California

Piper Kerman, author of “Orange Is the New Black,” will receive the Industry Impact Award at A New Way of Life’s Re-Entry Project Gala on Dec. 6. She will be recognized for her work in raising awareness about the inequities in America’s criminal justice system. Other honorees include attorney Daryl Atkinson, of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice; Terron Franklin, A New Way of Life; and World Vision-Women of Vision, Orange County. The event begins at the Omni Hotel, Los Angeles at 5 p.m. Info at www.anewwayoflife.org.


J Holiday, Silk, Troop and Men at Large are donating songs to Andern Records for a project called “A Growth of a Man: Inspired By Her,” designed to benefit Andern Educational Research Inc. The compilation of 13 inspiring songs about women depicts the growth of a man through the eyes of a woman, says Donna Jones, CEO of Andern. Everyone donated their time and 100 percent of sales from the project will go to the Andern program, which “seeks to find, advocate and support highly motivated and qualified students of color from South Los Angeles, Watts, Inglewood and Compton with educational and financial support.” For more info on the initiative, go to www.reachgems.info.

Colorado

African American James Moss, a Denver man who was once homeless, is now giving back to others after receiving donations of more than $56,000 in 11 days in a crowd funding campaign. He has been seen handing out free food to the homeless and hungry in downtown Denver. Moss moved to Denver from New York City to start a new life with his young son, but when he got there, arrangements had fallen through and he found himself and his son homeless. The media picked up his story and thousands of people made donations to the family to help them get back on their feet. Moss says he wants to repay the kindness he had received and plans to organize more events to help the homeless in the future.

Georgia

Jimmy Winfrey, who was charged with the attempted murder of Lil Wayne while on his tour bus, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison in a Georgia courtroom. He also got 10 years of probation. Winfrey was initially indicted on 30 charges stemming from the April 2015 shooting incident but ended up pleading to six related charges, according to the Huffington Post. Winfrey is the only one to face charges from the shooting, although Bryan Williams, aka Birdman, CEO of Cash Money—the record label Lil Wayne is on—and rapper Young Thug were named as Winfrey’s associates.

Illinois

Black Friday in Chicago last week had a totally different meaning than in other cities, as protestors shut down “Miracle Mile,” a major shopping area. Thousands marched and disrupted shopping on the busiest shopping day of the year to protest the killing by a police officer of 17-year-old Black teen Laquan McDonald in 2014. The video of the shooting had just been released Thanksgiving week. Jason Van Dyke, the officer allegedly involved in the shooting, has been charged with first-degree murder. Video shows the cop firing 16 shots into the teen as he is walking away. Protestors indicated they are upset because they feel the shooting was covered up city officials for too long and are asking for the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez. According to Fox News, Chicago Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy resigned Tuesday at Emanuel’s request.


Police in Chicago have announced the arrest of at least one man in the murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee, who was reportedly lured into an alley and assassinated because of his father’s gang affiliation. Corey Morgan, 27, was taken into custody and charged on Nov. 27, approximately 27 days after the boy’s murder. Media sources say police are seeking at least two other men in connection with the brutal slaying of an innocent child. Hundreds of people attended the young boy’s funeral, where they discussed his love of basketball, video games and macaroni and cheese.

Louisiana

A man in New Orleans who is from Mississippi has been charged with stabbing his parents—killing his father for ordering fast food and not getting any for him. Ronald Pritchett, 32, faces charges of second-degree murder and auto theft in connection with the incident, which left Percival Pritchett, 58, dead and his wife Renitta suffering from stab wounds.

Minnesota

Four men were taken into custody last Wednesday as Minneapolis police considered charges against them in connection with the shooting last week of five protestors in the Black Lives Matter movement. The men, ages 21, 23, 26 and 27, are being held as the police work with the FBI to determine charges, which could include assault. Three of the men are White and one is Asian American. Most of the protestors were Black, although it was not made clear by authorities if all who were assaulted were Black. The protestors were demonstrating against the death of Jamar Clark, 24, who died from a wound to the head a day after being shot. Masked men opened fire on the protestors. None of the inquries reported were life-threatening.

New York

“Motown the Musical” is set to return to Broadway in New York City in July 2016 for an 18-week run. The show is actually on a nationwide tour that is set to hit Washington, D.C., Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio and Wisconsin in coming months. It also goes to London in February. Berry Gordy is actively involved in the production of the show, which is being directed by Charles Randolph Wright and has already received four Tony nominations in its two-year history.

Washington

Western Washington University shut down last week, after a racist threat on social media sparked controversy. Students were sent home a day early for the Thanksgiving holiday. No details were revealed about whether the threats were made by students or outsiders. An email was sent out by the Seattle-area school president, Bruce Shephard. “I need to be very clear here: we are not talking the merely insulting, rude, offensive commentary that trolls and various other lowlifes seem free to spew, willy nilly, although there has been plenty of that, too. No, this was hate speech,” he wrote. Western Washington University has about 15,000 enrolled, of which 26 percent are estimated to be minorities.

National

President Barack Obama honored 17 people with the prestigious Medal of Freedom award last week in Washington, D.C. Those recognized included Willie Mays, Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, Yogi Berra, singer James Taylor, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, composer Stephen Sondheim, violinist Itzhak Perlman, (D) Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, the late Rep. Shirley Chisholm, and Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana. “Today we celebrate some extraordinary people; innovators, artists and leaders who contribute to America’s strength as a nation,” the president said. Other honorees included Bonnie Carroll, a veterans advocate; Katherine G. Johnson, of NASA; William Ruckelhaus, a former chief of the EPA; Indian tribal advocate Billy Frank Jr. and civil rights activist Minora Yasui.


CNN conducted its own poll on racism in America and has revealed these results. According to the survey, 49 percent of Americans believe racism is a problem in America today. That’s 21 points higher than four years ago, when only 29 percent believed so. Opinions varied on race: while 29 percent of White people believed racism was an issue, 66 percent of Blacks and 64 percent of Hispanics believed it is. A new series, “Race and Reality in America,” hosted by Don Lemon, began airing on CNN Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 10 p.m. EST.

Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya.