Today, celebrate liberty and equality

Happy Fourth of July!

What a blessing it is to celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. From that Declaration came one of the best-known sentences in the English language: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

God bless America!

Football symposium

Bishop Terrell L. Murphy, senior pastor of New Birth Charlotte Church and president and CEO of City Dive Inc., will present the Bell & Buckner Football Symposium July 13-17.

The event is open to boys ages 7 to 17. It will emphasize the teaching of football fundamentals, the development of purpose and the shaping of character. The symposium will focus on the making of the whole player; the intended outcome is that participants will be the best on and off the field.

Leading the event will be Team Integrity, a group of former NFL players and experienced coaches. The group's mission is to strengthen and empower male youth to become globally competitive by giving them an understanding of integrity and strong character. Participants will learn new attitudes through exercises of discipline of the mind and body.

Together, Myron Bell and Brentson Buckner played more than 20 years in the National Football League. Together with Murphy, they created the Bell & Buckner Football Symposium in 2006.

Before becoming senior pastor of New Birth, Murphy was chaplain for the football teams of Southwest DeKalb and Clark Atlanta University. He also is president and CEO of City Dive Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage, equip and empower families to radically transform and sustain their lives and communities.

Bell, a retired Pittsburgh Steeler, has more than eight years of experience in the National Football League, including a trip to Super Bowl XXX. He is the founder and CEO of the Bridge of Faith Foundation, a nonprofit faith-based community organization committed to developing young adults who are making the transition from foster care to society.

He is district coordinator for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Title I Schools' Educational Enterprise Inc. He continues his work with football as the athletic director for the New Birth Charlotte Kingdom Athletics & Recreation Association.

Buckner started his professional football career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was an integral part of the defense that led the team to Super Bowl XXX. He made his way to the Carolina Panthers, where he was a part of the defense that won the Panthers a trip to Super Bowl XXXVIII. Now retired from football after 12 seasons, he co-hosts a midday radio show, "The Frank and Buck Show," on WFNZ (610 AM) in Charlotte.

Buckner also has been seen on the NFL Network and ESPN as an NFL analyst. He enjoys making a difference in the lives of youth by speaking at events such as For Teens Only and by participating in numerous youth football camps and clinics.

The symposium will be at Johnson C. Smith University, 100 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte. Activities will include on-field training, classroom training and a community service project. The registration fee includes breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Friday.

Check-in will be 5-7 p.m. July 12. The only equipment required is a pair of football cleats. For more information and to register, visit