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Dr. Jessica Johnson: Take time for important things

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As 2023 draws to a close, one of the things that I improved this year was my time management.

Dr. Jessica Johnson: Christmas shows God’s power

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One of my favorite songs to listen to during the holiday season is the soulful rendition of “Handel’s Messiah” that was arranged by Quincy Jones and Mervyn Warren, an original member of the gospel a cappella group Take 6.

Dr. Jessica Johnson: Celebrating Rosa Parks’ legacy

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The first day of December marked the 68th anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat to a White man on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. That simple but defiant rejection of the segregation laws of Southern public transportation was the catalyst to spark the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. It also ushered a 26-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. into the leadership of the modern civil rights movement. In remembering Parks’ dauntless courage this month, members of the Congressional Black Caucus advocated for Congress to designate Dec. 1 as “Rosa Parks Day,” which would become the first federal holiday to honor a woman.

Dr. Jessica Johnson: Business of college football threatens to take fun off the field

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The College Football Playoff committee’s recent decision to deny undefeated ACC champion Florida State a chance to play for a national title sent shockwaves of disbelief that escalated to anger among FSU alums and fans. During the inception of the CFP nine years ago, it was always believed that an undefeated Power 5 conference champ would never be left out of the two semi-final games. Well, in the current state of college football things have gotten a little more complicated to where it isn’t just good enough to win.

Dr. Jessica Johnson: Voting Rights Act in jeopardy

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As I was reading about the current legal challenges regarding Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, I, and I’m sure many others, immediately thought about the triumphant Selma-to-Montgomery March in Alabama 58 years ago. Over 2,000 civil rights marchers led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his wife Coretta, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, and a young John Lewis crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma during their 54-mile trek to Montgomery to push for national legislation to protect the rights of Blacks to vote. A little over a century had passed since the Emancipation Proclamation, and African Americans, while citizens by law, were still suffering great injustice in the Deep South. The Voting Rights Act was needed as a safeguard while exercising their God-given right to fully participate in our nation’s democracy. When the VRA was initially enacted on August 6, 1965, it was viewed as upholding the 15th Amendment, which bars the federal government and states from denying a citizen’s right to vote “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Along with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act brought a legal end to the southern Jim Crow laws. Since the late 60s, the VRA has been amended five times, but now the core of this landmark measure is in serious jeopardy.

Dr. Jessica Johnson: Beauty of unexpected detours

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The subject of detours has been on my mind since this year’s fall semester of school began at The Ohio State Univesity-Lima. As you all know, a major section of state Route 117 has been shut down since August.

Dr. Jessica Johnson: Three years after COVID, continuing to pray things ‘get better’ for...

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This week, my associate dean at Ohio State University’s Lima campus sent the faculty a reprint of an earlier Chronicle of Higher Education story on students’ demands for flexibility post-COVID. For those of us who missed the original article in February, it was an interesting and informative read. Chronicle senior writer Beckie Supiano focused on the challenges and frustrations of both students and professors as universities strive to offer a “normal college education” three years removed from the pandemic. She effectively summarized our current state: “Everyone keeps telling professors to ‘meet students where they are’ — even if it takes more time and effort. But where are they, exactly? Covid has shaped students’ lives, but not all in the same way.”

Dr. Jessica Johnson: Love is essential in teaching children Black history

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At the end of October, NPR reposted a story that featured an interview with Sharon Riley, the pastor of Orlando, Florida’s Agape Perfecting Praise and Worship Center. In response to Florida banning AP African American History and the state placing restrictions on how Black history is taught in public schools, Riley is providing master classes for her congregation, which consists of many families with school-aged children. She explained to NPR’s Danielle Prieur that “there are certain pieces of information relevant to our history that are not [being] taught.”

Dr. Jessica Johnson: Social media often toxic for young people

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Meta, formerly known as Facebook, Inc., is being sued by a bipartisan group of 42 attorneys general who are alleging that the algorithms and notifications on its social media platforms are addictive and have greatly contributed to the mental health crisis of our nation’s young people. Thirty-three of the attorneys general filed a federal suit against Meta in the Northern District of California, and the remaining nine filed in their respective states.

Dr. Jessica Johnson: Breast cancer survivor here to impact others’ lives

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As Breast Cancer Awareness Month is winding down in October, one of my closest friends, Shawmeen Henderson, is on the cusp of a very special anniversary. Shawmeen works as a program quality specialist at the Huckleberry House in Columbus, Ohio, a crisis center that helps troubled youth, and next year she will celebrate a decade of being cancer free.