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The Official Magazine of Focused Radio

Dec. 2015 Nov. 2015

Helping you

Honor And JUST GETTING BUT WE’RE Give STARTED! Thanks This November 2015’s End...

CONTENTS 7. Sickle Cell Anemia 12. FOCUSED RADIO’S 2015 RECAP Or Kwanzaa?? 17.DOChristmas WE HAVE TO CHOOSE??

32. Beauty Hibernation 2015 Events That Have Changed Our Lives Forever


Editor in Chief: TommyP Editor at Large: Naadir Love Art Director: KHAR

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Words from the Editor Well the holidays are here and it always has a mix of up and downs for me. Spending time with family and friends is always a great thing, however this time always causes me to remember those who are no longer with us. My father passed away 3 days after Christmas over 30 years ago, but yet I still miss him. I know there are plenty of others who have lost loved ones and the holidays can bring out sadness when it should be the happiest time of the year. With that in mind, we are remembering the good times of this year as well as talking about some of the events that changed our history forever. Focused Radio has participated in many events in this past year. From community events, blood drives, concerts, forums, etc., we truly were “everywhere.� We also reported different world events that effected our community. This month we go over some of those major events with analysis on changes that have happened because of them. As always continue to stay focused by listening to #1 internet radio station in VA and we will see you next year! TommyP

Health and Wellness: Sickle Cell Anemia,

“Because it Matters!”” Matters!” By Melanie J. Mitchell

The Focus Magazine is dedicated to bringing our readers the most up-to-date information on topics that matter most. So, let’s get to it! Many of you may already know our dedication to promoting awareness and education to the public about Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) but how much do you really know about it? What really is SCD and how does it affect you? Is it preventable? What is the current treatment for SCD? Why does it matter? How can you get involved? Over the past few years, SCD has been gaining attention as a disease that affects upwards of nearly 100,000 people in the United States and millions worldwide. According to a recently published article by Dr. Yates, “Sickle cell disease

can occur in any race or ethnic group. Although SCD has long been associated with people of African descent, it can be found in many races and ethnic groups including Spanish, Brazilian, Indian, African, and even Caucasian.”i Dr. Yates goes on to explain that SCD is not contagious but it is inherited through parents with the sickle cell trait. What is Sickle Cell Disease? According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), persons with SCD have “inherited abnormal hemoglobin in their red blood cells. Hemoglobin is a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body….Sickle hemoglobin is not like normal hemoglobin (shaped like a doughnut). It can form stiff

rods within the red cells, changing it into a crescent, or sickle shape. Sickle-shaped cells are not flexible and can stick to vessel walls, causing a blockage that slows or stops the flow of blood. When this happens, oxygen can’t reach nearby tissues. The lack of tissue oxygen can cause attacks of sudden, severe pain, called pain crisis. These pain attacks can occur without warning, and a person often needs to go to the hospital for effective treatment. Sickle cell disease is a life-long illness. The severity of the disease varies widely from person to person.”ii Is sickle cell disease preventable? Currently, there is no cure for SCD. It is important to know your status. Fortunately, since 1991, every newThe focus DECEMBER 2015 8

born in the United States is now tested for sickle cell (both the trait and full blown disease). The U.S. News Health reports, “Because SCD is an inherited disorder, it is not preventable. Couples may opt to consult a genetic counselor before conceiving to learn more about their risk for having a child with SCD”.iii Additional sources tell us that “Prevention entails setting up sickle cell screening and genetic counseling programs in high prevalence countries. Ideally, the disease should be identified during the prenatal period of at birth as part of a routine screening program.”iv What is the current treatment for SCD? Any credible source will highly recommend seeking medical care by trained 9The focus DECEMBER 2015

physicians knowledgeable about the disease. While there is no cure, there are some cases when a bone marrow transplant has provided a curative where the person no longer experiences symptoms of sickle cell disease. However, this treatment is not available to all persons with SCD because it requires a genetic match, as with any tissue or organ transplant, bone marrow is no different. Most of the time, a match is found within the family through a sibling but statistically is very low. “Good nutrition, while essential for anyone, is critical for patients with SCD. Fluids are number one in importance. Diet should provide adequate calories, protein, fats, and vitamins and minerals.”v There is really

