Legislation that would prohibit all public schools, buildings, parks, roadways and other state-owned property from being named in association with Confederate military and elected leaders passed in the Senate last week and will be sent to California Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature consideration. SB539, authored by Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) and co-authored by Sen. Bob Huff (R-San Dimas), passed with a solid majority of 31 votes. SB539 would apply to all elected leaders of the Confederacy and military generals. “This isn’t a difficult vote for me,” said Sen. Huff during the floor debate. “It’s not revisionist. It’s not picking and choosing. It’s a matter of moving on as one nation.” Sen. Huff agreed to co-author the measure after meeting with Sen. Glazer following the shooting deaths of nine African American men and women at a church in South Carolina. Both agree that the use of Confederate-associated names on California public schools, buildings, parks, roads and other public property only serves to promote the discriminatory agenda of the Confederate States of America and is an assault on California’s mission for racial equality. There are currently two schools named after top Confederate General Robert E. Lee, one in San Diego and the other in Long Beach. “If South Carolina can take action to remove the Confederate battle flag that flew over their State Capitol, we can certainly take similar action here,” said Sen. Huff. “We should have no interest in enshrining the names of Confederate leaders, the secessionist movement or their ideals in our public schools, buildings, parks or other state property.”
DeRay McKesson, one of the leaders of Black Lives Matter, will be a guest teacher at Yale University this semester. The activist will join United States Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., and the Rev. Nancy Taylor, whose Old South Church in Boston is located near the site of the 2013 marathon bombing, to teach a special three-section course as part of a new leadership program. McKesson will teach the first section of the course, “Transformational Leadership in the #BlackLivesMatter Movement.” McKesson is an alumnus of Yale Divinity School.
Broward County will celebrate its centennial anniversary with a “Duende” finale weekend Oct. 2-4. The three-day event will include celebrations of the area’s arts, culture and community, and feature performances by singer Jon Secada, among others. Honoring the destination’s diverse and extraordinary local talent, Duende will kick off with a “Friday Night Grand Opening Take-over,” featuring street performers, drum battles, live bands and DJs, flash mobs, dance, rock, jazz, hip hop, street art, and light shows The celebration continues Saturday with a “Party of the Century” at Esplanade Park, as well as performances and top musical acts reflecting Greater Fort Lauderdale’s innovative and diverse performing arts talent, with an international blend of dance, hip hop, salsa, reggae, pop and house music. On Sunday in Pompano Beach, local bands will vie for the “The Most AMPed Band” title while an ARTwar will see 12 artists competing against each other to create a new work of art in 45 minutes. For information on Duende, visit www.broward.org/Broward100.
Angel Rice, 16, has set a new world record for tumbling. The teen completed 10 double full twists in a minute while a Guiness World Record official watched. “It took me until the next day to realize, wow! It’s real,” she told Fox News in Atlanta. “It didn’t feel real, when it was happening. I had to actually think about it and look at the plaque.” Her coach, Frank Riley, said he knew when she came to him as a 5-year-old that she was special. Watch her record-breaking tumble at: http://thegrio.com/2015/09/11/georgia-cheerleader-16-sets-tumbling-world-record.
Las Vegas will host the Dollars and Sense Music Conference Oct. 23-24, featuring music industry executives, artists and experts as speakers with the goal of teaching aspiring artists, managers and others how to use new technology, social media and other tools to make it in the music business. Gone are the days when a music artist needed a record label to make it to the “big time.” One of the panels, “Ms Understood,” will include all women and offer advice for young ladies on how to protect their image on personal and professional levels. Panelists for the two-day event include Janet Wade, head of music licensing at Turner Broadcasting; R&B artist Calvin Richardson; award-winning songwriter Crystal Nicole; renowned radio expert Harry Lyles; and artist development guru Domononique Mitchell. More info at www.dollarsandsensemusic.com.
Former pro tennis player James Blake is suggesting that the officer who slammed him to the ground outside of a New York City hotel be fired. Without warning, the officer pushed Blake to the ground and handcuffed him, claiming the tennis pro was identified as a suspect in a credit card theft. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton both apologized to Blake for the incident, which was fully caught on video by a camera on a nearby building. The policeman involved in the incident was put on administrative leave. His records, however, show that he has been accused of excessive force at least four other times. In addition, until Blake spoke to the media, police officials were unaware of the incident; the officer did not report it.
A woman from Long Island claims she was held in the mental ward of a hospital for eight days because police didn’t believe she owned a BMW. Kamilah Brock says she was stopped by police while driving in Harlem with her music blasting. Officers asked her why she didn’t have her hands on the wheel and she told them that she was dancing in the car to the music on the radio while she was at a stop sign. Brock, who is suing the city, says she was taken into custody, held for a few hours and released, but could not retrieve her car until the next day. Reportedly, when she went to pick up her car, she was handcuffed and taken to Harlem Hospital and injected with sedatives and lithium, while doctors kept asking her to deny that she owned a BMW. Brock has no record of mental illness, and she does in fact own the BMW she was driving. Her lawsuit is pending.
Stephen Colbert, who debuted as host of the “Late Show” last week, wore a Black Lives Matter wrist band on the show Sept. 11. An audience member, Patrick Waldo, had asked Colbert to wear the wristband during a pre-show Q&A session. “I stood up and nervously told him I’m a longtime fan. Then I told him I’ve been involved in the Black Lives Matter movement for the last year,” wrote Waldo, who said he is actively involved in the Black Lives Matter-related movement #ShutItDown. Waldo said he asked Colbert to say “Black Lives Matter” once during the show. Colbert then asked Waldo to bring him the wristband and Colbert put it on and told Waldo, “I’ll see what I can do. But I make no promises.”
Three Black siblings in New York City have decided to use their musical talent to help the homeless. The trio of Conners—Lauren, 11, Ashleigh 10, and Christian, 9—play classical music in the subway to collect money, which they donate to the homeless. They have been studying music since they were each 3 years old. “I saw the homeless people on the street, and I felt sad for them,” said Christian. The trio plays Bach, Beethoven and other classical tunes on violins and the cello. In one week, they raised $500. Most of the money goes to charities for the homeless, while they keep some to save for a new computer for the family.
When they aren’t playing in the subway, they play for sick kids at Columbia Presbyterian Children’s Hospital.
Attorneys for a White former police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Black man during a traffic stop were expected to argue this week that he should be released from jail before his murder trial, because he poses no threat to the public. Lawyers for Michael Slager have filed 150 pages of documents ahead of the hearing, including a toxicology report showing there was cocaine in Walter Scott’s blood when he was shot fleeing Slager. The assessment, by Charleston-area psychologist Dr. Leonard Mulbry Jr., concluded that Slager has no criminal history, is mentally stable and has no history of physical violence outside his work as a policeman. The decision on whether to free Slager on bond rests with a judge. “In a case like this, you have got the video tape, which regardless of what he says about what the tape really shows him shooting a man repeatedly in the back,” Joe Savitz told the AP last week. Slager, 33, has been in solitary confinement since his arrest. He was fired after the shooting, which inflamed the national debate about how Blacks are treated by law officers. Slager faces 30 years to life without parole, if convicted of murder.
Susan Hunt, the mother of Darrien Hunt, a 22-year-old man killed by police in Saratoga Springs last year, has rejected a settlement offer of $900,000 from the city, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. The settlement had stipulations in it that she could not talk about her son’s death. Hunt was shot and killed by police, when he allegedly acted aggressively toward them when they tried to stop him from walking down the street with what was described as a sword in his hands. “That’s not going to clear his name,” Hunt said. “And I could not, in good conscience, agree to that.” She has hired the law firm of the late Johnnie Cochran to represent her in the federal lawsuit.
The NAACP held a mass rally on youth and education at Virginia Union University in Richmond as part of the “America’s Journey for Justice” march. Themed “New Generation, Old Battle – The Struggle Continues,” the rally was held as part of the 860-mile march from Selma, AL. to Washington, D.C., led by NAACP President Cornell W. Brooks. The march is designed 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.” While in Virginia, “America’s Journey for Justice” will hold several teach-ins in communities along the route. Marchers reached the Virginia state line on Labor Day. The march ended in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 16 with an Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, where marchers met with lawmakers.
A family-friendly animated series about five diverse “tweens” seeking fame and fortune has found a home on Netflix. The 3-D urban music series, called “Da Jammies,” combines hip hop dance, music and fashion in in animation, “Da Jammies” follows five diverse tweens from the suburbs attending a performing arts middle school, who form a group in hopes of making it to the “big time.” The kids study singing, dancing and music to prepare for a run at superstardom, learning big life lessons along the way. Together they learn that the road to success, while a bumpy one, can still be navigated with hard work, dedication, and most of all belief in oneself. The show tackles the issues of growing up today, such as bullying, identity, self esteem, homelessness and other real world challenges. Special cameo appearances are made by rap legends Kurtis Blow and Yolanda “YoYo” Whitaker, actors Tommy “Tiny” Lister, Kyla Pratt and the late James Avery. The creators include Aulsondro Hamilton and William “Dolla” Chapman II, both of who are also voice talent.
Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya