Category Archives: Democrat and Chronicle

“The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death” is a 2012 Book List Essential

As Posted on the Democrat and Chronicle Young Professionals’Blog

I rarely go a day without wanting to learn some new piece of information. It can be something as complex as the Vietnam War or as mundane as the origins of Pixy Stix (which started in St. Louis, Missouri in 1952, for the record), I have always been a fiend for knowledge. But more often than not, it takes an older book or primary source to satiate my thirst for history. As a religion major at the University of Rochester, I had to read documents that were older than the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves (~400 BCE)! However, I have fallen for the works of a historian and journalist who actually isn’t as old as papyrus. The New Yorker staff writer and David Woods Kemper ’41 professor of American History at Harvard University Jill Lepore has hooked me into the profound, yet intuitive, concept that historical events of the past can constantly be rewritten to offer an amazingly witty narrative. What Lepore writes about surely has been discussed over the years, but the way she links one seemingly unrelated cultural staple to the next uncovers an abstruse motif. In essence, that is what the best historians offer society

The book that won me over you ask? Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death. The title caught my eye while I was browsing through a few book displays around my stomping grounds at Rush Rhees Library. (If there is one thing you should know about marketing anything to a religion major, it is that you can virtually add the word “life” or “death” to any product or service and we will likely want to investigate). With my strange bias against newer books — with the exception of biographies — I sifted through the pages rather dubiously when I saw that it was published in 2012. Personally, I consider someone who publishes a book in 2012 to be my competition as opposed to my teacher.

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Filed under Culture, Democrat and Chronicle, Religion

September is Hunger Action Month! Help Us Help Rochester

As published in the Democrat and Chronicle’s Young Professional’s Blog

Hunger Action Month is here! And Foodlink is going full speed ahead with an array of programs and initiatives to mobilize the Rochester-Genesee Valley Region in the fight against domestic hunger.

Every year, a network of over 200 food banks across the nation provide a voice for the 1 in 6 Americans who face hunger on a daily basis through a variety of special events and initiatives. From hosting a potluck to donating your time, money and nonperishable foods, there are a number of ways for every Rochesterian to be active for Hunger Action Month and help Foodlink end hunger in our backyard. Just visit our Foodlink website for a listing of programs and initiatives that Foodlink has lined up in our “30 Ways in 30 Days” calendar or follow us through our Facebook pagePlease help Foodlink reach its goal of raising $5000 for Hunger Action Month through our Facebook account by following the donate link on our page.

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Filed under Democrat and Chronicle, Hunger, Social Justice

Chased from the Classroom, Locked out the Prison

“When you came to Lovdjieff’s classes, you came to learn. If you betrayed other motives, ‘Get out of here this minute!’—without malice but without equivocation. He was a magnet, an institution. His classes were works of art. He made ancient history contemporary by evoking the total environment—intellectual, social, political, economic—of an era. He breathed life into the shattered ruins of the past. Students sat entranced while The Christ performed, his silver-rimmed glasses reflecting the light in eye-twinkling flashes…he was drawn to the student who seemed impossible to teach—old men who had been illiterate all their lives and set in their ways. Lovdjeiff didn’t believe that anyone or anything in the universe was ‘set in its ways.’ Those students who were intelligent and quickest to learn he seemed reluctant to bother with, almost as if to say, pointing at the illiterates and speaking to the bright ones…he returned my essay—ungraded. There were instead spots on it which I realized to be his tears.” Read More

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Filed under Culture, Democrat and Chronicle, Education, Race, Social Justice

Lyrically Speaking

Seven years ago, I was a mild mannered chubby kid from Brooklyn who physically sat in silence in the classroom, but academically dominated the honor roll. The only time I could talk myself into public speaking was when my GPA depended on it. A matter of fact, even one-on-one conversations with new people were rather daunting.

Seven days ago, I was presenting to a group of outgoing and strong-minded high school students from the Urban League who are the same age I was when I could not even fathom talking into a microphone. In high school, I had a phobia of being noticed; now I proudly and anxiously hop on any opportunity to speak in front of as large a group as possible to share ideas, thoughts, jokes and entertainment.

I am not the same Jerome from seven years ago — but I do not merely attribute that to my physical transformation. Between high school and today, I fell in love with an expression of art that is often muddied by the perpetrators and frowned upon by critics that have made no attempt to comprehend its true essence. Hip hop has given me a way out of my shell and a path to the top of a podium. Now when I hear Lupe Fiasco’s “hip hop has saved my life,” it all makes sense…Read More

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Filed under Culture, Democrat and Chronicle, Education

The New Media Flexes its Muscles in Gabby Story

As Published in the Democrat and Chronicle’s Young Professionals’ Blog

Once upon a time there was a small group of high school girls that would sit in the back lunch room table and gossip their heads off. Every day, they would crack jokes on everyone who spent anything less than the hundreds they spent on clothes and the hours they spent in the mirror.

One day, they decided to pick on the wrong one. The immature bunch decided to post demeaning comments online about a peer who boasted straight As, made the front page of the local paper for getting a full-ride scholarship and became the first Black valedictorian. Before the three mocked and jeered her, half of the student body hailed her achievements. But once the word got out that the three mean girls posted rude comments online, the entire student body, even those who never saw or patted their valedictorian on the back before, came together to embrace her and shun the ‘haters.’ By the time graduation came around, the mean girls were old news and the valedictorian’s academic achievements were the only thing worth talking about…Read More

 

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Filed under Culture, Democrat and Chronicle, Race

Eat Up! Foodlnk Kickoffs Summer Meals with Rochester Rhinos

As Published in the Democrat and Chronicle’s Young Professionals’ Blog

Three-hundred eighty Rochester youth were served summer meals from Freshwise Kitchen, Foodlink’s catering company, at last week’s Summer Meals kickoff at Excellus’ Rhino Stadium. Participant’s enjoyed a wholesome main dish of chicken, baked potatoes, apples, cold slaw, whole wheat rolls and chocolate milk, along with a hearty side order of hopscotch, double-dutch, face painting, inflatable play space and soccer with the Rhinos’ team. If that weren’t enough, Rochester’s youth and their chaperons were even given goody bags and two free tickets apiece to either the Rochester Rhinos’ game from this past Saturday or the Rattlers’ Lacrosse for Friday night.

The kickoff epitomized what a young active and healthy day looks and feels like— even beneath the blistering sun. As an AmeriCorp VISTA, hunger advocate and gym enthusiasts, I had a great time double dutching — or at least “twirling” (turning the rope) — with the kids and sharing a few laughs. It’s both fulfilling and daunting to know that so many of our youth live in households that rely on Foodlink and school meals to provide the most basic living necessity of all: food.

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Filed under Democrat and Chronicle, Health, Philanthropy, Social Justice

Foodlink’s 9th Annual Washington Square Park Farmers’ Market Packs Local Foods and Tunes Downtown

As Published in the Democrat and Chronicle’s Young Professionals’ Blog

Imagine live blues tunes echoing betwixt Downtown Rochester’s edifices, the scent of honey roasted nuts intoxicating pedestrians with every summer breeze, and all wrapped into the scenic atmosphere of a public park. Now, imagine this happening on a weekly basis, from 11 am to 2 pm, at the heart of Rochester, NY.

For nine years, this scene has been more than a phantasm. Yesterday afternoon, Foodlink kicked off its 9th annual Washington Square Park farmers’ market, which is sponsored by Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield and ESL Credit Union. From Xerox and Excellus employees to bikers and area college students, the market commenced with an impressive first day turnout. Vendors from Lagoner Farms, Florida Nut House and Special Touch Bakery offered an array of locally produced comfort foods to Rochester residents. Add a touch of smooth sets from local blues band Danny and the Rebel Rockers and you have yourself an unrivaled shopping experience.

Foodlink’s Washington Square Park farmers’ market is a part of a large trend across the nation. With a 150 percent increase since 2000, there are currently 7,000 farmers’ markets offering fresh local foods nationwide. The vast majority of the 7,000 markets accept EBT cards, or food stamps, so that those who face low food security can have quick and easy access to fresh foods. In addition to making healthy foods more accessible, the markets also support local farmers.

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Filed under Democrat and Chronicle, Health