Available now, museum-goers can head to Smithsonianmag.com/museumdaylive to download one free ticket, good for two people, for Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day Live. Each ticket grants free admission on Sept. 26 to the ticket holder plus a guest, valid at participating museums across all 50 states. To register, see the full list of museums and download a ticket, visit: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumdaylive
On Aug. 3, the NAACP held its first state rally at the Alabama State Capitol, as marchers reached the midpoint of the first leg of its 860-mile trek, “America’s Journey for Justice.” On the capitol steps, the NAACP, coalition partners, young practitioners of democracy and other social justice and human rights advocates demanded federal prioritization of job creation and training programs, passage of the Raise the Wage Act, passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act and legislation that requires stronger restrictions on payday loans in the state of Alabama. “America’s Journey for Justice is a march from Selma and Montgomery to Washington, D.C. Led relay-style by regional leadership beginning with NAACP Alabama State Conference President Bernard Simelton, marchers will march through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia until reaching the nation’s capital. The event aims to mobilize activists and advance a focused national advocacy agenda that protects the right of every American to a fair criminal justice system, uncorrupted and unfettered access to the ballot box, sustainable jobs with a living wage and equitable public education under the unifying theme, “Our Lives, Our Votes, Our Jobs, Our Schools Matter.” Participants were led last week by and included Cornell William Brooks, NAACP president and CEO; Bernard Simelton, NAACP Alabama State Conference president; Ernest Johnson, board member, NAACP national board of directors; Frank Barragan, Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice; Della Bryant, president Montgomery County NAACP; Alease Wilson, Children Over Politics; Rev. Charles Dale, original foot soldier; Ashton Toefield, NAACP Louisiana State Youth and College president; Rev. Claude Shuford, Pastor, Mount Zion AME Zion Church; Johnny Ford, Mayor of Tuskegee; and Caleb Charley; Mobile Youth and College president
Producers Chip Croft and Ronda Hampton, Ph.D., of Dark Creek Productions are preparing to release “Lost Compassion,” a documentary, five years in the making, dealing with the controversial and complex Mitrice Richardson case. The producers expect the documentary to lead to determining what happened to Richardson after she was released late at night from the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s station. Richardson, a 24-year-old African American woman, was released from the jail at 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2009, after having been detained for not being able to pay her bill at an upscale Malibu restaurant. She was described as “acting crazy” and, in fact, was having a mental health crisis. She reportedly was released into a dark mountainous region without her car, cell phone, purse, ID or money. Then she vanished. Eleven months later, her naked skeletal remains were found in a remote, desolate Malibu canyon. “Lost Compassion” tells the story of this case and what it is like for a family to search for a missing loved one. This story “is extremely relevant to today’s headlines about who polices the police … as well as deceitful investigations by authorities.” View the film’s trailer at: https://youtube/8pCO2lBr6T4.
The California Black Chamber of Commerce presents the 20th anniversary Women’s Symposium Aug. 27-29 at the Hilton Sacramento Arden West Hotel. The theme is “Women Changing Political Landscape” and the event will honor several pioneers in politics. Special guests include State Senator Holly Mitchell. Go here to register: http://calbcc.org/pages/ about-us/staff/.
The National Action Network (NAN) held its annual Rise of the Phoenix Awards in Los Angeles (Aug. 12) at the Millennium Biltmore. The awards recognize those who have overcome obstacles and challenges yet continue to contribute to the movement for social change. The 2015 honorees included John Singleton, director/producer; Antonio Villaraigosa, former Los Angeles mayor; L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers; Janice Bryant Howroyd, CEO of Act 1 Group; Brad Johnson, restaurant owner; Earvin “Magic” Johnson, businessman, Bishop Noel Jones, pastor of City of Refuge Church; Rev. K.W. Tullos, Western Regional Director, NAN; and Jonathan Moseley, vice president of NAN Los Angeles.
Numerous news outlets are reporting that the court-appointed conservator of Bobbi Kristina Brown’s estate has filed a lawsuit against Nick Gordon, Brown’s alleged boyfriend, claiming that he gave the daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown a toxic cocktail hours before she was found face down in a water-filled bathtub. The lawsuit also claims Gordon abused Brown often and stole money from her as well. Brown was found unconscious in a bathtub in her Roswell home in late January, was placed in a medically induced coma and died July 26. According to a witness, Brown was found in the tub with a swollen mouth and a hanging tooth. The lawsuit accused Gordon of assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and of transferring thousands of dollars from Brown’s bank account to his own without permission. The lawsuit, reportedly seen by staff on the “New Edition” television show, details several occurrences of Gordon beating Brown.
Grover Cannon, 27, was arrested last week after being found hiding in a garage following an extensive manhunt. Authorities believe he murdered a Shreveport police officer, Thomas LaValle. Cannon was taken into custody without incident, report police. In addition to the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the Shreveport Police Department, Louisiana State Police and the U.S. Marshals were involved in the search. LaValle was reportedly shot numerous times the night before Cannon’s arrest after responding to a suspicious person report at a home in the Queensborough neighborhood in Shreveport. According to the Associated Press, Cannon was already wanted in connection to the murder of a man on July 15.
The Urban League of Greater New Orleans, in partnership with the National Urban League (NUL), will convene both local and national experts on education, housing, workforce and economic development, criminal justice, healthcare, environmental justice, disaster preparedness and civic engagement in post-Katrina New Orleans, as the organization commemorates the 10th anniversary of the killer storm. The conference, titled “RISE: Katrina 10,” will be held in New Orleans Aug. 26-29 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. The theme symbolizes the continual growth in the city’s re-emergence, said Erika McConduit-Diggs, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans. “While there will be many worthy commemorations taking place throughout the city, the goal of this conference is to substantively evaluate the last decade and make systemic recommendations for continued improvement for all New Orleanians.” For info, go to www.risekatrina10.com.
Mel Farr, a former member of the Detroit Lions and businessman, died last week at the age of 70. A former running back for UCLA, he was drafted by the Lions and became the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year in 1967. After retiring from football, he went into the auto business, and at one point owned about a dozen dealerships in several different states. According to Black Enterprise magazine, by the 1990s, Farr had become the nation’s largest Black-owned auto dealership and the 33rd largest in the U.S. Farr is also remembered for his philanthropic efforts and as a founding member of the Detroit Lions Alumni Association.
Infectious disease researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are leading a five-year, $5 million initiative to monitor drug resistance during the rollout of HIV prevention drugs in sub-Saharan Africa. A cooperative agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will allow experts in the Infectious Diseases Division of the school to conduct lab research and develop evidence-based policy guidance for monitoring drug resistance during the rollout of drugs and microbicides that prevent HIV infection. Roughly 25 million people have HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the global total. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan funds this project for AIDS Relief through USAID, which administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.
The sister of the ex-convict charged with fatally shooting a Memphis police officer during a struggle, says her brother was just trying to defend himself because the officer was manhandling him and being too aggressive. Callie Watkins, 28, told the Associated Press that her brother, 29-year-old Tremaine Wilbourn, told her during a phone conversation after the shooting but before his arrest that he was forcibly pulled out of a car by Officer Sean Bolton. Police have said that Bolton approached the 2002 Mercedes Benz on foot after pulling up in his squad car and that the suspect’s car was parked illegally during a drug deal.
Watkins said her brother described the officer putting Wilbourn in a hold and telling him to put his arms up. But, she said, Wilbourn told the officer that he couldn’t because his arms were restrained. That’s when the scuffle escalated, she said. Police said Wilbourn took out a gun and shot Bolton multiple times. Bolton died at a hospital. “He needed to defend himself,” Watkins said. “It’s self-defense against an aggressive officer. It was kill or be killed.” Memphis police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said the evidence will speak for itself. Police have said Wilbourn got out of the car, confronted Bolton, and they got into a physical struggle. Bolton, who was White, is the third Memphis officer to be fatally shot in slightly more than four years. Wilbourn is Black. Police say Wilbourn turned himself in to authorities after a two-day manhunt following the death of Bolton, 33. Wilbourn was on probation for an armed bank robbery.
Christian Taylor, an Angelo State University football player, was shot and killed by police last week, after being confronted at a car dealership in Arlington at about 1 a.m. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that police answered a call of a burglary in progress at the Classic Buick dealership. The dealership’s security company had called 911 after seeing “a suspect” outside the business on a camera. When police arrived, the suspect had allegedly used a car to crash into the showroom. When confronted by police, the suspect, later identified as Taylor, struggled with officers and was shot. According to news reports, the officer who shot Taylor had just graduated from the police academy and was in training at the time of the incident. Video obtained by CNN shows Taylor on the lot, kicking in a car window, using another vehicle to drive through the dealership’s front glass window and was inside the business, when police arrived. He was ordered to come out with his hands up, but instead ran deeper inside. Officers followed, and what happened next is not on video. The officer who shot Taylor has been fired.
A federal court of appeals has ruled that Texas’ strict voter identification law violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. In its ruling, the court found that the law would have a discriminatory impact in violation of the Voting Rights Act. In October, a federal judge said that the law created an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, but the Supreme Court allowed the law to be in effect for November’s midterm election. The law kept more than 600,000 Texans from voting in that mid-term election, because they lacked a valid form of government-issued photo identification. The National Bar Association (NBA) has recommitted to the fight against laws that restrict an individual’s right to vote. “This ruling is a huge victory in favor of voters’ rights. In 2013, when the Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the NBA feared that laws such as the one in Texas would be enacted. “Those laws need to be strictly scrutinized to ensure that they do not deny or abridge our right to vote,” says NBA President Benjamin L. Crump. A portion of the NBA’s 2015-2016 legislative agenda is devoted to voting rights. The NBA will seek federal legislation that continues to protect individuals’ rights to vote in light of the 2013 Supreme Court ruling. Additionally, the focus of this year’s Wiley A. Branton Symposium will be on voting rights. The symposium, “One NBA – Preserving Our Legacy, Protecting Our Future Through Voting Rights,” will be held Oct. 2-3 at North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham, N.C.
Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya.