Mayo Clinic Q&A: Breast cancer screening and COVID-19

As a woman, you know your body better than anyone, including your health care provider, so taking time to do breast self-exam is important. Finding a lump in your breast can be scary and cause anxiety. And with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, I can appreciate your concerns about safety.

Mayo Clinic is taking many precautions related to COVID-19, and we are committed to ensuring the safety of our patients and visitors. The risk of contracting COVID-19 from coming in for a screening, such as a mammogram, is very low. Though many people may tell you that waiting a week or two for a breast cancer screening will not cause significant issues, I believe that delaying screening — or delaying seeking medical attention — can make a difference in terms of treatment if cancer is detected.

Keep in mind that a self-exam of the breast can be difficult for some women, depending on their breast consistencies. Some women might have lumpy breasts, and it might be difficult to discern which lump is cancer and which one is not. So a breast self-exam is good, but it’s not enough. In my opinion, it is important to see a health care professional for diagnosis.

It is also important to note that different ethnic groups get different kinds of breast cancer. Young African American women and Latinas more commonly get the aggressive form of breast cancer called triple-negative breast cancer. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of targeted treatments that can be used with these women. So if you are an African American or Latina woman, that is another reason for you to seek medical attention as early as possible.

If breast cancer is detected early, such as in stage 1 or stage 0, the likelihood is that the cancer is highly curable. But if you wait until the cancer starts to grow, especially if it starts to spread to the lymph nodes, then the cure rate is much lower. If it starts to spread somewhere else in the body, then it may become incurable. In addition, treatments for patients with stage 0 or stage 1 breast cancer are often simpler. These patients often only require surgery, radiation and endocrine therapy. Chemotherapy usually is required for patients with more advanced disease, with a larger tumor or lymph node involvement.

In the past few months, I have seen a few women who reported finding a lump in their breast back in February or March at the beginning of the pandemic. Due to their concerns about COVID-19, they decided to wait to seek medical attention. In one patient, the mass continued to grow. She now has cancer growing through her skin, and it has become difficult to treat. I would encourage you — if you feel anything different in your breast compared to what it was previously — to seek medical attention right away.

Depending upon your situation, in addition to the traditional mammogram, there also is tomosynthesis, which is the 3D mammogram that can provide clearer images for women with dense breast tissue. Additionally, your health care professional also might order a breast MRI, which is the most sensitive test and looks at all of the breast area, including regional lymph nodes around the breasts.

The other benefit to visiting a health professional sooner rather than later is to discuss your personal risk and what, if any, preventive measures might be valuable based on your family history.

There are ways that we can calculate the risk of breast cancer in each patient. Currently, there are multiple models used. Some of these models include Gail’s model and another called the Tyrer-Cuzick model. These models take into account your age at menarche, how many children you have and if you had a previous breast biopsy. All of those things can be plugged into the calculation. Then it will come up with your estimated lifetime risk of breast cancer and the best screening mechanisms for you.

If you meet certain criteria, such as in the Gail’s model, and if your risk is more than 1.66% in five years, that would qualify some patients to receive medication to prevent breast cancer. In other words, the hormone blockers that are used to treat patients who already have breast cancer also can prevent breast cancer from happening in high-risk patients. These medications can cut down the risk up to almost 70%.

Being proactive and doing a monthly breast self-exam is a great first step for maintaining overall health. Regardless of COVID-19, I would encourage you to reach out to your primary health care provider to set up a screening appointment and get an answer about the lump you found. —Dr. Saranya Chumsri, Medical Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla.

Star apologises for ‘mortifying’ racism

Noah Cyrus has admitted on Thursday that she was mortified after accidentally using racist remarks while defending Harry Styles against Candace Owens’ call to “bring back manly men.” The 20-year-old younger sister of Miley Cyrus was defending Styles when … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

The Left’s Stupid Second-Guessing Of Biden

Actually, turns out none of that is in The Plan. What is there are proposals—well before the idea of Barack Obama or Bernie Sanders running for president was widely contemplated—for robust expansion of government to allow universal access to free college; universal health care for children; increases in the minimum wage and on taxes paid by the wealthy and corporations; and investments in clean energy with the aim of cutting national gasoline consumption in half by 2015.

Now the people who advocated these ideas are viewed as apostates by the Democratic left.

As a journalist, count me in for a good old-fashioned ideological bloodletting. Intraparty conflict on matters of genuine principle is an important story; in the fashion of a forest fire, it can sometimes be an agent of party renewal.

In the case of the scowling warnings about who does and does not have the left’s seal of approval for duty in the incoming Biden administration, however, the conflict rests heavily on optical illusion.

These are matters of personal preference—and, in some cases, genuine differences over political strategy—masquerading as vital ideological questions. It’s possible many people making the arguments for and against potential Biden appointees don’t know how flimsy the factual predicates for their strong opinions really are.

Among the most absurd examples was the swirl of speculation over who would be Biden’s chief of staff. Many on the left were worried Biden would pick Steve Ricchetti; They were pleased that he went instead with Ron Klain.

It was news to many who know both men that either man has an ideological profile different than the moderate progressivism embraced by most Democratic professional operatives, much less that there are important distinctions between them. Some activists don’t like how Ricchetti represented corporate interests in his public affairs work when not in government. Apparently working in venture capital with billionaire Steve Case, as Klain did when not in government, is better background for the kind of populist disruption the left is seeking. One Democrat who worked with both men in the Clinton and Obama White Houses joked that Klain’s success in positioning himself to the left of Ricchetti (who will serve in the West Wing as counselor) may be the best evidence that he has the necessary political cunning to be an effective chief of staff.

The differences are scarcely more real in other battles that have drawn notice in the Democrats’ intramural struggles. The Washington Post said some on the left were troubled that Biden chose Antony Blinken as secretary of State over Susan Rice. While it is deplorable how Republicans have demonized Rice, an African American woman, there are scant differences on a center-left spectrum between the two; Both are foreign policy establishment stalwarts.

Meanwhile, Biden’s choice as budget director, Neera Tanden, is drawing the kind of fire Rice would have taken from Republicans—quite the coincidence that she also is an outspoken women of color. But Tanden is also drawing grumbles from some on the left, even though she is president of the Center for American Progress, one of the leading generators of progressive policy ideas. That’s because she was vocal in arguing that Bernie Sanders would be a poor choice as nominee on electability grounds.

That argument, carried over from the 2020 Democratic nominating contest—which was itself an echo of a generation-long intraparty debate—is actually the real crux of the matter.

There is no serious argument that Tanden, like Emanuel and Reed, is not a committed lifelong progressive. But it is true that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has publicly urged that Emanuel and Reed be kept out of the administration, is not laboring under a big misunderstanding about her targets. She knows why she doesn’t like them.

The most important debate in the Democratic Party right now isn’t between centrists and the left on fundamental policy aims but on how to present those aims to the public and then achieve them. Both the centrists who want a robust expansion of government and those on the left who want to go even further have the same problem: Insufficient legislative power to do more than modestly advance the goals of either wing. One side, the side of AOC and her allies on the left, believe the answer to this problem is a more creative politics of mobilization—putting forth a bolder agenda and defiantly drawing lines in a way that excites people who should naturally vote Democratic but often don’t vote at all because the stakes have not been framed sharply enough. The other side believes the answer is a more creative politics of persuasion—simultaneously engaging and reassuring voters who are skeptical of undiluted progressivism but can be coaxed into backing Democrats through more pragmatic appeals.

Here is where, as often seems to happen in Democratic intraparty battles, the road leads back to Rahm Emanuel. For more than a quarter century, as White House senior adviser under Clinton, as a member of Congress from 2003 to 2009, as Obama’s chief of staff in the first term, and in two terms as the mayor of Chicago, he has stood consistently—and loudly—for the politics of persuasion. Now he is hoping to be picked by Biden as secretary of Transportation. Unlike the mild-mannered and cerebral Reed—who served as domestic policy chief under Clinton and was a chief of staff to Vice President Biden—Emanuel has relished picking fights with the left. (Reed once joked that he taught Emanuel how to do policy, and Emanuel taught him how to be an asshole.) Emanuel believes he is right that progressive politics rests on political support that is acutely perishable, and that those on the left are wrong in underestimating the danger of over-reach, or for reaching the wrong goal altogether.

As Obama’s chief of staff, Emanuel lost two big internal debates. One was his argument for a more incremental approach to health care reform. That sounds like something you’d expect from a centrist. Obama said he wasn’t elected to pursue incrementalism. The other argument was for a more vigorous and punitive campaign denouncing Wall Street malfeasance after the 2008 financial crash. That doesn’t necessarily sound like what a centrist would say. Obama sided with financial advisers who urged that scoring political points against bankers might shake confidence and slow economic recovery. Whatever the substantive merits of Emanuel’s positions, it is clear he was right in warning that Democrats were flying into a storm in 2010—the midterm elections in which control of the House flipped to Republicans, limiting Obama’s options for the balance of his term.

If the Democratic left doesn’t want a president who would be tempted to appoint the likes of Ricchetti, Emanuel, or Reed, the best option would have been to win the nomination and general election for someone like Sanders or Elizabeth Warren—who wouldn’t want that crowd working for them and for whom that crowd wouldn’t want to work. Sanders and Warren backers tried that in 2020 and didn’t succeed.

This reality of power is what makes the left’s hectoring of Biden about who is worthy to serve in a Biden administration these activists never wanted in the first place such a foolish exercise.

The alternative to stupid second-guessing isn’t simply to shut up. It is smart second-guessing. AOC and others on the left are surely right that an administration headed by a president who came to Washington in the 1970s, and who is surrounded by advisers who began their government service in the 1980s and 1990s, isn’t necessarily going to be fully attuned to the challenges of the 2020s. They will benefit from being pushed.

But the left should push Biden on policy ideas—and help give him the broad political support needed to implement those polices. There is little benefit to trying to exert influence with likely unsuccessful bids to pick off potential appointees on the basis of spurious ideological arguments about who really counts as a progressive.

Sebastopol area Senior Center’s virtual art history programs

The senior center is offering a presentation by Tuskagee University Legacy Museum of Alabama,

“Windows to History” An Exhibit Almost Lost to the Ages with Presenter Doctor Jontyle Robinson Curator of the Legacy Museum and Founder of this Extraordinary History

The American Negro Exposition, also known as the “Black World’s Fair” and the “Diamond Jubilee Exposition,” was a world’s fair held in Chicago in 1940 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of slavery.  The Exposition showcased African American accomplishments in the 75 years since “Juneteenth.”

There were all kinds of exhibits.   At the center of it all was a huge hall featuring 33 dioramas that depicted the contributions of African Americans.

The dioramas, supervised by African American artist Charles C. Dawson (a noted commercial artist), were created by more than 120 African American artisans. 

After the exposition closed, Dawson brought the Dioramas to what is now the Legacy Museum of Tuskegee University where they suffered from years of neglect in storage. They now offer learning opportunities for young conservators. 

The Legacy Curator, Doctor Jontyle Robinson, believed it was essential for African Americans to help restore these works portraying their history. But there was a problem. What happened next is quite a story. 

Robinson discovered that not many African Americans work in the field of museum conservation, and felt it was mandatory that she find a way for African American students to learn this discipline.  She helped launch a groundbreaking program enlisting some top art restoration centers to introduce students to the field of conservation by working on the dioramas.

Be the first to see the results, learn about the history each diorama depicts and ask Doctor Robinson questions in her live virtual presentation on December 10, 11:00 a.m., with Kate Roach and Emily Webster, producers of Virtual Art History Tours. Register with the Sebastopol Area Senior Center or call 707-829- 2440.  All ages welcome.  $10 members; $15 non-members. 

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

African American Heritage Trail official opens to showcase Black history in Columbia

The completed African American Heritage Trail was officially opened to the public Thursday with 22 markers that chart the history of Columbia’s Black community.

The Sharp End Heritage Committee organized a virtual dedication ceremony at 11:30 a.m. that unveiled the latest marker, eventually to be placed in Flat Branch Park.

Five years in the making, the trail is designed to be an educational tool that showcases the rich role of downtown Black neighborhoods in shaping the city.

“We felt it really important that the greater community of Columbia really understood this part of its past, and make it a permanent part of our history,” said Jim Whitt, chair of the Sharp End Heritage Committee.

The committee plans to add at least two more markers in 2021, he said.

The last five years were spent researching the sites and stories to feature on the trail, as well as to raise funds for the markers themselves. The original plan included 10 sites, but the scope of the project expanded as it gathered more interest and underwriters.

“We were quickly blown away,” said Vicki Russell, committee vice chair. “We had no idea at the outset how much enthusiastic support we would receive. In the end, we were able to pay for markers for everything on our original list — plus a few more.”

She called the trail “among the most comprehensive of its type in Missouri, if not the nation.”

The two biggest collaborators were the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and Regional Economic Development Inc. or REDI. Other local businesses and organizations also donated funds for individual markers.

The trail revolves around the Sharp End, an area in downtown Columbia between Fifth and Sixth streets on Walnut, near the location of the U.S. Post Office.

Sharp End was thriving in the early 20th century as the heart of Columbia’s Black community. Between 1910 and 1940, it was home to a collection of Black-owned shops, bars and restaurants, mostly along Walnut Street.

One stop on the trail marks three locations that were central to the community from the 1930s onward: the Third Street Market, the Blue & White Café and the Harvey House.

Located in the same building on the west side of Third Street, the market provided household goods, while the café served hot dogs and hamburgers, often a favorite among local students. After 5 p.m., the cafe became an adults-only juke joint.

The marker also honors the Harvey House, which once stood at 417 N. Third St. and served residents, as well as travelers. It was one of the few places to offer safe housing for Black people moving through Columbia.

During the 1950s and ’60s, the buildings were torn down in a flurry of urban renewal. For two decades or so, Sharp End was seen as prime real estate for the growing city, so huge swathes of businesses and buildings were purchased and razed to make way for post offices, public safety facilities and schools.

This essentially erased the heart of Columbia’s Black neighborhoods, Whitt said, and much of the Sharp End history has been largely undocumented. Whitt has long believed it important to elevate these stories and educate people about the full history of Columbia. 

“What happened during urban renewal really left a bad taste in the minds of Black folks who grew up here,” Whitt said. “It’s something that needs to be recognized, so that when we look at moving forward into the future, we won’t repeat the same mistakes we made in the past.”

Each black metal marker on the trail highlights a person or place from Columbia’s Black history in gold letters. One notable stop is the Annie Fisher marker on Seventh Street and Park Avenue. Fisher made a fortune selling beaten biscuits, making her one of wealthiest Blacks in town.

Another stop on Fourth Street between Walnut and Broadway honors the historic home of jazz pianist John William “Blind” Boone, known internationally for his ragtime songs and performances. The storied house now acts as a community center, preserving Boone’s legacy of music and community. This marker also highlights the Second Missionary Baptist Church, founded in 1894.

“During the early 20th century, the buildings at 4th and Broadway provided a space where faith, music, and community converged,” the marker reads. 

While the committee had planned to have a large outdoor celebration to dedicate the newest marker, they had to settle Thursday for an indoor ceremony streamed over Facebook, complete with a ceremonial ribbon cutting. The event ended with a video preview of stops along the trail.

The committee is now partnering with multiple organizations to spread the message about the trail. Schools will be supplied with brochures that include a map of the markers. For the more tech-savvy user, the Sharp End Heritage Committee worked with a company called Otocast to bring Columbia’s Black history to a smartphone app.

Otocast not only uses the phone’s GPS to help users navigate the many stops on the trail, but it also provides historical pictures and writing to each stop, essentially acting as a guided tour through the trail. 

Windows of wonder: Gazing at holiday displays behind glass is the perfect pandemic diversion


We all know the scene in “A Christmas Story”: Ralphie covets the Red Ryder BB gun in the window of Higbee’s department store while little brother Randy, mesmerized by the lights and toy train, smushes his upturned nose against the glass.

“I’m gonna be that kid,” says Julie Pohlman, a full-grown adult who helped plan the window decor for stores and businesses this holiday season in downtown Jerseyville.

The old ritual of looking at department store windows filled with twinkling, animatronic displays has nearly faded. But it turns out to also be a good socially distant activity for 2020.

Pohlman is one of many full-grown adults bringing out the kid in all of us with dazzling window displays in Jerseyville, Belleville, the Central West End and at the National Museum of Transportation in Kirkwood.

Bright Nights in Jerseyville

Decorating windows for Christmas in Jerseyville

Michael Ward assembles a display titled “Elves Misbehavin'” in the window at Sweet Pea’s Floral & Design in Jerseyville on Nov. 17, 2020. 

Pohlman and her friend Michael Ward want downtown Jerseyville to look like the set of a Hallmark Christmas movie. They’re both fans of the cable channel’s famous holiday fare, and since they couldn’t host a festival this year, they at least wanted a stab at set designing.

Ward is the president of Jerseyville’s Downtown Country Christmas Festival. Pohlman also organizes and does publicity for the event. It’s usually held the weekend after Thanksgiving and includes closure of Highway 67 through town. There’s usually a parade, games for kids and booths for vendors.

The coronavirus put a halt to all that, but organizers wanted to bring people downtown to take in the ambiance of the historic buildings — and shop.

This year, visitors are encouraged to peer at more than 20 window displays, see the giant white reindeer and lights on the lawn at the stately Jersey County Courthouse, and take in the drive-thru light displays at Dolan Park. The event is rebranded as Bright Nights.

Decorating windows for Christmas in Jerseyville

Michael Ward inflates a snow globe that Santa Claus will sit inside for Bright Nights in Jerseyville. 

Pohlman credits Ward for his decorating skills.

“He is like a genius at it,” she says. “Imagine a Macy’s window in a Hallmark movie. That’s what it is. And I am seriously not talking it up because it’s our town.”

Indeed, in the front window of Sweet Pea’s Floral & Design, an elf in a red outfit climbs up and down a ladder, another spins atop a snowflake and another sits astride a Tyrannosaurus rex. In the front window of the 1880 Pizza and Pasta House, a portrait cutout of a family from that era poses in front of an exquisitely trimmed tree. Giant snowflakes dangle in the windows of city hall.

Ward has a more refined decorating taste and specializes in turning discarded items and dollar store finds into something picture-window-worthy.

“Duct tape is your friend,” Ward jokes.

Decorating windows for Christmas in Jerseyville

Michael Ward, president of the Jerseyville Christmas Festival, created a Christmas display in the front window of the Department of Children and Family Services. 

Pohlman’s taste is more playful. Indeed, a team of inflatable hippopotamuses pulls a red sleigh on the lawn of her business, Julie’s Graphics, on the east end of town.

“It’s hilarious,” she says. “On a daily basis, I watch people jump out on the side of the road and take pictures.”

When Through Dec. 25 • Where Dolan Park, downtown Jerseyville • How much Free • More info

Gingerbread displays in Belleville

Belleville gingerbread

Gingerbread houses are on display in the windows of downtown Belleville businesses through Jan. 1.

For more than 30 years, the bakers of Belleville and beyond have built gingerbread houses and structures worthy of display in the windows of downtown Belleville businesses. But with the cancellation of the Belleville Christkindlmarkt, Santa Parade and visits to the beloved Santa House, organizers of the annual gingerbread contest didn’t want to cancel Christmas completely. They knew downtown businesses needed support.

“We thought it would be important to have them in the windows downtown,” says Teresa Hessel, one of the organizers. “Just to have a bit of normalcy and have a bit of cheer and to draw people to the downtown businesses. Everybody needs that this year.”

Belleville canceled its annual cookie walk, an event where visitors collect cookies from various businesses. Revenue was lost, but there was enough of a nest egg to offer prize money to first-, second- and third-place winners in youth and adult categories of the gingerbread contest. Visitors can vote through Dec. 12, and the houses will be on display through Jan. 1.

Belleville gingerbread

Gingerbread houses are on display in the windows of downtown Belleville businesses through Jan. 1.

Contest organizers also refunded contest sponsorship money to the businesses, knowing they could use it this year. 

Creators of all ages, from kids to near-professionals, try their hand at gingerbread baking and building. Entries include a greenhouse made of gelatin, a light-covered Griswold house from “Christmas Vacation,” a lighthouse overlooking icing waves crashing against a shore and a scene from Super Mario World.

One entry is from a family, with ages ranging from 5 to 95. 

“It’s just cool that it still brings people together,” Hessel says. “And hopefully brings people to downtown Belleville.”

When Through Jan. 1; voting ends Dec. 12 • Where Downtown Belleville • How much Free • More info

Famous-Barr trains at National Museum of Transportation 

Famous-Barr train display at the National Museum of Transportation

A miniature scene at the National Museum of Transportation in Kirkwood depicts a Christmas tree lot. The display spent many holiday seasons in Famous-Barr’s downtown window.

The closing of the downtown St. Louis store is the end of the line for the Christmas display.

It wasn’t the first time 4-year-old Maxen Onstott saw the old Famous-Barr train display at the National Museum of Transportation in Kirkwood. But he could have fooled the rest of the visitors with his reaction.

“Look at that! Look at all of those trains! Look at those choo-choo trains!” the Wentzville boy exclaimed to his grandparents Judy and Ron Marth of St. Charles, and his little brother, Landen, almost 18 months.

The display captures imaginations every holiday season, just as it did from 1988 to 2012, when it sat in the Famous-Barr window at Seventh and Locust streets. In 2006, the store became Macy’s. When the downtown store closed in 2013, the train display moved to the museum.

The display got started when members of the American Flyer S Gaugers model train club lamented the lack of train displays in department store windows, something the older members enjoyed as children in the 1950s and ’60s.

Famous-Barr train display at the National Museum of Transportation

Judy Marth and grandson Maxen Onstott, 4, watch model trains Nov. 20, 2020, at the National Museum of Transportation in Kirkwood. The setup spent many holiday seasons on display in Famous-Barr’s downtown window.

A trip downtown was often the start of the holiday season.

Charley Taylor, 74, a club member and vice president of the transportation museum board, remembers placing his hand on a store window to “start” the train. He’s not sure if electricity or some other magic made it move.

A club member approached a Famous-Barr executive with the idea of putting a train in the store windows again. The response was enthusiastic.

They came up with a deal: The store would fund the project and store the display. If the store decided it no longer wanted it, the benchwork and trains would go back to the club.

“We did it all for free,” Taylor says.

“All these years, our motto has been, ‘It’s just for the fun of it,’” says member Moe Berk, 81, who rides a mobile scooter with a license plate reading “MOE-RR.” 

The display is a multilevel wonder of trains and tracks running alongside gray-and-white cliffsides sculpted from insulation foam. Macy’s billboards dot the miniature landscape, with the occasional Famous-Barr truck or car.

Famous-Barr train display at the National Museum of Transportation

Chris Rathert, a volunteer since 2013 at the National Museum of Transportation, points to wires underneath the train display that spent many holiday seasons in Famous-Barr’s downtown window.

American Flyer train exhibit moves to Museum of Transportation.

The group modifies the scene every year. Exhibit designer Andrew Arth built “windows” — similar to the original store’s — that act as a protective barrier.

But for special visitors, like 4-year-old Maxen, Taylor offers a behind-the-scenes tour. The boy and his grandparents disappeared behind a curtain to see the back of the layout, an organized chaos of foam layers and wires. After lots of oohs and aahs, they emerged, all smiles.

When Through Jan. 4; some dates require advance reservation • Where National Museum of Transportation, 2933 Barrett Station Road, Kirkwood • How much Free with $5-$12 admission • More info

Window Walk and ‘Walking Xmas Carol’ in CWE

A Walking Xmas Carol in the Central West End

Visitors stop to look at shop windows in the Central West End as part of the annual Window Walk and “A Walking Xmas Carol.”

For 11 years now, businesses in the Central West End have taken care to decorate their windows for the holiday season, in an effort to attract and entertain shoppers. Then the creative minds at the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival and PaintedBlack STL, a new collective of Black artists, got the idea to add more windows and incorporate a hip-hop version of “A Christmas Carol.”

The neighborhood couldn’t say no.

“They approached us, and we said, ‘Absolutely,’” says Kate Haher, director of the Central West End’s Community Improvement District. “It’s a really fun idea.”

Along with the 20 or so shop windows, decorated by designers and business owners, artists from PaintedBlack STL added about 20 scenes in other windows that serve as a backdrop for “A Walking Xmas Carol,” a musical adaptation of the Chicago-based “Q Brothers Christmas Carol.”

Painting the streets in holiday

Crews with the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival paint holiday-themed designs on the streets of the Central West End on Nov. 23, 2020. 

Guests can stroll Euclid Avenue and Maryland Plaza at their own pace, listening to the performance on their phones. The show can be downloaded in advance, or QR codes can be scanned to access each scene. It’s free, but donations to the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival are accepted.

On Saturdays in December, the neighborhood adds ice carvings, carriage rides, carolers, live music and street performers to the festivities. On weekend nights, there will be live performers along the route, and businesses will serve specialty cocktails and treats. The streets have been painted with snowflakes, and giant snowflakes adorn restaurants’ rooftops in Maryland Plaza.

“We’re trying to make this as immersive as possible without immersing people in a sea of performers and live people,” says Tom Ridgely, the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s producing artistic director.

In the summer, the festival worked with PaintedBlack STL to put together several Arch-shaped sculptures in Forest Park for “A Late Summer Night’s Stroll,” which included performances and interpretations from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Painting the streets in holiday

Emmi Walker paints a holiday-themed design on Maryland Avenue in the Central West End on Nov. 23, 2020. The decorations are part of the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s “Walking Xmas Carol.”

Ridgely says performers are still able to use stories to bring people together, even though their usual methods — gathering spectators in close spaces — have been taken away.

“It definitely takes more energy,” Ridgely says. “It also generates some energy. I’m sure at the end of this we’ll lie down and take a long winter’s nap.”

When Through Dec. 23; live performances on weekend nights; street performers and entertainment 1-5 p.m. Saturdays • Where Maryland Plaza and Euclid Avenue, Central West End • How much Free; donations accepted • More info

Like most everything else in 2020, this holiday season will be unlike any we’ve experienced. The coronavirus pandemic continues, which means c…

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Community-led research project sheds light on racial gaps in Louisville

Roots Cause Research Center hosted a webinar on Thursday that presented findings of data driven research projects that community members in Louisville began investigating six months ago.“These brilliant leaders accepted the invitation to learn new skills so that we can investigate systems of oppression that had deeply impacted them, their peers, their loved ones,” said Jessica Bellamy, Founder of Roots Cause Research.Community researchers that participated were: Woody Pryor, Marlesha Woods, Shannon Floyd, Shemaeka Shaw, Missy Wilson, Katrice Gill and Whitney Majors. The Research Center chose these community members because they have first-hand experience and are necessary to unearth the whole story behind a deep-rooted problem in Louisville.The key areas the seven researchers focused on included: Art investment, housing injustice, developmental projects in the West End, hiring discrimination, racial wealth gaps and Black-led intervention strategies.“The research is clear,” said Monica Unseld, a scientist and participant in the webinar. “If you invest in things like art, crime and violence go down. Instead, this city continues to choose to invest in policing and criminalization.”Artist Marlesha Woods says the city should invest in Black artists to create murals for Louisville’s west end, like they do for the non-Black artists in the east end.“I found that the art that is displayed is not created by the subject matter,” she said.Specific findings from the researchers addressed Louisville’s longstanding housing discrimination. This includes waves of evictions present before and during the pandemic, and the demolition and eviction of tenants at Beecher Terrace Housing.“Five hundred twenty four households were evicted”, said researcher Katrice Gill. “Of these evictions how many of them were lease violations and how many of those could of been remedied or cured?”The webinar also tackled the community’s perspective of the ‘Russell: A Place of Promise’ initiative focused on generating investments in the Russell neighborhood.The project aims to bring about solutions to these issues in Louisville by making the public, policymakers, and city’s leaders aware of the data, which allows them to work toward the goal of equality and repairing a centuries old broken system.“We the community demand real clear-cut answers,” said Gill.Sponsors of the webinar included: Metro United Way, Resist and Nspire, Taunt, Kertis Creative, and Rhythm Science Sound.

Roots Cause Research Center hosted a webinar on Thursday that presented findings of data driven research projects that community members in Louisville began investigating six months ago.

“These brilliant leaders accepted the invitation to learn new skills so that we can investigate systems of oppression that had deeply impacted them, their peers, their loved ones,” said Jessica Bellamy, Founder of Roots Cause Research.


Community researchers that participated were: Woody Pryor, Marlesha Woods, Shannon Floyd, Shemaeka Shaw, Missy Wilson, Katrice Gill and Whitney Majors. The Research Center chose these community members because they have first-hand experience and are necessary to unearth the whole story behind a deep-rooted problem in Louisville.

The key areas the seven researchers focused on included: Art investment, housing injustice, developmental projects in the West End, hiring discrimination, racial wealth gaps and Black-led intervention strategies.

“The research is clear,” said Monica Unseld, a scientist and participant in the webinar. “If you invest in things like art, crime and violence go down. Instead, this city continues to choose to invest in policing and criminalization.”

Artist Marlesha Woods says the city should invest in Black artists to create murals for Louisville’s west end, like they do for the non-Black artists in the east end.

“I found that the art that is displayed is not created by the subject matter,” she said.

Specific findings from the researchers addressed Louisville’s longstanding housing discrimination. This includes waves of evictions present before and during the pandemic, and the demolition and eviction of tenants at Beecher Terrace Housing.

“Five hundred twenty four households were evicted”, said researcher Katrice Gill. “Of these evictions how many of them were lease violations and how many of those could of been remedied or cured?”

The webinar also tackled the community’s perspective of the ‘Russell: A Place of Promise’ initiative focused on generating investments in the Russell neighborhood.

The project aims to bring about solutions to these issues in Louisville by making the public, policymakers, and city’s leaders aware of the data, which allows them to work toward the goal of equality and repairing a centuries old broken system.

“We the community demand real clear-cut answers,” said Gill.

Sponsors of the webinar included: Metro United Way, Resist and Nspire, Taunt, Kertis Creative, and Rhythm Science Sound.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The key to combating vaccine hesitancy? Deep listening, tailored messaging.

In modern medical history, what is about to happen is unprecedented: Multiple new COVID-19 vaccines are being developed with different approaches. They’ll be hitting markets around the globe in just a short period of time to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

It is a colossal medical achievement, but there’s more hard work ahead. Once vaccines are distributed across the globe, people then have to agree to take them.

Related: Social media misinformation is ‘growing threat’ to coronavirus vaccine efforts, survey shows

Julie Leask researches vaccine hesitancy at the University of Sydney in Australia. She spoke to The World’s host Marco Werman about how to address people’s questions about the vaccine. 

Marco Werman: So this is going to be a worldwide effort. Julie, what are the key dos and don’ts when it comes to getting people to have confidence in the vaccine? 

Julie Leask: One of the most important things when people are thinking about having a new vaccine is looking at what their peers and their family and friends are doing. Seeing that other people are having the vaccine is starting to become normalized. I think that will probably flip some of those people over who are on the fence right now and aren’t quite sure what to do about it. Of course, there are going to be some people who will not ever vaccinate. Hopefully that’s going to be a small number of people. 

So your field is vaccine hesitancy. Locally in Australia, what are you observing right now on vaccine hesitancy? 

Look, countries are quite varied. Australia, we have about 88 percent of people intending to have the COVID-19 vaccine — if it were recommended to them. And I know that drops a little bit if you are in the US right through to Russia and Poland, which have intentions of around 50 percent. So in Australia, where we’re a very pro-vaccination country, actually, we really defend vaccination of children very strongly with some of our policies. But naturally, there is always going to be a group of people who are a bit wary, particularly when we haven’t got the Phase 3 trial results released yet and we’re not exactly sure what we’re looking at with these vaccines. Certainly the public cannot [either]. So, confidence will build a little bit more over time in Australia and other countries. 

COVID-19 is different. And I’m wondering about the urgency of the situation — like the need to stem a pandemic that’s affected the entire world and how everybody lives. Has the urgency made people overall less wary of the vaccine? 

No, surprisingly not, because here, of course, we’re talking about a vaccine that will be initially offered to adults, health care workers, the elderly, people with chronic diseases, people working on the front line. So with adult vaccination, you see slightly lower vaccination rates. And you also see a little bit more hesitancy around adult vaccination. And the levels of hesitancy we’re seeing globally at the moment, at least in the countries that are measuring this, are sort of what you’d expect at this stage. You know, in a way, it is on a bit of a knife-edge because — depending on how this program goes, how people experience having that vaccine, how they experience side effects and make sense of them — it will have a lot of impact on how people in future cohorts approach having the vaccine and think about it and are motivated to have it. 

Related: COVID-19 takes its toll on Mexico’s health workers

Have you been involved in vaccine programs in other countries where you had to deal with vaccine hesitancy? And how did you deal with it? 

I’ve been an adviser for the World Health Organization, visiting countries including Serbia, Romania and Samoa. And I’ve also observed programs to address vaccine hesitancy in many countries. It always starts with understanding the communities you’re working with. We can’t second-guess people. We need to understand, in a country or a locality or a community, what are the issues that those people have with the vaccine? What are the experiences they’ve had with the vaccine program so far? Who are the community influences and what are they saying about the vaccine? The religious leaders? And that flows right over to the individual conversation a health professional or even a family member might have with someone else who is hesitant. “Tell me about your thoughts. What is concerning you right now?” Hearing them out and acknowledging them and then tailoring the information that you give them and share with them according to where they’re at — you know, that’s the core to dealing with vaccine hesitancy really well. 

Here in the US, Black and Latino communities are being infected and dying at disproportionately high rates. Mistrust of a COVID-19 vaccine also happens to be high in those same communities. They also have legitimate historical reasons for being wary of inoculation campaigns. What are ways to overcome that? Are there models? 

These are really challenging questions because mistrust and past performance have a big impact on whether people are willing to accept technology or a prevention measure that a government is recommending that you have and that the system is recommending you have. So if there have been past injustices and bad experiences — racism, systemic racism — then people are going to be understandably wary. In the end, we have to ask those communities how it’s best to approach them. So as a white Australian woman, I’m not going to pretend I know the best way to reach African American communities who themselves will be diverse. But what I will say is that we know from past experience with vaccination hesitancy, working to tailor immunization programs in different communities, that when you use local community influencers, people who are trusted, people who reach many people in that community, that can have quite a strong impact, for better or worse. And also investing in good systems so people have a good experience with the health care service, so that questions are answered, so they are treated well, so they don’t have to question whether the color of my skin is affecting the way I’m being treated in this clinic. That means that those people will then go and share that good experience with their broader community and that will have an impact as well. 

Ultimately, Julie, do you think vaccine hesitancy is a first-world problem or is it a serious concern across the planet? 

Any person in any country is capable of having questions about whether this needle or these drops are going to be safe for me or my child. So vaccine hesitancy, i.e. the reluctance to have a vaccine because of concerns about it, is an issue globally. It tends to be quite localized, though. So there have been particular vaccine safety scares that are affecting particular countries that have their own characteristics. The Philippines, northern Nigeria, Indonesia, more recently, the US, the Northeast and of course, New York state with the various issues you’ve had there with Hasidic communities. So, yeah, it tends to be very localized and very specific to that setting. And it is not limited to just high-income countries. And in the same way that in high-income countries there are people who are poor, don’t have access to health insurance, don’t have good transport access to health services, who themselves don’t get vaccinated — not because they don’t want to, but because it’s difficult to do. So we need to think about all of the barriers to vaccination in all countries and again, using data to do that so that the solutions that we have are based on evidence, not anecdote. 

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Gov. Whitmer releases interim report with COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities

LANSING — Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities, Chaired by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, released an interim report detailing the significant progress Michigan has made in protecting communities of color from the spread of COVID-19.  

“From the beginning, our administration has listened to medical experts and taken a fact-based approach to eliminating COVID-19 in our most vulnerable communities, and we have seen significant progress,” said Governor Whitmer. “Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist and the leaders on the Task Force have been crucial in helping us dramatically reduce the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in communities of color by expanding testing and providing crucial support to community organizations. Our work is far from over, and cases and hospitalizations are still rising statewide, but this team remains dedicated to working with medical experts and protecting our communities, frontline workers, and small businesses. Our immediate focus now is holding our progress, flattening the infection curve, and remaining vigilant with mask wearing and social distancing. 

The coronavirus pandemic has shined a light on the health, economic, and educational challenges that communities of color face daily,” Lt. Governor Gilchrist said. “Today’s report shows that significant progress has been made toward our goal to reduce these disparities over the past six months. But as cases continue to rise, we need to recognize that our work is not done because each of us have a role to play to make sure that we defeat this virus. When we successfully make it to the other side of this pandemic, we will hug each other a little tighter, check in on each other a little more, and be proud of the work we did to make each other’s lives better.”

The Task Force’s interim report details a number of actions the state has taken to protect communities of color, frontline workers, and small businesses from the spread of COVID-19. As of November 16, more than 24,000 tests have been administered in previously underserved communities across 21 Neighborhood Testing sites. These state-operated sites provide COVID-19 testing on a consistent schedule, several days per week. All sites offer free testing, and a prescription is not required for someone to be tested, nor is any form of ID required 

From March and April to September and October, the average cases per million per day for African American Michiganders dropped from 176 to 59. In the same period, the number of probable deaths per million per day among African American Michiganders dropped significantly – from 21.7 to 1.   

“As a member of the Michigan Task Force on Racial Disparities, I am proud of the hard work we have done to protect communities of color from the spread of COVID-19,” said M. Roy WilsonTask Force Member and president of Wayne State University. “I want to thank Governor Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist for their leadership as we have fought to eliminate this virus. Our work on the task force is far from over, but the data is clear – we have taken swift, meaningful action to protect Michigan’s most vulnerable communities and save lives, and we will continue to do so until this fight is over.” 

“When it became clear that the Black community was disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Whitmer and her administration took crucial action to eliminate that disparity and save lives,” said Maureen TaylorTask Force member and state chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. “Michigan has been recognized as a nationwide leader in addressing health disparities that have come to light as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic because the governor and lieutenant governor have dedicated themselves to ensuring equitable support for our most vulnerable communities throughout this crisis. We have made great strides, but we will remain vigilant and work day and night to protect the Black community from COVID-19 until this virus is gone for good.” 

“It’s clear that the work of this task force, created by Governor Whitmer and spearheaded by Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist, has made significant progress in protecting families, frontline workers, and small businesses in communities of color,” said Celeste Sanchez LloydTask Force member and community program manager for Strong Beginnings at Spectrum Health. “As the weather gets colder and as we head into the holiday season, our most vulnerable communities will continue to need crucial support. We are committed to continuing to provide that support and work closely with the governor as she listens to health experts and takes a fact-based approach to ending the COVID-19 pandemic.” 


In order to sustain the progress made and to better address ongoing disparities, the Task Force will continue working around the clock to protect our most vulnerable communities. The Task Force has identified a number of areas to focus on as we head into the holiday season and the cold winter months, including: 

  • Closing the digital divide in telehealth and virtual learning to ensure equitable access for all Michiganders; 
  • Increasing enrollment in health insurance plans by making it easy for Michiganders to find out about their options for affordable care, such as Medicaid and federal marketplace plans; 
  • Building mobile testing infrastructure that can also be extended for other health services such as vaccine administration; 
  • And raising awareness of racial- and ethnic disparities in medical care to ensure that every Michigander, no matter their race, can get safe and quality care in Michigan. 

The Task Force has already taken steps to address these issues, and will continue working toward these goals as the State of Michigan continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Michigan COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities consists of a variety of leaders from government, academia, and the private sector, health care, economic development, education, and other disciplines. Click here to learn more about the Task Force. 

To view the Task Force’s full interim report, click the link below: