Gwendolyn (108285)

Arizona

Another Black man has died at the hands of a White police officer, this time in Phoenix. Rumain Brisbon, 34, was shot and killed last week during what is being called a drug bust by participating officers. A father of three, Brisbon was shot after officers answered a call about suspicious behavior and came across Brisbon exiting a car. The officer involved in the shooting claims that Brisbon reached for something in his pocket that he mistook for a gun—it was a pill vial. According to the Arizona Republic, police responded to calls that there was a drug deal going down in a car parked on a residential street. A license plate number was provided, and when the police ran the plate, it came back registered to Brisbon along with his address. Police went to the address and saw the vehicle and Brisbon came out. Officers directed him to raise his hands, but according to the cops, he went for something in his pocket and they drew their weapons. Brisbon reportedly took off on foot and the officers pursued him and eventually tackled him. The officer and Brisbon struggled and when Brisbon went for his pocket again, the officer fired two shots into his chest. He died at the scene. The item in his pocket turned out to be a vial of oxycodone, which are painkillers. Inside the vehicle, there was a loaded handgun and a small amount of marijuana. Brisbon reportedly had an arrest record that included DUIs and burglary. The Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the incident.

California

The Battleship Iowa honored recently the memories of those who survived and lost their lives at Pearl Harbor in a special ceremony at San Pedro harbor near the Los Angeles waterfront. In attendance was Nelson G. Mitchell, 94, the last African American survivor of the attack that occurred 73 years ago on the shores of Hawaii. At exactly 9:48 a.m., a moment of silence was observed aboard the deck of the Battleship Iowa as part of the memorial service. Mitchell was stationed on the U.S.S. Jarvis Dec. 7, 1941. His ship was one of the few that got safely out of Pearl Harbor that day. The timing of the moment of silence coincided with the time that the attack occurred on the U.S. battle fleet, which resulted in the death of 2,403 Americans. Mitchell’s ship made it out of port amid gunfire and bombs and began patrolling the area for Japanese submarines.


Susan Burton, founder/executive director of A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project, living with the stigma of a felony conviction for years, is among the first in the state to put the historic Proposition 47 law into action. Burton has filed her petition with the court to have her criminal record reclassified under provisions in the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act (Proposition 47). The voters of California overwhelmingly approved the proposition in last month’s election. The measure reclassifies certain non-violent offenses from felony to misdemeanor, reducing prison populations and redirecting savings from prisons to education, community and victims’ services programs.

District of Columbia

In November, Industrial Bank celebrated its 80th anniversary by partnering with the U.S. Black Chamber (USBC) and other organizations to award a total of $80,000 to small businesses. This is an opportunity for USBC members and small businesses to increase their capital for important projects. The bank was founded in 1934 by Jesse H. Mitchell. It is the last Black-owned bank in the Greater D.C. area and one of the oldest and largest in the country. “The mission is still the same,” says B. Doyle Mitchell, the bank’s current CEO. There are still a lot of people who are underserved for a variety of reasons, whether it’s income, race or small business owners.” The deadline to submit applications is Jan. 15, 2015. Go to www.industrial-bank.com to apply for Industrial Bank’s Small Business Grant Imitative.


The Capital Press Club honored nine legendary Black journalists last week during its 70th anniversary gala at the National Press Club. The theme of the evening was “70 Years in the Black: Telling Our Own Stories, Pleading Our Own Cause.” Capital Press Club was founded in 1944 and operated during the 47 years in which the National Press Club refused to accept Black members. As the oldest African American multidisciplinary communications association in the nation, Capital Press Club has a 70-year commitment to the success of African American journalists as well as all media professionals. Its founding president was Alfred E. Smith, a columnist for the then Chicago Daily Defender, now the Chicago Defender. The founders were dedicated to upgrading the status and working conditions of African American journalists.


In an effort to highlight the history, relevance and impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Black college alumni Tia C. M. Tyree, Ph.D., and Christopher D. Cathcart have teamed up to edit “HBCU Experience—The Book,” a collection of essays showcasing all aspects of Black college life. The anthology chronicles undergraduate realities, such as dating and relationships, dorm living, road trips, pledging fraternities and sororities, student activism and leadership, athletics and more. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Maryland, Seventh District), a graduate of Howard University and long-time advocate of HBCUs, wrote the book’s foreword, and the introduction was written by journalist and mobile media professor Allissa Richardson, a 2002 graduate of Xavier University and 2013 Apple Inc. Distinguished Educator. “HBCU Experience—The Book” is available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and through local bookstore order desks. More information is available at www.BlackCollegeBook.com.

Georgia

Gwendolyn E. Boyd, the first female president of Alabama State University, will be the keynote speaker at the King Center’s 47th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Service. The service, commemorating King’s 86th birthday anniversary and the 29th holiday observance in his honor, will be held at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Sanctuary on Jan. 19, 2015. In addition to serving as president of Alabama State University since February 2014, Boyd has served on the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans and as the 22nd national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. The program is televised locally every year by Fox5 Atlanta. The King Center’s founder, Coretta Scott King, organized the first religious service commemorating Dr. King’s birthday in 1969 with the intention that it would become an annual tradition and the spiritual centerpiece of future observances.


TV and movie mogul Tyler Perry is now a father. Gelila Bekele, his longtime model girlfriend, gave birth to Aman Tyler on Nov. 30. The boy’s name, Aman, means peace.

Louisiana

Rapper Lil Wayne went off on social media last week, complaining that he is a prisoner of his record label, Cash Money, because the label has pushed back the release of his latest album. He tweeted: “I am a prisoner and so is my creativity. Again, I am truly sorry and I don’t blame ya if ya fed up with waiting 4 me & this album. But thk u.” The album, called Carter V, was originally scheduled for release in May. The latest date was Dec. 9, but now the Cash Money Records website says, “Coming soon.” After Lil Wayne’s social media messages, Cortez Bryant, Lil Wayne’s manager, told TMZ that everything was fine between Lil Wayne and Cash Money, saying, “We good.”

New Jersey

Rapper Beanie Siegel, once on Jay Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records, was shot last Friday in Pleasantville. He was shot in the stomach and taken to a nearby hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. The incident happened at about 9 a.m. outside of Siegel’s home after “some sort of altercation,” according to NBC Channel 10 in nearby Philadelphia. According to the report, police said that Siegel’s attorney said he was not the intended target of the shooting. Another man was shot but refused to cooperate. Siegel was just released from prison in August after serving two years for tax evasion. According to Rolling Stone, Siegel was in critical condition as of Dec. 7. No arrests have been made in the shooting and Siegel was unable to speak to officers due to the severity of his injuries.

Ohio

The Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice on Nov. 22 in an area park was once deemed as unfit. According to the Guardian, a United Kingdom newspaper, police officer Timothy Loehmann, was forced to resign from “a suburban police force after he was declared unfit for duty while handling a firearm.” According to the article, during a training session at a firing facility in Independence, Ohio, Loehmann was said to be “distracted and weepy” and that his “handgun performance was dismal.” A memo issued by the police force’s deputy chief recommended that Loehmann be “released from the employment” of Independence’s police force. Days later, Loehmann resigned. A spokesperson for the Cleveland Police Dept. said his department was unable to comment at press time.

Pennsylvania

Mo’ne Davis, the Philadelphia female Little League baseball player, was named Sports Kid of the Year by Sports Illustrated. The 13-year-old can throw a fastball 70 mph, which is quite an achievement for her age group and the fact that she is a girl. “Congrats to Mo’ne Davis on becoming SI Kids’ 2014 Sportskid of the Tear,” tweeted First Lady Michelle Obama. “You knock it out of the park for girls everywhere.” The Sports Illustrated release said: “When Mo’ne pitched the historic shutout at the Little League World Series, she did more than just play a boys game. She dominated it, showing the nation that a girl can throw heat, too. She also inspired countless kids to dream big. That’s why Mo’ne Davis is the 2014 Sports Illustrated Kids Sportskid of the Year.” Off the field, Davis is a winner, too, because she has made the honor roll every session since the second grade and received an award last year from her school for having “great tenacity in everything she does and inspires others to do their best work.”

Rhode Island

The Episcopal Diocese is planning to re-open a church where slaves once worshipped as a museum to study the church’s role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. “The Cathedral of St. John is blocks from where the slave ships came in [to port] and where slaves were sold. This church saw it all happen,” Canon Linda Grenz of the Rhode Island Diocese says. Rhode Island, whose original name was the Colony of Rhode Island Providence Plantations, was at one time the epicenter of the U.S. slave trade. More than 1,000 slave voyages, or about 58 percent of the U.S. total, departed from Providence, Bristol, Newport and other towns located along the state’s coastline, according to published information from James DeWolf Perry. The DeWolf family brought more than 10,000 enslaved Africans across the Middle Passage. DeWolf, a member of Democratic-Republican Party, served in the U.S. Senate from 1821 to 1825. He also was said to be the second-richest man in the country. The Rhode Island Diocese did not own any plantations, but many of its members were slave owners or they insured slave ships, added Canon Grenz. The Rhode Island Diocese, which is based in Providence, plans to reopen the Cathedral of St. John Episcopal, which closed in 2012. The building will be rehabilitated and the sanctuary will be used for performances and lectures to help visitors reconcile their differences with individuals of other races, Canon Grenz said.

South Carolina

A White man who was once the police chief of a small town in the state has been charged with murder in the death of an unarmed Black man. Richard Combs shot and killed Bernard Bailey while the two were struggling in Bailey’s truck over an argument about a traffic ticket. According to the AP, Bailey went to the town hall of a small town called Eutawville to protest a ticket given to this daughter over a broken taillight. Combs tried to arrest Bailey for obstruction of justice, and Bailey tried to leave and go back to his truck. Combs followed and tried to pull Bailey out and fired two shots, which he claimed was an accident because his gun was tangled in Bailey’s shirt. Prosecutors didn’t see it that way and Combs was arrested and a grand jury agreed with the charge. He faces 30 years in prison, if convicted.

Washington

A Kirkland man, Jaleel Tariq Abdul-Jabbar, has been arrested for posting threats on Facebook that he intends to kill former police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson last August. “Are there any REAL BLACK MEN that would love to go down to Ferguson, Mo., to give back those bullets that Police Officer [D.W.] fired into the body of Mike Brown. If we’re unable to locate Officer [D.W.] then, we’ll return them to his wife and if not her, then his children,” read one of Abdul-Jabbar’s posts. The arrest warrant claims that he tried to acquire a firearm, which would be illegal for him since he is a convicted felon. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.