Alabama

UAB running back Greg Bryant remains in critical condition after being found shot inside a car early Saturday (May 7) morning in West Palm Beach, Fla., school officials confirmed. Previous reports incorrectly said Bryant had died after the school released a statement mourning his death. However, school officials now report he is alive and hospitalized in critical condition. Bryant, 21, had just joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He was found shot in the driver’s seat along with passenger Maurice Grover on Interstate 95 at around 4:45 a.m. Saturday. Bryant was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in critical condition along with Grover, 25, who only sustained minor injuries. No witnesses had been identified and it was unclear what prompted the shooting, police said.

Arkansas

An attorney for the family of a Black man fatally shot by Little Rock police in 2010 says the roughly $1.5 million settlement in the family’s lawsuit marks the largest settlement in the city’s history for a police shooting. The city agreed last week to pay the family of Eugene Ellison $900,000 and formally apologize. Attorney Mike Laux says that brings the total settlement in the family’s lawsuit to about $1.5 million, when added to the agreement reached in April with the apartment complex where the shooting occurred. Laux says that’s the largest settlement in Little Rock history for such a case, and likely the state. Laux says the apology from the city is more important to Ellison’s sons, one of whom is a Little Rock police lieutenant and another who is a former Little Rock police officer. Ellison was shot after the two off-duty officers who were working security at the building entered Ellison’s apartment without a warrant. The lawsuit alleged that one of the officers improperly used deadly force by shooting Ellison following an argument and scuffle. Neither of the officers, who are both White, was criminally charged. Both remain on the Little Rock police force.

California

Change your record, change your life is the motto of the upcoming Long Beach Justice Resource Fair, which will be held June 1 from 3 until 7 p.m. at the Long Beach Convention Center, Seaside Room, 300 E. Ocean Blvd. The fair is being presented by the A New Way of Life organization and will provide free legal help, voter education and other services. Call (323) 563-3575 for more information and how to register.


On May 4, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB2X-7 raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 for the nearly 40 million people living in California. “Getting to this point feels like reaching the finish line of a long quest in California, but it is just the beginning for the country,” said Assemblyman Jim Wood. “We have kicked this door down for our colleagues in other states to follow. The wave in Hawaii has turned into a tsunami in California, and I think it won’t be long before we see it roll all the way to Washington, D.C. As the largest state in the country, California’s courage on this issue should lead the way for other states to step up to the challenge. The Governor and my colleagues deserve tremendous credit for displaying the courage it took to do the right thing.”

Georgia

A Black woman in Atlanta woman was charged with terrorist threats and inciting a riot after posting on Facebook that she condoned the killing of White cops, but after issuing a public apology last week, the charges against her were dropped. Last April, Ebony Dickens wrote on Facebook that the public should “rise up and shoot every White cop.” Dickens said that her post was meant to be satire but that she understood why she was arrested. “It was not meant that way. I would never advocate for anybody else to be harmed by anyone. I wouldn’t push that upon my worst enemy. It’s not the person that I am,” Dickens said in her public apology.

Illinois

Illinois State Attorney Anita Alvarez said in an announcement last week that she will withdraw from the Laquan McDonald case, the Washington Post reports. Alvarez, who lost her re-election bid earlier this year, said that she is asking for the court to appoint a special prosecutor in her place in the controversial case that has drawn national attention. Alvarez was the one who announced murder charges against Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in October 2014. However, activists and civil rights attorneys have long called for a special prosecutor, accusing Alvarez of being too close to the police. Alvarez, who has defended the “meticulous, thorough investigation” that was conducted, said that although there was “no legal conflict of interest” to stop her from handling the case, she thought it best to turn things over to a special prosecutor, given her recent election loss.

Indiana

Tuskegee Airmen Inc. will host its 45th annual convention July 12-17 at the Westin Indianapolis Hotel. This year marks the Grand Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen Experience. Pilots, nurses, mechanics, ground crew, air traffic controllers, meteorologists, stenographers, armorers and other support personnel saw the activation of the first Black combat aviation unit at Tuskegee Army Air Field and other locations. March 22 marked the 75th anniversary of the inauguration of the U.S. Army Air Corps 99th Pursuit Squadron. Documented original Tuskegee Airmen will be in attendance. This year’s convention will proceed over several days and will feature a “Welcome Day,” “Heritage Day,” “Diversity/Military Day” and “Youth Day” intermingled throughout TAI organizational business meetings, training seminars, historical documentation and more. Rounding out the convention and celebration will be the Tuskegee Airmen Grand Gala on Saturday, July 16, from 7 until 9 p.m. More info at http://tuskegeeairmen.org

Iowa

The University of Iowa and police said last week they are investigating as a hate crime a report that a Black student was reportedly beaten by a group of White men in a racially motivated attack. Marcus Owens, a 19-year-old freshman from Naperville, Ill., was beaten after he left a bar on Saturday night by three White men who yelled racial slurs at him, according to an ABC television affiliate in Chicago. The attack left Owens with a damaged eye socket. He also had his front teeth knocked out and needed about a dozen stitches to close a cut on his lip, ABC-7 in Chicago said.

New York

The West Point military academy has opened an inquiry after 16 Black female cadets posed for a photo with fists raised in militant style. The pose struck by the cadets, dressed in their gray uniforms while standing on the steps of barracks in late April, is seen by some critics as an implicit show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement and thus a potential violation of a Defense Department rule against “partisan political activity.” Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Kasker, a spokesman for the military academy in New York, confirmed that the cadets were members of the current graduating class. “Academy officials are conducting an inquiry into the matter,” he said last Saturday. The young women were following a longtime tradition at West Point, where soon-to-be graduates each year strike stern and straight-laced poses in historic style much as their predecessors have done for more than a century. But instead of raising their sabers to the sky, as they did in another photo without controversy, the Black student-officers sparked a mini-tempest by raising their fists at a school with a predominantly White and male student population. Some active-duty officers and army veterans have complained that the pose seemed to violate Pentagon rules on avoiding political activity by paying tribute to the Black nationalism of the civil rights-era Black Panthers group or to the militant tone of the present-day Black Lives Matter protests against police abuse.


“Harlem on My Plate,” a documentary short film that explores the history of Harlem’s food renaissance, was accepted to participate in competition in the Narrative Short Films category at the New York City International Film Festival (NYCIFF), which ran April 25 – 29, and in the Short Films category at the NYC Indie Film Festival, which ran April 27 – May 1. Presented by Citi in support of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the film is archived at the institute and chronicles how food has remained at the center of the past, present, cultural, social and economic growth of Harlem. Rochelle Brown and Sonia Armstead of Powerhouse Productions, known for creating quality culinary/lifestyle content, wrote, directed and produced the project. “We’re beyond thrilled that our film has been selected to screen and compete at these two outstanding festivals. It’s so appropriate, as the village of Harlem is and will continue to be, a vital part of the allure of New York City,” Brown said.

North Carolina

A mother in Wake County is furious after her 15-year-old was suspended from school for possession of drugs, even though the student was only accused of smelling like marijuana and later passed a drug test, WNCN reports. Jakayla Johnson, a Black student, was in class at Garner Magnet High School with about 30 other students when a school resource officer interrupted the class, saying that there was a smell of marijuana from down the hall. “I was feeling embarrassed because they called me out of everybody,” the 15-year-old recalled. Jakayla said that after about five minutes of searching the class, the officer singled her out. “They told me to spread my fingers and they smelled my fingers,” she added. She was then taken to the office, where she was patted down and made to remove her shoes. Her book bag was also searched. “It was explained to Jakayla that for her hands to smell so pungently of marijuana, she would have to have possessed it in her hands at some recent point in time,” a document obtained by the news station from Wake County Schools states. Jakayla was suspended for five days and also required to take drug classes or face suspension for the rest of the year. The results came back negative for any drugs. Jakayla has an appeal date for her suspension set for May 18, but she has already missed three tests during her suspension and is struggling to catch up on her work, WNCN reports.

Ohio

Last week, Cleveland reached a $6 million settlement in a lawsuit over the death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black boy shot by a White police officer while playing with a pellet gun outside a recreation center. An order filed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland said the city would pay out $3 million this year and $3 million the next. There was no admission of wrongdoing in the settlement. Family attorney Subodh Chandra called the settlement historic but added: “The resolution is nothing to celebrate because a 12-year-old child needlessly lost his life.”

Tennessee

A 15-year-old high school sophomore got a perfect score on the ACT (American College Testing) exam, reports Blavity.com. Dwight Moore, a student at Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, scored a 36 out of 36 on the college entrance exam, putting him in rare company – less than one percent of the 1.9 million test takers received a perfect score in 2015. Moore reportedly said that he thought the score was a mistake when he first saw it. “I sat there in shock for a second. There is no way this is right,” he said. “It didn’t have the writing score so I thought this was just a placeholder for later so I am not getting my hopes up; when the writing score came out too, I actually got a 36.” The school principal issued a statement. “Please join me in congratulating sophomore Dwight Moore for his perfect composite score of 36 on the ACT,” said CBHS principal Chris Fay. “Dwight is an incredibly polite and humble young man, who is respected by both his peers and teachers. He is a model student at CBHS.”

Texas

A third grade girl in Belton was recently sent home from Tarver Elementary school because the assistant principal did not approve of her hairstyle. The school’s code of conduct prohibits Mohawks and “faux hawks,” but the little girl’s mother, Marian Reed, claims the style she gave her daughter is neither of those. She also pointed out that there were no complaints when her daughter wore the same style but with long artificial extensions. Reed spoke to a local news team and told the station the incident has traumatized her daughter making her cry and say that, “no one was going to want to be her friend because her hair was not as pretty as the assistant principal’s… that’s heartbreaking because that’s just what God naturally gave her.” Reed would like to see school administrators go through diversity training and is upset at the way this incident was handled from the start. “They could have called me and discussed it with me without pulling her out of class and without having that conversation in front of her because now she’s questioning her natural image and, at nine years old, she’s going to remember that for the rest of her life,” she says.

National

The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC