Here’s a look at African-American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.
A record number of golfers played in the Nucor Steel Children’s Classic presented by Ranger Steel recently, raising nearly $300,000 for ill and injured youth who are patients at Children’s Hospital of Alabama. Three hundred vendors, customers and employees of Nucor Alabama’s five operations participated in the fourth annual golf tournament that benefits the nonprofit hospital. The tournament included a four-person team scramble, putting challenge, a dinner buffet with live entertainment, and a silent auction. The golf tournament, which was held at the Robert Trent Jones Trail at Oxmoor Valley, has raised nearly $900,000 since its creation in 2007.
District of Columbia
The family and friends of Ali Mohammed are seeking justice from D.C. officials, who have been slow to prosecute the men allegedly responsible for his death. Reports show that Mohammed was stomped and severely beaten by a restaurant/club owner and four security guards after witnesses saw him throw a brick into the establishment’s window. Police say he was denied entry, which might have prompted his rage, and subsequent murder. The initial charges were recently downgraded, first from murder to assault, and later dropped completely. Though the club has been temporarily closed, many residents believe the delay to prosecute may be due to pressure from city officials. City Councilman Jim Graham spoke highly of the White-owned restaurant and backs its reopening. But many residents think differently, including Lawrence Guyot, a longtime civil rights activist and community leader. “This is clearly vigilante justice,” he declared to reporters. “All good people, regardless of race, should stand up and demand true justice for this victim.”
Riverdale’s own Mariah Stackhouse has been chosen to serve on the American Junior Golf Association Board of Directors. As a nonprofit organization, the AJGA meets quarterly to discuss relevant topics concerning the state of the association. Stackhouse, a high school junior, is the first African-American to be chosen for the position. “It is something that represents my entire body of work,” she said to reporters… “When Mr. Hamblin (executive director) called and asked me, I considered it such a blessing.”
Authorities in Chicago have recently charged 18-year-old Denzel Pittman for the murder of his girlfriend, 17-year-old Jade Hannah; Hannah’s mother, 43-year-old Stacy Cochran-Hill, and Hannah’s younger sister, 11-year-old Joi Cochran. All three were found dead with multiple stab wounds in their Southside apartment in Morgan Park. Pittman’s motive for the killing spree has yet to be determined. He is scheduled to be arraigned next week.
A community prayer vigil was recently held in Detroit for Aretha Franklin. The legendary queen of soul is reported to have undergone surgery last Thursday, which caused her to cancel all concert dates and personal appearances through May. City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson was one of the hundreds in attendance to offer support. Franklin wasn’t at the vigil, but in a statement she thanked the City Council, saying, “all prayers are good.”
Adam’s County authorities recently arrested Preston Bostock for the murder of his younger brother, Juwayni, after receiving a 911 call that was placed by the victim’s older sister. Her claim to paramedics was that Juwayni had been shot and killed by a stray bullet from a passing car. Authorities determined that the shot was fired at close range and came from inside the residence. Other siblings were separated and questioned individually, and conflicting stories reportedly led to Preston’s confession during the hour that followed. “He admitted to the shooting,” said County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield, “He kept saying during the interviews, the gun ‘just went off.’” Deputies said no adults were in the home at the time of the shooting.
Reginald Hicks Jr., former football coach and hall monitor at Ft. Zumwalt West High School, has been sentenced to five year’s probation for the rape of a 16-year-old student last year. This follows Hicks’ recent admission to nine counts of statutory sodomy and two counts of statutory rape during his tenure. He is reportedly no longer employed by the school district and can be sentenced to seven years in prison if he violates terms of probation under the plea bargain. He will also have a felony conviction and will be required to register as a sex offender.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater have recently announced the launch of the 2011 REYATAZ “Fight HIV Your Way” contest. The contest aims to help raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and for the first time will include dance to celebrate the stories of individuals battling HIV/AIDS. Now through Feb. 28, 2011, those affected by the disease are encouraged to submit an essay and photo to www.fightHIVyourway.com. Bristol-Myers Squibb will announce the ten winners in July, and their entries will become the framework for a new dance by the Ailey company, choreographed by Artistic Director Designate Robert Battle. The work will have its world premiere during Ailey’s New York City Center season in December 2011 and be performed across the country as part of a 2012 national tour.
Alexander Wilson, 59, has been charged with the murder of his 85-year-old mother, which occurred last Tuesday in Sumter. According to reports, the victim was beaten repeatedly with a baseball bat, and left to die in her two-story home. During the assault, a neighbor recalls Wilson’s brother running from the house screaming in horror. She called 911 in response to the incessant cries. Jimbo Harrelson, owner of Sumter Laundry & Cleaners, called the incident heartbreaking. “She was as fine a person as you would ever meet,” he told reporters. “She was kind-hearted, even-tempered and a hard worker.” Deputies say the incident was not the first time they have answered calls at the Wilson address in the past regarding domestic situations. Wilson, who has a lengthy criminal record dating to 1976 involving drugs, burglaries and other charges, is scheduled to appear in court next week.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee recently hosted a grant writing workshop, informing local organizations on how to research, qualify and write a grant, not only for government organizations, but corporations, foundations, nonprofit entities, educational institutions, businesses, or individuals. Representatives from the Houston Endowment and the United Way of Greater Houston were among the hundreds in attendance. The audience also included former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes, members of Houston Community College and Helping Hands Outreach Ministries.
NBC News recently announced that Jeff Johnson, a commentator on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” has been named a contributor to MSNBC, as well as senior correspondent for TheGrio.com. He will be the first to cover the White House and Capitol Hill for The Grio.
Johnson is best known for taking an interesting spin on news, mixing it with politics, entertainment, social policy and pop culture. In addition to his work on TJMS, Johnson is highly popular for his involvement with African-American youth, his work as the senior adviser for Media and Youth Outreach for People for the American Way, the national director of the youth & college division of the NAACP, and vice president of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.
Johnson was the only American reporter to receive an exclusive post-inauguration interview with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female head of state and Liberia’s first elected female president, and he was one of two correspondents to interview Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, who had not granted interviews to an American media outlet for 13 years.