For years, I’ve watched as many NBA teams rolled out cool throwback jerseys . . . while the Memphis Grizzlies got them (mostly) wrong. I only thought I hated those “Memphis Pros” throwbacks . . . until they rolled out those horrendous yellow and green “Memphis Tams” throwbacks.
And the whole time, I’m thinking: “Dang. Those black and teal jerseys from the early 2000s . . . what’s wrong with those?” And at long last, the answer is: NOTHING.
On Thursday, the Grizzlies announced two sets of throwback jerseys, to commemorate two eras of the franchise. This season, Ja, Jaren and all other “J” players will rock the teal “Vancouver Grizzlies” jerseys, to celebrate the founding of the franchise 25 years ago. Then in the 2020-21 season, the team will don those classic black and teal jerseys to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s move to Memphis in 2001.
“The opportunity to connect the history of our franchise over two consecutive seasons deserved a special approach,” said team president Jason Wexler in a statement. “It was an easy decision to bring back the iconic teal uniforms for the upcoming 25th Season of the franchise and give our fans the classic look from the Vancouver era that they love.
“Looking ahead to next season, we get to celebrate the 20th Season of the Grizzlies in Memphis with the Memphis Classic uniform, worn when the team first moved to Grind City,” Wexler added.
Finally, (and just when I was getting used to that horizontal hardwood thing) there will be a new court design.
“We wanted to go even further to enhance the in-game experience for our fans with an alternate court that celebrates and connects the best of both eras,” Wexler said. “From the black base and two-toned hardwood to the asymmetry that gives nods to our current design, this floor includes elements from every Grizzlies floor featured in both the Vancouver and early Memphis eras while bridging the past with the present.”
This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender
By Lauren Poteat, NNPA Newswire Washington Correspondent
It’s been more than 100 years since sickle cell disease was first discovered in America.
Today, the rare hereditary blood disorder continues to affect millions of people throughout the world.
Sickle cell disease – or SCD – affects approximately 100,000 Americans and occurs among about 1 out of every 365 African-American births, according to medical experts.
Nearly 1 in 13 African American babies are born with the sickle cell trait, which medical experts said means that an individual has inherited the sickle cell gene from one of his or her parents.
During its annual convention, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a trade organization that represents African American-owned newspapers and media companies throughout the U.S., partnered with Pfizer Rare Disease (Pfizer) to host a forum on this rare disease.
“I was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at the age of 1,” said Marie Ojiambo, a consultant for Pfizer, during the forum moderated by NNPA President and CEO, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.
“And always wanted to be a support system and advocate for research, for other young women, going through the same thing,” Ojiambo said.
“Because of this, I always felt like it was important for me to not only introduce myself by my profession, but also as a sickle cell warrior,” said the Kenyan native.
“When I competed in the Miss Africa USA pageant back in 2014, I made sure that my pageant platform, represented the same personal goals I had for myself and advocated for, sickle cell disease awareness,” she said.
Dr. Chavis emphasized, “The NNPA is grateful to Pfizer for introducing Marie Ojiambo to the Black Press of America. Ms. Ojiambo is an excellent role model for millennials, and in particular for young African and African American women, who are interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields of study. Marie Ojiambo’s outstanding success as a research scientist is truly inspiring as she did not allow the challenges of Sickle Cell Disease to prevent her from achieving her professional career goals.”
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the sickle cell disease trait is most commonly found in places like Africa, India and Southeast Asia.
However, it is not exclusive to one race.
Also, as the Hemoglobin disorders follow the malaria belt around the globe, those who have the trait are relatively protected from malaria.
Although most who carry the sickle cell trait remain healthy, medical statistics show that if two healthy people who carry the trait join to conceive a child, there’s still a one in four chance with every pregnancy that they would have child with active SCD.
Ojiambo, who graduated from St. John’s University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in New York and who specializes in pre-clinical Pharmaceutical Research, is also the founder of the Sickle Strong Initiative—a Kenyan-based NGO whose mandate is to raise awareness around sickle cell disease and advocate for better health care opportunities for patients suffering from the disease in Kenya.
