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California

Entertainment Studios Networks (ESN), a Black-owned multi-media company, can add two instances of alleged racial animus to its suit against Charter Communications according to a California federal judge. The court also dismissed arguments that the suit is nothing but a “scam.” ESN and the National Association of African-American Owned Media brought the suit. They claim that Charter will not carry any ESN programs because the CEO of the cable giant, Tom Rutledge “is a blatant racist.” According to the judge, the arguments lack evidence and that ESN specifically targets companies when seeking government merger approval are “inappropriate” at this point. While Charter sought to have the suit dismissed, the judge gave ESN time to amend the lawsuit. Charter will have until Sept. 23 to respond to the newly amended suit. They claim in the complaint that Rutledge and other executives at Charter went out of their way to avoid carrying their networks. The newly amended suit alleges two incidents and show “direct evidence of racism,” ESN’s counsel Louis “Skip” Miller stated. He says he is “looking forward” to taking the case to trial. The owner, founder and CEO of ESN, Byron Allen, reportedly approached Rutledge in May only to be called “boy” before being told he had to “change his behavior.” Entertainment Studios has also filed a $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit against Comcast.

Connecticut

It was just the start of another school year, but the greeting was anything but routine for students arriving at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Hartford. One by one, the students received high-fives as they filed past rows of Black professional men on their way to the school entrance, introduced individually like members of a playoff team taking the court. Dozens of businessmen, policemen and others answered a call to show up at the dilapidated Hartford school in their work clothes or uniforms on Aug. 31. Organizer and local pastor, A.J. Johnson, said the welcome ceremonies began last year as a way to counter stereotypes of Black men, and do something positive at a time of heightened tensions over police shootings of Black men. But he said the ceremonies, which are planned this week at other schools in the city’s poor, largely Black neighborhoods, also aim to give a lift to students in traditional public schools that have seen many leave for charter and magnet schools. “What we wanted to do was support the kids who did not get a chance to go to a so-called ‘good school,’” Johnson told the Associated Press. “While many students arrived by bus and some came on foot with their mothers, Johnson noted that few were dropped off by men. Once all the children had gone into the building, he urged the men from the community to join his advocacy group in working with eighth-grade boys to teach them life skills.“The need for Black men to stand up is very critical particularly when it comes to education,” he said. Similar welcome ceremonies have been held for students from minority communities in cities around the country including Atlanta, Boston and Seattle.

District of Columbia

Georgetown University will give preference in admissions to the descendants of slaves owned by the Maryland Jesuits as part of its effort to atone for profiting from the sale of enslaved people, the president of the prominent Jesuit university in Washington, D.C. announced on Sept. 1. The school made the announcement as it released the recommendations of a school committee that was created last year to study Georgetown’s ties to slavery. The university also plans to establish an institute for the study of slavery, and to create a public memorial honoring slaves from whom Georgetown benefited. “We must acknowledge that Georgetown University participated in the institution of slavery,” President John DeGioia said at a campus gathering on Thursday. “There were slaves here on this hilltop until emancipation in 1862.” In 1838, two priests who served as president of the university orchestrated the sale of 272 men, women and children for $115,000, or roughly $3.3 million in today’s dollars, to pay off debts at the school. The transaction was one of the most thoroughly documented large sales of enslaved people in history, and the names of many of the people sold are included in bills of sale, a transport manifest and other documents. Genealogical research conducted by Georgetown and other organizations, including the New York Times, has identified many living descendants of the slaves.

Florida

Javona Glover, the niece of rapper T-Pain, was fatally stabbed at a Walgreens drugstore in Tallahassee on Aug. 30, according to news reports. The 23-year-old mother of a 2-year-old daughter was reportedly still alive when Tallahassee police arrived on the scene. Glover was said to have been bleeding heavily. The Walgreens was where Glover was employed. She was transported to a nearby hospital, but died later of her injuries, according to local media. Faheem Rashad Najm, better known by his stage name of T-Pain, is originally from Tallahassee. After hearing of his niece’s death, he took to Twitter to beg anyone to help find his niece’s killer. “The police are still lookin for the coward a n that just killed my niece at Walgreens in Tallahassee. If you got info pls help us out!” Several news agencies are also reporting that they believe the killer is the father of Glover’s 2-year-old daughter, 25-year-old Tavon Q. Jackson.

Indiana

DeShawn Franklin was asleep in his bedroom when police officers, with their weapons drawn, came flying in, according to the Washington Post. The startled youth was punched several times, including three times in the face. He was also tased, dragged out of his bedroom, handcuffed and placed in a police car. Franklin, an 18-year-old high school senior, knew he had done nothing wrong. But to cops, he did fit the description of a suspect being sought by officers: a slender, African American man with dreads. The incident occurred in the summer of 2012 in a northern Indiana suburb and prompted a civil rights lawsuit against the police officers and city officials. Earlier this month, a jury found that the officers violated Franklin’s constitutional rights by arresting him and entering his family’s home without a warrant, according to the Post. However, the jury ordered each of the defendants to pay Franklin and his parents $1 for the violations of their rights. The total award was $18 in damages.

Missouri

A cousin to R&B singer Janelle Monáe was murdered in a drive-by shooting while she was asleep. Natasha Hays, a mother of three teenagers, was reportedly sleeping when shots rang out around 3:45 a.m. in Kansas City. Police told the Kansas City Star that three other people were in the house at the time. According to People magazine, Hays teenage children—ages 18, 16, and 14 years old—were unharmed but were awakened by the gunfire and cried out for their mother. The 14-year-old reportedly entered Hays’ bedroom and discovered her body. “Gun violence has struck home,” Monáe, wrote on Twitter. “My beautiful 1st cousin was murdered. She was a mother of 3. Loved by her community.” The 33-year-old singer also said, “No one deserves to lose their mother, sister, cousin, friend, etc. to the hands of evil. Evil has no race.”

New Mexico

A once-thriving all-Black settlement in the desert is a ghost town that rarely appears on maps. Tour buses pass but never stop at a Houston building where Latino activists planned civil rights events. Motels that welcomed minority motorists along 1950s Route 66 sit abandoned. From a Civil War battlefield where Hispanic Union soldiers fought to birthplaces of civil rights leaders, sites linked to the nation’s struggle for racial equality are overlooked, neglected and absent from travel guides. “I think generally we need to be more inclusive,” said Rita Powdrell, president of the African American Museum and Cultural Center of New Mexico. “There are a lot of sites that should be recognized and remembered because they tell our story.” In Albuquerque, for example, there are no detectable markers for Black civil rights advocate and 1950 Nobel Peace Prize Ralph Bunche, who attended school in the city. Though funds are limited, efforts are underway to save some sites. In Albuquerque, city officials are working on a revitalization plan for the De Anza Motor Lodge. The empty and fenced off building was one of the motels that offered lodging to Black and Hispanic travelers along the famed Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles during segregation. But little has been done to promote Blackdom, the all-Black frontier ghost town that some advocates say should be turned into a tourism attraction.

Texas

Dallas Police Chief David Brown announced his retirement Sept. 1, two months after his impassioned response to a sniper attack that killed five officers made him the face of a city reeling from tragedy. Brown, who will be 56 this year, issued a statement saying he will retire Oct. 22 after 33 years with Dallas police and six years as chief. He did not give a reason for his decision to retire, but the mayor and city manager both said at a news conference that he was not being forced out. “I became a Dallas cop in 1983 because of the crack cocaine epidemic’s impact on my neighborhood,” the Black police chief said in the statement. “I wanted to be part of the solution. Since that time I have taken great pride in knowing that we have always been part of the solution and helped to make Dallas the world class city it is today.” Brown drew broad praise from President Barack Obama and others for his leadership in the days after the shootings by a Black Army veteran who said he was motivated by revenge in the wake of police shootings elsewhere that killed or injured Black men.

Virginia

Heather Lynn Sebra watched as her son jumped on top of John Thomas and started pummeling him with punches at a high school in Heathsville. But when she jumped in and slapped Thomas in the face, police say she crossed the line and committed assault, reports the Grio. A short video clip that went viral shows Sebra’s son charging and taking Thomas down to the ground. He proceeds to slam Thomas several times all while punching the teen in the head. Sebra pulls her son off the boy, only to hit him herself with a hard slap to the face. “You are not gonna call my son a n–r, do you understand me?” she yells in the recording. Both Sebra and her son are White and Thomas is Black. Thomas never fought back during the altercation and seemed confused by the woman’s accusations. “What? Why would I call him a n–r?” he asked after the slap. Sebra has been charged with assault and has been served with a protective order.

National

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced $18.9 million in renewal awards to build or improve agricultural and food science research facilities and equipment at historically Black Land-Grant Colleges and Universities. This builds on USDA’s ongoing efforts to foster strong partnerships with the community, ensure equal access to USDA programs and services, and support educational opportunities for the next generation of farmers and ranchers. “These awards help colleges and universities make improvements that support cutting-edge academic research and foster 21st century innovation that will shape the future of American agriculture,” said Joe Leonard Jr., USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. The awards provide funding for the acquisition and improvement of food, agricultural and human sciences facilities and equipment, including libraries, so that institutions, including Tuskegee University, may participate fully in the production of human capital in the food and agricultural sciences. North Carolina A&T is receiving an award of $1.12 million, which will be used to construct a Complex for Urban and Sustainable Agriculture, Food, Education and Research (C-U-SAFER) building and to establish a student farm.