Patience Carter, one of the victims who survived the massacre at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla., and who Is Black, says that while trapped in the bathroom with the shooter, Omar Mateen, he asked if there were any Black people in the club. After one Black person replied, “Yes,” Mateen then reportedly said, “I don’t have a problem with Black people. This is about my country. You guys suffered enough.” Carter says, he then went on to shoot and kill three more people before police stormed into the bathroom. Carter, says she is from Philadelphia and was taking a vacation in Orlando. She says that she and many others fled to the bathroom when they heard the initial gunshots. During a recent press conference, in which victims talked about their horrific experience, Carter recited a poem that she said she wrote from her hospital bed to cope the night before. Though very grateful to be alive, Carter said it’s also very difficult. She told reporters, “The guilt of feeling grateful to be alive is heavy. Wanting to smile about surviving, but not sure if the people around you are ready as the world mourns the victims killed and viciously slain. I feel guilty about screaming about my legs in pain because I could feel nothing like the other 49 who weren’t so lucky to feel this pain of mine.”
According to numerous news sources, including Billboard, Zonnique Pullins has been arrested for attempting to carry a gun through airport security at Hartsfield Jackson in Atlanta. Zonnique is the daughter of Tiny Harris, wife to rapper T.I. She lives with Harris and T.I. and the rest of their family in Atlanta. The incident occurred Thursday, June 16. The 20-year-old, who was once a member of the girl group OMG, was stopped and busted when a TSA agent found a gun in her bag. She reportedly told agents she has a permit for the weapon. However, she did not have it on her at the time. She was taken into custody by authorities. The charge for carrying a weapon without a permit at a commercial airport in Georgia is a misdemeanor. She was released the next morning. The gun was reportedly a Ruger 380 semi-automatic pistol. In 2009, T.I. was busted by federal authorizes trying to purchase machine guns in a parking lot. He served seven months in an Arkansas Federal penitentiary for the crime.
Chicago-based Ebony magazine and the digital version of Jet magazine, two of the most popular publications that have chronicled African-American life for the past 71 years, have both been sold to Clear View Group – a private equity firm based in Austin, Texas. The sales price was not disclosed, but Michael Gibson, chairman of Clear View Group, says the company will retain its Chicago headquarters and much of its staff. The exact details are not clear, but after the founder, John H. Johnson, died in 2005, his daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, took over as president. Soon after, the company began to take a hit from declining circulation and low revenue generation. In 2014, Jet discontinued in print, and shifted to a new digital approach – being only available as an e-magazine on smart phones and tablets. Ebony, however, continues to be available in both print and digitally, but is noticeably a lot thinner than it used to be. The company’s fall has been blamed on new competition from other African-American focused publications including various web sites and blogs.
Rapper and actor Common wants to help heal and engage the residents in his hometown of Chicago with his latest initiative. The Oscar winner partnered with the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation for the second installment of the organization’s Park Exchange event series, which took place in the city’s Washington Park on June 11. The celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary aims to highlight the diversity of America’s park experiences. It consists of three events, which kicked off in May in Austin, Texas, and will conclude in August in New York. Common, who served as the event’s host and honorary grand marshall, told the the Huffington Post prior to the Saturday event that despite Chicago’s ongoing issues surrounding gun violence that he wants to encourage more residents to visit some of the country’s national monuments. “As we all know, it’s been a struggle here in Chicago with violence. So first and foremost, I just want them to come out and feel good, feel happy and celebrate.” To help eradicate the city’s rampant gun violence, the 44-year-old credits his involvement with the Park Exchange program and his own Common Ground Foundation as helpful elements to aid in cleaning up Chicago and inspire the youth to stay off the streets. “If I can bring some peace and some hope, and some dreams through the music and through this whole celebration of the national parks, that’s what I want people to leave with,” he said.
A Louisiana honor student and standout athlete who was blocked from participating in his graduation ceremony last month because of facial hair is getting the celebration he was denied. Democratic state Rep. Katrina Jackson of Monroe and the Rev. Roosevelt Wright III of New Orleans are sponsoring a delayed ceremony for Andrew Jones. The new celebration is scheduled Friday, June 24, at 7 p.m. at the African-American Heritage Museum in Hammond.
A former leader of a Black student group in New Jersey has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for tweeting anonymous threats against fellow Black college students. Kayla McKelvey pleaded guilty in April to creating a false public alarm. A judge declined to admit her into a pretrial intervention program that would have let her avoid jail time. McKelvey’s sentence in Union County also included five years’ probation. Prosecutors alleged the 25-year-old tweeted threats from a Kean University library because she wanted more people to attend a November 2015 rally on racial issues. She then returned to the rally to tell people about the threats. The university increased security, and several law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, were alerted.
Inspirational news from 10-year-old Egypt Ufele, who carried her own weight among the grown ups at New York Fashion Week. Known as Ify, this young fashionista made her debut with a plus-size line, and she actually used plus-sized models. The fifth grader took a bad experience and turned it into a positive. “I was bullied and they called me all kinds of names,” the youngster revealed on NBC’s “Today Show.” “One time I got stabbed with a pencil.” Ufele took her frustrations and channeled them into sewing clothes for dolls. And from there she began sketching, designing and using her grandmother’s sewing machine to make clothes. And the Chubii Line was created. Her line features clothes for all sizes, and it also includes menswear. A lot of the items reflect an African influence. The youngster was also creative with her website. It describes her line as “Seeing what other designers won’t, capturing what others can’t.” The young entrepreneur is also using her claim to fame to incite awareness of bullying. She uses the hashtag #bullychasers whenever she can. Ufele will be a featured designer on June 30 during Harlem Fashion Week. She’s also featured in Queen Size magazine.
The NBA Championship was full or drama of and on the court. In Cleveland on June 16, Ayesha Curry’s father was reportedly profiled when he tried to take his seat at the game. According to ESPN, they thought her father was alleged con man David Aminzadeh. “They kind of profiled my father-in-law and thought he was him. They threatened to arrest him before they checked out his credentials. It’s kind of been an emotional and tough night all the way around,” Steph Curry told ESPN.
Finding it a symbol of racism and hate, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered a Confederate flag removed from a Flag Day exhibit in the state Capitol after the chairwoman of the Black legislators’ caucus took it down but event organizers put it back up. Wolf took action last week after Capitol police had been summoned to retrieve the flag and return it to the display. The reproduction of an 1863 Confederate battle flag was part of a historical society’s collection of flags that have flown over what is now the U.S., including from territories and the colonial period. Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, a Philadelphia Democrat, said she was astonished to see the flag as she walked through the Capitol’s east wing on Tuesday. “I just did what I thought was right and I took the flag down,” said Brown, who heads the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. She carried it into the chambers and gave it to the House speaker. “We cannot continue to discount things that have happened in our government that have oppressed and have hurt people, have murdered people, have made people do things against their will,” Brown said. Organizers and volunteers with the exhibit, sponsored by the Hanover Area Historical Society, realized it was missing when they assembled for a ceremony to mark the exhibit, intended to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Flag Day. They summoned Capitol police, who recovered it from the House speaker’s office. “She had no right to do it without going through proper channels, given her position,” said Debra Markle, a historical society board member. “She knows what protocol is, and that was not protocol.” The exhibit organizers returned it to the display before Wolf ordered its removal. “The Confederate flag is a symbol of racism and hatred and he doesn’t think it should be displayed in a state building,” said Jeff Sheridan, spokesman for the Democratic governor. Brown said police had told her she would be arrested if she touched the flag again. Republican Rep. Dan Moul of Adams County, who helped bring the exhibit to the Capitol, urged Wolf to reconsider his decision. “When you take something that doesn’t belong to you, that’s an issue, whether you like it or not,” Moul said. “What’s next? Somebody doesn’t like one of the statues in here and they take it down on their own?” The governor’s spokesman said two other Confederate reproductions were also removed from the exhibit. The agency that currently has them plans to turn them back over to the historical society.
The parents of a 12-year-old girl, who sustained a severe rope burn on her neck during an overnight school field trip to Germer Ranch in Blanco County, filed a lawsuit last week against Live Oak Classical School. Sandy Rougely and Kevin Parker are seeking $3 million in damages – to cover the cost of medical expenses, physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, impairment, loss of use and enjoyment of life of their daughter, who is being referred to as K.P. They are suing for such a large amount “to not only compensate the victims in this case, but to deter this type of egregious conduct from others in the future, and to serve as an example to all educational institutions that this type of behavior is unacceptable,” the lawsuit says. “When we began to dig deeper into what happened, we were shocked at the utter failure in how Live Oak handled this situation after the injury occurred,” Levi G. McCathern, the family’s attorney, told The Huffington Post in a statement. “Their tone deaf approach reflects an attitude that our client’s injury was not worth investigating, or even informing her mother about. It was evident from our initial assessment that this case is not one of mere negligent supervision, but of a systematic and organizational failure in leadership by those in charge of the Live Oak Classical School.” During a class visit to the ranch on April 28, the children came across a rope swing hanging from a tree. A second, longer rope was tied to the seat so that the children could pull the rope, lift the swing into the air and help the occupant swing. Three of K.P.’s classmates used this rope to hurt her, according to the lawsuit. “It looked like somebody had ripped her neck apart and stitched it back together,” Rougley told the Dallas Morning News. The racial connotations of the case are hard to ignore. K.P. is Black and the three boys accused of dragging her are white.
Oprah Winfrey has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president of the United States. During the premiere of her OWN (Oprey Winfrey Network) megachurch drama “Greenleaf,” the media mogul threw clear support behind Clinton when asked if she backed the campaign. Winfrey was fresh off the heels of headlining the United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C. and spoke to the historic implications of getting the chance to vote for the possible first female president. “I really believe that is going to happen,” she told ET’s Nancy O’Dell. “America, it’s about time that we make that decision. Regardless of your politics, it’s a seminal moment for women,” she added. “What this says is, there is no ceiling, that ceiling just went boom! It says anything is possible when you can be leader of the free world.” When asked back in October, Winfrey told NPR’s Gwen Ifill that she didn’t “see a role” for herself in making any endorsements this election cycle. Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama during his first presidential campaign was a game-changer, which some experts say helped him win the Democratic primary. Winfrey joins a long list of female celebrities who have given their support to Secretary Clinton, including Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes and Uzo Aduba. Last week Clinton claimed Democratic primary victories in California, New Jersey and New Mexico, making her the first woman to win the nomination for president of a major political party.
The National Association of Black Journalists announced on Friday that 22-year-old LaCrai Mitchell has been selected as its 2016 Student Journalist of the Year. “LaCrai Mitchell is someone whose resume speaks for itself,” said Sara Glover, president of NABJ “She has worked hard to gain internships and fellowships that have prepared her for the professional world. She serves as a great example of how a student journalist can succeed when they take advantage of opportunities.” Mitchell earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University in December 2015 and immediately began working as a news associate at CBS News, where she was an intern during college. She also held an internship at CNN International. While a student at FAMU, Mitchell worked as the online content producer for FAMU TV-20’s News at Five newscast, where she managed and created content for the newscast’s web page and managed the show’s YouTube, Twitter and Instagram accounts. A homecoming special she produced as a sophomore won a Student Emmy Award. Mitchell also served as the editor-in-chief of the university’s Journey Magazine, where she edited stories, created multimedia content, video edited web stories, directed photo shoots and scouted models.