While she champions research and viable medications and solutions, Ojiambo also emphasized the importance of being regularly tested.
“Both of my parents were carriers of the sickle cell trait and so when they came together, I received the disorder,” Ojiambo said.
“It is so important to know your status and to get tested regularly,” Ojiambo continued.
“Take part in clinical trials and work to make sure you have access to primary care physicians and a good hematologist.”
Ask Dr. Kevin
By Dr. Kevin Williams , Chief Medical Officer for Rare Disease at Pfizer
The “Ask Dr. Kevin” series is brought to you by Pfizer Rare Disease in collaboration with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) to increase understanding of sickle cell disease.
Dr. Kevin Williams is the Chief Medical Officer for Rare Disease at Pfizer where he leads a Medical Affairs organization of approximately 150 medical colleagues around the globe. He pursued medicine after being inspired by his father’s work as a general practitioner in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dr. Kevin is passionate about raising awareness and increasing understanding of rare diseases, such as sickle cell disease, in the African American community.
For the last two years, I’ve been honored to talk with you about sickle cell disease (SCD) through this column, sharing important information and my perspectives as a medical professional. Now, as the “Ask Dr. Kevin” series enters its third year, I wanted to change things a bit by letting you also hear directly from those who matter most—people living with SCD and their caregivers.
In this article, I’d like to introduce you to TaLana Hughes, a mother of three who is also the executive director of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois (SCDAI). TaLana has one child with SCD and two children with the sickle cell trait.
As TaLana knows from both personal experience and through her work with SCDAI, learning that your child has SCD can feel overwhelming and scary. While family and friends can be an important source of support, they may not always know the best way to help—and parents may find it hard to explain what they need.
In order to help people better understand what it’s like to be a parent of a newborn with SCD, and how family and friends can be most helpful, TaLana and I share our thoughts below on some of the most common questions we’ve been asked about the topic.
What are the biggest fears and challenges parents face upon learning their child has SCD?
TaLana: Immediately after my child received the diagnosis, my husband and I experienced an initial wave of shock and fear. It became suddenly apparent that both of us have the sickle cell trait which we passed down to our child. After the initial shock wore off, a million questions started to run through our minds, and we wondered what this would ultimately mean for our daughter.
Dr. Kevin: I know that for many parents, an SCD diagnosis can certainly be overwhelming, and I see how parents may fear the worst. However, it’s important to know that in recent years we’ve seen advances in understanding and scientific breakthroughs that are potentially paving the way for better care of people with SCD.
I also can’t stress enough to new parents the importance of setting up a healthcare team for their child as soon as possible. Receiving care early and often can help reduce the impacts and complications of the disease. SCD takes a toll on all systems of the body, so having a team made up of a pediatric hematologist, primary care doctor, and other specialists, such as an eye doctor, pulmonologist, cardiologist, and dentist, is key to the health of the child.
What are some tips for helping parents cope with the news?
TaLana: I know that I needed time to digest the news to really understand how the diagnosis would impact our child and family. Once I had a stronger understanding of the disease and how it would manifest over time as my child grew, I started to have a better idea of the support needed from my family and our local community.
Dr. Kevin: I’ve seen incredible connections and support systems form when parents of a child with SCD talk with other parents going through the same thing. There’s a certain comfort that comes from talking to those who have “been there, done that.” Parents can meet other families through local community groups, online platforms like oneSCDvoice*, which includes curated content and a wealth of information for those in the SCD community, and the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA), which publishes a calendar of local SCD events around the country.
How can family and friends offer support?
TaLana: I tell parents of children with SCD to educate their loved ones about the disease and to communicate how it affects your child. Teaching others about the condition gives me the opportunity to explain what kind of specific support I need. It also allows my family and friends to figure out how to best provide support—whether it be a ride to an appointment, a change of clothes for an overnight stay in the hospital, or help with small chores at home.
