February 2022

FEBRUARY • 2022

TEXARKANA MAGAZINE February | 2022 | Volume 3 | Issue 2

46. L I F E How Sweet ’N Low It Is 50. S T Y L E Sharing the High Life 54. L I F E Don’t Call Me Karen

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10. B U S I N E S S There’s No Business Like Show Business 18. P O L I T I C S What Ifs? and What’s Next?

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34. c o v e r/ S P O R T S Roots and Wings 42. E N T E R TA I NME N T Good Evening TXK

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22. C OMMUN I T Y The Beat Goes On 28. C U L T U R E One Common Goal

56. S T Y L E Galentine’s Brunch 58.

T X K R O O T S David Kersey

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My hero from black history is…

CASSY MEISENHEIMER My fellow Cass County native Bessie Coleman #womanpilot #stuntf lier #queenbess

TERRI SANDEFUR Harriet Tubman #abolitionist #undergroundrailroad #tubman20

KARA HUMPHREY Ernest Green, Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Thelma

LEAH ORR Sojourner Truth

#foughtforabolition #foughtforwomen #foughtforcivilrights

Mothershed, Melba Patillo, Gloria Ray, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas, Carlotta Walls—“The Little Rock Nine” #courageousstudents

MATT CORNELIUS Nelson Mandela #nobelprize #antiapartheid #southafrica

BRITT EARNEST Ida B. Wells Using “media” for good! #americanjournalist

ANNI BISHOP Rosa Parks #activisit #notmoving

LINDSEY CLARK Misty Danielle Copeland #dancer #AmericanBalletTheatre

BAILEY GRAVITT Jackie Robinson #42 #baseballplayer #1stMLB

TERRI GRAVITT Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson #hiddenf igures #mathematicians

MEGAN GRIFFIN Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron #baseballplayer #thehammer

TIFFANY HORTON Harriet Jacobs #formerslave #author

MOLLY RILEY Maya Angelou #poet #author

MADELEINE RUSSELL Dr. Shirley Finn (www.texarkanacollege.edu/ dr-shirley-f inn-legacy/) #trailblazer

EMILY SARINE Booker T. Washington

CAROLINE PURTLE Madam C.J. Walker #entrepreneur #selfmade

#educator #reformer #adviser

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T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

txkmag.com letstalk@txkmag.com 903.949.1460 OFFICE 911 North Bishop Street Building C • Suite 102 Wake Village, Texas 75501 MAIL 2801 Richmond Road #38 Texarkana, Texas 75503

Publisher C A R D I N A L P U B L I S H I N G Staff C A S S Y M E I S E N H E I M E R cassy@txkmag.com T E R R I S A N D E F U R terri@txkmag.com K A R A H U M P H R E Y kara@txkmag.com L E A H O R R leah@txkmag.com M AT T C O R N E L I U S matt@txkmag.com B R I T T E A R N E S T britt@txkmag.com Local Sources C L A R E A N G I E R J O H N L U K E A N G I E R M A R Y C A R O L I N E A N G I E R P H I L I P A N G I E R K A R M E N C O R N E L I U S

In the Muhange District of Rwanda in 2016.

I always had the desire in my heart to go on a mission trip to Africa. I never really knew anyone personally who had done this, but it was still something I always wanted to do. When I was offered the opportunity in 2016, my heart was full of joy! This trip, through IF:Gathering (IF) and Africa New Life Ministries, was to Rwanda. IF:Gathering was something I first experienced in February 2015 when an acquaintance invited me to an IF watch party at her local church. I remember being completely unsure of what this was and curious if I would know anyone there, but felt it was exactly where I needed to be. Each of the Christian speakers I heard over that weekend made an impact. I became more involved with IF and wanted to host it locally in 2016. My hope was everyone I knew would experience what I had during that life-giving weekend the year before. That is how I learned about the mission opportunity. The trip would be with over 30 women from all over the United States. So, as I headed to Africa, I met up with like-minded strangers along the way at different airports. It was funny how none of us had ever met, but you could sense we were all women on the same journey. During our time in Rwanda, we learned a lot about the genocide that occurred in 1994. This beautiful country experienced a genocide that led to between 800,000 and one million people being slaughtered in 100 days. Visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial left a lasting impact. I was heartbroken at the evil that overcame them during this time and the devastation it left. In Rwanda, people were labeled Hutu and Tutsi by the Belgian government during colonization. The split between themwas not

a result of religious or cultural differences, but economic ones. The Rwandan genocide was not just wartime violence, it was a directed, pre-meditated attempt to eliminate the entire Tutsi people group by their very own neighbors. It was a different class of violence and there is much more to this than I have space to share, but, after hearing their personal stories of reconcilliation, surprisingly, what I walked away with was a deeper understanding of LOVE. This country had so much ripped from them, yet they were able to rebuild it into something beautiful. Building on the spiritual foundation of Jesus, they allowed forgiveness and love to triumph when most would not think it possible. My eyes fill up with tears each time I think about the stories I heard and the forgiveness they taught me. A country that seemingly had nothing left held everything because it had learned to forgive and love, and now they live together in peace. Had they not been willing to allow the unfathomable, their country would forever have been in shambles. So, in this Valentine’s season of love, I pray we can learn from the Rwandans and from the example of Jesus. True and lasting love requires a willingness to forgive hurts and offenses. It is a gift we offer others, but the one who benefits most is us. Who would ever have thought that an invitation to a women’s conference would essentially lead me on a journey the desires of my heart could never truly have imagined? Let’s love each other well in 2022!

A N G E L A E V A N S L E S L I F L O W E R S J AY C E K E I L TA M M Y L U M M U S V I C K I M C M A H O N J O E R E G A N

C R A F T E D I N T E X A R K A N A . E M P L OY E E OWN E D A N D L O C A L LY S O U R C E D .

FOLLOW US ON SOC I AL MEDI A

#txkmag

Cheers,

Texarkana Magazine is a multimedia publication showcasing the Texarkana area and is designed and published by Cardinal Publishing, LLC. Articles in Texarkana Magazine should not be considered specific advice, as individual circumstances vary. Ideaology, products and services promoted in the publication are not necessarily endorsed by Texarkana Magazine .

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THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS BY ANNI BI SHOP

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B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E H empstead Hall is a 65,000 square-foot event venue and conference center that can be arranged to accommodate all types of events. In addition, the schools of Southwest Arkansas benefit from Hempstead Hall because it offers a secondary location for many kindergarten through twelfth grade events. Just like that of the University of Arkansas Hope- Texarkana, the Hall’s mission is to connect students and community partners to world-class performances, state-of-the- art training and community events. After approving an $11.6 million bond issue and a temporary .75% sales tax in 2008, the vision of Hempstead Hall was on its way to becoming a reality, thanks to Hempstead County voters. A second permanent .25% sales tax was approved in 2008 by voters, which could be used for bond debt and for maintaining and operating Hempstead Hall. On January 24, 2013, Hempstead Hall held its grand opening, which included a performance featuring the Gatlin Brothers and was offered free to all Hempstead County residents. A large event venue such as Hempstead Hall must be overseen and operated by a dedicated group of individuals, which in this case includes five full-time staff members

(L-R) Racie Poindexter , Administrative Specialist for Industry Relations Akili Moses Israel , Director of Industry Relations/Community Education Amanda Lance , Director of Hempstead Hall and Workforce Development Katherine Daniels , Technical Director for Hempstead Hall John Gladden , Assistant Director of Hempstead Hall photo by Matt Cornelius Hempstead Hall, on the University of Arkansas-Hope campus, offers an array of entertainment opportunities, such as concerts, movies, ice skating performances and more. photo by UAHT

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lead by Amanda Lance, Director of Hempstead Hall and Workforce Development. As part of the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana, Hempstead Hall is “able to facilitate events free- of-charge for Hempstead County academic groups and nonprofits and offers some of the lowest rates in the region for other community groups,” says Lance. “We have operating budgets from the state of Arkansas and a supplemental fund from the UAHT Foundation.” All concerts and events held at Hempstead Hall also benefit the community. In addition

to Arkansas, visitors from other nearby states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri and Mississippi, travel to Hope to enjoy a concert or take part in events held at Hempstead Hall. Those traveling from out of town will usually stay in a hotel or Airbnb in Hope, Texarkana or other nearby towns. Of course, those visitors also do a lot of shopping and eating, which brings in more revenue to the area. In Hope, a recent study found that 38% of people attending a concert ate at a local restaurant, 42% stayed at a local hotel and 41% shopped at a local store. Lance says she “would love to see those numbers increase. There’s nothing better than shopping in downtown Hope and grabbing a bite to eat at Tailgater’s or Amigo Juan’s before heading over to Hempstead Hall to hear your favorite artist.”

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Every event held at Hempstead Hall is funded by past events, while the everyday operations and long-term maintenance are funded through the University of Arkansas System and the Hempstead County tax previously mentioned. Fairytales on Ice is one of Hempstead Hall’s most popular events every year, always bringing in a large crowd. The Temptations in 2016 and Travis Tritt in 2018 were most definitely community favorites. As far as future performances, Lance mentioned she would like to see the community support more up-and-coming artists as well as those who are long-established. Country music is most definitely favored in our area and as a result, Hempstead Hall’s most supported and successful concerts have been just that. The Hall hopes to invite at least one major country act every year after seeing performances such as Pat Green bring much success. Besides the country music concerts, Hempstead Hall partners with Southwest Arkansas Arts Council, which allows many opportunities to bring in other culturally diverse acts to the region, such as ice skating, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, up-and- coming artist Mae Estes, and past acts such as The Temptations, The Ten Tenors, The Arkansas Symphony and The Spinners. Hempstead Hall also has big goals for the future of their “state- of-the-art” conference center. Lance says, “We are looking to expand that clientele over the next several years. We will continue to be a community asset for all of Southwest Arkansas by providing a low-cost meeting and event space, as well as continuing to expand

Former President Bill Clinton (center) was keynote speaker for the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce annual meeting in April, 2019. Friends, Joe Purvis (left) and Mack McLarty (right) joined him on stage for interviews. photos by UAHT

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UPCOMING EVENTS AT HEMPSTEAD HALL King Richard (movie) February 5, 6:30 pm, $4 all ages The World-Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra (concert) partnership with SWAAC February 10, 7:30 pm, $10-$40 Fairytales on Ice: Pirates & The Little Mermaid (live event) partnership with SWAAC February 26, 6:30 pm, $15-$45 Sing 2 (movie) March 11, 6:00 pm, $4 all ages Spider-man: No Way Home (movie)

our affordable entertainment options.” One of the most exciting prospects at Hempstead Hall is the fantastic space available for future artists and crowds to enjoy outdoor shows, which is the motivation behind expanding their amphitheater concerts in the coming years. Of course, a lot goes into booking and arranging events and performances. The Hall’s staff works hard to bring a variety of entertainment that will interest different people. Lance is hopeful that “they have built good relationships with a handful of agents who represent their core market.” She explained, “I reach out to them to see if a certain artistic genre is available for a certain time frame, and other times they reach out to me with specific dates they need to fill on their end, and I’ll try to make those work for us. For example, we hosted Pat Green last June, and it was a treat to have his manager and his agent on-site for that concert at our amphitheater. They were both impressed with the facility and since, have stayed in contact about other possibilities.” Hempstead Hall not only brings opportunities for a variety of entertainment and events to our area, but it benefits the community by bringing in revenue from visitors near and far. The opportunities provided to students, businesses and residents in the area are countless.

April 1, 6:30 pm, $4 all ages The Oak Ridge Boys (concert) April 29, 7:00 pm, $24-$74

The Community Education Department also has a full schedule in the works, featuring cookie decorating, forklift certifications, CPR certifications, knife making, cooking class and more.

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You hear the word through idle, blubbered small talk. You see the word on a flyer, scotch-taped, outside a window somewhere every day. You engage in posts about the word, maybe even share them. I am sure you have guessed the word I am referring to and are probably thinking the word right now—COVID-19. The virus first rocked the United States in 2020. Since then, its tectonic plates have not stopped shifting, and society bares its tremors, trying to hang on, staying six feet apart, of course. It has completely altered the landscape of modern life, yet the few proactive solutions to combat deeper rifts are inconsistently practiced and extreme when prompted. Texas Governor Greg Abbott launched the “Open Texas” initiative in April 2020 in order for businesses and public infrastructure to stay afloat. But other variants rose to the surface in 2021, like Delta and Omicron, which continued after

the introduction of wide-scale vaccinations. Even in December 2021, the CDC seemed to backpedal regularly on their COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines amidst staggering infection rates. The “Open Texas” policies are simple in that there are no official policies presently. Establishments are free to decide their actions or inactions on a case-by-case basis, with each responsible for the fitness of their own operation and potentially the fates of their consumers. For example, according to their January 7 press release, the Walmart on Richmond Road temporarily closed for sanitization and cleaning in “an ongoing company-initiated program.” It is unclear whether this was a preemptive measure or a response to the rise in cases. The store reopened January 9 and continues to follow CDC mask guidelines. The holiday season’s traveling and gatherings seemed to have caused a sudden uptick in cases, especially of Omicron. This was inevitable, and the community felt the consequences.

What Ifs? and What’s Next? BY CAROL INE PURTLE

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On January 11, Texarkana Arkansas School District (TASD) temporarily closed and reverted to virtual learning, an implementation first seen in the early days of the pandemic. TASD was scheduled to reopen on January 18. Texarkana Independent School District (TISD) followed suit, closing their doors January 12-January 18. According to TXK Today , several restaurants announced they were shutting down in-door dining, relying “solely on pickup or drive-thru orders.” Among these were Starbucks and Chick-fil-A. It’s been three years of “what-ifs” because no one can answer “what’s next?” All the uncertainty has dealt a crushing blow to morale and general wellness. Business owner Bren Gonzalez began working as a nutritionist in 2017, offering virtual and local consultations and “professional- grade dispensary” services of vitamins through Be Healthy by Bren. “The second year [of the pandemic] is when my business really grew and I got a lot of orders for supplements and people were being more aware that ‘yes, they’re needed,’” said Gonzalez. “And now we’re going on to the third year and I’m still getting calls weekly. I’ve been getting calls nonstop, you know, sadly, because of what’s going on.” Hospitals and clinics remain packed all over the nation. Is there more we can do? “I believe that we need medicine, but I also believe that prior to that, there’s preventative care, the more natural route,” said Gonzalez.

For Gonzalez, some things are predictable, like holidays and vacation scenarios. “For instance, we’re getting hit now, obviously, because we just had holidays and people are eating sugar-filled food, eating more calories and carbohydrates,” said Gonzalez; “all those things play a big role in your immunity, so this hit wasn’t a surprise to me.” Vaccinations are crucial even though there’s still a risk of infection. “Your immune system is everything, and everybody is going to react differently based on their immune systems,” said Gonzalez. She says that staying mindful of food types and portion sizes is key to a body’s reaction to viruses and is potentially symptom-reducing. “You know, have a cupcake, but don’t eat ten cupcakes.” She promotes an overall attentiveness in sustaining a healthy lifestyle. Unplugging from your phone and watching less TV will help one feel more productive. She also recommends beginning days in meditation or prayer to center oneself before entering the chaos. Vaccinations, social distancing and masks have been the anthem. However, Gonzalez gives advice for another tune. “I feel everyone should have a ‘911 kit,’” says Gonzalez. “Don’t wait to get sick to have what you need. Have vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D in your cabinets as a backup plan. Make sure your [vitamin] levels are where they’re supposed to be so your immunity can fight back and check for viruses and disease.” Not everything can be avoided. Nevertheless, it is best to, at a minimum, attempt preparation.

