The Living Legends Foundation Inc. (LLF) held its 25th anniversary and 20th awards dinner and gala at the Taglyan Cultural Complex in Hollywood. The organization honored seven distinguished African Americans, including Miller London, CEO of Russell Street Entertainment/CEG Music; Tony Gray, founder and president of Gray Communications; Sheila Eldridge, CEO of Miles Ahead Entertainment; Regina Jones, founder and editor of SOUL newspaper; Jamie Foster Brown, founder of Sister 2 Sister magazine; Larry Khan, sr. vp of Urban Promotion at Interscope Records; Herb Trawick, creator, executive producer and co-host of Pensado’s Place; and LLF founder Ray Harris. Dina Andrews, council aide to City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson of the 8th District, presented the Living Legends Foundation to honorees and board officers a certificate of recognition during the awards gala on behalf of the City of Los Angeles. The LLF announced its inaugural scholarship fund, which will provide assistance for students from three Historically Black College and Universities, including Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C.; Texas Southern University in Houston; and Howard University in Washington, D.C.
District of Columbia
A teenager in Washington, D.C, is suing the District for failing to prevent false imprisonment, assault and battery by Metropolitan Police Department officers, report multiple news sources. A video clip of Jason Goolsby, a Black college student, being forcibly detained by D.C. police in Eastern Market (a destination spot for fresh food, community events, and on weekends, local farm-fresh produce and handmade arts and craft) went viral online and sparked protests last year. The incident happened after an unidentified woman called police because she felt “uneasy” at a Citibank ATM machine where she encountered Goolsby and a friend, Mike Brown. In the clip, Goolsby is seen twisting in pain while Brown shouts to the officers that Goolsby didn’t do anything. “It scarred him for life—physically and emotionally,” Goolsby’s attorney, Peter Grenier, told the news site DCist. According to Goolsby’s lawsuit, he is not only suing the officers involved, but also the police dispatcher—all of whom are currently unidentified. The suit alleges that the dispatcher gave false information that contributed to the series of events. Goolsby is suing for compensatory damages for no less than $1 million, and punitive damages in the amount of $10 million.
Nearly a month after a federal appeals court ruled that employers have the right to ban dreadlocks at work, management at a Chicago-area movie theater decided to fire a 16-year-old girl on her first day because of her loc’d hair. Tyler House had an interview and was later offered a position at Marcus Cinema’s new Country Club Hills location in September, according to the Chicago Tribune. When she arrived at training for her new job on Oct. 3, a manager pulled House aside and told her “dreads are not allowed,” she told WGN. She shook his hand and left but House claims no one told her about the hair policy prior to her first day. House’s mom, Darnetta Herring, told the local outlet that she wasn’t pleased with the company’s decision.
“Why is it that dreadlocks are not permitted by your employees but it’s OK for us to spend our dreadlock money in your company? They come to an African American neighborhood but they discriminate against some of us.” Marcus Cinema issued a statement on its Facebook page last week, saying that the company has re-examined its decision to fire House based on her hair. “Effective immediately, no job candidate will be disqualified because they wear dreadlocks,” the statement read. “We are in the process of reviewing our protocols, and will update them to ensure that they reflect our professional standards and commitment to recognizing the diversity of our associates.” The company also offered to give House her job back, but the young woman told the Tribune that she refused because she didn’t “want to work for any job that would fire me for my hair.”
Three Kansas men who dubbed themselves “The Crusaders” plotted for months to bomb a mosque and apartment complex home to Somali immigrants, according to the Department of Justice, reports the New York Daily News. Curtis Allen, 49, Gavin Wright, 49, and Patrick Stein, 47, were charged Oct. 14 with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. The trio planned to strike after the Nov. 8 presidential election. Allen, Wright and Stein were part of a larger militia group, and were planning to detonate four car bombs at the Garden City apartments, in Garden City, many of whose residents are Somali and Muslim and work at the nearby Tyson Foods beef slaughterhouse. The complex also includes a mosque. FBI agents were able to stop the plot with an undercover informant and Allen’s girlfriend, who reportedly showed authorities Allen’s supply room, after he allegedly hit her during a fight.
A Flint resident is asking for a grand jury investigation of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s decision to use at least $2 million in state funds for his legal representation related to criminal probes of the city’s water crisis, according to the Associated Press (AP). The complaint, filed Oct. 11, alleges that the governor broke the law by violating conflict-of-interest prohibitions and “unilaterally” spending taxpayer money for personal benefit without the authority to do so. The lawsuit requests that the Ingham County Circuit Court, based in Michigan’s capital city, convene a one-judge grand jury to investigate. Flint’s population is 60 percent African American, according to the U.S. Census. Keri Webber, who brought the complaint with assistance from Democratic attorney Mark Brewer, said the lead-contaminated water sickened her family. Her 16-year-old daughter sustained liver damage, her 21-year-old daughter contracted Legionnaires’ disease and her husband lost vision in one eye due to a stroke she attributes to high blood pressure associated with lead. “It’s one more salt in the wound … He’s taking our money to pay for his legal defense,” Webber, 46, told AP in a phone interview. “That money should be going back into the city of Flint. It should be going back into medical care, psychological care, all of these things.”
A Senate candidate has sparked outrage after a proposed campaign event in Harlem promised “Kool Aid, KFC and watermelons.” Jon Girodes, the Republican candidate for New York’s 30th District, used the promise of the free food in an email to a news station in discussing a real estate dispute, reports The Grio. “P.S. … I’m hosting an event in Harlem which will be in front of the state building in a few weeks. We will [donate] Kool Aid, KFC and watermelons to the public on 125th Street in Harlem. Please join us to help the community,” he wrote. Girodes, who has headlined his campaign website with an image of Martin Luther King Jr., said that the message was not racist. “What I think is anyone who gives free food to people is doing them a favor,” Girodes told reporters. “Get a bunch of people who say it’s offensive and let me go into their neighborhood and give it out for free and see if they take it.”
Franklin D. Gilliam Jr., Ph.D., was installed as the 11th chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. “Frank knows we’re still building for the next generation, and he recognizes the joy and the honor in that task—the sheer excitement of what we get to do each day in higher education,” said UNC System President Margaret Spellings. “His leadership gives me enormous hope for what we can accomplish together, and I’m proud to welcome Dr. Gilliam to this university.” Gilliam’s career in higher education spans three decades. He served at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) as a long-standing faculty member in political science, and most recently, served as dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs for seven years. Just prior to assuming the deanship, Gilliam served as the inaugural associate vice chancellor of community partnerships for the University of California system for six years. He began his academic career at the University of Wisconsin. He is author of “Farther to Go: Readings and Cases in African-American Politics.”
Portland Police used pepper spray and made 10 arrests as demonstrators stormed City Hall Oct. 12, and tried to stop the council from voting on a new police contract that includes more pay for officers and raises questions about the future use of body cameras, reports the AP. The demonstration forced Mayor Charlie Hales to stop the meeting, but city commissioners soon reconvened in a secure, third-floor room to vote, while protesters from Black Lives Matter and Don’t Shoot PDX were kept below. Amid chants and shouts from below, the commissioners voted 3-1 in favor of the new contract, setting off another round of protests that briefly blocked public transit in the downtown core. Cops eventually forced the protesters out of City Hall and into the streets. Several were hit by pepper spray as officers cleared the doors. Commissioners Nick Fish told KATU-TV that the contract did not include any language on body camera policy. “It was carved out and will be discussed with the community later,” Fish told the station.
On Oct. 10, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) hosted a pre-Dove awards reception in Nashville to celebrate ASCAP’s nominees for the annual Gospel Music Association Awards. Motown Gospel artists and nominees Janice Gaines and Brian Courtney Wilson performed. The Dove Awards were held last weekend in Nashville. Winners included Hezekiah Walker, Jonathan McReynolds and Williams McDowell.
Flaunting their signature black uniforms and matching berets, members of the Black Panthers in Houston gathered Oct. 15 to share fiery speeches in celebration of the group’s 50th anniversary, reports the Houston Chronicle. Two dozen Panthers and Panther supporters gathered around 3 p.m at MacGregor Park near the Third Ward to share their thoughts about Black activism. Brian Kyles, a 23-year-old newcomer, started the oratory session with a speech from Black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey.
“When Mother Nature created man she deprived him of nothing,” he recited. “He was given the faculty of understanding all things around him. This faculty for understanding has not been taken away from him. None of his senses have been taken from him. So there is no excuse for the Black man lacking the knowledge that men use to beautify the world and to produce all that he needs for his happiness,” he continued, reciting the whole speech by memory.