Dr. Kevin: I also encourage family members and friends to learn as much as they can on their own, because there are still a number of misperceptions about the disease. For example, the belief that a baby born with SCD will die before reaching adulthood. As I mentioned in a previous article, this is a myth! The majority of children with SCD live to adulthood, thanks to advances in SCD care. However, the life expectancy of someone with SCD in the US is only between 40 and 60 years, compared to average US life expectancy of 78.8 years. By understanding the truths about SCD, family and friends are in a better position to provide meaningful support and be allies.
What tools are most helpful for new parents caring for their child with SCD?
TaLana: I always carry a notebook with me so I can take notes and keep track of my child’s “baseline” and SCD history to see how the disease manifests over time. I have an overnight bag in my trunk that includes a change of clothes and snacks. I carry a thermometer in my purse to take my child’s temperature and an incentive spirometer to help facilitate stronger breathing. I’ve also joined a group chat with other parents who have children with SCD, and this has been one of my most important tools for connecting with and learning from other parents who share this experience.
Dr. Kevin: These are great suggestions. I would also encourage parents to connect with their local SCD organization, like an SCDAA local chapter. With a disease like SCD, which is rare in the US and often misunderstood, connecting with others who have similar experiences and challenges is so important for building your support system.
Do infants experience pain crises? What are the warning signs? What is your best advice for new parents when it comes to handling a newborn having a crisis?
TaLana: Yes, infants can have pain crises. However, because they can’t communicate with words and explain any pain they are experiencing, recognizing pain crises can be difficult. In my own experience, the first warning signs are usually dactylitis, where the hands and feet begin to swell, and a fever. However, because new parents usually pay attention to anything out of the ordinary seen in their newborn, they often are able to notice how their own child displays warning signs.
When it comes to noticing something out of the ordinary in my child, I always play it safe. I also find it really beneficial to speak with other parents with children who have SCD and to learn about what they see in their own children and discuss how they’ve handled episodes of pain.
Dr. Kevin: It’s also important for parents to understand that pain crises are unfortunately a universal experience for people with SCD. Crises typically manifest in infants aged six months and older, and they are often unpredictable and can occur up to several times a year. So, to TaLana’s point, learning to recognize what a pain crisis looks like in their child will help parents know when to seek help.
What do babysitters or other caregivers need to know?
TaLana: I make sure other caregivers and babysitters know about my child’s personal regimens and what to do in case of an emergency. I share important pointers, like to make sure my child is hydrated and never around smoke, which can increase the risk of Acute Chest Syndrome (ACS), a bout of pneumonia or a serious lung condition due to the sickling of red blood cells, in people with SCD.
Lastly, I make sure they know how special my child is and all the wonderful qualities she has. I tell them her likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests, and what makes her laugh. Having SCD may be a normal part of my child’s life, but I make sure she is not defined by her condition.
Dr. Kevin: I agree wholeheartedly. Children with SCD are children first and foremost. While the disease affects them, it certainly does not define them—nor should SCD or any disease define the person who has it.
*Supported by Pfizer
About Dr. Kevin Williams
Dr. Kevin Williams is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Pfizer Rare Disease. In this role, he leads a Medical Affairs organization of approximately 150 medical colleagues around the globe supporting Pfizer’s efforts and portfolio in Rare Disease. Dr. Kevin joined Pfizer in January 2004 as a Director of Regional Medical & Research Specialist working in the HIV disease area. After moving into a Team Leader position in July 2005, he served in various leadership roles during his career at Pfizer. Dr. Kevin moved into his current Rare Disease CMO position in May 2016.
Dr. Kevin received his medical degree from the UCLA School of Medicine and is board certified in Internal Medicine. Following a 2-year fellowship in Health Services Research at UCLA and a brief academic career as an Instructor of Medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine, he spent 8 years in private practice caring for HIV-positive patients while maintaining an academic appointment at the UCLA School of Medicine as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine. In addition to his medical degree, Dr. Kevin has a Master’s in Public Health from the UCLA School of Public Health and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.
By Dr. Sybil C. Mitchell
Corey Strong took the helm of a frayed, embattled Shelby County Democratic Party on August 5, 2017. On Friday, he announced a run for Congress, touting his leadership as a major component for crafting the local party’s turn-around.
