District of Columbia
Seventeen-year-old Malia Obama graduated from high school, June 10, in Washington, D.C. during a speech he delivered in May, President Barack Obama told the audience: “My daughter leaving me is just breaking my heart. If there are any parents here, I hope you can give me some pointers on how not to cry too much at the ceremony and embarrass her.” During a recent appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” Obama said he would be getting a pair of sunglasses ready for the ceremony, just in case he couldn’t stop the tears. In January, he revealed that neither he nor Michelle would be speaking at the event and that no press would be allowed to photograph the graduation from Sidwell High School. Instead they wanted the event to be a private, family affair. Malia is headed to Harvard in 2017. Meanwhile, Sasha, who turns 15, June 17, will finish out her final two years of high school in D.C.
Police from Miami Gardens, Fla., are investigating the death of a young woman who was shot at a house party earlier this month, reports NBC 6. When police were called to the scene, they discovered 23-year-old Alexandra Dean suffering from a gunshot wound. She was taken by a fire rescue crew to Aventura Hospital, where she died. According to investigators, a large group had gathered outside the home when a disturbance erupted. Gunshots were fired and Dean was struck. The house party had been organized and advertised on social media, police said. According to Dean’s Facebook page, she had just graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. About 200 people were at the gathering. Police said it appeared Alexandra Dean was an innocent bystander and likely not the intended target of the shooting.
Kimbo Slice, who rose to become one of the biggest stars in mixed martial arts (MMA), died recently at a Florida hospital. He was 42 years old. The cause of Slice’s death was not immediately disclosed. According to various news outlets, Slice suffered a medical emergency at his home in Coral Springs. According to Coral Springs police spokeswoman Sgt. Carla Kmiotek, Slice’s death was not under investigation and no foul play was suspected. Slice’s real name was Kevin Ferguson. He was born in the Bahamas and worked as a strip club bouncer and bodyguard. He started competing in unsanctioned street fights in 2003. Clips of his violent knockout victories became very popular on the Internet.
A Georgia mother was on her way to volunteer at a summer feeding program for children when she was pulled over by three cop cars and told to get out of her vehicle. Little did she know, it was all an elaborate ruse orchestrated by her son, Army Staff Sergeant Salomon Robinson, who was returning home early from Iraq. After police stopped his mother, Claudette Hutchinson, an officer told her she was the victim of a hit-and-run. He asked for her driver’s license and for her to step out of the car so he could point out the damage to her vehicle. Seconds later, he motioned for his “partner” to bring back her license. “This young man coming home, after serving three deployments protecting us and our freedoms, I don’t think there was a single request this young man had that we shouldn’t make happen,” said West Point Police Chief Tony Bailey. “It was a great experiment to see her reaction and happiness, and joy and tears,” Robinson said.
At a major event for conservative Christians recently the Republican Senator from Georgia opened his remarks encouraging attendees to pray for our current president. Sen. David Perdue, a freshman senator from Georgia, opened his remarks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference by telling those in the audience “We should pray for him like Psalms 109:8 says: Let his days be few, and let another have his office,” the freshman senator said, in a mocking tone. The rest of that passage, which Perdue did not recite (but ostensibly was very familiar to the crowd), reads, “May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.” Predictably, the senator’s remarks provoked immediate backlash – even from Republicans – with a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, tweeting, “Republican Senator David Perdue is praying for President Obama to die. This is why Trump is the GOP nominee.”
The second National Black Political Convention opened last week at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary, with Tuskegee, Ala., Mayor Johnny Ford’s voice echoing throughout the ballroom, according to the Chicago Tribune. “We’ve come to Gary again with the purpose of working with some of the best and brightest minds from across the country. Over the next few days we will shape a national policy in terms of what priorities we feel are in the best interest of Black America, Ford said. “Black America, we fight. We fight. We fight for our rightful place in society.” The convention, like the first one also in Gary in 1972, was framed around finding solutions and creating a national agenda. Mayor Ras Baraka, of Newark, N.J., highlighted some of the issues that existed 44 years ago that are still present today, including health care. “We talk about violence within our communities but it’s still not the No. 1 cause of death in our neighborhoods,” he said. The primary cause of death in Black neighborhoods is congestive heart failure, diabetes and other medical ailments that stem from Blacks having poor access to health care, Baraka said.
A judge recently threw out the murder convictions of a young Black Detroit man who pleaded guilty to killing four people when he was 14, a remarkable turnaround in a case that has been in doubt for years after a professional hit man stepped forward and took responsibility for the slayings at a drug den, reports the AP. Judge Brian Sullivan acted at the request of the Wayne County prosecutor’s office and lawyers for Davontae Sanford. Prosecutor Kym Worthy had long resisted efforts to revisit the convictions until law schools at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University and other pro bono lawyers got involved in 2015. Sanford, now 23, was released on June 8 from a prison in western Michigan. “No one can give Davontae Sanford and his family back the nine years he has spent in jail for a crime he did not commit, but the court’s decision corrects a grave injustice,” said Heidi Naasko, an attorney for Sanford.
On Flag Day (June 14), McComb native and actress Aunjanue Ellis (“Quantico,” “The Help”) took the fight against the state’s flag all the way to the nation’s capital. Ellis was joined by Michael Eric Dyson, musician Genesis Be, attorney Carlos Moore, as well as lawmakers, celebrities and civic leaders from across the country. Moore made national headlines in February when he filed a lawsuit against Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant. Moore argued that the flag violates the equal protection and due process clauses in the Constitution and incites “acts of violence.” Two months later, Bryant designated April Confederate Heritage Appreciation Month. “There’s a growing campaign to take down the Mississippi state flag – the last flag in the Union with the Confederate battle emblem,” Tenisha Bell, publicist for Take It Down America, told The Root. “We all know what the Confederate battle emblem represents: hatred, death, slavery, Jim Crow. The time for the flag to come down is now.” The state has refused to disavow the Confederacy, holding on to the flag for more than 150 years.
A Black mother in the Bronx section of New York City was shot and killed as she tried to shield her three young children from a gunman in a park outside of her apartment building on June 11, according to the New York Daily News. At about 10:15 p.m., Jessica White, 29, saw a man dressed in black open fire into the playground at the John Adams Houses. White reportedly jumped up and took a bullet right below her heart, according to her mother Gola White, who was a witness. “She said, ‘Mommy! The kids!’” Gola White explained. Police describe the gunman as wearing a ski mask when he approached the park and opened fire targeting a group of men sitting nearby in the playground. “Bullets don’t have [a] name, bullets don’t have [a] direction,” Gola White said. The victim’s grieving mother said that after her daughter was shot, she quickly took her three grandchildren inside. Jessica White’s two brothers then ran outside and performed CPR on her, but she was taken to a local hospital where she died.
A freshman New York lawmaker recently took to the state assembly floor and shocked his colleagues when he referred to abortion as “African American genocide.” During a debate over a bill that would formally put federal abortion rights into state law, Assemblyman Ronald Castorina referred to the racial demographics of people seeking abortions. Castorina did not cite the source of the statistics in his speech. “I urge my friends and colleagues in the African American community to be very, very careful about this legislation, because we’re talking about African American genocide,” Castorina said. After the statement, shocked gasps and jeers could be heard from the assembled lawmakers. “But for Roe v. Wade, the African American community would be 36 percent larger today.” His comments prompted a parliamentary protest from Democrats in attendance as several lawmakers made use of a law that allows them to stand and ask Castorina to yield his time. When Castorina continued his speech, several Democrats simply left the assembly in protest.
A Black activist, educator and writer called “the Martin Luther King Jr. of the 19th century” will be honored at Philadelphia City Hall with a public memorial. Octavius Valentine Catto moved to the city with his family in 1844 from Charleston, S.C. In 1858, he graduated as valedictorian of his class from the newly founded Institute for Colored Youth, which later became Cheyney University, the nation’s oldest historically Black college. Catto also fought as a Union soldier during the Civil War and helped recruit other regiments of Black troops. The installation will include a 12-foot bronze statue of Catto. The $1.5 million monument, titled “A Quest for Parity,” is expected to be complete by late 2016. Catto led efforts to desegregate Philadelphia’s street cars and fought for equal voting rights, serving as a National Guardsman on the day he was killed, assigned to protect Black voters. Catto was fatally shot by Irish-Americans seeking to keep Blacks from voting on Oct. 10, 1871, the first Election Day since the 15th Amendment was passed granting African Americans the right to vote.
A police officer shot and wounded a man recently, outside baggage claim at the Dallas airport after the man attacked a woman believed to be the mother of his children, and then threatened the officer with a large rock, police said. “There doesn’t appear to be any other weapon present than the rock,” Dallas Police Assistant Chief Randall Blakenbaker said. In a recording of the incident, an officer in a yellow vest is seen pointing his gun, and at least nine gunshots can be heard. A man repeatedly yells, “stand down!” and a woman is heard screaming. Asked why the officer fired so many rounds at a man holding a rock, Blankenbaker said only that he did not know how many shots were fired. “We have to conduct an investigation over those types of speculation.” Some airport operations were temporarily disrupted, but the airport remained open. The man, who was identified as Shawn Diamond, 29, was taken to a hospital. Police said he was not critically wounded.
If you search for “three Black teenagers” in Google, the algorithm offers an array of mug shots. But if you search for “three White teenagers,” an assortment of images of smiling White girls and boys pops up,according to the Washington Post. The awareness comes after Kabir Alli, 18, a senior at Clover Hill High School, in Midlothian, Va., recorded the disparity and posted the video to Twitter. The result was a swift and massive viral response, and his video was shared more than 65,000 times. Google responded that its search algorithm mirrors the availability and frequency of online content. “This means that sometimes unpleasant portrayals of sensitive subject matter online can affect what image search results appear for a given query,” the company said in a statement to the Huffington Post UK. “These results don’t reflect Google’s own opinions or beliefs – as a company, we strongly value a diversity of perspectives, ideas and cultures.”
Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya.