Newswire: ‘Rustin’ movie shines a long overdue spotlight on the architect of the March on Washington

Actor Colman Domingo who plays Bayard Rustin in movie

By Max Gao, NBC News

Six decades after Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in front of an estimated 250,000 people on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, a new Netflix film is shining a spotlight on one of the architects of the March on Washington who has largely been left out of the history books.
Directed by George C. Wolfe (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) and written by Julian Breece and Academy Award-winner Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”), “Rustin” revisits a crucial chapter in the life of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (played by Colman Domingo), who is best known for being a key adviser to King and organizing the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Executive produced by Michelle and Barack Obama, who posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, the buzzy biopic dramatizes the weeks leading up to the historic march and explores Rustin’s identity as an openly gay Black man torn between love and duty in the 1960s.
“I love the fact that, even the way the script is written, we don’t leave his sexuality out of it at all. It’s infused with every part of who he is,” Domingo told NBC News in a recent video interview. “He’s messy in many ways, even with his relationship dealings. He’s a real, flawed human being who’s trying to do something extraordinary, but he’s just an ordinary man. He’s trying to figure out the systems in which he lives and trying to move the needle a little bit on our humanity.”
Wolfe, an acclaimed theater director and playwright who won multiple Tony Awards for directing Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America” and his own “Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk” in the 1990s, has long been interested in telling stories about ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Wolfe was asked to curate an exhibit more than a decade ago at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, where he had an opportunity to delve into the life and accomplishments of Rustin, who died in 1987.
That treasure trove of research has proven invaluable in the five years that it has taken for “Rustin” to reach the big screen. In 2018, Black, the screenwriter, and film producer Bruce Cohen approached Tonia Davis at the Obamas’ newly launched production company, Higher Ground, about making a feature film centered around Rustin’s role in the March on Washington. Wolfe was attached early on as the director and worked closely with the writers to refine the screenplay and before long, he said, they could not imagine anyone other than Domingo, with whom he had just worked on “Ma Rainey,” to play the titular character in “Rustin.”
Domingo said he likely encountered Rustin’s story for the first time as a footnote in a college textbook but it wasn’t until years later, in the ’90s, that the actor learned about the extent of Rustin’s impact on the civil rights movement. For the better part of the last two decades, Domingo recalled, people would regularly tell him, “Oh, that’s a role that you should definitely play when they do the movie of his life,” perhaps because they shared so much in common. (Like Rustin, Domingo is Black, gay, tall, left-handed and born in Pennsylvania.)
So, when the time came to step into his shoes, Domingo voraciously consumed every piece of media he could find about Rustin — reading biographies, watching documentaries, visiting museums, listening to interviews — but he admitted that he was able to glean the most insight from his personal conversations with those who knew the man behind the movement.
“I think one of the most beautiful things that I love to do, especially with playing a real-life character, is to find out from people who knew and loved him all these personal ticks or things about them that you cannot find in Wikipedia,” Domingo said. For example, the actor — who grew up in Philadelphia, about an hour away from Rustin’s hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania — could not understand the origin of Rustin’s idiosyncratic, mid-Atlantic accent until Rachelle Horowitz, one of the activist’s comrades, revealed that Rustin simply made it up and used it as a kind of “flourish” in group meetings.
Rustin was always looking for new ways to reinvent himself and challenge the limits that others attempted to place on him, Domingo said. “He created himself in a very joyfully defiant way: being an athlete, playing the lute, singing Elizabethan love songs, actually cutting an album of Elizabethan love songs and hymns, being a conscientious objector, being part of the young communist groups. He was just doing what made sense to him in every single moment. That’s what I thought was fascinating.”
While some filmmakers have chosen to depict civil rights icons with almost the quality of a saint in the past, Wolfe felt strongly about depicting Rustin in all his complexity — a decision that he hopes will make this story as accessible to the masses as possible.
Part of Rustin’s struggle, both in real life and in the film, stemmed from the issue of whether his sexuality could hinder other people’s beliefs in his ability to lead the March on Washington and beyond. The activist, after all, faced resistance not only from the white populace but also from members of the Black community, including NAACP executive Roy Wilkins (Chris Rock) and Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (Jeffrey Wright).
That dilemma “was always his internal crisis,” Domingo said. “How can you be exactly who you are and do what you know you are gifted to do, but then there’s parts of yourself that are not wanted in rooms? How can you do it? That’s a dance that I think many of us can understand, whether we’re people of color, whether you’re LGBTQIA. But he was extraordinary, saying, ‘I want to bring all of me into this.’”
Wolfe noted that, given the time period, Rustin was a remarkably “out homosexual” who “claimed and owned all of who he was” in 1963. For this retelling of the leader’s life story, Wolfe and his creative team decided to create the character of Elias Taylor (Johnny Ramey), a fictionalized pastor on the NAACP board, who acts as a kind of foil and closeted love interest to the more free-spirited Rustin.
“Elias becomes a really interesting person in contrast” to Rustin, who was raised by Quaker grandparents in the North, because Elias “is Southern, he’s Baptist, he’s married. He has done all the things that are expected for him to do,” Wolfe explained. “There’s a line in the film which Bayard uses called ‘the suffocating chains of Negro respectability,’ and Bayard has liberated himself largely from those suffocating chains, and Elias is very much so imprisoned by those chains.”
That liberation, however, doesn’t mean Rustin is not haunted by his own past. As the march draws closer, Strom Thurmond, a segregationist senator from South Carolina, exposes Rustin’s arrest in 1953 when he was found having sex with two men in a parked car in Pasadena — a real-life charge that was pardoned by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020.
In that pivotal scene, where Rustin and his team of fellow march organizers are listening to Thurmond speak about Rustin’s arrest record on the radio, Rustin is “trying to hold onto the only thing he knows how to do while they’re trying to destroy him,” Domingo explained. “For me, that’s what I wanted to play — that complexity where he’s completely disintegrating in front of our eyes while he’s trying to stay on task.” 
The film carries a special professional significance for Domingo, one of the most versatile actors of his generation. After more than 30 years of working as a self-described “journeyman” actor and receiving acclaim for playing supporting roles in “Fear the Walking Dead,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “Euphoria” (for which he won a guest actor Emmy), “Rustin” is Domingo’s first major leading role.
“I think the chickens have come home to roost in a way where people can see the scope of what I’ve been doing and what I’ve been creating for years, and it’s being met with such loving, celebratory arms that if I sat in or really thought about it, I would never stop crying, because I think it’s really beautiful,” Domingo said, with a glint in his eye. “It feels like people are giving me my flowers — not that I’ve asked for them, but because I’ve always, I guess, like Bayard Rustin, always kept my head down and just went to work.”

Newswire : Vice President Harris makes history in Senate with 32nd tie-breaking vote

Vice President Kamala Harris

By Stacy M. Brown, For the Washington Informer

On Tuesday, Dec. 5, Vice President Kamala Harris broke the previous record set by John C. Calhoun in the 19th century for the most tie-breaking votes cast in the U.S. Senate. Harris has now cast 32 tie-breaking votes, eclipsing Calhoun’s record of 31 during his tenure as vice president from 1825 to 1832.
The latest tiebreaker occurred during the confirmation of Loren Alikhan as a U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia. As vice president, Harris serves as the president of the Senate, granting her constitutional authority to break ties.
Harris’s accomplishment is noteworthy not only for its historical significance but also in the context of the current political landscape. The U.S. Senate has been narrowly divided throughout the Biden administration, comprising 48 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and three independents. Of the independents, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine caucus with Democrats, while Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema left the Democratic Party in 2022 to register as an independent.
The surge in tie-breaking votes contrasts with previous administrations, as former Vice President Mike Pence cast 13 tie-breaking votes, while President Joe Biden did not cast any during his vice presidential tenure in the eight years of the Obama administration.
In a speech on the Senate floor earlier this year, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised her historic achievement. Schumer emphasized the circumstances of Harris’s tenure, characterized by a closely divided Senate and a highly partisan environment.
He acknowledged the weighty responsibility placed on the vice president as president of the Senate, noting that Harris has played a crucial role in passing pivotal legislation. From the American Rescue Plan to the Inflation Reduction Act and the confirmation of federal judges, Schumer commended Harris for her contributions to the functioning of the Senate.
“When it’s mattered most, Vice President Harris has provided the decisive vote on some of the most historic bills of modern times,” Schumer asserted. “All of us thank her for making the work of the Senate possible.”

Newswire : Kevin Hart is this year’s winner of Mark Twain Prize for Humor

Kevin Hart

By: BlackmansStreet Today


Funny man Kevin Hart is the winner of the 25th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. 

Considered the highest honor in the funny business, previous recipients have included Tina Fey, Bob Newhart, David Letterman, and Jon Stewart. 

Hart started telling jokes during amateur night at a local comedy club in his native Philadelphia.

Today, his standup fills stadiums, cracking up audiences with stories about dating, marital strife, his daughter’s first curse word, trying to play tough while standing just over 5 feet tall, his fear of rollercoasters, his drug-addicted dad who was in and out of jail … No interaction or event seems too small for Hart’s often sidesplitting treatment. 

Hart will receive the Mark Twain Prize at a gala at the Kennedy Center on March 24, 2024. The event will be broadcast at a later date.

Newsire : Africa’s ‘youth boom’ – could it change the World

crowded African street

Oct. 30, 2023 (GIN) – “By 2050, one in four people on the planet will be African… Early tremors of this seismic change are already registering around the world…. The world is becoming more African.”
So opens an in-depth look at our changing world by Irish author and journalist Declan Walsh. His research fills a special section of 40 pages that appeared in a recent edition of the New York Times.
The text is framed by the stunning work of Hannah Reyes Morales, a freelance photographer who spent five weeks this year traveling in Africa for the project.
From its opening double-page shot of the Center for Girls Education in Zaria, Nigeria, a program for married adolescents and mothers to the closing shot of fishers in Praia Nova, Mozambique, showing the impacts of climate change battering African countries, the pictures tell a thousand words.
Africa the Cultural Powerhouse
Here, the author profiles Nigerian star Burna Boy, who became the first African artist to sell out an American stadium after filling an 80,000 capacity venue in London where he sang his new single, “Sittin’ on Top of the World.”
“It’s a great time to be alive,” Laolu Senbanjo, a Nigerian artist living in Brooklyn was quoted to say. “Whether I’m in Target or an Uber, I hear the Afrobeats. It’s like a bridge. The world has come together.”
This year Gamma, a music company owned in part by Apple, set up an office in Lagos. “We’re going straight to the source,” Sipho Dlamini, a Gamma executive was heard to say.
Once the target of bullies, “African” today  is a badge of pride, Sebanjo says. Images of kids starving and swollen bellies are giving way to new images driving tourists who are dying to come to Cape Town, to Mombasa, to Zanzibar, he notes, adding “It’s cool to be African!”
Foreign companies are mentioned here as “eager allies, including Russia, China, the United States, Turkey and Gulf petrostates” as African leaders spurn the image of victim and demand a bigger say.
Once the big idea for enabling Africa to leapfrog its way out of poverty, technology is now sharing the stage with start-ups sprouting in Nigeria, South Africa and Morocco. Akinwumi Adesina, head of the African Development Bank, observes: “On top of the $96 billion in remittances from African migrants, three times more than the sum of all foreign aid, the African diaspora has become the largest financer of Africa!”
“It feels like the opportunities are unlimited for us right now,” says Jean-Patrick Niambe, a 24 year old hip-hop artist from Ivory Coast.
The author does not overlook Africa’s weaknesses. “It’s a young continent run by old men,” he says. “Under their grip, democracy has fallen to its lowest point in decades. Half of all Africans live in countries considered ‘not free’ by Freedom House.”
While polls say young Africans admire and desire democracy, disillusionment with rubber stamp elections that camouflage authoritarianism is turning many toward more radical options.
“Old World, Young Africa” is balanced, insightful reporting,” writes Unicef Africa, “that presents huge choices for African decision makers in coming years… But will this ‘youthquake be a blessing or a burden?”

Newswire : Richard Roundtree, trailblazing“Shaft” actor, dies at 81

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Richard Roundtree, the iconic actor renowned for portraying the suave private detective in the groundbreaking “Shaft” film series, has died at 81. His longtime manager, Patrick McMinn, confirmed that Roundtree succumbed to pancreatic cancer at his residence in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The legendary actor, who also battled and triumphed over breast cancer in 1993, underwent a double mastectomy.

“Richard’s work and career served as a turning point for African American leading men,” McMinn said. “The impact he had on the industry cannot be overstated.”
Roundtree’s legacy extended beyond the 1970s classics. He reprised his iconic role in the 2000 “Shaft” film, sharing the screen with Samuel L. Jackson, who portrayed his nephew. The film was a revival that aimed to captivate a wider audience, and Roundtree and Jackson returned in the same roles for the 2019 rendition starring Jessie T. Usher.

In a heartfelt social media post, Jackson hailed Roundtree as the “prototype” and praised him as “the best to ever do it.” Jackson added, “SHAFT, as we know it is & will always be his Creation. His passing leaves a deep hole not only in my heart, but I’m sure a lotta y’all’s, too.”

Born on July 9, 1942, in New Rochelle, New York to John and Kathryn Roundtree, the young Roundtree showed promise in athletics and academics. He attended New Rochelle High School, earning recognition for his contributions to the school’s nationally ranked football team. In 1961, Roundtree’s athletic prowess earned him a scholarship to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. However, his passion for acting and modeling prompted him to leave school in 1963.

Roundtree’s career took off when Eunice Johnson of Ebony magazine recruited him to model at the Ebony Fashion Fair in 1963. He joined the Negro Ensemble Company in 1967, where he delivered a memorable performance as boxing legend Jack Johnson in “The Great White Hope.”

The pivotal moment in Roundtree’s career came in 1971, he landed the role of Shaft in the Gordon Parks-directed film. The film’s success catapulted Roundtree to stardom, culminating in two sequels: “Shaft’s Big Score” (1972) and “Shaft in Africa” (1973). In recognition of his exceptional talent, Roundtree received the Golden Globe Most Promising Newcomer Award in 1972.
According to the HistoryMakers, throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Roundtree graced the silver screen in an array of films, including “Earthquake” (1974), “Escape to Athena” (1979), “A Game for Vultures” (1979), and “Day of The Assassin” (1979). He also made a memorable appearance in the 1977 ABC television miniseries “Roots.”

In the ensuing decades, Roundtree continued to leave an indelible mark in the entertainment industry, appearing in various television series such as “Soul Food,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Heroes,” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” He secured a recurring role in the 2013 television show “Being Mary Jane” alongside Gabrielle Union and Margaret Avery. Roundtree further graced FOX’s television series “Star” with his presence in 2017 and 2018.

In 1993, Roundtree faced a rare form of male breast cancer with unwavering determination. His resilience led him to become a prominent advocate for breast cancer awareness, lending his voice to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Know Your Score Men’s Health Initiative.

Roundtree earned numerous awards, including the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award for his iconic portrayal of Shaft, an Image Award nomination in 1998, a Peabody Award in 2002, and a Black Theater Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

Newswire : What Black women should know about hair relaxers and their health

By Claretta Bellamy NBC News

The damage chemical hair relaxers can have on Black women is coming under intense scrutiny. 
Several landmark studies have been published in the last year highlighting the link between chemical hair relaxers — which break down proteins in hair to straighten it — and increased rates of uterine cancer. And last week, after pressure from Democratic Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Shontel Brown of Ohio, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on hair-smoothing and hair-straightening products containing formaldehyde, an ingredient known to cause cancer. 
As more research continues to reveal potential dangers, hundreds of Black people have filed lawsuits against big-name beauty and cosmetic retailers like L’Oreal and Revlon, blaming their chemical hair straighteners as causes of uterine cancer, fibroid tumors and infertility. 
The latest research on the effects of hair relaxers was published Oct. 10 by Boston University. According to the Black Women’s Health Study, or BWHS, postmenopausal Black women who have used chemical hair relaxers more than twice a year or for more than five years have an increased risk of developing uterine cancer.  
In following 44,798 Black women for up to 22 years, researchers found a higher rate of uterine cancer among postmenopausal Black women who reported having used chemical hair relaxers for at least 10 years, regardless of frequency. 
Better grasping Black health and the factors that contribute to racial disparities in cancer was the intent behind the 22-year study. 
“The idea here is that a renewed emphasis or attention to the potential dangers of these products, I hope, will spur policies, and that will sort of help reduce exposure in this population or even help us identify potentially safer alternatives to straighten hair,” said the lead author of the study, Kimberly Bertrand, an associate professor of medicine at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine. Revealing the potential risks of hair relaxers, she said, can help spread awareness and encourage making safer choices.
To Rep. Pressley, oversight into these ingredients touches upon generational issue that Black women have long grappled with.
“For generations, systemic racism and anti-Black hair sentiment have forced Black women to navigate the extreme politicization of hair,” she said in a statement to NBC News on Wednesday. “We’ve seen this play out in schools and in the workplace, where Black folks have been criminalized, punished, or overlooked in personnel decisions just for how our hair grows out of our head. As a result, Black women have turned to straightened or relaxed hair as an attempt to advance socially and economically. But regardless of how we wear our hair, we should be able to show up in the world without putting our health at risk, and manufacturers should be prevented from making a profit at the expense of our health.”
NBC News spoke to Bertrand and other researchers to answer some questions Black people may have about chemical hair straighteners and the potential risks to their health
What has the research said about chemical hair relaxers and women’s health so far?
Several studies have found that chemical hair straighteners have harmful effects on the body. Last year, the National Institutes of Health published a major study linking chemical hair straighteners to a higher risk of uterine cancer. The study analyzed data from 33,497 U.S. women ages 35 to 74 who were followed for nearly 11 years. During that period, 378 cases of uterine cancer were diagnosed.
According to this month’s BWHS, women who reported using hair relaxers more than twice a year or who used them for more than five years had a greater than 50% risk of developing uterine cancer compared to those who rarely or never used relaxers, additional data from the study shows. 
In 2021, the BWHS found that Black women who used hair products containing lye, an ingredient typically found in salon relaxers, at least seven times a year for more than 15 years had a 30% increased risk of developing breast cancer. Among the 50,543 women who participated in the 25-year study, 2,311 participants had developed breast cancer, including 1,843 who developed invasive breast cancers, meaning the cancers spread into surrounding breast tissue. While Black women have a 4% lower incidence rate of breast cancer than white women, Black women have a 40% higher breast cancer death rate, according to the American Cancer Society.
Other studies have shown that hair relaxers can cause fibroids and an early onset of puberty in girls, Bertrand said. Early puberty can increase the risk for metabolic syndromes such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in adulthood. 
Why are hair relaxers so harmful? 
Chemical hair relaxers contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which can disrupt the functions of the endocrine system (which includes the thyroid, ovaries, pancreas and adrenal glands) and affect hormone levels. These chemicals include phthalates and parabens, which can be found in relaxers. People can be exposed to them by absorption through the skin or inhaling them in the air. 
Black women are often exposed to endocrine disruptors by using relaxers, which are applied on the scalp, said Jasmine Abrams, a research scientist at the Yale University School of Public Health.
“If you have ever gotten a relaxer, you know it usually sits on for a little bit, and most people sort of alert their hair stylist that it needs to be washed out once it starts tingling or burning — and at that point, you are running the risk of burns,” said Abrams, one of the authors of a study this year linking chemical hair straighteners to issues with fertility. 
“And if you’re running the risk of burns or any sort of injury with that type of chemical,” she added, “then you’re definitely increasing your risk for absorption. If you do that over time for many, many years, then it can, of course, become continuously problematic.”
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals can also be found in some beauty products like lotions, body washes and perfumes, she added. 
Are all chemical hair relaxers dangerous, or are there safer alternatives?
Parabens, phthalates and other chemicals that are often found in chemical hair straighteners pose a greater risk than other products because of scalp exposure, Bertrand said. Even other chemical hair straighteners marketed as safer to use, including no-lye relaxers, still pose potential risks.
“In our study, women who reported using non-lye relaxers were pretty much just as likely to report scalp burns as those who use lye relaxer,” she said. 
Hair-straightening products are “very poorly regulated” by the federal government, Bertrand said, and many mask harmful chemicals under names such as “fragrance and preservatives, so women don’t really know what they’re being exposed to.”
U.S. law does not require the Food and Drug Administration to approve cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, before they go on the market, according to the FDA website. However, the FDA announced last week that it would propose a ban on hair-straightening and hair-smoothing products containing formaldehyde. The FDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Stricter regulations of ingredients in cosmetic products and using alternative methods like heat straightening may help reduce exposure to harmful chemicals, Bertrand said.
In a statement to NBC News on Wednesday, Pressley applauded the FDA, saying the public health of Black women “is at stake.”

Newswire : Simone Biles wins her 6th world all-around gold medal, breaking her own record

Simone Biles

By Kaetlyn Liddy, NBC News


Ten years after she won her first world title in Antwerp, Belgium, at age 16, Simone Biles added another all-around gold medal to her collection Friday in the same city where it all began. 
She became the most decorated gymnast in history and the first female gymnast to win six all-around world titles.
This win, at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, marks her 27th world medal and breaks the record for total world and Olympic medals combined, passing Larisa Latynina, who represented the Soviet Union. Biles now has 34 world and Olympic medals: 27 world championship medals — 21 of which are gold — and seven Olympic medals.
The reigning all-around world champion, Rebeca Andrade of Brazil, won the silver medal, and Biles’ teammate, Shilese Jones, claimed the bronze.  For the first time in the history of the sport, the world all-around podium was comprised of three Black gymnasts.
In the all-around final, gymnasts must compete on all four events: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor. Biles set the tone for her competition with a stuck landing on her first skill. She did not compete her eponymous Yurchenko double pike vault, but opted for a Cheng and scored a 15.100.
Biles then moved to the uneven bars, where she delivered a clean routine for a 14.333. The event is the only apparatus where Biles did not top the standings in the qualification round, but she will still be in the uneven bars final on Saturday.
She wobbled at the beginning of her performance on the balance beam but delivered a confident routine after a shaky start. With just under a point lead over Jones and Andrade going into the fourth and final rotation, Biles needed a score of 12.901 to win the gold medal. She stumbled on a dance skill, but hit all of her tumbling passes to score a 14.533.
Biles’ individual all-around win came two days after she led the U.S. women’s team to their seventh consecutive gold medal. The team competition started on a tough note for Team USA, with Joscelyn Roberson, who trains alongside Biles at World Champions Centre in Spring, Texas, sustaining an injury in warmups and being carried off the podium before the first rotation. Roberson appeared to land at a low angle while she was warming up for a difficult vault called the “Cheng,” which Biles also performs.
Regardless, that day the U.S. team finished more than two points ahead of the silver medal-winning team, Brazil. Biles competed on all four events, anchored the final rotation and delivered the floor routine that clinched the team gold. On Wednesday her score of 15.166 was the highest floor score of the championships.
Biles also became the oldest U.S. woman to ever win a world championship medal at age 26.
Biles already has two gold medals from these world championships, but she still has plenty of competition ahead of her. She qualified for every possible final, including every individual apparatus final. Biles qualified in first place for the all-around, vault, floor exercise and balance beam finals and in fifth place for the uneven bars final.
In the qualification round Sunday, Biles became the first woman to land a new vault, the Yurchenko double pike, successfully getting the skill named after her in the code of points. It has been awarded a difficulty score of 6.4 — the highest of any vault in women’s gymnastics — and will be called the “Biles II,” as it is her second original skill on the apparatus.
Sunday also marked her return to international competition after she struggled with the “twisties“ and pulled out of multiple events at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Newswire : EEOC sues Tesla for racial harassment and retaliation

TESLA automobile plant in Freemont, California
FREMONT, Calif. – Electric car maker Tesla, Inc., violated federal law by tolerating widespread and ongoing racial harassment of its Black employees and by subjecting some of these workers to retaliation for opposing the harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, since at least 2015 to the present, Black employees at Tesla’s Fremont, California manufacturing facilities have routinely endured racial abuse, pervasive stereotyping, and hostility as well as epithets such as variations of the N-word, “monkey,” “boy,” and “black b*tch.” Slurs were used casually and openly in high-traffic areas and at worker hubs. Black employees regularly encountered graffiti, including variations of the N-word, swastikas, threats, and nooses, on desks and other equipment, in bathroom stalls, within elevators, and even on new vehicles rolling off the production line, the EEOC said.
The EEOC’s investigation also found that those who raised objections to racial hostility suffered various forms of retaliation, including terminations, changes in job duties, transfers, and other adverse employment actions.
The EEOC investigated Tesla after EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows filed a commissioner’s charge alleging that Tesla violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by subjecting Black employees to an unlawful hostile work environment and retaliating against employees for opposing harassment. Title VII prohibits racial harassment and requires employers who receive harassment complaints to take prompt and appropriate action to investigate and stop it.
After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation, the EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v Tesla, Inc., Case No. 4:23-cv-04984) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The EEOC’s lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, and back pay for the affected workers, as well as injunctive relief designed to reform Tesla’s employment practices to prevent such discrimination in the future.
“Combatting systemic harassment in workplaces is a key strategic enforcement priority for the EEOC. Unfortunately, as the lawsuits EEOC has filed this fiscal year show, racial harassment remains a persistent problem in employment. Every employee deserves to have their civil rights respected, and no worker should endure the kind of shameful racial bigotry our investigation revealed,” said Burrows. “Today’s lawsuit makes clear that no company is above the law, and the EEOC will vigorously enforce federal civil rights protections to help ensure American workplaces are free from unlawful harassment and retaliation.”
EEOC San Francisco District Office Director Nancy Sienko said, “When you let a standard slip, you’ve set a new standard. Determining that prolific racial slurs do not merit serious discipline and failing to correct harassing conduct sends an entirely wrong message to employees. It also violates an employer’s legal responsibility to act swiftly and effectively to stop race-based harassment.”
EEOC San Francisco District Office Regional Attorney Roberta L. Steele said, “The allegations in this case are disturbing. No worker should have to endure racial harassment and retaliation to earn a living six decades after the enactment of Title VII.”
For more information on race discrimination, please visit For more information on harassment, please visit

Newswire : Circle for Original Thinking honors Indigenous Peoples’ Day podcast will re-air discussion featuring Interior Secretary Deb Haaland

Deb Haaland, Secretary of Interior

New York, NY – On Monday, October 9, 2023, the Circle for Original Thinking podcast will re-air its fascinating discussion from the December 8, 2020 episode featuring the then Congresswoman Deb Haaland, and author and activist, Sally Roesch Wagner.
This rebroadcast will correspond with the United States observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. At the time, she represented the First Congressional District of New Mexico, which includes most of Albuquerque and its suburbs, and she was one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress—the other is Sharice Davids of Kansas. Shortly after this episode was aired, Haaland was nominated by the Biden administration to serve as the Secretary of the Interior, now making her the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary.

Also on the interview is Sally Roesch Wagner. Dr. Wagner is a feminist pioneer, speaker, activist, and the author of several books, including Sisters in Spirit: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early American Feminists, and The Women’s Suffrage Movement. Dr. Wagner was among the first persons ever to receive a PhD for work in Women’s Studies from UC Santa Cruz and was the founder of one of the first college-level women’s studies programs in the country.
Sally appeared in the Ken Burns PBS documentary Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, for which she wrote the accompanying faculty guide for PBS. She was also a historian in the PBS special One Woman, One Vote, and has been interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered and Democracy Now.

The subject of this discussion was the “Native American Influence on the Founding Mothers.” In other words, how did the Native American cultures inspire the thinking of the ‘founding mothers’, women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Matilda Gage who were outspoken voices for women’s’ rights during the formative years of the United States. These women paid taxes but could not vote, could not run for office, had no right of divorce, and should they separate from their husband, were returned to them by police like runaway slaves. Native women, on the other hand, were fully equal in their society and played an integral role in political affairs and in keeping harmony with nature.

The host of the Circle for Original Thinking podcast, Glenn Aparicio Parry, has long pointed out that the most significant forgotten piece of America’s legacy is the profound effect Native America had on the founding values of this nation. His book Original Politics: Making America Sacred Again demonstrates how the best aspects of the founding vision of America were inspired, or directly appropriated, from living, Native American cultures: concepts such as natural rights, liberty, and egalitarian justice. Further, Parry traces the influence of Native America not only on the founding fathers, but on the ‘founding mothers’ of the 19th century women’s movement; as well as the 19th century abolitionist and modern ecological movements.
The re-broadcast will take place on Monday, October 9, 2023 concurrent with the observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the United States. The commemoration has been officially adopted by nineteen states plus the District of Columbia, as well as 130 cities nationwide. In 2021, President Biden was the first president to officially commemorate the day, though it remains unadopted as a federal holiday.
The Indigenous peoples of the Americas are a large and extremely varied group of cultures spanning a massive territory from the lower tip of South America, near the Antarctic Ocean up into the Arctic Circle with the Northern areas of Canada, Greenland, and Alaska. The societies that emerged from these populations date back over 10,000 years and they represent a wide scope of social organizations from tribal groups to city states to empires. There are over a thousand known languages spoken amongst these peoples, and their cultures had developed varied, and often profound, expertise in such fields as literature, agriculture, large scale architecture, metallurgy, astronomy, medicine, engineering, and mathematics. It is important that we recognize their important contribution to humanity.
The Circle for Original Thinking podcast is America’s electronic talking circle for visionary thinkers and an open forum for fresh ideas and timeless wisdom applied to today’s political and ecological challenges. It is available for subscription wherever podcast are distributed, including Apple and Spotify. Glenn Aparicio Parry’s book Original Politics: Making America Sacred Again (978-1-59079-503-3; SelectBooks, Inc., 2020) is available wherever books or ebooks are sold.

Newswire : Black America divided over Hamas’ attack on Israel, raises questions on solidarity

People stand outside mosque destroyed by Israeli air strike in Gaza

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Black Americans have expressed a range of emotions regarding Hamas’ recent and deadly attack on Israel, with many taking to social media to highlight what they perceive as a lack of support from Israel and some members of the Jewish community for the Black Lives Matter Movement. The sentiment was especially pronounced after George Floyd’s assassination in Minnesota in 2020.
Numerous posts on social media platforms feature hashtags like #BLM and #PLM, underscoring the perceived parallels between the struggles of Palestinians and African Americans in their fight against systemic racism. One widely circulated message emphasized the cross-border nature of these movements, stating, “Palestinians & African Americans have been [creating] a social movement, without borders, to fight systemic racism. As part of international protests, in Palestine/Israel signs read ‘Justice for Eyad. Justice for George.’, ‘Black lives MATTER. Palestinian lives MATTER.’”
Another post drew attention to what the author viewed as a lack of awareness about the treatment of Black people in Israel, saying, “If African Americans Knew How Israel Treats Black People, Black Lives Don’t Matter in Israel.”
Former NBA star Amari Stoudemire, who previously announced his conversion to Judaism, took a contrary stance, denouncing African Americans who do not support Israel. Stoudemire openly criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, asserting they were not contributing positively. He stated, “For all y’all Black Lives Matter who ain’t saying nothing or ‘let me figure out exactly what happened before I say anything,’ F. you. Figure out what? It ain’t never been cool to kidnap kids.”

In a joint statement released on Saturday, October 7, NNPA Chair Bobby Henry and NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. unequivocally condemned the acts of violence committed against the Jewish people and the nation of Israel by Hamas. The statement emphasized that Hamas’ actions, including firing rockets and infiltrating Israeli territory, significantly escalated the ongoing conflict between the two parties.
“The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), representing the Black Press of America, forthrightly condemns the brutal, fatal terrorist attacks today on the Jewish people and the nation of Israel by Hamas,” read the statement. “Terrorism against innocent civilians in Israel and in any other place in the world can never be justified, tolerated, or sanctioned. We stand firmly in solidarity with Israel.”
Despite this, a different social media user expressed skepticism, asking, “When has anyone in Israel said to pray for the American Negro? Our Holocaust has been ongoing for 400+ years. Has Israel ever told the USA not to send any money until after it repairs Black Americans? I mean, it’s biblical to take care of your own family first.”
Experts said the diverse range of opinions within the Black American community underscores the complexities and multifaceted nature of the ongoing debate surrounding the conflict in the Middle East and its implications for various social justice movements. Further, many observed that, as the situation continues to evolve, how these perspectives will shape the discourse within the Black community and on the broader global stage remains to be seen.