On Nov. 8, nine Black women were elected to become judges in majority Democratic Jefferson County, The Birmingham Times reported. The Black women who came out on top in the district and circuit courts are all Democrats. Javan Patton, Debra Bennett Winston, Shera Craig Grant, Nakita “Niki” Perryman Blocton, Tamara Harris Johnson, Elisabeth French, Agnes Chappell, Brendette Brown Green and Annetta Verin will be sworn into office in January. French, who was re-elected to Jefferson County’s Circuit Court, told the Times that she believes her hard work and years of experience helped to propel her to elected office. “I think the people don’t necessarily just support you just because of your race and gender. I think voters expect more than that. They look at our qualifications and make a decision about whom they can trust with the leadership position,” she said.
The election of councilman Michael Tubbs as Stockton’s first Black mayor was one of the few silver linings in what some call an otherwise horrific election night. Just 26 years old, Tubbs will also serve as the city’s youngest mayor. He has been on a path to excellence since his coming-of-age in a struggling South Stockton neighborhood. A high-achieving student, he attended Stanford University after receiving a scholarship from the school. Tubbs’ time at Stanford aided by internships with Google and the White Housen, was interrupted by the 2010 killing of his cousin. But rather than being deterred from continuing his education, the incident inspired a change in Tubbs’ aspirations. Stemming from a desire to affect change in his hometown, he began campaigning for councilman in Stockton’s 6th district just months prior to his graduation. Tubbs’ bid for councilman inspired the 2014 documentary “True Son.” After four years of serving as a councilman, Tubbs is preparing to serve the city on a much wider scale, and intends to begin with police reform. Tubbs secured his win against incumbent Anthony Silva.
After a fruitful career on the hardwoods, former Washington Mystics (WNBA) player Tamara James has taken on politics. The 32-year-old activist was recently named mayor of her old stomping grounds, Dania Beach, considered Broward County’s “oldest community” the Miami Herald reports. In a statement issued to the Sun Sentinel, James thanked her supporters for furthering her dreams of enacting change in the community. “I plan on being a voice for our residents, promoting smart economic growth and u”
Authorities say a sheriff’s deputy ordered George Zimmerman to leave a central Florida bar after Zimmerman accused a Black customer of hitting him and used a racial slur. Citing an incident report, news outlets report the bar manager asked Seminole County deputies to remove Zimmerman on Nov. 9 because he yelled at a female employee, snatched a credit card from her and used a racial slur against her. When deputies arrived, Zimmerman demanded that a Black man be arrested for hitting him. Authorities say bar video shows the man had given Zimmerman two friendly pats on the arm. No one was arrested. Zimmerman, who identifies as Hispanic, is the former neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted of second-degree murder after fatally shooting unarmed Black teenager. Trayvon Martin in 2012.
Kim Foxx secured the State’s Attorney of Cook County position in a landslide election against Republican candidate Christopher E. K. Pfannkuche, according to NBC Chicago. The high profile position is responsible for prosecuting criminals and protecting the state against litigation. Foxx was nominated as the Democratic candidate for the role, after winning the countywide primary election against incumbent Anita Alavrez in March, by securing 59 percent of the vote. Foxx’s nomination came in the wake of a firestorm of concern for Alvarez, who was highly criticized for her poor handling of the death of unarmed teen, Laquan McDonald, at the hands of police in Chicago.
A GoFundMe account set up to help restore a historically Black Mississippi church defaced by vandals has raised more than $200,000. Earlier this month, Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church congregants in Greenville found their sanctuary set ablaze with the words “Vote Trump” spray-painted on one of the church walls, ABC News reported. According to the outlet, no one was harmed in the fire, but the blaze left behind charred pews and inside structure damage. Hopewell’s pastor, Carolyn Hudson, said parishioners were “heartbroken,” but were faithful that “God would allow us to build another sanctuary in that same place.” Blair Reeves, a New York native who organized the GoFundMe campaign, told ABC he felt “compelled” to act and was overwhelmed at the response. Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons said there was no doubt the attack was calculated. “We are well familiar that this form of attack on a Black church has occurred many, many years ago. It happened in the 1950s; it happened in the 1960s, but we’re in 2016 and [this] should not happen.” The Greenville Police Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime, while the FBI announced plans to launch a civil rights probe.
Diana Richardson, a Brooklyn assemblywoman, was arrested last weekend after her 12-year-old son told authorities that she hit him with a broomstick. According to news reports, the situation developed over an argument over school for the young man. The boy walked into the 71st Precinct in Crown Heights 11:30 p.m. with a small contusion on his right hand and told officers his mother had hit him following an argument, sources said. Police arrested Richardson at her Crown Heights home shortly after midnight. Those familiar with the case said the incident came after the mother and son argued about his grades in school. She has been charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child, harassment, menacing and criminal possession of a weapon, according to court records.
In a ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, DDG 121, will be named Frank E. Petersen Jr., in honor of the Marine Corps Lieutenant General who was the first African-American Marine Corps aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps general officer. In 1950, two years after President Harry S. Truman desegregated the armed forces, Petersen enlisted in the Navy. In 1952, Petersen was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He would go on to fly 350 combat missions during the Korean and Vietnam wars. He also went on to become the first African American in the Marine Corps to command a fighter squadron, an air group and a major base. Petersen retired from the Marine Corps in 1988 after 38 years of service. At the time of his retirement he was, by date of designation, the senior-ranking aviator in the Marine Corps and the United States Navy. Petersen died last year at his home in Stevensville, Md., near Annapolis, at the age of 83.
On Nov.11, the North Carolina Republican Party denounced the “Victory Parade” being held by the Ku Klux Klan celebrating Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election. “We are disgusted and condemn this extremist ideology and associated actions in the strongest possible terms,” North Carolina GOP Chairman Robin Hayes said in a statement to CNN. “These acts and thought processes are no reflection of the heartbeat of this great country and are counter to the efforts to make America great again. We stand with the Democratic Party in calling these out-of-state troublemakers to go home.”
An Ohio judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a Ray Tensing, the ex-University of Cincinnati police officer who fatally shot and killed Sam DuBose, an unarmed Black man who was pulled over for a minor traffic violation last year, reports the Root. The jury of 10 Whites and two Blacks had been deliberating since Nov. 9 and on Nov. 12, Judge Megan Shanahan declared the jury was hopelessly deadlocked. Tensing, 26, faced life in prison after being charged with the murder of DuBose near the university. He pulled Dubose, 43, over on July 19, 2015, for a missing front license plate. The officer testified that his arm was stuck in the car as DuBose tried to speed away. Tensing said he feared he was going to be killed and fired one shot, striking DuBose in the head. At trial, prosecutors revealed that Tensing was wearing a T-shirt with a Confederate flag on it beneath his uniform. Body camera footage of the fatal interaction between DuBose and Tensing was released last summer. In the video, DuBose tells Tensing that he is licensed to drive but doesn’t have his driver’s license on him. Tensing was fired by the University after his indictment. In January, the university agreed to pay $4.85 million to Mr. Dubose’s family and provide an undergraduate education to his 12 children.
Zena Stephens made history last week, when she became the first African-American woman to be elected to the office of sheriff in Texas. The Democrat defeated Ray Beck in Jefferson County. “I think I bring a passion to help our community move to the next step,” Stephens said. “You know I love this community. I grew up here. I have experience both in a municipal police setting and the sheriff’s department, but I’m also still a police officer today.” Stephens succeeds Mitch Woods, who is retiring after 20 years as sheriff. Stephens is the county’s former chief deputy and present police chief at Prairie View A&M University.
The University of Virginia announced that it created an endowed professorship to honor the late Julian Bond. Professor Bond, who was a civil rights pioneer and led the NAACP for 12 years, taught at the University of Virginia for 20 years. As a student at Morehouse College, Bond was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He later served as the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center and was a member of the Georgia State legislature for 20 years. The Julian Bond Professorship of Civil Rights and Social Justice has been endowed with more than $3 million by 350 alumni and supporters. Ian B. Baucom, the Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia notes that “”Julian Bond worked tirelessly to ensure civil rights were extended to all Americans. The Bond Professorship will help us attract the faculty talent we need to continue the civil rights education work that Julian Bond championed throughout his life.”
Zero Gravity Management has optioned A’Lelia Bundles’ 2001 nonfiction book, “On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker.” Bundles is actually the great great granddaughter of Walker. According to Deadline, actress Octavia Spencer intends to star and produce a limited series based on Bundles’ biography. Nicole Asher will write the script. Kasi Lemmons has agreed to serve as the director. Madam C. J. Walker, considered the first self-made African American female millionaire.
Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya.