This weekend, head to the movies for the opening of Pressure Cooker. This new documentary screening at E Street Cinema chronicles several Black youth from Philadelphia’s Frankford High School under the tutelage of Wilma Stephenson. Wilma is a teacher known for her blunt boot-camp method of teaching Culinary Arts and getting her students to succeed. With a recipe of tough love, honesty and an outstanding understanding of what and how to do it in the kitchen, she has helped young people from working-class neighborhoods reach top culinary schools.
Archive for July, 2009
Washington, DC is known for a lot of things. One record of note, yet very rarely noted is that the largest known slavery escape attempt in the United States took place here in April 1848 on the ship known as the Pearl. The price of freedom was to be $100 for a brave man who chartered the boat to carry he, and his family down the Potomac River, then up the Chesapeake Bay to a new life. Other slaves heard of his plan and he accepted the requests from any slave that could make it to the Pearl by midnight to join him. The ship set sail shortly after midnight April 15 but weather forced it to anchor for some time before completing the journey. That idle time allowed for the slave owners just enough time to discover their human property gone and begin pursuit. The Pearl and all 77 escapees were captured.
The spirit of those who were not waiting to be saved but instead tried to save themselves lives on today through the work of the Pearl Coalition. The Pearl Coalition was founded in 2001 and has been rebuilding and maintenance of a replica of the Schooner Pearl and offering community programming. The Pearl Coalition has begun to conduct outreach to recruit youth and young adults living in Wards 6, 7 & 8 as facilitators and participants in Pearl programming involving community based, school based and ship based cultural presentations. Additional offerings are in the works to tell the heroic story of the people involved in this historic escape attempt and the resulting impact it has had on Washington DC and the Nation. Continue to keep an eye on the Pearl Coalition.
Washington is full of A type personalities and high achievers always wanting to go to the next level. Now they can all truly be high fliers with recent opening of the Washington, DC branch of the Trapeze school in downtown. Through a mix of classes for individuals and groups, the school makes flying trapeze available to anyone who seeks inspiration, challenge, fitness or just a couple hours of unique fun. First-timers and beginners are welcome as well as more advanced flyers. Go ahead, take flight!
Over the next few days, barbecues, parades and fireworks displays will take place across the United States in honor of Independence Day. Citizens of the America will be celebrating their independence and a legacy of standing up for what is right, and just and equal. But what does the 4th of July celebration mean to Washington, DC residents who still are not treated equally because we are denied rightful and just representation in the United States House of Representatives. Hundreds of years after our forefathers declared their independence and fought bloody battles to ensure that their children, grandchildren and every generation to be born or to come to the New World would be given equal representation their dream of no taxation without representation is still not a reality for hundreds of thousands of District residents.
The men and women we elect to govern our city in council and in the mayor’s office pass legislation and budgets that are subject to review and approval by members of Congress who may or may not spend even half of their time in Washington., who owe DC residents nothing, who do not live the Washington experience, who have no one in DC to answer to on their election day, who do not speak for Washingtonians. Yet, they get the last word on what is best for us.
While a force to be reckoned with, our representative/delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, Eleanor Holes Norton can advocate until she is blue in the face, speak until her last breath is gone, persuade as if she was a student of early Greek rhetoric but she still doesn’t have a vote on the House floor.
There is a grave injustice that exists, and in all places, the very Capital of the greatest nation on Earth. American troops have been deployed many times over to many parts of the world to, by presence or by force, guarantee that a proper democracy and democratic government was put in place and the spirit of democracy wasn’t just on paper but in the deeds of the leaders. Yet, right here in America no troops have been sent to do the same thing. Full voting rights for District residents are only fair, just and what our forefathers would have wanted. Until that day comes, the holiday in these four quadrants is mostly just about the barbecues, parades and firework displays not independence and freedom.
For its ninth year the Hip Hop Theater Festival makes a stop in Washington, DC on its nationwide tour July 6 through July 11. The DC leg of the Hip Hop Theater Festival takes place across town in 4 venues, with 12 events and more than 20 artists. Superstar Lupe Fiasco, author Walter Mosley, acclaimed actor Michael Ealy and poet Staceyann Chin will be part of the Tuesday night July 7 Voices Remix: A Peoples History of the United States. Fashioned as a night of theater, Voices Remix will fuse multi-generational artists and performers to celebrate the courageous agents of change who gave birth to the most powerful generation yet. The Hip Hop Theater Festival lineup delivers dj’s, dance, spoken word, theater, activism and theater brought to you with a fresh new flavor & flare. View the entire schedule of events and reserve your tickets online today.