Marilyn Calhoun, a 22-year breast cancer survivor, is still advocating awareness and prevention. The retired Dallas principal and veteran educator wants women to be proactive, get mammograms as well as participate in other breast cancer prevention programs. Calhoun originally shared her triumphant journey in a 2011 Harvest Reapers Communications’ video interview. Her words still ring true and her message is more important than ever, so please take the time to watch:
I recently listened to Aretha Franklin’s captivating album, “Young, Gifted and Black” while paying tribute to the “Queen of Soul” and her global influence. She paints a beautiful picture of what it means to be black in America.
Yes, it’s often a difficult journey because we face trials and experience pain. However, African-Americans are substantial contributors, innovators and achievers.
This is the first Women’s History Month since the death of Aretha Louise Franklin in her Detroit, Michigan, home Aug. 16, 2018. She died from pancreatic cancer. Born in 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee, she would have turned 77 on March 25.
Her talent knew no limits. She was a pianist, songwriter and singer. Aretha also was an actress, civil rights activist and a loving mother and so much more.
Aretha’s “crown” of musical jewels include:
Aretha’s life and legacy showed me how to fight proudly for what I believe in. This is the year I start creating my delicate, yet fierce marking for the world: I intend to honor my ancestors while creating my own identity, take calculated risks and raise my voice in favor of issues and causes I believe in, just like Aretha did. She was an iconic pioneer whose proud, powerful gospel and soul music influenced generations of performers and fans.In fact, her influence can’t be measured. There’s no doubt about it: She changed the world.
Why do I say all of this? Because I, too, am young, gifted and black.
Regina L. Burns contributed to this blog post.
(c) March 2019. Harvest Reapers Communications. All Rights Reserved.
Now that WFAA-TV news anchor John McCaa has signed off for the last time on March 1, 2019, his history-making tenure will be remembered. McCaa told D Magazine’s Tim Rogers that he’s a “pretty emotional guy" and his farewell was indeed, emotional. That's understandable, after all, he worked at WFAA for 35 years, bringing good journalism to North Texas.
I had the privilege of working with McCaa during a series of contract gigs at Channel 8 that involved the assignment desk. The best description of what working on the assignment desk is comes from one of my esteemed Abilene Christian University journalism professors, Dr. Charles Marler—it’s “like an octopus.” For example, the Desk:
• Manages day-to-day and breaking news assignments for TV news crews.
• Navigates Twitter and Facebook for updates.
• Vets information across a host of databases.
• Provides research support by phone.
My most-memorable-McCaa moment was during WFAA’s coverage of the Dallas police ambush in the summer of 2016. This tragic event brought the newsroom to a collective heartfelt loss, for all those who were killed and injured. There were other emotions that elevated us: admiration and respect for the videographers and reporters who were on the scene that fateful day, July 7, 2016. In the midst of handling logistics, gathering details of funeral arrangements and verifying other information for producers, I witnessed McCaa’s calm leadership during our team briefings.
Having worked in journalism for a variety of news organizations such as: KRBC-TV in Abilene, WPTY-TV, WLOK and WGKX radio stations in Memphis, FayObserver.com in Fayetteville, North Carolina, as well as The Associated Press in Jackson, Mississippi, and Dallas, (not to mention a wealth of freelance gigs), by far the Dallas police ambush story was the toughest to cover.
McCaa brought experience gained from other challenging assignments in his long career to this tragic event in Dallas.
He writes that retiring from television news after more than 42 years is “not easy.” However, he sensed that God “decided it was time” and he’s being obedient.
I am thrilled that my career dovetailed with his and that I gained so much from being in the newsroom during his tenure. His TV news experience, his depth of knowledge and his caring spirit elevated the environment and the newscast. Every time.
Thank you for your service. #ThanksJohn
(c) March 2019 Harvest Reapers Communications. All Rights Reserved.
As March gives way to April, I am thrilled to introduce you to eight women from a diverse set of life experiences in the 2018 Annual Women's History Month Salute. They are: Martha Germann; Sharon Matlock; Viola Cole; Rose Braziel, Dorothy Jones; Rachel Shankman; Lillian Barnett and Wendy Calhoun.
I know these women: some are from my native Memphis, others I met in Texas. Some hired me to provide communication services, others cheered me on in some form or fashion. I met Wendy virtually while working with her mother, Marilyn Calhoun, on projects. (Check out Wendy's '90s flashback attire.)
I asked each three questions:
1. Why do you think Women's History Month is important?
2. What contribution are you most proud of?
3. What is the best advice or wisdom you ever received?
You'll note their responses are numbered accordingly. Please take a moment to express your thoughts in the Comments section. I also ask that you share this post with your family, friends, colleagues and others.
Feel free to contact me if your organization needs communication support such as blogs, corporate communication resources or copy editing. Thank you.
Martha Germann: Lewisville, Texas, Founder of Mindful Games Institute
1. As with any celebration, from birthdays and anniversaries to Presidents Day, Women’s History Month is designed to bring a conscious focus on the topic. It is a time to bring back in to the collective conversation all the amazing things that women have contributed and accomplished. Our job is to keep that conversation alive throughout the year by recognizing and celebrating the ongoing contributions and accomplishments women make daily.
2. My mission is to make a difference in the quality of people’s lives and I bring that mindset into everything I do. I am most proud of the journey of self-development that brought me to my Thriving beyond Survival Model because it not only made a difference in my ability to thrive each day, it gave me a way to convey that to others. It is information and strategies that I use in presentations, workshops and my book ("Thriving beyond Survival: How to Know What You Really Want and Have Fun Getting It") so that it can be accessible to more people. We are designed to thrive but have been trained to just survive. The world needs more focus on getting back to thriving and I am proud to have created an option for others to get there.
3. The wisdom that made the most impact on me centers on two things. The first is the conscious practicing of self-love and appreciation, actually practicing the emotion. This has not only grown my compassion for myself, but spread to everyone in my world. The second is always knowing that I have ultimate choice of what I think, feel and believe. I am mindfully aware of what I am choosing and these things shape my experience.
Community engagement: TEDx speaker
What are some of the outcomes achieved from this event?
We have helped finance travel and accommodations for journalism students attending conferences and conventions, career enhancement programs and workshops. When big funders fall through, we were able to use funds raised to help with feeding students, providing transportation or purchasing supplies for the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists Urban Journalism Workshop.
Some of the funds have helped young journalists with training. Tell me about that work.
We have paid registration fees to conventions. Additionally, the proceeds from the event have helped take students to conventions in Seattle, Phoenix, Orlando, D.C., Atlanta, Indianapolis, Houston, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Oklahoma. Jeffries Street Learning Center, the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation and the African American Museum of Dallas are just a few of the beneficiaries over the years.
Anything else to add?
I love doing this event and I love bringing people together for a good time and a good cause.
Cheryl Smith knows how to organize a longstanding and successful fundraiser that supports her passion for journalism and fun gatherings. The veteran Dallas publisher, journalist and National Association of Black Journalists' board secretary founded the Don't Believe the Hype Celebrity Bowl-a-thon a little more than two decades ago.
The 23rd annual event, slated in Dallas June 17, 2017, promises to supply ample laughter, loads of good-natured, competitive bowling and financial support for various causes.
Smith, who has made her mark across all media platforms, also serves as longtime president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists. Additionally, she led the NABJ Region VII during two terms as director. A tireless advocate for journalism and journalists, she revealed during a Question-and-Answer interview conducted by email, how the Bowl-a-thon got its name, some of the event's beneficiaries and the highest score she's ever bowled.
Where did the name of the event come from?
"Don't Believe the Hype" is a hit song from the popular rap group, Public Enemy. I used the song as the opening for my award-winning talk show on KKDA-AM, "Reporters Roundtable with Cheryl Smith." When I decided to come up with a fundraiser, I bounced around names and a friend suggested I use the song. So, I called Chuck D and told him what I wanted to do and asked his permission. He said, 'Yes!' He actually came for the first event and also for the 10th anniversary.
What was your original vision?
Just to bring together people to have fun and raise money for scholarships.
Have you achieved your original vision?
Yes, people consider the event to be a quality program and while I have raised a significant amount of money over the past 22 years, I would like to raise so much more.
How much money has the event raised since its inception?
We have raised over $300,000.
Why did you decide to use bowling to raise money?
Growing up in New Jersey, we went to the movies, bowled and skated. I felt that bowling was something that people of all ages can do. After a while, I couldn't see myself 85 [and] skating. Maybe there are some, but not me. ...
What's the best game (score) you've bowled?
I was on a bowling team in 8th grade and used to go bowling with my Godmother and her friends. The best game I bowled was about three years ago, and it was like a 230. Everyone was amazed. I was and am still in shock.
Courageous. Caring. Called.
Those words bring to mind Jannette Watts and Marilyn Calhoun, of Dallas, Texas; and, Millicent Hoskin, Paula Casey, Priscilla "Pan" Awsumb, and Dr. Mary Crawford, all from Memphis, Tennessee. Each woman is being celebrated in my 2017 Making History Profiles Q&A, which was changed from the previous name, Women's History Month Salute.
Jannette Watts (in the video) invited me to attend a Career Day event at an elementary school back in 2011. During my presentation, the attentive young students helped me create an audio clip featuring them making bird sounds.
Since then, I have chatted with Watts throughout the years at the church we attend, The Potter's House of Dallas.
And I was honored when she asked me two consecutive years to serve as Mistress of Ceremonies for the Annual Gospel Explosion during Black History Month at Kennedy-Curry Middle School.
Watts is the community liaison for Kennedy-Curry, located in Dallas' Oak Cliff neighborhood. Principal David Welch defines her work: "A community liaison is the bridge between the school and the community... [The person] needs to be well-grounded to know what's in the community and [to work] with parents to help the school," he said during a telephone interview.
In his first year at the school, Welch has turned to Watts repeatedly to support his leadership and each time, she delivered results.
I first met Millicent Cade Hoskin in the library of Central High School, in my native Memphis, Tennessee, when I was a student there. To this day, I recall the now-retired librarian's commitment to excellence and education.
What is your place in history?
My place in the world is embodied in each of these titles
-- God's child, mother, educator, teacher, mentor/friend, and enabler. At one time in my life, I embraced each of them, usually all of them at the same time. However, each title has to do with service to God and mankind.
My role models, beginning with my Mother, Mrs. Laura Turpin
Cade, have been for the most part, strong African-American
women who faced and overcame the two overwhelming
forces of being both African-American and female:
Sojourner Truth; Diana Ross; Nikki Giovanni; Marva
Collins (imagine my delight in actually attending one
of her workshops!); and yes, even Queen Latifah. Also included are my female teachers, and women at my church who nurtured me and treated me as though I was their own.
What was the focus of your career? Share some of your
milestones and accolades.
I concentrated on reading and writing literacy, to ensure not only that students were able to read and write, but also that they were able to comprehend as well. Today, former students continue to thank me for the positive contributions to their attainment of education and life goals.
I was the first African-American librarian at Central High School. I served 29 years with Memphis City Schools and also worked with other educational organizations. Various groups have honored me and I received grants from the Memphis Rotary Club to provide more resources.
Additionally, I received a special request to write a Litany of Unity for the 30th commemoration of Dr. Martin L. King Jr.'s death. It was shared during the April 3,1998 service at Mason Temple Church of God in Christ.
Why do you think Women's History Month is important?
Women’s History Month will be important as long as women are important. A month is good, but a daily and monthly focus would be awesome. The initiative should be taken to keep women in the forefront of published articles in every venue, especially social media. Our daughters must be constantly
reminded of their Godly inheritance, motivated, and trained to use their inherent strengths to achieve meaningful goals and to live fulfilled lives.
Will you suggest one book that everyone should read?
"Just a Sister Away: A Womanist Vision of Women’s Relationships in the Bible" is one book I would recommend that all read, especially African-American women. According to its author Dr. Renita J. Weems, this book “was written unapologetically with African-American women in mind as a way of reminding us that we are not an afterthought to salvation, that the first step toward satisfying the gnawing hunger within us is to pick up a pencil.” ...
In times when African-American women are still viewed as unequal and even not permitted to preach or be a meaningful part of religious services in certain places, we need an anchor. We need recognition as persons other than slaves forced to come to a foreign land. We need to FULLY realize that our salvation may be ‘”just a sister away." This book gives us that assurance.
How can Women's History Month can be elevated so that more people take notice of it?
While it's hard to ascertain an exact number, approximately 8 percent of the statues and monuments in this country are of women. That's too few. I believe more people will start paying attention as the national centennial of the 19th Amendment's ratification in 2020 draws near. People celebrate public art and particularly notice statues and monuments of women since there are so few. Public art also reflects what we think is important as a society.
What is your place in history?
My adult life has been spent trying to get women elected and promoting women's accomplishments, particularly the effort for American women to be included in the U.S. Constitution.
I have studied political and social movements and concluded the woman suffrage movement was the greatest nonviolent revolution in the United States. And, I speak around the country about the woman suffrage movement and voting rights.
How did you stand out in your work or industry?
I started the company in 1989 to produce a video,"Generations: American Women Win the Vote." Later, it became a DVD and is also available in streaming video.
The book, "The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage," was first published in May 1998 before one of the co-authors, Carol Lynn Yellin, died of breast cancer in March 1999. She wanted this history preserved. I got the audiobook completed in 2013 read by Dr. Jan Sherman, the other co-author. The book is available in three e-book formats - Kindle, Apple, and Nook.
Can you suggest one book that everyone should read?
"The Warmth of Other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson is absolutely outstanding. I think it should be required reading in all high schools. It is beautifully written and provides context for understanding the overt and covert racism that persists in our country.
See also: http://www.pbs.org/video/2365977400/
What is your place in history?
I don't know what my place in history is. I really don't give it much thought. I'm too busy living life fully as a wife, mother of two, grandmother of two, good friend, and involved citizen. I enjoy speaking out about issues of importance to our community and our nation, and being a catalyst, weaving/knitting people of different backgrounds together.
My 13 years at Leadership Memphis, the last seven as executive director, were fulfilling because we ran three programs that changed many peoples' lives - an excellent yearlong in-depth executive program, a one-day intensive for new executives called Inside Memphis that was replicated in other cities across the United States, and a unique leadership training program for residents of the Memphis Housing Authority - while successfully raising an endowment to sustain Leadership Memphis in the future.
How did you stand out in your work or industry?
While heading up Leadership Memphis, I served on the boards of the Tennessee Association of Community Leadership and the National Leadership Association, and received the Chair's Community Circle Award. Furthermore, I was also chosen to receive an award as one of Fifty Women Making a Difference in Memphis.
Why do you think Women's History Month is important?
The term 'Women's History Month, like 'Black
History Month', carries some negative connotation to me. Teaching women's history and black history should be ongoing and woven into all our historical narratives, not relegated to one month a year and then given short shrift the rest of the time. However, it is essential that women be recognized for their accomplishments. In fact, I have supported Women of Achievement in Memphis for many years.
What causes or work are you involved in?
Currently, I serve on the Leadership Council of the Lynching Sites Project of Memphis. We are part of a growing network of citizens who want the whole and accurate truth to be told about the history of Shelby County. We believe that we can heal and grow in understanding when we openly face the history of racial violence in our community. The vision of the Lynching Sites Project is "to open our hearts and our communities to racial healing by shining thelight of truth on lynchings in Shelby County, Tennessee." We join in this work with the national effort of Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative that he founded to memorialize known lynchings in our nation from 1877 - 1950.
We are working on a major commemoration of Ell Persons, who was lynched 100 years ago on May 22, 1917, to tell the truth that has been hidden too long. Our service of healing and repentance will be held May 21, 2017 at the site of his horrific lynching, which was attended by between 3,000 and 5,000 people.
Ell Persons' lynching led to the founding of the Memphis Branch of the NAACP in 1917. It was Tennessee's first NAACP branch and two years later, heralded as the South's largest.
(For additional references, please see: the "Memphis Burning" cover feature by Martha Park in the Memphis Flyer, February 4, 2016; "Students Memorialize
a Past Tragedy to Create a More Hopeful Future" on the Facing History and Ourselves website; and, "Putting Lynching on the Map.")
We meet weekly from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Caritas Village, 2509 Harvard Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Visit us on Facebook at lynchingsitesmem.
I am also regularly protesting the absolutely horrible policies of the Trump administration, by email, phone, and in person. I strongly support Bernie Sanders' and Elizabeth Warren's approach to governing.
Got any good book suggestions?
My husband Carl and I are currently reading the book "Wonder" with 5th-grade students at Brewster Elementary School. We are encouraging the young people we read with to become discerning thinkers, not rote memorizers and responders.
There is SO much great literature out there - one book couldn't begin to touch what we all might share, except the Bible. I've come back to "The Little Prince" at different times in my life, and enjoy sharing it with our grandchildren. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
What are you are currently involved with?
I am involved with but not limited to: Breast Health & Cancer Research fund drives (www.komen-dallas.org), oral history projects with Remembering Black Dallas (www.rbDallas.com), service projects of Metropolitan Dallas Alumnae of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Disciples Women's Ministries for the Christian Church (DOC), and south Dallas community service, e.g. K. J. Gilliam Museum (www.kathlynjoygilliammuseum.org), African American Education Archives and History Program @ African American Museum (www.aaeahp.org & Clean South Dallas. I serve as parliamentarian for four community or professional associations to educate the membership on parliamentary procedures, practices and law as an active member of The Sounding Block Unit of the National Association of Parliamentarians (https://goo.gl/pwPfYe).
What is your place in history?
My place in history is being the person I am and fulfilling my life purpose as a master teacher and an educator of personal development, to everyone I meet. I love to encourage others to be their best.
Describe your career and accomplishments.
I retired from Dallas Independent School District after serving 32 years as an elementary science teacher, demonstration teacher, site coordinator/Title 1 Dunbar I Special Projects, K-12 Science curriculum writer, instructional facilitator, assistant principal, principal, and specialist for internal charter schools. I was showcased as a presenter at local, state, and national conferences as an innovator of educational programs.
After retiring, I trained and observed teachers/interns in the Alternative Certification program.
What do you think about the importance of Women's History Month?
Women's History Month is important for HerStory to be told and shared. This would provide role models and levels to aspire for young girls and women. I think the observance of Women's History Month should include public forums such as the one held March 26, 2017 by The North Texas Business and Professional Women League, Inc. (http://www.ntbpwl.org/).
Do you have a book suggestion?
My favorite author is Toni Morrison but the book I think all should read is "The Mis-Education of the Negro" by Carter G. Woodson. This book will help the reader gain insights and concepts of being a free person - first in your mind from your own thoughts, beliefs, and perspectives. Currently, I am reading "Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement" by Civil Rights Congressman John Lewis & Michael D'Orso. It is a survival story about life, experiences, and the thoughts of an American patriot. Encourage youth to read the "March" trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. The book won most of the 2016 book awards.
What is your place in history?
I decided to move back to the states permanently when my father became sick. I also had a failed marriage with an Italian dentist. So, I was thrilled to learn that once I returned to my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, I was in time to apply for acceptance to UT Dental School (now the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry) in 1980. I applied after completing pre-dental studies and a battery of tests to ascertain that I could perform acceptably in that curriculum.
Coming from a long stint in Italy, 1966-1979, the last five years of which I had worked in Dentistry, I discovered I really enjoyed working in that field of medicine, even though my college degree was a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture and Printmaking.
I obtained the D.D.S. degree from the UT Center for the Health Sciences in Memphis in 1984 at age 40, almost 41. It was a good thing to have already worked in dentistry before entering dental school because when I graduated, I felt more confident. And that confidence helped me to land an ownership position with Dr. Mary L. Blackwell, one of the first women to graduate from Dental School in 1954 and to successfully practice Dentistry in her own office in Memphis.
I chose to move her practice to the Poplar Plaza Shopping Center in Memphis, setting myself up to build my own practice and to work success-
fully together with Dr. Blackwell. Once she retired, I worked with two other women dentists. The first went on to practice in the dental specialty of endodontics. The second
became my partner and we worked together for 18 years until I retired in September of 2015.
How did you stand out in your work or industry? Did you receive any special recognition?
My first claim to fame has been to practice Dentistry in my own practice for 31 years before successfully retiring. A second is that during those years I maintained a happy relationship with a wonderful husband, Paolo Solferini, and we are both healthy enough to enjoy our retirement years. The third is that I have enjoyed many friendships over my practice years, with fellow dentists, employees, lab technicians, and with patients, many of which I maintain to this day.
Currently, women make up 40 percent of graduating dentists. When I graduated in 1984, we were barely 5 percent. When Dr. Blackwell graduated in 1954, she was the single woman graduate in her class of more than 50 dental students. Additionally, I am very proud of being one of the Women Ground Breakers into the medical professions!
Why do you think Women's History Month is important?
Women's History Month celebrates ALL women who have paved the way out of constrictive roles in our American society and for that reason, it is important to continue its celebration.
What causes or work are you involved in?
Currently, I attend dental society meetings and other occasions to collect continuing education credits should I ever need to reactivate my retired dental license. The main reason I remain involved is to continue some form of cohesion with Dentistry. I have been a member since graduation of the American Dental Association, the Tennessee Dental Association, and the Memphis Dental Society.
A word of appreciation
Many thanks go to Regina Burns, a ground breaker in her own right, with whom I have enjoyed such a long and fruitful friendship over many years. Thank you, Regina, for everything!
Dear Gabby, I Am Proud of You!
4 Ideas to Support 'Motherless' Friends on Mother's Day
"Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr" Author Dr. Michael Williams Commemorates the 50th Anniversary
Do you know why Rev. King went to Memphis?
Update: "Entrepreneurial Journalism: Making Yourself the Brand"
For growth-oriented leaders: 7 strategic advantages of having a good mentor
A Newswoman’s Photo/Video Journey
3 fiction audiobooks you gotta hear
Veteran Dallas Morning News Columnist Norma Adams-Wade Still Making History
UPDATE: Appreciating Frederick Douglass -- the father of the civil rights movement
Women's History Month Salute: Marion Edington, Former A.P. English Teacher
My Women’s History Month Salute: Belva Davis, the first African-American woman television journalist in the western US
2 Lives Impacted by the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing: Guest Post By Jacqueline Wald
Happy Birthday Ma Dear; I 'sure am' grateful for your life lessons
Saluting Kenny DeWalt: Memphis Trombone Player for Rev. Al Green, The Bar-Kays
Retired Vanderbilt Scholar Says MLK is 'Most Relevant' in This Age of Global Terrorism
2014 Black History Month Salute: "The Race Beat"
Today, I am excited to announce a new direction--copy editing and writing--because I believe I can help a lot more organizations and ultimately, land a full-time role with a company that seeks a senior level Copy Editor and Writer.
I enjoy the detailed work of locating and correcting errors. I picked up these skills during my award-winning journalism career that spans working for The Associated Press and other media organizations.
If you know anyone that is either seeking a contractor or an employee with my skills, please connect us via www.harvestreapers.com. Thank you!
Principal PR Strategist Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is a public relations consultant. This senior-level communicator is well-grounded in award-winning, 24/7 multiplatform journalism. Her proven leadership, teamwork and advocacy generated successful campaigns that helped companies and organizations achieve their business goals.
1964 Nobel Peace Prize
1964 Republican National Convention
1968 King Assassination
1994 940 Volvo
2007 Pulitzer Prize In History
2018 Women's History Month Salute
2019 Women's History Month
4 Ideas To Support 'Motherless' Friends On Mother's Day
5 Things You Can Do NOW To Build Search Engine Optimization
Abilene Christian University
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Black Hair Styles
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Education As A Civil Right
Ernest J. Gaines
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Hyatt Regency Dallas
In Loving Memory Of My Mom
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"I’ve Been To The Mountaintop"
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World Wide Rave: Creating Triggers That Get Millions Of People To Spread Your Ideas And Share Your Stories
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