The former Shelby County Democratic Party chairman has decided to challenge incumbent Steve Cohen for the Ninth Congressional District seat in the August 2020 primary election.
“Today is August 2, and it is the first anniversary of the historic blue wave that swept the (county) elections in 2018,” said Strong, declaring his intention during a gathering at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis. “Ten Republican seats had been flipped by the end of the night. And I am staking my claim as the leader and architect of that election cycle.
“That blue wave was made possible because of vision.”
While he commended Cohen for doing “some great things,” Strong extolled the power of vision, saying he has one for Memphis.
“I love Memphis, and I remember growing up here,” he said. “We were on our way. We were on the road to being that place where we were a part of the national conversation, but something happened; a detour. There would always be a detour.
“Well, I have a vision for this place, and that is why I am proud to announce my candidacy for the 9th Congressional District of the United States Congress.”
Cohen, who earlier announced that he planned to run and win in 2020 and again in 2022, was unavailable for comment at TSD press time, according to his aide, Rick Maynard.
“Congressman Cohen is on the Texas/Mexican border with 24 colleagues doing oversight and can’t presently be reached,” Maynard replied to an email inquiry.
Congressional Democrats are visiting holding facilities to get a first-hand look of conditions faced by immigrants being held in detention. The fact-finding trip comes amid reports of “children in cages, grossly overcrowded conditions, insufficient food supplies, and unsanitary toileting conditions.”
Cohen first won election to Congress in 2006 and has turned back a succession of challengers every two years since then.
He has had challengers in every Democratic primary since he won the Congressional seat in 2006,
Strong, a special projects director for Shelby County Schools, is a U.S. Navy veteran and reservist. His vision is for Memphis to enjoy a 21st-century economy that invests in its workers, not “seeing how much it could get out of workers.
“In the Navy, we have a saying about our priorities: ‘ship, shipmate and self.’ We must put the whole and the people around us before ourselves. Our leaders must sow into everybody. Don’t leave anyone behind…”
What does that have to do with being a congressman?
“It has everything to do with being a congressman,” he said. “A congressman is the national face of our city, the chief ambassador and partner to every facet of local leadership: in the city, county, chamber, every neighbor. He is our chief spokesman taking our message to the halls of Congress. …
“After crafting legislation and casting the votes you have sent me up there to cast, then my real job will begin, and that is bringing jobs back to the city. …We must bring jobs and investment, both public and private, to the heart of this city.”
Noting a history of service to country and community, Strong said he was “ready to serve more. …I look forward to speaking with (voters) about what they should expect from their representative. …
“I am ready for this fight.”
This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender
When is the last time a festival within Detroit city limits occurred outside of downtown and midtown?
The Quicken Loans Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of Quicken Loans, is bringing its ‘Detroit Out Loud’ free one-day festival to Rouge Park on the city’s west side July 20. The inaugural festival will celebrate Detroit, its neighborhoods, and its communities, in an environment that is family-friendly.
“We really wanted to do something that showed our love for Detroit, its neighborhoods, and its residents,” said Jasmin DeForrest, Director of Community Sponsorships for the Quicken Loans Community Fund. “We have been working on this for a year and we wanted to do something in the neighborhood that honors Detroit, its energy, and the sense of pride it has.”
“We did an extensive search, looking at parks on the east and west side, and Rouge Park seemed to have the best footprint for us. There are so many great areas that can be activated there and the City of Detroit and the communities surrounding Rouge Park made it a win-win situation for us.”
Detroit Out Loud will have activities for all ages, including pony rides from Buffalo Soldiers Detroit, archery by Elite Archery Academy, and camping at the Sierra Club’s Detroit Outdoors at Rouge Park – the city’s largest park and its only active campground. Food trucks will also be available with Detroit-centric cuisine and additional food and drink options will be available for purchase throughout the site, including the Lobster Food Truck, Jackson’s Five Star Motown Bistro, Good Cakes and Bakes, Lush Yummies Pie Company, and Milk and Froth.
KC and DJ Dinero of 105.1 The Bounce will perform at the festival, as well as numerous other local and nationally-acclaimed performers, including SWV, Flint Eastwood, and Larry Lee and the Back in the Day Band.
For those that like to dance, a number of Detroit dance styles will be showcased, including traditional dances in Mexican culture with Ballet Folklorico De Detroit, Hustle lessons with Reveal Detroit, and the city’s signature dance, JIT, with Nick Speed and Hardcore Detroit. There will also be an African Dance and Drum Performance by P.A.T.H African Drum and Dance Collective.
“JIT is our dance, that’s what we do, and we put that on the map,” said DeForrest, who is from Detroit’s west side. “I’m really excited about that portion of the festival and I think Detroiters will be as well.”
Detroit Out Loud will also be the site of the sixth and final mural in the Quicken Loans Community Fund’s third annual Small Business Murals Project. This partnership with 1xRun connects local artists and small business owners who collaborate to create six murals annually throughout Detroit. More than just paintings, the murals created through the Small Business Murals Project both beautify the city and attract attention for the city’s small business community. Internationally renowned artist and Detroit native Sheefy McFly was commissioned to paint the final mural.
“It’s a dope event and I like the curators,” said Sheefy McFly, who has painted murals all over the City of Detroit. “I’m planning on doing a Detroit-themed mural similar to my “Detroit Never Left” mural, highlighting the things that we love in Detroit.”
Neighbor to Neighbor is a program organized by Quicken Loans to fight tax foreclosure through the city, and educates local homeowners in danger of losing their home to tax foreclosure by providing resources, knowledge, and workshops about property tax exemptions. A booth will be on-site to educate Detroit residents about the program.
Rouge Park is Detroit’s largest maintained green space at 1,181 acres and is larger than Belle Isle, Hart Plaza, Campus Martius, Grand Circus and Capitol Park combined. In the 1920s, the City of Detroit paid $1.3 million to purchase land from six farmers at the western edge of the city. Rouge Park now has more than a dozen amenities that are completely unique to Detroit, yet many of the facilities in Rouge Park are underutilized and are in need of funding. At the end of Detroit Out Loud, the Quicken Loans Community Fund will make an investment to Rouge Park to assist in making it enjoyable for the community in serves.
“We are grateful to the Quicken Loans Community Fund for bringing this celebration of Detroit to Rouge Park,” said Sally Petrella, President of Friends of Rouge Park, an organization of stakeholders who advocate for, and promote, programming and future development of the park. “Detroit Out Loud will showcase Rouge Park to the rest of the city, and attendees will see why Detroit’s largest park is also one of its greatest and most historic.”
This article originally appeared in the Michigan Chronicle.
By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., NNPA Newswire Culture and Entertainment Editor
It is summertime and many people are “bingeing” or “catching up” on their favorite television shows they haven’t had time to watch when they actually premiered or aired. While there are the usual suspects on HBO, Showtime, Bravo, Netflix and Starz, viewers should consider binge watching Stories from the Stage, the WORLD Channel original series that features ordinary people telling extraordinary stories, which returned with a national 24-hour binge-a-thon of episodes in June. The public television series features masterful storytellers from every walk of life, highlighting our differences and shared sense of humanity.
The latest season of Stories from the Stage includes the premiere of Rocky Top Remembers, an episode featuring stories about Morris Irby, the first black baseball player at Tennessee Tech University who learns the cost of being a trailblazer. “Rocky Top” refers to a place in Tennessee that is rocky and tough to plant, yet is fertile ground for great storytelling. Storytellers Harrison Young and Sandy Lewis are also featured on this episode, weaving tells of pecking orders in family and following in Dad’s footsteps, which isn’t always about the workplace or football field.
Viewers can also check out the episode, Game On!, featuring former Olympian and current USA Adaptive Water Ski Team member Nick Fairall discussing the leap that forever altered his Olympic dreams and his life. Each show is hosted by award-winning humorists and storytellers Theresa Okokon and Wes Hazard.
