Articles in Special Exhibit: Obsidian and Neon

Obsidian and Neon: is a pictorial-essay to be presented in a large-scale installation of black and white photography by long-time Las Vegas photojournalist Jeff Scheid. Scheid’s stunning photographic portraits are accompanied by profiles curated by writer and CSN professor Erica Vital-Lazare. This installation is an exploration and celebration of 20 community members who are actively mining identity, tending to and cultivating Black life in Las Vegas.

Ramon Savoy: The word in action

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

Before the Las Vegas Sentinel-Voice shut down operations in 2014, a Friday night might find publishing-editor and reporter Ramon Savoy, camera in hand, covering a Jack and Jill formal. ... Read full article

Helen Toland: Together we shall keep our children

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

A vibrant connection to the past and a visionary of a community future, Helen Anderson Toland, 92. reads widely, cultivates a garden of sculptures collected during her many travels to Zimbabwe and practices yoga with the same grace-filled agility...... Read full article

Lawrence Weekly: Native Son

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

He is often mistaken for governor or urged by his former Ward 5 constituents to run for that office, which is to say that Commissioner Lawrence Weekly has been recognizably active in the valley since his appointment to Las Vegas City Council in 1999.... Read full article

Hasani Palacio: A Free People

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

Hasani Palacio knows the connection between rhythm and commitment. This past season marked two decades of drumming for the community, showing up on Saturday mornings at the West Las Vegas Cultural Arts center to teach.... Read full article

Maticia Sudah: The vessel through which spirit is

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

The smell of incense and often the quiet beat of live djembe align to coax the limbs into the challenge of poses that Maticia Sudah has traveled throughout Egypt and parts of the Caribbean to master.... Read full article

Joe Neal: If it is not good for the people, it is not good for me

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

More than an armchair historian, Joe Neal honors the multitudes within him, visiting classrooms and holding talks about the presence of Indigenous Americans on this soil and in his veins.... Read full article

Judge Karen Bennett: A divine collaboration

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

With justice as her ministry, Judge Karen Bennett-Haron is the first black woman appointed to the bench in the state of Nevada.... Read full article

Ak McMorris: Advancing Impact

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

Moderating the NAACP’s Black and Blue forum, a dialogue between law enforcement and the public, Ak McMorris opened the floor with a simple declaration, “We have questions, and we want answers.”... Read full article

Claytee White: Sewing Stories

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

As director of Oral History Research Center for UNLV Libraries, Claytee White stitches together the voices and events of Southern Nevada into a living tapestry.... Read full article

Ricky Towers: Legacy gonna take you higher

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

Ricky Towers, Sr. takes pride in a life that has been high-stakes. Having launched a career on the legendary gaming floors of Fremont, Towers worked to roll the dice in favor of opportunity for the nearly 15,000 young people he coached.... Read full article

China Hudson: What the universe has for me

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

Every fall, activist-performer China Hudson guides a circle of young women through the ancestral ritual of becoming members of the village. Chicago-born, she is a Disney Musical Theatre teaching artist.... Read full article

Jewel & Jani Jeppe: Ibeji essence, twice born a blessing - it just is

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

Jani and Jewel Jeppe have become creative and strategic forces in the community as performing arts coordinator at the West Las Vegas Library Theatre and cultural activities specialist at the West Las Vegas Arts Center.... Read full article

Jon Ponder: Around the block, but didn't stay there

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

Faith in hand, Jon Ponder has graduated over 2,000 ex-offenders from the nonprofit jobs and re-entry program he founded in 2009. Hope for Prisoners combines life skills training, job readiness and career planning classes with 18 months of mentorship.... Read full article

Vogue Robinson: Publishing Poetry

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

When Vogue Robinson became Clark County’s poet laureate in 2016, she joined the ranks of Gwendolyn Brooks, Rita Dove, Natasha Trethewey and Tracy K. Smith, all women of color appointed to the post on either the state or national level.... Read full article

Lou Richardson: Building Las Vegas

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

It is not possible to list with brevity and without awe, the commercial, federal and civic projects managed and completed by Lou Richardson, founding CEO of Richardson Construction Inc.... Read full article

Ruby Duncan: Knocking and walking and asking

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

Debilitating on-the-job injury propelled Ruby Duncan out of work in the hotels and into the life of an activist. As cofounder and director of OPERATION LIFE, an anti-poverty, nonprofit organization, Duncan fought...... Read full article

Torrey Russell: Still Rising

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

Holding the bedazzled Nikes presented to him as ruby slippers in celebration of the Broadway in the HOOD’s 2016 production of The Wiz, founder and executive director Torrey Russell is entering his tenth season as a nonprofit theatre company.... Read full article

Kim Russell: The story of the light

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

New York City born, Kim Russell is director of educational outreach for the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. She is responsible for a number of programs, including the Southern Nevada Wolf Trap Educational Program.... Read full article

Shaundell Newsome: Double exposure

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

Brooklyn raised in the hip hop age when brand was everything, Shaundell Newsome mastered the art of wrangling image into powerful message.... Read full article

Vickie Richardson: Sacred Space

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

A stone’s throw away from a fire station, a small nondenominational church and a Buddhist temple, its location is in keeping with the sanctity of the space Vicki Richardson has created at Left of Center Art Gallery.... Read full article

Ellis Rice: The blues and Mother Wit

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

Co-founder of the theater companies Afrikan People’s Art Continuum and the Hittite Empire, Ellis Rice migrated first from the small town of Kinlock, outside of St. Louis, Missouri, to Los Angeles in 1983.... Read full article

Rose McKinney-James: A rose takes root

by Erica Vital-Lazare on

A native of Detroit, Rose McKinney-James earned a law degree from Antioch and worked in D.C. with congresswoman and historic presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm.... Read full article

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