California

New York Giants safety Nat Berhe said last week that he is “sick” over the fact that one of his cousins—Isaac Amanios—was killed in the San Bernardino terrorist attack. He Tweeted: “The true terror is that this keeps happening. I still can’t believe it. Take a moment to think of the families hurting right now.” Berhe said this really hit home for him. He was born in Fontana and graduated from Colton High near San Bernardino and went to San Diego State University. He added that one of his parents worked close to the office that was attacked. Fourteen people died and 21 were injured when a couple that was later identified as ISIS sympathizers opened fire in a county office building. Police later killed the two.

Colorado

Ke’Arre Stewart, one of the victims of the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, was an African American military veteran who was dedicated to helping others. According to NBC News, the Iraq War vet was shot by gunman Robert Lewis, while Stewart was outside the clinic, but he still managed to run inside to warn others to take cover and get down. “I believe that was his military instinct, you know: Leave no soldier behind, leave no civilian behind, just leave no one behind,” said his brother Leyonte Chandler. “So he ran back inside, trying to help out others. I don’t know where he was at, as far as how many more breaths he had, but he knew. And before his time ran out, I guess that was his main priority … to help save other lives.” Two others, including a police officer, died in the shooting rampage and several more were injured.

Florida

Bethune Cookman University will award two individuals with honorary doctorate degrees this weekend at its Performing Arts Center. Civil rights martyrs Harry and Harriette Moore will receive the honors posthumously. In addition, retired Walt Disney World executive Bob Billingslea and former SeaWorld President ,Terry Prather, will be honored as well. The Moores will be recognized for their impact on the nation, the state of Florida and the immediate community. Skip Pagan, a grandson of the Moores, will be in attendance to accept the degrees for his family. Billingslea, an influential Walt Disney executive, spent 43 years with Disney and continues to serve as an invaluable adviser to Disney and other organizations. Prather is this year’s commencement speaker.


Hip Hop Sisters Foundation founder MC Lyte, organization president/CEO Lynn Richardson and executive director Latoyia Dennis are presenting the W.E.A.L.T.H. Experience, created in part by Prudential, Jan. 2-5, in Miami at the 1 Hotel. Notable speakers include Kelly Price, Faith Evans, Ledisi, Nicci Gilbert, Dr. Robin Smith, Erica Campbell, Lil Mama, Tamika Mallory, Cheryl “Salt” James, Tai Beauchamp, Michele Thornton and Miss Diddy. The W.E.A.L.T.H. Experience (www.wealthexperience.info) connects likeminded business partners and friends for goal reflection and spirit renewal through general sessions, workshops and themed events that teach women how to master their personal, business and financial objectives. Visit www.wealthexperience.info.com for more info.

Georgia

Gordon Smith, a teenager in Macon, recently honored several Negro League baseball players who had origins in the area. He decided to honor them after he visited the Negro League museum in Kansas City, Mo. He realized the players from Macon weren’t being honored, so he raised about $2,000 to pay for four wall plaques with a brief history of each to be put on display at Luther Williams Field in Macon. The minor league stadium, which was built in 1929, is part of Central City Park and is the second-oldest minor league stadium in the U.S. The players honored include Earnest Fann, Marion “Sugar” Cain, Robert “Boo” Scott and Lemuel Hawkins.

Louisiana

A federal jury last week issued indictments for four corrections officers from St. Bernard Parish Prison. The charges are for civil rights violations surrounding the death of 19-year-old Black mother Nimali Henry, who was locked up for 10 days because she couldn’t afford to pay a $25,000 bond. Henry had been arrested for disturbing the peace, simple battery and unauthorized entry, when she tried to access her daughter at someone else’s house. The family contends that prison officials wouldn’t listen when they tried to tell them that Henry had a blood disorder. According to the indictment, Henry never received her medication and was never evaluated by a medical person, while in custody. The four allegedly knew about her medical situation and did nothing to help her.


Six delegates from Dillard University were among the 40,000 conferees and 140 global leaders that attended the United Nations Framework Climate Change Conference of the Parties 21st convening (COP21) in Paris, during the last two weeks. Dillard conference participants include students Alexis Walker, public health senior from St. Louis, Mo.; sophomore Faith Flugence, a political science major from Lafayette, La. and Tiara Gray, a biology major from Dallas, Texas. Leading the delegation was Dr. Beverly Wright with staff participants Dr. Ebony Turner, Mary Williams, and Celeste Cooper. Participation in the COP21 was made possible through a project developed by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Climate Change Initiative in an effort to bring diversity to the environmental justice arena. The trip was five years in the making inconjunction with a project of the Dillard University Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) in partnership with the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston.

Michigan

Pharrell Williams has become a partner in a major Detroit housing development plan. The Grammy Award-winning producer/musician and entrepreneur is hooking up with housing developer Alexander Gorlin on a plan to develop prefabricated housing in the city. According to the Grio, Williams and Gorlin have yet to secure the land but they are in the design process. The idea is to create housing on empty city-owned land using prefabed housing models, which means parts of the homes will be built in factories and then shipped to the locations.

New Jersey

In Union, a former Kean University student has been charged with making fake threats against Black students at the school. Kayla-Simone McKelvey is charged with one count of creating a false public alarm, which comes with a possible three-to-five-year sentence. The 24-year-old used a campus computer to post anonymous threats on social media against Black students. The school increased security in wake of the threats.

New York

Rapper Nicki Minaj put up $100,000 and leveraged her two New York homes to post bond for her brother Jelani Maraj, who has been charged with the rape of a minor. Specifically, the 37-year-old was charged with “first-degree rape and first-degree sexual conduct with a child,” according to the Nassau First District Court. Media sources are reporting that Minaj put up $30,000 for her brother’s wedding, which took place in August, and that the two are “very close.” According to Newsday, the victim is only 12 years old

Ohio

According to the Huffington Post, Rodney Brown, a Black man in Cleveland, died on the scene of a traffic stop after he told police “I can’t breathe.” The incident occurred in 2010 when Brown was allegedly pulled over on New Year’s Eve for driving with his headlights off at night. An altercation between Brown and the officers at hand took place, during which Brown’s family contends that he was repeatedly Tased. An officer finally noticed he was unresponsive, but by the time emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene, Brown was reportedly in full cardiac arrest. Brown’s family filed a wrongful death suit in 2011. The case is now before the Sixth Circuit Court.

Oklahoma

Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holzclaw is on trial for raping 13 Black women. He is facing 36 counts of sexual battery, forcible sodomy and rape. The 28-year-old has pled not guilty. Prosecutors have drawn a picture of Holzclaw as a predator who targeted the most vulnerable women in the community, using the power of his badge. Most of the women had drug problems or prior arrests or warrants. He would stop them walking, run their records and then take them somewhere where he sexually assaulted them, feeling confident, prosecutors said, that the women wouldn’t report him. One of his victims, a 57-year-old grandmother, did report the assault and an investigation ensued, with 12 other victims eventually coming forward to testify.

Virginia

A man from Rocky Mount, who was previously arrested for displaying a black-faced dummy in a noose in his yard, has been taken into custody again, this time for posting a racially-inflammatory sign. Jack Eugene Turner, 52, placed a sign in his yard that said something to the effect of Black lives don’t matter and added the words, “Got rope?”

National

Radio Shack has named Nick Cannon as its chief creative officer. The move is part of Radio Shack’s effort to revive itself after the company filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, according to USA Today. Says Radio Shack chief of marketing, Michael Tatelman, Cannon will help with “innovating in the consumer electronics space and particularly the space that empowers young people.” Cannon will work with Radio Shack to develop exclusive products and advance the company’s education and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) initiatives. He is also slated to put on events and be a part of performances, says USA Today.