UPW URBAN PRO WEEKLY
WHITFIELD Local actress appears onscreen in megahit ‘Hidden Figures JANUARY 12 - 18, 2017 • VOL. 6 NO. 6
Photo by Vincent Hobbs/Sports Journal
SAINT ABIA WILLIAMS takes a defensive position with a Wushu spring sword at Williams World Champion Karate Center
The Martial Arts Mastery of Saint Abia Williams
Friedman Branch Library to close for renovations
UrbanProWeekly -JANUARY 12 - 18, 2017
AUGUSTA The Friedman Branch Library (1447 Jackson Rd., Augusta) of the AugustaR ichmond Count y Public Library System (ARCPLS) will close on Friday, January 27, 2017, in order to accommodate the construction needed to replace the library’s aging HVAC system. The Friedman Branch Library is scheduled to reopen to the public on Monday, March 27, 2017. Interested parties may call 706-821-2600 with questions about the temporary closure of the Friedman Branch Library. For more information about the AugustaRichmond County Public Library System, go to www.arcpls.org.
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Saint Abia Williams, a seventh-degree black belt, recently won a National Blackbelt League (NBL) world championship at the Super Grands World Games in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The international competition featured martial artists competing in various fighting, traditional weapons and sparring contests. Photo by Vincent Hobbs/Sports Journal
The Martial Arts Mastery of Saint Abia Williams By Vincent Hobbs The storefront studio is quietly tucked away in a corner, surrounded by a glass shop and a church. A colorful semi-transparent graphic stretches across an entrance door. It is an image of a fighter in a ready pose, interlaced with the words “Williams World Champion Center”. A pile of broken concrete slabs, the unlucky victims of crushing punches and kicks that split them in two, adorns one side of the entrance. The first thing one will notice when walking inside the studio are the trophies that line an entire wall-length shelf. Then, there are the dozens of medals and the championship belts – a wall’s worth. Each award signifying the literal demolishment of an opponent via points scored through kicks, punches and takedowns. It is here in this humble dojo with the punching bags and martial arts weapons array that you will find Augusta’s very own karate master.
That is, a world champion karate master. Saint Abia Williams has proven himself as an expert martial artist in competitions around the world. He’s the kind of guy you would want to be walking down a dark alley with you - if there were any sort of threat. Down-to-earth and humorous, Williams could disassemble a perpetrator with a few speedy moves – but he wouldn’t go overboard. “It’s in my license book (various agencies that sanction tournaments) about how I can defend myself if I’m threatened, but I cannot overexert and maim my opponent.” If you’ve ever witnessed Williams training with a Wushu spring sword or a pair of nunchuks, the word of the day is “grateful”. That is, being grateful that you’re not an opponent going up against that level of skill. Williams could easily work in the movie industry as a martial arts consultant or stuntman. At 5’ 11” and 188 pounds, the karate master has honed his body into a fluid machine of martial arts mastery.
UPW spent some time at the Wylds Road dojo and asked some questions to get more insight into the karate champion, who is also a single father of two. UPW: How did you first become involved in the martial arts? In Alabama, my father, the late Grand Master Hirron Williams, started training me at age five and later enrolled me in Yoshukai karate, a Japanese system. After studying that style and receiving several high-ranking black belt degrees, Master Hirron began to train me in Chinese Kung Fu Wu Shu. UPW: Do you study a particular style of martial arts? I study Chinese Goju Ryu, Kung Fu, Shinjamasu, and Yoshukai karate. UPW: Tell us about some of the competitive titles you have won. In 2015, I won four major world titles in different leagues/
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UrbanProWeekly -JANUARY 12 - 18, 2017
Williams from p.3 circuits. These included a world championship in Albir, Spain for Fighting/ Heavyweight in the World Kickboxing Union (WKU); a world championship in the National Blackbelt League (NBL) for the Golden Gloves Light/ Heavy Fighting and Forms/Weapons competition; an International World title in Stuttgart, Germany with the International Sport Kickboxing Association (ISKA); and a world title in Fighting /Forms for the North American Karate Association. In December 2016, I won a National Blackbelt League (NBL) world championship at the Super Grands World Games in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In the past three years, I won silver on the USA competition team (for WKU and ISKA) for karate forms in Greece, London, and Spain. I also won gold in fighting in Spain and Germany. In 2014, I was inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
UPW: What are your hobbies when you aren’t teaching or competing? I’m a minister at Greater Deliverance Saint Abia Williams (L) trains with Christopher Johnson (R) at Williams World Champion Karate Center. Johnson is Church in Augusta at 545 Taylor St. ranked Yudonsha, which is a certified instructor in sport karate. Photo by Vincent Hobbs/Sports Journal and at New Abundant Life in Elba, acter. themselves and this is a way to give Alabama. I also play basketball in sevUPW: What is your message for the kids and adults confidence. It also eral adult leagues in the CSRA. those who might be interested in UPW: When did you open your helps protect the kids from any form UPW: Which martial artists have getting involved with the martial karate center? Why did you decide of bullying. Life lessons and character to open this type of business? are in the dojo and we are helping had the most impact or influence arts? It’s never too late to start. It’s great I opened my first location in Elba, everyone to stay healthy and in shape. on your work? It’s a variety, including Gordon Lui, for regaining strength, flexibility, and Alabama with my dad in 2000. We Taimak, Tony Ja, Michael Jai White and focus; it reduces stress, teaches self-de- opened here in Augusta in 2009. fense and builds confidence and char- People need to know how to protect Jet Li.
50th Anniversary of the Desegregation of MCG: Commemorating the Past and Envisioning the Future On Tuesday, February 7, MCG will host an event entitled “50th Anniversary of the Desegregation of MCG: Commemorating the Past and Envsisioning the Future.” The event which will be held at the Harrison Educations Commons Building at 1301 R.A. Dent Blvd. in Augusta will feature a keynote address from Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. surgeon general and founding director and senior advisor at the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute. The program commences our year-long celebration honoring pioneers who paved the way for future generations of medical students, including MCG’s first black students, Dr. Frank Rumph and the late Dr. John T. Harper Sr., Class of 1971. For more information contact the MCG Dean’s Office at 706-721-2231 or go online at firstname.lastname@example.org
Children get into the act through Sensory Storytime at the Library AUGUSTA Join Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS) for Sensory Storytime at the Headquarters Library on 823 Telfair Street in Augusta. This fun storytime will take place on Saturday, January 21, 2017, at 11:00 am. Sensory Storytime is designed to engage kids through movement, music, stories and sensory activity play. It is ideal
for children with autism spectrum disorders, sensory integration challenges or children who have trouble sitting still. This Storytime is geared toward pre-school age children but all ages are welcome. Registration is encouraged but not required. For more information or to register, call 706-821-2625. You may also register online at http://bit.ly/ glassstorytime
RUNS MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH aka “The Big R”, 717 Williston Road, Beech Island, SC 29842, invites you to celebrate the 7th Pastoral Anniversary, honoring Rev. Stevie W. Berry and First Lady Trina A. Berry on Sunday January 15, 2017 at 8 AM! Our guest minister will be Rev. Christopher Holley, Pastor of Four Mile Baptist Church, New Ellenton, SC.
UrbanProWeekly - JANUARY 5 - 11, 2017
CSRA EOA, INC.
Richmond County Early Head Start Teacher Teacher will be responsible for carrying out all classroom activities according to the CSRA EOA policies and procedures, best practices and requirement of the Early Head Start Performance Standards. Works directly with the children using various techniques and experiences to help each child develop socially, intellectually, physically and emotionally. Makes a complete assessment of each Child’s individual needs. Early Care and Education Diploma and /or three years’ experience of working in an accredited childcare program and must be willing to attain an infant /Toffler CDA or TCC Technical College Certificate within 12 months. Is responsible for maintaining current CPR, first aid TB screening and physicals as required by the program. Send resume to the H/R Office no later than January 24, 2017. Detailed job descriptions are available in the Personnel Office, 1261 Greene Street, Augusta, GA. Fax 722-8565 “AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER” Stay connected so you know of available job opportunities. · Visit our website at www.csraeoa.org Click on the employment link to review available positions. Applications are now accepted online!
