This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
September 2013

A Dream of MLK Today - Aging Against the Machine


-- Fifty. This week’s anniversary celebration of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom resounds with a worthwhile mix of critical reassessment and historical pride for the progress made since then and yet to be accomplished. But for my Boomer generation, the tumultuous events bookended by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and his tragic assassination five year later also arc across a half-century of our lives.

Fifty. Fifty years? How unsettling

for aging Boomers, who once pictured nostalgia on an old-timey gazebo—echoing with the Beatles’ refrain, “It was 20 years ago today, Sargent Pepper taught the band to play.” Twenty years? Ha! Just a couple of generational blinks.

More than a cause for personal

reflection, though, it’s hard not to wonder about King himself. Had he survived James Earl Ray’s gun sight, he would be 84 today. And I’d like to think he’d be as up on political hip-hop, like Goodie Mob’s new “Age Against the Machine” album released Thursday (after 14 years their poke at Rage Against the Machine), as, say, Curtis Mayfield or Odetta.

Younger Than Mandela Still relatively youthful, King

today would be 11 years younger than Nelson Mandela, who was still lifting his voice for justice until his recent illness, and five years younger than fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter. Both are members of The Elders, the global council of senior leaders currently chaired by Kofi Annan, age 75, who actively continues to negotiate for peace and freedom.

Had King lived on, of course, he

would not be the indelible worldwide icon. Yet, I think it’s not much of a stretch to imagine that his graying countenance would join those of the other activists on The Elders’ website and living rounds. The Longevity Revolution is not only televised and on the Internet, it represents a new level of later-life vigor empowering more and more people to build on their active legacies long in defiance of stereotypical aging.

Of course, the Longevity

Revolution can swing both ways. One of the more unsettling factoids I’ve heard lately about our aging world is that the average age of the Rolling Stones exceeds that of the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts, 58, likely has years left to revamp the Constitution in his conservative image.

Still, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg,

80, made it clear in last Sunday’s (Aug. 25) New York Times that regardless of two bouts with cancer--she works out twice a week now—she has no intention of stepping down. Could she become the first centenarian justice, never to give up? Ginsberg is set on countering Roberts’ majority on issues, such as voting rights and job discrimination, subjects of her recent dissents—and

Design Contest FROM PAGE 1

on the winners and their companies can be found below.

Core Mechanical LLC Core Mechanical LLC is a

woman-owned, multi-service company that provides repairs and replacement of commercial and industrial HVAC, refrigeration and kitchen equipment in Houston, Texas. The NV200 will allow them to hire an extra technician and increase their business by as much as 30%.

major themes of King’s efforts a half century ago.

Were King alive and an activist

ager today, it’s easy to imagine him expanding on his primary dreams, as have those among The Elders. (He could claim seniority in the group over such members as Ela Bhatt, founder of Self-Employed Women's Association of India, who turns 80 on Sept. 7, and Bishop Desmond Tutu, who will be 82 on Oct. 7.)

A Life-Span View of Poverty Although I’d fully expect King

to have elevated his resonant voice on the travesties of Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant, I don’t think it’s a stretch of imagination to believe he’d have embraced a life-span view of the economic security issues for lower-income Americans throughout their working and retirement years.

After all, since King was killed

while championing the rights of striking sanitation workers is Memphis, labor negotiations and strikes have focused not only on traditional pay and working conditions, but increasingly on pensions and health care, including retirement health protections.

As King would have aged, he

would surely have seen elders’ security underlying his principle concerns. Even travesties of the criminal justice system—intensified by three-strikes laws and “stop, question and frisk” policing--have yielded a growing population of elderly prisoners. (See “The Other Death Sentence: Aging and Dying in America’s Prisons” by investigative journalist James Ridgeway, and “Graying Prisoners” by Jamie Fellner of Human Rights Watch.)

It’s always risky to project

viewpoints on an historic figure who has passed. But I feel confident that a living Martin Luther King, whose very legacy is based in unsung and often unpopular causes, would have grown especially cognizant of how challenges to economic and health security jeopardize the very health and longevity of lower-income minorities, women and other vulnerable groups as they age.

Last fall, for example, the

MacArthur Foundation Network on Aging in Society released a report showing that both African American men and white women who have low educational levels live 10 years shorter than whites with advanced academic degrees. Education is not only an issue for youth.

It’s easy enough to report on this

or that new study, but as with research on issues of race, gender and class, the stream of scholarly findings on aging floods into a stagnant pool reflecting darkly on 21st century life in the United States unless things change.

MLK TODAY PAGE 15 Core Mechanical's NV200 will

feature the Nissan Technology Package option (Nissan ConnectSM with Navigation System, RearView Monitor and Sirius XM Satellite Radio) along with floor mats and a GPS tracking system.

Sublime Cake Design Husband and wife team Wiley and

Tiffanie Saccheri, along with Tiffanie's mother Jackie New, run a custom cake and cupcake shop, Sublime Cake Design, out of Redding, CA. They currently use a Nissan Murano for their deliveries, which "has all the main features we need to deliver basic orders," but is ill-equipped to handle those that are "bigger, more fragile and complex."

As is the case for many small

businesses working with stock or slightly modified vehicles not intended for commercial purposes, Sublime Cake Design recognizes the value that the NV200 will bring to its work: "many of the features we could want (in our custom van) are already in the NV200!"

Wanna Go? Pet Transport Wanna Go? Pet Transport provides

reliable, safe, clean and comfortable transportation of household pets and rescue animals throughout the country. Even though they work regularly with show animals, the core of their business is pet rescue. This Hampton Roads, VA-based company is based around a full-size van that fits up to 15 animals, although this vehicle is clumsy to drive, gets poor fuel economy and requires a

The Hampton Roads Messenger


full load of animals in order to break even on transport costs.

Fuel economy is of particular

concern to proprietor Jeff Wheeler, who admits "at 14 mpg, our current vehicle makes it hard for us to have a successful business, let alone be able to provide enough income to allow for more charity work. With the NV200's 25 mpg highway fuel economy, our fuel costs would nearly be halved."

Wheeler expects to make good

use of the NV200's configurability, noting, "variety and flexibility are the keys to success and saving more shelter animals." To help market his business, Wheeler's van features a striking graphic intended to educate the public as to the options available in regards to animal transportation.

Buonafina Plumbing & Heating LLC Oscar Buonafina has had to

shutter his plumbing and heating business twice during separate military deployments as a United States Army Staff Sergeant to Iraq and Afghanistan, but he's now back in business with an old pickup that guzzles gas and barely contains enough space for inventory.

His Clifton, NJ-based business will

be able to put the more fuel-efficient NV200 to use on a variety of mostly residential projects, likely upfitting the vehicle with custom shelves and a roof rack, along with a wrap featuring the Buonafina Plumbing & Heating company lettering and logo.

SafetyZone Systems This five employee company based

in Warner Robins, GA is a licensed installer of security systems, home theaters, data systems, phone systems, intercoms, CCTV, access control and, in the words of its proprietor Craig Davis, "basically anything low voltage."

The company sought a second

vehicle to increase its business but the expense of opening a brand-new store prevented it from doing so. Davis' vision for SafetyZone Systems' NV200 includes a custom wrap featuring a montage of the various products that the company commonly installs, along with their corporate logo.

Towne Insurance Ranked As Top 100 Broker of U.S. Business

Virginia Beach, Va. – Towne

Insurance has been ranked as the 77th largest U.S. insurance broker by Business Insurance magazine.

The 100 largest broker ranking is

based on brokerage revenue and was published in the July 15, 2013 issue of Business Insurance. “It is an honor to be recognized in this prestigious report,” says Dudley Fulton, Towne Insurance President and CEO. “We have a very dedicated team of insurance professionals, including Towne Insurance, TFA Benefits, and Red Sky Travel Insurance.

This ranking speaks to their

extraordinary member service and professional expertise.”

“The brokers profiled and ranked

in this report not only are the largest in terms of revenue, but also are critical partners of businesses that rely on their expertise in finding coverage solutions and providing advice to address tough business challenges,” says Editor Gavin Souter. “As the complexity of risks facing businesses has grown, brokers are keeping pace with an expanding array of services, expertise, and scale

to better serve their clients.” This annual ranking, which has

been published for 42 years, delivers critical information to insurance buyers. It provides insights into trends shaping customers’ risk management and employee benefits challenges and service needs, as well as a market leader benchmark for peer comparison.

Towne Insurance, a wholly owned

subsidiary of TowneBank, is a premier independent insurance agency providing comprehensive solutions and risk management programs to businesses of all sizes, including property and casualty insurance, workers compensation, bonding, employee benefits and more. Additionally, personal lines agents specialize in home, auto, umbrella and flood insurance. Headquartered in Hampton Roads in southeastern Virginia, and serving communities from Northern Virginia, to Greenville and Raleigh, North Carolina, Towne’s 150 experienced professionals work with the nation’s top-rated providers to find members the right coverage at a competitive price. For more information, visit

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16