Opening

Politics, News & Notable, Text Talk
We just concluded the opening session of the seminar. We'll be here another six days so there's a lot in store.  There are many brilliant thinkers here, and it's going to be a challenge for me to step out of my listening stance to speak more. A lot of good insights arose in a very short time, and I can see how these readings and discussions will build on each other throughout the week. We have two capable moderators in Jerald and David. Jerald led the opening reception and introductions while David facilitated the opening discussion. Although I'm not at liberty to report on who said what, I do want to share the question which framed our talk this evening: Why do people disagree? It's a great question, and one which…
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Telephone and Politics

30 Day Blog Challenge, 30 in 30 April, Politics, News & Notable
We sat in a circle. Maybe there were 15-20 of us, I'm not sure. But there we were, all sitting crossed-legged in a circle on stained, graying berber. We ranged in age from maybe 6 or 7 to perhaps 11 or 12 and it was one of the many games we played at the nursery center after school. We called it Pass it Down, but you might know it as Telephone. The chosen person began by whispering a word, phrase or sentence into a nearby ear. The owner of that ear "passed it down," and relayed the message to the next person. And on it went around the circle until the message got back to the originator. "That's not what I said!" was the originator's oft-heard reply. Whatever word or…
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Welcome to FAMU

Politics, News & Notable
On Tuesday, April 1, 2014, Dr. Elmira Mangum begins her first day as Florida A&M University's new Rattler-in-Chief. To celebrate, the school will host a Welcome Rally  on the steps of Lee Hall, Thursday, April 4, at 12:15 p.m. Dr. Mangum will be FAMU's 11th president. She also has the distinction of becoming the first female permanent president in the university's 126-year history. Dr. Castell Vaughn Bryant served as interim president from 2005-2007. FAMU's Board of Trustees selected Dr. Mangum in January, in a 10-2 vote. After rounds of contract negotiations marked by efforts to decrease her compensation package, she was approved by the Florida Board of Governors on February 20, 2014. Dr. Mangum brings over 25 years of higher education administration to the post. She was most recently Vice President for…
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FAMU Partners with Black Television News Channel

Politics, News & Notable
On Friday, March 21, 2014, Florida A&M University (FAMU) inked a deal with the nation's only Black-owned cable news network. The newly established Black Television News Channel (BTNC) will be managed and operated from FAMU's School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC). With the creation of the BTNC, founding partners Congressman J.C. Watts, Bob Brillante, Frank Watson and Steve Pruitt, plan to fill a void in the news industry. Over the past twenty years, 18 Black-owned and operated television stations have gone out of business. The result? A dearth of content for Black consumers. Said Congressman Watts, "The world only gets a sliver of who the Black community is today. We look forward to telling that story." FAMU, an HBCU (historically black college or university), was the ideal choice for the…
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The deeper business of being beautiful inside.

Love, Politics, News & Notable
Blue and I saw 12 Years a Slave as soon as it was released in Atlanta. The film was stunning. We dined afterward and talked for hours about the the movie and the myriad topics it inspired: slavery, racism, privilege, wealth, the power of story, literacy, critical literacy and public schooling. We discussed the stories that get told or lost. We noted, with a healthy dose of cynicism, who "history" deems worthy of remembrance. We retold scenes to each other. Relived predictions, twists. What made us look away, hold our breath, or more tightly to the other's hand. The writing, directing and performances were brilliant. And yet as moved as I was during and after, it was Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey who brought me to tears: Patsey broke my heart…
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No School, No Lunch

Education, Politics, News & Notable
From NPR: When cold snaps and blizzards shutter schools, kids miss more than their daily lessons. Some miss out on the day's nutritious meal as well. Blue and I talked about this when the metro area shut down two weeks ago. Some folks were home when horrendous traffic and inclement weather collided in Atlanta, but thousands of others ended up stuck in the worst jam they've ever experienced. People slept in their cars or abandoned them and hoofed it to nearby friends, restaurants and stores. But there were hundreds of students who had no such options - instead, they ended up at school over night when their buses were unable to maneuver the slick hills home. For many parents, this may have been a nightmare. Many, but perhaps not all. For…
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Show me the money

Politics, News & Notable
Today I received the following email from Florida A&M University: FAMU Board of Trustees Schedules Emergency Called Meeting TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Board of Trustees has scheduled an emergency called meeting for Thursday, Feb. 13 at 4 p.m. The general subject matter of the meeting is to consider the employment contract of President-select Dr. Elmira Mangum. The public may access the meeting by dialing (877) 884-1929. The conference ID number is 23698072. For more information, call (850) 599-3413 or visit, http://www.famu.edu/index.cfm?BOT&AgendasandMinutes A similarly worded release was issued on January 30, 2014 for a called meeting the next day. Earlier this year, FAMU announced its selection for university President: Congrats to Dr. Elmira Mangum, #FAMU's 11th president and first woman. #fem2 — nicole means victory (@ndcollier) January 9, 2014 Introducing #FAMU's 11th President, Dr. Elmira Mangum pic.twitter.com/z3r0xsiOlv —…
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Go big or go home

Personal Narrative, Politics, News & Notable
Diana Nyad's triumph serves as perhaps one of the most inspirational victories of 2013. I wrote about her story earlier this year: It took Nyad five attempts  – five – over the course of more than 30 years. This tells as much about physical skill and endurance as it does about patience and perseverance. Do you have the stamina to dream big and go after what you want? That's what I've been working on this year and will continue to do so as we welcome the new year. Diana recently gave a TEDTalk about her record-setting swim. I've embedded it below. Enjoy! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zx8uYIfUvh4&w=560&h=315]
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Freedom Fighters

Feminist Thought, Politics, News & Notable
Freedom fighting, creation and imagination my favorite topics to mull. Last night I was  awake past my bedtime, and a trip down the rabbit hole known as the Internet led me to this great find. It's a podcast in two main parts. The first features Angela Davis and Grace Lee Boggs speaking at the Empowering Women of Color Conference. The second features an excerpt from Daniel Rasmussen's book, American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt. The cast is from 2012, but conversations about freedom are always timely. Shout out to Renina Jarmon for the recommendation.
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