Books to change lives: Hakim Hopkins was in juvenile detention when his mother sent him a copy of the classic Native Son, by Richard Wright. Reading the book changed Hopkins’s life and gave him a vocation: he runs an independent bookstore in inner-city Philadelphia with the name Black & Nobel (playing off the names of both Barnes & Noble and the Nobel Prize). A banner outside his store advertises, “We ship to prisons.” One customer who purchases books for her father in prison reported that he reads the books she sends him real fast—though he wasn’t a reader when he was out on the street.
One in eight background checks conducted on volunteers or prospective employees through LifeWay Christian Resources found a criminal history that might have kept an individual from working or volunteering at a church, the Southern Baptist Convention publishing house reported in August.
When Brad Braxton was tapped last year as the next senior pastor of Riverside Church, he was billed as an energetic and dynamic preacher with the power to reinvigorate the flagship pulpit of progressive Protestantism.
Retired Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Joseph Lowery, a longtime U.S. civil rights activist, were among recipients August 12 of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom. “Each has been an agent of change,” President Obama said of the 16 people who received the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Calculus and chemistry are among the pressures awaiting Mesuka Akter, a senior at Long Island City High School in New York City. But unlike in past school years, this year Akter, a Muslim, will not have to choose between missing school and missing the two holiest days on the Islamic calendar.