A White police detective withstood a beating because he feared the social response, if he used his gun to stop an assault by a Black suspect during a traffic stop. That suspect—Janard Shamar Cunningham, 34—has been charged with attempted murder for pistol-whipping a Birmingham police officer. Cunningham has six prior convictions for a variety of charges, including robbery and assault. According to police, as well as numerous witnesses, although Cunningham was ordered to get back into his vehicle after a traffic stop, he grabbed the officer’s revolver and began hitting him in the head with it until he stopped moving. The officer’s name has not been revealed, but he has been released from the hospital. After a search by police and U.S. Marshals, Cunningham was apprehended.
Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43), has endorsed easing restrictions against Cuba. “I am especially proud and hopeful today as the American flag was raised over the U.S. Embassy in Havana for the first time in (more than) 54 years,” she said. “As a longtime advocate of improved relations with Cuba, who has traveled to the island several times, witnessed the desire of many Cubans to improve relations with the United States and visited their schools, hospitals and a major university—I believe that working together will be beneficial to both Cuba and the United States.” Waters added that the flag raising marks the end of an era of isolation. “I will continue to fight for an end to the crippling embargo and look forward to the day when fear and mistrust are replaced by friendship and cooperation.”
Laila Ali, a former boxer and the daughter of Muhammad Ali, hosted the 22nd Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant Aug. 16 in Beverly Hills. Celebrity judges included actor James Pickens Jr. (ABCs “Grey’s Anatomy”); talk show host Loni Love (“The Real”); reality star/singer Shanice Wilson, Ella Joyce (“Roc,” “Belle’s”), talk show host Ron Brewington; children’s advocate May May Ali; and director/actress Saundra McClain. They were joined by producer/choreographer Lisa Ruffin. Little Miss African American (LMAA) is an educational program cleverly disguised as a pageant with a mission that is “dedicated to the intellectual success of young African American girls.”
Urban-jazz harpist Mariea Antoinette will release a special edition of her Billboard Top 5 album “Straight from the Harp” on Sept. 25 in conjunction with receiving a Phenomenal Women in Entrepreneurship Award from the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) in San Diego on Sept. 26. She will also perform at the annual event—the 49th annual Community Awards Luncheon at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation on Euclid Avenue. For info and registration, visit http://www.sandiegoncnw.org/annual-community-service-luncheon.html.
The National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc., San Francisco chapter, hosts “Women and Wealth” on Oct. 24 at the African American Arts & Culture Complex. Topics to be covered include women’s growing financial power; financial challenges unique to women; money beliefs – do women talk enough about money?; raising financially fit children; and the role a financial adviser can play. The event will be held from 10 a.m. until noon. Get more info by writing ebp6@AOL.com (510) 579-1939) or Makidz@AOL.com (415) 665-2524.
The United States Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Georgia will investigate the shooting of an unarmed Black teen by a White police officer in Union City, just outside of Atlanta. The case is a complex one, because two separate grand juries in Fulton County refused to indict the officer, even though the teen was shot twice in the back. Officer Luther Lewis was one of several officers who responded to a fight in 2012. Ariston Walker, reportedly teen unarmed, began running away from the scene when officers arrived. Later, Walker was handcuffed and lying face down on the ground when he allegedly went for Lewis’ gun but was shot and killed. “I just want the right thing done for my son,” said Freda Waiters, said the teen’s mom.
Delia Grenville, an engineering architect for Intel Corp., will be named Technologist of the Year at the 20th annual Women of Color STEM Conference in Detroit Oct. 15-17 at the Marriott. Grenville, a research scientist, technology strategist and program manager, is the inventor of six digital content technologies with patents pending. The technologies allow consumers to filter content streaming to their televisions via the Internet. The Women of Color STEM Conference brings women of all backgrounds and nationalities together to celebrate those involved in STEM. Industry professionals, recruiters, speakers and trainers, along with rising seniors and students seeking encouragement and guidance, attend the national conference. Visit www.womenofcolor.net.
More than a year after the death of unarmed Black teen Michael Brown and the unrest that ensued, St. Louis law enforcement seem to continue to have problems dealing with the public. Last week, during what many mainstream media called “peaceful protests,” 140 people were arrested. Activists and clergy were participating in “Moral Monday” events across the St. Louis region to bring attention to issues of racial inequity and police brutality. “It’s sad and horrible. Because by now, you would’ve thought we had at least gained some kind of collaboration, and police would have grown some more sensibility with the community,” Bishop Derrick Robinson told The Huffington Post last week. One demonstration led to 63 arrests as activists shut down a highway on the border of St. Louis County and St. Charles County, which is 91 percent White. “At this point, there is no sensitivity at all. It lets us know that Ferguson still needs a lot of work,” said Mike Lhotak, a White activist who participated in the protests. Lhotak spoke in an interview with the Huffington Post. A viral video captured by the St. Louis American newspaper shows Lhotak, 28, being slammed to the ground by a police officer, after refusing to leave the area. Lhotak stayed on the highway after police tried to clear the area, because “the goal was to make sure none of the Black activists were arrested,” he said.
Michael Sam, the openly gay Black football player who played for the University of Missouri, and was then drafted by the St. Louis Rams, has left the latest team that signed him over “mental health” issues. Sam was cut by the Rams right before the season began last year, but was then picked up by the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. “The last 12 months have been very difficult for me to the point where I became concerned with my mental health,” he wrote on Twitter.
Music artist Jason Derulo was kicked off a Southwest Airline flight in Reno last Saturday on his way to the Teen Choice Awards. “It was a little mishap,” he told ET. “Basically, there was a little confrontation with the people that work at the front.” Derulo says his security asked SW staff if Derulo and his crew could board early because there were a lot of people trying to take photos. But once on the plane, SW crewmembers told Derulo and his staff that they had to get off. “I had nothing to do with it,” Jason was quick to add. “I didn’t say anything to anybody. So they kicked me off a plane. Southwest, you got some problems! But it’s all good. I learned from the experience. And I’m getting myself a jet so I won’t have that problem.”
A Trenton family is looking for answers after a 14-year-old family member was shot multiple times by police. Radazz Hearns was shot in both legs and in his behind on Aug. 7, according to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. At press time, Hearns remained in stable condition at Helene Fuld Medical Center. Police claim that they were called to a residential area in Trenton after reports of shots fired. When police arrived, they allege that they saw three young men walking down the street, and when they went to question them, Hearns ran. Witnesses say it looked like Hearns reached for something in his waistband before a Mercer County Sheriff’s officer shot at him multiple times. It’s unclear whether Hearns had a weapon or not, but a gun was found underneath a car near the scene. Also it’s being reported that the officers were in an unmarked car. Hearns has not been charged with a crime. This is an ongoing investigation.
E’Dena Hines, 33-year-old step granddaughter of actor Morgan Freeman, was killed Sunday in the Washington Heights area of New York City. She was stabbed. A 30-year-old suspect is in custody but had not been charged at press time. Police found Hines lying in the street at 3 a.m. She was taken to Harlem Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Freeman released a statement: “The world will never know her artistry in talent, and how much she had to offer. Her friends and family were fortunate enough to have known what she meant as a person. Her star will continue to shine bright in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. May she rest in peace.” Police are investigating.
Lebron James’ foundation has picked up the tab for about 1,100 Ohio college students to attend college for free to the tune of $41 million. James’ program is called “I Promise,” and the money will cover tuition at the University of Akron for students who qualify. “It’s the reason I do what I do,” the Cleveland Cavalier star told Fox Sports. “These students have big dreams, and I’m happy to do everything I can to help them get there. They’re going to have to earn it, but I’m excited to see what these kids can accomplish knowing that college is in their futures.” As part of James’ “I Promise” program, the four-year scholarships will cover tuition and the university’s general service fee, about $9,500 a year per student. This will cost the foundation a total of $41.8 million at the school’s current rates.
Janelle Monáe is known for her music and also her activism. The Huffington Post is reporting that before the artist kicked off her “Eephus” eight-city tour in Philadelphia with Jidenna and other Wondaland artists, Monáe joined forces with Black Lives Matter activists and peacefully marched last Wednesday. The singer got actively involved, asking the protestors to recite the names of victims of police brutality. “Won’t you say their names?” she shouted. “Can we say their names right now? Can we speak their names, as long as we have breath in our bodies?” Monáe did the same at her show that night, also singing a Black Lives Matter rendition of “Hell You Talmbout.” Her crew replaced the lyrics in each verse with chants that ordered the crowd to say the names of Sandra Bland, John Crawford, Mike Brown and others. Later on Instagram, she explained her concept with the song. “This song is a vessel. It carries the unbearable anguish of millions. We recorded it to channel the pain, fear and trauma caused by the ongoing slaughter of our brothers and sisters. We recorded it to challenge the indifference, disregard and negligence of all who remain quiet about this issue. Silence is our enemy. Sound is our weapon. They say a question lives forever until it gets the answer it deserves … won’t you say their names?”
Memphis officials joined the Memphis Host Committee of the National Baptist Convention USA Inc. (NBCUSA) to announce details of the five-day 135th annual session of the NBCUSA set for Sept. 7. “The City of Memphis is excited to have the nation’s largest African American religious organization back in our great city,” said Mayor A.C. Wharton. “With up to 50,000 attendees expected, this represents an economic, social and spiritual boon for our community, and we hope that their time here is interesting, edifying, and fun.” The NBCUSA is the major business meeting of the boards, auxiliaries and member churches of the convention, and it is held annually in September starting on Labor Day. The mission of the convention is to fulfill the great commission of Jesus Christ through preaching, teaching and healing. The NBCUSA is also an opportunity to generate more exposure for the newly established Dream Makers program, which is a partnership with Office Depot/Office Max to fund the Dream Makers Scholarship program. For additional information about NBCUSA, visit www.memphis2015.com or call (901) 452-7265.
The Arlington police officer that shot and killed Christian Taylor was fired Aug. 11. Taylor was a 19-year-old college football player who was caught inside a car dealership one night, after it closed. Video shows he broke into a car on the lot and drove it into the dealership’s front window. Brad Miller, 49, a rookie officer in training, pursued Taylor into the dealership, and shot him during a confrontation. It turns out Taylor was unarmed. One of the things Miller should have done is work with other officers and set up an outside perimeter, said Police Chief Will Johnson. “Decisions were made that had catastrophic outcomes,” Johnson said, adding that it will be up to a grand jury to decide if Miller should face criminal charges.
The Jones Family Singers, a Texas gospel group consisting in part of five sisters, two brothers and their father, will showcase the group’s newest film, “The Jones Family Will Make A Way,” and discuss the significance of musical evangelism during the International Faith & Family Film Festival at T.D. Jakes’ MegaFest on Thursday, Aug. 20, at 1 p.m. Following the film screening, the group will participate in a panel discussion, “Musical Evangelism in Film,” with music veterans Israel Houghton & New Breed and Kirk Whalum, moderated by journalist Jawn Murray. Israel & New Breed and the Jones Family Singers will also perform, followed by a question and answer session. MegaFest is a family-friendly festival bringing together the best of T.D. Jakes Ministries events, including “Woman Thou Art Loosed,” “ManPower,” Mega-Kidz and the Mega-Youth Experience. See more at: http://mega-fest.org/about/#sthash.hzpRv31v.dpuf.
Two people were arrested in Racine last week after getting into an argument over the confederate flag. According to WDTJ-TV, Tajuan Boatner tore the flag from a window of the home of Toni Barribeau. Boatner had asker Barribeau to take it down, and when she said she would just put it in another window, he allegedly entered her home and took it down. Reportedly, Boatner knocked Barribeau down and she called him the “n” word. Both were arrested with Boatner being charged with battery, assault and disorderly conduct and Barribeau receiving a citation.
According to Fox News, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson (who is Black) isn’t happy about the Black Lives Matter group’s current strategy of appearing at candidate evens and rallies. As a result, however, Blacks Lives Matter leaders have been given the opportunity to meet with Democratic presidential campaigns. But apparently, the strategy has not motivated Republican candidates to do the same. And that’s just fine with GOP contender Ben Carson, who told Fox News that he doesn’t agree with the groups’ strategy or agenda of either disrupting or threatening to disrupt a campaign-related event. “Of course not,” said Carson. “I would like them to start paying attention to the carnage rather than making it a political issue. The most common cause of death for young Black males in cities is homicide.” Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon and social conservative, also argued that Black males killing each other is as large an issue as Black Lives Matter activists’ major concerns of criminal justice-reform and Blacks dying while in contact with police. The campaigns of 2016 Democratic White House candidates Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders each confirmed last week that their officials met with leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement. But the specifics of the meetings, including whether the sides have reached any agreement to avoid further disruptions, remain unclear.
Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya.