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To Have and to Hold, but With Higher Standards

Fri, 09 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

On Saturday, Laurel resident Audene Harvey did something reckless and hopelessly retro.

No One Is Immune From Problems

Fri, 13 Jan 2006 00:00:00 EST

Most people have an immunity problem.

A Pair of Terrific Romances, Just Not the Kind Some Filmgoers Long For

Fri, 30 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

This holiday season, the two most heartfelt romances in movie theaters are between a couple of hunky cowpokes and a big ape and a blonde.

Finding Love in Furry, Doggone Places

Fri, 23 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

Christmas is no time for your dog to die.

A Woman Of Courage Rises Above The Pain

Fri, 09 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

Two months after Yvette Cade's estranged husband allegedly filled a 20-ounce Sprite bottle with gasoline, walked into the bustling cell phone store where she worked and doused her before lighting a match, Cade lies in a bed at the Washington Hospital Center burn unit. Through excruciating pain, endless operations and bitter memories of cavalier comments made by the Prince George's County judge who dismissed the restraining order she hoped would protect her, the Suitland resident quietly endures.

I'm Ready For My Close-Up, Ms. Winfrey

Fri, 18 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

On Monday, Oprah Winfrey celebrated 20 years on the nation's airwaves with a special episode featuring the best and worst moments of her gargantuanly popular talkfest. The next day, she released "The Oprah Winfrey Show: 20th Anniversary Collection," a six-disk DVD on which she highlights favorite interviews and tells viewers "what I was really thinking."

Don't Let Poverty Numbers Obscure the Kids

Fri, 11 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

Three days ago, before House Republican leaders were forced to scuttle a vote yesterday on a $54 billion budget-cutting bill that would have scaled back Medicaid, food stamp and student loan programs, I stood in line at the Nashville airport, wondering why so few Americans seemed outraged by this threat to some of our nation's poorest children.

To Honor Parks, Stand Up, Demand More of America

Fri, 04 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

When it comes to activism, some of us are sitters.

Leaving Girls Exposed to Hip-Hop's Sins

Fri, 28 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Awa Nur, 18, loves rap music's seductive rhythms and irresistible beats.

When Homicide Comes Close, Life Is Rewritten

Fri, 21 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

You know when you hear stifled tears in the voice of your son -- the mellow, easygoing one who takes most stuff in stride -- something horrible has happened.

Seeking Validation After Abuse's Scars

Fri, 07 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

On Wednesday, Burke software sales executive Rita Etter and a pal were in the middle of a night of chicken fajitas and chitchat when Etter's friend lifted a crimson-filled wineglass to her lips.

In Katrina's Wake, Inaccurate Rumors Sullied Victims

Fri, 30 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Most people learn the recipe for rumor in grade school:

Every Day, We Ignore the Everyday Poor

Fri, 16 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

God help the run-of-the-mill poor.

Choosing to Care And Comfort in Katrina's Wake

Fri, 09 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Washington is a thousand miles from New Orleans, but most of us have at least one post-hurricane "memory," one scene that plays and replays in our minds.

From a Dorm, Life Lessons in Surreal Tragedy

Sun, 04 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Life, Xavier University freshman Keisha Rogers has discovered, can be strange.

Parent's Plight Causes Katrina To Hit Home

Fri, 02 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

When it happens to you, you have to bear witness.

The Struggle To Think Outside The 'Black' Box

Fri, 12 Aug 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Admittedly, a hotel lobby packed with people attending last week's National Association of Black Journalists conference in Atlanta is an odd place for two African American writers to discover a surprising, shared secret:

'Vixen' Sends Girls the Latest Mixed Messages

Fri, 29 Jul 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Even in a hypocrisy-steeped culture, some things stand out. The cover of a book purportedly designed to boost girls' self-esteem and convince them that dressing like sexy pop icons and sleeping around to get ahead are questionable choices features this:

From Prosaic Arises Life's Sudden Poetry

Fri, 22 Jul 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Warning: No heart-stopping news or ire-producing opinions about "important" issues will be found in this column. It's about real life, which is -- surprise! -- boring.

Here and Now, Luther Resonates In Fan's Heart

Fri, 15 Jul 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Talk about the "Power of Love."

From the Many With U.S.-Africa Ties, Oneness

Fri, 08 Jul 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Three weeks ago at the town hall meeting for the "Africans in America" national conference on African refugees, local black leaders spoke movingly about the sometimes powerful, sometimes hair-slim ties that bind black Africans to their American brothers and sisters.

When Fathers Refuse to Be in Family Picture

Fri, 24 Jun 2005 00:00:00 EDT

The thirtysomething woman complaining at the beauty shop was gorgeous and eloquent, the type that folks once called "a catch." Yet her words suggested that all she's caught recently is hell.

Jackson Perhaps Free to Redeem Himself

Fri, 17 Jun 2005 00:00:00 EDT

I thought I'd heard every possible take on Michael Jackson's surprising-but-not-really acquittal -- until I asked a no-nonsense friend her opinion. Not missing a beat, she said, "I wondered why he was spared."

Through Bonding, The Foreign Becomes Familial

Fri, 10 Jun 2005 00:00:00 EDT

The two young women sitting inches from each other in a Silver Spring living room grew up half a world apart. The French girl, an exchange student studying at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, and her Costa Rican guest, a former exchange student who'd recently returned to the United States, had just met.

Even Deepest Of Throats Can't Keep Mum

Fri, 03 Jun 2005 00:00:00 EDT

What do you get the moment a long-provocative question is answered?

An Entitled Path From 'Laugh-In' To Break-In

Fri, 20 May 2005 00:00:00 EDT

You've had a long day at work, a hellish commute and finally have arrived home. Stepping inside, you notice instantly that a previously closed window is ajar. You know:

Mortals Shared Stars' Galaxy in Black Hollywood

Fri, 13 May 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Before we get to black Hollywood of yesteryear, let's acknowledge a question on the lips of millions of today's movie fans:

Hard Lessons For a Mother To Pass On

Fri, 06 May 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Eight decades ago -- before I existed or had any idea of what a mother was -- there was a little girl.

Social Fabric Needs Stories Woven by Elders

Fri, 22 Apr 2005 00:00:00 EDT

As human beings, we are our stories. So I'll start with this one:

In Another Era, Teen Mom Was Cautionary Tale

Fri, 15 Apr 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Every high school, I bet, has at least one Cheryl Saunders. A girl who isn't just one of the prettiest around, but one who has the nerve to be smart, popular and even nice.

A Chorus Of Empathy for Baby Mamas

Fri, 01 Apr 2005 00:00:00 EST

Shopping at Hecht's recently, I overheard a snatch of conversation that I couldn't ignore. A young female voice was saying how painful childbirth is "supposed" to be, but that somehow "it wasn't that bad." Looking up, I saw a pretty, wide-eyed woman, who continued, "My boyfriend and his mother were there, and . . . "

Prayer Rising, Even If Many Eschew the Pews

Fri, 25 Mar 2005 00:00:00 EST

"L et us pray."

Prayer Rising, Even If Many Eschew the Pews

Fri, 25 Mar 2005 00:00:00 EST

"Let us pray."

The Short Trip From Mother To Martyr

Fri, 11 Mar 2005 00:00:00 EST

I am the mother of a 9-year-old boy. The other night, I went out to dinner with my husband.

Domestic Abuse Recognizes No Social Barriers

Fri, 04 Mar 2005 00:00:00 EST

A twentysomething man wearing neat dreadlocks, work boots and a huge parka is standing at the front desk of the Domestic Violence Intake Center at the D.C. Superior Court. His words to the receptionist dispel any impression of hip-hop bravado that his appearance suggests: "I had to put my car in the garage so [my girlfriend] wouldn't do anything to it."

Love Stories That Transcend Bonds Of Slavery, Time

Fri, 11 Feb 2005 00:00:00 EST

The love stories recounted in author Betty DeRamus's new book, "Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories From the Underground Railroad," are more than a century old. But they still have the power to make listeners' hearts race, break -- or sing.

Honest Look Reveals There Are No 'Others'

Fri, 31 Dec 2004 00:00:00 EST

It's hard enough finding compassion for certain people. But during a conversation about diets, my friend Denise actually asked me:

Self-Service Helps Serve Thyself

Fri, 17 Dec 2004 00:00:00 EST

It was in a newly remodeled Giant supermarket that I realized the insidiousness of the "you do it" culture.

Without Water, Desperation Runs Deep

Fri, 10 Dec 2004 00:00:00 EST

"M om, we may need to stay at your place tonight. The well ran dry."

Parents Hold The Key to Safe Driving

Fri, 03 Dec 2004 00:00:00 EST

Now that the painful subject of teenage traffic fatalities is back in the news, Phil Berardelli wants moms and dads to consider the obvious:

Cosby Becomes The Grandpa Of Tough Love

Fri, 19 Nov 2004 00:00:00 EST

There are many reasons to love Bill Cosby.

Worst Voter Error Is Apathy Toward Irregularities

Fri, 12 Nov 2004 00:00:00 EST

Is anyone surprised that accusations of voter disenfranchisement and irregularities abound after the most passionately contested presidential campaign in memory? Is anybody stunned that the mainstream media appear largely unconcerned?

Gay Unions Put Kerry Campaign Asunder

Fri, 05 Nov 2004 00:00:00 EST

I had just finished speaking at a Northern Virginia church when an attractive young woman with a pixie haircut introduced herself, saying she'd just moved here from Boston.

Election Spins Not Only Facts, But Faith

Mon, 01 Nov 2004 00:00:00 EST

As this maddening presidential election whirls toward its conclusion, our ever-spinning candidates -- and the dizzy media tracking them -- have put God on the agenda.

Make No Mistake: Politicians Love Preying on Fear

Fri, 22 Oct 2004 00:00:00 EDT

President Bush is so certain of his course that in the second debate, he couldn't conjure a single mistake he's made as president.

In This Election, Anxiety Is The Front-Runner

Fri, 08 Oct 2004 00:00:00 EDT

Last week, after days of going back and forth over whether to watch the first presidential campaign debate, I sat before the TV at the appointed time and turned to a favorite channel.

Ensuring That Voting's Sanctity Wins Out

Fri, 01 Oct 2004 00:00:00 EDT

Cuddling her fluffy white Maltese dog in her Silver Spring living room, Joan Biren explains why on Election Day, she and five friends will be in Philadelphia doing something that most Americans believe happens only in corrupt foreign governments:

Pop Culture Slowly Moves Into the Pew

Fri, 24 Sep 2004 00:00:00 EDT

Some people might see the new movie "Woman, Thou Art Loosed" because -- for their own cathartic reasons -- they want to see a victim of child sexual abuse exact revenge on her abuser before she starts healing her psychic and spiritual wounds.

Ward 8 Votes With Its Heart -- And Barry's

Fri, 17 Sep 2004 00:00:00 EDT

So tell me: If you were a resident of Ward 8 -- a section inevitably described as the District's poorest despite having its share of tax-paying homeowners -- whom would you want to represent you on the D.C. Council?

On Life's Menu, Savor Option of Overcoming Limits

Fri, 10 Sep 2004 00:00:00 EDT

Recently, a dear friend -- we're godparents to each other's elementary-age kids -- treated my son and me to dinner. With school expenses looming, we decided that dinner should be inexpensive.

In Shining Eyes, A Parent's Vision For Her Life

Fri, 03 Sep 2004 00:00:00 EDT

Everybody has a story.

Size Aside, A Couple Of Magnitude

Fri, 13 Aug 2004 00:00:00 EDT

Appearance-wise, many, if not most, couples look like they're a match. Like they belong together.

Seeing Strength in the Face of Unity

Fri, 06 Aug 2004 00:00:00 EDT

I'm unsure exactly what made my eyes moisten, suddenly and unexpectedly, at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Detroit back in 1982. I was so new in the business, so unsure of my talents, that any colleague's "You can make it!" speech could have dissolved me.

Able to Aid Needy People In Single Bound

Fri, 30 Jul 2004 00:00:00 EDT

Suddenly, we're awash in heroes.

Man in Crisis Sure to Stand By Her Hand

Fri, 16 Jul 2004 00:00:00 EDT

We never know how we appear.

Stem Cell Effort Fueled by Bonds Of Blood, Faith

Fri, 09 Jul 2004 00:00:00 EDT

District resident Lewis Geer is 97 and has lost most of his hearing. But he knows plenty.

Finding Our Way To Love in Our World of Rage

Fri, 18 Jun 2004 00:00:00 EDT

Recently, I noticed that an upbeat friend seemed off her game. Asked why she appeared sad, she answered with a jumble of words: the war in Iraq, innocent kids getting shot, the world having gone crazy. But she'd be fine, she said.

Tears for Reagan Obscure His Complexities

Sun, 13 Jun 2004 00:00:00 EDT

The ritual is familiar: A larger-than-life figure dies. Shocked, we mull the many ways that person touched us, how he or she evolved: Princess Diana from vulnerable bride into sophisticated do-gooder; JFK Jr. from saluting toddler into graceful hunk.

It's Not The Setting That's Sinister

Fri, 04 Jun 2004 00:00:00 EDT

The 7-Eleven on Silver Hill Road in Suitland is, well, a 7-Eleven. Like every other one.

All Grown Up And Through The Gantlet

Sun, 30 May 2004 00:00:00 EDT

We didn't know that Bill Cosby was speaking at our son's graduation. And we had no idea about the magna cum laude thing, either.

Feeling Good About Leaving Our Comfort Zone

Fri, 21 May 2004 00:00:00 EDT

When Francine Ward told me that self-esteem isn't achieved through contemplation or self-directed pep talks but by walking through our fears, I did what many people would do: reflected upon some things of which I'm proud.

Looking Away From War, and Our Own Hearts

Fri, 14 May 2004 00:00:00 EDT

The nation is at war. But you could almost forget it when the arrival of cicadas is hyped as being slightly less momentous than the Second Coming, and the finales of "Friends" and "Frasier" are treated like the deaths of beloved companions. As one who will miss "Frasier" and who's grossed out by the popeyed bugs on my screened porch, I understand.

Athena in Iraq: Women at War Air Evil Truth

Fri, 07 May 2004 00:00:00 EDT

Just in time for Mother's Day, the world has been treated to photos of a petite young woman in fashionably baggy pants holding a leash. Attached to it is neither a cute poodle nor a frisky terrier but a man lying naked on a prison floor. In another photo, the female soldier grins as she offers a thumbs-up with one hand while pointing the other at the genitals of a man wearing only a black hood.

They Don't Call It La-La Land For Nothing

Fri, 23 Apr 2004 00:00:00 EDT

Whenever I visit languorous Los Angeles, it's tempting to wonder:

No Nap Time? Educators Are Dreaming

Fri, 19 Mar 2004 00:00:00 EST

Some ideas, you're unsure of. You listen to them, weigh them and, even if you're unconvinced, you think, "Maybe that makes some sense."

Getting The Skinny On Nutrition

Fri, 12 Mar 2004 00:00:00 EST

Those of us who've never smoked can only imagine the pull of cigarettes on people for whom smoking is a hated habit. We'd be tempted to feel superior to them -- if we'd never eaten.

For Haiti, A Want Of Concern

Fri, 05 Mar 2004 00:00:00 EST

Why don't we care more about Haiti?

Turning A Long Shot Into a Close-up

Fri, 27 Feb 2004 00:00:00 EST

"This is the hotel business. People come to hotels to do dirty things. It's our job to make them pretty again."

A Devastating Loss of Self-Esteem

Fri, 13 Feb 2004 00:00:00 EST

In a recent column about a new report on urban teenagers' sexual attitudes, I purposely left out the finding that most surprised researchers:

Heading Off 'Bad Hair' Thoughts

Fri, 06 Feb 2004 00:00:00 EST

What is "good hair"?

Janet's 'Reveal' Lays Bare An Insidious Trend

Wed, 04 Feb 2004 00:00:00 EST

So I was sitting at my desk Monday, studying an Internet photo enlargement of Janet Jackson's breast. Wondering whether its superstar owner was the innocent victim of a "wardrobe malfunction" or had conspired with rumored ex-beau Justin Timberlake to flash The Breast -- and its metal, nipple-encircling starburst -- to 90 million stunned Super Bowl viewers.

Even for Oscar, With Age Comes Wisdom

Fri, 30 Jan 2004 00:00:00 EST

Oscar, bless him, is sneaking up on 80. So were you surprised that Sofia Coppola's Best Director nomination for "Lost in Translation" was the old boy's first-ever directing nod to an American woman?

Stats on Teens Don't Tell The Whole Story

Fri, 23 Jan 2004 00:00:00 EST

Why is it that when good news surfaces, bad news often lurks close behind? Why is it that what we "know" -- about people, events, our own kids -- is so often wrong?

A Life That's Worth Another Look

Fri, 16 Jan 2004 00:00:00 EST

We don't always rush toward what's good for us.

As Year Turns, We Reflect on Life's Twists

Fri, 02 Jan 2004 00:00:00 EST

Just before Christmas at Montgomery Mall, I was making a hurried pit stop in the Nordstrom ladies' room when I was confronted by something no woman expects -- or wants -- to see in a women's restroom: