The Pi Pi Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. recently hosted the “All That Jazz” Scholarship Brunch at the Red Rock Country Club. The event honored several Las Vegas residents with the Finer Womanhood Award, and comedian Sheryl Underwood (“The Talk”) also attended in support of her Sorors.
PHOTOS BY MARTY FRIERSON
BY CAPUCINE HOLMES
Las Vegas is full of excitement. People from all over the world are awed by the city’s inimitable glamour, and the entertainment industry — from movie and television productions to awards shows — is taking notice.
The gospel music industry took over Las Vegas recently when about 30,000 people descended on the city for the Stellar Awards, hosted over three days at the Orleans Hotel and Casino. Opening night was highlighted by Las Vegas’ own Aaron Arrington. The founder of Facebook Chorale — a choir made up of more than 100 of his Facebook friends, who come together to fellowship while performing gospel music — Arrington is also the creator of the Midnight Gospel Bowling concert held in the Orleans Bowling Alley. Attendees bowled, then enjoyed a concert with Church Girls Rock Live — featuring Stellar Award winner Beverly Crawford, Tasha Page-Lockhart, Melonie Daniels-Walker, and Chrystal Rucker. Other performers included internet sensation James Wright, Kirk Franklin’s DJ DEX of Sirius Radio, the Tennessee Mass Choir, Las Vegas’ own Velma Harris and many more.
The showstopper for the Stellar Awards weekend was on Saturday — as a crowd clad in in couture gowns and tuxedos poured into the Orleans Arena for the biggest gospel awards show of the year. They enjoyed a night highlighted by stars like Shirley Caesar, Kirk Franklin, Tamela Mann, Fred Hammond, and Jackalyn Carr.
Talented young people from Nevada are poised to make a tremendous impact on the film industry — and don’t be surprised if Studio 11’s “11 Eleven 11” project one produces an Oscar-winning filmmaker.
The program, which is owned and operated by Sharon Tomlinson, is focused on making socially-conscious films about young people. Participants are given the opportunity to work with stars like hit recording artists Mindless Behavior, Towanda Braxton (“The Braxtons”), Carl Payne known as (“Martin”), Khalil Kain (“Girlfriends”), Doris Morgado (“Logan”). They were able to record a score with award-winning producer and songwriter Damon Hasan Johnson — who has worked with Beyonce, Destiny Child, Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Lopez.
There wasn’t an empty seat in the house when a new Studio 11 film, “Misguided Behavior,” debuted at AMC in Town Square. A powerful story about bullying, it speaks to an important issue of our time — and heralds a new and promising era of cinematic talent coming out of the world’s entertainment capital.
Las Vegas is full of big-box retailers — and while they may boast convenience, they lack the true essentials: personality, product diversity, and community. Consumer culture may steer us to chain stores for our shopping needs, but there is usually a disconnect: we don’t alwaysget to know where our goods come from or who makes them. Our choices in these stores are surprisingly limited, and many options sacrifice quality forthe sake of availability. They also make shopping a solitary activity that involves little to no interaction with our neighbors.
Vegas Roots’ “Marketplace at the Roots” addresses these problems by featuring local vendors, providing a familyfriendly weekend activity, and fostering a sense of community. Your dollar goes further because you’re supporting the growth of small businesses, strengthening our local economy, and can find high quality, unique goods that simply don’t exist at the corner store.
This open-air farmer’s market gives shoppers an opportunity to come out and socialize with others in the community while supporting the amazing efforts of aspiring local entrepreneurs. Not only will there be handmade crafts, clothing, jewelry, and fresh food for purchase, this event has a true festival atmosphere — with live music, yoga, painting, healthy food options and activities for kids of all ages. One of the highlights: a Kidpreneur Zone, where young people under 18 will sell what they’ve created. Also, if you are growing an abundance of fruit that the birds are feasting on, the marketplace provides a place to sell your bounty.
Marketplace at the Roots kicks off on Saturday, May 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market will be open every second and fourth Saturday of each month at the Vegas Roots. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life to bear daily witness to the miraculous wonder of a mother’s love, strength, and engagement. As an owner and operator of McDonald’s restaurants, I am frequently awed by moms who indulge their children in conversation and take the time to lovingly watch them play.
A mother’s commitment to her children’s physical and intellectual wellbeing is a priceless treasure. Physically active and healthy children are an immeasurable contribution to the world — and mothers who find the time for work, family, and community are a testament to unique strength that women possess.
Las Vegas is home to many organizations — such as Jack & Jill and Mocha Moms — that cater to mothers. They give women the support they need to lift their voices, and communities grow stronger when mothers are empowered to share their perspectives on issues affecting our families.
We celebrate mothers because they are a perfect example of the values of hope and selflessness that all of humanity yearns for. Mother’s Day brings us a moment to embrace all that is special about the women who give the holiday its name.
Life takes on us many trips. And some of those journeys put obstacles in our path that can leave us insecure and questioning our worth — even when we’re excelling.
Be mindful of those challenges. It may take creativity to get past them — but most things work out for the best, even if we have to take them in a different direction. It is important that your self-worth is grounded in your own ideals, not in the trials that life brings your way.
Integrity, honesty, and compassion define who you are. You will make mistakes, but there is always a new day to make amends.
The world is wonderful, and we are blessed to be here. You are worthy of all the blessings God wants to bestow, so don’t lose focus on what we should all hold dear — the wondrous things that affirm our existence. The beautiful days and mesmerizing nights. The bloom of the flowers and the smiles from a child. The grace of love from our elders, the wisdom from our mothers, the proud protective spirit from our fathers.
These treasures show you’re more than worthy. You are chosen to live the blessings of each day, and peace is within the treasure you are.
I am out here on the proverbial limb, with saw in hand, ready to saw off five easy predictions.
• The easiest one to predict: Trump is lying (again) when he says he is going to bring back coal mining jobs. It ain’t gonna happen. Between 1980 and 2015, the number of jobs in the coal industry dropped from 242,000 to 100,000. Natural gas and renewable energy sources like solar and wind will prevent any meaningful resurgence. When the miners get wind of this big lie, no pun intended, will they still support him?
• Second easiest call to make is lie number-two by Trump. Jobs that have been exported overseas will not be returning. The companies that decided to screw American workers by moving plants out of the country — after using tax write-offs to fully recoup their capital investments in new, fully automated plants — are now reaping record profits through reduced labor costs.
• The new stadium to house the Las Vegas Raiders will experience cost overruns beyond the projected cost of $1.9 billion. Worse yet, it will be the same old, same old for minority contractors and vendors. The reason: our community-based groups are all too politically and economically impotent to demand and receive a fair share piece of the action.
• The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) will continue to get away with highway robbery, pun intended, by not empowering its Office of Civil Rights to enforce the spirit and intent of AB151 with regard to participation of minority and female enterprises on highway construction projects. NDOT is spending a billion a year and we don’t receive squat. The NDOT call was as easy to make as the one I made awhile back, when I stated there would be minuscule minority participation on the $1.5 billion NEON project taking place right now in the heart of the Westside. To date, only one Hispanic has received a contract — to provide signage.
• The Nevada State Legislature will again be duped into providing high levels of per-student cost for K-12 education, with no corresponding accountability requirements for improvements in student achievement. We constantly fight it out with Mississippi and D.C. for the bottom of the totem pole. The spending is nearly as ridiculous at the university level — where enrollment figures do not justify the existence of selected major fields of study that produce a low number of graduates.
The expectation for good governance is about as unrealistic as the idea that national and state governments will pass sensible gun laws.
BY YVETTE WILLIAMS
Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. But people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently — and some engage in dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem.
Sometimes people — especially young people — struggling with mental health concerns develop habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or may be signs of mental health problems themselves. Activities like recreational drug use, obsessive internet use, excessive spending, or detachment patterns can all be behaviors that disrupt mental health and potentially lead people down a path toward crisis.
This May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Montevista Hospital is raising awareness within our community. The campaign is meant to educate and inform individuals dealing with a mental health concern understand that some behaviors and habits can be detrimental to recovery — or even mask a deeper issue — but that seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of.
We need to speak up early and educate people about risky behavior and its connection to mental illness — and do so in a compassionate, judgement-free way.
Montevista Hospital accepts most insurance payment plans. We have friendly admissions and financial counselors available to speak to you now at (702) 251-1371. Please call now.
BY YVETTE WILLIAMS
The 79th Nevada Legislative Session will have just passed the halfway mark at the time of this publication, with legislators wrapping it up in about 30 days on June 5, 2017. Bills not passed out of committee by April 14 have died unless a waiver was extended. Additionally, bills will die if they don’t pass out of the first house by April 25, the second committee by May 19, and second house by May 26. With the approaching deadlines, time is quickly running out to contact your representative on issues important to you. To see complete bill details, sponsors of bills, current status of bills and to find contact information, visit NELIS, Nevada’s legislative website: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/79th2017
With the election of the first African American Assembly Speaker joining African American Senate Majority Leader in controlling both houses, Black Nevadans have a tremendous interest in this legislative session — and hopes for advancements of a community often marginalized in policy decisions. This session is gearing up to deliver on much needed social justice concerns. Each session, the Clark County Black Caucus adopts a Legislative Black Agenda. Go to www.CCBlackCaucus.com to see additional bills you should be aware of and the legislative agenda. Below, a few bills that are of particular interest to Black Nevadans:
Call your State Representative and ask them to support the following bills:
• AB303 – Ban private prisons (passed 1st committee)
• AB384 – Ban the box (passed 1st committee)
• AB181 – Restoration of civil rights (passed 1st committee)
• AB259 – Vacating certain judgements (pass 1st committee)
• AB70 – Redevelopment funds (passed by Assembly with a constitutional majority and moves to Senate)
• SB126 – Small business loan program (passed 1st committee)
Ask your State Representative to amend the following bills:
• SB178 – NV Education Funding Formula (waiver granted). Note: Asking for an additional funding designation to include “lowest proficient students” and provide additional resources they need. Currently, proposed amendments include long term English as a Second Language Learners (ESL) and Gifted & Talented students. Nevada legislators cannot say they are serious about addressing the proficiency gap while ignoring the needs of our least proficient students.
• AB447 – Victory Schools (passed 1st committee). Note: CCBC is asking for additional funding for students in poverty comparable to ZOOM Schools funding currently proposed at $80 Million (Victory) vs. $142 Million (ZOOM)
• SB441 – Workforce development grants (Passed 1st committee). Note: CCBC recommends adding the following language: “Compliance with U.S. Department of Labor C.F.R. Sec 30.29 and 30.30”
• SB357 – Apprenticeship requirements on public works (passed 1st committee). Note: CCBC recommends adding the following language: “Compliance with U.S. Department of Labor C.F.R. Sec 30.29 and 30.30”
Yvette Williams is a community advocate and Chair/Founder of the Clark County Black Caucus, a non-partisan community organization driven 100% by volunteer members registered to vote. Follow her Blog at www.YvetteBWilliams.com and on twitter @YvetteBWilliams or contact her at ClarkCountyBlackCaucus@gmail.com for more information.