With more than 40 episodes, the Stories from the Stage gives viewers a chance to catch up on the series dedicated to bringing real stories — whether humorous or poignant, commonplace or astonishing — to American homes. Each 30-minute episode spotlights a trio of raconteurs — some experienced, some novices — sharing short anecdotes related to the episode’s unifying theme. Love, loss, family, food, immigration and celebrations are among the topics explored in episodes including “Lost & Found,” “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” “It’s All Relative” and “Holidays: The Good, The Bad.” Although each story is unique, audiences everywhere are able to connect and relate with storytellers from a mosaic of backgrounds, ages, cultures and abilities.
Stories from the Stage is a collaboration of WORLD Channel, WGBH Events and Massmouth, showcasing the communal art form of storytelling. The series reflects WORLD Channel’s commitment to bringing fresh and compelling voices to public media audiences on all platforms, while reflecting the diversity of modern America and the global community.
“Personal stories rich in human experience and emotion can create understanding, empathy and appreciation for people very different from us,” said Liz Cheng, General Manager for WORLD Channel and co-executive producer of the series. “With Stories from the Stage we hope to prove how much we all have in common and inspire community dialogue about our differences.” Stories from the Stage is co-executive-produced by Cheng and Patricia Alvarado Núñez.
Stories from the Stage episodes, original digital content, and more can be experienced on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and on the WORLD Channel website. Follow the hashtag #StoriesfromtheStage to hear every word.
This post was written by Nsenga K Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. An expert in intersectionality and media industries, Dr. Burton is also a professor of film and television at Emory University and co-editor of the book, Black Women’s Mental Health: Balancing Strength and Vulnerability. She is Entertainment and Culture Editor for NNPA. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual or @TheBurtonWire.
By The Tennessee Tribune
Mrs. Rosetta Miller Perry, a long-time Civil Rights activist has been named the recipient of the 2019 Tennessee Human Rights Commission’s Jocelyn D. Wurzburg Civil Rights Legacy Award. The award was presented, Friday, July 19, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. at the Supreme Court Chamber of the Tennessee Capitol.
This award is named in honor of Jocelyn D. Wurzburg of Memphis who has a long history of volunteer civil rights accomplishments, advocating for equity, equality and non-discrimination. She served on the Tennessee Human Rights Board of Commissioners on two occasions— in 1971 and again in 2007. During that time, she began extensive work and research to write the model for the Tennessee Human Rights Act, which she continued to promote after her first term. In 1978 her actions were responsible for transforming the Tennessee Human Rights Commission from an advisory to an enforcement organization. The very first Wurzburg Award was presented to Jocelyn for her continued efforts in civil rights and women’s rights.
The Jocelyn D. Wurzburg Civil Rights Legacy Award is given to individuals who have demonstrated long term advocacy to human rights. Beverly Watts, Executive Director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission said, “Award recipients are selected because his or her life’s work embodies the ideals and principles of inclusion, equity, equality, access and diversity and Mrs. Rosetta Miller Perry exemplifies those characteristics. Mrs. Miller Perry stated that she had worked with Ms. Wurzburg when she was a member of the Tennessee State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and she was a field investigator. She said Ms. Wurzburgh was always there in Memphis working to better relations within the community and state then and now and she is deeply humble to receive this award from a person she has always for more than 50 years. The Tennessee Human Rights Commission Board of Commissioners selected Mrs. Perry as a recipient of this award because of her dedication and leadership in cultivating more inclusive and equitable communities,” Watts added.
The Board of Commissioners will hold its Commission meeting to discuss the goals of the Commission for the 2020 fiscal year on that day, Friday, July 19, 2019, and to publicly recognize Mrs. Perry and her outstanding work.
Mrs. Perry, is the founder and publisher of the Tennessee Tribune newspaper, which has operated for more than 25 years. Additionally, she served a Field Coordinator of the Equal Opportunity Commission and worked in pivotal roles in Nashville and Memphis during the 1960’s Civil Rights era. Her work has been chronicled in various publications, including the book, A Spy in Canaan: How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement by Marc Perrusquia.
For more information, contact Veronica McGraw at 615.253.1608 at the Tennessee Human Rights Commission.
This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune.