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w w w . t h e c o n t r i b u t o r. o r g

Volu m e 14

| Number 13 | June 24 - July 8, 2020


IN THE ISSUE 7

12

12

Contributor Board Tom Wills, Chair Cathy Jennings, Bruce Doeg, Demetria Kalodimos, Ann Bourland, Kerry Graham, Peter Macdonald, Amber DuVentre, Jerome Moore, Erik Flynn

16

Black Lives Matter

Moving Pictures

La Noticia + The Contributor

Vendor Writing

Thousands of protesters continue to march through Nashville and surrounding counties demanding racial justice.

American Genre Film Archive’s release of Go Down, Death! spotlights a black cinema pioneer. Watch it now for 99 cents.

La Noticia, one of the leading Spanish-language newspapers in the nation, brings Spanish content to The Contributor.

Vendors write in this issue about Black lives, Tennessee history, and COVID-19. Please read the poem “Under Pressure.”

Contributors This Issue Amanda Haggard • Linda Bailey • Hannah Herner • Alvine • Angelina Castillo • Matt Masters • Ridley Wills II • Cathy Jennings • Joe Nolan • Yuri Cunza • Mr. Mysterio • Jen A. • Logan M. • Deanna H. • John H. • Victor J. • Maurice B. Contributor Volunteers Joe First • Andy Shapiro • Michael Reilly • Ann Bourland • Patti George • John Jennings • Janet Kerwood • Logan Ebel • Christine Doeg • Laura Birdsall • Nancy Kirkland • Mary Smith • Andrew Smith • Ellen Fletcher • Richard Aberdeen • Shayna Harder Wiggins • Pete MacDonald

Cathy Jennings Executive Director Tom Wills Director of Vendor Operations

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!

Hannah Herner Staff Writer Jesse Call Housing Navigator Barbara Womack Advertising Manager Amanda Haggard & Linda Bailey Co-Editors

The Contributor now accepts Venmo! Scan the QR Code to the left , or find us: @The-Contributor! Make sure to include your vendor’s badge name and number in the description. If you bought this version digitally, you can still leave your regular vendor a tip or donate to the vendor relief fund to help vendors affected by COVID-19. Email Cathy@thecontributor.org for more information or with questions!

Andrew Krinks Editor Emeritus Will Connelly, Tasha F. Lemley, Steven Samra, and Tom WIlls Contributor Co-Founders

Editorials and features in The Contributor are the perspectives of the authors. Submissions of news, opinion, fiction, art and poetry are welcomed. The Contributor reserves the right to edit any submissions. The Contributor cannot and will not endorse any political candidate. Submissions may be emailed to: editorial@thecontributor.org Requests to volunteer, donate, or purchase subscriptions can be emailed to: info@thecontributor.org Please email advertising requests to: advertising@thecontributor.org

The Contributor P.O. Box 332023, Nashville, TN 37203 Vendor Office: 615.829.6829

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Letter from ‘The Contributor’ When I became director and Chairman of the Board of The Contributor last year, we intentionally, organically, began seeking BIPOC to fill board and staff positions. I believe a board and staff of a 501c3 must ref lect the diversity of the population it serves. I also know that it doesn’t just happen, but must be an intention that is authentic, consistent, and filled with purpose. Though we have made good strides, we have more work to do to combat the systemic racism in our community, and within our own ranks. For those in the BIPOC community, we know you carry an unspeakable burden caused by the profound impact of systemic racism. The Contributor mourns with your pain, honors your experience and stands in solidarity with you. We are committed to challenging racist systems. We will use our sphere of inf luence to inform, call out, and dismantle racist systems. We will be bold, but we will make mistakes. Hold us accountable as we will hold you accountable. This work is lifelong and the time to start is now to unite with our neighbors as we journey toward equity. With gratitude, Cathy Jennings Executive Director

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PAGE 2 | June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

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June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 3


NEWS BRIEFS

The New Christian Year Selected by Charles Williams

Charles Walter Stansby Williams (1886–1945), the editor of the following selections, is today probably the third most famous of the famous Inklings literary group of Oxford, England, which existed in the middle of the 20th century, and which included among its ranks the better-known and longer-lived Oxford Dons J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis—but he was arguably the most precocious and well-read of this eminent and intellectually fertile group. He was also known to have influenced Dorothy Sayers, T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden. Lacking a proper degree unlike his fellow Inklings, this genius Cockney-speaking author, editor, critic, and playwright was eminently well-versed in both philosophical and theological writings of the remote past as of the present day (the mid-20th century) and used this familiarity to good effect in his poetry, supernatural fiction and his lesser-known devotional selections designed for the spiritual benefit of the faithful in the Church of England. This series of profound quotations, encompassing all walks of life, follows the sequence of the themes and Bible readings anciently appointed for contemplation throughout the church's year, beginning with Advent (i.e., December) and ending in November, and reaches far beyond the pale of the philosophical and theological discussions of his day. It was under his hand, for instance, that some of the first translations of Kierkegaard were made available to the wider public. It is hoped that the readings reproduced here will prove beneficial for any who read them, whatever their place in life's journey. — Matthew Carver

NEWS BRIEFS ‘The Contributor’ partners with Big Machine Distillery Big Machine Distillery and The Contributor are partnering to give paper vendors hand sanitizer to distribute alongside the newspaper. “It will be a long while until vendors’ incomes move back up as streets will still be emptier and people have less cash,” says Cathy Jennings, director of The Contributor. “We are grateful that Big Machine is partnering with us and believe the city will benefit from having sanitizer easily available! We hope this effort gives our vendors another tool in which to earn income.” Big Machine Distillery has committed to jumpstarting the effort by giving 1,000 individual-sized bottles of hand sanitizer to The Contributor. “We continue to feel blessed during these challenging times to be able to support Nashvillians in need,” says Big Machine Distillery EVP, Mark Borchetta. “The Contributor has proven to be a light for so many in our community, and we are happy to be partnering with them to further their efforts.” Big Machine Distillery started making hand sanitizer in March in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The sanitizer is 80 percent alcohol and made in accordance with FDA and WHO guidelines. The bottles of Big Machine Hand Sanitizer will be co-branded with The Contributor and provided to the newspaper vendors. “Our vendors are concerned with keeping safe and making sure their customers are safe also,” says Jennings. “They are committed to doing everything they can to prevent the spread of the virus.” Families with children may be eligible for EBT resources The Tennessee Department of Human Services and the Tennessee Department of Education announced Tennessee families are now eligible to receive financial support for their children’s nutritional needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. This support is provided through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program. Under the new P-EBT program, families of children who receive free or reduced meals at school or attend a Community Eligibility Provision

additional relief from P-EBT will be helpful during this time of uncertainty for families and it is important to make sure every eligible family knows about the program.” Throughout the COVID-19 school closures, many districts and schools across Tennessee used innovative ways to continue delivering meals to students and families, such as “grab and go” options, drive-throughs, or bus delivery, and on average provided 1.5 million meals a week.

school may receive financial assistance to replace school meals during the months of March, April and May due to COVID-19 school closures. The program will provide parents with $5.70 per child for each day that child qualifies for P-EBT. “Families across our state depend on the meals their children receive at school and many were not prepared to immediately replace those meals when schools shut down for COVID-19,” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “The P-EBT program brings economic support to ensure children receive the nutrition they need. Helping families through this emergency is how we continue building a thriving Tennessee.” Parents who already receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits currently do not need to apply. The funds began

arriving on the EBT card they already use beginning June 12. Parents who do not receive SNAP benefits, but whose children do qualify for free or reduced school meals, will need to apply for P-EBT online here beginning June 15. The application period will end June 29, 2020. Individuals who need assistance completing their P-EBT application or have general questions about the program are encouraged to call the TDHS hotline at 1-833-496-0661 and select option 3. Qualifying families will receive P-EBT support in two installments, one for meals in March and April initially, and then one additional disbursement later next month for May meals. “During the COVID-19 school closures, we saw an incredible, herculean effort to keep providing meal services to students and families,” said TDOE Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “This

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Tennessee legislators pass restrictive abortion bill The Tennessee General Assembly passed one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country after voting on it in the middle of the night while constituents were sleeping. The legislation, which is likely an attempt to move toward a Roe v. Wade challenge, criminalizes medical professionals who perform an abortion after six weeks. The bill also restricts the reasons a woman can have an abortion and includes language prohibiting abortion at multiple points in a woman’s pregnancy. The American Civil Liberties Union in Tennesse says it’s an attempt to ensure that abortion access is taken away even if the courts strike down the six-week ban portion of the bill. The bill would also require woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound where a doctor must describe the images. This bill effectively outlaws abortion in the state of Tennessee. “The Tennessee General Assembly’s passage of this dangerous, f latly unconstitutional bill is unacceptable,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN executive director. “Lawmakers used this measure in a game of political maneuvering to pass the state budget – pushing it through without regard for the actual Tennesseans who will be denied access to the care they need, including abortion. Lack of access to abortion care particularly harms those struggling financially and those who already face significant barriers to health care, including people of color, people with limited incomes, rural people, and young people. Politicians should not be deciding what is best for women and certainly not making reproductive health care decisions for them. As promised, we will see them in court.”

3rd Wednesday after Trinity

The Feast of St. Peter

4th Friday after Trinity

WHILE Pilate now fainteth in the righteousness that he knoweth and is sure of, and holdeth not on stoutly, as he should, to deliver Christ, God suffereth him still to fall till he come to this point, that he condemneth the innocent to death against his own conscience. Thus goeth it with all those that for the grace of God lent unto them are unthankful and unfaithful in the little. Coverdale: Fruitful Lessons on the Passion.

[OF the Cross] Its breadth lies in the transverse beam on which the hands of the Crucified are extended; and signifies good works in all the breadth of love: its length extends from the transverse beam to the ground, and is that whereto the back and feet are affixed; and signifies perseverance through the whole length of time to the end: its height is in the summit, which rises upwards above the transverse beam; and signifies the supernal goal, to which all works have reference, since all things that are done well and perseveringly, in respect of their breadth and length, are to be done also with due regard to the exalted character of the divine rewards: its depth is found in the part that is fixed into the ground; for there it is both concealed and invisible, and yet from thence spring up all those parts that are outstanding and evident to the senses; just as all that is good in us proceeds from the depths of the grace of God, which is beyond the reach of human comprehension and judgement. St Augustine: On I John.

ABBA John used to say, "We relinquish a light burden when we condemn ourselves, but we take upon ourselves a heavy burden when we justify ourselves." The Paradise of the Fathers.

3rd Thursday after Trinity IT is not always grave suffering that is most likely to help one die to the world. No, that can also give joie de vivre, spiritual joie de vivre. No, the most deadening things of all are worldly hardships, mere trifles. Kierkegaard: Journals. CHILDHOOD in Christ is perfection with reference to the law. St Clement: The Paedagogue.

3rd Friday after Trinity GOD knew every good work that thou shouldest do, every good thought that thou shouldest think to thy end, before thy beginning, for he of his own goodness imprinted this degree of goodness in thee; but yet assure thyself, that he loves thee in another manner, and another measure, then, when thou comest really to do those good works, than before, or when thou didst only conceive a purpose of doing them: he calls them good when he sees them. Donne: Sermons.

3rd Saturday after Trinity WHAT is God's forgiving sinful man? It is nothing else in its whole nature but God's making him righteous again. There is no other forgiveness of sin but being made free from it. Therefore, the compassionate love of God that forgives sin, is no other than God's love of His own righteousness, for the sake of which and through the love of which He makes man righteous again. William Law: Letters. GOD and the worshipper are adapted to one another, happily, blissfully, as never were lovers adapter to one another. It is now the only wish of the worshipper to become weaker and weaker, for with that the more worship; the only need worship feels is that God may become stronger and stronger. Kierkegaard: Christian Discourses.

4th Monday after Trinity IT is well worth observing that our Saviour's greatest trials were near the end of His process or life—that He then experienced the sharpest part of our redemption. This might sufficiently show us that our first awakenings have carried us but a little way; that we should not then begin to be self-assured of our own salvation, but remember that we stand at a great distance from and in great ignorance of our severest trials. William Law: Christian Regeneration.

4th Tuesday after Trinity MANY things seem to be good and yet are not, because they be not done with a good mind and intention; and therefore our Saviour saith in the Gospel, If thy eye has naught, all thy body shall be dark. For when the intention is wicked, all the work with followeth is naught, although it seemed to be never so good. St Gregory the Great: Dialogues.

4th Wednesday after Trinity NOR do all these, youth out of infancy, or age out of youth, arise so, as a phoenix out of the ashes of another phoenix formerly dead, but as a wasp, or a serpent out of carrion, or as a snake out of dung; our youth is worse than our infancy, and our age worse than our youths; our youth is hungry and thirsty after those sins which our infancy knew not, and our age is sorry and angry that it cannot pursue those sins which our youth did. Donne: Sermons.

4th Thursday after Trinity

Third Sunday after Trinity SO new, so unheard of, so unexpected in this world is the power of God unto salvation, that it can appear among us, be received and understood by us, only as a contradiction. The Gospel does not expound or recommend itself. It does not negotiate or plead, threaten, or make promises. It withdraws itself always when it is not listened to for its own sake. Barth: The Epistle to the Romans.

LORD, before I commit a sin, it seems to me so shallow that I may wade through it dry-shod from any guiltiness; but when I have committed it, it often seems so deep that I cannot escape without drowning. Thomas Fuller: Good Thoughts in Bad Times. IF thou knewest thy sins, thou wouldst lose heart. Pascal: Pensées.

I LOVE thee more ardently than thou hast loved thine abominations. Pascal: Pensées.

4th Saturday after Trinity THE ten Commandments, when written by God on the tables of stone and given to man, did not then first begin to belong to man; they had their existence in man, were born with him, they lay as a seed and power of goodness, hidden in the form and make of his soul and altogether inseparable from it, before they were shown to man on tables of stone. And when they were shown to man on tables of stone, they were only outward imitations of that which was inwardly in man, though not legible because of that impurity of flesh and blood in which they were drowned and swallowed up. William Law: The Spirit of Love.

Fourth Sunday after Trinity WHAT is Christ's joy in us, but that He deigns to rejoice on our account? And what is our joy, which He says shall be full, but to have fellowship with Him? He had perfect joy on our account, when He rejoiced in the foreknowing, and predestinating us; but that joy was not in us, because then we did not exist: it began to be in us, when He called us. And this joy we rightly call our own, this joy wherewith we shall be blessed; which is begun in the faith of them who are born again, and shall be fulfilled in the reward of them who rise again. St Augustine, quoted in Aquinas, Catena Aurea.

5th Monday after Trinity THOUGH he were innocence itself, and knew no sin, yet there was no sin that he knew not, for, all our sins were his. He was not only made man, and by taking (by admitting, though not by committing) our sins, as well as our nature, sinful man; but he was made sin for our sakes. Donne: Sermons. THY conversion is My affair; fear not, and pray with confidence as for Me. Pascal: Pensées.

5th Tuesday after Trinity CONSIDER that Jesus suffered in His heart with all the knowledge of a God, and that in His heart there was every human heart and every form of suffering from Adam until the consummation of the world. Ah yes, to suffer for others can be a great joy if one has a generous soul, but to suffer in others is to really suffer! Léon Bloy: Letters to his Fiancée. THE Jews, in testing if he were God, have shown that he was man. Pascal: Pensées.

June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 5


INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF STREET PAPERS

LOCAL ACTIVISM

2020 Uprisings, Unprecedented in Scope, Join a Long River of Struggle in America

In Franklin on June 5, hundreds of protesters gathered downtown for an End White Silence rally. The community gathered on the square near a Confederate monument called “Chip.” In the suburb outside of Nashville, a petition is circulating to have the monument moved to the grounds of a local historical site.

BY MAT THEW COUNTRYMAN

The river was the metaphor that best captured “the long, continuous movement” of the black freedom struggle for theologian, historian and civil rights activist Vincent Harding. Harding, who had served as a speechwriter for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., wrote in his groundbreaking 1981 study of African-American history, There is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America that the freedom struggle was “sometimes powerful, tumultuous, roiling with life; at other times meandering and turgid.” When I think of the sudden explosion of anti-racist protest that has overwhelmed the nation’s cities over the last month, it is Harding’s metaphor of the river that comes to mind. It is as if the dam has broken, and the many currents of t he A merica n protest tradition — not just the anti-racist tradition, but the anti-corporate and anti-war protest traditions;  women’s, LGBTQ  and  student  movements; movements for workers’ rights and  economic justice — have all come together in a massive river of outrage and sorrow, exhilaration and hope. Tens of thousands of protesters have joined the river in massive demonstrations in hundreds of cities across the country, from Nashville to New York City to Jackson, Mich., from Washington D.C., to Louisville, from Philadelphia to Seattle. The River of Protest Numerous commentators have compared the events of the past few days to the urban uprisings that shook 125 cities in the aftermath of the April 4, 1968, assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. But as an historian of black social movements, my view is that as widespread and destructive as the 1968 rebel-

Photo by Diego Diaz, courtesy of Street Roots

lions were, neither their size nor the challenge they posed to the American political system approached what the U.S. has seen over the last month. According to USA Today, as of June 4 there have been protests in more than 700 cities and towns  since the death of George Floyd in police custody. This remains true even if we consider the protests and police violence that shook the Chicago Democratic Convention in August 1968. Similarly, the scope and scale of the 2020 protests dwarf the student strikes that shut down hundreds of college campuses in the aftermath of the shootings of student protesters at  Kent State and Jackson State in May 1970; the six days of protest and looting that shook Los Angeles in the aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King trial; the 1999 “Battle of Seattle,” during which protesters used a mix of nonviolent and more militant tactics to disrupt a World Trade Organization conference and the 650 cities that hosted Women’s Marches in January 2017. More than the number and

size of the protests, though, what makes the 2020 uprisings unprecedented are the ways that they have pulled together multiple currents within the U.S. protest tradition into a mighty river of demand for fundamental change in American society. Wanton disregard for black life The spark, of course, was the horrif ying video of yet another police killing of an unarmed African-American, George Floyd. The nation was confronted with incontrovertible evidence, played out over 8 minutes and 46 seconds of video, not only of wanton disregard for black life but also of the ongoing failure of political institutions to solve the problem of racist police violence. On top of the disproportionate death rates and economic devastation that COVID-19 has wrought on communities of colour, a harsh light has been shone on the structural racism rampant in American society. But while the murder of George Floyd was the spark,

the fuel for the uprisings comes from many sources: the worst public health and economic crisis in generations, three and a half years of a divisive and chaotic presidential administration, a burgeoning white nationalist movement and decades upon decades of growing economic inequality amid an increasingly threadbare social safety net. The focus of the protests has been on police violence  and the nation’s unfinished racial justice agenda. But the diversity of protesters and the use of protest tactics — from nonviolent marches and rallies to civil disobedience, rock throwing and looting — drawn from the traditions of youth, labour and anti-corporate protest make it clear that even more is at play in the uprising. The point is not, as others have argued, that it is the level of involvement of whites in the protests that distinguishes them from previous high points of anti-racist protest. There is in fact  a long history of white support  for, and participation in, black protest movements.

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W hat is unprecedented is the way that protesters of all races and ethnicities have focused their ire on upscale business districts and national retail chains (as opposed to neighbourhood businesses), while others have called for the redirecting of public spending from the police, prisons and other elements of the criminal justice system to health and social welfare programs. Despite, or perhaps because of the protests’ decentralized and leaderless nature, they have managed to put on the table the broadest and most comprehensive set of social and economic reforms since the Poor People’s campaign  that followed on the heels of Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968. From calls to shift funding from police  budgets to programs for the poor to proposals for renewed public investment  in minority businesses and urban neighbourhoods, the uprisings are likely to reshape public policy debates for months and even years to come. It is impossible to know whether the protests can or will be transformed into sustained campaigns to reform the criminal justice system or reinvigorate government programs for the poor and economically downtrodden. To achieve that level of structural change will require the rapid development of new forms of leadership and new organizational structures for the protest movement. But as unlikely as that may seem, remember that no one could have predicted that the U.S. was on the verge of this level of mass mobilization of anti-racist protest one month ago.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTS

On June 1, demonstrators in Murfreesboro blocked an intersection near Middle Tennessee State University. Hundreds had gathered downtown before a smaller group headed toward the university. In response to blocking the road near the university president’s home, police deployed tear gas and flash bangs. One man was reportedly taken to the hospital following the incident. PHOTOS BY MATT MASTERS

Matthew Countryman is the chair of the department of Af roamerican and Af rican Studies at the University of Michigan. Courtesy of The Conversation / INSP.ngo

June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 7


LOCAL ACTIVISM

LOCAL ACTIVISM

A group of advocates organized a car caravan to bring attention to a “triple crisis: a public health emergency, an economic recession, and long-standing structural racism.” According to city data, Black and Latinx populations in Nashville have suffered higher infection and death rates. Working class and poor Americans have been hit hardest by job loss. While our essential and front line employees are putting their lives on the line to protect us and keep our city running, Tennessee lawmakers believe that businesses need protecting from COVID-19. “Instead of expanding unemployment insurance, TOSHA regulations, and Workers Compensation protections, our legislature is instead acting to shield businesses from liability if employees or customers catch the deadly virus at their facilities.”

Protesters have been camped on the Tennessee State Capitol grounds since June 11, renaming the area Ida B. Wells PLaza. Several have been arrested during the protest, and many have been ejected from the House chamber during proceedings. Activists are asking the state legislature to remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust in the Capitol as well as a meeting with Gov. Bill Lee to address police brutality and white supremacy. PHOTOS BY ANGELINA CASTILLO

PAGE 8 | June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

In addition to attending larger city-wide actions, a group of activists have been gathering on Thursdays from 5-6 p.m., in small groups to stand for racial justice. PHOTOS BY ALVINE

June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 9


COVER STORY

COVER STORY

When an Eviction is Life-Threatening

Tenants’ Rights By Hannah Herner

O

n June 1, Contributor vendor Christina F. and her husband John were kicked out of the apartment they were renting by the week. This should never have happened because the courts closed during the pandemic. No eviction court dates should mean no one being ejected from their home. Christina and John called Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and learned that what their landlord was doing was illegal — they had a right to stay there. But like many others, Christina and John eventually gave in to pressure from their landlord, who got the police involved. They decided to look for a new place where they wouldn’t be harassed. As the courts open back up, the eviction cases will begin to move forward. In this issue, a judge and an attorney give the nitty gritty on how an eviction works and how the courts will be run as the pandemic continues. Christina and John worked together to write their own story of a high-stakes eviction. And we give details on the rights tenants with non-traditional leases have as well as give an update on the state of utility bills. Delays for days Nashville courts officially opened on June 1, but there are multiple factors delaying many of these eviction cases from being heard. During the month of June, there will be no eviction trials at all, but there will be court dates with an opportunity for landlords and tenants to discuss. If both parties fail to come to an agreement, they can request a trial date for July or August, says General Sessions Presiding Judge Lynda Jones. “The theory behind that was to allow people

Needlink Gives More to Pay Bills During Pandemic Usually, the bulk of the money local nonprofit organization Needlink gives out goes to electric bills. But the effects of COVID-19 have shifted that. “We’re getting a lot more rent [requests] than we’re used to, and the rent is a lot larger balances, as you can imagine,” says Sarah Moore, program director for Needlink. The organization typically only helps with rent for income-based properties, but during the pandemic, they have been helping with any type of rent. A person can typically get funds once a year, but people affected by COVID-19 have been able to get help more than once in the past few months. An increase in funding via the United Way’s COVID-19 fund has allowed Needlink to expand their support to a broader group of people in need. While the organization previously had to prioritize the needs of disabled individuals, parents of young children, and the elderly, they now can

time to work out a catch up agreement if their landlord was going to do that, or allow them time to look for other housing if their landlord was not,” Jones says. Having an eviction on the record can make it hard to find a new place to rent. An agreement can prevent that. Some of these cases will be even further postponed because of the CARES Act. All properties that use federal funding, or federally-backed loans, will have to wait until July 25 to give a specially required 30 days notice of eviction. This means the courts will see an influx of those cases at the end of August. Landlords aren’t supposed to charge late fees on the money owed until after this July 25 date, either. Landlords who don’t use federal money can get a trial date set a bit earlier, but they’ll have to turn in some paperwork at least 10 days before the trial, certifying that they are, in fact, not under the CARES Act protections. This new introduction could push some cases back, says Zac Oswald managing attorney for Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee. “I honestly think there are going to be a lot of weird legal issues that spur out of the CARES Act,” he says. Having this extra time plays into the hands of the tenant, Jones says. “I expect July to be incredibly busy,” she says. “If we have, for example, 200 cases filed, but we only hear 50 cases or 100 cases a day, then obviously what are we going to do with the other hundred? I suspect we will become busier and have longer days in July and August. It’s not really a backlog so much as catching up now that we started filing the cases again. This should work to the benefit of the tenant. Time

offer assistance to other folks as well. “I’ve seen a shift,” Moore says. “Our normal clientele is a lot of people on disability, a lot of people who are in and out of homelessness, single moms with a lot of kids. I feel like I’ve been seeing a lot more single 20, 30 year olds that have never had to ask for help, never done any government assistance. [They’re] just out of a job.” The percentage of applicants that get the funds they need from Needlink these days is up to 55 percent from a typical percentage of around 40. Moore says in the past they’ve denied people due to a lack of funding, but now it is usually due to not having sufficient information, or because they’re working to meet a client halfway when there’s a large past due balance, if they’re over the limit of what the organization can give. The amount a person can get depends on the case. The typical rule is $200 per person. Needlink has increased this limit to $300 during the pandemic, but if the applicant has documentation that their employment has been affected by COVID-19, Needlink

is always the tenant’s friend.” Judges are considering appointing a special magistrate that will only deal with landlord/ tenant cases to start on July 1. This would be a lawyer from a local firm working pro bono for the city. That person would review all the eviction cases before they even get to the judge and make a recommendation of a trial and date, or a mediator instead. How an eviction works In Tennessee, the law requires that a landlord give 14 days eviction notice to a tenant. But most of the tenants in Nashville waived this right when they signed their lease — the law also says you can do that. Oswald says upwards of 97 percent of the leases he’s reviewed in Nashville have a clause that waives a tenant’s rights to 14 days eviction notice. This means a landlord can immediately skip to the first step of an eviction. The first step in an eviction is to file a detainer warrant, which notifies the tenant of the court date for the eviction hearing. It’s delivered in person, or after a certain process it can just be taped on the tenant’s door. From the day it’s delivered, the court hearing can be as soon as six calendar days (not business days) afterwards. Once in court, there’s no argument a tenant can make for their nonpayment of rent, unless the landlord didn’t do the proper paperwork pre-trial. Once you get evicted, you have ten days before that judgement becomes final, so you have that long to move out. On the eleventh day, the landlord can file a Writ of Restitution, which means the sheriff can come out and help your landlord forcefully remove you from the property. Something to be aware of is back rent, Os-

To Help: Donate on needlink.org or sign up for Project Help at newspower.com with NES. For Help with Bills: • Rooftop • Martha O’Bryan (37206, 37216) • Catholic Charities (37209, 37208, 37218, 37228 and 37203) • Salvation Army • Safe Haven

is able to do much more than that. “Especially if you haven’t had to do it before, it’s really hard to ask for help,” Moore says. “That’s what these places are there for. That’s what we’re there for. We want to help.” Applications are available online at Needlink.org, or paper applications can be picked up outside of the organization’s location at 1600 56th Ave North. Applicants will need a copy of photo ID, and income documentation (which could be a food stamp or Section 8 letter). Those who lost income due to COVID-19 should include a letter from their employer Needlink can also be reached

See if your property is protected from evictions via the CARES Act at projects.propublica.org/covidevictions Legal Aid Society hosts phone-in free legal help clinics. Visit las.org or call 615-780-7131 for more information. wald says. When eviction happens, the landlord is typically getting the property and the unpaid rent, too. If they don’t ask for it then, they still have six years to file a lawsuit to collect it — that’s how long a landlord has to file a breach of contract case. “The problem that we see most often in terms of lack of education is that tenants will withhold their rent because of conditions, and then their landlord will convict them for nonpayment of rent,” Oswald says. In some states you can withhold rent and be protected, but in Tennessee you can’t, he added. Some landlords even try to get the rent for the rest of the lease, which would include the months after the eviction happens, Jones says. She recommends that tenants get a lawyer whenever possible to help level the playing field — the large apartment complexes always have them. “I think a lot of people sign leases and don’t even know what they’re signing,” Jones says. “Perhaps they feel trapped, like ‘if I don’t take this I’m not getting anything.’” The best solution is prevention. Legal Aid Society is hosting call-in legal help clinics to answer questions about evictions, and any other cases. But at the end of the day, a lease is a contract, and that contract rules in court.

at 615-269-6835, though mailing or completing an online application is preferred. NES and Metro Water not Disconnecting for Late Payment Both Nashville Electric Services and Metro Water Services stopped cutting off utilities for nonpayment during the pandemic. NES had already stopped disconnecting for nonpayment and waived late fees after the March 4 tornado. They then extended it because of COVID-19. “We understand that many customers are still navigating through uncertain economic times, and NES wants to help. We’ve again extended disconnections and waived late fees, this time through July 31,” the company shared in an email. Metro Water is looking at the end of June to begin billing as normal, though it may change, keeping in mind the city’s phased plan to reopen businesses, says Sonia Allman, spokesperson for Metro Water. They’ve been waiving late fees and

PAGE 10 | June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

disconnections since the pandemic hit. Once things get back to normal, customers will be eligible for disconnection when they owe $50 or more and the balance is over 45 days old. Both organizations are offering payment plans by which customers can take the money they owe and divide it out over the next 12 months to pay it off. For NES, anyone with past due balances will be automatically enrolled. “Beginning July 1, NES will evenly distribute past-due balances into 12 monthly payments. These charges will appear on each monthly bill, and customers who keep up with their payments going forward are assured service,” the statement reads. Allman says Metro Water always likes to work with customers to prevent having to send out workers to turn off their water. The pandemic-prompted deferred payment plan is now part of that. “For customers that were financially strapped, it gave them the ability to use the money they had available to pay other things,” Allman says.

By Christina and John F.

Even if there’s no official lease contract, a tenant still has protections from being evicted. The law says that when a landlord takes rent, it becomes a month-to-month tenancy, which renews on the day the rent is paid each month. This is known as an oral lease agreement. The same is true for a weekly rent situation. So if you pay monthly, your landlord must give 30 days written notice before they plan to evict you, or 10 days notice for a weekly oral lease agreement. If you are staying at a hotel and paying nightly for less than 30 days, it’s still considered transient lodging, and you’re not entitled to full eviction proceedings — they can just kick you out. But if you were staying in that hotel for more than 30 consecutive days, it is no longer considered transient lodging and the hotel owner in effect becomes your landlord. They should go through the proper court proceedings like any other landlord, beginning with a notice of eviction. With an eviction case, a person cannot be forced to leave until 10 days after the ruling in court. This means that during the time the courts were closed, even those staying at a hotel for more than 30 days, or paying weekly or monthly rent without a written lease agreement should have been able to stay. These laws were not followed in vendor Christina’s case.

A

s many things are going on in the world around us — COVID-19, racial tensions, the economy, and of course politics — a few things are slipping by. In my case in particular, evictions. OK so for me it’s more like slightly not so “legal” evictions, plus a few kickers to boot. A little background first. Hi my name is Christina, vendor 3821, nice to meet you. As you may have guessed, I sell The Contributor and have for about five years now out in the Madison area at Goodwill. I used to be security at Vanderbilt University and courtesy officer for an apartment complex until my husband’s health took a downturn. Just an example of the fact that there are many ways to end up in hard times. My husband was involved in a construction accident 17 years ago where he ended up in the hospital with heart failure. We knew that he may have lung problems in the future from the chemicals he inhaled in an old apartment when we were in our 20s. Still, he was well enough to be a house husband and clean, cook, do the bills, etc. That was until about six years ago when he started having to go to the ER. After being admitted to Vanderbilt and then later to Skyline for emergency surgery, he was released but had to be on oxygen and we realized how bad it was. He couldn’t cover it up anymore. The next time he would end up in Skyline would show exactly how bad he was. He went in for another surgery and ended up in a coma. After a 12-day stay he was released on four liters of oxygen constantly with less than 40 percent lung function. His diagnosis is, desquamative interstitial pneumonia, chronic respiratory failure with hypoxia, type 2 diabetes with hypoglycemia, essential hypertension, edema, GERD, neuropathy, PTSD and depression. Basically he can not walk more than 20 feet, he has to be on a home high-flow concentrator or his oxygen level will drop and his heart rate will pick up and to our understanding, he will have a stroke. So why am I explaining all this? To show

exactly how bad our predicament is and how some concepts are wrong. During the past five years of this, we lived in a pay by the week “efficiency apartment” in Goodlettsville. The manager seemed nice. We moved in at the beginning of October 2015 and by December that year I was out of work (at this time I was doing day labor) and he let us slide a little on the rent and he brought up working for The Contributor. We were broke with no food so Dec. 24 that year I went and stood at Rivergate Mall with a sign to get enough money to eat and get Downtown after Christmas to train to sell The Contributor. As the years went by and my husband ended up in the hospital, or there were bad weeks or months, we fell behind well over $4,000 dollars in rent before he got his SSI. Still, they let us stay and after my husband got his SSI and back pay, we were down to $3,000 in unpaid rent. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but this was not an easy feat with just me selling the paper and my husband’s SSI, considering the room/ apartment we lived in was $280 dollars a week. A quick note: During this time we both knew we could not continue paying that high of rent so we did apply with MDHA and Section 8. Then, in March of this year, the safer-athome order went into place. With my husband’s lung condition, diabetes and heart problems I could not take any chances on going out so we were left with his SSI check, subscriptions through The Contributor online, Venmo and The Contributor’s grocery cards only. I went to the manager of the “apartments” I lived in when it became obvious the safer-athome order would not be lifted and tried to explain we needed to keep part of my husband’s SSI check instead of handing it over. He didn’t even let me get to say that it was only part of his check, or that we would be giving them the majority of our stimulus check over to the “apartments.” He just started yelling that we could not live there for free. He went into that he had to pay for utilities and cable. He then went on to say we would be better off at the homeless shelter. Had we not seen the news

about them opening up at the fairgrounds? The odd part about this was I had seen the news and utility bills, cable bills, and evictions were all on hold. So figuring he had just had a bad day, I was polite, said I’m sorry and goodbye. The only explanation I did say was due to my husband’s health, he could not stay at the shelter because of his need for an aid and his need for a concentrator. Three days went by with nothing. Then the manager, his son and the maintenance guy came banging on our door. After I answered the door the manager informed me we were being “ejected” right then, and we needed to get everything out. I calmly explained to him that I would call Legal Aid, that evictions had been frozen, and that I was sorry but I had to worry about my husband’s health first then I politely said goodbye and closed the door. I immediately (while freaking out) called Legal Aid. After explaining our predicament they had an attorney call me back. About 30 minutes later an attorney called me, went over everything and explained no they could not “eject” me that would be going by the “transient guest” law, which only counts if someone has only stayed under 30 consecutive days. He continued to explain that the “apartments” would have to go through Tennessee’s eviction process. So I calmed down some and around an hour after I got off the phone with Legal Aid the manager, his son and the maintenance guy showed back up. The manager said he was sorry that he “jumped the gun.” The aftermath of all this weighing on mine and my husband’s heads we decided that even if the “apartments” would allow us to pay and stay, we could not trust them. We came to the conclusion the best route would be save our money and look for someplace else to live. The letter on the door we got from the manager a few weeks later confirmed our idea was best. It stated that we had three days to move out. This was still during the safer-at-home order and the state’s freeze on evictions. If we did not move out in this time period, we would be sued and they would take our money. Like this was more important than a person’s life. It also stated we could fight the eviction in court. Time went on and nothing else happened. The manager was actually cordial even. The morning of June 1 everything changed, though. At a little after 8 a.m. there was a banging on the door so I answered it. I went outside to find a Goodlettsville police officer, the “apartment” manager, his son and the maintenance guy. I spoke with the officer and he informed me that the manager had the right to “eject” me, that this was a hotel even though the sign even said “efficiency apartments.” I explained to the officer what Legal Aid had told me and my husband’s medical condition, as well that shelters would not take him and that evicting him could literally kill him. The officer said he was sorry but we had to be out by 7 p.m. that night. I immediately went in and called Legal Aid again, this time though they were so backlogged I would not hear back from them for another day. After I had an emotional breakdown and a good cry, me and my husband went about trying to figure out what to do. I texted a customer who had become a very good friend and who had helped us out many times with rides for

June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 11

groceries, medical stuff, taking me to see my husband in the hospital, and often being there for me to break down and cry when I would get stressed — I could go on and on. (BTW thank you SO MUCH Cindy!!!!) Me and my husband thought it would be quick to find some place to live. This turned out to not be true, every “by the week” hotel was either way too expensive, full, or not open. By 4 p.m. we had finally found a by the day room that was open, at $70 a day. I ran and rented the room, and started moving everything. I was able to get two more days to get all of our stuff out of the old place, and ended up putting most of our stuff in a storage unit I had to rent. We only paid for three days at the hotel to begin with, figuring we could find another place quick. We thought certainly with my husband’s health there had to be some emergency help or place we could go. That was not the case. We are not over 62 (we are 44) and neither of us are mentally ill, which as far as we could find are the only emergency housing options for couples. There are actually NONE at all for those physically ill under 62 in good mental health for emergencies. So that day I made over 75 phone calls trying to find anything at all. The day after we were “ejected” Legal Aid did call back. They apologized for the long wait, but they had taken it before a committee and determined what the “apartments” had done was illegal. This is what me and my husband had figured, but those who argue with the police lately do not come out well. Thirteen days after being “ejected”, at the time of writing this, this is where we are: All of the housing options based on income have a six month or longer waiting list and even the ones we can’t really afford do not have any openings until mid July. The only help we have had is from some of my customers, who paid for a few days at the hotel (thank you very, very much) and The Contributor, who paid us up till the end of the month (thank you very, very much too). They are the only agency who could help. My husband’s TennCare does have a case worker who calls and goes over things every week, but that’s it. You would figure there is help for the terminally ill no matter what the age, but that is not so. Very, very few event seem empathetic, including the police in some cases. We are still looking for some place that we can call our own, that is safe for my husband’s medical needs, and affordable. We have started a GoFundMe for anyone who is interested, or just interested in our story as we are posting updates on there. We are looking for any recommendations on housing, mostly if anyone knows of a place. We would also like to thank Cindy, who without we would not have known what to do more times than we can think. For those who want to help people, sometimes it’s not money, just sit and listen and care that helps more than anyone would ever think. I would also like to thank Gerald for always helping, Phil and Cindy for all their help in so many ways, my church family, Bob and Betty, Dolly, and all my other regulars. We would like to also thank The Contributor, the only agency that would help. Not just with money but the only one who would call me back with lists of places to try, and would help me look.


MOVING PICTURES

LA NOTICIA

Film at the Margins

stepping. But when a new preacher comes to town church attendance goes up, and Big Jim’s barstools sit empty. Bottoms and his henchmen plot to blackmail the dashing young preacher with a honey trap scheme, but when Big Jim’s adoptive mother, Aunt Caroline finds out about Jim’s plan a tragedy unfolds. Go Down, Death! runs just under an hour and much of it is slow viewing. This is a shoestring production and it shows: The locations are limited, the shots and edits are basic, the plot is bare bones simple, and the dialog and performances by many amateur actors are often awkward and stilted. All of this is expected from a movie that was made not only at the margins of the movie industry, but at the margins of society at large. The movies of this period constitute something very near to outsider art, but like the best work made in the do-it-yourself spirit, Go Down, Death! transcends the limits of its own production in the last five minutes of the film. When Aunt Caroline prays to a portrait of her late husband, asking him to send her prayers to Jesus, the portrait comes to life in the form of a ghost that leads her to the solution to saving the preacher’s reputation. Williams’ double exposure special effect comes out of nowhere, and it’s a delightful cinematic surprise. Later in the film Aunt Caroline and Big Jim each see visions of the Heaven’s pearly gates and the gates of Hell, respectively. Both of the hallucinations are extravagant, otherworldly montages that astound in the context of such an otherwise straightforward film. Williams lifted the footage for his Hell sequence right out of L’enfer — a 1911 Italian silent film adaptation of Dante’s Inferno. It’s an audaciously experimental stylistic leap, and one that seems positively postmodern to 21st century eyes.

AMERICAN GENRE FILM ARCHIVE’S RELEASE OF ‘GO DOWN, DEATH!’ SPOTLIGHTS A BLACK CINEMA PIONEER BY JOE NOLAN, FILM CRITIC Approximately 500 what were then called “race films” were created in the United States between 1915 and the early 1950s. These movies were made independently outside the Hollywood studio system. Race films featured black casts and targeted black audiences, and mainstream historians subsequently overlooked them before the BET Network revived interest in these movies in the 1980s. Only about 100 black movies from this period are still available today, and one of the most stylized and ambitious films of the period is Go Down, Death! (1944). The American Genre Film Archive has teamed-up with Something Strange to digitize their S-VHS collection of weird, bizarre and hard-to-find treasures including Go Down, Death!, which has just been made available for download. The movie costs 99 cents or pay-what-you-can and all proceeds will be donated to Movement for Black Lives, which seeks to mobilize political power locally and nationally to end police violence against black people among other goals. Go Down, Death! is directed by Spencer Williams who also stars in the film as its main heavy, Big Jim Bottoms. Williams is best known

HAVE YOU DONE ANY GOOD IN THE WORLD TODAY?

for portraying Andy in TV’s Amos ‘n’ Andy. The television show had a mixed reception: the NAACP campaigned against the series and its buffoonish characterizations of black stereotypes. However comedians like Redd Foxx praised the show as a pioneering program that put black performers in lead roles. Regardless of what Williams thought of

the show and his character he had much bigger ambitions: Go Down, Death! Is actually the third film in a cinematic religious trilogy, which started with The Blood of Jesus (1941) and was followed by the now-lost film Brother Martin: Servant of Jesus (1942). Big Jim Bottoms runs a jumping juke joint, which Spencer captures with a full dance floor and lots of slick

“The Contributor” está trabajando con uno de los principales periódicos en español La Noticia para llevar contenido a más lectores en Middle Tennessee. Nuestros vendedores de periódicos han pedido durante mucho tiempo que nuestra publicación incluya contenido que apele al interés de residentes de habla hispana en nuestra comunidad.

“The Contributor” is working with one of the leading Spanish-language newspapers La Noticia to bring content to more readers in Middle Tennessee. Our newspaper vendors have long requested that our publication include content that appeals to the interest of Spanish-speaking residents in our community.

Go Down, Death! is available to download for 99 cents or pay-what-you-can from the American Genre Film Archive. Go to https:// agfaamericangenrefilmarchive.vhx.tv/ to get the film and support Movement for Black Lives

Joe Nolan is a critic, columnist and performing singer/ songwriter based in East Nashville. Find out more about his projects at www.joenolan.com.

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June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 13


VOTE

FUN

OBIN KIMBROUGH HAYES UNITED STATES SENATE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

PASSION. AUTHENTICITY. SERVICE. “I grew up in a trailer park in Kentucky. The trailer park taught me how to stretch my resources, how to make a lot of a little, and gave me the drive to become a lawyer and preacher. Most importantly, it taught me that no matter what is going on, there is still hope.” - Robin

Early Voting - July 17, 2020 Election Day - August 6, 2020 www.robinforsenate.com Paid for by the Committee to Elect Robin Kimbrough Hayes United States Senator Treasurer, Tonya Sherrell-Bond PAGE 14 | June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

HOBOSCOPES CANCER

The Colossus of Rhodes was a 110-foot statue of the Greek sun-god Helios that overlooked the harbour of the city of Rhodes. It took 12 years to build and it is still considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. But it only stood for 56 years before an earthquake knocked it down. More than 2,000 years later, we still know a lot about Greeks. We know about their wars and their triumphs and their religions and their crimes. We even know about some of the statues that came down. But we don’t have to rebuild them. This week, Cancer, what can you build that shows the world the best you’ve got?

LEO

I just got another mass-email from The Public Association of Semi-Trained Amateur Astrologers (PASTAA). They’ve been sending a lot lately. This one is about how PASTAA has always been committed to equality and justice. I appreciate the sentiment, I really do. I try to take these things at face-value and not be too cynical about corporate confessions around social good. But, when it comes down to it, organizations tend to evolve around their own best interest. I’d rather hear from a person than a faceless “we.” It makes me think, Leo, about my own responsibility. Am I letting things go unsaid because I assume everybody knows? Are you? Just checking.

VIRGO

You may have heard it said that “deeds done in darkness will eventually come to light.” That used to scare me, Virgo. I thought it just meant that my dad would find the firecrackers I was keeping in my dresser drawer (he did). These days, I find it more of a relief. I’m realizing that if it has to be hidden, it may not be worth doing. If it takes a secret, midnight-meeting to get the job done, you may not be working on the right side. What could you bring to light this week, Virgo?

LIBRA

SCORPIO

Some say that morality asks “what kind of person do I want to be?” while ethics asks “what’s the right thing to do?” And then, Scorpio, there’s the law. At it’s best, the law sets a basic standard of behavior in which a person can determine their morals and act ethically. But we all know that not all laws are good. We know that laws change, sometimes overnight, and that a change in law couldn’t possibly be a change in what is right and wrong. It’s exhausting, Scorpio. That’s why I appreciate all the thought you’ve been putting into this. What kind of person do you want to be? What’s the right thing to do?

SAGITTA R IUS

I had to take my cat to the vet today, Sagittarius. Don’t worry, he’s fine. Just needed some electrolytes and some blander food. But today it just felt like one more thing going wrong that was going to take every ounce of emotional energy I have left. It didn’t. I’m all right too. I just needed some electrolytes and some blander food. But I wanted to remind you, Sagittarius, that if it’s all getting to be too much, you’re not alone. We’re all in it. And we’d love to hear from you.

I used to love to go to concerts, Pisces. Standing in a crowded room for hours, awkwardly packed-in with strangers who love the same music you do. Cheering and singing along and breathing the same air as hundreds of other people. I’m sorry, this image is making me feel a little panicky. I was going to say something about how it helps to know you’re not alone. And you really aren’t alone, Pisces. And it really does help, at least for me, to know that somebody, maybe you, is with me in this. But maybe this time we won’t prove it in a crowded, humid room, if that’s OK?

ARIES

I’ve learned a lot lately about food delivery services. First of all, Aries, they are great. Your favorite food delivered right to your door! Secondly, and you may have suspected this, I have spent way too much money to experience this phenomenon. Sometimes, Aries, you only need to try something once to know it’s not a sustainable solution. But sometimes we keep trying it because it seems like it should work. I’ll be thinking about this for the rest of the evening while I browse pictures of thai food and eat another peanut butter and honey sandwich.

CAPRICORN

I’m hearing a lot of jokes lately about how this year keeps getting weirder and weirder. Attacking insects? So 2020. Bizarre weather? Totally 2020. Dancing fish? 2020 is at it again. And it’s nice to have some unseen, disembodied force to blame all the weirdness on, Capricorn, but at some point I think we have to admit that this is real life. That this is actually where we’re at. That if a meteor lands in your driveway and mice take over the school board and the river fills up with chocolate milk, it’s not just 2020 doing it’s thing. It’s what we have to work with. I’m excited to see what you’ll do with it.

AQUA RIUS

I liked David Bowie because he was always changing. First he spearheaded glam-rock. Then he ran headfirst into ambient-pop. He tried soul and dance. He may have accidentally invented grunge. He got fairly goth and darkly electronic. He reminds me of you lately, Libra. You’ve been moving from one thing to the next and, frankly, you’ve been great at all of it. I just wanted to let you know that if you ever want to go deeper and focus on just one thing for a while, you’re allowed to. Even if it’s just dancing with muppets or staring into space.

PISCES

It’s funny how my tendency to avoid conflict is the thing that most often brings me into conflict. Like, I avoid writing the email until the absence of the email is a stronger statement than the email would have been. You may not relate to this, Aquarius. I’m not sure. I’ve been afraid to ask. And now here we are in this awkward conflict that I could have avoided if I’d just taken it head-on. So, I’ll put it out there, are there things you’ve stopped paying attention to that are getting larger in the absence of attention. You don’t have to tell me. But you should probably check.

TAURUS

Have you been experiencing more anger lately, Taurus? I know I have. I get mad about the people in charge. I get mad about the people I disagree with on the internet. I get mad about the people I see in the grocery store who are going to the grocery store wrong. I’m amazed at how much anger I have to spread around. What I’ve been trying lately is not wasting my anger on hypotheticals. What I mean, Taurus, is that I’m very often angry at what I think somebody means or what I think they’re doing or what it might result in. If you want to give it a try, pick somebody you’re angry at and take away all the things that you don’t know 100 percent certainly to be true. What’s left?

GEMINI

You know that old song “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay?” I think about that song a lot. It was by a band called Danny and the Juniors in 1958. I like the part where it goes “I don’t care what people say. Rock and roll is here to stay.” Really? They don’t care what people say? Just taken on it’s own this is a very powerful sentiment, Gemini. It’s hard not to care what people say, but Danny and the Juniors cracked it. I think you can too.

Mr. Mysterio is not a licensed astrologer, a trained musicologist, or a certified veterinary assistant. Mr. Mysterio is, however, a budding intermediate podcaster! Check out The Mr. Mysterio Podcast. Season 2 is now playing at mrmysterio.com. Got a question, just give Mr. M a call at 707-VHS-TAN1

June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 15


VENDOR WRITING

AGORAPHOBIA JEN A.

A COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER LOGAN M.

There’s a can of pineapple, And a tin of water chestnuts,

She will turn that jukebox way up high

There’s half a bottle of ibuprofen.

fill her glass up while she cries

I’ve been looking for that.

First city singing after the fire is gone

Ah, jello! There’s half a box of golden raisins.

I cry every time Patsy Cline cries

That’s been in there for a while.

I sing like I hurt inside

I can bring them back to life If I soak them in water for a while.

Don’t look under the floor no more

Or I could cook them

That lost Decca record ain’t there no more

With that little bit of pasta. That might be interesting.

Motor to the plane to where the dresses go All the pain and pictures to closets just to hide from you

I guess I could go to the grocery. Let’s see, I’m old,

If your hands could hold a troubled soul

And there’s that pesky heart condition,

Who’s gonna miss me when I’m gone

And that burn on the back of my hand That won’t seem to heal up

Spring is just around with bend and the fences need mending

From the last time I went shopping And overdid the isopropyl alcohol

A coal miner’s daughter

On my polyester gloves.

A coal miner’s daughter

But now I’m out of isopropyl. And two bus drivers tested positive.

She will turn that jukebox way up high

They won’t tell me which routes.

Fill her glass up while she cries

That’s all disturbing.

First city singing after the fire is gone

Ummm...

Motor to the plane to where the dresses go

Maybe next week.

All the pain and pictures to closets just to hide from you I cry every time Patsy Cline cries I sing like I hurt inside

UNDER PRESSURE JEN A.

When the body is at ground level, Under normal pressure, Blood boils at 212* Fahrenheit. But when the body is placed In the pressure cooker of endless Indefensible racism and Social injustice, The blood boils at a Much lower temperature. True leaders ease the pressure By quoting Aeschylus: “And even in our sleep, Pain which cannot forget, Falls drop by drop upon the heart Until in our own despair, Against our will, Comes wisdom through The awful grace of God.” Or by leading the congregation in Amazing Grace: “Through many dangers, toils, and snares We have already come, ‘Twas Grace that brought us safe this far, And Grace will lead us home.” Today our leader threatened Military action against An anguished community That has just seen too much, And quoted Walter E. Headley, With the poetic couplet, “When looting starts,

SURVIVOR

The shooting starts.” It is a harsh, troubled age,

DEANA H.

Laying in bed all alone, Wondering if you get a call on the phone. With the new person and separation from people

As Aeschylus knew, “When a tongue at

WE WALKED IN LOVE JOHN H.

Have your face covered Hard not to hug my mother

Many nights it’s hard to sleep, thinking of George Floyd

COVID-19 has changed the way we live,

I ask God to comfort me, in turn I embrace my sword (Bible)

God was mad so he separated us.

All these years wondering when will this injustice stop

Just for a short time.

So we protest, ain’t got much time left on the clock

But we’ll all be fine, give it time. We will rise up

Down on Hennepin sitting on the steps drinking that Henn

And never give up

Where I first met George, seems I met an old time friend

We will come back without any slack

Neither of us were perfect, looking at the moon shining above

For we are strong

But what we did have in common, we walked in Love

Amen

The wrong moment Shoots off sharp-pointed words To rouse and hurt the spirit.”

CARE VICTOR J.

Care is something you do Care is something you feel Care is something you show Care is something you need

PAGE 16 | June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 17


VENDOR WRITING

By Major Ethan Frizzell, The Salvation Army - 615.933.9305

History Repeating Itself JOHN H., CONTRIBUTOR VENDOR In the Old Testament, the slaves cried for over 400 years and finally God answered their cry. He plagued Egypt with many different plagues and yet Pharoah didn’t want to let the slaves go free. What’s going on here in America is very similar. All these years of hatred from white Americans. Senseless! Seems as if we, Black Americans, should be the ones who carry the hatred in our hearts. Amazing how many change their story due to many white protestors, people like Drew Brees, Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, etc. I’m a true believer of this verse of scripture, “What is in the heart comes out the mouth, our deeds.” What comes out the mouth of many the first time is practically what’s in the heart. Due to seeing in many major cities more white protestors than black, it’s enough to make a person want to go along with the majority even though their heart may not be there just yet. Just like God had Moses to lead the slaves out of Egypt, God can change America by reforming all

the bad leaders and the hatred in authority. (I say authority because it’s not just police, it’s our courts (especially judges), District Attorneys, and of course our President and many citizens.) Tennessee is the most racist state I’ve ever resided in. The headquarters of racism. Very sad. I pray for this hatred to end, at least with our government and citizens. I pray that Black people can be more comfortable, have much better chances for better jobs, and most importantly that Black people have equal rights as white people. I lost many white friends here in Nashville, simply because they didn’t know what it meant for me to tell them that they wouldn’t know how to walk in a black man’s shoes. Many have come and found me and apologized because their hearts just wasn’t there. They took my feelings for granted. Apology is not needed, I need change more. Ask God to take away the hate from your heart. It starts with you. I still love white folks. God told me I had to. Some are bad, not all.

What Tennesee Is Made Of THEME: COCKTAILS & MOCKTAILS ACROSS 1. Angelou and Rudolph 6. Mason’s load 9. Bobby Pickett’s “Monster ____” 13. Infection from contaminated water or food 14. Formerly Cassius Clay 15. Slow, musically speaking 16. ____ Ste. Marie, Ontario 17. Bonding words 18. Like draft beer 19. *Cognac, orange liqueur, lemon juice 21. *Tropical cocktail favorite 23. Motion of approval 24. *Home of pisco sour 25. Smoker’s residue 28. Big butte 30. *It has both white and dark rum 35. Popular BBQ side 37. Pea houses 39. *Hold your drink aloft in honor 40. “Downton Abbey”

countess 41. Subject of 17th century Dutch mania 43. Cote d’Azur locale 44. Teatro alla Scala offering 46. Sushi selection 47. Kind of jeans fit 48. *She famously disliked the eponymous drink 50. Chesterfield or ulster 52. Bro’s sib 53. Long and lean 55. Petting spot 57. *Negroni and boulevardier ingredient 61. Time for the big bowl games 65. Unethical loaner’s practice 66. Designed to guarantee equal rights 68. Cooler manufacturer 69. #38 Down, pl. 70. Atlantic catch 71. Musical ensemble 72. Rodeo Drive tree 73. It’s of the beholder 74. Rosetta Stone, e.g.

DOWN 1. Difficult situation 2. Antioxidant-rich berry 3. Common contraction 4. Kind of wrench 5. TV’s popular portmanteau 6. Let it down to relax? 7. *____ fashioned 8. D in LED 9. Take-out handout 10. Nay sayer 11. Sun, e.g. 12. Indigenous people of northeast Arizona 15. *Nespolino fruit 20. Highly skilled 22. Elbow rest 24. Portable lock 25. Fancy tie 26. Ski run 27. Sheik’s bevy 29. *Whiskey ___ 31. Charged particles 32. Flip side, pl. 33. Binary digits code 34. Things on a list 36. “Star Trek” speed 38. Fodder holder 42. Eloise’s residence 45. Quiets 49. Otitis organ 51. *Popular mixer, pl. 54. Brother’s daughter 56. Should 57. Turning point 58. World’s largest continent 59. *To warm wine or cider and add spices 60. Junior ball 61. Green gemstone 62. Burn-soothing plant 63. Agitate 64. Yesteryear 67. *First name in cola and grenadine

BY MAURICE B., CONTRIBUTOR VENDOR History bonds and bounds us together. Let’s take a stroll of the true wonders of life’s history here in this area we call home. In 1796 Tennessee became the 16th state of the Union. The name, “Tennessee” was recorded by a Captain born in Tobati named Juan Padro. The name derives from the “Tanasi,” river and the two Cherokee villages on it’s banks. Our seventh president Andrew Jackson was born in the Waxhaw Settlement, an area near Lancaster in South Carolina and moved to Tennessee in 1798 and acquired land in Davidson County where he acquired the Hermitage plantation where he passed away June 8th 1845. On June 15, 1934 the Great Smoky Mountain National Park —”The Smokies” — was established and is still holding strong as a place to come and see and admire. A man born in Tupelo, Miss., known as the KING of Rock, Elvis Aaron Presley, also has a history in Tennessee. An enormous amount of people still visit Graceland — the Elvis Presley complex in Memphis. The territory south of the River Ohio/Tennessee/ Volunteer State has long been home to the music biz, bringing individuals from far and wide to play, listen and be a part of the scene. Nashville was officially dubbed Music City USA by a WSM announcer named David Cobb in 1950. Memphis also has a prominent music scene with historical blues clubs on Beale Street originating the unique Memphis blues sounds in the early 20th century. We can also observe the passion of one that was born in Locust Ridge, Tenn., Dolly Parton, who before the financial aid to Dolly she still was rich with things that money couldn’t buy, like love, kindness and understanding. Dolly also opened Dollywood in Pigeon Forge Tennessee. For people interested in Tennessee architecture, the late Crawford Smith’s replica of the Parthenon is located at Centennial Dog Park in Nashville. Tennessee also has many museums like the American Museum of Science and energy in Oakridge Tenn., Alex Haley museum & Interpretive Center in Henning

PAGE 18 | June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

Tenn., the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum in Memphis, the Tina Turner Museum and Flag Grove School in Brownsville, Tenn. and the Beck Cultural Center in Knoxville, Tenn. These are some of the people, places and things people associate with Tennessee. The foundation of this state comes from the blood sweat and tears of individuals with passion. We have one in our midst that is a precious and passionate warrior/soldier by the name of Robin Kimbrough Hayes. She has gone through many bumps and bruises in and out of the basic training of life. She grew up as a latchkey child in Lexington, Ky.,, and found her way to Nashville. As the plate of life was presented to her, the delicious foods of life here in Tennessee she set off to eat her fill. First she ate at the well known “Fisk University”, and then tasted and graduated from Emory Law School. Her plate was continually filled by her desires to pursue more and more passionate ideas and dreams. She pursued her legal career alone while taking care of her family as a single mom. Then, she received a larger meal when she was appointed to the Tennessee attorney general, where she has argued cases from East to West Tennessee before the courts of criminal appeals. She also launched into a legal career focusing on social justice issues as an associate general counsel for the Tennessee Coalition to end domestic and sexual violence. Mrs. Robin Kimbrough Hayes also enjoys the taste of volunteering with the NAACP. She is a proven champion for victims of domestic violence and serves as a chaplain for people who are struggling with drugs and alcohol dependency at the Elam Center. Mrs. Robin Kimbrough Hayes asks your permission to carry her experiences into the US Senator’s seat for Tennessee. Our togetherness brings about the passion that holds this area together. The whole world could use what she has been fed during her time here in Tennessee. The support of all from this area can make a change in the world by allowing Robin Kimbrough Hayes to be a part of and speak for this area.

Prosperity’s Choice

Death? Panhandling? Seeing people in detestable states? Seeing the homeless reduces the quality of life of those who have to see it. No doubt, and it leads to... Reducing property values. Reducing tourism. Reducing taxes. Reducing services. Increasing people entering homelessness. Increasing people staying on our streets. Increasing people’s living outside being seen. Although it is an economic problem, most states react to it as a housing problem. Further, the individuals have virtually no voice and so the story of the problem is only told by the tourists and downtown communities. The negative cycle generates a negative story which is retold over and over so that the fault lies firmly on the one without a voice. Bias increases. What if it was seen as a primarily economic problem. One person out of work turns to panhandling, and is now making more money than the guy working at the restaurant. They then talk others into making “more money”. Their misery is balanced with behaviors. The practice is bad for business. Sales reduce. Tourism reduces. Property values reduce. Taxes reduce. Now the other scenario. A person becomes unemployed. His housing is supported until he quickly finds employment. He pays taxes. The business owner has employees. Income increases. Tourism increases. Property values increase. Income from taxes increases. The cost of restoration is but a small percentage of the increase of business, tourism, property values and taxes. The challenge is that when there is a problem, ie. the homeless, the fault lies on the person experiencing homelessness. When there is a success, the success is attributed to the successful. Their income goes up. Taxes go up. Corporate benefits go up. Concern for the poor is scheduled...later.

We all take – The strong take whatever they want The weak take whatever is left The strong take from the weak The weak take their revenge; And so we wither.

If we all give – The strong choose to take less The weak give thanks for their fill The strong give power to the weak The weak give their support to the strong; And they stand together as us And so we prosper.

Systems are perfectly designed for the problems they create. Today a person has lost their job, without support and lost housing. Tomorrow they will increase their income from panhandling and, in reasonable response to Covid-19, will move into an encampment. Nashville is perfectly positioned to experience an increase in street-level homelessness over the next 18 months. We are improving on a perfect system to increase homelessness. In 18 months, who should we blame? Those who have power in this economic system or those who suffer from it?

Stand together...

Homelessness... What’s the problem?

Athol Williams

Social Philosopher

Give me a call if you want to create a different future. Let me buy you a cup of coffee.

June 24 - July 8, 2020 | The Contributor | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | PAGE 19


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