With the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., fast approaching (Aug. 9), the Associated Press is reporting that a lot of states now have laws on the books or in process that change how police can now deal with the public. According to the report, 24 states have 40 new laws that tackle police violence, including the installation of body cameras on officers, racial bias training, independent investigations and limits on surplus military equipment. However, the Root points out that little has been done to alter laws that govern when police are justified to use deadly force. And civil rights groups add that more needs to be done to address racial tensions and economic disparities which are often at the root of problems in America’s urban areas.
The California Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation is sponsoring a Youth Entrepreneur Summit on Aug. 29 in Sacramento. The all-day event is free for young people ages 16 through 25 who register. Highlights include speakers to inspire and educate; hands-on learning about business; and breakfast buffet and lunch. For more info and to register, go to http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eb66mosu136fa016&llr=yi9tkndab.
Several Black wives of police officers in the state are trying to raise funds for a new reality show that follows their lives. Considering the fact that police agencies across the country are under fire for brutality and racism, the show could be a hotbed of contention. Called “Badge Wives,” the show is seeking additional funding through a Kickstarter campaign so its creators can finish filming and be ready with the first show by some time in September. “Although the ‘Badge Wives’ reality show will be very entertaining, it will also bring awareness to the lives of families, not just behind the badge but behind other ‘uniforms’ as well,” says Maria Glover-Morton, concept founder and one of the cast members. “With this show, the wives get to tell their stories.”
District of Columbia
The IT and Information Security and Risk Management section of Microsoft has teamed with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to offer potential Black technical professionals in the D.C. and Virginia area an opportunity to meet with representatives from Microsoft to learn about career opportunities through the program called HBCU Connect. This meet-and-greet will be held Sept. 17 and will target software engineers, service network engineers, program managers and experienced IT professionals. Held from 5 to 8 p.m, the event is open to students by reservation only. Details about location, parking and the agenda will become available upon registration at www.hbcuconnect.com/microsoft/dc.cgi?src=bn.
Curtis Fairchild, who went to prison at age 12 for murder in Melbourne in 1999, has been released at age 29. According to court records, Fairchild and his sister reportedly killed their father’s girlfriend using his gun. In addition, the two tried to kill their dad and
another man who they claimed were sexually abusing them. Both children pled guilty to second-degree murder and were sentenced to 18 years and probation for life. The sister, Catherine, was 13 at the time and is now 30. She is set to be released this week.
Jeb Bush and Ben Carson were the only Republican presidential candidates out of about 17 to attend and speak at the National Urban League’s annual conference in Fort Lauderdale last week. Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton was a keynote speaker. Two other Democratic candidates—former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders—were also in attendance.
Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott was arrested in Georgia on Thursday after police say he was a passenger in a high-speed chase in a car that contained drugs. According to police, officers tried to pull over a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe for a routine traffic stop, but the car
sped away on the Interstate, reportedly reaching speeds up to 98 miles per hour. The vehicle eventually stopped after about two miles. Police allegedly found more than an ounce of weed and 10 grams of MDMA, aka Molly, in the vehicle. The driver was charged with fleeing from police, attempting to elude officers, following too closely and drug possession. Scott was charged with felony marijuana possession and possession of a Schedule 1 drug.
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill has come under scrutiny, particularly his spending habits, after he was involved in a shooting that cost a woman her spleen and kidney, according to WXIA-TV. On May 3, Hill called 911 to report that he had accidentally shot Gwenevere McCord, 43, a real estate agent during what he called “practicing police tactics.” After the shooting, investigators began noting that Hill had unusual spending habits when it came to “training” and that he had spent thousands of taxpayer dollars to attend training sessions in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. Hill allegedly flew first class on each trip. There are records of other trips to Texas, Florida, Michigan and Washington, D.C., as well. In addition, he flew three times to a casino in Biloxi, MS, that reportedly cost taxpayers a total of $7,000. “It’s clearly not a responsible use of public tax dollars, and ultimately is an abuse of the public trust,” said Ryan Splitlog of Common Cause Georgia, a watchdog organization.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States, is donating $4.7 million to two coalitions in Mississippi and eight in Louisiana that support organizations designed to support young men of color, according to the Huffington Post. The grants were set up to help bridge the gap created by racial inequalities in these areas. The two Mississippi coalitions will split $2 million, while the Louisiana groups, most located in New Orleans, will get the remaining $2.7 million. The programs will use the money over the next two years for internships and other programs that encourage education.
A federal judge sentenced two White women to the maximum prison terms for their role in the death of James Craig Anderson, who was run over and killed by several White people in a truck in 2011. One woman received five years and the other eight years. According to the Associated Press, Henry T. Wingate went out of his way to show families and supporters of the two women that their presence in the truck that ran over Anderson in a Jackson parking lot was not an isolated accident but the result of racist behavior. “I just wonder whether the hatred is just engrained for some particular reason. Then again, that’s what race hatred is all about: Whites who hate Blacks and Blacks who hate Whites. It’s just automatic,” he commented. Six White men have already received prison sentences ranging from four to 50 years, with two more awaiting sentencing in the case.
Kyle Jean Baptiste, a 21-year-old actor, is making history; he was awarded the role of Jean Valjean in the Broadway production of “Les Miserables,” the longest running musical in the world. He is the first Black actor in the musical’s 30-year history to take on the role.
“Audiences are being forced to look at an iconic story through the eyes of a character with a different perspective because of the color of his skin,” the young actor told the Huffington Post. “I had always wanted to play Valjean when I was younger, but never thought it possible on Broadway because I’m Black. Now that I’ve done the role, I’ve realized how this news can inspire.”
The White Hamilton County prosecutor who charged police offer Ray Tensing with murder in the death of African American Samuel DuBose says he is so outraged by the death of DuBose that he will personally prosecute the former campus police officer. Joe Deters was visibly shaken when he announced the charges against Tensing last week. “This is the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police office make,” Deters said during the news conference. “It was senseless. It’s just horrible.” Deter added that Tensing should have
never been a police officer in the first place. It was “a pretty chicken crap stop,” he said, adding that he will treat Tensing like a “murderer.” Deters has received massive support from social media as well as peers in the law arena. Sunny Hostin, a former federal prosecutor, told Cincinnati.com that Deters should be commended for acting so quickly. In addition to the murder charge, Tensing is also facing voluntary manslaughter. According to the video from Tensing’s body cam, he shot at DuBose when the unarmed Black man began to drive away after a traffic stop, killing him. According to Cincinnati.com, Deters rarely takes on a case, leaving that kind of work to his assistant prosecutors. He does take on a major case on occasion, including the case against serial killer Anthony Kirkland, who received the death penalty in 2010.
Russell Simmons and his RushCard firm have contributed $25,000 to a new community center in Cincinnati and more funds are
scheduled to come in New Orleans, New York City, Baltimore and Chicago. The ribbon-cutting ceremony and check presentation took place last weekend as part of RushCard’s Keep the Peace initiative, a program that supports non-profit, community-based organizations across the nation that work to reduce violence in their neighborhoods.
Actress Viola Davis shared her story of growing up hungry, poor and ashamed in the August/September issue of AARP magazine. She tells her rags-to-riches story of how she got to where she is today and why giving back now means everything to her. Davis shares her thoughts on the crippling effects that an upbringing can have on young people today and relates it back to her early years, when she faced the same adversity. Additionally, from the love she now shares with her husband and young daughter to the luxuries she never dreamed of affording, the two-time Oscar nominee reflects on her achievements, biggest anxieties and the determination that has led to her greatest successes.