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Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

Did you notice…?

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2011 at 8:18 am

Is anyone paying attention to what’s going on in Memphis? Ok, there’s quite a bit going on in my “adoptive” hometown, but I will start and end today’s conversation on school funding. Essentially, the Memphis City School Board has threatened to keep the schools closed until payment comes from the City of Memphis. And according to today’s Commercial Appeal, if the City’s payment plan is adjusted in the slightest, the school board will consider this a breach of contract. “Under the payment plan, nearly 80 percent of the city’s contribution will be in the schools’ bank account by early October, in time to cover startup expenses for the year and tiding the district over until the state’s roughly $450 million begins to flow in later that month.”

The last two years, the Commercial Appeal continues, “the city’s contribution trickled in through fall and winter, with the bulk arriving in late spring, creating cash-flow problems for the schools. Under the terms of the proposal, the city must also appropriate the funds and agree that the payment schedule is binding.” Memphis City School Board Member Kenneth Whalum stated that this in principle deal will be tested early on August 5–“If the amount is not deposited in our account, school does not open. The date makes me so happy and is the only reason I would be willing to support this.”

As certain Congressional leaders are in a stand off with President Obama over the debt, we have a stand off of sorts at the local level. It may not garner as much media attention, but the tentative deal Memphis City School Board struck with the City is highly important and significant. Memphis School Board President Martavius Jones informed his fellow board members that they leveraged bargaining power with this move. And if this deal falls through, who will pay the most?

The Sweet Science keeps Giving

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2011 at 4:06 am

Music can be an extremely therapeutic tool; sometimes I find refuge in the lyrics of rap, jazz, blues, country, well, it usually doesn’t matter the genre, if it has a good inspirational sound and feel, music is my rock. One song is Diddy’s (featuring Skylar Grey) “Coming Home” and the chorus goes:

I’m coming home
I’m coming home
Tell the World I’m coming home
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Tell the World that I’m coming

Honestly, I really hadn’t listened to the song with my heart’s ear or soul until I watched ESPN’s 2011 ESPY’s Awards. The Arthur Ashe Lifetime Achievement Award was given to a dedicated, resilient, and disciplined individual, one Dewey Bozella . Dewey spent some 30 years fighting the court system and others’ doubts of his innocence. “Coming Home” was played in the video telling Dewey’s story, and the song, which I’ve heard before yet had not paid close attention to had a deeper meaning. While Dewey held on to his innocence, he also held on to a vision–to help youths find an outlet, an alternative to a sometimes dangerous and destructive path. While boxing, the sweet science, saved his life in that it helped him to master patience and forgiveness, he too wanted to share this hope with others. And for some kids, Mr. Bozella’s story and passion to serve is all they need to chart a new path. While we are in the midst of a stagnant economy, debt ceiling discussions, elections, and NBA/NFL labor talks, among other things, the world keeps turning and improving because of people like Bozella.

Bozella has a gift, multiple gifts, and one of them is selflessness. His acceptance speech focused less on him to focus on the closure of the gym that gave youths another chance at life. The Newburgh Boxing Club shuttered its doors in 2009 and for Bozella it (the speech) was a no brainer: “I did it from the heart. It was for the kids, to let people who don’t have hope see through me that you can never give up hope.”