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Organizer hopes people learn at Black History Month pop-up shop

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    Lorain native Christine Azeez, of Columbus, left, signs a her children's book "What Do Monsters Eat?" for Janeya Hisle, of Lorain, for her book launch at the Black History Month pop-up shop/symposium on Cooper Foster Park Road in Lorain Feb. 9.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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    Sharon Pye-Brown, of Harrison Cultural Community Centre in Lorain, with paintings done by her, along with her brother, Jeff Pye Sr., at the Black History Month pop-up shop/symposium on Cooper Foster Park Road in Lorain Feb. 9.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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    Christie Biggs, right, of Lorain, shops at the Sophisticated Lady Jewelry Collection, by Terry Lewis, owner-designer, on left, at the Black History Month pop-up shop/symposium on Cooper Foster Park Road in Lorain Feb. 9.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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    Minister Dana Crawford, of Body of Christ Church in Lorain, leads a prayer to open the Black History Month pop-up shop/symposium on Cooper Foster Park Road in Lorain Feb. 9.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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LORAIN — After the success of last year’s Black History Month pop-up shop, organizer Tamika Newsome knew she needed to expand the event.

This year, local speakers joined the Lorain-centric vendors at 15400 Cooper Foster Park Road, to share the importance of relationships and physical health, explain Lorain Schools grading system and offer legal advice, all ahead of a keynote address by Browns cornerback T.J. Carrie.

“I hope that they learn something, just a piece of anything, from all the speakers, from the entrepreneurs we have that are selling their items,” Newsome said. “But I hope that they just learn that community is here and that there are positive things in Lorain that are taking place and you don’t have to go outside our area, that they’re right here.”

Following an overview of legal services available from the Elyria office of the Cleveland Legal Aid Society, retired teacher Loretta Jones gave a brief explanation of standards-based grading.

Lorain Schools switched to standards-based grading in September. Jones explained the confusion was coming from everyone trying to compare the letters to the numbers their child received on their report card.

“The letter grades have nothing to do with standards-based grades,” she said.

“If you look at a three is proficient, proficient tells you as a parent your baby understood the standards or standard with very little help. Your baby received that two … that means they had some knowledge of what the standard meant but they had to be lots of interventions brought in. The number one will mean he understands very little about that standard.”

She urged parents to ask questions about the system, saying it would be in place for the next three to five years.

Carrie spoke about his life leading up to playing in the NFL and the perseverance and discipline he’s had up to this point. He said he always had dreamed of being in the NFL, but at 16 years old he had open-heart surgery on Valentine’s Day to correct a birth defect.

“It put in question not just sports, but life,” he said.

Told he would never be able to play sports following the surgery, he had five more procedures while in college at Ohio University. His message: Be cognizant of how you spend your time — and devote more of it to bettering yourself.

“You sit on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and fantasize about lives that other people live or lives that we want to live, and we’re not motivating ourselves to put forth the effort to achieve those lives,” he said.

He said doing just 10 minutes of something every day will add up to “compound interest,” something his wife has to remind him of sometimes. An earlier portion of the program referenced the importance of strong relationships — something Carrie spoke about regarding his relationship with his wife, Tyisha Smith-Carrie.

“My wife keeps me sane in a sense — where there’s a lot of things that I try to do and sometimes it never makes sense and I get very frustrated, and she gives me very good context clues that brings me back down to the realization that ‘dang, babe, you are right.’ There are a lot of situations that me and my wife have been through that we complement each other and I think that’s what a true relationship, a true marriage is about, the complete of each other — when she needs something I know exactly what to say to her, and when I need something she knows exactly what to do or say to me.”

Contact Carissa Woytach at (440) 329-7245 or cwoytach@chroniclet.com.
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