The Cities | Miss Quad Citizens Pageant | Black History Month | Village of East Davenport | WQPT

The Cities | Miss Quad Citizens Pageant | Black History Month | Village of East Davenport | WQPT


– [Announcer] Public
affairs programming on WQPT is brought to by The Singh
Group at Merrill Lynch, serving the wealth
management needs of clients in the region for over 25 years. – February is Black History
Month, but is this year’s annual observance different
from ones in the past? And bringing back an Indie celebration of music, food and comedy in The Cities. (light music) Black History Month is
as much about the present and the future as it about the past. Perhaps even more so. Each February we not only
honor the achievements of those who’ve gone before us, but we push forward the next generation. And joining me are two people who do that each and every day. Vera Kelly is the president
of the Davenport NAACP, and Kermit Thomas is an organizer of the Miss Quad Citizen’s
Scholarship Pageant, a radio host, an arsenal
contract specialist, owner of Timrek 3 Productions, creator of the KT Loyal clothing line. I point all of this out (laughs), I don’t mean to embarrass you, but I point all of it
out is because you are a master of so many different things, and that’s kind of what you want to pass on to the next generation. – Yes, I want to pass that along. Any mistakes that I make along the way, I want to pass them so
people as they come up, they won’t make the same mistakes I did, and they can progress faster than I did. – You have to be so proud
of today’s youth, too. I know you run into all
different types of people. But today’s youth seem to
give you a little bit more hope for the future. – Yes, they do. They’re so innovative,
they’re so creative. And they have so much more
access to so many more things than we did when I was younger, so. – Yeah, very true, and Vera,
you know that really as well. Tell me how important it
is for Black History Month to reach out to the
youth, point to the past, but really point to the future. – Because they took black
history out of schools. So a month is not enough
but then they do… – [Jim] A short month too. – Yeah, a short month. But then they do get to know
where their fore parents and their parents come from
and what struggle they had when they was coming through. Because like I went to college. My dad didn’t get no
further than third grade but he finished college
after all of his kids went to school. And nowadays you can’t hardly
get kids to go to school. But they don’t know how important it is to get an education and then just like my counterpart here, you
can set your own goals and do what you want to do. – Well you’ve been very active with the Davenport Public School system in order to get people,
kids back to school, or even those who have
left school a while ago to get them back to at least get a GED because you think that’s a huge foundation for the rest of their lives. – Yeah, well you know this is what I tell, yeah I’m at the school board
meeting every Monday night and I tell them, I go into
the community and the churches and let them know, you
know you are the one that wasting your life
’cause hey, the educators, they don’t care whether you get it or not. They gonna get paid. And then when you get to be 40 and 50, then that’s when you’re trying to struggle to get an education when
you can already have it and have your life set out and your goals. But I think it’s due to
you don’t have teachers that look like some of our kids. And they feel like they
don’t give ’em the time of day or whatever. But I told them, you are there to learn, not to expect them to
be a mother or father. You’re there to learn and
that’s what they are there to give you, a good education. – You take that education. That education is yours. You make that yours. – That’s right, you earned it. – Why in any way that
you can give a leg up, scholarships or anything
for education is huge, and Kermit that’s why
of course you’re here. – That’s right. – ‘Cause we want to talk
about the scholarship, underlying scholarship pageant
that you have coming up on the 17th of February at Arsenal Island, and it really is a celebration
of Black History Month. – Yes, and it’s in honor
of Black History Month but it’s open to anyone, and
I invite all the community to come out. And the scholarship is gonna
be based off the proceeds that we receive. But what I wanted to do with the pageant, I wanted to work with the girls on the importance of
education, self esteem, and scholarship, and they can
come showcase their talent. And with the way that social media is now and the way social media
sometimes defines beauty, I want them to understand
that not re-define beauty, I want to let them know
that they are beautiful and they can showcase it. And that’s what we want to do
with the talent part of it. – And so many pageants you
have, there’s a swimsuit competition, you have business wear. – Business wear. – And that is excellent
because that’s gonna get you a lot further in the world. – Than a swimsuit.
– Yeah. – ‘Cause you can carry that with you. And I wanted, since it’s school-aged girls from 14 to 22, college
age and high school, I want them to know how
to present theirself in forms where if they’re
going to a meeting or if they’re going to an interview or if they’re just going to know how to dress appropriately
to match the type of environment that they’re in. And swimsuits are appropriate at the pool, but business attire are
appropriate at the office. – Well and let’s be
honest, I mean the more that you can learn poise
and self confidence and self assuredness,
you can go a long way. I mean you’re a good example of that. You can go a long way
in the business world. – Yeah, absolutely, it’d work wonders. Your first impression is very important. And so you want to come
there and look the part, be confident and you know
I have this youth forum in February too. I do three events in
February, and I did one for boys which was the youth forum. And what I told them when they came in, I was watching all of
them as they came in, and the first thing I told
them when they sat down, sit up straight, and I told all of them after they all sat down and stuff, I said when you introduce
yourself to someone, ’cause not all them did
it, look ’em in the eye and give a firm handshake
because they come in and they’d be down like this. And that speaks volume
when you walk into a room. – Well and as you said, sit up straight. The slouching, it makes
you look like you’re lazy when you may not be.
– Absolutely. – I also noticed that among the questions and among the topics that are going to be part of the scholarship pageant, is also the hashtag me too.
– Yes. – Which is really kind of
underlying current events right now for the women of society. – Yup, it was real important that I wanted to touch bases with current events to make sure they’re up on the news and following the news of
what’s going on nationally as well as locally. – And we’re talking about
black women in history as well at the pageant. You were saying black
history is really kind of being excluded from schools more and more. Take it one step further,
the history of black women is almost not even ever mentioned. – I know. I know but you know we set February aside at our church and we honor
black African-Americans that done things. And I went to school at Rust College in Holly Springs,
Mississippi, and Ida B. Wells, that’s where she was born. And so when my grandson went to school and they wanted him to
talk about somebody, I said well you talk
about Miss Ida B. Wells, ’cause she’s from Holly
Springs, Mississippi. – And he did. – And he did. – Yeah, and you couldn’t be more proud. – No, I couldn’t be more proud. – What is it that the people of the past are really, what do want
the kids of today to learn from the people of the past? – Let them know that
education, self esteem, and all that is important
because my fore parents couldn’t go to school. And I’m talking about
like in the 18th Century. – Well you can go well
into the 19th Century and it still was the same. – But I am so proud, I
gotta add, that we’ll be 100 years old March
17th, and I am gonna be in Pennsylvania to help
her celebrate her birthday. – That is an amazing story. We have been talking also,
’cause every time I have you on it seems I have to talk
about racial profiling ’cause it’s usually part
of the Saint Ambrose Study and the Davenport Study. As you know, the Iowa
legislature once again is introducing once again,
a law that would restrict racial profiling as far as
police work is concerned. Iowa is one of the few states
that doesn’t have that. Is that something that the NAACP, I know on a statewide basis has been very active, the Davenport chapter, has
that been a major push as well? – Yeah because we, I
think they need that study because when we first
started and we approached the Davenport Police
Department, they was kind of hesitant about it. But then they say it was good. So from 2015 to now, this
has gone from like 100% on racial profiling to like 29%. – [Jim] Yeah, which is
a great improvement. – [Vera] It’s a great improvement
but it can get better. Now they kinda want to
cut it to three years for data instead of one. But we meet next Monday. – [Jim] Do you mean to release
data every three years? – [Vera] Every three years. – [Jim] ‘Cause right
now it’s annual, yeah. – But Chris says that
he can do it every year for the same price, so
hey we want. (laughs) – Over at Saint Ambrose,
and he’s doing good work. And you must hear that constantly. I mean, like I said, you had the forum with boys, with young
men, and racial profiling. I mean it just adds to a little indignity for people for no
particular reason at times. – Yeah, it’s a sensitive subject. And it can make you feel uncomfortable. And sometimes, ’cause
I’ve been faced with it sometime myself too, especially
when I was a younger guy, it’s just kind of, being
profiled just makes you uncomfortable, and the
community, you just want to, you want your kids to be
relaxed and comfortable in the environment that they’re in. – Well and we’re also talking about, ’cause we keep talking
about higher education and being comfortable in the environment, and we were looking at,
for the state of Iowa, that all of the state
universities, Northern, Iowa State and Iowa, all
have African American populations of 3% or less. Very, very much a minority even though the population in the Quad Cities is what, about 11, 12% African American, you really feel like an
outcast even though you, I don’t know. – In your home.
– Yeah, exactly. – In your community but… – How difficult is it for a black woman or a black girl to go to university system when it’s so predominantly white? – Well that’s when your self confidence and your self esteem all take place, and you gotta go there
and be that trailblazer like our forefathers
were, breaking new ground and being that trailblazer to go in and being there, and you
got to be represented and you gotta make sure
your voice is heard. ‘Cause if you go through
your four years of college, and you’re very quiet and
you don’t make any movements, you don’t want to establish an NAACP or any other African-American
type or minority type organizations, then
that next group of kids that’s coming after you are gonna be faced with the same thing. But when you start
establishing leadership roles and organizations, you can have an impact and it may recruit other minorities too. And it gives you a sense of self servitude to where you’re giving
back to the university and in turn, I believe
that the more you give, the more you get in return, so. – But being strong is
easier said than done. – Right. – And it’s day-to-day fight
for so many of the youth. I mean, what do you
say about like keep up, you’re doing fine, keep going. – That’s that intestinal
fortitude that you just, you gotta dig deep and
you gotta know that it’s, and I don’t mean like a physical fight, but it’s a fight. It’s a challenge and you have
to be up to the challenge. I understand everyone’s not,
everybody’s not as vocal. Everybody’s not as loud. Some people just wanna
come, do what they gotta do and get out of there. But if we can just get one to get up and start representing, then
that one can become two. And as you’re doing that,
as your doing things and going through the community,
you are influencing others. – And you’re saying that
you’re hoping that the NAACP can open a chapter at
the University of Iowa. – Oh, they are. – And how important will that be? – Well it would help the
kids that’s on campus and it’d help the people
that’s in the surrounding areas because my son, he works in the
school system in Iowas City. So when we had a forum here,
and this young man was here, I told him, you get in touch
with him and you tell him that I said that he’s
gonna be a part of it and he putting his kids, the
youth, so they can get a feel of what, you know ’cause
nowadays kids don’t realize how far we have come. – They will though. – Yeah, they will. – When they get old, ’cause
you didn’t know it either at that age. – Well you know what though,
my daddy was a minister. – Sure. – And my mom, they had a grocery store and they would, we had family time. And they would tell us,
and where I come from, they had signs say white and colored. And I would tell my dad,
I said, well why don’t you take us to the Cream Cup. All the other kids is going. He said well because if
you fall out of line, and somebody come up and grabbed you, and then slapped you real good, he say, I don’t know what
I’ll do, so I would rather get ice cream from my store, take it home, and we’d sit down and we
discussed things like that. – And that’s a family, the family unit, and understanding everything. – That’s amazing. – Kermit, one last pitch for you. Scholarship pageant’s coming up. It’s at Arsenal Island. – Yeah, it’s Friday. – Saturday. (laughs) – Saturday, the 17th of February at 5:30. Come support the young ladies
as they showcase their talent, and win scholarships for their education. And it’s a great community event. It’s gonna be a great showcase. We actually, my daughters
actually sing too, so they’re not in the pageant ’cause, for obvious reasons, but
they’re actually gonna be part of the entertainment. They’re gonna be singing as well. And my son, we talking about family, so I’m gonna do family here, and my son is actually
gonna be working with us as part of the production team. – That’s excellent. Kermit Thomas, Vera Kelly,
always good to see you. Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it. – Yeah, and we’re having
our hundred-year anniversary for the NAACP at the Figge’s tomorrow. – Yeah, I know that. That’ll be great, that’ll
be great, very good. Well they decided to retire
from the stage last year but their music lives on. WQPT is proud of its association
with the Westbrook Singers, the Quad Cities’ first
family of gospel music. We want to feature one
of their performances that were part of a WQPT production. Here’s the Westbook
Singers with “I Believe”. ♪ Oh I believe ♪ ♪ For every drop ♪ ♪ Of rain that falls a flower grows ♪ ♪ I believe that somewhere ♪ ♪ In the darkest night ♪ ♪ A candle glows ♪ ♪ I believe for everyone who goes astray ♪ ♪ Someone will come ♪ ♪ To show the way ♪ ♪ Oh I believe ♪ ♪ Yes, I believe ♪ ♪ I believe ♪ ♪ Above us all ♪ ♪ The smallest pray ♪ ♪ Still be heard, yes sir, yes sir ♪ ♪ I believe that there’s someone ♪ ♪ In that great somewhere ♪ ♪ Who hear every word ♪ ♪ Every time I hear a newborn baby cry ♪ ♪ Oh I touch a leaf ♪ ♪ Or I see the sky ♪ ♪ And I know why, yes I know why ♪ ♪ That I believe ♪ ♪ Every time I hear a newborn baby cry ♪ ♪ Or I touch a leaf ♪ ♪ I see the sky ♪ ♪ And I know why ♪ ♪ Yes I know why ♪ ♪ That I believe ♪ ♪ Every time I hear a newborn baby cry ♪ ♪ Or I touch a leaf ♪ ♪ Oh see the sky ♪ ♪ That I know why ♪ ♪ I believe ♪ (applause) – The Westbrook Singers with “I Believe”. This weekend is all about
independent musicians and creating a unique
music scene in the Cities. Sean Moeller joins us in
a moment to talk about this year’s Gas Fest. But first, Laura Adams joins us with all the events
you could also consider before going out and about. – This is Out and About for
February 12th through 18th. Hi, I’m Laura Adams. It’ time for the Outdoor
Hunting and Fishing Show at the QCCA Expo Center. From boats and tackle to decoys and gear, it’s the outdoor show
you’ve been waiting for. Living Lands and Waters
presents the History of the Organization and
the story of Chad Pregracke at the Davenport Library. While the Viola Public Library
holds their 10th Annual Are You Smarter Than a
Librarian trivia night at the Viola Methodist
Church Fellowship Hall. Join the Sixth Annual Cajun
Cookout on Fat Tuesday at the Figge Art Museum on February 13th or be in the audience for the 17th Annual Great River Show Choir Invitational at the Adler Theatre,
February 16th and 17th. Do you have a child who
loves to solve problems using their imagination and creativity? Then don’t miss the Putnam
Museum’s Engineering our World Family Fun Night on February 16th. Test your smarts at the Rock
Island Music Association Trivia Night at the Plumbers
and Pipefitters Hall in Rock Island on the 17th. And at Circa ’21 it’s
Disney’s Freaky Friday continuing their entertaining
run on the main stage. And right next door at the
Speakeasy, catch Windy City Dueling Pianos on the 16th. Amazing Grace, a new Broadway
musical will be presented at the Heritage Center at
the University of Dubuque February 13th. It’s an unforgettable
musical saga that captures the spirit of history’s
sweetest and most powerful sound, freedom. For more information, visit wqpt.org. – Last year music producers Sean Moeller found a way to make the end
of our long, hard winter a little cooler, in a good way. The Gas Feed and Seed
Festival is taking over the village of East
Davenport this weekend. It’s part of Sean’s continued effort to put the Indie music
spotlight on The Cities. And joining us of course, the
founder of Moeller Nights, the creator of the Gas
Festival, Sean Moeller. How are you doing? – I’m good, Jim. – How is the concert going? I mean they’re booking 20 different acts, independent musicians,
can be a little tough. – Yeah, you know all that stuff’s done. – They just have to show up. – I think we’re in the
different tougher part now, but it’s just really about
wrangling cats a little bit. It’s wrangling cats and
then getting people excited to see all those cats. – Well Gas Fest started last year, right? – Yeah, last year. – What did you learn? How is this year different? – You know we learned a lot of things. The kind of, the focus of
it was a little bit bigger for the first one last year. We had another one in November and we kind of just scaled it
and shaped it a little bit. We learned the people
really like seeing bands a couple times over the
course of a few days and that the bands really like hanging out and meeting and kind of collaborating and becoming friends with the other bands. And so the original idea of having it be this very community-driven and kind of we’re all doing this together spirit of it absolutely has kind of continued through and so we kind of just
tightened up a little bit for this one. So there’s a couple fewer bands, but a lot of them are
playing multiple times. So if somebody likes somebody on Thursday, they get to see them
again Friday or Saturday. And I think that’s gonna
really make this thing pop a little bit more. – When you said last year,
I mean let’s be honest, I mean there’s people
that are only so cool. They only know so many
of these Indie groups. And a lot of people, they
don’t know the musician. So once you saw one and loved it, you said it spread by word of mouth. – Yeah, well I mean kinda the intention of this thing all along was really to, me being able to invite
a lot of these people that I thought were great, that I think other people would think are great, putting them in front of people and seeing who people reacted to. I mean a lot of this is a
social experiment for me as far as seeing who does kinda latch on to which bands. So from last February
to this current period, I mean a lot of those people
that played that first fest have come back through because I witnessed the reaction that people give that they’d like to see them again. And we’ve really been
able to kinda nurture those people throughout the market now and we get ’em bigger and bigger shows and they have a place here. They kinda have a little
bit of a second home here and that’s really kinda
what I’m trying to build. – And that’s what I wanted
to point out is ’cause you wanted to have the Quad Cities have that certain kind of vibe
not only for the musicians to feel comfortable or
welcome to come here, but also for the
audiences to say, hey this is the place to be. – It’s one of those, it’s
really one of those wonderful intangibles that like people
can latch on to an artist. Somebody that, like a lot of these people are young bands. A few of them have kinda been around for a little while. I mean there are some names on the lineup that people will be like, oh, I think I recognize that person. I don’t know how, but I do. You know it might pop
up on a Spotify playlist or something like that, you
know that just everybody has in their world now. But it’s just kinda
like one of those things where it’s like if you
can kinda have that touch and that feel to somebody, you latch on. And if you kind of get into their world early on their career, no
matter how big they get or they stop playing music or whatever, but if they continue on and
start where lots more people know who that band is, you
kinda have this relationship with them that is rooted
here in the Quad Cities that those bands remember
because they appreciate the support when nobody
else is supporting them or very few people are supporting them, it goes a long way. And I think a lot of people
gravitate towards that. – And it’s the variety
that you’re looking at too ’cause it’s not just one genre. I mean it’s all different. And geographically, you
can have a guy from LA following a guy from New
York, following somebody from Vermont or even
you’ve got a few Canadians. You let them cross the border to come. – I mean these are people from everywhere. – You know like that’s the one thing that I don’t know if people
really realize that. I mean this is not a regional festival. These are people from every coast, middle, south, everywhere. And a lot of ’em are
driving in special for this. I mean the rapper from LA,
he’s flying in special. It’s his first ever festival. He’s excited to do it. I mean I just booked him last week. It was a very last minute thing, but I put out an invitation, I said, you know this is what I
have left in my budget. If you can make it work,
we’d love to have you. And he bought a flight and
he’s coming for a couple days. – Well and the lucky
thing for you is that, I mean you’ve kept it as a
low price for the audience because you want them to get a sampling. – I really do, I mean tickets
are $45 for three days. So you get to see 23,
24 bands for 45 bucks and I don’t know that
there’s no better value other than that. – Did you notice where
people came from last time, your audience? I mean were all from the Quad Cities or did you, and I’d assume you’re pulling from Iowa City and maybe some of the area. – Yeah, we had some people from Iowa City. I think we get some Iowa
City and some Dubuque. You know for last year
we had people drive in from I think Atlanta and Tennessee. – ‘Cause word of mouth
works for the audience as well as the bands. – It really does, you know if
there’s certain people booked that a lot of these people
play in this festival are only playing in this festival. They’re driving in here special for it, flying in special for it, so even people in Chicago, they aren’t able
to see these bands right now. They might have to wait later this year before they actually tour. So I mean this is a special show. This is a special festival where this isn’t just somebody passing through who’s probably gonna play Des Moines or Omaha the next night. Like no, this is it. This is your chance to see him. So it’s exciting. I think we have kind of a wide range of proximity that people are coming from. – Sean Moeller joining us. Thanks so much.
– Yeah, you bet, Jim. – We want to remind you that
tickets are still on sale. Just go to moellernights.com for details and also to get those tickets. WQPT is doing its part
to support the military men and women of The Cities
who are serving our nation. We call it Embracing the Military and next Thursday, the
Arsenal Fire Station will open its doors to
fathers and their children as part of the ongoing fatherhood program on Arsenal Island. Military dads can bring their
kids to the fire station Thursday 5:30 to 7:30. They get pizza, tour of the station. You can contact the Arsenal’s MWR office to make reservations. On the air, on the radio, on the web and on your mobile device,
thanks for taking time to join us as we talk about
the issues on The Cities. (light music) – [Announcer] Public
affairs programming on WQPT is brought to you by The
Singh Group at Merrill Lynch, serving the wealth
management needs of clients in the region for over 25 years.

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