Archives for March 2013

A ‘military spouse of the year’ closely watches the Supreme Court

This week, Ashley Broadway is paying close attention to the Supreme Court as it hears two cases on the politically charged issue of same-sex marriage. For her, it’s about family: her spouse, Army Lt. Col. Heather Mack, their son, two weeks’ shy of 3 years, and two-month-old daughter.

“Regardless of how someone feels about same-sex marriage or their religious convictions, we can’t have second-class citizens, especially people defending our country and our constitution,” she said.

Keeping It Positive: Southern Culture at the Harvey B. Gantt Center



CHARLOTTE, N.C. – An artist with Carolina roots shares his work with the Queen City. Our “Keeping it Positive” contributor, Mary Curtis, introduces us to Jonathan Green. His work is on display at the Harvey B. Gantt Center.

Do black women need lessons on ‘leaning in’?

Although Sheryl Sandberg’s book came out just weeks ago, it seems we’ve been talking “Lean In” forever. Is the manifesto about women not doing enough or trying to do too much? Will busy working women be able to spare the time to see its lessons as valuable rather than additions to already crowded to-do lists? If women feel guilty about shortchanging home or work, is that really Sandberg’s fault?

As women decide which points in her message to hold close and which ones might be wiser to disregard, black working women, as well as all women in jobs light years away from the Facebook chief operating officer’s lofty perch, are taking at least one piece of advice from Sandberg: They are speaking up.

Facebook exec’s new book fails to address African American women

WASHINGTON – Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” continues to be hotly debated across the country. While many people see lessons that can be taken and applied across the work spectrum, critics of Sandberg say that her book doesn’t adequately address a majority of working American women.

On “SPAR with Jamila Bey,” host Bey spoke with journalist and commentator Mary C. Curtis and attorney-turned-political commentator and writer Jeneba Ghatt about how the concepts of “Lean In” can be applied to African American women.

Tearing down Andy Griffith’s N.C. coastal home: should anyone care?

Andy Griffith was more than an actor; he was an icon. That goes double in North Carolina, inspiration for the mythical Mayberry, where his Sheriff Andy ruled wisely and warmly. Griffith died last year at the age of 86, and now some friends and fans are objecting to his widow’s apparent plans to tear down a small house he owned on the North Carolina waterfront.

Would it make a fine museum, a place to display memorabilia? Could it one day rival Graceland, Elvis Presley’s former home and present shrine in Memphis?

We may never know if Cindi Griffith follows through on the demolition permit that records show she’s obtained. But should we care?

Clinton, Feinstein and standing up to bullies

If you said Hillary Rodham Clinton owes the start of her independent political career to Rick Lazio, even Lazio might agree. The tipping point for the 2000 race for the U.S. Senate from New York between a former first lady and a U.S. Congressman? When Lazio, the Republican nominee, crossed over to Clinton’s side of the stage in a pre-election debate and demanded she sign a piece of paper. Few remember what was on that page, a pledge against using soft money in the campaign. They do remember the moment. Women – and to be fair, a lot of men – cringed, recalling similar encounters they might have had with a guy who stepped over the line. The rest is history, and it belongs to Clinton.

I thought of that image watching the back-and-forth between Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the gun legislation debate last week. Cruz’s question on the constitutionality of a ban on assault weapons, using the example of limits on the First Amendment, had merit. But it was the tone of condescension in Cruz’s voice and the smirk on his face that stuck.

While his Senate seat looks to be safe in Texas, his national ambitions definitely took a hit. Who wants a president who reminds them of that dude who treated you like an idiot?

Keeping It Positive: Charlotte Arts with a Twist

Keeping It Positive contributor, Mary Curtis, shines the spotlight on the Charlotte arts scene. From the stage to the streets there are a variety of unique offerins in the Queen City right now.

The Case for Empathy—Open Hearts May Open Minds

In the past, Rob Portman has supported the federal Defense of Marriage Act, favored a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and backed legislation prohibiting gay couples in Washington, D.C., from adopting. Now, the conservative Republican senator from Ohio has changed his mind. “I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married,” he wrote in the Columbus Dispatch. Discovering his son Will is gay “led me to think through my position in a much deeper way,” he said.

I would never question the sincerity of Portman’s change of heart or the thoughtfulness that made him reverse his personal and political opinions. But I would ask why it took the concerns of someone in his immediate family to move him.

Empathy for others is not, it seems, a valued quality, especially that which might cross differences in gender or race, economic status or geography—or sexual identity. Portman’s public change of heart makes me wonder where those seeking public office draw the line – at the border of their districts, their blocks, their front doors?

And the inability to appreciate the life experience of others unfortunately seeps into other parts of our culture,

Authentically black and Catholic – with something to say about Pope Francis

It was a funny though welcome text message, congratulating me on “my” new pope. From 3,000 miles away, my friend knows how much my Catholic faith means to me and wanted to share the good news. Though she was raised Baptist and doesn’t really practice any religion now, she understood. What did I think of Pope Francis? Wait and see, I told her. The church is wading through earthly and spiritual challenges, and this conservative pope likely won’t rock the theological boat. But I said I was impressed by his humility, his commitment to social justice and his Jesuit pedigree.

It felt good to be a part of the discussion during such an important transition, in a church that has not always been so welcoming to black Catholics.

A voter ID battle in North Carolina

Elections have consequences. In North Carolina, which elected Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and a GOP super-majority in both the state House and Senate in 2012, legislation to institute photo identification as a prerequisite for voting is again on the table.