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On darkness and light on this day

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
(Photo credit.)



Richard Sheffield: Racial Preferences and productive debate

Take a look at this smart piece by Richard Sheffield in the Deseret News on how the Supreme Court can become a role model for the kind of discussions we ought to be having about our disagreements. Here’s a snip:

While anticipating the court’s decision, I wonder how we can better handle disagreement and tension between the two sides of tough issues. Also, the recent racial tumult at the University of Missouri has spread to the Ivy League and beyond, increasing the focus on competing racial issues and the related on-campus arguments.

What amount of ugly rhetoric should be allowed as free speech, even though offensive? Should race still be considered in admissions to increase diversity in campus debates? When do volleys shot between two sides become counterproductive?

Ironically, I think the Supreme Court justices themselves can serve as a model for fruitful interaction on highly charged issues — whether on campuses, in Congress or City Hall, or even at Christmas dinner.

Read the entire piece by Mr. Sheffield online at the Deseret News.



Tallahassee Democrat: Food, Conversation a Plenty at the Longest Table

longest-table-oct-4Under the sweeping canopy of live oaks, the 350-feet long table, bridging two downtown blocks, was filled with trays of brownies, berries piled atop cheesecake squares and powdered snow-white desserts. Sweet tea, Southern barbecue and conversation were plentiful.

The Longest Table, Tallahassee’s first community-wide dinner party of sorts, asked nearly 500 local politicians, faith leaders, educators, agency representatives and residents from all neighborhoods and backgrounds to go beyond small talk and discuss what was most at stake in their city.

A reel of paper rolled the entire length of the table, filled with tough conversation-starters, questions like, “What’s the biggest challenge facing our community?” and the fill-in-the blank, “Race relations in our community are ___.” to spark honest dialogue.

For many attendees, the event offered an opportunity to examine how Tallahassee has evolved in the last decade.

Read the entire article at Tallahassee.com.



Ibn Morgan: A Tribute to Martin Luther King



William Bratton: “If we can learn to see each other…”

“The police, the people who are angry at the police, the people who support us but want us to be better, even a madman who assassinated two men because all he could see was two uniforms, even though they were so much more. We don’t see each other. If we can learn to see each other, to see that our cops are people like Officer Ramos and Officer Liu, to see that our communities are filled with people just like them, too. If we can learn to see each other, then when we see each other, we’ll heal. We’ll heal as a department. We’ll heal as a city. We’ll heal as a country.”

–NYPD Commissioner William Bratton



Faith, Food, Friday: “After the Trayvon Martin Case”

If you missed our last “Faith, Food, Friday” “After the Trayvon Martin Case” you can listen to the audio online here.



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Photo credits: Bob Howard



Bob Gabordi: Florida law killed Trayvon Martin

Regardless of whether you think the correct verdict was reached, no matter how you feel about “stand your ground” in Florida, Tallahassee Democrat editor Bob Gabordi makes a powerful argument for citizenship:

“This newspaper – in our reporting and editorial columns – told you this would happen, if not this case specifically, something like it. We warned justice in Florida would resemble that of the Wild West.

But you weren’t listening then, believing instead that you were getting all the news and information you needed on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

Read a newspaper? Pay attention to what the Legislature really was up to? How is that relevant to you?

Newspapers tell you what you might need to know, even if you don’t want to hear it and even if it might make you unhappy. Someone does that on Facebook you can simply “unfriend” him or her.

Newspapers are hard; they are about creating public debate and discussion and engaging people in the good and bad. Social media are about creating relationships, followers and friends – not leadership and public service.”

Read the entire article here.



Faith, Food, Friday’s Rabbi Jack Romberg has a new blog

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Part of the concept of The Village Square is to have the conversation – as neighbors, as a community. I hope you’ll take a moment to check out Temple Israel’s Rabbi Jack Romberg (and Faith, Food, Friday “God Squad” founding member) contribution to that conversation “The Jewish Observer” HERE. Rabbi Romberg writes about topics like our Faith, Food, Friday forums – he wrote about our topic “The Most Segregated Hour” HERE, about “Social Justice” HERE, and our recent Tallahassee Democrat forum topic of guns HERE and HERE.

(And – pssst…. if you miss this weekend’s Jewish Food Festival at Temple Israel, you have only yourself to blame…)



Chris Timmons: Louis Armstrong’s life speaks to strugging youth

“It’s a funny thing how life can be a drag one minute and a solid sender the next.” — Louis Armstrong, in “Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans”

Louis Armstrong was a man of character. And that’s the most important thing about him. Granted, he was a genius, an impeccable composer of great hits and riveting trumpet solos. But his character was what made his genius work. Let me say from the jump: This is not some isolated, historically obtuse reminisce on a long-forgotten figure.

Always alive, always mortal, always there, because he’s multifaceted, a man to be studied, with much to be taken from his life; it holding complexity and simplicity in a pose of paradox. That maybe the most apt description of genius, which Armstrong personifies, or him. Whichever it is, it occurs to me there’s much for this community’s black teenagers to draw inspiration and purpose from in his early life.

Black History Month has its generic purpose, drawing attention to the lives of singular black figures, thus showcasing and celebrating the cultural contributions of black Americans. The month-long affair maybe archaic, a well-intentioned but still, poignant insult —black history being American history as its oft-said —and history being hard to pigeonhole in the first place. But it’s there, so why not use it. In this case, as a way of showing the enduring lessons a wonderful life, holds? Read all »



MLK memorial dedicated

MLK memorial dedicatedCatch photos of the MLK memorial, dedicated yesterday, in Washington D.C. HERE.
(Photo credit: Scott Ableman)



Colin Powell on civility on this anniversary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech

[Martin Luther King Jr] would be very disappointed [in today’s politics]. We have such a lack of civility in our political life now. We are fixed on ideological poles and we seem unable to come together. Dr. King was always saying “can’t we come together, can’t we talk about these issues?” Our founding fathers argued with each other but they also knew that argument is part of the democratic process. But ultimately you have to compromise with each other in order to reach a consensus and keep the country moving forward. If all we do is remain fixed on these polar opposites of our political spectrum, the country will not be moving forward. And we’ve got to find a way through this. And it’s going to happen when the American people say: “Knock it off, stop it. We want to see a different attitude with respect to our political life. We want to see a different level of civility in Washington, D.C.” — CBS News, Face the Nation, Sunday August 28

(Photo credit: Black History Album)



Bob Schieffer on Martin Luther King



The video: Civil Rights, Civil Means

Civil Rights Civil Means from The Village Square on Vimeo.

Thanks to David Mattox for the painstaking work of editing this video!