Letters

Letters 09-07-2015

DEJA VUE Traverse City faces the same question as faced by Ann Arbor Township several years ago. A builder wanted to construct a 250-student Montessori school on 7.78 acres. The land was zoned for suburban residential use. The proposed school building was permissible as a “conditional use.”

The Court Overreached Believe it or not, everyone who disagrees with the court’s ruling on gay marriage isn’t a hateful bigot. Some of us believe the Supreme Court simply usurped the rule of law by legislating from the bench...

Some Diversity, Huh? Either I’ve been misled or misinformed about the greater Traverse City area. I thought that everyone there was so ‘all inclusive’ and open to other peoples’ opinions and, though one may disagree with said person, that person was entitled to their opinion(s)...

Defending Good People I was deeply saddened to read Colleen Smith’s letter [in Aug. 24 issue] regarding her boycott of the State Theater. I know both Derek and Brandon personally and cannot begin to understand how someone could express such contempt for them...

Not Fascinating I really don’t understand how you can name Jada Johnson a fascinating person by being a hunter. There are thousands of hunters all over the world, shooting by gun and also by arrow; why is she so special? All the other people listed were amazing...

Back to Mayberry A phrase that is often used to describe the amiable qualities that make Traverse City a great place to live is “small-town charm,” conjuring images of life in 1940s small-town America. Where everyone in Mayberry greets each other by name, job descriptions are simple enough for Sarah Palin to understand, and milk is delivered to your door...

Don’t Be Threatened The August 31 issue had 10 letters(!) blasting a recent writer for her stance on gay marriage and the State Theatre. That is overkill. Ms. Smith has a right to her opinion, a right to comment in an open forum such as Northern Express...

Treat The Sickness Thank you to Grant Parsons for the editorial exposing the uglier residual of the criminalizing of drug use. Clean now, I struggled with addiction for a good portion of my adult life. I’ve never sold drugs or committed a violent crime, but I’ve been arrested, jailed, and eventually imprisoned. This did nothing but perpetuate shame, alienation, loss and continued use...

About A Girl -- Not Consider your audience, Thomas Kachadurian (“About A Girl” column). Preachy opinion pieces don’t change people’s minds. Example: “My view on abortion changed…It might be time for the rest of the country to catch up.” Opinion pieces work best when engaging the reader, not directing the reader...

Disappointed I am disappointed with the tone of many of the August 31 responses to Colleen Smith’s Letter to the Editor from the previous week. I do not hold Ms. Smith’s opinion; however, if we live in a diverse community, by definition, people will hold different views, value different things, look and act different from one another...

Free Will To Love I want to start off by saying I love Northern Express. It is well written, unbiased and always a pleasure to read. I am sorry I missed last month’s article referred to in the Aug. 24 letter titled, “No More State Theater.”

Home · Articles · News · Music · Beats for books
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Beats for books

Nicole Wildman - August 10th, 2009
Beats for Books
Hip-hop concert to benefit school in Ethiopia

By Nicole Wildman 8/10/09

What do coffee farmers in third world countries have to do with hip-hop? Everything, in the eyes of Rachel Lipscomb of Traverse City, who is helping to organize a Beats for Books concert benefit held at InsideOut Gallery of Traverse City, this Sunday.
Currently working in the café at Oryana, Rachel, 25, went to school for photography. She’s done a lot of traveling, including being part of a delegation to Chiapas, Mexico, along with staff from Higher Grounds Trading Company of Traverse City, for a project to provide water to the community.
“My experiences have helped me to strongly believe in social and economic justice,” Lipscomb says. These beliefs have materialized in the form of Beats for Books, a benefit to raise funds to build a school in Yrgacheffe, Ethiopia, a project which Chris Treter of Higher Grounds has been working on for a few years.

TO BUILD A SCHOOL
Right now in the community of Afursa Waro, near Yrgacheffe, there is a school for only grades 1-4. Students who want to attend grades 5-8 have to walk over five miles every day, and the nearest high school is around 26 miles away. The existing school is overcrowded, and lacks much-needed supplies, like books. Consequently, many children never get the opportunity to be educated beyond the fourth grade.
The goal of Beats for Books and Higher Grounds is to build a school for grades 5-8. So far, Chris Treter, with help from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Middle School in Traverse City, has raised $18,000 of the $40,000 needed to complete the project. Building the school will benefit the whole community, with labor and materials being found locally.
Treter, who has already been to Afursa Waro, will be going back in October or January to oversee the project. Although there are no plans at present to build a high school in the community, that could be a possibility in the future if fundraising goes well for the school they’re working on now.

WHO’S PLAYING:
The upcoming show at InsideOut Gallery will feature local artists iPresume, J. Fine, DJ Zest, DJ OCD *B*, and DJ Bean Machine. But Beats for Books is much more than a hip-hop concert. There will also be dance performances by Soul Step Dance Studio’s Urban Elements Dance Project, with Emily Fine and Grace Blackmer and breakdancing by Soul Step Break Crew, of which Lipscomb is a member.
“I wanted to specifically showcase some local talent that have been making hip-hop and techno music for the last 10 or more years, and who I believe are amazing at their craft,” she says.
Of particular interest is an African Brazilian Capoeira performance, led by Helio Conceicao. Capoeira is an art form created by slaves who were brought to Brazil from Africa. Participants stand in a circle, and take turns playing music or singing. Pairs enter the center of the circle and engage in ritual sparring.
“To raise money we are going to have a rummage sale, silent auction with items from local businesses, artists, and individuals, and a 50/50 raffle,” Lipscomb says. “We are also going to sell plain t-shirts and have stencils available for people to stencil/paint their own shirts. And of course people can just donate as much money as they want. There will also be some freestyling by dancers, DJ’s and rappers. It’s an event that I think people of all ages will have fun at! I hope everyone will end up dancing! Most importantly we are raising money for children to have the opportunity to continue to be educated. I have kept the entrance fee to a $5 suggested donation, so it is affordable for everyone.”
Coffee will be served at the event, and there will be coffee beans from the community where the school is being built available for sale.

HELPING OUT
Those who want to contribute or help the cause, beyond attending Beats for Books, can do so by contacting Chris Treter at chris@highergroundstrading.com, or call 231-218-0014. The easiest way to help is to donate money, and of course, to drink only fair trade coffee, always.
For further info about Afursa Waro, visit www.highergroundstrading.com/photos-from-ethiopia.html . The website shows the impact that fair trade coffee has made in Ethiopia. Treter also recommends a documentary called “Black Gold” for those who want to learn more about the world of coffee and the people who grow it. Since Higher Grounds has been trading with OCFCU, the co-op that Afursa Waro is a part of, the community has benefitted greatly. One notable accomplishment has been the addition of a medical clinic, which is mostly used for births. Before the clinic was built, the nearest hospital was miles away, and virtually inaccessible for these people with no means of transportation.
As for Rachel Lipscomb, she hopes to someday travel to Ethiopia, but for now she’ll have to be satisfied with helping from afar.

Beats for Books will be held at InsideOut Gallery. Located at 229 Garland Street in Traverse City, on August 16, from 5-11pm. $5 suggested donation.


 
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