Happy 100th Birthday, Dr. Loving! By Marjorie J. Hurst
© An African American POV
July 1, 2014  issue
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Dr. Ruth B. Loving
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Affectionately known as the First Lady of Civil Rights in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, Dr. Ruth B. Loving celebrated her 100th birthday on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, with a celebration hosted by the City of Springfield Department of Elder Affairs. Janet Denney, the department’s director, summed up the sentiments of the well wishers: “I would like to wish Ms. Loving a Happy 100th Birthday and wish her continued Health and Happiness! I look forward to celebrating her 101st!” And in their tributes, President Barack Obama and Mayor Domenic Sarno captured the essence of what Ruth Loving has meant to the country and to the city. President Obama wrote, “You are part of a generation who summoned the compassion and strength to guide our Nation through some of our greatest challenges and triumphs. . .” And Mayor Sarno, after listing her many accomplishments in a Proclamation, noted, “You are truly living history!” (See page 34.) It became immediately clear to me as Dr. Loving and I talked and looked over the memorabilia she had brought to our office that there was no way I could do justice to her life in this short article. She remains as sharp as ever, is still involved in issues she feels are important, has a memory to be envied, continues to speak her mind, and although she has slowed down somewhat since breaking her hip in 2011, was quick to say to me, “Don’t let this walker fool you. I can still move around just fine!” And that was evident by her presence at City Hall this past February 1st for the raising of the Black American Heritage Flag commemorating the start of Black History Month.
LET’S TAKE RESPONSIBILITY By Rev. Talbert W. Swan, II Dear Black Community: I’m writing you because I am worried. In urban centers around the nation, our people are dying at a disturbing rate. Violence here in Springfield is causing great concern. Shootings and murders, while unconscionable, are no longer uncommon. Far too often, we witness acts of violence in our most vulnerable communities and mourn lives lost far too soon. But it’s not just violence. Every year we receive reports that our children are dropping out of school at alarming rates. On top of that, suicide, HIV infection, drug addiction, joblessness and homelessness continue to undermine our life chances.
POVERTY OF OUR MINDS By Gianna Allentuck I like to watch TV. Snuggle with my kids and puppy, and let our minds wander in funny or fantastical lands. With TV, comes commercials. All kinds: dramatic, humorous, serious, public service, etc. A lot of the time, these advertisements support the cause or promote the mission of poverty or hunger-fighting initiatives or programs such as Save the Children;  Feed the World; Stop Hunger Now and so on… Noble efforts, but also ones that usually focus on bringing food to people in nations other than America. As a caring citizen, I understand that as a successful country we have obligations to support others around the world; but as an Adjustment Counselor in an urban school whose level of poverty hovers around 96%, I more so recognize hunger in the hearts and minds of those in our immediate care. Our children. OUR children.
NO TIME TO CRITICIZE By Kirk Smith The young poet and essayist Criss Jami once said, “The motive behind criticism often determines its validity. Those who care criticize where necessary. Those who envy criticize the moment they think that they have found a weak spot.” Make no mistake – there are plenty of times when criticism is warranted. We all need criticism from time to time. Constructive criticism comes from a pure place and can positively influence our lives and help us be successful in our personal, social, academic and professional lives. Without it, we could never grow and develop into acute thinkers. But on the flip side of constructive criticism is destructive criticism – the type of criticism that comes from a place of judgment and self-righteousness. Rather than working toward building someone else up to become better, this type of disparagement is intended to maintain a place of superiority. It is often based on the unhealthy need for power and control.