Sneak Peak: The Green Book

 

It’s Black History Month!

In historic Birmingham, of course,  there are so many ways celebrate the achievements of African Americans, remember how far we have come, and to chart the course for going further tomorrow.

This past Thursday I had the pleasure of attending an early showing of  Calvin Ramsay’s The Green Book at Red Mountain Theatre. The showing  was hosted by Wells Fargo at a Black History Month reception.

The play is a work of historical fiction taking place in St. Louis during the days of Jim Crow when quality, safe accommodations for black travelers in the south were limited. The Negro Traveler’s Green Book was an annual travel guide published by retired postal worker, Victor Hugo Green. Green identified as well as reviewed restaurants, gas stations, and lodging that served African Americans or would be safe to use.

The play tells the story of a serendipitous and emotional encounter between two house guests at a Green Book listed home.

The play starts slow, but warms up fast. There’s plenty of laughable moments, but the play drives some serious points home. Be on the look out for some startling parallels between  the 1950’s and 2017. I’m planning to go see it again, so I can retain more of the “whoa” moments in the dialogue.

It’s showing at the Red Mountain Theatre for three days only: February 17th-19th. Don’t miss it!  With tickets  starting at 15 bucks, there is no reason not to go. Perfect for a night out with friends  or a date — It was a work event, so I took my mom and she loved it too. (What? She’s pretty hot.)

Any-who… I would follow it with some coffee, cocktails, or both and some reflective conversation.  If you don’t have a date or friends, you can take me.

The play is being presented in partnership with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center.

You can purchase tickets and find out more about the show here.

How are you celebrating Black History Month in our beautiful Birmingham?

Keep lifting your voice to sing Birmingham.

-A City Girl

Sound of Birmingham Underground

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Whoa! Am I actually writing a new post?  It’s actually the first one in 2015 and the year is almost over…do you see those honey baked hams flying?!

Ok, seriously:

I went to an event last night that was so fresh that I had to write a post. When something cool is happening in Birmingham, I just get soooo excited that I even want your mama to know.

Before I even tell you what it was just  do me a favor and watch this video:

Do you feel the shivers running down your spine? That tall class of water is local artinista  Jazz’Mine Ja’Nis.

Whoa.

My soul is in love.#soundmate

Mind blown.

(I’m seriously trying to take her to dinner, so she can become my best friend… AND if you are in the mood for a good playlist check out her sound cloud: https://soundcloud.com/artintellmedia)

Where did I find her? At Mic Check 2015.  Continue reading

I Dare You: A little Inspiration with Teresa Zuniga-Odom

Party with a Purpose

September 15th – October 15th marks the month-long celebration of the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans. This month was chosen as it surrounds the anniversary of  independence day in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile, and Belize.

For 12 years, Birmingham has hosted, Fiesta, Alabama’s largest celebration of Hispanic culture. Over the years, the festival has given away more than $50K in scholarships. The 12th Annual Fiesta Birmingham is happening tomorrow (It’s exactly 12:00am Friday. It’s early so forgive any typos)  in Lynn Park.  You can buy tickets at the gate for $8 or online for $5. Buy tickets online here.

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Picture taken from Odom's blog, Southern Señora

Picture taken from Odom’s blog, Southern Señora

Teresa Zuniga-Odom, one of the festival’s board members , was kind enough to share her story with me. Odom recently launched her own blog, Southern Señora, to speak about her own experiences and family history. I’m so grateful that I’m going to limit my commentary to let her voice shine through.

Odom is a beautiful blend of Mexican and American. Her father’s family is from the Southwest and her mother was born in Oneonta, Alabama. Her love for culture was developed at an early age as she embraced her families travels. She grew up speaking English and learned Spanish while living in Puerto Rico. She recounts what it was like to be on the other side of the language barrier:

“I had the experience of walking into 1st grade and no one spoke English except the teacher.  It is something I always remembered and instilled upon my children when the were in school in Hoover where the Hispanic community was growing – always be the first ones to approach the new person or someone who doesn’t speak English – it’s a scary position to be in and you never know when you might be in that same position. ”

Odom has led her children by example. This is no surprise in light of her families historical heart for service. “As I grew up and learned more about my Mexican family in New Mexico and Colorado, I was so proud to hear about how many educators, nonprofit leaders, and social justice warriors there were in my family.  I’ve always loved giving back in my community and was so excited to find a long history of this in my family – and it was so inspiring!”

In fact, her first cousin worked in Alabama during the civil rights movement, taking photographs and registering African-Americans  in Selma to vote.  “She was a member of SNCC – the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.  Her story is told in the book “Hands on the Freedom Plow.”  – a collection of stories of 52 women who were on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement.  Discovering all of this and hearing their stories first-hand, made me want to do more and I was afforded that opportunity as the Hispanic community began to boom in the Birmingham region.”

Fiesta Birmingham has become a staple in our city’s cultural events. “Another great benefit of the festival is to showcase the many different Hispanic cultures in Alabama.  There is a great misconception that everyone who speaks Spanish is Mexican.  In fact, the Hispanic Business Council was a Latin United Nation if you were to look at our backgrounds.  We had Cuban, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Costa Rican, Puerto Rican and Mexican represented at the time.  And one of the best aspects – to me – of Fiesta, is the Cultural Village and the way the community comes together to showcase their culture and country each year.  Community members bring their own personal belongings and artifacts to showcase the best of their countries and share with visitors of Fiesta.”  Southern Señora, Odom’s blog, will tell the diverse stories of others in the city as well as her own.

I asked Odom about her success in the corporate world , but she prefers to be known as a Hispanic Community Volunteer.“It is something that has been close to my heart for over 15 years as the community started growing and being noticed in Birmingham.  My dad died in 2001 before so much started happening in Birmingham.  I often wonder what he would have thought of Fiesta and all the events that are now occurring in the state.  I believe he would have been proud of the way Fiesta has grown and what we’ve accomplished.  He was such an example of “doing the right thing, always” to me – I think he would have been proud.”

I’m certainly proud. Honestly, I’ve been feeling a little lost this week. The way  if is when you seem to have been out of touch with your purpose. Knowing Odom’s story has reminded me that a life of  service doesn’t only bless others, but it blesses you too.

I dare you to step outside of yourself, your circle, your world to embrace another. I dare you to have some fun while doing it. Why not start this weekend at Fiesta?

Fiesta con un proposito!

Party with A Purpose Birmingham!

-A City Girl

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