only two ways that patients have to decrease episodes of pain crisis, hydroxyurea and blood transfusions. Why does it matter? First, it matters because it impacts millions worldwide. It was recently passed as a national health epidemic in the United States. Many people affected by this disease commonly refer to it as a “silent killer.” It is a blood disorder so you cannot see the effects these abnormal cells have on the body. Secondly, you probably know someone with the disease but don’t know how to help or support them. Often times the person with sickle cell will not discuss it. The pain is indescribable and because there is a lack of understanding and empathy for those with the disease, it

is easier to live with the pain in silence. Finally, this disease affects not just the people suffering from it but those caring for them. There is insufficient awareness and attention for persons with SCD. While some major hospitals have programs for SC patients, there are still less than 35 physicians nationwide that actually specialize in the care and treatment of sickle cell How can you get involved? There are multiple ways to get involved! Our CEO, Thomas Page, has dedicated his personal life to the awareness of SCD having lost his 16year old son to the disease in 2010. He started the organization, Faith 4 A Cure (www.faith4acure. org), in honor and memory of his son and all those affect-

ed by SCD. Using his marketing and media platform, Mr. Page has travelled the world in order to #GetTheWordOut about SCD. Faith 4 A Cure is always looking for volunteers, testimonials, and support from the community. Other ways to get involved would be to host a blood drive. Since blood transfusions are one of the only forms of treatments for pain crisis, finding the right blood product becomes more and more problematic with each transfusion. Faith 4 A Cure partners with Virginia Blood Services (www.vablood. org) to help with this initiative. Lastly, find a support group in your area that you can provide a helping hand. Often times, these groups lack in participation so anything you can

do to help, such as providing transportation, food, a voice of counsel, etc., would be great! For additional information, please visit We or like us on can help connect you withe the resources in your area!

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This year in Pictures! NuFocus Group has been a lot of places this year, here are few by the seasons

Wintertime TommyP with his sons at the Roanoke Alumni Chapter of North Carolina A&T, Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast at Hotel Roanoke

see more on our Instagram @TheFocusedRadio

Urban Professional League of Roanoke Awards with guest speaker TVOne Personality Mo Ivory

Recognized by the Chief of Police roanoke, VA for providing jobs to returned citizens

Junior from the Steve Harvey Morning Show and Lance Lynch of WHUR/WHBC at Sickle Cell Awareness Blood Drive at Howard University


Motha Hosting Easter Egg hunt in Roanoke, VA with the Cool Breeze and Grytz

Lenai in Lynchburg with Habitat for Humanity building homes. The crew finished the job no problem with the help of Focused Radio In Richmond at the Unity Ride for Sickle Cell with Mr. George Carter and his lovely wife of OSCAR and Dr. Wally Smith of VCU waving the riders in.


TommyP and Nicole Ross award the JonAnthony D. Page Scholarship and many fun events at the “Tribute to a Prynce” community block party and blood drive

Comedian Micah “Bam Bam” White tells jokes and spotlights F4AC at Richmond Funny Bone Focused Radio in with Mr. Cheeks and LB Fam for Cheek’s “Raised” project release in RVA Joon D., Tommy P, Star-Citi and Los in with Royale Swerve for BassWave event.

We were even at the Washington Redskins Training camp


Trust and beleive we will be back and in even more places this year. So check our Instagram page @TheFocusedRadio to stay in the know

We broadcasted live from Ferrum College, Hampton U and many locations during September for Sickle Cell Awareness month

Capt EBT and Raonoke community youth come out to Thriller Night/ Trunk or Treat for Halloween night

Love in Action stole the show

Tis the season to #BeTheGivingType

Score Big with VBS and the Washington Redskins! We will have a special blood drive at the Hilton Richmond Downtown (501 E Broad St.) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, December 28th. All donors will get a limited edition t-shirt, be entered to win a VIP fan experience, and will have the chance to meet a player

We are asking that all O negative blood types step up to help with current low inventory needs. Visit for more details and how your blood type is utilized.

By Sister Love

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This technically is a no-brainer. Unfortunately people have confused the two. Kwanzaa was not created to replace Christmas. Christmas (before the commercialization of it), is a religious holiday. Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday and was created for a specific group of people. Could this be the reason for the so called confusion? Christ·mas ‘krismәs/ noun 1. an annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, held on December 25 in the Western Church. exclamation informal 1. expressing surprise, dismay, or despair. Christmas in the Church is supposedly about the observance of the humble birth of Jesus to a virgin in a stable in Bethlehem. The holiday also celebrates the events noted in the bible surrounding his birth, such as an angel’s appearance to shepherds, telling them to visit the newborn king and the three Wise men following the star. Contrary to common belief the Church doesn’t consider it the most important Christian holiday but Christmas is definitely the most popular, if one looks at its cultural, social and economic significance. For the record the New Testament does not specify a day or month for Jesus’ birthday. There is also no historical record that marks the exact date of Jesus’ birth. As a result, the Church had considered many different dates, including January 2, March 21, March 25, April 18, April 19, May 20, May 28, November 17, and November 20. The Western Church first observed December 25 in the fourth century, and eventually Eastern Churches followed suit. Christmas actually originated as a pagan holiday. December 25th was selected to line up with several pagan Roman holidays that celebrated the winter solstice and worship of the sun. One theory The focus december 2015 18

that is used to explain December 25th as the choice for the celebration of the birth of Jesus is that the date was used to Christianize the pagan festival in Rome of the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, meaning “the birthday of the Unconquered Sun.” This festival started by the Roman emperor Aurelian (270–275) to celebrate the sun god was celebrated at the winter solstice. This date was December 25th. According to this theory, during the reign of the emperor Constantine, Christian writers wrote of this feast so that it resembled the birthday of Jesus thereby associating him with the “sun of righteousness” mentioned in Malachi 4:2. Also many of the traditional customs that are associated with Christmas, such as gift giving, tree decorating, light hanging and feasting come from non-Church origins. Some of these are: Santa Claus came from a legend as far back as the fourth century in the form of Saint Nicholas (March 15, 270- December 6, 343) a Greek Christian, Bishop of Myra, (“Myrrh”), a town now called Demre. Anatolia, the territory of modern Turkey, has been the heartland of human civilization since 7,000 BC., who was known for his generosity to the poor. In Greece, he is the patron saint of sailors, in France he is the patron of lawyers, and in Belgium he is the patron of children and travelers. There were thousands of churches across Europe dedicated to him and sometime around the 12th century an official church holiday was created in his honor. The Feast of St. Nicholas was celebrated on December 6th and this day was marked by gift-giving and charity. After the Reformation, followers of St. Nicholas dwindled, but his legend was kept alive in Holland where the Dutch spelling of his name Sint Nikolaas was eventually turned to Sinterklaas. Dutch children left their wooden shoes by the fireplace and Sinterklaas would reward the good children by placing treats in their shoes. Dutch colonists brought this tradition with them to America in the 17th century and here the Anglican name of Santa Claus emerged. So it appears that the American version of Santa Claus comes from 19 The focus december 2015

this Dutch legend.about Sinter Klaas, which the Dutch settlers brought to America. Americans embraced the idea of Santa Claus, obviously liking the idea that he delivers gifts to good boys and girls on Christmas Eve. For many people, Santa Claus is the embodiment of the spirit of giving. So to celebrate in the spirit of Santa Claus during the Christmas holidays, many people not only give gifts to loved ones, but also donate their time and money to various charities. Christmas Trees In 16th-century Germany, fir trees were decorated, both inside and outside of the home, with apples, roses, gilded candies, and colored paper. In the Middle Ages, there was a popular religious play depicting the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. A fir tree with apples hung upon it, was used to symbolize the Garden of Eden “the Paradise Tree”. This play ended with the prophecy of the savior’s coming, and was often performed during the Advent season. It is said that the Protestant reformer Martin Luther was the first to adorn trees with light. The story goes like this “While coming home one December evening, the beauty of the stars shining through the branches of a fir inspired him to recreate the effect by placing candles on the branches of a small fir tree inside his home.” The “Christmas Tree” came to England by way of Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert from his native Germany. A famous Illustrated News etching in 1848, featuring the Royal Family of Victoria, Albert and their children gathered around a Christmas tree in Windsor Castle helped popularize the tree throughout Victorian England. This tradition was brought to America by the Pennsylvania Germans; the Christmas tree was an American tradition by the late 19th century. Mistletoe Mistletoe was used by Druid priests at least 200 years before the The focus December 2015 20

birth of Christ for their winter celebrations. They revered this plant because it had no roots yet remained green during the cold months of winter. The ancient Celtics believed that the mistletoe had magical healing powers and would use it as an antidote for poison, infertility, and to even ward off evil spirits. The plant was seen as a symbol of peace, and it is said that among the Romans that enemies who met under mistletoe would lay down their weapons and embrace. Scandinavians associated mistletoe with Frigga, their goddess of love, and could this possibly be where the custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from. It was thought that those who kissed under the mistletoe would have the promise of happiness and good luck in the year to come. Greenery (Holly and Ivy) In Northern Europe, Christmas occurred during the middle of winter, where it was said that ghosts and demons could be heard howling in the winter winds. Boughs of holly, (believed to have magical powers because they remained green during the harsh winter), were placed over the doors of homes in hopes to drive evil away. Greenery was brought indoors to help freshen the air and brighten the mood during the long, winter months. Speaking of legends, it is also said that holly sprang from the footsteps of Christ as he walked the earth. The pointed leaves are said to represent the crown of thorns Christ wore while on the cross and the red berries are symbolic of the blood he shed. Christmas Stockings It is said, according to one legend, that a kindly nobleman had grown despondent over the death of his beloved wife and foolishly squandered his fortune. This unfortunately left his three young daughters without dowries and therefore faced a life of spinsterhood. 21 The focus December 2015

Vegan Baked Goodies

Happy Holidays

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A generous St. Nicholas, hearing about the girls’ plight, set forth to help. Wishing to remain anonymous, he rode his white horse by the nobleman’s house and threw three small pouches filled with gold coins down the chimney where they were fortunately captured by the stockings the young women had hung by the fireplace to dry. The slightly different version goes this way. Saint Nicholas who was born to very wealthy black Anatolian parents of the ancient Roman Empire in Patara, Turkey, took a special interest in three sisters. Why? Too poor to have dowries, they were being forced into prostitution when, suddenly, three bags of gold were thrown down their chimneys, enough bait to attract husbands. Candy Canes Europeans began using special decorations on their Christmas trees almost immediately. Cookies and candies along with straight white candy sticks were just some of the confections used as ornamentation. Legend has it that in the 17th century, craftsmen created the white sticks of candy in the shape of shepherds’’ crooks at the suggestion of the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. These candy treats were given to children to keep them quiet during ceremonies at the Nativity scene, and this custom of passing out the candy crooks at such ceremonies quickly spread throughout Europe. According to the National Confectioner’s Association, in 1847 a German immigrant named August Imgard used the candy cane to decorate a Christmas tree in Wooster, Ohio. More than 50 years later, Bob McCormack of Albany, Georgia supposedly made candy canes as treats for family, friends and local shopkeepers. McCormack’s brother-in-law, Catholic priest Gregory Keller, invented a machine in the 1950s that automated the production of candy canes which eliminated the laborious process of creating the treats making the popularity of the candy cane grow. The candy cane’s color symbolism is as follows: the color white represents Christ’s purity, the red the blood he shed, and the presence of three red stripes the Holy Trinity. While there is no actual proof to back this up, this explanation has become the common one and at times is even represented as fact. Whether fact or fiction, the The focus december 2015 22

candy cane still is a favorite holiday treat and decoration if it can stay long enough on the tree. Christmas cards An early form of the Christmas card began in England when young boys who practiced their writing skills created Christmas greetings for their parents. Sir Henry Cole is credited with creating the first real Christmas card. As the first director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, it is said that Sir Henry became too busy during the Christmas season of 1843 to compose individual Christmas greetings for his friends. Because of his busy schedule, he commissioned artist John Calcott Horsley for an illustration. The card featured three panels, with the center panel depicting a family enjoying Christmas festivities and the card was inscribed with the message “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.”

Poinsettias A plant native to Mexican, the poinsettia was named after Joel R. Poinsett, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico who brought the plant to America in 1828. Poinsettias more than likely were used by Mexican Franciscan monks in their 17th century Christmas celebrations. One legend has it that a Mexican boy, on his way to visit the village Nativity scene, realized he had no gift for the Christ child. He gathered up some pretty green branches from along the road and brought them to the church. Even though the other children mocked him, he laid them by the manger. Then it is said a beautiful star-shaped flower appeared on each branch. These bright red petals, often mistaken for being flowers, are actually the upper leaves of the plant. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer One of the newest Christmas tradition. 23 The focus december 2015

The Chicago-based Montgomery Ward company department store operators, had been purchasing and distributing children’s coloring books as Christmas gifts for their customers for several years. But in 1939, Montgomery Ward decided to let one of their own employees create a book for them in the hopes of saving money. So, a 34-year old copywriter named Robert L. May wrote the story of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and 2.4 million copies were handed out that year. In spite of the wartime paper shortage, over 6 million copies had been distributed by 1946. May utilized part on the story from “The Ugly Duckling” and some of his own experiences of being taunted for being a small, frail youth to create the story of the misfit reindeer. Rollo and Reginald were considered as names for the character but May settled on Rudolph as his reindeer’s name. Choosing to write in verse as a series of rhyming couplets, May tested the story as he went along on his 4-year old daughter Barbara, who loved the story. Unfortunately, Robert May’s wife died around the time he was creating Rudolph, leaving May deeply in debt due to medical bills. He actually was able to persuade Sewell Avery, Montgomery Ward’s corporate president, to turn the copyright over to him in January 1947, thus ensuring May’s financial security. May’s story “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was commercially printed in 1947 and in 1948 a nine-minute cartoon of the story was shown in theaters. Now, when May’s brother-in-law, songwriter Johnny Marks, wrote the lyrics and melody for the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, a new chapter in Christmas history was written. The song was recorded by Gene Autry in 1949 at the urging of Autry’s wife after many other musical artists turned it down. The song sold two million copies that year, becoming one of the best-selling songs of all time, second only to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”. The 1964 television special about Rudolph, narrated by Burl Ives, still remains a holiday favorite and Rudolph himself has become a Christmas superstar. The focus DECEMBER 2015 24

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Doctor Maulana Karenga, a Professor at California State University in Long Beach, California. It is a holiday celebrated by millions of African-Americans around the world, to encourage them to remember their African heritage and consider their current place in America today. Kwanzaa is celebrated for 7 days from December 26 to January 1. It involves seven principles called: 1. Nguzo Saba: Umoja (Unity) 2. Kujichagulia (Self-determination) 3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) 4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) 5. Nia (Purpose) 6. Kuumba (Creativity) 7. Imani (Faith) In the Kwanzaa ritual, seven candles called Mishumaa Saba are placed in a Kinara, or candleholder, which is then set upon the Mikeka, a mat usually made of straw. Three green candles are placed on the left, three red candles on the right and a black candle in the center, each candle representing one of the seven principles of the celebration. One candle is lit each day of the Kwanzaa celebration, beginning from left to right. The colors of Kwanzaa ~ black, red and green ~ have a special significance. Black symbolizes the color of the African people. Red symbolizes the blood of the African-African/American people that has been shed, and Green represents hope and the color of the motherland (Africa). The name itself – Kwanzaa – is a Swahili word meaning “fruits of the harvest.” Kwanzaa was created by a man. Nothing hidden or secret, not lost in myth or legends. It was made up by a man who wanted his people to focus on their community and to continue to build that community with love and pride. The goal of Kwanzaa is to live by the 7 principles 24/7 and 365 days every year. How about that for a tradition? There is nothing written anywhere that says, do this and don’t do Christmas. So now you know, that you can do Christmas and still honor your ancestors and learn to love self and kind by observing the seven principles of Kwanzaa. 25 The focus december 2015

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Hibernation The winter season is here and for a lot of people our fashion goes to pot. Why? Let’s be honest - it’s too cold to be looking cute and again I’m talking about the average person.

I’m not talking about those who wear wool or tweed jackets, berets

and leather gloves. No, I’m not talking about you James Bonds and Emma Peels. No, I’m talking about us, the average Joes and Janes with the old puffy winter jackets. Well, just because we tend to neglect our outer appearance, it does not mean we have to neglect what’s under our clothes. In fact, it’s actually the perfect time to pay attention to it. Let’s look at it this way. Imagine that you’re a caterpillar and all those winter clothes are your cocoon. You now have at least three months to turn what’s in your cocoon into a banging butterfly for the springtime. Three months to come out with smooth radiant skin for those shorts you’re going to be wearing or pretty feet for those cute sandals, etc., etc. So, first things first: How to get super smooth skin all over your body! The focus december 2015 32

Acne is not only a facial problem, it can and does affect other areas of your body which can make you very self conscious. No need to worry, my little caterpillar, it is not hopeless, you have plenty of time to get that smooth skin for spring. So what you need is a loofah for exfoliating your skin to gradually remove the old dead layers of skin to get new skin. You will also need a benzoyl peroxide cream and lemon. So with these three things, you will: 1. Use the exfoliating loofa everyday on your problem area. Yes! Every day! Of course you change how much pressure you apply when you scrub, remember you are not a floor, your body has many different skin types. So if you feel any discomfort, stop and let it heal and scrub softer next time. Do it frequently-Remember this is for your body acne only, DO NOT DO THIS TO YOUR FACE! 2. With the benzoyl peroxide cream, use the directions on the container and the lemon (cut lemon in half and rub it on skin), you will apply to your problem area. This will depending on your skin type, if you have sensitive skin do not use. 3. Use the acne cream and lemon alternating their use. One day use lemon, next day cream. You can do this every day or every other day, depends on how fast you want it to work and your skin type---again if you have sensitive skin scrub carefully and you may want to omit using the lemon. After you have done all that scrubbing, it is time to use coconut oil to moisturize your skin. Since we are trying to remove acne and/or bumps, it may dry out your skin, which is actually what you want to happen because as the skin dries out, you then remove it. Coconut oil, pure coconut oil which you can get in the baking section in the store will keep your skin moisturized for the entire day. I know because I use it. It’s much better than a lotion (even though the lotion may come with a pretty scent), while the coconut is more or less scentless. When washing your face or rinsing off facials, it is better to use cool water, which will reduce puffiness in your face. That’s why in spas, 33 The focus december 2015

they put cucumbers on your eyes because they are cool. Remember very hot water or steam opens your pores, and cool or cold water reduces puffiness.

Moving on to the feet: These tips are for men and women. I believe that grooming should be very important to both genders. So back to your feet. A lot of people clip their toenails incorrectly, ending up with a funny nail shape. The correct way is to clip the nail straight across making a straight line and then you file the corners of the nail into nice curves, which makes it look freshly pedicured. Besides having pretty feet, which is a must, cutting your nails this way prevents your nails from growing incorrectly. If you have rough feet, use a pumice stone to take off that unsightly scaly skin. Rinse your feet and dry them, then rub that coconut oil into your feet. Massage those toes and the bottom of your feet and heels. Trust me you will feel much better when you are done. By the way our organs and feet communicate to each other. If you have a very sensitive area on your feet, you may want to check a reflexology book to see what area of your body is in trouble and if that pain persists, please go see your doctor. So these are just a few tips for smooth skin, pretty feet, moisturized skin and face. At this point in our hibernation, it would be a great idea to start to exercise now, so that you will have a toned body to go with that silky smooth skin in the spring. Don’t forget to drink your water. Remember to stay warm and stay focused my little caterpillars, for spring will be here before you know it.

FOCUSED BEAUTY The focus december 2015 34

2015 Events That Shaped AMERICA Black Life Matters

Certain events make you realize that no matter how the outside of things may appear, the inside basically has remained the same. Who is Black Lives Matter? Black Lives Matter (BLM) is now an internationally known activist movement, which had started in the African American community. BLM which speaks out against violence toward black people, organized protests in reference to the deaths of black people in killings by law enforcement officers plus broader issues of racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system. In 2013, the movement began with the use of the hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin. BLM gained national recognition because of the high profile street demonstrations following the 2014 deaths of two African Americans: Michael Brown—that resulted in major protests and unrest in Ferguson—and Eric Garner in New York City. Unfortunately since Ferguson, there have been other deaths that needed to have attention drawn to them, including Tamir Rice, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Jonathan Ferrell, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose and Freddie Gray. This summer, Black Lives Matter started to publicly challenge politicians—especially politicians in the 2016 United States presidential election—to state their positions on BLM issues. It is said that the Black Lives Matter movement, is a network with no structure or formal hierarchy.  35 The focus december 2015

The Confederate Flag A symbol that even to this day has a nation divided. For some they claim it is a symbol of their heritage. On the other side, it is a symbol of a heritage stolen, a symbol of forced servitude, constant humiliation and death. After the killing of 9 people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. where by an account of a witness, the alleged shooter said “he came to shoot some black people.� South Carolina has finally removed the flag and the flag pole from the State House. There are pictures where this young man is seen with a confederate flag. Other states are starting to make changes but it is a sore point that may never go away. This is how it has affected Roanoke recently. I read a recent article in The Roanoke Times written by Matt Chittum FYI: Downtown Roanoke Inc. is contracted with the city to organize the Christmas Parade. Mr. Chittum wrote about how Downtown Roanoke Inc. had defended the First Amendment right of a Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter to march and carry the Confederate flag in the city Christmas parade even though they (DRI) had received complaints from the Roanoke NAACP. He went on to say that there was as many as 50 Confederate flag bearers, some of them supposedly armed had entered the parade and marched behind the float of the Sons of Confederate Veterans 28th Infantry Camp 49. Well, Downtown Roanoke Inc., or DRI, which organizes the parade, is trying to decide whether the group should be allowed to The focus december 2015 36

enter in the future because they violated their parade contract. Mr. Pearman (DRI chairman), addressed and criticized flag protesters as well as its supporters when he said, “It shocks and saddens me that these issues resulted in individuals on both sides of the debate resorting to the use of a Christmas parade as a venue to further their cause, not celebrate the season.” Please read Matt Chittum’s article for more details. Also check out Legalization of Same Sex Marriages WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that it is legal for all Americans, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, to marry the people they love. This is a historic victory decision for gay rights activists who had been fighting in the lower courts for years. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia had already recognized marriage equality but the remaining 13 states had still banned these marriages, even though they now had strong public support nationwide. The lead plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges was Jim Obergefell, an Ohio resident who just wanted to be listed as the surviving spouse on his husband’s death certificate. In 2013, Obergefell married his partner of two decades, John Arthur, who was suffering from ALS. Mr. Arthur passed away in October, 2013, just three months after the couple filed their lawsuit. Obergefell was joined by many other gay plaintiffs from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee who were fighting to be able to marry and to have their marriage recognized in every state in the country. The justices found that, under the 14th Amendment, states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex unions that have been legally performed in other states. The majority opinion was delivered by Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Ruth 37The focus december 2015

Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Go to: 3204.pdf The justices had outlined several reasons same-sex marriage should be allowed. They wrote that the right to marriage is an inherent aspect of individual autonomy, since “decisions about marriage are among the most intimate that an individual can make.” They also said gay Americans have a right to “intimate association” beyond merely freedom from laws that ban homosexuality. Extending the right to marry protects families and “without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser,” the justices wrote. The majority concluded that the right for same-sex couples to marry is protected under the 14th Amendment, citing the clauses that guarantee equal protection and due process. “Changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations,” the majority wrote. In a rare move, the four dissenting justices each wrote an opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito Jr. and Clarence Thomas, argued that same-sex marriage is not endorsed by the Constitution. “Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits, but do not celebrate the Constitution.” President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to support marriage equality when he came out in favor of it in 2012, which is the same year that the Democratic Party for the first time made it officially part of its platform. President Obama called the ruling “a victory for America.”

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RADIO Nufocus October 2015

The Focus Magazine December 2015  

The year in review. 2015's end but we're just getting started!

The Focus Magazine December 2015  

The year in review. 2015's end but we're just getting started!