLTRG All-Stars last Saturday after skating for five years. - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • Total Lizaster coached the CLTRG All-Stars last Saturday after skating for five years.
The Charlotte Roller Girls All-Stars took care of business early, taking down the Tallahassee RollerGirls 255-155. The CLTRG’s B-team, the B-Dazzlers, had a rougher go of things, falling to the Carolina RollerGirls Bootleggers from Raleigh by a score of 305-120.

Total Lizaster skated with CLTRG for five years before taking to the sidelines as the All-Stars’ coach on Saturday.

“Going from an All-Star skater to coach has been incredible. Sure, I wish I was still on the track battling it out with my teammates, but I feel like I bring a unique perspective to coaching,” Lizaster said following the bout. “With the emotions of being a skater still fresh in my mind, I can have a better understanding of what is going through my players’ heads during the game.”

Lizaster said she’s confident about the team’s potential as they prepare to cross the country for the Dust Bowl tournament in Bakersfield, California, on March 17.

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Sherrell Dorsey Appears on Phone Wallet Keys Podcast

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 11:29 AM

Sherrell Dorsey
  • Sherrell Dorsey

"Why is everybody wearing these wack khakis?"

Less than 10 minutes into this week's episode of the local Phone Wallet Keys Podcast and Sherrell Dorsey, founder of The Plug Daily, is already going in on why her newest venture, #BLKTECHCLT, is needed in Charlotte's tech world.

Dorsey, who writes Creative Loafing's monthly "Thank me Later" column, hosted her first #BLKTECHCLT experience in December, and will be hosting the second one tomorrow at Hygge West on Remount Road, where Queen V and Light Skin Joe record the PWK podcast.

In the lead-up to this week's event, Dorsey joined the PWK hosts and tech entrepreneur Kendrick Carroll to talk about The Plug, #BLKTECHCLT and how an all-inclusive event like Thursday's helps diversify what can feel like an exclusive field for most black techies. Check the episode out below, and might we suggest you catch up with the PWK episodes and subscribe? It's one of our local favorites.

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

VIDEO: The Revolution Got Screen Printed in NoDa on Sunday

Posted By and on Sun, Mar 5, 2017 at 4:52 PM

Screen print artists set up at Company Shop in NoDa Sunday, making political and other kinds of socially conscious art at "Print | Organize | Protest: Charlotte," part of a nationwide campaign leading up to International Women's Day on March 8. CL news editor Ryan Pitkin was there with his video camera catching some of the artists in action.

You can also read Pitkin's Q&A with the event's organizers, Susan and Evan Plante in this week's print issue of Creative Loafing or at the link below.

Friday, February 17, 2017

'A Day Without Immigrants' Draws More than 7,000 to Charlotte's Marshall Park

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 10:42 AM

Businesses across the city shut down today in protest of recent ICE raids while more than 7,000 people rallied in Uptown to support the immigrant community. CL reporter Jasmin Herrera was there to shoot photos while the crowd marched from Marshall Park to the center of Uptown and back again.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

To 'Rise' and March For What Is Theirs

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2017 at 4:12 PM

Wendsler Nosie, Sr., leads a march from the San Carlos Apache Reservation to a sacred and now endangered site called Oak Flat. - COURTESY OF APACHE STRONGHOLD
  • Courtesy of Apache Stronghold
  • Wendsler Nosie, Sr., leads a march from the San Carlos Apache Reservation to a sacred and now endangered site called Oak Flat.

Apache leader and longtime indigenous rights advocate Wendsler Nosie, Sr., will be speaking at an event in Uptown on Friday night to raise awareness for his years-long fight against efforts to build a copper mine on his tribe’s land in southeastern Arizona. He and local advocates also aim to tie that fight in with land issues facing native and non-native people throughout the country.

Nosie will be the keynote speaker at the Apache Stronghold event at Goodyear Arts on Friday night. The event was organized by Allie Fredericks, who moved to Charlotte three weeks ago after spending nearly a year living with the Apache Stronghold at Oak Flat, a sacred site in danger of being lost to the potential mine construction. The locally-based American Indian Party is hosting the event.

The Apache Stronghold's struggle against the powerful Arizona copper industry will soon be featured in an episode of the new Viceland series, “Rise." Organizers will screen the episode at the event on Friday.

Hosts on Friday will focus not only on the fight for Oak Flat, but emphasize the relevance to everyone of preserving federal land and land promised to indigenous tribes.

Speaking over the phone on Thursday, Nosie said he’s touring the country — as he’s been doing for nearly 14 years now — to educate people on the importance of holding the government accountable when they renege on federally mandated environmental protections, as they did when they approved a land exchange with Resolution Copper Mining, LLC as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015.

“The administrative process that is required for federal law to go into effect, that law doesn’t particularly deal with the Indian tribes, it deals with all of us,” Nosie said. “But naturally, the land issue and the water issue and the environment is very important to us, and so I think over the years, not only native people but non-native people are waking up to the issue about how Congress can exempt laws — as pertaining to this particular one — that protect the land and water.”

Apache Stronghold youth leader Naelyn Pike, Nosie's granddaughter, stands in Times Square while touring to raise awareness about the fight for Oak Flat. - STANDING FOX
  • Standing Fox
  • Apache Stronghold youth leader Naelyn Pike, Nosie's granddaughter, stands in Times Square while touring to raise awareness about the fight for Oak Flat.
He said while he has been fighting against exemptions to Environmental Protection Agency mandates under multiple administrations, the Trump administration brings new fears that the president could do away with environmental protections — or the EPA as a whole — altogether.

“Now with the new president there, he threatens all preservation, he threatens the future of all people. That’s why I come up here to North Carolina,” Nosie said. “It’s not only for native people but for the people in general, because what I’ve found is that people around this country don’t realize that they have a say on federal land. Even though the land is in California, Arizona, or wherever, if you’re in the United States, you have a say.”

Despite the broad reach of Nosie’s message, a goal of Friday night’s event will be to focus on what can be done on a local level. Representatives of the AIP and Metrolina Native American Association will be on hand to discuss local issues such as recent efforts to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day and the AIP’s clothing drive, being held at Healthy Home Market this year until Feb. 15.

According to Robert Greeson, who is active in the AIP and MNAA, Friday night’s event isn’t just about informing people, but inspiring people to take that information and act on it.

“It’s not to just give people knowledge and do nothing with it, but to harness that knowledge,” Greeson said. “Knowledge alone isn’t power, knowledge with action is power. Nobody cares what you know, they care what you do with what you know.”

Wendsler Nosie, Sr., (left) prays with Standing Rock chairman David Archambault II during a 2016 visit to show solidarity with tribes and protesters opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. - ALLIE FREDERICKS
  • Allie Fredericks
  • Wendsler Nosie, Sr., (left) prays with Standing Rock chairman David Archambault II during a 2016 visit to show solidarity with tribes and protesters opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Fredericks said she’s been inspired while meeting with local indigenous organizations since moving to Charlotte, and hopes Friday’s event spurs momentum in an indigenous movement that’s already grown in popularity since recent protests by a multitude of tribes at Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“It’s one of these things where I know people are very open in light of recent political events,” Fredericks said. “It’s becoming more and more important for people to know their own communities and who’s in their own cities and states. I’m really excited that people want to know whose land they’re on.”

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Man Killed by Undercover Police Officer in East Charlotte

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 5:59 PM

A sheet lies where a man was killed by a police officer in east Charlotte Thursday. - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • A sheet lies where a man was killed by a police officer in east Charlotte Thursday.

A man was shot and killed in east Charlotte this afternoon after allegedly pulling a gun on a man in traffic, not knowing he was a police officer.

According to CMPD, the shooting happened at about 1:18 p.m. on the 6200 block of Albemarle Road, but the incident began elsewhere. Police say an undercover officer was driving an unmarked car near the intersection of Albemarle and Reddman roads. He was then allegedly struck by 28-year-old Josue Diaz, who immediately began driving outbound on Albemarle Road.

The vehicle being driven by the man who was killed showed visible damage to the back-left fender. - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • The vehicle being driven by the man who was killed showed visible damage to the back-left fender.
The detective followed Diaz and called in to CMPD communications to report the hit-and-run and request a marked vehicle to assist him, but while he was doing so Diaz allegedly stopped his vehicle suddenly, then exited the vehicle and brandished a handgun.

According to a CMPD release, the detective perceived an imminent threat to his life and opened fire on Diaz, who was later pronounced dead on the scene.

A group of about 20 activists were at the scene a couple hours after the shooting. Some demanded answers from police, while others live-streamed from the scene to hundreds of people watching online.

A few officers, including Major Mike Campagna, known for his outreach efforts during and after the Charlotte Uprising, tried to engage with residents on the scene.

"We've tried to engage with CMPD in the past, for years. What has that gotten us? Bullets in the street," said activist Gloria Merriweather to others who had gathered there on Albemarle Road.

CMPD says it won't release the name of the officer, due to the undercover nature of his work. As is protocol, the detective will be placed on administrative leave and the CMPD Internal Affairs Bureau will conduct a separate but parallel investigation to the CMPD's homicide investigation.

Creative Loafing will update this story as more details are released.

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Can Charlotte Really Afford Major League Fútbol?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 5:15 PM


The possibility of Major League Soccer in Charlotte quickly became the center of controversy this week because, well, it all happened so quickly.

If you haven’t been close to a news source, or just don’t care about soccer, let me come in with the assist: On Dec. 14, 2016, the MLS told national media outlets of its plans to add two new teams, and it mentioned Charlotte as a possibility. Burton and Marcus Smith, owner and CEO of NASCAR Speedway Motorsports, respectively, jumped at the opportunity, to the surprise of area government officials. The MLS set a Jan. 31 deadline if Charlotte wants in on the deal. 

But the city already has a minor-league soccer team that hopes to expand. The Charlotte Independence, founded in 2014, has been dribbling around the idea of renovating Memorial Stadium, installing 10,000 seats and leaving room for expansion, with the possibility of becoming a MLS stadium in the future. As far back as last year, the Charlotte Observer reported on the team’s hopes. On Wednesday, Jim McPhilliamy, president of the Independence, told the Observer that his architectural plans for the stadium had been used “without our knowledge or consent” to help Marcus Smith score one of the available MLS franchises.

Charlotte certainly has a robust soccer fan base, with the Charlotte Soccer Academy, Charlotte United Soccer, and other clubs. What’s more, Bank of America Stadium has held sold-out games for national and international teams, so there is a profit incentive, too.

The question is: Can Charlotte afford to spend big money on a MLS team?

While Mecklenburg County officials jumped at the opportunity, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said in a statement released today that city leaders are not ready to commit. “While this is very promising, it is clear that we are not prepared to move forward at this time on the current soccer proposal,” Roberts wrote. “Any major decision we make needs to be considered as part of the bigger picture, as we serve our entire community.”

The Smith family would shell out $150 million for one of the teams. But the rest of the project would cost $175 million, $87.5 million of which would be split between Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to help cover the construction costs of a new stadium over the Grady Cole Center and Memorial Stadium. The Smith’s team would agree to repay those costs at a rate of $4.26 million a year, for 25 years, raising the original $87.5 million to $106.5 million. But by that time the new stadium would need millions in renovations.

What’s more, that plan would kick the Charlotte Independence out, forcing the team to find a new home — halting its future like a dead ball.

In case you’re not already convinced that this deal is an attack on an integral part of the Charlotte community, including people's jobs and taxpayer dollars, take a look at what Jay Leach, senior minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte said in a Facebook post Tuesday:

“Keep in mind, these county funds are not restricted and could be invested in public education, affordable housing, social services, museums, parks, or other opportunities to enhance the well-being of our community. But this rushed proposal is in support of one of the wealthiest families in the nation and their interest in getting to own a pro soccer team.”

Let’s red-card the multi-billion-dollar family that will profit off a project that the city is so clearly not ready for; a project that tackles the dreams of a club that is already active in our community.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

LISTEN: 'Eyes Closed in Prayer' Documentary on Love, Hate, and the Charleston Church Shooting Premieres Tonight on WFAE

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 11:58 AM

Charlotte public radio station WFAE premieres its 60-minute documentary Eyes Closed in Prayer, about the racially motivated shooting at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, tonight at 8 p.m.

After tonight's premiere, the doc will air three more times: Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Listen to a clip from the documentary at bottom.

WFAE news director Greg Collard said the documentary came about after it occurred to him that the station was sitting on hours of material from its coverage of the Charleston massacre and trial, as well as tangential stories from the earlier debate over the flying of the Confederate flag outside the South Carolina state house. Most importantly, WFAE had stories from Charlotte residents who were either directly connected to victims — such as Malcolm Graham, brother of victim Cynthia Graham Hurd — or connected to the City of Charleston.
  • Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

"We spoke with one woman whose sister had died in the shooting and she had taken in her nieces," Collard said. "It told the story of one family's survival."

Collard knew there was an even larger story to tell about race in America, in the South, and in our region.

"We had a lot of other stories, so it just occurred to me, 'Hey we have so much material: Why don't we weave it together?" Collard said. "The great thing about a documentary is you can put all these pieces together and a story with a stronger message emerges."

Eyes Closed in Prayer was written and produced by Tom Bullock, and hosted by Gwendolyn Glenn, who traveled to Charleston for much of the reporting.

Listen to a segment of the Eyes Closed in Prayer below, and tune in to WFAE tonight at 8 p.m. for the full documentary.

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