Reason for moving Strut is 'hogwash'
The purpose for the Bessie Smith Strut was to provide an opportunity for blacks and whites to celebrate together in the heart of the black business district, using live blues and jazz as mixing agents, to bring white business into the district and improve racial relations by way of a big, free street party in honor of our own Bessie Smith and her strutting spirit.
The original purpose of the Riverbend Festival was to get people to come back to the city and down to the riverfront in the spirit of community celebration.
The Bessie Smith Strut was part of that community celebration spirit. That was why it was free, in order to give all the citizens an opportunity to participate in the festivities and entertainments.
After 30 years of success, the city mayor and the so-called Friends of the Festival have announced that the free Bessie Smith Strut on M.L. King Boulevard will be no more.
In its place will be a Bessie Smith Celebration held down by the river because the city police department claims that it can better control the crowd at the Riverbend Festival site. Hogwash.
NAMAN CROWE, Ferger Place
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Club cites dangers of prescription drugs
Over the past few years, prescription drug abuse has become a major issue in the United States. At the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, we have multiple deaths that have been associated with prescription drugs. One of these deaths was my pledge brother, friend and role model, Jeff Lang.
Over the past year, I have been involved in the addition of a new club to campus called the Student Coalition against Prescription Drug Abuse.
Prescription drug abuse is not only a problem in Chattanooga, but nationwide in young adults.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription drugs are the leaders in fatal overdoses. This popularity of prescription drugs has surfaced because of how simple it is to access these drugs. This problem needs to be addressed on campus at UTC and nationwide.
The Student Coalition against Prescription Drug Abuse at UTC promotes awareness of prescription drug abuse.
We have seen and experienced the effects of deaths from prescription drugs and want to use this club as a center for students affected by it.
Our club serves as a jolt to a student body that has been strongly affected by these losses, and we hope to grow into an influential force.
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Don't use 'babies' to describe youth
Great article about Brainerd High School on April 1.
I noticed an assistant principal saying of the students, "They are all babies ..."
Then, in the same Sunday edition, Rep. Tommie Brown is leery of tougher gang laws: "Show me something other than just throwing the net and dragging our babies into jail."
I think it would be helpful for these leaders to call the youth "young adults," not babies. The term "babies" is not only inaccurate, it is insulting.
There should be higher expectations, with good modeling of adulthood by the leaders. Thinking of them as infants gives the appearance of no ability of these young people to think for themselves or make wise choices.
Hats off to principal Joynes at Brainerd and those turning around Howard high school. We are blessed to have these types of leaders for our young people.
Wess Stafford's new book, "Just a Minute," tells story after story of young people whose poverty-stricken lives were changed forever through the involvement and encouragement of loving and godly adults. May we all step up to the responsibility of helping our youth have a brighter future.
SANDY HARRIS, Lookout Mountain, Ga.
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Try to do more for families, pupils
I read with a heavy heart the front page article (April 1) from the principal of Brainerd High School.
I applaud and fully support all of his efforts and those of the other public school educators in their roles as both parent and teacher.
Is it possible to do more?
How can we as the community demonstrate, beyond words, our support for families to remain united and recognize that education leads to not just liberation because of financial success, but also the ability to contribute back to society?
I am further concerned about another group of students and families not mentioned in the article. What about those students who believe in the power of education and have a support structure in place at home with expectations of success and goals for the future?
How can their goals and expectations be fulfilled, and how can they continue to be encouraged toward success?
It seems like an overwhelming task, and no easy solutions come to mind, but I am fully committed to being involved and supporting where I can.
JULIANNE WOLF, Cleveland, Tenn.
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Tea party: we can care for ourselves
Someone wrote complaining that they didn't understand what the current tea party was all about, and that the "community" was as a whole behind the original Boston Tea Party.
I started the Tennessee Tea Party in 1991, so I know a little about the tea party. The message is simple: Leave us alone and we will take care of ourselves, under the God of our Fathers.
Secondly, I suppose the author of the referenced letter learned his history from government schools or jaded television. The fact is that the majority of the "community" was not for the Boston Tea Party or the American Revolution. But God was. And we won. And we will again.
JUNE GRIFFIN, Dayton, Tenn.