UrbanProWeekly - JANUARY 5 - 11, 2017
Butler vs Westside
(At right) Westsideâ€™s Elijah Brown prepares for a free throw after being fouled during a home conference game against Butler. The Bulldogs defeated the Patriots 65-64 on Jan 10, 2017. Photo by Vincent Hobbs/Sports Journal
(Above) Westside senior Justin Phillips jumps for a layup during a home conference game against Butler. Photo by Vincent Hobbs/Sports Journal (At right) Westsideâ€™s Isiah Bauman moves down the court during a home conference game against Butler. Photo by Vincent Hobbs/Sports Journal
Butler vs Westside
Butler High School sophomore Raah Curry shoots a free throw during a conference game against Westside at the Patriots’ gym. The Lady Patriots crushed the Lady Bulldogs 46-31. (Jan. 10, 2017 - Augusta, GA) Photo by Vincent Hobbs/Sports Journal
Westside basketball players react after their teammate scores a point during the final quarter of a conference game against Butler at the Patriots’ gym. Photo by Vincent Hobbs/Sports Journal
Westside junior Amaya Moore in action during a conference game against Butler at the Patriots’ gym. The Lady Patriots crushed the Lady Bulldogs 46-31. Photo by Vincent Hobbs/Sports Journal
(At left) Butler High School cheerleaders perform a cheer during a game against Westside at the Patriots’ gym. Photo by Vincent Hobbs/Sports Journal
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UrbanProWeekly -JANUARY 12 - 18, 2017
The Rev. Dr. William Barber, II, speaks at the 10th Annual Interfaith Celebration presented by the Progressive Religious Coalition last Thursday. Photo by Ken Makin
Fiery NAACP leader issues biracial moral call to action Rev. William Barber, II exhorts audience to embrace ongoing struggle for social justice AUGUSTA The angst resulting from Donald Trump’s rise to the U.S. presidency isn’t just generating a fiery response from political opponents. Last Thursday, it generated a fire-and-brimstone sermon from one of the NAACP’s foremost leaders. “Standing down is not an option,” declared the Rev. William Barber, II, the president of the NAACP’s North Carolina state chapter, and the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, located in Goldsboro, N.C. Barber was the keynote speaker at the 10th Annual Progressive Religious Coalition Interfaith Martin Luther King
Celebration. Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton was a key component of the sermon. Rev. Barber delivered a speech at the Democratic National Convention last year on Clinton’s behalf, where he stated that “we are being called like our forefathers and foremothers to be the moral defibrillators of our time.” The spirit of that message continued to ring at the Augusta-based celebration hosted by Tabernacle Baptist Church. “When a person is elected to be president 100 years after Woodrow Wilson played ‘Birth of a Nation,’ which glorified the (Ku Klux) Klan in the White House, standing down is not an option,” he said. “We can’t allow white supremacy back in the Oval Office.” During a well-received and spirited sermon, Rev. Barber used the biblical story of the fiery furnace to convey faith and urgency.
“Under oppression, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew who they were, but so do we,” Rev. Barber said. “There comes a time when a moral man can’t obey a law which his conscience tells him is unjust.” “Moral” is a key word regarding the NAACP leader’s community and social activism. He founded “Moral Mondays” — a series of civil rights protests and acts of civil disobedience in Raleigh, N.C. — back in 2013. Those protests jumpstarted a grassroots social justice movement in other states. “Moral Mondays” challenged voting rights and cuts to social programs, among other concerns. “When we fought (through) ‘Moral Monday,’ they said, ‘We didn’t matter,’” Rev. Barber said. “They had all of the controls of government. Things got worse before they got better. “But we stood together,” he added. “We were in the fire together. …And
after three years, we won. If we dare to build a moral movement, we can bring Blacks and whites together.” The Rev. Charles Goodman, the pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, addressed the motivating aspect of Rev. Barber’s commentary. “I think he gave an insightful and informative message that challenged us to embrace the challenge of social justice,” Rev. Goodman said.
Ken J. Makin is the founder of “Makin’ A Difference,” a media conglomerate that incorporates podcasting/radio, social media and commentary. The podcast is available at soundcloud. com/makinadifference. Updates on the show are available at facebook.com/ makinadifferenceshow. Ken can be reached by email at email@example.com or by text at (803) 270-2331.
THE MYTH OF THE BLACK “COMMUNITY”
Have centuries of oppression divided us into enclaves of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’?
rothers and sisters, I need your assistance with something. I’m looking for this group — or maybe it’s a place. People mention it as the “Black community.” I’ve been looking for it for some time now. I hear it mentioned in news stories. I hear it throughout the media. People are always talking about how much improvement it needs, how it’s in a desperate state. Where or what is the “Black community”? Community is defined by MerriamWebster as a “unified body of individuals.” It’s also defined as “the people with common interest living in a particular area.” In that case, well, maybe the “Black community” is simply a collection of individuals with darker skin and African attributes. My response to that? Skinfolk don’t necessarily make us kinfolk. The keyword here is community. I see a dangerous divide, and it’s been here for generations. I see a divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” I see a people who forfeit culture for half-hearted “acceptance.” I see a people who deify celebrity at the risk of community itself.
It’s important to start at this country’s very foundation. Black folks built America with its bare hands – its literal blood, sweat and tears. Even with the presence of the “house negro,” there was a sense of community in our undying quest for freedom. Yet, we can’t trivialize the efforts during that time to break apart communities – to break apart the family. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters broken like glass and scattered like seeds. Certainly, that had an effect on community. Yet we pressed on, through reconstruction, Jim Crow and crooked government. We found a sense of community through civil rights heroes. They were taken from us in violent fashion. Certainly, that had an effect on community. Still, we pressed on, even as drugs were pumped into our neighborhoods. Meanwhile, basic and civil rights were continually stripped from us. All of these things are going to affect the community. I must ask a question in the face of this calamity, and it’s the same question Dr. King asked in his last book: “Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community?” The chaos isn’t just in the cruel
execution of the oppressor. There are threads of discord within the way we treat each other — as men and women, as the privileged and the poor. We have allowed media and rhetoric to rip us apart. The symptoms of brokenness are real. “Black men are lazy and always up to no good.” “Black women are argumentative and welfare queens.” “They got a little money and think they better than everybody.” “Ghetto folks make the whole race look bad.” What Black people are right now is an unorganized monolith. That word is important because we, as a race of people, are unfairly indicted for the actions of individuals. The worst part about it? We do it to ourselves as a race. What’s the solution, you ask? I won’t pretend it’s simple, but it is doable. We need a spiritual, economic and social resurgence. We need to hold the individuals we deify accountable – not as demigods, but as men and women with the responsibility and the power to shape our community. Understandably, all celebrities won’t adhere to this
model, because money is such a powerful lure. It is not unreasonable to say, though, that we must be more discerning about allowing folks who let money ruin their good judgment. Moreover, we can’t allow those folks to represent us at the forefront of our community. What our community needs right now is freshness and awareness. We need authenticity and honesty. Ironically enough, we need to put aside our differences — whether they are based in gender, sexual orientation, prestige, religion, or whatever. For the sake of community, and the sake of our survival, we must restore the Black community. Otherwise, it will fall into the category of myth, and not legend. Ken J. Makin is the founder of “Makin’ A Difference,” a media conglomerate that incorporates podcasting/radio, social media and commentary. The podcast is available at soundcloud.com/makinadifference. Updates on the show are available at facebook.com/ makinadifferenceshow. Ken can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by text at (803) 270-2331.
Can inmates ‘volunteer’ to be used to build Trump’s wall? Recently, a Massachusetts sheriff suggested President-elect Donald Trump should consider using prisoner labor to help build his border wall. Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson announced his plan to offer his jail inmates the opportunity to volunteer for community service by helping to build Trump’s border wall. Naturally, the sheriff wants the public to believe his plan is motivat-
ed by a concern for the inmates and the greater good of the community. He said, “Aside from learning and perfecting construction skills, the symbolism of these inmates building a wall to prevent crime in communities around the country, and preserve jobs and work opportunities for them and other Americans upon release, can be powerful.” Unfortunately, Sheriff Hodgson’s plan is similar to the prison war-
den’s plan in the movie, Shawshank Redemption who used Shawshank prison labor for public works projects in exchange for kickbacks. In reality, Sheriff Hodgson’s plan is public relations malarkey. He is aware of the United States Constitutional Amendment 13 which allows for slavery and involuntary servitude if the person has been duly convicted of a crime. Therefore, the sheriff will not be asking for volunteers. The prison-
ers will be told to go help build the wall or else. This is a capitalist dream come true, cheap third world labor on American soil. Salivating contractors will be lined up at the chance to exploit prison labor. Moreover, as a businessman, Trump will not hesitate to endorse the ‘Shawshank Redemption’ prison labor model to build his border wall. Kevin Palmer, Martinez, GA,
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MAKIN’ A DIFFERENCE COMMENTARY by Ken Makin
UrbanProWeekly -JANUARY 12 - 18, 2017
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebrations Bakari Sellers to be keynote speaker for Aiken Community MLK, Jr. Celebration
Bakari Sellers, an attorney and CNN political commentator, will be the keynote speaker for the 2017 Aiken Community Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration presented by Aiken Technical College and University of South Carolina Aiken. The celebration will be held Sunday, Jan. 22 at the University of South Carolina Aiken
Convocation Center, 375 Robert M. Bell Parkway in Aiken. A service fair featuring area nonprofits will kick-off the event at 2:30 p.m. followed by the program at 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. This year’s theme is: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”, a quote by Dr. King.
Augusta Mini Theatre, Inc. Community Arts & Life Skills School Presents
“Before the Storm”
Written and Directed by Tyrone J. Butler Show Times Friday, Jan. 16 - 8 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, Jan. 14 & 15, 3 p.m & 8 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, Jan. 21 & 22, 3 p.m. Saturday , Feb. 18, 3 p.m. & 8 p.m. Sunday , Feb. 19, 3 p.m. For Ticket information, call 706-722-0598 Judith Simon Studio on the Campus of Augusta Mini Theatre, 2548 Deans Bridge Road, Augusta, Ga.
2017 Augusta NAACP Martin Luther King Jr. Parade SATURDAY, JAN. 14, 1 P.M. Line up and start will be from the Dyess Park Community Center located at 902 James Brown Blvd., The parade will proceed south on James Brown Blvd, then going west onto Wrightsboro Road, then North onto 12th St., then travel east onto Laney Walker Blvd, then North onto 11th street and east onto Walton Way, then north on James Brown Blvd. to John H. Ruffin Court House Special Presentation to Augusta Recreation & Parks & Augusta Branch of NAACP presented by the Buffalo Soldiers at 12:30 p.m. in front of Dyess Park. For more information, please contact the City of Augusta Special Events Office 706-821-1754.
Anti-racism activist Jane Elliot to speak at Tri-College Celebration
Jane Elliot AUGUSTA Diversity educator and anti-racism activist Jane Elliot will deliver the keynote address at the 2017 TriCollege Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration. The annual event takes place this year at noon on Friday, Jan. 13, at the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel at Paine College. A former third-grade teacher and current feminist and LGBT activist, Elliot is perhaps best known for her development of the “Blue eyes-Brown eyes” exercise – a thought experiment designed to help students explore the negativity produced by racism and class discrimination. The “Blue eyes” method separates students based upon arbitrary traits – the most common being the
color of participants’ eyes – before exposing them to pseudo-scientific criticisms, culturally biased IQ tests and outright discrimination. After participating, students gain a newfound appreciation for the feelings of those discriminated against. Elliot first conducted the “Blue eyes” exercise the day after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. The Tri-College Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration is an annual event hosted by Augusta University, Paine College and Augusta Technical College to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For more information, contact Paine College Vice President for Institutional Advancement Helene Carter at 706-821-8323 or HCarter@ paine.edu.
6th Annual MLK Community Commemoration SUNDAY JAN. 15, 5 P.M. KEYNOTE SPEAKER: REV. FREDERICK D. FAVORS McDuffie County Commissioner Pastor, Springfield Baptist Church Thomson, GA FEATURED GUEST CHOIR: THE AUGUSTA CHORALE Under the Direction of Dr. Phyllis W. Anderson Ms. Angela Arrington, Piano Accompanist Hammond Grove Word Power Ministry 214 W Five Notch Rd, North Augusta, SC 29841 Admission: FREE and all are welcome For more information about and booking the Augusta Chorale please call 706.830.0991 or 706.836.9426 or visit our website www.augustachorale.org
Augusta Native Rockets Toward Acting Success Tequilla Whitfield shines with stars in Hidden Figures country because of my talent, but most importantly, my training, hard work and drive. …Those women believed in themselves and they worked hard.” The women that she speaks of so fondly are Katherine Johnson, played by Henson; Vaughn and Mary Jackson, who was played by Janelle Monae. The real-life trio spearheaded a team of Black women who provided NASA with important mathematical data that was vital to the success of the program’s first successful space missions. The trio of Spencer, Henson and Monae represent some of the biggest names in entertainment. Whitfield said she was “blessed” to work with the star-studded actresses. “It was an honor,” she said. “I’m forever grateful for the opportunity and they were so encouraging and welcoming.” After her successful trip to the acting stratosphere, Whitfield anticipates landing on a number of shows in 2017. “I have three shows that I’ll appear in this year – one will debut in the spring on FOX,” she said. I can’t really speak on them but I’m super excited. “Other than that, lots of auditioning. I’m striv-
By Ken Makin Augusta native Tequilla Whitfield’s role in the hit movie “Hidden Figures” may lead some to believe that she’s an overnight success. With over a decade in the acting industry, however, Whitfield says nothing can be further from the truth. “What seems relatively quick to others seems like a lifetime to us (as actors),” Whitfield said. “‘Overnight success’ takes almost 10 years in this industry. I’m at 11.” The 31-year-old actress is standing tall with the likes of Octavia Spencer and Taraji P. Henson in “Hidden Figures,” where she plays the role of Eleanor, one of the NASA West Computing Room employees who worked under Dorothy Vaughn (played by Spencer). Whitfield called her experience on the film “deeply inspiring.” “The story really resonated with me because It’s a film that shows you can do anything you work hard for. …It’s a film about being fearless and striving,” she said. “I saw myself throughout the script when I first read it. Here I am on set working on what is now the number 1 movie in the
ing for a series regular role on a hit television show. “I also executive produced a show that I’m praying gets picked up this year,” she added. “Creating your own content is very important in this industry. You can’t wait for others to open the door for you sometimes you have to build your own.” She also shares that mindset with prospective thespians. “Never stop training. You have to work and you have to love it because it isn’t easy,” she said. “It’s hard to get in and it’s even harder to stay working. Study! Learn and appreciate the craft because it’s so beautiful.” Ken J. Makin is the founder of “Makin’ A Difference,” a media conglomerate that incorporates podcasting/radio, social media and commentary. The podcast is available at soundcloud. com/makinadifference. Updates on the show are available at facebook. com/makinadifferenceshow. Ken can be reached by email at email@example.com or by text at (803) 270-2331.
Augusta native Tequilla Whitfield plays the role of “Eleanor” in the hit movie Hidden Figures. Whitfield is pictured in far right of above photo.
UrbanProWeekly - JANUARY 12 - 18, 2017