Across Black America week of May 11, 2017

Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 5/11/2017, midnight


Trayvon Martin’s life was cut short five years ago, when he was gunned down by George Zimmerman during a walk home from a 7/11 carrying nothing but Skittles and an Arizona iced tea. The tragedy not only divided a nation, but stole the future away from a young man with promise. As a gesture of remembrance, Florida Memorial University is planning to honor Martin with a posthumous degree in aeronautical science during its commencement ceremony. Before his death, Trayvon expressed dreams of becoming a pilot. The degree is a move of solidarity for the university, which plans to continue to highlight the Martin family’s commitment to justice, the HBCU Digest reports. “As we approach 50 years in Miami Gardens, this commencement holds a special place in all of our hearts. This academic year is symbolic of the transformative changes that we continue to make to our academic programs that extend to benefit the community, such as our cybersecurity degree program and Cyber Warrior Diversity center that offers certificates to local residents and professionals,” Florida Memorial President Roslyn Clark Artis said. “Of special significance is awarding posthumously the Bachelor of Science degree in aviation to Trayvon Martin.”


Valerie Hoff, an Atlanta TV reporter and frequent CNN contributor, has resigned after using the n-word in a recent Twitter exchange, reports BlackNews.com. But she didn’t use the derogative word toward another person; she used it referring to herself. An African American man named Curtis Rivers got a hold of a video that captured an act of police brutality in Atlanta. He then used his Twitter account to tweet that an overwhelming number of “news niggas” were trying to track him down so that they could get a copy of his video footage. Hoff saw the message on Twitter, and replied: “Please call this news ngga.” And that’s when the controversy erupted. Rivers responded “LMFAO,”(laughing my fing ass off) but soon realized that Hoff is White, and said, “I just looked through your photos on Twitter and realized you are not Black but called me a ngga.” Hoff then replies, “No, I called myself one.” Rivers then got angry, and said, “How would I be able to contact your manager or lawyer?” He later told a reporter from a local newspaper, “I just think it wasn’t right for her to use that word in regards to a person who is African American on herself or use that word period. If she is bold enough to say it to me being an African American then I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first time she has used that word.” Hoff was later put on a two-week suspension, but as community pressure built up, she “offered to resign immediately.” She told reporters that she “was quoting something the gentleman said in a public tweet,” but said that she understands that that doesn’t make her usage of the slur “any less offensive.” She added that using the word “was incredibly stupid and reckless.”