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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

What does it mean to be a black traveller?

Four millennials on being the first black person some people meet, and other issues for black tourists.

from BBC News - Africa

The story of the aeroplane house in Nigeria's capital Abuja

Said Jammal has spent 20 years building the family's unusual home in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

from BBC News - Africa

West Virginia Governor Will Fire Cadets Pictured Giving a Nazi Salute

It seems as if the longer President Trump is in office, the more blatant racists are going about the flaunting of their ignorance. According to CNN, West Virginia governor Jim Justice will terminate every cadet who posed for photographs giving the nazi salute.

In a press release, West Virginia Governor, Jim Justice stated, after receiving and reviewing the official report completed by the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety related to the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation Academy Class 18 and has approved the recommendations submitted by DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy.

“I have reviewed the factual information regarding this incident that was provided by Secretary Sandy, and have approved all of his recommendations,” Gov. Justice said. “I expressed my thanks to him and the entire Department for quickly getting this report done.

“As I said from the beginning, I condemn the photo of Basic Training Class 18 in the strongest possible terms. I also said that this act needed to result in real consequences – terminations and dismissals. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated on my watch in any agency of State government.

“We have a lot of good people in our Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. But this incident was completely unacceptable. Now, we must continue to move forward and work diligently to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”​

Below is the letter sent to West Virginia Governor Jim Justice sent from DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy:

On Wednesday, November 27th, 2019 following the Corrections Academy graduation of Class 18 in Glenville, West Virginia, we received information about “unbecoming conduct” on the part of two staff members and cadets from Basic Class 18. These individuals failed to maintain the high level of professionalism demanded by your administration.

Per your orders, attached is Commissioner Betsy Jividen’s transmittal memorandum and the Executive Report. Based on the report, I recommend the following:

(1) Termination of one additional Academy staff member who failed to report the content of the class photograph, the substance of conversations with Instructor Byrd regarding the practice and the photograph, and also her knowledge of the ongoing conduct, thereby contributing to the negative perception and indelible harm that has resulted from the incident. This brings the total number of Academy staff terminations to three at this point in time.

(2) Suspension without pay for four Academy Instructors who are currently known to have seen the photograph and failed to report its content, or to have witnessed Instructor Byrd and her class participating in this conduct and while making attempts to stop it, failed to take the necessary steps to report the conduct and to ensure that it was, in fact, no longer occurring, thereby contributing to the negative perception and indelible harm that has resulted from the incident.

(3) I am further recommending the termination of all cadets participating in the open-handed salute and the closed fist salute in the class photograph. As the Executive Summary also reflects, some other cadets stated variously that they were aware of the connotations associated with the gesture, that they were uncomfortable with the practice, that they did not participate in its use during class, and/or that they only followed what they perceived to be an order from Instructor Byrd to do the “Hail Byrd” for the photograph because they feared they would not graduate, or would be disciplined for failure to follow the order of a superior. Nonetheless, their conduct, without question, has also resulted in the far-reaching and harmful perceptions that are the antithesis of the values we strive to attain. The inevitable consequence of the conduct has not only damaged the reputation of the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, but also negatively impacts morale across the workforce.

I concur with the Commissioner’s actions to date and her recommendations for addition training. Although, it would have been best for the state had this event never happened; the event showed that your mandate of having a transparent Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety has worked. The citizens of West Virginia should be proud of the transparency exercised in the handling of this unfortunate event and how the Commissioner and Inspector General have worked to bring this matter to a quick conclusion.

During this highly publicized event, I have personally received communications from domestic and international law enforcement; federal authorities; and domestic political figures praising the transparency and expediency with which this matter was handled.

If you have any questions about my recommendations, the Commissioner Jividen, the Inspector General, the MAPS Legal Team, and I are available to provide any additional information.

from Black Enterprise

W. Va. police trainees get canned for group photo with Nazi salute

A photo of West Virginia correctional officer trainees giving an apparent Nazi salute, which went viral has the trainees’ faces blurred. But what’s clear is the punishment handed down to them this week: They’re all fired.

NBC News reports West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday that he was approving the recommendation to fire more than 30 people investigated after the photo of one of the training classes was released — by the department in charge of training the officers — in December. Some 30 of the trainees posed with their right arms raised in the gesture, with the words “Hail Byrd!” at the top of the photo.

READ MORE: 13 Philadelphia cops to be terminated after offensive Facebook posts

“Byrd” was not identified further when the photo was released and when a state investigation was opened soon afterward, according to NBC News. However, she was found to be one of the class instructors who, according to the investigators, told a department secretary that the students were saluting her like that “because I’m a hard-ass like Hitler.”

A secretary reported in an investigation that she asked the instructor, “What are you all doing in the picture?” To which Byrd responded, “there is nothing wrong with it, we have people of all colors and backgrounds in the picture and every one of them are participating.”

The state did not release the names of everybody who was fired as a result of the photo. But almost immediately after the photo went public, two trainers and one trainee in West Virginia’s Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which oversees the cadet training, were fired, and 34 others were suspended without pay.

READ MORE: LAPD probes recruiting ad on right-wing news site amid furor

Also, firings and suspensions were handed out to those who knew about the photo and failed to report it at all, or to report it to the proper authorities, the report found.

The report, conducted by Jeff Sandy, the secretary of the state’s Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, claimed that some of the cadets “only followed what they perceived to be an order’’ and “feared they would not graduate, or would be disciplined’’ for not following it.

The post W. Va. police trainees get canned for group photo with Nazi salute appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Chicago family ‘outraged’ that daughter’s alleged killer isn’t charged with murder

A 19-year-old college freshman from Chicago is dead, and her boyfriend is jailed and charged with killing her. But the family of Michigan State University student Lyniah Bell is stunned and infuriated that the man is facing manslaughter charges, not murder charges.

Bell, who was home on winter break, was shot to death Friday night in an apartment in the Chicago neighborhood of Chatham. Lafayette Hodges, 18, turned himself in the next day and is charged with involuntary manslaughter after, police said, he claimed he and Bell were “play fighting.’’

READ MORE: Detroit Lions player Marvin Jones suffers unimaginable loss during holiday season

Bell’s parents don’t believe him.

“You intentionally shot my baby in the head, are you serious,” Bell’s mother, Evelyn Hightower, told Chicago’s WLS-TV.

“We are outraged and not taking this laying down,” added Bell’s father, Dairus Bell.

In an earlier report, the parents told WLS that Hodges had beaten her up and then shot her in the head. “I told her that I did not want her with him. But you cannot tell somebody what to do,” Hightower told the station, saying she had hoped that her going away to college would end the relationship.

Police told WLS that multiple people were in the apartment when the shot was fired, and that they interviewed those on the scene before arresting and charging Hodges.

READ MORE: Prosecutors say Georgia college basketball star admits her part in homicide

Bell had been on a full scholarship to Michigan State and was studying journalism, after attending North Lawndale College Prep, a charter school with 99 percent graduation rates, and becoming a National Honors Society scholar.

North Lawndale’s president and CEO, Dr. Garland Thomas-McDavid, sent a letter to the families offering counseling and saying, “We just can’t say enough good about the positive impact she had on the school community. She will be missed dearly, and our hearts grieve alongside her mother and family.”

Hodges was originally held on $50,000 bond, but it was revoked for violating a previous bond on charges of attacking two police officers, according to the station.

The post Chicago family ‘outraged’ that daughter’s alleged killer isn’t charged with murder appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

‘Surviving R. Kelly’ sequel to feature ex-girlfriend who says she escaped from the singer

On the Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly earlier this year, one of the embattled singer’s former girlfriends was reported to have escaped being forced to live with the through extraordinary efforts of her mother. The sequel, airing Thursday, will include that ex-girlfriend’s own words as she appears on camera to tell her story.

The network released a clip this week from Surviving R. Kelly: The Reckoning which showed the woman, Dominique Gardner, sitting down for her interview, but nothing of her speaking. Her mother did talk in the clip, and spared no words or emotions in describing his alleged damage.

READ MORE: R. Kelly’s ex-tour manager admits he obtained forged ID so 15-year-old Aaliyah could marry the singer

“He (expletive) my daughter up, emotionally, Michelle Kramer, Gardner’s mother, said in the clip posted on, choking up as she spoke.

Kramer also speaks of how her daughter became “dark” and “like a loner” after getting away from R. Kelly for good, and how she is not “this bubbly teenager” as she had been before.

Since the original series aired in January 2019, Kelly has been arrested, charged and jailed on federal and state charges connected to his preying on girls and young women. The clip Lifetime released included disclaimers from Kelly’s lawyers, declining to answer certain questions while charges are pending…but also accusing those who spoke out against him of conducting “a smear campaign” and have “used their accusations to promote contemporaneous books, albums and speaking tours.”

READ MORE: Feds fear R. Kelly may seek retaliation against alleged victims while in prison

Gardner and her mother were interviewed in September for the addition to the documentary, according to the video clip. This is Gardner’s first interview about Kelly and her ordeal with him; according to the original documentary, after returning to him once, she has not gone back to him since.

“The Reckoning” airs two-hour episodes on three consecutive nights, Jan. 2-4, preceded by the original series. This series reportedly will include commentary from others including Damon Dash, Matthew Knowles and Tarana Burke.

Kelly, 52, has remained in federal custody in Chicago since July on several charges of child pornography and obstruction of justice. In addition he faces Illinois state charges of multiple counts of criminal sexual assault.

The post ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ sequel to feature ex-girlfriend who says she escaped from the singer appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

CBS figures out John Lewis and Elijah Cummings are two different Black men; issues mea culpa

CBS News admitted Tuesday that it made what seems to be a common media mistake: reporters and producers confusing Rep. John Lewis and the late Rep. Elijah Cummings.

About an hour after airing a report on the health of Lewis, the civil rights icon and Georgia congressman, who revealed that he is battling stage IV pancreatic cancer, using a photo of Cummings, the Maryland congressman who died in October at age 68. CBS issued an apology for the mistake saying:  “We deeply regret the error,’’ the apology statement read, in part.

READ MORE: Leaders react with support, expressions of love after John Lewis cancer announcement

The hour in between broadcasting the mistake on the CBS Evening News and making their apologies, social media roasted the network nonstop, spreading the error far and wide.

Both Lewis and Cummings are legendary for their work in the area of civil rights and both men have played significant roles in progressive politics for more than half a century. While both are African American men from the Civil Rights generation (and do bear a similar physical appearance), they represent different districts and have served different purposes in Congress. Lewis chairs the Oversight subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee. Cummings was chair of the House Oversight Committee.

CBS is at least the second network this year to mix Cummings and Lewis up.

Back in June, Fox News aired a clip of Lewis in a committee hearing — with his nameplate in the camera shot — and identified him as Cummings. The network was criticized apologized soon after. Also, in 2017, CNN tweeted out a link to an interview with Cummings using Lewis’ picture.

READ MORE: Rep. Elijah Cummings: Politicians and celebrities react to sudden death of Baltimore congressman

Several social media posts surfaced with either condolences about the passing of Lewis, or condolences for Cummings with photos of Lewis, or both. For a while the day of Cummings’ passing, John Lewis was trending on Twitter, enraging many.

Confusing Black people in the media is not a new phenomenon, as singer Patti LaBelle discovered last year after Aretha Franklin died and this surfaced on, again, Fox News. And also as Angela Bassett and Omarosa found out after an item from last year’s Emmy Awards was published in The New York Times.

The post CBS figures out John Lewis and Elijah Cummings are two different Black men; issues mea culpa appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Philadelphia police, roiled by harassment scandal, brings in Black woman to turn it around

Philadelphia, in a response to a dilemma in which the city was facing turmoil and scandal in law enforcement has hired an African American woman — the first ever — to lead its police department in hopes she will help the city turn a corner.

Danielle Outlaw, 43, who has served chief of police in Portland, Ore., since 2017, was announced as Philadelphia’s new police commissioner on Monday by Mayor Jim Kenney, four months after her full-time predecessor was forced to resign amidst a sexual harassment scandal, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

READ MORE: Philadelphia, St. Louis police departments remove cops from the street after investigation into racist social media posts

Outlaw, a native of Oakland, is the first Black woman ever to run the Philadelphia police, and the second woman overall, following the acting commissioner brought on in August, Christine Coulter. Outlaw is also the youngest commissioner in at least two decades, according to the Inquirer.

But the new top cop is walking into a minefield, starting with but not limited to the way the job opened. Former commissioner Richard Ross resigned in August when a lawsuit surfaced accusing him of ignoring sexual harassment claims of an officer against a fellow officer. Ross, also an African-American, had been with the department for 30 years and had held the position since January 2016.

READ MORE: Philly police chief resigns as sexual harassment and discrimination claims roil department

Multiple cases of harassment, and of gender and racial discrimination in the department, surfaced after that. In addition, the crime rate in the city has continued to soar, as has the poverty level.

“I am very qualified to make the jump,” Outlaw said in her introductory press conference. “The issues remain the same. I am very experienced in each of them.”

Outlaw came out on top of a search of 31 candidates, 18 of which were from the Philadelphia force, the Inquirer said. Several factions pushed for a woman of color to get the job, and although many had favored one already in the force, they are glad the city was willing to take the leap to reward a previously-under-represented group.

“Most of us are very encouraged,” Philadelphia city councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell told the Inquirer about her fellow council members. “They’re especially happy that she’s a woman — and happy of course that it’s an African American woman — but especially happy that she’s a woman.”

READ MORE: 13 Philadelphia cops to be terminated after offensive Facebook posts

Outlaw also came with the endorsement of the head of the police union in her former home of Portland, Daryl Turner: “You’re getting a damn good chief. We hate to lose her.”

The post Philadelphia police, roiled by harassment scandal, brings in Black woman to turn it around appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Kanye approves of T.I.’s controversial fatherhood remarks; claims God does, too

Kanye West used the one-year anniversary of his Sunday Service to give some public support to a fellow rapper and his quest to preserve his adult daughter’s sexual purity. It wasn’t noticeably embraced by his Los Angeles audience, and didn’t seem to be a completely logical fit with the rest of his message.

In the midst of his service at Union Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter in Los Angeles, Kanye gave a shout-out to the embattled T.I., whose discussion about taking his daughter annually to assure that her hymen is intact (and thus, in his mind, her virginity) set off a public firestorm.

For his part, however, T.I., later appeared on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Live show ‘Red Table Talk’ and contritely explained that he did not mean to be taken literally when he made the comment.

OPNION: How Jada Pinkett Smith schooled an ‘incredibly apologetic’ T.I. during a candid ‘Red Table Talk’

Still T.I.’s actions, West told the crowd, were “God-approved,’’ as opposed to “devil-approved,’’ in video shown on His remarks before and after that were about the appreciation of his presenting his Sunday Service for an entire year, and about multiple states’ death-penalty statutes and “a worldwide solution” to the homeless problem personified by the location of that current service.

“They tryna play T.I., but he’s talkin’ about somethin’ that’s God-approved,” West told the crowd in the clip TMZ showed. The New York Post said the comment, was “met by silence from the audience.’’ That differed from the louder, more positive reactions to his later remarks about his Sunday Services being an “alternative to opioids” and an “alternative to pornography.’’

READ MORE: Killer Mike calls out T.I. and Candace Owens for arguing over ‘who got the best master’

On the TMZ video snippet, West prefaced his T.I. comment with one about how “people love to take a soundbite and say, ‘This was not exactly devil-approved by the internet.’ ” That appeared to refer to the avalanche of online condemnation following T.I.’s remarks about his daughter.

West also randomly mentioned talking to Elon Musk and, calling it a “shameless name-drop,” alluding to a discussion with him about homelessness and addiction problems commonly confronted by Union Rescue Mission.

The post Kanye approves of T.I.’s controversial fatherhood remarks; claims God does, too appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Joe Biden, heading into primary season, says he’s OK with a GOP running mate

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden may be taking the idea of reaching across the aisle farther than his 2020 election competitors.

According to CNN, while at a campaign stop in Exeter, N.H., Monday, the former vice president answered a question about whether he would consider picking a Republican as his vice-presidential running mate, with, “The answer is I would, but I can’t think of one now.”

READ MORE: Joe Biden on racism — White people ‘can never fully understand’

Biden made the remark in the state which will hold the first Democratic primary in less than two months. Until this revelation, all the speculation about his running mate had centered around non-white males, such as former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and former candidate Sen. Kamala Harris.

While Biden has consistently struck a conciliatory, cooperative tone about working with Republicans, that party has shown little desire to return the favor to him. The root of the improprieties that got President Trump impeached recently was his and his administration’s attempts to engage Ukraine in digging up incriminating information to use specifically against Biden.

There has not been a major-party presidential ticket in modern times in which the nominee and his or her running mate has been from the opposing party. According to CNN, the late GOP senator John McCain considered Democratic senator Joseph Lieberman in 2008, but settled on Republican Sarah Palin to eventually be beaten by Barack Obama and Biden.

READ MORE: Joe Biden remains top choice for Black voters, according to new poll

For what it’s worth, Biden clarified his statement in Exeter by saying, “You know there’s some really decent Republicans that are out there still, but here’s the problem right now … they’ve got to step up.

“There’s a plethora of really qualified people,’’ Biden said. “Whomever I would pick were I fortunate enough to be your nominee, I’d pick somebody who was simpatico with me, who knew what I, what my priorities were and knew what I wanted to.’’

The post Joe Biden, heading into primary season, says he’s OK with a GOP running mate appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

5 Fun, Alternative Ways to Spend New Year’s Eve

Alternative Ways to Spend New Year's Eve

Who says going out to a party is the best way to ring in the New Year? Some of the most satisfying moments in life are when we’re having fun in an intimate setting with friends and family. Below, we’ve rounded up a few unique ways you can celebrate New Year’s Eve.


Plan a game night. 

Whether you want to put an adult twist to one of your favorite childhood games, such as Jenga and Tic-Tac-Toe, or opt for a new game like Black Card Revoked; an Afrocentric trivia game; there are plenty of fun options to keep you having fun into the early morning hours of New Year’s day. Add some delicious food and spirits, and you’re in for a great New Year’s Eve.

Host a New Year’s Eve dinner party with friends.

 A classic way to bring in the New Year, but classic doesn’t mean boring, right? A New Year’s dinner party with family and friends is a great way to reflect on the past year and chat about plans for the New Year. Perhaps you can host a cook-off or prepare a tasting menu of festive finger foods. Check out a few New Year’s Eve recipes on Food Network and And, for champagne cocktails–check out

Host a masquerade party. 

Plan an evening of mystery and magic with a themed masquerade party. Beyond requesting that guests wear masquerade masks, you can ask them to bring their favorite dish and bottle of champagne, or you can feature several drinks from around the world.

Attend church. 

From plays and musical concerts to games and speakers, many churches plan a series of watch-night events to usher in the New Year.

Plan the ultimate date night.

Looking forward to some quality time with your sweetie? Whether you’re in the mood for a romantic evening of food and bubbly at a great city restaurant, or a bonfire on the beach with a sparkling fruit sangria, there are several great ways you can ring in the New Year with your love. Check out PopSugar for a great list of fun and sexy date ideas.

Editor’s Note: This story originally published on December 27, 2018

from Black Enterprise

Michael Bloomberg spends over $100 million on political TV ads causing rates to soar for other candidates

It’s hard to ignore “late to the game” presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The billionaire businessman has already shelled out millions during the first week his television ads ran across the country in hopes that all of America would become more familiar with where he stands on the issues. In doing so, however, a new analysis conducted by Advertising Analytics shows that Bloomberg has caused ad rates to explode across the board.

The New York Post reports that all of this spending is having a ripple effect on advertising costs for the other candidates and even other advertisers.

READ MORE: Michael Bloomberg severs ties with firm that hired prison laborers to make campaign calls

According to Advertising Analytics, “the typical [TV] market increased their rates by 22 percent as the political spending poured in.”

“Houston was among the markets that responded most actively to the new advertiser,” it added. “This is partially attributable to Bloomberg’s $1 [million] buy increasing the political spending in the market tenfold. This shock spending increase was matched by a 45% increase in rates, which is among the highest of any market.”

Bloomberg spent an average of $25.5 million a week on campaign ads since announcing his Presidential candidacy just last month in November. Since then, he has booked $119 million in TV ads. He is also tapping into the digital ad space booking $15.2 million in digital ads, reports Advertising Analytics.

READ MORE: Antonio Brown stirs up fans with “No More White Woman 2020” campaign

There’s no historical comparison to Bloomberg’s early ad spending, said John Link, Advertising Analytics vice president of sales and marketing, to the NY Post.

According to the data procured by Advertising Analytics, which breaks down the spending even further, Bloomberg spent nearly $6 million on YTV ads in both the Los Angeles and New York City markets, $4 million in Houston, $3.8 million in Dallas/Ft. Worth, $3.6 million in San Francisco, $3.5 million in Miami, more than $2.6 million in Chicago and Orlando, $2.4 million in Seattle/Tacoma, $2.2 million in District of Columbia and about $2 million each in Philadelphia, Boston and Tampa.

The total is a whopping $135 million in TV and digital ads alone and he hasn’t even participated in a debate yet.

If the Bloomberg campaign continues at this pace, it’s being said that the former mayor could spend up to $357 million on TV ads by the time the March 2020 primaries come about. Remember, this doesn’t include the costs necessary to actually run the rest of his campaign which will include staffers in various cities to spread the word about his political ideology across the country. If he wins the Democratic nomination, experts believe the final price tag could cost Bloomberg more than $1 billion.

Is it worth it? Although there has been a huge bump in the polls since he put his name in the hat, the spending spree will continue. The Bloomberg campaign repeated its mission on Friday that another four years of Donald Trump would be devasting to the country and so they are willing to spend “whatever it takes” to beat him next year.


The post Michael Bloomberg spends over $100 million on political TV ads causing rates to soar for other candidates appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Cop fired after ‘pig’ written on coffee cup incident turns out to be hoax

After a full day of widespread outrage over a report of a Kansas officer receiving a coffee at McDonalds with “pig” and a profanity scrawled on the cup, the local police chief admitted late Monday night that the officer had made the story up as a hoax and the officer has been fired.

“Now, this is absolutely a black eye on law enforcement,” Herington, Kan., police chief Brian Hornaday  said in a joint press conference with a representative of McDonalds, according to KSNT-TV in Topeka.

READ MORE: Philly teen boys brutally assault McDonalds worker after she refuses to give them free food

Ironically, it was Hornaday who had posted the original photo, scolding the Junction City McDonalds, pointing out that the officer who allegedly had received it was a military veteran, asked to “please share!”

As a kicker, the police chief called the incident “a black eye for Junction City.’’

He later took the post down, but not after nearby law enforcement people had joined in; the county sheriff’s office declared that the coffee incident “is not indicative of the community.’’ In addition, some on social media had started demanding that the unknown culprit be fired.

READ MORE: Reports shed new light on Chicago police chief’s firing

It turns out, though, that McDonalds did a better job of investigating the situation than the sworn officers of the law. Franchise owner Dana Cook told KSNT that it checked its own security video, and it “clearly shows the words were not written by one of our employees.”

Now, the department is eating its words. Hornaday, who had gone on camera to defend the officer, later declined to identify that officer because it was a “personnel matter.’’ But KSNT reported that the officer is 23 years old, a resident of Junction City and served five years in the U.S. Army as a military police officer.

The post Cop fired after ‘pig’ written on coffee cup incident turns out to be hoax appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Officials: Hanukkah attack suspect researched Hitler online

A man charged with federal hate crimes Monday in a bloody attack on a Hanukkah celebration had handwritten journals containing anti-Semitic references and had recently used his phone to look up information on Hitler and the location of synagogues, authorities said.

Grafton Thomas, 37, was held without bail after appearing in federal court in White Plains on five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by attempting to kill with a dangerous weapon. Five people were stabbed and slashed in the Saturday attack north of New York City.

READ MORE: Officials say Jersey city gun massacre attackers are suspects in earlier killing

A blood-stained 18-inch (45-centimeter) machete was recovered from his car, along with a knife smeared with dried blood and hair, prosecutors said in a criminal complaint.

Thomas, his ankles shackled, shuffled into the courtroom in a prison jumpsuit, telling a judge who asked him if his head was clear that he was “not clear at all” and needed sleep. But he added: “I am coherent.”

His court-appointed attorney, Susanne Brody, said Thomas has struggled with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Another attorney retained by his family, Michael Sussman, said Thomas had been hearing voices and may have stopped taking psychiatric medications recently.

