Six people have been announced as inductees into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. The 23rd annual induction ceremony will host honorees Dr. Eddie Reed of Heth, a cancer researcher and physician; Luenell Batson of Tollette, actress and comedienne; Mildred Barnes Griggs of Marianna, an educator and home economics pioneer; Cortez Kennedy of Osceola, an NFL All Pro; Bishop Donnie Lee Lindsey Sr. of Bluff City, a civic leader; and C. Michael Tidwell of Little Rock; a dancer, choreographer and art educator. The induction ceremony is Sat., Oct. 17, at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Monies raised at the event will go toward the Black communities of the state in areas such as youth development, health and wellness, education and business/economic development. Tickets and info available atwww.arblackhalloffame.org.
Eleven women who were asked to leave a Napa Valley wine train have filed a lawsuit, claiming they were singled out because of race. The suit asks for $11 million in damages. The women, who were mostly Black, said in the suit that it was humiliating to be kicked off the train while loud and drunken White passengers were allowed to stay aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. In response to the lawsuit, the train company has hired a former FBI agent to look into the allegations. One of the women asked to leave the train is 85. According to the lawsuit, the women said they were part of a book club that meets regularly. Before the train left the station, a train employee asked them to keep it down because they were offending other passengers. The same train employee approached them a second time and told them they had to leave and that police officers would be waiting at the next stop.
The 18th Los Angeles Focus First Ladies High Tea was held last weekend at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with more than 1,000 in attendance. Los Angeles County Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas received the prestigious Legacy Award. Celebrities and tastemakers in attendance or on the program included: Sheryl Lee Ralph, Ray Donovan, Shug Avery, Edwina Finley-Dickerson, Heather Hemmens,
Gaius Charles, Wren Brown, Omarosa Manigault, Alley Mills, Myesha Chaney, Bishop Ron, LaVette Gibson, Rev. Xavier L. Thompson, and Pastor Michael Fisher. Performing at the event were Stellar Award winner and Grammy nominee Byron Cage and Dove Awards nominee and Motown Gospel artist Courtney Wilson. This year’s event was co-hosted by Gospel legend Bobby Jones and Beverly “Bam” Crawford. It also honored women and church first ladies who have served the communities well through their activism and charitable contributions. The first lady honorees included: LaVette Gibson; Norma Fisher; Rinnita Thompson; and Kera Tulloss.
NSBE Professionals, the 6,300-member organization for technical professionals of the National Society of Black Engineers, will host its fourth annual Professional Development Conference (PDC) at the Hilton Hartford Oct. 8-11. The conference theme is “Transforming Your Path to Professional Success.” Over the course of three days, attendees will have the opportunity to connect with other professionals, corporate representatives and executives; sharpen their technical and professional acumen by attending various workshops and panel discussions focused on leadership, career development and personal growth; attend the annual Evening of Excellence, during which individuals and organizations are recognized for their contributions and commitment to excellence in community achievement; and close the conference with a community impact project. The project will bring middle school and/or high school students from the local area to participate in hands-on activities led by the NSBE Professionals, to inspire the next generation of engineers. This year’s keynote speaker is Steve Perry, Ed.D., founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford. Capital Prep has sent 100 percent of its predominantly low-income, minority, first-generation high school graduates to four-year colleges every year since its first graduation in 2006. In addition to being the principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Perry is an education contributor for CNN and MSNBC, an Essence magazine columnist, a best-selling author and host of the docudrama for TVONE, “Save My Son.” Mary McWilliams, national chair of NSBE Professionals and lead engineer for DLA Land and Maritime in Columbus, Ohio, commented, “As a society, we’ve set our sights on an ambitious goal: to increase the number of African American engineering graduates from 3,620 to 10,000 per year by 2025. This event will help give our members the impetus to achieve it.” More information about NSBE is available at http://www.nsbe.org.
A White police officer in Zephyrhills has been fired after a video showed him Tasing a Black man whose hands were up. Police Chief David Shears said he fired the officer, Tim Claussen, after he reviewed the evidence. Calling it the “right thing,” Shears said he fired Claussen over the Sept. 9 incident involving 42-year-old Lester Brown. In the video, the officer can be heard ordering the man to step through the door at his house while Claussen points a Taser at him. Brown raises his hands and asks what is going on, when Claussen apparently becomes impatient and fires the Taser into Brown’s belly. As Brown lies quivering on the ground, the cop can be heard saying, “You just made it a lot worse on yourself, Mr. Brown.” Brown is expected to file a civil lawsuit against Claussen.
Former NBA player Tracy “T-Mac” McGrady has launchd a mobile HBCU fundraising campaign with Atlanta-based HBCU Direct, a marketing collective specializing in HBCU relations. The HBCU Give 105 initiative is designed to build awareness of Black colleges and universities and increase enrollment. McGrady kicked off the campaign with a $105,000 donation. The goal of the program is to raise $105 million or $1 million per institution. Donations can be made at www.hbcugiv105.org.
Radio One founder and owner Cathy Hughes has reportedly invested $40 million into the new MGM Grand Casino set to open at National Harbor in Oxon Hill. The $1.3 billion project is expected to generate more than $713 million a year in annual gambling revenue. According to a release from the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce, Hughes’ investment could result in opportunities for
Radio One to broadcast MGM Grand events, such as boxing matches and concerts. James Murren, chief executive of MGM says the deal with Hughes is an example of what can happen when companies are required to include a minority-owned business. Aside from the Radio One deal, MGM Grand recently donated $1 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Minorities also account for 65 percent of MGM Grand’s employees. Murren says that diversity “has been the driving force behind the entire company.”
Members of the St. Paul-based Black Lives Matter group held a peaceful rally last week at the Twin Cities Marathon. Although the group initially indicated that it intended to disrupt the race, a meeting took place between members of Black Lives Matter and the mayor, and a compromise was reached. KSTP-TV (ABC) in Minneapolis/St. Paul reports that the group marched to within 50 yards of the barriers along the course of the race, but did not disrupt the event. No one was arrested. The annual race qualifies runners for the Boston marathon.
The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) held its sixth annual “Spirit of the Heart” Awards Dinner last weekend at Cipriani restaurant on 42nd Street in New York City. The annual celebration honored individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the field of cardiology and advancement in health equity by eliminating cardiovascular disease disparities in the delivery of healthcare. Actor Lamman Rucker was MC of the event which was chaired by Edward Lewis, publisher and
co-founder of Essence magazine. “The Association of Black Cardiologists is an integral forerunner in providing information and education about cardiovascular disease, especially for those at higher risk. I’m hopeful that the mission of ABC will be well supported as we honor those who are visionaries, leaders and contributors when it comes to combatting heart disease,” says Dr. Icilma V. Fergus, the group’s president. The organization, founded in 1974, has taken a leadership role in promoting the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease including stroke in Blacks and other minorities and achieving equity for all through the elimination of disparities among people of color. ABC represents an international membership of 1,500 health professionals, community lay members, corporate and institutional members dedicated to this cause.
Beyoncé, Prince, Jay Z, Usher, Nicki Minaj, T.I. and Lil Wayne are just some of the artists slated to perform at a charity concert called Tidal X:1020 on Oct. 20 at Barclays Center. The show is sponsored by the new streaming company, Tidal, which Jay Z launched earlier this year with a slew of big name artists. Jay Z says that 1 million people have subscribed to the streaming service at prices ranging from $10 to $20 a month. Proceeds from the concert are slated to go to New World Foundation. The concert will also be streamed on Tidal.
NBA star LeBron James is speaking out about gun violence after a baby in an Ohio town was killed by gunfire in a drive-by. A five-month-old baby girl was shot in the chest and died in Cleveland last week as a result of a stray bullet. The shooting happened last Thursday, the same day President Barack Obama expressed dismay after the shooting at a college in Oregon in which nine were killed. James went on his Twitter account and said, “Like seriously man! A baby shot in the chest in Cleveland. It’s been out of control but’s really OOC. Ya’ll need to chill the F out.” He went on to say, “C’mon man let’s do and be better! Don’t fall into the trap. This can’t be the only way. Accept more from yourselves. #TheLand #TheNation.”
A 12-year-old Black child in Glendale was suspended from school for engaging in a staring contest with a White child, according to media reports. And the courts have upheld the decision. Fox 19 reports that the case happened in September 2014 at St. Gabriel Consolidated School. The parents of the boy say he was “engaged in a staring game” with the White girl when a teacher allegedly accused the boy of intimidating her, even though, the parents say, she was giggling the whole time. Over several days, the boy was asked to write an apology letter, which he did, and then he was suspended. In the letter, he wrote, “I never knew she was scared because she was laughing.” The parents of the boy appealed the suspension, because they did not want it on his school records, but a local court upheld the discipline. The parents are expected to appeal to a higher court.
Sheriff Stanley Glanz of Tulsa has been indicted after an investigation into the shooting of an unarmed Black man was completed last week. A grand jury handed down the indictment after hearing testimony involving the case of Eric Harris, who was killed by a volunteer deputy who fired on Harris, mistaking his handgun for a stun gun. Glamz is facing two misdemeanor criminal counts, one for refusing to release an internal report related to the investigation. In addition, the grand jury recommended that Glanz be removed from office. The sheriff’s attorney said that he intends to resign. In the case of Harris, he was killed when officers were restraining him and the volunteer cop, Robert Bates, who is 73 and White, pulled out his gun and shot him. Later Bates said he thought he had grabbed his Taser. Bates has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Media sources are saying that Chris Harper Mercer, the gunman who killed nine people at a community college in a small town in Oregon, wrote about how he hated Blacks, despite the fact that his mother is Black. In fact, according to the Daily Beast, his mother was “fiercely protective” of him. Other media are reporting that his mother supported his penchant for guns and in fact often went to a shooting range with him, despite the fact that she knew he was emotionally unstable. After executing and wounding students and faculty at the college, Mercer allegedly killed himself as police closed in.
Donald Trump recently told reporters that he would have no trouble “wooing” Black voters, but a business event he attended with the African American Chamber of Commerce in Charleston drew few supporters. According to news reports, the audience was actually mostly White and didn’t even fill the room. According to MSNBC, Trump blew off the failed attempt to court Black voters in the state by saying, “Generally, Republicans do not do well with African Americans, but I have a lot of friends, African Americans in New York.” Trump went on to claim that a recent poll from SurveyUSA showed that 25 percent of Black Americans support him, and “that’s all” he needs to win the election. MSNBC reports that very few polls show Trump getting support from Black voters. Repiblican George W. Bush only received 11 percent and Mitt Romney, also Republican, snagged 6 percent in past elections.
According to ABC 13 TV in Houston, an African American mother posted a YouTube video challenging major publishing company McGraw-Hill after seeing that her son’s textbook refers to the TransAtlantic slave trade as “immigration” and slaves as “workers.” As a result of Roni Dean-Burren’s efforts, McGraw-Hill took to its Facebook page to acknowledge the mistake, adding that it would fix the wording in the digital version of the textbook and the next print run of the book. “This is change people!” Dean-Burren wrote on her own Facebook page. “This is why your voices matter. You did this. And to my sweet boy, my only son … my man Coby Burren … look at your power, son. #blackboysmatter #blacklivesmatter.”