Category : Urban/City Life and Issues

(WCIV) St John’s [Anglican] Chapel works to stop crime on the east side through doorbell cameras

St. John’s Chapel on the east side of Charleston starting giving out ring cameras in 2018. They wanted to help solve crime on the east side.

So far, they have given out around 70 cameras and hope to give out about 80 more.

St John’s Chapel works to stop crime on the east side through doorbell cameras. (WCIV)

“As a community we must stand together. I think it’s a rally and cry right now for the community to do that,” said Reverend Matthew Rivers of St. John’s Chapel.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Local Paper) 10 people hospitalized in Memorial Day mass shooting on Charleston’s East Side

A pregnant woman, a 17-year-old girl and a Charleston police officer were among 10 people hospitalized after a mass shooting at a late-night Memorial Day party in the city’s East Side neighborhood, authorities said.

Four people remained in critical condition the afternoon of May 31, Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds said at a news conference. No deaths have been reported, and police indicated the pregnant woman did not lose her baby.

A police officer came under fire after responding to a noise complaint around 11:40 p.m. at 41 South St., Reynolds said.

Two bullets struck his police cruiser as he took cover and called for backup, Reynolds said. The officer was not shot, but he suffered minor injuries from shattered glass. At least one bullet was found lodged in the headrest of the squad car, police said.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(NPR) Chris Singleton’s mom was killed in a racist attack in Charleston. Now he’s helping Buffalo

SINGLETON: How many other people are thinking this kind of thing? It’s scary, especially because I’m trying to stop this stuff from happening. And it’s kind of demoralizing, honestly, you know, when it continues to happen.

HANSEN: But Singleton says he won’t let another racist attack shake his faith. He’s now headed to Buffalo to speak with schools where children have lost family members. He remembers the confusion he felt as a college student, robbed of his mother and left to raise his two siblings.

SINGLETON: And so if I could just be of any support to them, just sharing the things that have helped me out, with realizing it’s OK to cry.

HANSEN: Singleton still hopes he can change even one misguided mind by setting an example as a Black man who’s lost a loved one to racism but does not hate. He was supposed to visit Buffalo schools last year but couldn’t make it. The suspect would have still been in high school. Singleton worries he missed an opportunity.

SINGLETON: If he would have realized that everybody has a family and they’re loved and we didn’t choose the very thing that he hates us for, I hope it would change his heart.

HANSEN: It’s a message he shares during public talks.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(RNS) Buffalo Pastors Respond to Loss of Community ‘Pillars’

Soon after a white 18-year-old shooter targeted Black customers of a community grocery store in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, Denise Walden, executive director of Voice Buffalo, a social justice and equity organization, was coordinating clergy to offer grief counseling and help families immediately and, she hopes, for the foreseeable future.

She was also grieving personally: She knows the families of most of the 10 people killed in the massacre.

“This is going to take more than a week, more than a month, more than six months,” said Walden, a member of the clergy team at First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, a predominantly Black congregation in Buffalo. “We need long-term solutions and support.”

Walden’s 25-year-old organization is a local chapter of Live Free, a Christian organization that has in recent years focused on preventing community violence, which now has new questions to answer, Walden said, about “the hate that caused this person to come into this community and create such a horrible, violent violation to our community.”

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Posted in Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Statement Regarding Buffalo Shooting From Mother Emanuel Ame Church In Charleston S.C.

Read it all:

“To my beloved brothers and sisters in Buffalo, New York. It is with a heavy heart that I pen these words to you, your families, and the surrounding community. As the senior pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston S.C., we can relate to your hurt, pain, and anger; the congregation of Mother Emanuel was in the same place almost seven years ago.

For the last six years, I have personally watched how God continued to strengthen our community and I know that He will do the same for yours. However, it does not negate the reality of your pain, and the testimony of the empty seat of your loved ones. Please know that as you mourn, we mourn with you, and will be here for you if you need anything. In closing, I leave you with the following words that are found in Psalm 121 verses one and two, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

May the God of Heaven continue to strengthen you today, tomorrow, and always. In The Strength of The Lord

-Pastor Eric S C Manning

Posted in * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Northern Echo) Dean of Durham appointed new Dean of St Paul’s in London

The Queen has approved the appointment of the Dean of Durham, The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, as the new Dean of St Paul’s.

He will succeed The Very Reverend Dr David Ison, who is due to retire in September 2022.

Andrew will take over leadership at an important moment for St Paul’s as it plays a central role in the rejuvenation of the City of London following the pandemic. He will oversee a growing schedule of services and special events, as visitors from the UK and overseas begin to return in their numbers to the capital.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, said, “I am delighted to be appointed as Dean of St Paul’s, following David Ison’s faithful tenure over the past decade. I’m keenly aware that I join the team at St Paul’s at a pivotal time with both immediate and systemic challenges….”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues

(BBC) Bishop of Coventry wants to retain ties with Volgograd despite twinning pause

The Bishop of Coventry wants the city to retain its link with Volgograd.

Coventry council voted on Tuesday to suspend the city’s 80-year twinning arrangement with the Russian city due to the Ukrainian war, despite an appeal by the Right Reverend Christopher Cocksworth for it to continue.

The bishop said it was important to “draw a distinction between the Putin state and the people of Russia”.

He said he would keep in contact with friends in the Russian city.

The Labour-run council said it was pausing its twinning links “with a heavy heart” until “such a time” they could resume.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine, Urban/City Life and Issues

‘Norwich has topped the lot’ – Outgoing clergywoman gets city’s highest honour

Norwich’s outgoing reverend has been awarded the city’s highest civic honour.

The Very Rev Dr Jane Hedges was granted the Freedom of the City (FOTC) at a special council meeting on Tuesday.

Dr Hedges has been dean of Norwich Cathedral since 2014, the first woman to hold the role. She is due to stand down on May 1.

The reverend received praise for engaging new audiences through several initiatives including installing a helter-skelter in the nave and helping to bring the ‘Dippy the Dinosaur’ exhibition to the church.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues

(WSJ) In the Rubble of Kharkiv, Survivors Make Their Stand: ‘It’s a War, and It’s a Dirty War’

In the days since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, shelling and airstrikes have killed hundreds of people in Kharkiv, a city of 1.4 million about 20 miles from the Russian border. Residents spend their days and nights huddled in the subway. Above them, explosions devastate their city.

At least 400 high-rise apartment buildings have been hit, Kharkiv city authorities said. Strikes have damaged the art museum, with its collection of famous Russian painters including Repin and Shishkin, and the Korolenko library, which houses priceless manuscripts.

“Everyone is in shock here,” said Ihor Terekhov, the city mayor. “We used to think of the Russians as our brothers. Even in our worst nightmares, we never imagined that they would destroy our city.”

Russia’s attempt to use rapid thrusts by armored columns and assaults by paratroopers and special forces to seize the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and other cities, overthrowing the country’s government, has stalled in the face of fierce resistance. Now, Moscow is resorting to a punishing, wholesale destruction, shelling and bombing residential neighborhoods and historic downtowns.

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Posted in Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Ukraine, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Northern Echo) St Nicholas Church Durham offers practical help to North East people

A City centre church is to offer practical support for local people suffering financial hardships.

St Nicholas Church, in the Market Place, Durham, has announced it will be able to raise money for those in need to purchase a specific needed item, such as replacing a broken cooker for a family struggling financially or equipping someone with interview clothes to help get a job.

This potential support is made possible through a new partnership with Acts 435, a national online charity that gives donors the opportunity to connect with people who need help.

Acts 435 enables St Nicholas, or St Nics, as it is known locally, plus other participating churches and local charities, to post requests for specific needs onto their website.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Poverty, Stewardship, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Economist) As violent crime leaps, liberal cities rethink cutting police budgets

In the days after George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020, protesters took to the streets across America. They urged cities to “defund the police”, and politicians listened. Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, called for his department’s budget to be cut by up to $150m. London Breed, San Francisco’s mayor, announced that she would “redirect funding from the sfpd to support the African-American community”. City councils in Oakland and Portland, Oregon, among other cities across America, approved budgets that cut police funding.

That trend has reversed. Portland and Oakland increased police funding to hire more officers. The Los Angeles Police Department’s budget will get a 12% boost. Last month Ms Breed vowed to “take steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement” and “less tolerant of all the bullshit that has destroyed our city”. Why such a stark reversal, and what does it mean for the future of criminal-justice reform?

The first question is easy to answer. Though crime overall did not rise during the pandemic, the type people fear most—murders and shootings—did, and the surge has not abated. Over three decades from 1990, America’s homicide rate fell steeply (see chart). From 2019 to 2020, however, the rate had its highest-ever year-on-year rise, of nearly 30%, followed by a further rise in 2021. More than three-quarters of the murders were committed with guns. In Oakland, 133 people were murdered in 2021, more than in any year since 2006, and almost 600 more were shot but not killed. Portland was one of at least 16 American cities that set all-time homicide records last year.

Read it all (registration).

Posted in America/U.S.A., City Government, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(World) Sophia Lee Talks to Tim Keller on coming to Christ and learning to love the city

How does New York City set the culture for the rest of the country and the world? In the ’90s I heard New Yorkers discussing and expressing their views on gender and sexuality in ways that are now, many years later, mainstream on a national level. The city is a pacesetter for the culture, whether we like it or not. Some might think therefore that Christians should stay away from cities, but when you look at Scripture, you can’t deny that Jesus went from city to city in his ministry, or that Paul was willing to argue with the cultural intelligentsia in city centers such as Athens and Ephesus. In fact, I went back to Acts 17 over and over while I was in NYC to learn how to interact faithfully with center-city people.

How can Christians influence New York City for good? I started wondering, “What if there could be a movement of the gospel in one of the most religiously hostile and influential cities in America?” That was a goal. And it has been partially realized. A great number of people who became Christians here are now serving as salt and light in all sorts of places you’d never expect to find Christians.

At the time were there other contemporary pastors who preached about loving and investing in the city? Well, we have to start by pointing out that this question is something of a white-centric question. Or at least it’s the kind of question an upper-middle-class professional would ask. Because black, brown, and Asian churches never left the city. When white evangelicalism grew so much from 1965-1995, it was shaped by this “white flight” mentality and so had a very anti-urban bias to it.

However, during my five years teaching practical theology at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia alongside Harvie Conn and Manny Ortiz, I was exposed to a host of thoughtful, dynamic, and theologically informed African American, Hispanic, and Asian pastors and their ministries. They had thriving ministries at a time when U.S. inner cities were in terrible shape. But there they were. When Kathy and I announced we were moving to New York City, a number of people told us we were sinning against our children by taking them to the city, that they would lose their faith—and maybe their lives. (The opposite was true.) But the white evangelical view of the big cities as complete “spiritual wastelands” was wrong. So yes, in the 1980s, there were not many white and middle-class pastors talking about loving and investing in the city.

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Posted in Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues

New Vicar Chosen For Holy Trinity Brompton

Holy Trinity Brompton (known as HTB), the largest church in the Church of England, is to have a new Vicar lead its 4,000-strong congregation.

The former curate who pioneered its first ‘plant’ outside of London – the Revd Canon Archie Coates, 51, currently Vicar of St Peter’s Brighton, has been chosen as HTB’s Vicar Designate. It is expected that Canon Coates will become Vicar in September 2022, taking over from the Revd Nicky Gumbel, 66, who has announced his intention to resign his post from July 2022. Mr Gumbel has been Vicar of HTB since 2005 and has overseen considerable growth in that time. His books, which include Why Jesus? and Questions of Life, have been international best-sellers.

HTB is located in Knightsbridge, west London, and comprises a large, young and diverse congregation including a significant number of students, youth and children. Eleven services take place each Sunday across six sites in South Kensington, Earl’s Court and on the Dalgarno estate in west London.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Washington Post) Africa’s Rising Cities–How Africa will become the center of the world’s urban future

Growing at unprecedented rates, and shaped by forces both familiar and new, dozens of African cities will join the ranks of humanity’s biggest megalopolises between now and 2100.

Several recent studies project that by the end of this century, Africa will be the only continent experiencing population growth. Thirteen of the world’s 20 biggest urban areas will be in Africa — up from just two today — as will more than a third of the world’s population.

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Posted in Africa, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYT) A Safe Space’: Black Pastors Promote Vaccinations from the Pulpit

Dozens of people gathered at the Word of Life International Church in the South Bronx on a recent Saturday for its weekly food bank, but the pastor wanted to ask the crowd a question before the groceries were handed out: Did anyone know where to find the closest vaccination site?

“Yankee Stadium is always open!” shouted one woman, seated on one of the many folding chairs in the windowless, fluorescently-lit room. “Take the six bus, straight up.”

“174th street and 3rd avenue is 24 hours,” said another woman, standing up in the crowd. “You go there at 2 o’clock in the morning, it’ll still be open.”

The pastor, the Rev. John S. Udo-Okon, said he wanted everyone there — mostly Black residents, including seniors and mothers with small children — to know that the coronavirus vaccines were easy to find and, more important, that they would not harm them. More than 80 percent of adults in New York City have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, but there are significant racial disparities in the vaccination rate.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYT front page) Boko Haram Wanes, and a Nigerian City Is Fearful

For over a decade, the extremist group Boko Haram has terrorized northeastern Nigeria — killing tens of thousands of people, kidnapping schoolgirls and sending suicide bombers into busy marketplaces.

Now, thousands of Boko Haram fighters have surrendered, along with their family members, and are being housed by the government in a compound in the city of Maiduguri, the group’s birthplace and its frequent target.

The compound is next to a middle-class housing development and a primary school, terrifying residents, teachers and parents.

“We are very afraid,” said Maimouna Mohammed, a teacher at the primary school, glancing at the camp’s wall 50 yards from her classroom. “We don’t know their minds.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(ABC Nightline) A portrait of American heroine Yolanda Travis

‘Yolanda Travis, who owns McDonalds franchises in Chicago, wanted to help those in her underserved community get COVID-19 vaccinations and launched a social media campaign to spread the word.’

Watch it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Live 5 News) The City of Charleston passes the first reading of a proposed expansive mask ordinance

The Charleston City Council has passed the first reading of a wide-ranging mask ordinance that would impact everyone in the city, including public and private schools.

City leaders passed the ordinance Tuesday night with a 10 to 3 vote. The ordinance still needs two more readings before going into effect.

The ordinance would require almost everyone over the age of two to wear a mask in public and private settings. In addition, there are built-in exceptions for certain medical conditions, eating, drinking, smoking and in situations where it is not feasible – like while exercising.

It’s the most expansive local ordinance and it applies to anyone regardless of vaccination status. The mandate would apply indoor building – both public and private – as well as permitted gathering like protests and concerts

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues

Kendall Harmon for 9/11: Number 343

On [a] Monday [in September 2003], the last of the 343 firefighters who died on September 11th was buried. Because no remains of Michael Ragusa, age 29, of Engine Company 279, were found and identified, his family placed in his coffin a very small vial of his blood, donated years ago to a bone-marrow clinic. At the funeral service Michael’s mother Dee read an excerpt from her son’s diary on the occasion of the death of a colleague. “It is always sad and tragic when a fellow firefighter dies,” Michael Ragusa wrote, “especially when he is young and had everything to live for.” Indeed. And what a sobering reminder of how many died and the awful circumstances in which they perished that it took until this week to bury the last one.

So here is to the clergy, the ministers, rabbis, imams and others, who have done all these burials and sought to help all these grieving families. And here is to the families who lost loved ones and had to cope with burials in which sometimes they didn’t even have remains of the one who died. And here, too, is to the remarkable ministry of the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, who played every single service for all 343 firefighters who lost their lives. The Society chose not to end any service at which they played with an up-tempo march until the last firefighter was buried.

On Monday, in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, the Society therefore played “Garry Owen” and “Atholl Highlander,” for the first time since 9/11 as the last firefighter killed on that day was laid in the earth. On the two year anniversary here is to New York, wounded and more sober, but ever hopeful and still marching.

–First published on this blog September 11, 2003

Posted in * By Kendall, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

Must not Miss 9/11 Video: Welles Crowther, The Man Behind the Red Bandana

The Man Behind the Red Bandana from Drew Gallagher on Vimeo.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Marriage & Family, Sports, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYT) For a Second Year, Jews Mark the High Holy Days in the Shadow of Covid

The leadership at Central Synagogue in Manhattan had big plans this year for the Jewish High Holy Days: After celebrating via livestream during the pandemic last fall, they rented out Radio City Music Hall for a grand celebration.

But the spread of the Delta variant has upended those plans. Now, they’ll still use the 5,500-seat music hall, but only at 30 percent capacity. And everyone must show proof of vaccination and wear masks.

“In some ways, last year was easier to plan because it was so absolutely clear we would be gathering virtually,” said Angela W. Buchdahl, the synagogue’s senior rabbi. “This year we certainly expected all the way until early July that we would be able to be in person for this year’s High Holy Days.”

Many congregations plan their celebrations for the High Holy Days, which are among the most important dates in the Jewish calendar, months in advance. But the recent surge of coronavirus cases has driven synagogues across the New York region — home to the largest concentration of Jews outside of Israel — and around the country to address safety concerns they had thought had been rendered moot by the arrival of the vaccines.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Judaism, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYT) Houses of Worship Struggle Back, and Tread Lightly on Vaccines

The weekly rhythms of Catholic life have started to return at Our Lady of Lourdes in Harlem. The pews are packed on Sunday mornings, prayer groups meet after work and the collection plate is almost as full as it was before the coronavirus pandemic began.

But parishioners are starting to worry about the virus again.

“For a little while everyone felt more free, not using masks and things like that,” said the Rev. Gilberto Ángel-Neri, the pastor. “But now that we hear all the news about the Delta variant, everyone is using masks again.”

The progress made at Father Ángel-Neri’s church, and at houses of worship across New York City, may be threatened by a rise in virus cases in the past month and by an uneven patchwork of rules governing vaccination that can differ from one place to another.

New rules that have been enacted in recent weeks to curb the spread of the virus’s more contagious Delta variant require New Yorkers to show proof of vaccination to participate in many indoor activities, including sitting inside restaurants or bars, going to a gym or nightclub and visiting a museum or zoo. But they do not apply to religious services.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(New Scientist) World’s first 3D-printed steel bridge opens in Amsterdam

The first ever 3D-printed steel bridge has opened in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It was created by robotic arms using welding torches to deposit the structure of the bridge layer by layer, and is made of 4500 kilograms of stainless steel.

The 12-metre-long MX3D Bridge was built by four commercially available industrial robots and took six months to print. The structure was transported to its location over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in central Amsterdam last week and is now open to pedestrians and cyclists.

More than a dozen sensors attached to the bridge after the printing was completed will monitor strain, movement, vibration and temperature across the structure as people pass over it and the weather changes. This data will be fed into a digital model of the bridge.

Read it all.

Posted in Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Science & Technology, The Netherlands, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Local Paper) NOAA projections and a NASA study show Charleston, South carolina is in for more tidal flooding

At the same time, a new study led by scientists at NOAA, the University of Hawaii and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration showed that Charleston will hit an inflection point in 2025, ushering in a decade of even more tidal events because of the compounding effects of sea-level rise on top of the quirks of the moon’s orbit around the Earth.

On a call with reporters on July 14, NOAA oceanographer William Sweet said that the Southeastern United States, in particular, has consistently outstripped tidal flooding projections of late. In 2019, for example, persistently swollen oceans swamped the coast from Florida through the mid-Atlantic. Charleston’s flooding tally from 2020 to 2021 was also double what federal scientists had forecast the year before.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Urban/City Life and Issues

([London] Times) Marcus Rashford’s mural has been restored — with more than a few additions

Many of the people present were local residents, but others had travelled from across Greater Manchester and even from Merseyside to show solidarity with the footballer and campaigner for free school meals.

Claire Conway, 40, had travelled from Bolton with her two sons, aged three and nine, to leave flags at the mural. Her eldest in particular hugely looks up to Rashford and the footballer has proven a fantastic role model.

“He has fed families, he’s looked after the community, and because he missed the penalty he doesn’t deserve — well, nobody deserves – any sort of racism,” Conway said. “What they did to this I thought was absolutely disgusting.”

Gesturing to the groups of people clustered around her, as children and adults alike pinned notes to the wall, she added: “This is Manchester – this is what Manchester does. We come together like this because there is no place for [racism] anywhere.”

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in England / UK, Men, Sports, Urban/City Life and Issues, Young Adults

(NBCU) Kidnapped 6-year-old girl rescued with help from neighbors, police

“Neighbors immediately called 911 after a 6-year-old girl was kidnapped while outside with her bike in Louisville, Kentucky. Police officers quickly located the car to rescue the little girl.”

Watch it all.

Posted in Children, Marriage & Family, Police/Fire, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Washington Post front page) As homicides soar nationwide, mayors see few options for regaining control

The killings rolled over the country like a fast-moving storm. From Savannah to Austin, from Chicago to Cleveland. In six hours one night this month, four mass-shooting attacks. And in their wake, a sober recognition from city leaders that they don’t have many options left for curbing a surge in homicides that is traumatizing communities nationwide.

“We have done almost all we can do,” said Van Johnson, the mayor of Savannah, Ga.

The tools for fighting back are “limited” without state and federal help, said Austin Mayor Steve Adler (D).

“It’s going to get worse,” Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (D) said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(CT) Supreme Court Sides with Catholic Foster Care Agency

The United States Supreme Court ruled decisively in favor of a Catholic foster care agency on Thursday, with all nine justices agreeing that the city of Philadelphia violated the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty when it ended a contract with Catholic Social Services (CSS) over service to…[prospective adoptees with same-sex parents].

“It is plain that the City’s actions have burdened CSS’s religious exercise by putting it to the choice of curtailing its mission or approving relationships inconsistent with its beliefs,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Philadelphia claimed the city could not contract foster care services with a Catholic agency that only served married heterosexual couples because of an antidiscrimination law ensuring that everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, has equal access to public accommodations. The court found, however, that foster parenting is not a “public accommodation,” since certification is not available to the public and “bears little resemblance to staying in a hotel, eating at a restaurant, or riding a bus.”

According to the court, there was also no evidence presented in the record that the Catholic agency’s policies ever prevented a same-sex couple from fostering a child, or that it would have that effect.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Roman Catholic, Supreme Court, Urban/City Life and Issues

(KC Star front page) ‘An execution’: Kansas City faith group says video shows March 25 police shooting

A group of faith leaders in Kansas City held a news conference Tuesday announcing they have video of the fatal police shooting of Malcolm Johnson earlier this year.

Johnson, 31, was killed March 25 during a confrontation with Kansas City police officers at a gas station near East 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

On Tuesday, the group of ministers gathered outside the gas station and said they had obtained video of the shooting and were releasing it to news media. The video they released did not show the shooting itself, but the faith leaders said it, and other facts surrounding the shooting, showed the initial account given by the highway patrol was not accurate.

“What I saw was an execution,” said the Rev. Darron Edwards, a leader with Getting to the Heart of the Matter, a group of local faith leaders who have been cooperating with the Kansas City Police Department.

“Regardless of the sound quality and the video not showing the actual shots, it is clear that the report does not match the video,” said the Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III. “We are demanding justice.”

Read it all.

Posted in City Government, Death / Burial / Funerals, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(WSJ) The Tulsa Race Massacre 100 Years Later

Tulsa boomed in the early 1900s due to the discovery of nearby oil. Its population grew rapidly from 1,390 in 1900 to 72,075 in 1920, according to census records. Despite the strictly enforced Jim Crow laws at that time, Greenwood had become a “prosperous, vibrant” district and “an American success story,” according to historian Scott Ellsworth.

But in 1921, that success story was interrupted.

On May 31, Dick Rowland, a Black shoe shiner, was arrested for allegedly assaulting a white woman. She would eventually refuse to cooperate with his prosecution.

That night, a mob of over 1,000 white Tulsans gathered in front of the county courthouse where Mr. Rowland was being held. A boxer, Jack Scott was one of the approximately 75 other Black men who came to protect Mr. Rowland.

A fight broke out. The Black men retreated to Greenwood. The white mob organized an attack, and in the early morning hours invaded and burned Greenwood to the ground.

Read it all (and the 8 other articles as well).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Race/Race Relations, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence