“Delta Epiphany Spotlights Robert F. Kennedy’s Enduring Social Change Legacy” (Online Audio Documentary)
Based on Ellen Meacham’s acclaimed 2018 book, “Delta Epiphany: Robert F. Kennedy in Mississippi,” award-winning multimedia editor and journalist Regina L. Burns executive-produced, reported, and edited the online audio documentary, “Delta Epiphany Spotlights Robert F. Kennedy’s Enduring Social Change Legacy.” This month on the 53rd anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, Meacham’s book is the tour guide for this online audio documentary.
Burns embedded audio interviews she recorded in 2018 of Meacham and Michael White, one of the then-children whose Mississippi Delta home Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-New York) visited in 1967, with pivotal moments from Meacham’s book. Burns also interviewed Dallas, Texas-based Melinda Guravich, daughter-in-law of the late Greenville, Mississippi-based photographer Dan Guravich, whose photographs graced the book’s front and back covers
Kennedy’s 1968 Presidential Campaign
“Delta Epiphany Spotlights Robert F. Kennedy’s Enduring Social Change Legacy” explores Meacham’s book through NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund attorney Marian Wright’s plea to help the starving people in the Mississippi Delta to Kennedy’s arrival in Jackson, Mississippi, and his heartbreaking anti-poverty tour. Meacham traced the horrible human hunger Kennedy witnessed and the quick actions he took to provide aid as well as the subsequent impact of Kennedy’s anti-poverty awareness campaign, which influenced his decision to run for president in 1968. After he was assassinated on June 6, 1968, many other people carried Kennedy’s anti-poverty work forward, despite challenges and naysayers.
COVID-19 and SNAP
Approximately 25 million SNAP-- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- recipients are now eligible for additional emergency assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year in 2021, the USDA said it would provide the increased emergency aid to SNAP participants who had reached the maximum benefit level and had not already received the increased benefits, which Congress approved in 2020.
Purchase Requirement Dropped for Food Stamps
SNAP’s roots date to 1939 and the Great Depression. Back then and recently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people stood in bread lines as hunger swept the country. Meacham provided abundant signposts of Kennedy’s social change journey, and his ongoing influence on various anti-hunger programs such as the 1977 federal legislation that dropped the purchase requirement for food stamps. Prior to that legislation, food stamps had to be purchased. Meacham documented that Kennedy learned, during his ‘Delta Epiphany’ tour, people struggling to put food on the table lacked the financial resources to buy food stamps.
Audio documentary (19:06) and transcript download (.PDF) are below.
Remembering RFK's trip to the Mississippi Delta (Article and "When D.C. Came to the Delta" Video by Junior Walters)
Copyright © June 11, 2021, Regina L. Burns, Harvest Reapers Communications. All Rights Reserved.
‘The Fight for Civil Rights in the South’ is on display through Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.
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.
To register your team for Saturday's Bowl-a-thon, click here. Team preregistration is highly encouraged to ensure participation.
(c) HarvestReapers.com, June 14, 2017. All Rights Reserved.
Q: Do you have or do you make [New Year's] resolutions?
Norma Adams-Wade broke the story that Dallas' two distinctive parades honoring civil rights leader Rev. Martin L. King Jr., were facing massive changes.
Her original reporting led to a request for more Morning News staffers to cover the controversy, which eventually resulted in Dallas having one MLK parade Jan. 18, 2016, instead of two.
She has been making journalistic history for decades and has no plans to stop any time soon.
Adams-Wade first made history in 1974 when R.E. "Buster" Haas literally came to her front door to hire her as the first black full-time staff writer to report about all of Dallas. She made history again Dec. 12, 1975, as one of the 44 founders of the National Association of Black Journalists to convene in Washington, D.C., to launch the organization. She was among the 12 cofounders who attended a 40th NABJ anniversary celebration in December 2015.
The columnist and former senior staff writer retired from the Morning News in 2002. In 1988, she started writing a column devoted to events in Dallas' black community, which she writes weekly.
Adams-Wade is quick to mention a name not heard much these days: Julia Scott Reed, whom the Morning News hired to cover the black community in 1967, making Reed the first black staffer at the newspaper.
You should also know that December was a busy month for Adams-Wade because the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists honored her and several others at its holiday mixer. And that event is where I learned about all that she did to further the profession. We discussed my interest in writing about her trailblazing career and you can listen to excerpts of the Jan. 11, 2016, telephone interview to the left.
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Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
Dallas immigration attorney M. Elizabeth Cedillo-Pereira and her husband Oscar Pereira, a mechanical engineer on the Joint Strike Fighter Program at Lockheed Martin Corp., say Dr. King's influence is alive and well, especially in the immigration reform battle.
They agreed to be interviewed for my MLK Day 2013 blog post. The interviews were conducted at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dallas, Texas New Year's Day, where attorney Cedillo-Pereira gave the keynote address at the Dallas County Elected Official Swearing-In Ceremony.
All photos by Regina L. Burns.
“n. one who innovates, one who makes changes, one who introduces new methods or procedures”
Innovative megapastor, entrepreneur and author Bishop T.D. Jakes is preaching memorable sermons that can be translated into strategic lessons for innovators. The July 1, 2012 sermon “Commitment” coincided with the 16th anniversary of The Potter’s House’s founding. Jakes issued a call to service for members in the 30,000-plus megachurch. The July 15, 2012 sermon “Is There Not a Cause?” provided insight into the damaging effects of narcissism.
Using that backdrop, here are 12 lessons for innovators that I gleaned from listening to Bishop Jakes, whose comments are in quotation marks:
2. Embrace sacrifice; make it work for you – “Be sacrificial of your time [and] resources.”
3. Put everything into achieving your dreams – “People won’t believe in your dream unless you do.”
4. Find something beyond you to contribute to –“Do you believe in anything other than you?”
5. Give your way through –“I put my whole check into my first church. I didn’t have but seven members.”
6. Keep your promises and commitments—“What do people get when they get you?”
7. Pay the price to be great—“Greatness costs what it costs.”
8. Share in the responsibility AND the benefits –“You want the benefits but you don’t want the responsibility.”
9. Expect no reward – “Stop expecting to be rewarded for [doing] what you’re supposed to do.”
10. Demonstrate that you value relationships by reciprocating -“Any relationship that has no reciprocity will die.”
11. Use social media intelligently – “Say something that makes me want to follow you [on Twitter].”
12. It’s not about you – “Marriage is about sacrifice.”
Also of interest:
4 insights gleaned from the friendship of Bishop T.D. Jakes and Rev. Joel
SharePoint 2010 – Level 1
In an effort to continually expand my technological education, I am pursuing a Project Management certification. Recently, I completed a SharePoint 2010 – Level 1 class and plan on taking SharePoint Level 2.
And speaking of SharePoint, I was especially interested to see this headline: From PCWorld: NewsGator to Integrate Its SharePoint Add-on With Yammer
My Summer Reading/Listening List
Tony Award nominee and funnyman David Alan Grier’s “Barack Like Me: The Chocolate-Covered Truth” audiobook caught my attention during a recent library visit. It’s a frank and edgy breakdown on President Obama’s election to going ballistic after being voted off of “Dancing With the Stars.”
Flickr photo by Alipyon
Photo from Ms. Paine's Twitter profile
I discovered strength strategist, author and researcher Marcus Buckingham on the “Oprah” show and his audiobook “The One Thing You Need to Know About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success” is a keeper. His research is sound and this is an excellent tool for innovators.
Photo from Mr. Buckingham's Twitter profile
The Careers/Job Hunt edition (March 2012) of Public Relations Tactics includes an article I wrote. The path of perseverance: Carving out a new career explores the journeys of three former journalists who transitioned successfully to public relations.
Below are additional insights from some of the story's subjects and an audio excerpt of my interview with Yolette Garcia, Assistant Dean, External Affairs and Outreach, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Southern Methodist University.
Ginger Anderson is a career development facilitator with RESCARE, Inc. and works
at the Richardson Workforce Center in Richardson, Texas.
Q: What are the first steps a career changer should take when beginning a job search?
A: Before you start a job search, know what your minimum personal budget is and what salary range will meet that. Don’t expect to make what you did at your last job. Ask yourself ‘what is the absolute minimum I can live on'? Anything above that is gravy.
Q: How can the career changer obtain
experience in a new industry?
A: Do volunteer work to hone the skills you need.
We have to show the employer that we are trying
to increase our skills... Then during the interview, tell the hiring manager that you are willing to learn from the bottom up—it’s the best way to learn about a new industry. Assure the prospective employer that you are there to help the company grow and obtain it goals.
Anderson is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Was your faith tested [during your unemployment]?
A: Oh yes, definitely tested. I stayed on bended knees hoping and praying that the Lord would open a door for me. And He did. And it was definitely a faith-tester ... . Every time I thought I was getting close to landing a job, it failed. It didn’t come through.
And also, just when unemployment [benefits] were about to run out, that’s when I got the call from Deidre [Malone, who hired him to work for her firm, Memphis-based The Carter Malone Group LLC]. I had about a month left [of unemployment benefits]. That’s God... .
We are taught in church that God is an on-time God [and] that He was will be there when you least expect Him to be. I’m a living witness that He will be right there.
Henry is reachable at email@example.com.
Q: What advice do you have for journalists who may be considering PR?
A: Seek a mentor.
When you are a
journalist sometimes you have
an affinity to not want to deal
with public relations professionals. This is an awesome career to have … .
A great deal of what we do is strategic communications. I recommend they seek out small PR firms that may need assistance like Wiley ... . You can learn to pitch and put together a communications strategy. That’s something you can learn.
Her firm is reachable at http://www.thecartermalonegroup.com/.
Yolette Garcia left her news management job at KERA in Dallas because she wanted a new career path. She joined SMU's Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development
as assistant dean of external affairs
Here is an audio excerpt from my January 2012 interview with her:
Anthony Hicks, APR, is director of public relations and development at Shelby Residential and Vocational Services in Memphis. Hicks, formerly a staff reporter at the Arkansas Gazette, has advice for journalists or anyone else considering a job in PR.
Q: Do you have any regrets about PR?
A: The biggest challenge is managing expectations
of senior executives. Unfortunately, public relations is a difficult field to understand if you are not experienced in it. Consequently, many organizational leaders do not have experience in public relations. That means the public relations person is expected to work miracles.
Have a thick skin. Be strategic. Always be strategic.
Q: Why get the APR (Accreditation in PR credential)?
A: I got it because I wanted to be recognized as the best in my field. I wanted to know for myself that I had the best skills that my industry required and I wanted some authentication. You have to be in PR for a while to get it. I knew it would be a valuable commodity to have. PR is highly competitive so anything you can do to differentiate yourself, the better off you are.
Q: Any other advice?
A: Before and after joining a company, learn its business thoroughly. Once hired you will consistently use your innate news gathering skills to identify programs and initiatives in the company that will make good news stories -- adapted to the press release format. A reporter’s instinct will serve you well in public relations and media relations. Understand that once you make the transition, reporters are not publicists for the company you work for.
For more information about Shelby Residential and Vocational Services, go to http://www.srvs.org/
The Morning News is the “only newspaper in America with real-time scoring,” said Kyle Whitfield, SportsDayHS's interactive community editor. He said the newspaper uses software from NewsEngin[Inc.], “a third party vendor in St. Louis” coupled with a squadron of freelancers that cover 200 Dallas-Fort Worth-area high schools.
“NewsEngin TeamPlayer is a browser-based application that couples the passion of high-school sports with intuitive technology to give news organizations a powerful backbone for their community Web sites and print publications. TeamPlayer can collect, organize and automatically reverse-publish all of a region’s high school sports scores and statistics,” according to NewsEngin's website.
NewsEngin recently announced it has added "70 publications to the roster of news organizations that rely on its Ampere suite of cloud-based content production services."
High School Football Sells
SportsDayHS’s freelancers cover football games from August through December including reporting statistics and writing brief stories. The statistics go into a database and show up on SportsDayHS’s website. Whitfield said the information can be accessed on smartphones also.
With so many eyeballs piercing the website and smartphones to get this unique content, high school is “easiest to sell and most profitable,” according to Whitfield, adding, advertisers want a local audience.
Want a PT Job?
In fact, the newspaper's sports department will host training sessions this summer for freelancers covering the upcoming season. Are you interested in earning some extra cash and having fun at the same time? According to an email Whitfield sent me, this is a part-time job that pays.
College students and others who have experience covering high school football and already live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area should apply, especially if you can write well on deadline and have solid computer skills. To apply, send your resume and clips to SportsDayHS online editor Kyle Whitfield- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richland College Students Tour Newspaper
Whitfield, a LSU graduate, told some of my Richland College students about his job and how he got it during a Feb. 23, 2012 tour of the Morning News. He talked about editing his college newspaper, studying late into the night and having a strong work ethic.
Richland students observed a morning news meeting and also met Photo editor Michael Hamtil (in picture above) who showed us the photo selection process. Deputy Managing Editor/Sports Bob Yates was our gracious tour guide. He gave us a detailed overview of the newspaper's operation and sections. Did you know the Morning News has won nine Pulitzer Prizes? (I was in the building the day David Leeson won his Pulitzer and it was a wonderful experience watching his elation.)
Some of my students want to pursue careers in journalism, others are interested in public relations. Yates asked whether they wanted to be reporters or writers? After listening to their answers Yates said, “Be a great reporter, editors can help you [write well].”
I recently joined Richland's adjunct faculty and I'm having a good time teaching news writing and, of course, weaving in New Media when it works.
Sidebars and Pluses
March is Women's History Month and I'm rereading excerpts of "With Ossie & Ruby: In This Life Together," a dual-memoir by Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Their rich journey in American theater continues to inspire.
I recently learned that abolitionist Frederick Douglass was among several pioneering black newspaper editors. According to William S. McFeely, author of Frederick Douglass, "At least four other newspapers edited by African Americans were in existence when Douglass announced that the North Star would be published." Douglass announced his intention to publish North Star in a letter dated Oct. 28, 1847 to abolitionist and Quaker Amy Post, according to the book.
From the Newseum's website: 'Up From Slavery: The Black Press'
I wrapped up the Dr. King holiday by attending the City of Irving's annual program. This year’s theme is "A Living Memorial: The Man, The Message, The Monument."
Written and adapted by Jacqueline Madden, who is special events coordinator at the Irving Parks and Recreation Division, the program focused on the Washington, D.C.-based MLK Memorial.
Attendees received a commemorative poster emblazoned with "LOVE NOT HATE" which aptly captured the sentiment of last night’s program. Madden weaved together vintage and recent King-related video, stellar musical performances by violinist Richmond Punch and vocalist/author Brenda Ellis and more. The program also included speeches and performances by the amazing Dallas Black Dance Theatre II—all designed to educate the audience about Dr. King’s message of "justice, democracy, hope and love."
If you have not attended Irving's MLK program, please put this on your calendar for next year. This was my fourth year to attend Irving's observance and I always leave enlightened and amazed.
Earlier in the day I went to the MLK parade in Dallas and plan to upload a video to the YouTube channel, when it’s edited.
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.
She previously worked for a variety of news media organizations as an editor and journalist, including The Associated Press in Mississippi and Texas. She was news director at WLOK-AM and WGKX KIX-106 FM in Memphis. Learn more
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