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BY TERRI GRAVITT PHOTOS BY MATT CORNEL IUS The Beat Goes On

Your heart beats over 100,000 times a day. It pumps about one and a half gallons of blood every minute. Over the course of a day, that adds up to over 2,000 gallons. There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body, enough to go around the world twice. The average heart rate of a woman is about eight beats per minute faster than a man’s heart. It is small, about the size of a fist. The right side of your heart pumps blood into your lungs. The left side of your heart pumps blood back through your body. These are the facts about our heart that we simply take for granted. In fact, unless we find out at birth or at a doctor’s visit as we age that we have a defect or a hereditary heart condition, most of us go about our lives believing our heart is doing what it was created to do, thinking little about it. Unfortunately, though, the heart cannot always be trusted, and it takes a traumatic event to wake us up to the fact that something is indeed very wrong. This is exactly what happened to Christie Firth. Firth was born in Rock Island, Illinois, and grew up in Bettendorf, Iowa, the daughter of Andrea and John Bain. She was very active in high school sports and activities and later got her bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing from St. Ambrose University. Firth worked at the Rock Island Arsenal for a couple of different contracting companies before finding a job opportunity to work overseas in Kuwait for Honeywell. While in Kuwait, she met her husband, Brian, who is from New Boston, Texas. After being laid off from Honeywell, the couple moved back to the United States and settled in Simms, Texas, and had two children, Natalie (10) and Westin (2).

On June 11, 2019, when Firth was just 29 years old, she was going about her day like any other, working at Red River Credit Union in Hooks, when she suddenly collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. Officer Michael Wade, a Red River Army Depot police officer, was on patrol and was flagged down by Firth’s supervisor for an emergency medical situation. Officer Wade immediately called for assistance and heroically began performing CPR on Firth until paramedics arrived at the scene. Wade’s quick action and life-saving efforts undoubtedly saved Firth’s life. As she was transported to the hospital unresponsive, the doctors put her into a medically induced coma so they could figure out what was happening. After many tests, Dr. Kevin Hayes and Dr. Gregory White of CHRISTUS St. Michael discovered she had a birth defect that had never been detected. It was not hereditary and no other family members before her had experienced anything like it. Instead of receiving fresh, oxygenated blood to her heart first, which is normal, her blood was entering her heart after circulating throughout her body. It had functioned incorrectly like this for her entire 29 years. The doctors immediately let her know she would require heart surgery to repair the defect. She was sent by medical plane to the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, for surgery. She was blessed to find her surgeon, Dr. Hani Najm, who performs this type of surgery regularly on children from all over the world who come to the Cleveland Clinic for his expertise. After surgery, Firth had to stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) instead of an adult ICU because most people with her condition do not live beyond their teens. Firth’s recovery was difficult. It took months to get her medications correct. It was a balancing act and Firth ended up back in the hospital for a brief stay. When she was able to go back home, Firth found the most heartbreaking part of her recovery to be

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the fact that she had lifting restrictions and could not pick up her infant son. Her mom was a steady and constant source of support during that time. When the lifting restrictions were removed, her mom returned to her home in Iowa and Firth found herself completely on her own during the day while her husband was at work. However, Firth gratefully reflected, “My friends and family were a huge part of my healing process. My husband, Brian, was always here for me and did everything he could to keep everything going as normal as possible. My mom was actually able to come down and stay with us. She helped take care of me and also was taking care of our son Westin full time by herself. She was a huge help, and I wouldn’t have been able to recover like I did without her here. My best friends took turns watching our kids while I was in the hospital and having my surgery. I am very thankful to have amazing friends who literally dropped everything and

helped my family without hesitation. Also, all the family and friends who came and supported and prayed for me meant a lot. Without all of my friends and family being there for me, it would have made the healing process a lot harder. They took a lot of stress away from me and allowed me to focus on just getting better!” As the family settled into their new normal, Firth’s dad, John Bain, began sharing Firth’s story with others. He would often say, “God has a plan for us, but I am not smart enough to know what that is.” After hearing the story, many encouraged him that maybe part of God’s plan was for him to write a book, and Bain thought, “Well, why not?” So, in January 2020, Bain sat down at his laptop and began to write. By March 2020, Bain had 10,000 words written and began to research how to get a book published. One day, completely out of nowhere, Bain received an email from Christian Faith Publishing asking him to

Christie Firth with her father, John Bain

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reply to a survey. He replied and two days later received a phone call from a representative of the publishing company. Bain shared Christie’s journey with the representative and she said she “had chills.” He’s not sure whether it was a Google algorithm that dropped that email into his Gmail account that day, but he says for sure he knows now that something greater was indeed at work. Time went on and Bain continued to write. Finally, on August 10, 2020, Bain submitted his manuscript to Christian Faith Publishing. After a six-person review board read his book, Bain heard his book met all the criteria, and they were ready to move forward with publishing. “The process of writing a book takes a lot of time,” Bain shared. “I am fortunate I wrote mine in about eight months. Then there was another five months of editing, typesetting and cover design that took place with the publisher.” Christie’s Journey, The Beat Goes On , was published on January 11, 2021, and became available to the public worldwide the last week of February 2021. The book can be found at our very own Texarkana Public Library and several other libraries around the area. It is also available online at Amazon, WalMart, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and virtually anywhere books are sold. “The thoughts in my head constantly were of grief, sadness, terror and overwhelming gratitude,” Bain shared. “Writing every day for eight months and getting our family experience typed out was very therapeutic. I always said while I was going through this process that even if it did not become a book, that we would at least

have this archived for our family, especially for my grandchildren, Natalie and Westin. It is also something that Christie and Andrea really did not want to discuss. They just wanted to move forward. Once I started asking more questions, they both opened up more and discussed it.” Bain recalled, “It was good for both of them as well and there were some things that happened that Christie hadn’t remembered. I now know that when people read our story, they can see how God lined up angels here on earth to help Christie. I also want to highlight God’s miraculous healing power and love. I tell people that we realize as a family that we are very fortunate and that things like this don’t always go like families pray for. I don’t have answers for that, but I must have faith that the Lord has a plan for us all. For that, I’m thankful!” Other than Firth’s medications and her doctor visits once every six months, life is “pretty much back to normal,” she said. “Now I just want to stay as healthy as I can be and enjoy every moment that I am here on this earth with my family and friends. I am very blessed to have my heart back to normal after everything I have been through.” Firth continued, “I like to use my story to encourage others by letting them know how important it is to learn CPR. If CPR had not been started on me as soon as my co-workers saw me down, then I most likely wouldn’t be here to tell my story today. Also, God is with you every step of the way and He performs miracles all the time. You just have to keep the faith and know that God has a plan for you!”

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ONE COMMON GOAL BY MADELEINE RUSSELL

photo by Matt Cornelius

Members of the Twin City Black History Association (TCBHA): (L-R) Joe Daniels, Rae Thigpen, Barbara Sears, Novella Medlock, Veronnica Fulce, Anita Pickett, Terri Daniels and Anderson Neal photo by Matt Cornelius

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T win City Black History Association (TCBHA) is a group that recognizes, exemplifies and celebrates black history. Established in 1992 by Sandra Calloway and Bobbie Milligan Tatum, TCBHA has a rich history of unifying Texarkana, USA. The organization started as an opportunity to bring the twin cities together for one common goal—community service and making a difference for all people. President of TCBHA, Novella Medlock, emphasized they are an organization focused on advancing the Texarkana community forward. “In order to focus on our future, we must acknowledge and honor our history. It is no longer about I and me, but it is about us and we,” Medlock said. There has been much progress accomplished throughout the 30-year history of TCBHA. Treasurer and Banquet Chair, Rae Thigpen, said, “The first scholarship banquet we held was in the cafeteria of a local school. We finally stepped out on faith and went out to the convention center and haven’t looked back.” Thigpen expressed, “The TCBHA team allows every person to serve in a leadership role and everyone knows how to support each other. We let each other lead and then follow. The best leaders are the ones that can follow.” Finance Secretary and Assistant Youth Coordinator, Veronica Fulce, said, “When Rae talked me into joining TCBHA, I had no idea what all the organization did, but I am so grateful and thankful that she included me. This organization is an asset to the community. We showcase talents, we bring in guest speakers that otherwise may have never come to Texarkana, and we show Texarkana that the African American community is alive and well. TCBHA is not just limited to African Americans. It is a group of people that are promoting the Texarkana community and trying to help where we can.” Each February, to honor black history, TCBHA holds several celebrat ions, including a City-Wide Church Service, Black History Parade, Youth Rally and Sandra Calloway Scholarship Banquet. Additionally, throughout the year TCBHA

holds a school supplies drive, a coat drive in partnership with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, a blanket drive benefiting local nursing homes and a fan drive. The annual City-Wide Church Service is typically held the first Thursday of each February. The service has consisted of choir performances, an inspirational speaker, sermons, praise dancing, poetry readings, a musical and sharing the history of our twin cities. Anita Pickett, Chair of the Church Service, said, “This service sets the tone for the Black History Month events by honoring God first. We want everyone to understand the what and the why of “ The time is always what we do. We make sure that God is at the forefront of all of our events and decisions because without God, it would be impossible.” Traditionally, the next TCBHA event is the Black History Month Parade held in Downtown Texarkana. The parade is open to everyone, and participants include area schools, marching bands, steppers, cheerleaders, churches, civic organizations, floats, vehicles, AKAs, horseback riders, the corvette club and more. There is no entry fee for the parade and this year it will be held on Saturday, February 26. Following the parade is the Sandra Calloway Scholarship Banquet. Sandra right to dowhat is right. ” —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Calloway was a teacher in the Texarkana Arkansas School District and had a major impact on students in our community. She taught school all the way up until her death and was one of the original founders of TCBHA. This year the scholarship banquet in her honor will be back for the first time since prior to the pandemic and will be held February 26 at 6:00 PM at the Texarkana Convention Center. Previous speakers at the banquet include Jerry “Boo” Mitchell, Dr. Larry Sullivan, Debbie Turner, Linda Poindexter, George McGill and Doug Jones. Individual sponsors can purchase tables, and individual tickets can be purchased on the TCBHA website. Scholarships awarded from funds raised at the banquet are eligible for over twenty school districts in Bowie, Miller and Cass Counties. Scholarship applicants must be majoring in education and recipients are chosen based on greatest need. There are typically two $500 scholarships awarded annually, and recipients have gone on to accomplish amazing things. For example, one of the first scholarship recipients, Dr. Lloyd Jackson, is now an Assistant Superintendent in Kansas City, Missouri. Scholarship Chair Anita Pickett said, “I am an educator, and it is a joy to award students with these scholarships and see them used for the purpose for which they were received. Some of my former students have been selected as scholarship recipients, and I have been extremely impressed by their future successes.” Anita also said, “My daughter actually received the scholarship and is now a recruiter for Texas College. TCBHA encourages our recipients to give back to the community when at all possible. You can never go wrong investing in a child’s education.” The TCBHA Youth Rally is held each February and allows youth in the Texarkana community to showcase their talents. Youth Rally Chair and Vice-President of TCBHA, Wanda Davi, said, “As an educator, becoming involved with the Youth Rally has been an extension of what I’ve done with youth in the public school. To see young people have the courage to come forward, open up and showcase themselves to the

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world is a great joy to me.” Individuals 18 years of age and under are eligible to participate in the showcase. Performance options include singing, praise dancing, playing musical instruments, orations and more. Motivational speakers, MCs and comedians also attend and perform throughout the rally. In reflecting on the event, Davis said, “I love to see youth involved and given the opportunity to advance themselves. TCBHA is an avenue where youth can excel and exemplify their inner-them. Sometimes they don’t get that opportunity and we want to open the door to give them every opportunity to showcase their talents. It takes courage!” Hickory Hill Baptist Church has served as the venue for the rally for years. It began with the late Reverend Paul Keener opening up his church for the youth to come and be able to show off what they can do. Without hesitation or any conflicts, he would always be open to the event. Now, after Reverend Keener’s passing, Reverend James Hood stepped up to continue what Reverend Keener started. He has graciously opened the doors, and the church membership welcomes everyone with open arms. Texarkana has made a tremendous impact on the individuals involved in TCBHA. Pickett stated, “Being the wife of a military person, I lived abroad for 30+ years. I appreciated the opportunity, but there was nothing like coming home to Texarkana. I never thought I would work at the same high school I graduated from. Texarkana has changed a lot over the past 62 years. It has changed for the better; we are recognizing diversity and the strength of

all people. I could have lived anywhere in the United States, but I chose Texarkana.” Medlock said, “In moving to Texarkana, I was able to obtain higher education. I first graduated from Texarkana College, then moved on to East Texas University, then to Texas A&M University-Texarkana. This had a major impact on me as an individual who knew the importance of higher education. I have served on several boards, gone through Leadership Texarkana, have had the opportunity to network and work for an employer where I feel like I am free to be me. I have been embraced by the community as a whole and I feel good about Texarkana.” President Medlock said, “Since joining TCBHA, I have learned a great deal more about the black history in Texarkana. If you don’t know the history, you do not know where you are going and the purpose, design and hope of what needs to be accomplished. It has helped me better understand where we have been and the direction of where we need to go. It has helped me become more involved and have a greater awareness of what is needed in the African American community. We are about helping people. It has no color. They have a need, and we want to help.” The Twin City Black History Association has recently launched a brand-new website, www.tcbha.org. The website serves as a resource to the Texarkana community on TCBHA initiatives, upcoming events and activities. TCBHA encourages every Texarkana citizen to get involved and make a difference by inspiring, recognizing and preserving our black history and culture.

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S tepping out of the small town of Atlanta, Texas, into the bright spotlight of the University of Kentucky’s basketball cour ts, freshman Daimion Collins is finding his stride and making his mark. Collins is a quick, mobile, agile and springy post player who flashes truly elite upside… He is a super long player with a reported 7'5'' wingspan (and it shows). He’s also a quick twitch athlete who is fluid in his movements, has elite first and second jump and is simply a far superior athlete than any other player on the court. He’s got a nice back to the basket game and can score over either shoulder. He shows a promising turn around jumper and range out to three, plus a very soft touch. He’s got a natural shooting motion and projects as a three-point threat in the league. Defensively Collins is clearly the best shot blocker in his class, thanks in part to his quick leaping ability and excellent timing and instincts. His quickness of his feet and his freaky length are just devastating, and he’s a highlight reel on the defensive end. He’s got a lot of agility and lateral quickness allowing him to stay in front of ball handlers and he can switch onto wings and guard in space when needed. He’s not yet a household name, but you should buy stock now. The sky’s the limit. —NBA Draft Room, 2021

BY KARA HUMPHREY PHOTOS BY UNIVERS ITY OF KENTUCKY ATHLETICS

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You would think that says it all, but Collins’ mother, Kimberly Collins, says there is so much more to her talented son. “You can ask anyone who really knows him, and they will all tell you the same thing. This kid is very humble and is always putting others before himself.” It is that humility and his strength of character that truly make him the exceptional player he is. “He has never been one to get all caught up in the fame, ranking and offers. He is a very coachable team player. Daimion loves the game of basketball,” she said. Collins, whose parents are Kimberly and Benjamin Collins Jr. has four siblings and grew up in Atlanta. From an early age, he caught the basketball bug. “I started playing basketball when I was about ten years old. My first coach was my daddy. He coached me for a year and then I started playing for Coach Chris Arnold with the Fresh Start Ballers.” In becoming an athlete, Collins has learned a lot about himself. “It teaches you how to interact and trust people you don’t know. It has taught me responsibility,” he said. It is his parents and all the coaches he has had along the way that Collins credits with his success, but his father, Ben Collins, who was a successful high school athlete himself, is his true role model. “My Pops pushes me to be the best that I can be,” he said. In his senior year at Atlanta High School, Collins averaged 35.2 points, 14.4 rebounds, 7 assists and 6.2 blocks per game. Jarrod Boston is Atlanta’s Head Basketball Coach and had the pleasure of working with Collins during his time with the Rabbits. “Daimion has unreal physical abilities. He moves like a guard but is 6'9''. He has incredible jumping ability, and his wingspan is 7'5'' so he can block shots out of his area. His best basketball, I believe, is ahead of him. He is just chock-full of raw potential!” said Coach Boston. “He grew into a really good leader for us during his four years on the varsity team. He had some great leaders his freshman and sophomore years that taught him how to lead. He leads in a quiet way, as he is more of a ‘do what I do’ leader than he is telling people what to do.” Collins led the Rabbits to a 19-5 record in the 2021 season. He led the team to three undefeated district seasons and was the three-time district Most Valuable Player. “He ended his high

“ Daimion has unreal

physical abilities. Hemoves like a guard but is 6'9''. He has incredible jumping ability, and his wingspan is 7'5'' so he can block shots out of his area. ”

Jarrod Boston, Head Basketball Coach Atlanta, Texas ISD

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school career as a McDonald’s High School All American, MaxPreps Player of the Year in the State of Texas and named to the Iverson Classic team among many other honors,” said Morgan Smith of Texarkana Gameday. “Daimion Collins is the best basketball player to ever come out of East Texas. I say that with respect to past players, but none have accomplished what Daimion has,” said Smith. “I can still remember the first time I saw Daimion play in 2019. I had never seen a high school player that could jump as high as he could. Every time I have ever seen him play, it was standing room only. Following Daimion’s career has truly been one of the most exciting things I’ve done since starting Gameday. You want to see all kids succeed and go live their dream. Daimion is definitely doing that. My son and I traveled to NYC to watch Kentucky play Duke in Madison Square Garden to start the season. Seeing Daimion’s face on a billboard in Times Square and all the people that were asking him for pictures and autographs was eye opening to how popular he has become. Watching Daimion play in

Madison Square Garden was definitely my standout moment. Coming from a small town to playing on the biggest stage in basketball was exciting to watch. I wish him nothing but the best,” said Smith. As a five-star prospect, Collins was highly recruited by teams across the nation. The recruiting process begins early and is intense for the entire family. “Whew! what a journey that was,” said Kimberly. “The recruiting process had its ups and downs; (it was) fun and crazy all at the same time.” Coming from a small town, the Collins family felt alone in their experience, and that meant navigating an unfamiliar system. “We didn’t have anyone to tell us what it was going to be like because no one in our area had been recruited for basketball like him that we knew. I mean, the college coaches had no clue there even was an Atlanta, Texas. It was a process that we had to take day by day. Being from a small town and not really knowing anyone in the basketball world, we had a hard time trusting just anyone to help us.” When the time came, it seemed everyone was eager to add Collins to their

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roster. “I can remember getting a phone call at 12:01 AM the day he could finally start talking to college coaches. It was crazy! Our phones would ring nonstop, which was a good thing sometimes!” In the end, the University of Kentucky beat out Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Baylor, Houston, Texas A&M, LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma State. Kentucky has been consistently successful at recruiting some of the greatest talent in basketball. Their program, coached by John Calipari, has set a high standard with eight national titles “since the advent of the NCAA” and was dubbed “the greatest college basketball program ever” by CBS Sports. (CBS Sports, 2020). So, it is no surprise, in the end, it is where Daimion’s feet landed. “I felt like it was the best place for me,” he said. There is no doubt his many talents will contribute in a big way to this great program. “I think the sky is the limit for Daimion. He loves to get in the gym and work, and I believe the habits he’s been developing the last few years will benefit him in the years to follow,”

said Coach Boston. “(I’m) looking forward to seeing his development the next seven to eight years.” All of us in the four states area are rooting for Daimion and look forward to seeing his future success as he seems to be traveling down a promising road holding a one-way ticket to the NBA. Players like Collins’ favorite, Kevin Durant, will have to move over and make room on the bench for our favorite Northeast Texas hometown hero. “I appreciate the support from all my fans. Everywhere my family goes, there is someone telling them how proud they are of me. It feels good to know that some people support you even if they don’t know who you are. I want my younger fans to know not to let anyone get in their head by telling them they have to leave this area to go fulfill their dreams in any sport,” encourages Collins. Rooted and grounded by the love and support of his family and the excited and adoring communities of Atlanta and Texarkana, Daimion Collins is taking his shot, and as he has proven, he rarely misses. #swish

SCAN HERE TO VIEW THIS MONTH’S COVER STORY VIDEO

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GOOD EVENING TXK COLUMN BY BAILEY GRAVITT

I magine my harrowing dismay when I reluctantly attended my church’s Super Bowl party in 2012 only to find out that during Madonna’s halftime show (the only reason I would even attend a Super Bowl party to begin with), they were going to be cutting the projector screen off and giving us a mini-sermon instead. Shock. Disappointment. Anger… many emotions were rising within me. No one may have understood the POWER that Madonna bringing a then fresh faced Nicki Minaj on stage with her would’ve had at the time, but I, at a ripe 14 years of age, KNEW! I knew, and I wanted to see it all go down. LIVE! Madonna?… Eh. Nicki Minaj?… I had been begging my mom for months, by that point, to go to one of her concerts. Instead of being able to see my queen LIVE at the Super Bowl, I had to watch the replay on YouTube later! Boooooooooo! I get it. It’s church, and a raunchy Super Bowl performance on display for kids of all ages would have been inappropriate. I can be logical sometimes, too. However,

who even watches the Super Bowl for the football? People do that? On what planet? Growing up in a family absolutely obsessed with sports and being invited to Super Bowl parties every year, I cannot sit back and pretend that the Super Bowl didn’t

shape some small part of my life. It comes around again and again every single year after all, so it is in some ways a part of all of our lives. I respect everyone’s love and appreciation for different things. It’s what

LIVE MUSIC

February 5 Trophy Husband 67 Landing, 7:30 PM February 11 T-Town 5 67 Landing, 7:30 PM Music City Texas Theater, 7:00 PM February 12 Tailgate Poets 67 Landing, 7:30 PM February 12 Marty Stuart

February 12 DJ Chum Chum The Hideout, 9:00 PM February 17 Adam Crabb, The Gaither Vocal Band Trinity Baptist Church, 7:00 PM February 18 Lorrie Morgan Crossties, 7:00 PM

February 19 T-Town 5 RedBone Magic Brewery, 7:00 PM February 19 Charlotte’s Web Band Fat Jack’s, 9:00 PM February 25 Ace The Gambler & the Flying Squirrel Twisted Fork, 7 PM February 26 Stone Blue The Hideout, 9:00 PM

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makes us human. We are all different. You can find me at a Super Bowl party rocking my Justin Bieber t-shirt, signaling to everyone that I would much rather be at a JB concert than this Super Bowl party. Regardless, I still show up, don’t I? That should be more than enough. In some ways, every time the Super Bowl rolls back around, I am reminded of why I love my brothers, who scream so loudly and obnoxiously at the TV. They are as passionate about things I find zero joy in as I am passionate about things they find zero joy in. It’s beautiful, really. We can see things completely differently, but still love each other regardless of those differences. When my brothers, Parker and John David, watch football, they see every play, every strategic move and every ounce of heart these guys bring to the football field. When I watch football, I see guys running around in different directions for no reason. I don’t understand football. It’s not for me. But I understand my friends and family, and I understand what they love. This is their favorite time of the year. So, while I’ll stick to my commitment to the halftime performances, and I’ll still probably be leaving the room after that’s over, I’ll willingly respect and gladly listen to them scream and shout at people who cannot hear them. RANDOM THOUGHT… I wish Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber were my parents.

LOCAL EVENTS

Entire month of February TASD Artists Exhibit ArtSpark in Downtown Texarkana February 5 TAAC (TRAHC African American Committee) Annual Art Exhibit TRAHC Galleries

February 18 Texarkana Area Veterans Council 22nd Annual Veteran’s Chili Cook-Off Truman Arnold Center Texarkana College Campus

11 AM-1:00 PM February 18-19

Ark-La-Tex Regenerative Agriculture Conference Texarkana Texas Convention Center 8:30 AM February 19 Kids Run the Line Too CHRISTUS Imaging Center 4:00 PM-5:00 PM Masquerade Ball Fundraiser for Breast Cancer and Childhood Cancer Crossties 8:00 PM-12:00 AM February 20 Run the Line Half Marathon Start at The Silvermoon on Broad 7:30 AM February 26 Cirque Zuma Zuma Perot Theatre

Texarkana Animal League Adoption Event Adoption Center, 5820 Richmond Road 10:30 AM-2:30 PM Peak Fighting PF 17 Texarkana Arkansas Convention Center 5:25 PM Texarkana Symphony Orchestra Exotic Inspirations with jazz guitarist, Ted Ludwig Perot Theatre 7:30 PM-9:30 PM February 11-13 TexRep presents The Lifespan of a Fact Stillwell Theatre Texarkana College Campus texrep.org for showtimes February 12 4 States Ultimate Challenge Bull Riding Shoot Out Four States Fair Entertainment Center 7:00 PM

Moto Xtreme Circus No Limits Texarkana Four States Fair Entertainment Center 7:00 PM

Atlanta Education Foundation Blue Jeans and Blings Crossties, 6:00 PM February 17 TRAHC Third Thursday Speaker Series with Darlene Taylor Cabe Hall, 6:30 PM

For more events visit

RECOMMENDATIONS

BOOKS

VIDEOS

PODCASTS

Candace Richardson The Outside Child by Tiffany L. Warren

Kara Lannom 1883 on Paramount+

Tim Cornelius Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast

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