Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nonprofit Thursday: The Gathering Place • Black Professionals Assn. Charitable Foundation • Cleveland Tenants Organization •

Cancer in the African American Family
Oftentimes we don’t know what we don’t now. This is especially true of children. It seems that for so many of them — and once upon a time, us — their presumption is that their lives are normal, no matter how golden, bleak, weird, blessed or hexed their surroundings or conditions actually are.

I grew up at a time when cancer was the great unmentionable. No one used the word in polite company, it was taboo in popular magazines, and it did not exist on television. Some people looked upon “The Big C” as disapprovingly as if it were a venereal disease.

Cancer certainly intruded into my home, though it went unacknowledged by my parents whenever I was underfoot. It was discussed in euphemisms delivered in the hushed tones that people still reserve when referencing skeletons in the attic.

Of course such odd silence was at direct counterpoint to what my young eyes saw: trips to the doctor, daily struggles with a shoulder to palm rubber glove that my mother wrestled with daily to control the swelling that resulted from lymph node removal following her double mastectomy when I was a rug crawler. I couldn’t make sense out of what I saw from that low vantage. I just rationalized it as normal.

These thoughts stirred when I learned that The Gathering Place, a true community resource, is hosting a discussion next week on “Cancer in the African American Family”. The ninety-minute guided discussion is designed to help families learn ways to improve how to communicate about our feelings, hopes, fears, and needs while on the cancer journey.

The gathering will take place at TGP’s wonderful eastside facility, located at 23300 Commerce Park in Beachwood, next Thursday, October 24, from 6:30-8PM. There is no charge but advance registration is required for planning purposes. To attend, call 216.595.9546.

TGP’s mission is to support, educate and empower individuals and families touched by cancer through programs and services provided free of charge. When you need them, they are there.

My mother lived until I was 21. I think that might have been one of her goals, since I was the family caboose. She was extremely able, articulate, determined, faithful, generous, and hard working. Today she would be known as a survivor. Had she had the time and energy, she probably would have wanted to be a volunteer at The Gathering Place.

CORRECTION! The Bayard Rustin film screens today, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2013.


The Greatest will be at The Cleveland Museum of Art this weekend

Of course that’s what CMA enthusiasts insist is true every day at the Cleveland Treasure House, aka The Cleveland Museum of Art. Saying it has
special meaning this weekend, when the new documentary, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, will be shown. Times are Friday at 7PM and Sunday at 1:30PM. Admission is $9 [$7 for seniors, students, and CMA members].

The film chronicles the pivotal years during which the “The Greatest!” converted to Islam, changed his name from Cassius Marcellus Clay, and refused to fight in Vietnam. He was banned from boxing, convicted for his refusal and his case went to the United States Supreme Court.

This week’s showing is a Cleveland premiere. You can view the compelling trailer here.

For more information, including tickets, visit here.

Black Professional of the Year Gala is this Saturday

Few nonprofits in town do an annual gala as, well, professionally, as the Black Professional Association Charitable Foundation. This year’s event, set
for this Saturday, October 19 at the new Cleveland Convention Center, salutes Dr. R. A. Vernon as the Black Professional of the Year.

This year’s general chairs are Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. and Jerry Kelsheimer, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank. The Honorary Co-Chairs are Pamela Marshall Holmes, Valerie McCall, and Myrna Lee Corley.

For more information, call 216.229.7110.

This year’s BPACF Scholarship Class:

Gary Baker, Case Western Reserve University
Paige Bobbitt, Towson University
Lamar Burns Jr., Kent State University
Nicolette Carson, Eastern Michigan University
Kymeron Carter, Berklee College of Music
Damian Cowan, Walsh University
Eric Dowery Jr., Muskingum University
Moses Ford, University of Toledo
Jailyn Greenwood, Eastern Michigan University
Gabriann Harris, Cuyahoga Community College
Stephanie Harris, Miami University
Theo Hike, Central State University
Jaelin Johnson, University of North Carolina
Morelle McCane, Clark-Atlanta University
Elisha-Grae Peoples, University of Toledo
Kevin Pettit, Howard University
Sierra Reid, Cleveland State University
Miranda Richmond, Case Western Reserve University
Anthony Simmons, Morehouse College
Faith Speight, Ohio Dominican University
Shannon Suttles, Butler University

Murder Mystery Theater Company featured at CTO Benefit Dinner

The Cleveland Tenants Organization is hosting its annual benefit dinner next week, October 24, at Windows on the River, 2000 Sycamore in the Flats, Cleveland. Dinner and show start at 6:30PM, preceded by a cocktail hour.

The night of ghoulish fun to further CTO’s mission will feature Cleveland’s Murder Mystery Theater Company.

For ticket information visit

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