Racism- I Have Questions!

By Keisha Thompson-Contributing Writer, The Drive Student Blog

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Oakland California Incident led to memes and the creation of the hashtag #CookingOutWhileBlack. Photo Credit: The Root

I Have Questions!

What gives some White people the audacity to call the police on Black people for no legitimate reason? What occurs within a White person’s mind when they see a Black person and decides to call the police? What clicks in their mind to say yes – I will call the cops on this Black person?

Many videos have surfaced depicting how racist white individuals abruptly confront Black people for no apparent reason all the time. Black individuals who were going about their daily routines were then stopped and questioned by the police. The videos also expose the quickness and ease of the white individual to call the cops.

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Photo Credit: Yesplz.co

A White Yale University student called the police on a Black student who was taking a nap in a dorm area. An employee at StarBucks called the cops on two Black males who were waiting on their business partner. A White woman called the police on a group of Black women who were leaving their AirB&B rental. Another White woman on a college tour called the cops on two Native American teenagers who were also on the same college tour.

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Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story. Photo Credit: PhillyVoice.com

Even NBA players are not immune to such treatment; Milwaukee police officers tasered a Bucks player who was parked illegally. However, the incident that shook the nerves of all Black people was the incident on the 4th of July. A White male called the cops on a Black woman because she wanted to swim in the same pool. The list of episodes where White people call the police on people of color is much longer, and I cannot possibly name them all, but these provide a strong comparison to the Jim Crow era.

“Many White people today move and behave as if they are now the new masters and that they can do whatever they want to any person of color.”

Our Black ancestors fought and died for us to have the right to swim in the same pool as Whites many decades ago. Today in 2018, the descendants of those Blacks who fought for equality are still fighting and dying for equal rights. Moreover, what gives any White person the right to question whether a Black person has the right to swim in a pool, the right to eat in a restaurant, the right to take a nap in their dorm area, or the right to go on a college tour? It is a move right out of slavery!

There was a time in American history when White masters or any other White person would stop any Black individuals and ask for their permission slip. Many White people today move and behave as if they are now the new masters and that they can do whatever they want to any person of color.

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Photo Credit: Jim Crow No Mo

What gives White people the confidence to behave in this manner? The right to openly ask any person of color whether they belong in America? The ill-treatment of Black people in America’s history began with Lincoln’s writings that Black people are like animals. However, even before Lincoln’s signature, the first successful English settlers arrived in Virginia around the 1600s seeking religious freedom. Africans later came as slaves.

Neither White or Black people were born initially on the soil of these United States of America. Both White and Black people arrived on a boat. So, why are Black people still being questioned about whether they belong in these United States of America? Black people and other minorities have built this country from the ground up.

Perhaps these few individuals feel confident in their activities due to the Trump administration’s policies and stance that supports their ideology. Trump began his presidential campaign by attacking Mexicans, Black people, and even disabled individuals. Mr. Trump immediately stated his racist position on immigration.

“How many training seminars will their be to teach white adults not to be racists?”

 

Mr. Trump has forgotten the journey of his Scottish mother, an immigrant, who traveled to the United States around the late 1930s. His slogan alone is an insult, “Make America Great Again.” Trump’s ideology of making America great again includes going back to a time in American history when whites both privately and publically humiliated and insulted Black people.

These are all mundane routines that many Whites engage in daily. These occurrences are happening at an alarming rate, and there are no severe actions or punishment in response. How many more apologies will companies CEO’s issue? How many training seminars will their be to teach white adults not to be racists?

This leads to a question. Will these racist individuals who are easily threatened by people of color change their fundamental belief that people of color are second-class citizens? How does one de-programming session change a racist individual’s mindset when they have spent their entire life believing in and living by this lie?

In the year of 2018, the fact that Black people are still stopped, questioned, harassed, and racially profiled for merely existing is inexcusable and should be labeled as a crime.

Do you have questions? Want to write and article for The Drive Student Blog? Please send them to thedrivestudentblog58@gmail.com with “Article Submission,” in your title line.

–And remember,

Stay informed, open-minded, and driven

 

 

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The Real MVP On and Off The Court: LeBron James

By: Kelly Washington-Staff Writer, The Drive Student Blog

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Photo Credit: NBA.com

For LeBron James, social justice transcends sports stardom. A major example of that is the opening of James’s I Promise School for at risk students. James, who has won three NBA championships and four league-MVPs, called the school opening the greatest moment of his career.

The school selected area students from among those who trail their peers by a year or two in academic performance. “We did a random selection of all students who met that criteria, and got to make these awesome phone calls to parents and say, “How would you like to be part of something different, the I Promise School,” Keith Liechty, the Akron Public Schools’ liaison to James’ foundation, told USA Today.

Forty-three staffers will help run the I Promise School — including not just teachers but also a principal, assistant principal, four intervention specialists, plus a tutor, English as a second language teacher, music instructor, and gym teacher, USA Today reports. Classrooms will hold 20 students per teacher.

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Opening of I Promise School is a career-defining moment for LeBron James. Photo Credit: AboutTrendNews.com

 Unlike celebrities Sean “Diddy” Combs (founder of the Harlem Academy) and ESPN analyst Jalen Rose (co-founder of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy) who both backed charter schools, James’s I Promise School is a traditional public school. However it is anything but ordinary. Every incoming student will receive school supplies, uniforms, and bicycles. James was intent on giving every student a bike because his bike was an escape from the dangerous neighborhoods in which he was raised. “I know exactly what these 240 kids are going through,” James said in front of the new school. “I know the streets they walk. I know the trials and tribulations that they go through. I know the ups, the downs. I know everything that they dream about. I know all the nightmares that they have because I’ve been there. They’re the reason why this school is here today.”

The I Promise School days run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m and the school year runs from July to May. There is also going to be a seven week summer session in which the school will provide STEM based camps. The students will be served breakfast, lunch, snacks and have access to a fitness trainer. Students also will spend time each day on social and emotional learning, and participate in a supportive circle after lunch to help them refocus so that they can get through the remainder of their day.

Since the school considers education to be not just for the pupil but for the whole family, it will offer GED classes and job placement assistance for parents and guardians.

“I think the missing link in public education is that family wraparound support,” said Brandi Davis, the school’s principal and Akron native. “Because our students come to school and they’re worried about things at home. … We want to create that safe, that secure and that caring and loving environment for our families and our students so that our kids can focus on education.”

Students get one other major benefit: If they successfully complete the school program and graduate from high school, James will cover their full tuition at the local public college, University of Akron.

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Students asked to make a pledge on the first day at the I Promise School. Photo Credit: TheWeeklyChallenger.com

The Akron school district expects to spend a total of $8.1 million over the next five years for the I Promise school, according to a report in Akron’s Beacon Journal. James’ family foundation will cover the costs of other extra school features, and with its partners has already contributed $2 million for building upgrades, extra staffing and other needs, the paper notes.

I don’t have a ceiling to how much I can improve my game,” James told ESPN. “And we as a foundation don’t have a ceiling on how much we can improve our community, to a point where we have a school.”

Sports Analyst Chris Broussard says on LeBron opening a public school on Akron, “LeBron James has set a new blueprint for African American athletes in what they can and should do to help their communities.”

What do you think? Has LeBron set a new precedence on how athletes can use their platform? Not bad for someone who was told to just, “Shut up, and dribble.”

Want to write and article for The Drive Student Blog? Please send your submissions to thedrivestudentblog58@gmail.com with “Article Submission,” in your title line.

–And remember,

Stay informed, open-minded, and driven

 

3 Valuable Lessons We Didn’t Learn in School But Need to Know- Lesson 1: Credit is Power

By: Ashlee L. Lewis-Staff Writer, The Drive Student Blog

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Photo credit: Pexels.com

In my adult life, I’ve thought numerous times, “Why didn’t I learn this in school?” The traditional education system seems to be designed to prepare students for success in their chosen career paths and does little to aid in the preparation for independent living. One of the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned outside of the classroom is that cash is king but credit is power. Our credit histories and scores are constantly being evaluated by creditors, varying from major cellphone companies to mortgage companies, to determine what lines of credit we qualify to receive. Since I didn’t learn about credit in school, I had to create my own classroom.

Find Your Teacher(s)

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Photo credit: ©YouTube.com

For as long as I can remember, both my Dad and my Aunt told me to manage my credit well. My Dad shared his own credit woes from early adulthood and encouraged me to make better decisions than he did when the time came to manage my own credit lines. My Aunt on the other hand, has successfully managed her credit from the age of 18, so her advice was more of an “imitate me and you too will succeed” type of message.  Both of them made it very clear that my credit score would impact my lifestyle in adulthood and that there is value in a high credit score. What neither my Dad nor my Aunt told me, however, was exactly how to accomplish this feat.

“What I learned, however, is that debt is not the enemy! In fact, creditors like to see activity on borrowers’ credit accounts because it shows a history of his/her credit management habits. Who knew?

After a few years of unsuccessfully trying to manage my credit on my own, I joined Facebook groups, subscribed to credit monitoring websites, and declined every credit card offer I received. For some reason, however, my credit score wasn’t increasing. It wasn’t until two years ago that I learned I was managing my credit all wrong. I’d been taught to avoid lines of credit because of interest rates and the potential decrease to my credit score if I’m unable to pay off the balances that I owed. What I learned, however, is that debt is not the enemy! In fact, creditors like to see activity on borrowers’ credit accounts because it shows a history of his/her credit management habits. Who knew?

Why Your Credit History Matters

In 2016, my Dad cosigned for my car loan and my credit score jumped over 50 points upon approval from the lender. By paying my full monthly car note either early or on time every month, I developed a positive payment history on my credit report. I also accepted three credit card offers and maintained the balances by using less than 30% of my available credit line. Through Facebook groups and my own research, I’ve learned that it’s better to allow my cards to report a balance so that lenders can see activity on my credit accounts. Once the balance is reported, I make sure to pay it off in full before the statement date so that I don’t have any interest added to the money I already owe the creditor. This process of allowing my low balances to report and also paying the balances in full before interest is applied has boosted my score from “fair” to “good” in less than a year. My “good” credit history and score allowed me to get utility bills in my name without needing a security deposit and to qualify for a low interest rate and monthly payments on a new car loan for a larger vehicle. Now when I go to apply for new lines of credit, creditors are more likely to approve me because I have a proven track record of successfully managing my debt.

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Photo credit: © http://www.premiercredco.com

VantageScore vs. FICO score

Our credit scores can change each month, so it’s important to use a credible source to keep track of your credit profile. Creditkarma.com is one of the most well-known and widely used credit monitoring sites because its users have free access to their credit reports and credit scores. The only issue is that it reports users’ VantageScore which can be drastically different (higher or lower) than the credit scores most lenders use to determine a borrower’s credit worthiness.  Myfico.com, however, requires a monthly payment for access to our FICO scores which are typically evaluated by creditors when we apply for lines of credit. The picture above displays how the two scores are calculated and what credit information is factored into the final numbers. While creditkarma.com is free to use, the benefits of having access to the credit information that most lenders typically use outweigh the burden of the required financial investment.

Be Proactive
Over the past few years, I have learned that it is imperative that we learn to manage our credit profiles well or they will limit us. Most young adults don’t take the time to learn about the importance of managing his/her credit until it’s either too late or until it’s needed. My hope is that reading this article, written by a 28 year old, inspires you to take a more aggressive approach when it comes to managing your credit. Don’t wait until life shows you that your credit score matters when you’re denied for a credit card or approved for a 20% interest rate on a $14,000 car loan. Invest the time and energy now into managing your credit information and reap the rewards because you deserve the lifestyle that a well-managed credit profile affords us.

Stay tuned for the next lesson that we didn’t learn in school but need to know.

–And remember,

Stay informed, open-minded, and driven

In Today’s Society, is Keeping a Healthy Social Life Just as Important as Your Professional Life?

By: Evan Jackson-Staff Writer, The Drive Student Blog

“Without a goal there is no interest, no activity and without activity there is no life. The source of interests goals and activities is the substance of a social life.” Vissarion Belinsky.

Social lifeWe once in a while get so preoccupied with attaining  our goals by engaging in school assignments, work and even other business ventures. this is a good thing to do but in the process we get used to forgetting we have a social life that requires our attention too since it is equally important. Having a good social life is equally as important as chasing our dreams since at time when we fail to have a good social life, our successes in other fields may be rendered useless. There is a great need to find a balance between your social life and the rest of the activities that one engages in. Here are some tips that will help you rekindle your social life:

  • Avoid procrastination- ensure that anything you have planned to do at a certain time has been done within the period as you had planned. This will create adequate time for you to engage in other social activities that may require your attention.
  • Coordinate your free time with your friends and family- in the midst of our busy schedules it is critical to ensure that we schedule sometime that is primarily meant for you to spend with your family and friends. This creates the perfect time for you to catch up on the progress of the other person and also learn one or two things from them.
  • Deal with temptations- once too often we get tempted to leave important things that we are doing such as finish up on work or school assignment and engage in other activities that eat into our time. we should learn to restrain from engaging in activities that distract us from doing the important things. We should develop a culture that allows us to first finish up with what is important before engaging in other activities that can wait.
  • Engage yourself in various social activities- it is through engaging in social activities that you get to meet new people who will transform and influence our view of things. For instance, you may chose to be part of a charity group within your area of residence. This will not only help improve your social skills but it will also help you meet new people who will help you grow in other aspects. Interacting with other people is the only sure way of growing and improving you way of life.

The big question now is, what is stopping you from having a healthy social life? Take initiative and take control of your social life these tips will indeed rekindle your social life.

–And remember,

Stay informed, open-minded, and driven

 

Should You Spend Your Money On Ice Mountain Bottled Water?

By: Jeremiah Moore–Contributor, The Drive Student Blog

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Photo Credit: Google Images

“One perspective held by various NGOs—which I would call extreme—is that water should be declared a human right… The other view is that water is a grocery product. And just as every other product, it should have a market value.”
– Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Nestlé’s Former Chief Executive Officer

For those who may not know, Nestlé’s bottled water is sold in every state in America. Although that fact is magnificent, the purpose of my post is not to congratulate this billion dollar corporation. Instead, I want to inform our readers about the tragic mischief behind the world’s largest bottled water company. For the sake of time – and typing – I am going to only delve into the Ice Mountain Bottled Water brand.

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Photo Credit: Google Images

Simply put, Nestlé sucks its bottling locations dry, which includes Michigan. Yes, the same state where there is a water crisis in Flint, Michigan. However, Nestlé has publicly stated that it “has nothing to do” with the crisis. To help fight the problem, Nestlé, the billion dollar company, has partnered with three (3) other companies (Walmart, Pepsi, and Coca-Cola) to donate a whopping 35,000 bottles of water a month to the families affected by the water crisis.

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Photo Credit: Google Images

So let’s do some math real quick (don’t pull out a calculator, I swear I got you on the adding, subtracting, and any carrying of a 1). Ice Mountain Bottled Water will give 35,000 bottles a month, which is 420,000 bottles of water a year. If we use the retail price tag of $0.89 that I just saw on Target’s website, the total cost  is approximately $374,000 for the year. Now if Nestlé only has one billion dollars in the bank (it has a lot more), then it will have about $999,626,000 to re-invest! That amount of money insults my intelligence because the company owns many of the major brands that we consume, such as, Boost, Butterfinger, Coffee Mate, Cat Chow, DiGiorno, Dog Chow, Gerber, Häagen-Dazs, Jack’s Pizza, Kit-Kat, Lean Cuisine, Nesquick, Nescafé, Poland Spring, Purina, Smarties, Stouffer’s, Toll House, Tombstone, and Wonka Taffy to name a few. Nestlé has many other income streams from products that I did not list because I never personally use them. I am no Picasso, but you should see the picture I am trying to paint. The people over at Nestlé are more than wealthy – they are filthy rich and they are killing the less fortunate!

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Photo Credit: Google Images

“Nestlé’s policies are an attack on the citizens of this country who can’t afford to fight for themselves against the inhumanities of greedy corporations.”

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved the permit that allows Ice Mountain Bottling Water to increase from pumping 200 gallons of water per minute to 400 gallons per minute out of the natural wells in Michigan. The organization is quoted saying that “we can’t make our decisions based on popular opinion. We make our decision based on what the statute says we have to look at,” which means that although the amount of  pumping is outrageous, it is not against the law. This excessive pumping is deemed to be acceptable because allegedly the amount of water taken from the wells/springs will not harm the environment due to the ability of the Great Lakes to naturally replenish. I don’t buy it!

This issue is not a black, white, purple, or blue person thing. It is a less fortunate person thing. I am sure that a number of people in Michigan have $800 to buy land there, which is the same price Nestlé paid for it. What the average Joe doesn’t have is the ability to debate and slither around laws, so they come up short in this area. Nestlé’s policies are an attack on the citizens of this country who can’t afford to fight for themselves against the inhumanities of greedy corporations. Today, Nestlé is going to be the poster child for all of those corporations. The injustice of cashing in on our natural resources is being mopped up due to the amount of money and power that  this company has and the political sponsorship it can secure.

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Photo Credit: Google Images

Although Nestlé is not breaking the law, I consider their actions inhumane. Many people in Michigan are going through a water crisis, but instead of allowing access to the source of natural water, Nestlé bottles it up and sells it to them. The investment of $2.37 the billion dollar company gives to the City of Evart, Michigan, per 1,000 gallons of water they pump, is a disgrace – but not against the law.

Also, Nestlé claims that its water is sourced and distributed for the Midwest by the Midwest from three (3) major water plants in Michigan: White Pine Springs, Evart Springs, and Sanctuary Springs. This claim is a lie (well just fine print), but you can find the full list on Ice Mountain’s website. The company also gets its water from Pennsylvania, Maine, Colorado, and Tennessee. I have no degree in mapology or geography, but Tennessee is a Southern state, Pennsylvania and Maine are Eastern states, and Colorado is a Western state – not Midwestern. So, not only are the individuals at Ice Mountain promoting false information, but they are getting away with – and getting paid for – turning the world into the Sahara Desert!

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Photo Credit: Google Images

Further, the water is not even 100% pure! The U.S. Food & Drug Administration‘s new adjustments have changed the filtration laws a little. That is for another story though, but if you want to read more on this issue – feel free to click any of the links below. If you want to correct me on anything or have any concerns, leave a comment below or hit me up on social media.

For more information on Ice Mountain, Nestlé, and/or the water crisis in our world, check out:

Fox2Detroit

ABC12

Nestle USA

Bloomberg.com

Detroit Free Press

The Nature of Cities: Water

Follow Me: @chiboyjimmy on Twitter, @_chiboy_ on Instagram.

–And remember,

Stay informed, open-minded, and driven.

New Hipster Hangout in West Town Serves up Tacos and Pop-Rocks Churros

By: Micaela Shambee–Editor, The Drive

The Gringo-Back Patio Area
60-seat back patio area at The Gringo. Photo Credit: Micaela Shambee, IG: @mickeystyled

–Attention college kids! The Gringo will be your new hangout spot in-between classes, finals, and exams. Run, don’t walk to The Gringo, the new taqueria and beer garden serving up margaritas, tacos, and fun childhood snack-themed churros (remember Pop Rocks and Oops! All Berries anyone?). Taking over the Grandview Tavern space at 1202 W. Grand Avenue, The Gringo boasts a 60-seat private back patio space complete with its own back bar.

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The Gringo Patio Bar. Photo Credit: Micaela Shambee, IG: @mickeystyled

Opened last Thursday, June 7th, customers will find a menu with 10 tacos (plus vegetarian options), 3 signature cocktails including a tasty-tangy “Prickly Passion Margarita” and fun dessert options that you may or may not have room to stomach after enjoying scrumptious tacos and boozy Froze.

The Gringo Desserts: Oops! All Berries and Pop Rocks Churros
The Gringo Desserts: Oops! All Berries and Pop Rocks Churros.Photo Credit: Micaela Shambee, IG: @mickeystyled

As the name suggests, The Gringo is putting a spin on the traditional. From the funky decor (A painting of the “Girl With the Pearl Earring” rests on the walls near exposed piping), and Wood benches with a hint of North Side Ivy, The Gringo has “hangout spot” written all over. Take a look at some of the menu options below:

The Gringo, is located at 1202 W. Grand Avenue, open from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to midnight on Wednesday and Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

–And remember,

Stay informed, open-minded, and driven.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Racial Tension

By: Micaela Shambee– Editor, The Drive

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Photo Credit: CourtTheatre.org

–Romanticism, Realism, and Modernism converge in Marti Lyon’s 2018 production of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which chronicles an interracial couple’s request for approval to marry from their parents. Despite the weight of this request, the play’s premise rushes the parents and the audience through each scene to a final climactic decision, which must come before the couple departs to New York together. Driven by both a metaphorical and literal timer (10 days to fall in love and 24 hours to make a decision), the racial tension in the play rises to a boiling point at Dr. Prentice’s (Michael Aaron Pogue) dialogue with his visibly angry, work-ridden Black father (Dexter Zollicoffer), then slows to a heart-stopping beep, only after Matt Drayton’s (Tim Hopper) monologue, where he finally bestows his blessing upon the mixed-race couple. Though the play is very similar to its predecessor, the 1967 film by Stanley Kramer is different in its approach to setting, plot (scenes) and character.

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Photo Credit: IMBD.com

Surprisingly, the 1967 film, which Todd Kreidler’s 2012 play was adapted from, does not have the same sense of urgency. The film has moments where the characters can at least enjoy quiet introspection, usually coupled on the terrace with colorful bushes in the background or in Mr. Drayton’s cozy study. Lyons’ adaptation, however, is marked with the added tension of a stark-white setting, a quickly defunct art deal, and Mr. Drayton’s secret vice, his smoking habit, picked up by Dr. Prentice to calm his nerves after his explosive argument with his father. The smoking adds another layer of tension to the already tense atmosphere, which is a noticeable deviation from the original screenplay.

“Lyons makes up for these deviations by essentially adding tension between cigarette puffs, the actor’s speedy delivery of lines, and demanding more of supporting characters to bring outside tension in.”

 

In fact, the play tends to deviate from the film in a multitude of ways. Most notable is the obvious deletion of any scenes outside of the Drayton’s home. Considering the constraints of theater, director Marti Lyons’ choice to exclude scenes from the original screenplay, such as the mixed-couple’s lengthy walk and cab ride from the airport to the Drayton’s home, and Mr. and Mrs. Drayton’s (played by Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn) trip to the Ice Cream Parlor, where Mr. Drayton is forced to confront racism through the choice of a bunch of ice cream flavors (that leads to an accident with another African American man), are understandable, given the lack of the play’s physical mobility. However, the deletion of these scenes makes the play lose the influence of outside forces upon the couple and their parents’ decision (which the movie relies on), ultimately losing the slow build of rising racial tension that makes the 1967 film feel authentic. Lyons makes up for these deviations by essentially adding tension between cigarette puffs, the actor’s speedy delivery of lines, and demanding more of supporting characters to bring outside tension in, such as Mrs. Drayton’s outspoken assistant Hilary St. George (Rachel Sledd), and Irish, liberal-religious Monsignor Ryan (Dan Waller). By focusing all the tension between three spaces of the Drayton’s home, the setting feels claustrophobic, which actually parallels the racial tension of the plot quite well.

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Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune

However, in certain moments the plot moves along as if it were the movie, especially in characterization. The actors’ quick comical banter reveals irony and paradoxes in the play in a palatable manner, just as Sydney Poitier’s debonair suaveness soothes racial tension at every turn in the 1967 film. Katherine Hepburn (Mrs. Drayton) and her niece, Katherine Houghton’s (Joanne) emotive eyes reveal as much about hope, liberalism, and romanticism as Mary Beth Fisher (Mrs. Drayton) and Bryce Gangel’s (Joanne) performances render. The elegance of the Drayton’s home and decor, the characters’ stylish costumes, and wit all resemble that of the 1967 film.

Despite the nostalgia, the play is effective in its approximation of the screenplay, successfully capturing the sympathetic tone the film made about interracial marriage in 1967. The play comically manifests liberal hypocrisy in Mr. Drayton, somehow finds a way to bring Mr. Drayton and Mr. Prentice Sr. together, despite their obvious difference in attitude towards race, and gives the women of the play (apart from “Tillie”) a chance to explore hopeless romanticism, despite the peril of the couple existing as an interracial couple, which was a bit more sensational in 1967. Doctor Prentice and Tillie seem to be the only two that are able to look at the problem of race in the marriage with a balanced, realistic viewpoint. The characters are thus separated into three groups: those that believe the marriage is doomed, those that believe the marriage will be a success (because real love exists within), and those who are on the fence, unable to look away from the real pros and cons of the situation. However, special scrutiny is needed for Matilda “Tillie” Binks, the Drayton’s maid.

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Photo Credit: New City Stage

Tillie (Syndey Charles) is a special character in the play. Syndey Charles’ take on Tillie seems to slightly rewrite the 1967 loving, realistic, but stereotypical “Mammie” character Beah Richards made famous. Charles’ Tilly dishes out tough love, and fierce skepticism about Dr. Prentice that nearly makes one believe that the doctor is a trickster (and that Tillie may harbor internalized racism). Charles’ performance thus allows Tillie to move within the Drayton’s family drama as a person both hyper-aware of her race and also as a race-invisible family member. (Whereas Beah Richards’ Tillie wears her race on her sleeve at all times).

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Photo Credit: Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Photo: Columbia Pictures. NYMAG.com

Despite the obvious deviations from the original film, the play does not seem to improve the original story, but rather reinforce the same message. What Lyons allowed Sydney Charles to do with Tillie, should have been done with each of the characters as the others are quite similar to the original characters in the film. Sydney Charles’ Tillie, being one of the more modernistic characters in the play, departs from the stereotypical character just as a Modernist would break from sudden tradition, and that is where the play truly shines. A more modern approach to the other characters would have been appreciated, considering the six year difference of the film’s screenplay. However, the play and the film’s setting, characterization and plot create enough tension to offer a tantalizing race issue, enough to nearly wage a gender driven war.

∗∗∗∗ 4 out of 5 stars∗∗∗∗

Did you see the play? Do you remember the movie? What did you think? Sound off in the comments below!

 

–And remember,

Stay informed, open-minded, and driven.

Chicago State University Honors Gwendolyn Brooks with 1st ever Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Festival

By: Micaela Shambee– Editor, The Drive

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— On Friday, April 13th 2018, at Chicago State University, the first Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Festival took place in honor of the late Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000). Held on the fourth floor of the recently renamed Gwendolyn Brooks Library, the day long event treated attendees to inspiring speeches and performances by young poets from High schools and Grammar schools across Chicago.

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The honorees, Nora Blakely (Gwendolyn Brooks’ daughter), Haki Madhubuti (Third World Press), and Emily Lansana (University of Chicago) gave rousing speeches, and shared stories of their experiences with Gwendolyn Brooks. In addition, attendees were treated to amazing performances by Chicago State University MFA students Reshay Ingram, and Jerimah Moore, spoken word community group Rebirth/Reborn and student poets from Wendell Philips Academy.

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Honoree-Haki Madhubuti (Third World Press)
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Honoree-Emily Lansana (University of Chicago)
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Honoree–Nora Blakely (Brooks Permissions)

Click here to see MFA Students Reading from our Facebook live: facebook.com/thedrivestudentblog

 

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The festival left attendees with a full understanding of the impact that Gwendolyn Brooks has had on Chicago State University, poetry, and children. Gwendolyn Brooks was known as the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for her 1949 book Annie Allen. (Also paving the way for new Pulitzer Prize winner Kendrick Lamar).

According to PoetryFoundation.org,

“Gwendolyn Brooks is one of the most highly regarded, highly influential, and widely read poets of 20th-century American poetry. She was a much-honored poet, even in her lifetime, with the distinction of being the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize. She also was poetry consultant to the Library of Congress—the first black woman to hold that position—and poet laureate of the State of Illinois. Many of Brooks’s works display a political consciousness, especially those from the 1960s and later, with several of her poems reflecting the civil rights activism of that period. Her body of work gave her, according to critic George E. Kent, ‘a unique position in American letters. Not only has she combined a strong commitment to racial identity and equality with a mastery of poetic techniques, but she has also managed to bridge the gap between the academic poets of her generation in the 1940s and the young black militant writers of the 1960s.’

Learn more about Gwendolyn Brooks at the PoetryFoundation.org

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Photo Credit: PoetryFoundation.org Gwendolyn Brooks at her typewriter. Courtesy of Getty Images.

The Gwendolyn Brooks Center

Also, check out the Gwendolyn Brooks Center to learn more about Brooks’ impact on Chicago State University in the Gwendolyn Brooks Library.

From the Library’s Website:

“Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing (GBC) was founded in 1990 on the historic campus of Chicago State University (CSU). It is named after Ms. Brooks, the former Poet Laureate of the State of Illinois and Distinguished Professor of English at Chicago State University. This Gwendolyn Brooks Conference for Black Literature and Creative Writing is sponsored by [sic] The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council and the Chicago State University College of Arts & Sciences.”

The Gwendolyn Brooks Creativity Festival Flyer Master Final Updated for Email
Design by Micaela Shambee for the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Festival

Did you attend the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Festival? What was your favorite moment? Who was your favorite speaker? Sound off in the comments below!

–And remember,

 

Stay informed, open-minded, and driven.

Event Photos courtesy of The Drive Student Blog and Dr. Kelly Norman Ellis (Chicago State University)

 

Food Desert Chicago: 65th & Woodlawn and Kumunda Gardens Closing without Warning

By: Micaela Shambee– Editor, The Drive

Photo Credit: Change.org

–It is no secret that South-siders constantly face the reality of food droughts everyday.  Every corner has the same setup: fast food restaurants on every other block, liquor stores on every other corner, Arab owned “Mom and Pop” grocery stores on every street. Black people who occupy South side neighborhoods constantly face the choice between 3 for $1 bags of chips and $3 salad kits to purchase for themselves and their families.

Which would you choose on a limited budget?

Photo Credit: Thillest.com
Photo Credit: NPR.com

With cuts to food stamps and increased taxes such as the infamous “Sugar Tax” and “Bag tax,” South-siders are on the brink of stretching their budgets to the max.

So why would First Presbyterian Church close the 65th & Woodlawn and Kumunda Gardens without warning?

 

Neighborhoods like Auburn-Gresham, who rely heavily on food pantries and community gardens to supplement their grocery budgets, are being hit on both ends with community gardens facing the ax.

According to the Change.org petition to save these Gardens,

“For over a decade, the 65th & Woodlawn and Kumunda Gardens have been a major source of food and a treasured island of shared green space for residents on Chicago’s South Side.

We are stunned to learn that the landowner, First Presbyterian Church, plans to close both gardens immediately. No reason has been given.

The gardens’ closure would be a blow to Southside families, our health, and budgets, and to the hundreds of food pantry clients who depend on the fresh produce we provide weekly. We will have to turn away the teen job skills and food justice programs we host each summer. Non-gardening neighbors will be impacted when these cultivated spaces revert to trash-strewn vacant lots. This would be a heartbreaking waste.”

Photo Credit: Change.org

The expansion of stores like Whole Foods and Marino’s opening their doors in the Englewood and Hyde Park areas have been a spark of hope in the food drought currently plaguing south side neighborhoods. Though the arrival of these stores are a sign that the best is yet to come to the south side, it is devastating to learn that community gardens are not valued enough to keep open and available to these already food scarce neighborhoods.

Want to do something about this? Start by signing this change.org petition: Stand for Food Justice. Save Woodlawn’s Gardens!

–And remember,

Stay informed, open-minded, and driven.

 

A Woman was Stabbed on the CTA Bus: A Word of Caution to Students

 

By: Micaela Shambee– Editor, The Drive

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Photo Credit: ABC 7 News

As a college student riding the CTA everyday to get to classes, hearing about a stabbing attack is extremely unsettling.

“The woman was sitting on the bus when another woman sitting behind her stabbed her in the back of the head, police said.”

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Photo Credit: Google Photos

ABC 7 News reported April 1st,

A 30-year-old woman was stabbed while riding a CTA bus on the Magnificent Mile Sunday night, Chicago police said.

The stabbing occurred on the 147 CTA bus at about 10:15 p.m. along Michigan Avenue near Ontario Street, police said.

The woman was sitting on the bus when another woman sitting behind her stabbed her in the back of the head, police said. It’s not clear what she was stabbed with, but police said whatever it was, was inside a glove.

The victim had a minor cut to the back of the head. She was looked at by paramedics at the scene and was not transported to a hospital.”

Everyday while riding the CTA, I see people wearing headphones listening to music, or peering down into their smart phones, either not paying attention to their surroundings or unable to hear anything, as their ears are obstructed by alarmingly loud music.

“It is your duty to make sure that you are safe and alert when riding public transportation. .”

Photo Credit: Chicago Sun Times

This type of attack can happen to anyone, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings.  It is your duty to make sure that you are safe and alert when riding public transportation.  Unlike CTA trains, there are no security guards with dogs checking the bus at every stop, so it is essential that you wait to play your music, and put away your cellphone until you arrive at your destination.

Though the victim was not reported to have been obstructed by any devices, let this attack be a heed of caution: stay aware of your surroundings when traveling on public transportation.

–And remember,

Stay informed, open-minded, and driven.

 

 

Informed, Open-minded, Driven

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