The stabbings on the seventh night of Hanukkah came amid a series of violent attacks targeting Jews in the region that have led to increased security, particularly around religious gatherings.

READ MORE: Jersey City attack being investigated as domestic terrorism

A criminal complaint said journals recovered from Thomas’ home in Greenwood Lake included comments questioning “why ppl mourned for anti-Semitism when there is Semitic genocide” and a page with drawings of a Star of David and a swastika.

A phone recovered from his car included repeated internet searches for “Why did Hitler hate the Jews” as well as “German Jewish Temples near me” and “Prominent companies founded by Jews in America,” the complaint said.

On the day of the stabbings, the phone’s browser was used to access an article titled: “New York City Increases Police Presence in Jewish Neighborhoods After Possible Anti-Semitic Attacks. Here’s What To Know,” the complaint said.

Sussman told reporters he visited Thomas’ home and found stacks of notes he described as “the ramblings of a disturbed individual” but nothing to point to an “anti-Semitic motive” or suggest Thomas intentionally targeted the rabbi’s home.

“My impression from speaking with him is that he needs serious psychiatric evaluation,” Sussman said. “His explanations were not terribly coherent.”

Thomas’ family said he was raised to embrace tolerance but has a long history of mental illness, including multiple hospitalizations.

“He has no history of like violent acts and no convictions for any crime,” his family said in a statement. “He has no known history of anti-Semitism and was raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races. He is not a member of any hate groups.”

READ MORE: President Obama urges all Americans to ‘fight the rise of anti-Semitism’

Thomas served in the Marines and was president of his class at a high school in Queens, Sussman said. He attended William Paterson University between 2005 and 2007, the university confirmed, where he played football as a walk-on running back.

Thomas’ family said his mental health deteriorated over the years. He would hear voices and have trouble completing sentences at times. Thomas said a voice talked to him about property that was in the rabbi’s house, according to Sussman.

In court papers filed in a 2013 eviction case in Utah, Thomas said he suffered from schizophrenia, depression and anxiety and his “conditions are spontaneous and untamed.”

Thomas was arrested within two hours of the Saturday night attack in Monsey. When police pulled his car over in Manhattan, he had blood all over his clothing and smelled of bleach but said “almost nothing” to the arresting officers, officials said.

Thomas’ aunt told The Associated Press that he had a “germ phobia” and obsessively washed his hands and feet with bleach.

She said Thomas grew up in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn and “lived peacefully” among Jewish neighbors. She said Thomas had not been taking his medication and recently went missing for a week.

The woman spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear she would lose her government job for speaking publicly.

“They’re making him look like this monster,” she said in a telephone interview. “My nephew is not a monster. He’s just sick. He just needs help.”

According to the complaint, Thomas, a scarf covering his face, entered the rabbi’s home next door to a synagogue and said “no one is leaving.” He then took out a machete and started stabbing and slashing people in the home packed with dozens of congregants, the complaint said.

The five victims suffered serious injuries — including a severed finger, slash wounds and deep lacerations — and at least one was in critical condition with a skull fracture, the complaint said.

On Sunday, Thomas pleaded not guilty to charged including five counts of attempted murder. He was detained on $5 million bail.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Thomas “targeted his victims in the midst of a religious ceremony, transforming a joyous Hanukkah celebration into a scene of carnage and pain.”

Thomas’ criminal history includes an arrest for assaulting a police horse, according to an official briefed on the investigation who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. A lawyer representing Thomas at the arraignment said he had no convictions.

The criminal complaint said one passage in Thomas’ journals stated that the “Hebrew Israelites” took from the “ebidnoid Israelites.” The FBI agent who wrote the complaint said that appeared to be a reference to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, some branches of which have been associated with anti-Semitism.

The attack was the latest in a string of violence targeting Jews in the region, including a Dec. 10 massacre at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey. Last month in Monsey, a man was stabbed while walking to a synagogue. No arrest has been made in that stabbing.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said Saturday’s savagery was the 13th anti-Semitic attack in New York since Dec. 8.

Monsey, near the New Jersey state line about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of New York City, is one of several Hudson Valley communities that has seen a rising population of Hasidic Jews in recent years. At a Sunday celebration that was planned before the attack, several members of the community stood guard armed with assault-style rifles.

“The Jewish community is utterly terrified,” Evan Bernstein, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of New York and New Jersey, said in a statement. “No one should have to live like this.”

In New York City, the Rev. Al Sharpton appeared Monday with Jewish and other faith leaders at his Harlem headquarters and said he was disturbed and upset that several of the suspects in recent attacks on Jews have been black.

“We cannot remain silent as we see a consistent pattern of attacks on people based on their faith and who they are,” Sharpton said. “You can’t fight hate against you if you aren’t willing to fight hate against everybody else.”

The post Officials: Hanukkah attack suspect researched Hitler online appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

New York Times cuts study blasted as racist from controversial op-ed piece

What is probably the most well-known news organization in the world has doubled back on an opinion piece, cutting out a reference to an academic paper co-authored by an alleged white nationalist.

The New York Times removed references to a 2005 study from a column by Bret Stephens titled “The Secrets of Jewish Genius,” The New York Post reports. The piece that claims Ashkenazi Jews have the highest average IQs was partly authored by the late Henry Harpending, an anthropologist listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a White nationalist, according to the Post. 

READ MORE: Poll reveals most Americans oppose cash reparations for slavery

Stephens wrote in his piece published Friday that Jews “are, or tend to be, smart” and “might have a marginal advantage over their gentile peers when it comes to thinking better.”

Social media blew up when the piece was published, with social media users saying the opinion piece did nothing to support harmony.

“I don’t know who needs to hear this, but Jews are normal people,” posted Moshik Temkin, @moshik_temkin. “Some are smart, some are dumb, and most are somewhere in-between.”

Temkin added, “You should be suspicious of anyone who thinks Jews are special — that’s a big part of antisemitic thinking.”

READ MORE: Jersey City attack being investigated as domestic terrorism

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, who is Jewish, joined the debate too, tweeting that the piece “crossed a very important line.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization in Mongtomery, Ala., that tracks hate, posted that the study “traffics in centuries-old antisemitic tropes.”

The editor’s note on the Times piece indicated that Stephens was not “endorsing the study or its author’s views, but it was a mistake to cite it uncritically.”

The note continued, “The effect was to leave an impression with many readers that Mr. Stephens was arguing that Jews are genetically superior. That was not his intent.”

The note concluded that Stephens “went on instead to argue that culture and history are crucial factors in Jewish achievements.”

The post New York Times cuts study blasted as racist from controversial op-ed piece appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Antonio Dumas who persuaded five Brazilians to play for Togo dies

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Jay-Z and Serena Williams Invests in Indonesian Coffee Chain Kopi Kenangan


Watch out Starbucks, there’s a coffee shop preparing for an expansion! According to the Jarkata Post, Indonesian coffee chain Kopi Kenangan has received funding from Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Serena Williams.

The company announced an expansion of its June Series A round with additional investments from Jay-Z’s Arrive, Serena Williams‘ Serena Ventures, Brooklyn Nets‘ basketball player, Caris LeVert, and Sweetgreen CEO and co-founder Jonathan Neman.

“We are inspired by Kopi Kenangan’s tenacity, vision, and ability to execute,” said Neil Sirni, Arrive co-founder and president in a press release. “In just two years, they have expanded to 18 cities, 200 stores, and over 1,800 employees. We’re excited to be an investor in and partner to Kopi Kenangan as they introduce Indonesian-style coffee to the world.”

Kopi Kenangan opened by Edward Tirtanata, James Prananto, and Cynthia Chaerunnisa in 2017 has managed to fill a void between the high-priced coffee served at international coffee chains and the instant coffee sold at many street stalls. Just last year, Kopi Kenangan, operated 16 stores and served a few thousand cups a day. Now, they have expanded to over 200 stores and serve more than 3 million cups of beverages monthly.

Related: Serena Williams Launched a Venture Firm to Invest in Diverse Founders

Kopi Kenangan is the fastest-growing grab-and-go non-franchise coffee retail chain in Southeast Asia. “We are humbled to have been able to reach an important milestone in our two years’ journey,” said Cynthia Chareunnisa, co-founder and chief marketing officer. “We recognize that this is a joint effort from our Teman Mantan which includes our baristas and employees, partners, shareholders, and most importantly our customers who have made us top-of-mind for Kopi Susu.”

The company has future plans to add more than a thousand new stores over the next two years and expand across Southeast Asia. “We want to build a legendary brand, and we’re excited to work with our new investors and advisors who have built global consumer franchises spanning sports, entertainment, F&B, and technology,” said Edward Tirtanata, CEO and co-founder. “We have come a long way since our humble beginnings two years back and want to continue learning and improving our service and products to meet the expectations of our customers in Indonesia and other markets.”


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Monday, December 30, 2019

'I feel complete' in Uganda - George the Poet

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UK and US considered Nigeria naval blockade over Saro-Wiwa execution

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Wisconsin lawmakers battle over who is actually honored in controversial Black History Month bill

A Black state lawmaker in Wisconsin is taking a White colleague to task for trying to push a proposed Black History Month bill that credits mostly White people for their contributions.

The legislator was responding to efforts by Wisconsin Rep. Scott Allen, a White Republican from Waukesha, to circulate a resolution honoring six White Americans among 10 people he proposes to recognize for Black History Month, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.

READ MORE: Don Lemon calls ‘BS’ on Wisconsin GOP for excluding Kaepernick from Black History resolution

“If this was intended to be without controversy, you failed,” state Sen. Lena Taylor, a Milwaukee Democrat who is Black, wrote Allen. “Thank you Massa Allen for pickin’ whose we should honuh suh. We sho ain’t capable of thinkin’ for ourselves, suh.”

Allen, in his resolution, recognizes 10 historical figures in his resolution and six of them are White, according to the State Journal. His measure seeks to highlight people who were active in Wisconsin’s Underground Railroad, the secret network of homes and people that helped slaves escape to freedom in the North and Canada.

Allen told the news organization that one of his purposes was to draw more White people into the celebration of Black History Month.

“People look at Black History Month and diminish the importance of it,” Allen said. “When we say that it has nothing to do with us, as European Americans, and that we should not be involved in Black History Month and the celebration of Black History Month, we’re missing the larger point.”

READ MORE: A Decade in Review: The biggest, Blackest, most memorable moments from the last 10 years

The State Journal reports that Allen wrote in a memo circulated among lawmakers that it is important to view Black History “in a way that raises the prominence of that part of our mutual history so that it is the center of our attention.”

Taylor said one crucial effect of Allen’s measure is that it excluded Black lawmakers from its formation.

“Who is he to determine how we recognize Black History who, as someone every day … does not sign onto a piece of legislation to do the things that he’s proclaiming he wants to do in the resolution?” Taylor asked the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Allen told the newspaper that the White people named in his resolution “exhibited tremendous courage to fight for just causes.”

The post Wisconsin lawmakers battle over who is actually honored in controversial Black History Month bill appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Libya conflict: Turkey to send deployment bill to parliament

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Michael Essien's African team of the decade

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It's Not Just You—Wild Swings in Extreme Weather Are Rising

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg: Generational Wealth Has Been Stolen from Black America

Moguldom Pete Buttigieg

Video footage of Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg saying Black Americans had its generational wealth stolen was shared today.

When asked his stance on reparations, Buttigieg not only voiced his support for HR 40, but also said the wealth disparity between Blacks and whites is a result of “systemic racism in this country.”

“Now I support HR 40 … but I don’t think we have to wait for that commission to do its work to do other things,” Buttigieg said. He added if generational wealth is “true for a dollar that’s been saved, that’s also true for a dollar that’s been stolen – and what has been stolen from Black Americans is generational opportunities to build up wealth.”

The video was captured and shared by a Twitter user identified as Jameion B. Fowler, who identifies as an outspoken member of the American Descendants of Slavery (#ADOS) movement.

“So we shouldn’t be surprised that when slavery ended… less than two lifetimes ago, that we continue to see the consequences of that, in addition to things that are not from some distant far off point past but happened within living memory,” Buttigieg continued.

In a second clip shared by Fowler, Buttigieg added making policy changes without addressing past injustices would not work.

“What we’ve learned is you can’t just get to 2019, replace a lot of these racist policies with neutral policies and say okay now everything is going to take care of itself. It doesn’t work that way, or if it does it’ll take hundreds of years, so we’ve got to act now to address this,” Buttigieg continued.

There were mixed reactions to Buttigieg’s response from other #ADOS members. While one of his colleagues applauded Fowler for asking the “right questions,” another seemed exasperated and said Buttigieg didn’t even really answer the question.


This article was written by Isheka N. Harrison for on December 12, 2019

from Black Enterprise

Leaders react with support, expressions of love after John Lewis cancer announcement

The country on Sunday felt a collective weight after the announcement that civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis of Georgia was battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer — news that prompted political figures and celebrities to express their emotions on social media.

The outpouring of support came from a parade of people, from former President Barack Obama to celebrated filmmaker Ava DuVernay, and echoed the feelings of the country about a man who has been called a national treasure.

READ MORE: Rep. John Lewis announces that he is battling stage four pancreatic cancer

Lewis, a longtime U.S. Congress member representing Atlanta and a longtime member of the Democratic Congressional leadership, is the last surviving organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. He was a disciple of the late Martin Luther King Jr. and one of the Freedom Riders, who bussed through the South to win voting rights for Black Americans.

DuVernay directed the 2014 film Selma that depicted the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches led by Lewis, King, James Bevel and Hosea Williams. In her tweet, she posted photos of her, Lewis and others involved in the cast. In one photo, she and actor David Oyelowo are kissing Lewis on each side of his face as the congressman breaks up.

A host of others showed their support for the congressman on social media, pledging their prayers and support for him.

Tweeted former President Bill Clinton, “If there’s anyone with the strength and courage to fight this, it’s you, John. Hillary and I love you, and we join with millions of other Americans in praying for you and your family.”

READ MORE: Democrats are vying for the coveted support and endorsement of Rep. John Lewis

Stacey Abrams, former candidate for Georgia governor, tweeted, “Rep. John Lewis is America’s conscience and Georgia’s heart. We stand with him as he fights one more battle – to defeat pancreatic cancer. As he wages that war, he continues to do the people’s work, buoyed by the prayers and good will of millions. God bless you, my friend.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms held up Lewis as a “national treasure” in a statement released to Twitter, and hailed him for spending his “entire life on the front lines of the fight for equality.”

She tweeted, “As he now takes on his next fight, as a community of faith, we stand in agreement with him, believing that God is still on the throne, and that healing and restoration are on the horizon.”

Tweeted Bernice King, CEO of The King Center in Atlanta and daughter of the late Martin Luther King, “I am praying for him and encouraged by the knowledge that he is a legendary fighter. Fight on, sir.”

Lewis’ longtime colleague in the Democratic leadership in Congress – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California – tweeted out a photo of herself with the congressman at a former slave fort in Ghana, on a trip in which a delegation of lawmakers visited the nation.

READ MORE: Alabama’s ‘Bloody Sunday’ racial violence of 1965 remembered

In announcing the news via a statement on Sunday, Lewis said, “I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.”

The congressman said he will return to Washington in the coming days and continue to work while undergoing treatment.

The post Leaders react with support, expressions of love after John Lewis cancer announcement appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Featured video: 50 years of Interphase EDGE

Fifty years ago, in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., a new legacy was born at MIT: Project Interphase, a summer session for incoming first-year MIT students that aims to ease the transition to MIT and build community among new students.

This fall, alumni, current students, faculty, staff, administrators, friends, and family gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the program, today known as Interphase EDGE (Empowering Discovery, Gateway to Excellence).

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, the MIT Office of Minority Education, which coordinates the program, welcomed back Shirley Ann Jackson ’68, PhD ’73, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and one of the leaders behind the original idea for the program; as well as several members of the Project Interphase inaugural cohort, including Sylvester “Jim” Gates ’73, PhD ’77, a professor of physics at Brown University.

A new video celebrates the history of Interphase EDGE, which now extends beyond an initial summer session into students’ first two academic years. “I recall that experience being really instrumental in helping me to feel a part of the MIT community,” says Eboney Hearn ’01, who is now the executive director of MIT’s Office of Engineering Outreach Programs.

Adds Gates: “It was the singular, most important academic experience I ever had in my life.”

Submitted by: Office of Minority Education | Video by: MIT Video Productions | 3 min, 48 sec

from MIT News

Black and Jewish leaders unite in NYC after wave of anti-Semitic attacks

After a violent few days in New York City and one far-out suburban community in which Jewish people were targeted, Black and Jewish leaders planned to come together Monday morning in Harlem to denounce the attacks.

The coalition planned to speak out at the National Action Network House of Justice, headquarters for the National Action Network civil rights organization headed by Rev. Al Sharpton.

READ MORE: Jersey City attack being investigated as domestic terrorism

Along with Sharpton, other leaders slated to speak are: Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference, and Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.

The greater New York area was reeling after five people were stabbed at a Hannukkah celebration at a private residence in Monsey, N.Y., over the weekend, and several more attacks took place in the five boroughs throughout the month of December. The violence comes on the heels of a fatal attack at a Kosher supermarket in New York City that left six people dead.

The escalating violence prompted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday to declare that the NYPD is addressing concerns over mounting anti-Semitism, but also to say that coalitions would be crucial in attacking what he called a crisis.

READ MORE: 6 killed in New Jersey gunbattle, including police officer

“It’s going to take the strong police presence; it’s going to take prosecutions for hate crimes; but it’s also going to take a new effort to educate young people, to get out into the communities, bringing together multi-ethnic coalitions,” the mayor said. “Because the way to solve this is with actually encouraging a unity and encouraging a real presence out in the streets of people who want to work together to stop this trend.”

Part of the concern over the attacks is that the suspects in the Jersey City and Monsey cases are Black, and relations between the Black and Jewish communities in New York City have been strained at times.

Monday’s press conference was slated to start at 11 a.m. ET.

The post Black and Jewish leaders unite in NYC after wave of anti-Semitic attacks appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

The Dazzling Designs of Alpine Ice Formations

These swirling patterns, likely caused by heat rising from the water below, look like frozen Jackson Pollock paintings.

from Wired

How to Set and Stay Committed to Your Financial Goals

financial goals

It’s almost the beginning of a new decade and you’re ready to finally accomplish your financial goals. You’ve written the vision and made it plain. You’ve created a beautiful vision board so you can manifest your dreams. You’ve listened to a couple of financial podcasts and read a couple of articles on saving and managing your money. You’re all set, right? Wrong!

You’ve created a set of new financial goals, yet your money beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, and habits are all the same. You know what they say, you can’t expect different results doing the same thing.

Don’t set yourself up to financially fail.

This year, set financial goals that are important to you; where you build a better relationship with your money. To let past money mistakes go. To use the results of others as inspiration not as what you should be doing. Just because she paid off $353,745 in debt in two years doesn’t mean that it will work for your income or lifestyle.

So just for a moment, ignore all of the advice you’ve heard, clear your mind of what you think you should achieve this year, and let go of your old goals you’ve been copying from year to year.

Envision what you want your lifestyle to look like in the next two to three years. Dream and stretch your faith.

That vision is what your goals should be financially supporting.

Takisha Artis

Use these three tips to help create new financial goals for the “New Year, New Me” vibe you have going on.

  1. Identify what you financially value. Think back to that vision, what were the valuable things that would bring you happiness and wealth? Maybe it’s creating a freedom fund, or paying down debt.
  2. Do you believe you can actually accomplish it? Revisit the vision. It’s perfectly fine to have a vision that you may need to exercise faith in. But you don’t want the vision to be so big that fear, doubt, and scarcity overrule and talk you out of believing you can achieve and deserve it. You’ll end up self-sabotaging the very thing you want the most because of your lack of belief.
  3. Create a list of tools and tasks to help you stay focused on achieving your vision: setting up an automatic transfer to your freedom fund, pulling your credit report, creating a debt snowball plan and not using your credit cards, using software to help you budget and track your finances.

That vision won’t manifest on its own; you’ll need money to create, maintain, and sustain it. Don’t give up, show yourself grace and forgiveness, making the vision better.

Your present circumstances don’t dictate the level of your future wealth. When it comes to your goals, remember one key financial question: Is this contributing to my vision or distracting me from it?

Takisha Artis, a Financial Life Coach & CPA, with over 20 years in the financial industry. Her mission is to help entrepreneurs transform their limiting beliefs about wealth so they can increase their net worth. She’s building a community of women who are confident in their relationship with money. 

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Enhanced Intelligence, VR Sex, and Our Cyborg Future  

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Civil Rights Legend Rep. John Lewis To Undergo Treatment for Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer

Rep. John Lewis

Civil rights legend and Congressman John Lewis of Georgia announced Sunday he will receive treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer. According to the release on his website, Lewis’ doctors reconfirmed the diagnosis following a routine medical visit and a series of tests.

“I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” Lewis said in a statement. “While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance.”

The 79-year-old legislator who has served in the House for 17 terms stated that “he will continue his work in Congress” as he returns to Washington in the coming days to begin his treatment plan, which is expected to last several weeks. “So I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross,” he further stated. “To my constituents: being your representative in Congress is the honor of a lifetime…I may miss a few votes during this period but with God’s grace I will be back on the front lines soon.”

After the announcement, Lewis gained an outpouring of support. Former President Obama, who presented the man called the “Conscience of the US Congress” with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, tweeted: “If there’s one thing I love about @RepJohnLewis, it’s his incomparable will to fight. I know he’s got a lot more of that left in him. Praying for you, my friend.”

Former President Clinton shared similar sentiments, tweeting: “If there’s anyone with the strength and courage to fight this, it’s you, John. Hilary and I love you with millions of other Americans.”

Lewis, who received the Earl G. Graves, Sr, Vanguard Award at the inaugural BLACK ENTERPRISE Black Men Xcel Summit in 2017, often says he’s looking for “good trouble.”  At such, he remains one of the fiercest lions in the fight for justice and equality, rallying congressional colleagues to vote to impeach President Trump earlier this month, gain unequivocal support on the restoration of key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and participate in a sit-in against gun violence.

His lifelong activism was inspired by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the slain civil rights leader’s example of nonviolent activism.  At the age of 23, the Troy, Alabama native and son of sharecroppers served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), an organization that engaged students to participate in sit-ins and freedom rides during the Civil Rights Movement. He was also the youngest architect and keynote speaker of the historic 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his powerful, nation-changing  I Have A Dream speech.  A year later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, putting an end to legal segregation of public institutions and accommodations. He was also among those who led more than 600 peaceful, orderly demonstrators across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 in a protest for voting rights in one of the bastions of Jim Crow. He was wounded in a brutal attack by Alabama state troopers that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” The efforts of King, Lewis and other civil rights leaders and marchers proved critical in passage of VRA, which ensured protection of the franchise for all Americans.

Lewis is still focus on bolstering VRA, which was weakened in the Supreme Court decision on Shelby County V. Holder. When the House recently passed the Voting Rights Advancement Act, Lewis underscored the significance of preserving “the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in Democratic society.” 



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Rep. John Lewis announces that he is battling stage four pancreatic cancer

Representative John Lewis (D-GA), a civil rights pioneer, has announced that he is battling stage four pancreatic cancer.

His announcement read in part, “I have been in some kind of fight – for freedom, equality, basic human rights – for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.

“While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance.

While Lewis appears optimistic the prognosis for stage four pancreatic cancer is grim with a roughly one-year survival rate after diagnosis according to John Hopkins School of Medicine.

READ MORE: Stay Woke: Here’s why Byron Allen’s Supreme Court case matters

Despite his diagnosis, Lewis vows to continue to work for the causes he has championed his entire career. “…I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross.”

Lewis (D-Ga) who has served as a congressman since 1987 has created a legacy of fighting for civil rights. Beginning with his days as a member of the Big Six Lewis’ entire career has revolved around fighting for the freedom of Black Americans with an emphasis on voter’s rights. An American Icon he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.

READ MORE: 9 things the NAACP needs you to know about the discrimination case against Comcast heading to the Supreme Court

“To my constituents: being your representative in Congress is the honor of a lifetime. I will return to Washington in coming days to continue our work and begin my treatment plan, which will occur over the next several weeks. I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God’s grace I will be back on the front lines soon. Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey.”

We absolutely will sir. We absolutely will.

The post Rep. John Lewis announces that he is battling stage four pancreatic cancer appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio