published Friday, January 18th, 2013

Chattanooga celebrates M.L. King's life

  • photo
    Artist Kevin Bate works on a mural of Martin Luther King Jr. at Blue Boy Barber Shop on MLK Boulevard on July 29, 2012, in Chattanooga.
    Photo by By Allison Love

KING WEEK EVENTS

* Today, 9:50 a.m. and noon: Naomi Tutu, daughter of 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, will speak at Baylor School

* Saturday, 9 a.m.: Prayer breakfast at Second Missionary Baptist Church. $15 donation

* Sunday, 1-3 p.m.: Creative Underground presents "To Martin with Love" at Mocha's Restaurant and Lounge. Admission $15. For advance tickets call 423-402-0452.

* Sunday, 4 p.m.: Dr. King's birthday party at New Zion Baptist Church

* Monday, 11 a.m.: Peace, Love and Unity Service at Memorial Hospital. Dr. Rozario Slack, pastor of Temple of Faith Deliverance Church of God in Christ, will be the speaker.

* Monday, noon: Dreamers in Action Luncheon at Salvation Army's Recreate Cafe. Free admission, but registration required at http://tsachatt.wufoo.com/forms/r7x2q5. For information, call Tenika Dye at 423-756-1023.

* Monday, 4 p.m.: Memorial march from Mount Olivet Baptist Church to Tivoli Theatre, followed by main program.

* Monday, 5 p.m.: Main program, Tivoli Theatre

Chattanooga observes paid parking holiday

Visitors to downtown Chattanooga will get a reprieve from parking fees at meters on Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, officials announced. The Chattanooga Parking Authority will not enforce downtown parking meters on the holiday. Parking in an unlawful area, such as bus or loading zones, yellow curb, no parking, handicap space, Fort Wood Residential District, among others, is enforceable at all times, according to a news release.

What would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. say about churches and their effort to reach people with HIV/AIDS?

King tried to bring social justice to America, said Helen Adams, Tennessee Minority Aids Initiative coordinator. So what would he say about the alarming rate at which HIV/AIDS is consuming the black community and the ostracism and stigmatism people face when they reveal that they have it?

Adams was the main speaker for the Unity Group's annual children's rights conference hosted by the Tennessee Council on Children and Youth.

The Children's Conference is among several activities this week and next planned to celebrate the legacy of the civil rights leader.

The country is moving only slowly toward an AIDS-free and HIV-free society, but ostracism and ignorance hinder progress, Adams said.

"I just looked at the figures yesterday and there were already 28 new cases of chlamydia in this region alone for this year, and we're just in the first month," said Adams. "Chlamydia is a prerequisite for HIV/AIDS. That means that people are having unprotected sex."

Adams said she participated in an HIV/AIDS presentation at Chattanooga State Community College last year where a young black woman was the main speaker. She said white students attending outnumbered minorities at least 3 to 1.

"For some reason, African-American youth act like they have a Superman mentality, like nothing can touch them," said Adams. "We bring the program, but they have no desire to come in and learn."

Blacks make up 20 percent of the population in Hamilton County but accounted for nearly half the people diagnosed with HIV in 2009, according to 2012 statistics from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department.

Adams said she recommends abstinence when she talks about preventing HIV/AIDs, but she also wants people to be prepared if they are not abstinent.

The problem could be in the culture, said Rosalyn Leavell-Rice, regional coordinator for the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth.

She said instead of having a dialogue about sex, her parents told her to keep her panties up and her dress down. And that message was passed from generation to generation.

"A lot of times we do not want to talk to our children about sex," said Leavell-Rice. "That's the barrier. We have to start with parents. How do we work within our culture to let people know it's OK to save your baby's life?"

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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