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The Importance of Exposing Underprivileged Youth to Travel

CHICAGO DEFENDER — In a city like Chicago — particularly in black and brown areas — children live in segregated “bubbles.” These bubbles — in addition to operating in survival mode — mentally affect the way children move and think. While many activists and mentors venture into neighborhoods to fix the problems that exist there, it is also imperative to create opportunities that take kids out of those same areas. This would expose the children to outside experiences in efforts to help them see the world and themselves differently.

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Survival is the primary focus for many families in underserved communities. Between crime, the lack of school funding for proper education, police tensions and the struggle to make a decent living wage, “survival” covers a multitude of concerns.

In a city like Chicagoparticularly in black and brown areas children live in segregated “bubbles.” These bubblesin addition to operating in survival mode — mentally affect the way children move and think. While many activists and mentors venture into neighborhoods to fix the problems that exist there, it is also imperative to create opportunities that take kids out of those same areas. This would expose the children to outside experiences in efforts to help them see the world and themselves differently.

This is where the gift of travel comes into play. Exposing underprivileged youth to travel sparks positive change in those who rarelyif ever get a chance to see other parts of their own city, much less the country.

Tammera Holmes, founder of the Aerostar Avion Institute, uses her non-profit to take kids out of povertystricken areas to expand their minds through aviation.

“Most minority kids in the city of Chicago have not left within a five-mile radius of their homes,” said Tammera. We’ve actually taken kids to the beach to fly kites and they had never touched sand before. So, I think that a lot of things that we take for granted as travelers, a lot of kids just don’t know.”

Personally, there wasn’t much talk about world travelers on the Southside of Chicago where I grew up in the Roseland neighborhood. In a home where my parents struggled to make ends meet to feed three girls, the only vacation that I remember ever taking was a road trip to King’s Island in Ohio. It wasn’t much, but to a 12-yearold girl who hadn’t seen any of the world, it meant everything. I boarded a plane for the first time at the age of 30 and didn’t receive my first passport stamp until I was 38. Seeing the world opened my eyes and changed my perspective and so many prejudices I had. More importantly, it gave me an insatiable appetite to want more for myselfmore experiences, more knowledge of other cultures and more connections to the world. I often wonder how many other adults feel that their lives would be more enriched if they had the opportunity to travel at a young age.

Tamar Manasseh is the president and founder of Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings in Chicago.

“Travel is essential to who we are to our spirit. If we’re made up of all these things, we have to see different things. When we don’t, I think our souls are yearning to be bigger than what they are.”

Tamar knows, all too well, the struggles that youth from poor communities face every day. She is currently working on several programs that would afford her Englewood mentees opportunities to travel the country and learn about music and agriculture.

To stretch the minds of youth through travel, we need to have larger discussions. The myth that travel is only for rich whites needs to be dispelled as African Americans have added a whopping $63 billion dollars to the tourism economy as of 2018, according to a study conducted by Mandala Research. In addition, more non-profits and grassroots organizations need to be formed to give kids a chance to see the world.

The opportunity to see more encourages kids to be more. The sense of freedom, awareness and self-esteem gained through travel is more valuable, even, than what a child can gain from a book. Obviously, it won’t solve all the problems of youth in poor communities, but travel is certainly one of the many vehicles to push toward positive change.

“Travel far enough to meet yourself” – David Mitchell

Visit www.theloveoffoodandtravel.com for more travel information. Contact: info@theloveoffoodandtravel.com.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Defender

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Activism

Civil Rights Before the Loving Decision

Loving v. Virginia was a landmark civil rights case in 1967 that recognized marriage as a fundamental right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which includes the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

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Not so recently in the United States, same sex marriages were illegal. In the last century, there were laws on the books that prohibited folks from different races marrying.  

Loving v. Virginia was a landmark civil rights case in 1967 that recognized marriage as a fundamental right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which includes the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

In 1958, Mildred Loving, a Black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, were convicted and sentenced to a year in prison for violating the state of Virginia’s laws prohibiting their marriage.

That conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1968, ending discrimination in marriage based on race.

The Loving decision was a catalyst in 2015 to help abolish discrimination in marriage in same-sex marriages, which allowed for equality in the LGBTQ communities of all races including this author.

Before the Loving decision, Joan Steinau, a white woman, married Julius Lester, who at the time was a singer and a photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  Julius later became a writer.  

Joan and Julius were divorced in 1970.

Next month, Joan’s memoir, “Loving before Loving:  A Marriage in Black and White,” will be released. In the book, she recounts her marriage to Julius Lester before the Loving decision in the midst of the civil rights era as a wife, mother, and activist. 

In an interview with the Post, she said,   “Given both the erasure and distortion of Black lives as presented in the white-led media, the existence of a robust Black press . . .has been essential to the survival and thriving of Black community.”

Quoting the Chicago Daily Defender in her memoir, she said, “When one of its reporters asked President Truman, after he said school integration might lead to intermarriage, ‘Would you want your daughter to marry a Black man if she loved him?’ The president responded with a typical segregationist attitude of the time, ‘She won’t love anybody that’s not her color.’   It was important for the Black reporter to be there, because of course he assumed the possibility that naturally she could love anyone and pointed that out with his question.”

She added,  “That’s just one example of a long history of significant advocacy and reportage by hundreds of Black newspapers over the last 150 years. The Post News Group has jumped into the gap regionally to fill this important space, and I’m grateful for it. Until we have true representation of all experiences/perspectives at major media outlets, we will continue to need media targeted to excluded groups.

“My own history with Oakland/Berkeley dates to the 1980s when I began to visit from the East Coast and plot a way to move here. In 1991, my wife and I did settle in Berkeley. We immediately joined a predominantly Black church in Oakland and began creating a friendship circle. The diverse culture here was high on our list of reasons to move from our predominantly white area in New England. And it has been everything we hoped for.”

Joan Lester dedicates this memoir to her wife, Carole.  In addition to this memoir, she is a commentator, columnist and book author.

“Loving before Loving A Marriage in Black and White” by Joan Steinau Lester is available for pre-order now and on sale on May 18 on Amazon and at local bookstores.

For more information log onto JoanLester.com.

Wikipedia was a source for this story.

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#NNPA BlackPress

The Chicago Defender Debuts “Stay Strong Chicago” Video

CHICAGO DEFENDER — The people that live here are resilient. We are fighters. If you’re from here, then you know, even when everyone counts us out, we find a way to rise.

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Chicago has always been a city with tenacity.

The people that live here are resilient. We are fighters. If you’re from here, then you know, even when everyone counts us out, we find a way to rise.We see the headlines. But we know who we are. It’s easy to get caught up in the storm. But this storm will pass.Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Strong Chicago! #ChicagoDefender #InThisTogether

The post The Chicago Defender Debuts “Stay Strong Chicago” Video appeared first on Chicago Defender.

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#NNPA BlackPress

LIVESTREAM: #SaveLocalJournalism — Publishers Discuss the Need for Strategy, Innovation and Community Support in the Era of COVID-19

NNPA NEWSWIRE — On Wednesday, May 6 at 1PM ET, four publishers from across the country, including Bobby Henry of Florida’s Westside Gazette, Sonny Messiah Jiles of the Houston Defender, Hiram Jackson of Real Times Media (whose publications include the Chicago Defender and five other regional weeklies in the U.S.) and Larry Lee of the Sacramento Observer, will participate in a special livestream broadcast to discuss the status of their operations as the global COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

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Tune in to view the livestream at 1PM ET, Wednesday, May 6, over Facebook and YouTube. An archive of the stream will also be made available.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As conditions around the globe worsen because of the coronavirus pandemic, publishers of Black-owned community newspapers and media companies and their staffs are struggling to sustain business operations that enable them to deliver important news and information to their readers, listeners and viewers.

On Wednesday, May 6 at 1PM ET, four publishers from across the country, including Bobby Henry of Florida’s Westside Gazette, Sonny Messiah Jiles of the Houston Defender, Hiram Jackson of Real Times Media (whose publications include the Chicago Defender and five other regional weeklies in the U.S.) and Larry Lee of the Sacramento Observer, will participate in a special livestream broadcast to discuss the status of their operations as the global COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

All four publishers and their media companies are members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), the trade association representing America’s Black press.

The broadcast will stream live over Facebook and YouTube and will include a lively and insightful discussion on the status of local community-based journalism. In particular, the panel will discuss the state and fate of Black-owned media companies.

As small business owners, these publishers faced significant challenges even before the economy took its current downward turn. However, there’s no secret that Black-owned small businesses have been essentially ignored when it comes to providing access to stimulus funding and small business loans.

Each of the publishers will discuss the vital role that Black-owned publications have served for the nearly two centuries (193 years) of the Black Press and why their role remains essential to the communities they serve.

Since the first issue rolled off the press in 1971, Henry’s Westside Gazette has maintained a high level of professional, insightful and reader-sensitive reporting that has gained the trust and respect of South Florida’s African American community.

The Houston Defender serves a city that’s home to nearly 1 million African Americans. Houston is consistently ranked as one of the top ten cities based on median household income, households earning more than $100,000 annually, business ownership, college graduates, and homeowners. Additionally, the city has enjoyed the lowest unemployment and home loan rejection.

At the leadership helm since 1981, Jiles has ensured that the Defender’s legacy as a publication that promotes the positive, analyzing problems and sharing solutions.

Jackson’s Real Times Media is a multimedia company and conglomerate of five publications: Atlanta Daily World, Atlanta Tribune, Chicago Defender, Michigan Chronicle, and New Pittsburgh Courier.

Further west, Lee’s Sacramento Observer is a past winner of the NNPA’s John B. Russwurm Award, which recognizes the Nation’s Top Black Newspaper. During its five decades of operation, the Sacramento Observer has been honored with over 600 local and national awards for journalism excellence and outstanding community service.

Tune in to view the livestream at 1PM ET, Wednesday, May 6, over Facebook and YouTube. An archive of the stream will also be made available.

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