Victoria Hansen

Spoleto Festival Kicks Off with a Call for Unity through Art

By Victoria Hansen

Shakespeare's Globe performs at Spoleto's 2019 opening ceremonyAs welcoming as the cannons and confetti, summer temperatures that would stretch into the 90s sizzled on the steps of Charleston’s city hall. The 43rd annual Spoleto Festival opening ceremonies began on cue, with bells ringing, paper fans flapping and spectators seeking shade beneath wide brimmed hats. This year, Erik Van Heynington, a bass baritone in Salmone welcomed the crowd with a distinctive national anthem. The chair of the festival’s board, William Medich spoke about the festival’s role in the city and the performances on the way. Then, newly elected Congressman Joe Cunningham stepped...

Roots Musik Karamu Celebrates 40 Years

By Victoria Hansen

Osei and his wife Saadeka at a Dragon Boat RaceWhen Osei Chandler’s wife Saadeka wanted to move from Brooklyn in 1977 closer to her home in Summerville, SC, the now reggae music show host couldn’t say no. He was smitten. “I remember the first time we met,” he said. “She was like six feet tall, with a mini skirt and afro. I was toast,” he laughs. Looking back, next to his marriage and kids, moving was one of the best things he ever did. “I couldn’t be on the radio in Brooklyn," said Chandler. " I'd be too busy hustling, trying to get to work. I’d probably have to have two or three jobs." "I mean as Bob Marley would say, it would be a real...

Remembering a "One of a Kind Statesman"- The Funeral of Ernest "Fritz" Hollings

By Victoria Hansen

The C The U.S. flag is placed over the casket at the completion of the funeral for former SC Senator Ernest "Fritz" HollingsIt was one of those rare Charleston days with no humidity, only blue skies and a slight breeze. Rare indeed, like the Charleston native being remembered as a, “one of a kind statesman”. The funeral of former South Carolina governor and six term U.S. Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings brought him back, near the neighborhood where he grew up and the school he held so dear, his Alma mater, The Citadel. “He talked about The Citadel like it was in a literal sense, his citadel,” said former Vice President Joe Biden. It meant, “Everything to him.” Biden was one of several well-known politicians in...

Pondering Plastic - Wildlife, Bans and Trash

By Victoria Hansen

Dr. John Weinstein studies microplastics at the CitadelHe weighs less than five pounds, but Zazu had big belly problems when he was rescued off the Isle of Palms coast nearly three months ago. The tiny, green sea turtle had eaten plastic, all kinds of plastic; part of a balloon, clear sheets of plastic and material from a grocery bag. The juvenile turtle is the 23rd patient admitted to the South Carolina Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital because of sea debris. He swims in a private tank next to 17 others now in recovery, including a 260 pound loggerhead named Voldemort who got caught up in crab traps nearly a year ago. “Sea turtles are definitely a...

International African American Museum President Finds Strength in the Past

By Victoria Hansen

CEO and president Michael Moore (center) and the IAAM teamFor as long as he can remember, Michael Boulware Moore has known the story of Robert Smalls; a slave who not only gained his freedom by commandeering a Confederate ship and turning it over to Union forces, but later served in the South Carolina State Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives. Moore didn’t read about Smalls in school. Such bravery by slaves during the Civil War wasn’t always taught. Instead, he grew up hearing personal stories from relatives like his grandmother. Robert Smalls was his great-great grandfather. In times of adversity, Moore says he's found strength in the...

South Carolina's Democratic Congressmen Call for More Time for Federal Gun Background Checks

By Victoria Hansen

Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley greets people following the press conferenceHouse Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and Congressman Joe Cunningham have proposed legislation to close the so called, “Charleston Loophole” by extending the waiting period for federal gun background checks. Clyburn said Thursday he has the votes to pass it in the House. The state’s two democratic congressmen joined more than a dozen others, including former and current Charleston mayors Joe Riley and John Tecklenburg, inside Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston. That’s where nine parishioners were shot to death in 2015 in what's been called a hate crime. Authorities admit the young man who...

Sisters Born during Vietnam War Find Each Other while Searching for American Fathers

By Victoria Hansen

Ann and Lisa (left to right) at the beach in CharlestonAnn Marie Luc was just a year old when her mother gave her away in Vietnam. She was born to a Vietnamese woman and an American father serving in the Army during the Vietnam War. She had been passed between several families and had four different names by the time she was 17 years-old. That’s when she moved to the United States with a birth certificate she says was not her own. “A lot them buy and sell us,” she says of the adoptive families. “A lot them just use us to come here." It would be decades before Ann knew she had a sister, born during the war as well. Lisa Beresczky moved to America...

The Fight Intensifies Against Offshore Drilling along our Coast

By Victoria Hansen

Beach at Sullivan's Island just outside of CharlestonIt’s a campaign promise made during an ad last fall as he treaded water in the Atlantic Ocean. Now Congressman Joe Cunningham is swimming hard against the powerful currents of Washington, as he tries to make good and protect the South Carolina coast from offshore drilling. The first time politician announced Tuesday he will introduce the, "Coastal Economies Protection Act", as soon as he gets back to Washington, to prevent opening the Atlantic and Gulf Coast to drilling and seismic air gun blasting. “I demand that this administration respect the wishes of the coastal communities that I...

Wynton Marsalis Jazzes Up the Holidays

By Victoria Hansen

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performs holiday classics with a jazz twistAsk Wynton Marsalis to name his favorite holiday song and he might tell you, “The Christmas Song” by Mel Torme. Then he’ll likely explain it’s personal. When Marsalis first moved to New York, he played in a show with Torme. He was 18 years-old. “The contractor thought I was only a classical trumpet player,” Marsalis recalled. “He said this boy can’t play. I don’t know why he’s playing this gig, and Mel heard me play and said, this boy can play. Leave him alone.” Marsalis chuckles as he tells the story by phone from New York. He’s promoting his upcoming Big Band Holidays tour with the Jazz at...

The Citadel Encourages Diversity through Listening

By Victoria Hansen

Citadel faculty and members of the media take part in the school's first CitListen session.It’s been a little more a than year since the Citadel started its Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center. One of the goals is to help the once all-male military college in Charleston acknowledge its history in perpetrating racism and continue to evolve into a more inclusive community. The school is now holding what it calls CitListen sessions to encourage change through conversation. “They’re designed to get people to interact with each other through personal story telling, deep intentional listening and connections across differences through our common humanity,” says Dr. J. Goosby...

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