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Across Black America



The interim Mayor of Midland City took the loss of her election pretty hard, and in the process exposed her racist attitude on Facebook. Republican candidate Patsy Capshaw Skipper lost her seat to a Black woman in last week’s mayoral election. “I lost. The nier won,” said Skipper when someone asked how the election had turned out. Skipper was defeated handily by Jo Ann Bennett Grimsley, former assistant city clerk and an employee of the Dale County government for 27 years. She had previously served as the city’s water clerk and county court clerk as well. According to public records, Grimsley received 233 votes to Skipper’s 148 in a little town that boasts a population of a little more than 2,000. According to news sources, Skipper was named interim mayor last February when her husband—former Mayor Virgil Skipper —retired for health reasons. At that time, county officials voted 3 to 1 for Patsy Skipper to take over her husband’s position. However, according to, Virgil Skipper’s “health reasons” may have had something to do with the fact that charges of corruption were about to be leveled against him.


On Aug. 23, in Buckeye outside of Phoenix, it was picture day at Buckeye High School, when Mariah Havard, a 10th grader, showed up wearing a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt, according to the New York Times. Havard, just 15, learned the hard way that the simple message on her T-shirt was not welcome in her school. When it came time to take her picture, she was asked instead to go the principal’s office. Once there, she was told that someone had complained about her shirt and she would need to take it off immediately. Disturbed, she complied and went to the restroom to change. “I was a little bit confused as to why I wouldn’t be able to wear something so meaningful to me,” she told the local NBC affiliate. The next day, a fellow African American student, Genesis Santoyo, wore her Black Lives Matter shirt in support of her friend. She, too, was asked to take it off. “I felt like I was being punished for who I am,” said Genesis. Both students said they have regularly seen students wearing shirts with Confederate flags on them at the school with seemingly little interference. “I’ve seen gay pride shirts, I’ve seen Confederate flags,” said Genesis. “I’ve actually seen a White power shirt once.”


The Los Angeles Police Dept. says it will create a program to assist the families of people killed during encounters with police—the first of its kind in the nation, according to the Los Angeles Times. The program will be called the Family Liaison Program, and the LAPD said its goal is to foster better communication with loved ones in the devastating aftermath of death by police or while in police custody. The LAPD’s investigations into police shootings usually take several months to complete before the police commission reviews each case to determine whether officers followed department rules. Relatives of those killed often express frustration with those timelines. Police Commission President Matt Johnson said that relatives of people fatally shot by LAPD officers often attend the commission’s weekly meetings looking for answers. These requests include wanting to see dash-cam or body-cam footage as well as more mundane tasks like getting access to documents such as death certificates or police reports—sometimes for peace of mind, but sometimes because insurance companies require them. “A lot of it is, ‘I can’t bury my child’ because they don’t have a death certificate,” Johnson said.



Last week a story came out on a variety of media that mega church minister Creflo Dollar had endorsed Donald Trump, and in fact said that God told him to vote for Trump. Within hours, Dollar came out with statement that said he was not supporting Trump, or anyone else for that matter. Dollar knows the power of social media and immediately took to Facebook to denounce the announcement. “Any reports stating that I have endorsed Donald Trump for president are false,” the pastor wrote. “At World Changers Church International, I nor the ministry endorse any political party or candidate; nor do we advise our members who to vote for. Any claims or statements claiming otherwise are false. This rumor originated on a satirical website and is 100 percent untrue.” Dollar is based in Atlanta, but has millions of followers all over the world.



Teens at a juvenile detention center in Chicago are trying to sue the Fox TV network’s hit show “Empire,” claiming their ability to get an education was impeded when the facility where they are incarcerated was used to shoot scenes for last season’s premiere episodes. According to TMZ, the litigants are kids at Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago. The detainees claim the guards put them all on lockdown during nearly two weeks of shooting, meaning they were held in their pods with no access to the recreation yard, library or chapel, TMZ reported. Family visits were also interrupted. The teens say their education was affected as well. Although teachers were dispatched to cells and pods, the kids claim the tutoring was not effective. “This was ‘school’ in name only,” and was often times “chaotic,” they stated in the lawsuit. The youth further pointed out that “Empire” episodes make up to $750,000 per 30 second commercial, and they want a cut. They’re suing FOX, Cook County and the warden, according to TMZ.


A man was shot by police in the driveway of his home, The Indianapolis Star reports. According to Black America Web, the Indianapolis Internal Affairs Unit and the Critical Incident Response Team have launched two separate investigations into the shooting, and the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation’s duration. Carl Williams, 48, sustained a gunshot to the stomach and is expected to survive. On Aug. 23, Williams made a frantic call to police pleading for help after his wife said she was robbed at gunpoint and that her car keys were stolen. While Williams was on the phone, officers were dispatched to his home. Williams described the suspect as a Black man, wearing a red shirt and carrying a rifle. The dispatcher told officers that the suspect in question was last seen in a black car at the home. Officers say when they arrived, they saw a black car parked in the driveway with the lights on and contend they were unaware that it was the actual car in question. Police then took cover and ran the license plates through their system. As they prepared to approach, the garage door opened and Williams walked outside with a gun, police say. An officer fired one shot and hit Williams once in the stomach. According to the Indianapolis Police Department, they approached the scene without sirens and with their guns drawn. Investigators are unsure if any words were exchanged between Williams and the responding officers. According to The Star, a handgun belonging to Williams was recovered from the home, but there was no indication that Williams raised his gun, fired at officers or brandished it in a threatening way.


Nancy Wirths lives in Wichita, where she received a hateful note that attacked her family for merely existing in a mostly White neighborhood. Wirth, who is also White, has bi-racial grandchildren who frequently spend time at her home. Six of her nine grandchildren are Black. Wirth says the attack shook her, and she fears for her family’s safety. The handwritten note, addressed to “resident,” began with the following: “We have noticed there are some Black children at your residence. Maybe you are running a daycare or these are your children. In either case, we have put our house up for sale. This neighborhood does not need any Blacks in it.” The one-page letter also goes to say that: “There is a reason for saying ‘the other side of the tracks.’ That is where these people belong,” continued the hateful note. Wirths says she is devastated and is trying to find the strength to raise her children with a spirit of inclusiveness and understanding. “These are kids under the age of 10 where me and their parents are trying to raise them (to understand) you have to love everybody, be friends with everybody. It doesn’t matter if they’re brown or purple,” she said. “It’s just a shame that they have taken the innocence away from the children.” Police are still investigating the note and if found, the culprit could face a disorderly conduct charge, KSNW reports.


Republican Gov. Paul LePage expressed his views on Black and Hispanic people at a Aug. 26 press conference while discussing a threatening, expletive-filled voicemail that he’d left for a state legislator. LePage was widely criticized earlier this year for claiming men with names like “Smoothie, D-Money and Shifty” were coming into his state to deal drugs. Earlier this week, he said he keeps a binder with mug shots of all the drug dealers arrested in Maine, and he claimed that 90 percent of the people in that binder were Black or Hispanic. Note that 95 percent of Maine residents are White, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. During the press conference, LePage first denied that Maine police officers were racially profiling people an obvious concern, if they really are arresting almost exclusively people of color for drug crimes. Then the governor suggested that people of color in Maine were “the enemy.” “Look, a bad guy is a bad guy, I don’t care what color he is. When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red, don’t you?” he asked. “You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that. I just can’t help it. Those are the facts.” However, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine pointed out that research shows Blacks and Whites deal drugs at similar rates. “According to the governor, Maine police are nine times more likely to arrest people of color for selling drugs than White people, even though we know White people are just as likely to commit drug offenses,” Alison Beyea, executive director of the ACLU of Maine, said in a statement. “This alarming disparity in arrests raises significant concerns that Maine law enforcement is participating in unconstitutional racial profiling.” The civil liberties group said it had submitted a Freedom of Access Act request for the governor’s binder.


South Carolina

Elementary school entrepreneur Gabrielle Goodwin recently raised $28,000 on Kickstarter with the help of her mom, Rozalynn. She intends to use the capital to manufacture new designs and colors for her hair accessory solution, GaBBY Bows. The mother-daughter duo solved the age-old problem of disappearing girls’ hair barrettes by inventing the Double-Face Double-Snap Barrette by GaBBY. The fourth grader received an outpouring of support from more than 300 backers and businesses. Gabrielle was just 5 years old when she started daily insisting she and her mom create a barrette that would stay in her hair. They started the company when Gabrielle was 7 years old. In just two years of operations, GaBBY Bows has saved families time, money and frustration in 48 states and eight countries through online sales. The hair accessory is also sold in select retail stores in the Southeast. Gabrielle is the self-proclaimed president and CEO, handling inventory, serving as the lead saleswoman at trade shows, speaking to community groups and schools, writing thank you cards to customers who order online, and helping with sales taxes. She also hosts GaBBY Play Dates to teach girls in children’s shelters about entrepreneurship. Gabrielle was chosen as a 2015 SC Young Entrepreneur of the Year (the youngest to ever receive this honor), and GaBBY Bows was one of 14 national finalists for the 2015 U.S. Small Business Administration InnovateHER Business Competition and a 2016 SCORE and Sam’s Club American Small Business Champion.


Café Mocha, a nationally-syndicated radio show for women of color, will continue its 2016 Salute Her series: Beauty of Diversity Awards presented by Toyota this summer and fall, and will make stops in Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago. Café Mocha launched the annual Salute Her Awards series in 2011 to recognize dynamic Black and Latino women who have made contributions to their communities, ands have successfully broken down barriers with their businesses. The 2016 Salute Her: Beauty of Diversity Awards series kicked off this year in Atlanta, and honored actress Kim Fields, music executive Shanti Das and blogger/philanthropist Jasmine Crowe. Toyota will present a special Café Mocha Salute Her Award to outstanding women at the remaining stops on the tour who exemplify the goal of the company’s sustainability campaign, the Toyota Green Initiative. The initiative promotes sustainability awareness and education in African American communities across the country. The first to receive the Toyota Green Initiative award will be Washington, D.C. businesswoman Jerri Evans, founder of Turning Natural, a juice bar created to help people live holistic, healthy lives.