Newswire : Arab autocrats funding violent crackdown in Sudan

Sudan’s military junta turns guns on civilian protestors

June 3, 2019 (GIN) – The hopeful path to peace in Sudan evaporated almost overnight as members of Sudan’s military junta suddenly cocked their rifles and aimed them at a sit-down demonstration by hundreds of civilians.

Over 30 Sudanese peaceful protestors preparing for the Muslim ritual Eid al Fitr – Festival of Breaking the Fast – lost their lives in an instant. Audio from civilian radios posted online captured the sounds of crying, shouting, and nonstop gunfire.

The question on everyone’s lips has been: What changed? What unleashed this deadly assault on quietly seated pro-democracy demonstrators?

Some analysts suspect the influence of ‘outside agitators’ – namely the autocratic leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – who had tried to maintain ousted president Omar al-Bashir in power but, failing that, would fuel a counter-coup under the leadership of Sudan’s restive military junta.

These countries had faced their own “Arab Spring” years back and were unwilling to see another pro-democracy movement rise in this major center of influence, reports Simon Tisdall of The Guardian news.

Only a week before, negotiations appeared to be nearing a settlement between Sudan’s ruling military junta and the civilian leaders of a movement that was now numbering in the thousands. But the talks stalled over a core demand that civilians assume immediate leadership of the country until elections could be held.

The Sudanese military leaders turned to their allies in the anti-democratic governments of Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia and help was forthcoming.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman promised $3 billion in aid, Tisdall reported, while the powerful Emirati crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, vowed to help “preserve Sudan’s security and stability”.

Al-Sisi, who publicly pledged to honor the “will of the Sudanese people”, is believed to playing both sides of the struggle, seeing Egyptian interests in the Nile water disputes as a possible outcome for backing the generals.

Egypt has already given the Sudanese junta significant assistance. The African Union, which Egypt currently chairs, set a 15-day deadline for the military to hand over power when Bashir fell. The deadline was extended to three months, however, when al-Sisi intervened.

While some in Sudan’s pro-democracy movement had anticipated foreign meddling, the brutality of the attack leveled at civilians with tear gas and live rounds of ammunition were shocking.

“This is a critical point in our revolution. The military council has chosen escalation and confrontation … Now the situation is us or them; there is no other way,” said Mohammed Yousef al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has spearheaded the protests.

Meanwhile Washington, while publicly urging dialogue, has shown little interest in supporting Sudan’s democratic renaissance.

Similarly, Britain, the former colonial power, appears uncaring and unengaged.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, one of the main pro-reform groups, has called on Sudanese people to take part in “total civil disobedience” to topple the military council and for people for take to the streets to protest.

Amnesty International has called on the UN Security Council to consider imposing sanctions on members of the Transitional Military Council (TMC).

The TMC “has completely destroyed the trust of the Sudanese people and crushed the people’s hope for a new era of respect for human rights and respect for the right to protest without fear,” they said.

Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, condemned violence and reports of excessive use of force by Sudanese security forces on civilians. He urged all parties “to act with utmost restraint”.

And on Twitter, a tweet signed Mehairy J. Blige read: “We are trying to overthrow one government but instead we are facing four. Our own and the gulf “allies” funding and organizing these massacres.”

Newswire: Leah Chase, legendary ‘Queen of Creole Cuisine’ and Civil Rights icon dies at 96

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent

Leah Chase

Known as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” Leah Chase carved out quite the niche in and around New Orleans for more than six decades.
During that time, she fed individuals like Quincy Jones, Jesse Jackson, Duke Ellington, Thurgood Marshall, James Baldwin, Ray Charles, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and countless others as Executive Chef of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant — one of the best-known and most culturally significant restaurants in New Orleans.
“If your soul is in New Orleans, I know what to give you,” Chase once said in response to being asked if she served soul food.
“I’m going to give you some jambalaya. I can give you some stewed chicken. I can give you some shrimp Creole,” she said.
The renowned cook and freedom fighter, Chase died on Saturday, June 1. She was 96.
“Her daily joy was not simply cooking but preparing meals to bring people together. One of her most prized contributions was advocating for the Civil Rights Movement through feeding those on the front lines of the struggle for human dignity,” Chase’s family said in a statement announcing her death.
“She saw her role and that of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant to serve as a vehicle for social change during a difficult time in our country’s history,” the family said.
Born on January 6, 1923 in New Orleans, Chase was one of 14 children. She was raised in the small town of Madisonville, Louisiana.
There were no high schools for black children, so after sixth grade, Chase moved to New Orleans to live with an aunt, according to her official biography.
After completing high school, Chase had a colorful work history including managing two amateur boxers and becoming the first woman to mark the racehorse board for a local bookie.
Her favorite job, though, was waiting tables in the French Quarter. It was there that she developed her love for food and feeding others.
In 1946, she married local musician Edgar “Dooky” Chase Jr., whose father had opened a street corner stand selling lottery tickets and his wife’s homemade po’boy sandwiches.
Eventually, Leah and Dooky Jr. took over the business, which by then had become a sit-down restaurant and a favorite local gathering place.
In a town deeply divided by segregation, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant was one of the only public places in New Orleans where mixed race groups could meet to discuss strategy for the local Civil Rights Movement.
Although such gatherings were illegal through most of the 1960s, Dooky Chase’s was so popular; it would have caused a public uproar if local law enforcement had interrupted the meetings.
Black voter registration campaign organizers, the NAACP, backdoor political meetings and countless others often found a home at Dooky Chase’s, and Leah cooked for them all, her biography noted.
Chase was also a patron of black art and her collection — displayed on the walls of her restaurant — was at one time considered New Orleans’ best collection of African American art.
Her cookbooks, including “The Dooky Chase Cookbook,” “And Still I Cook,” and “Leah Chase: Listen, I Say Like This,” are popular and have received great praise among her most famous colleagues.
“Leah Chase was a legend, an icon and an inspiration,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. “It is impossible to overstate what she meant to our City and to our community. At Dooky Chase’s Restaurant: she made creole cuisine the cultural force that it is today,” Cantrell said.
Chase fed Freedom Riders during the Civil Rights Movement and she fed James Meredith and put him up the night before he integrated the University of Mississippi, said Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
“She provided a space for whites and Blacks to strategize when other restaurants wouldn’t,” Clarke said.

Newswire: $1.5 million granted to a man who served 45 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit

By BlackmansStreet.Today

Richard Phillips
     The state of Michigan has awarded $1.5 million to Richard Phillips who was locked up in prison for 45 years for a murder he didn’t commit.
     The $1.5 million seems like a lot of money, and it is, but Phillips couldn’t work a job that would have enabled him to earn a salary, a pension and Social Security Benefits because he was in prison.
     Men and women cannot receive Social Security unless they earned at least 40 credits for 10 years of work, a  spokesman for the Social Security Administration told me in 2015.“Social Security does not have a program that compensates wrongfully convicted individuals with no work history,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

     Phillips may qualify for Supplemental Security Income, which pays a modest monthly benefit to people who don’t have any income. He earns some money selling paintings he drew in prison.
     A Go Fund Me Page has been established to help Phillips.
     Phillips, who is now 73, was sentenced to prison when he was 26 years old in 1971.

     His conviction was overturned in 2017 when another man confessed to the murder. University of Michigan law students learned about the man’s confession and went to court.

     Meanwhile, the cops and prosecutors who convicted him are now retired and collecting their pensions.

    Phillips served more time in prison than any other wrongfully convicted man. After being released from prison, Phillips said he would like to see members of family who has not seen in decades.

Newswire: Black man kills colleagues in a workplace shooting; it is the second deadly workplace shooting by a black man since February

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet.Today

DeWayne Craddock

The mass shooting in Virginia in which an African-American engineer killed 12 people, including 11 of his colleagues and a contractor, before being shot to death in a gun battle with police is the second deadly workplace shooting since February by a Black man.

     Other than the common denominator that both gunmen were Black, the circumstances couldn’t be more different.

     DeWayne Antonio Craddock, 40, walked into the Virginia Beach, Virginia, municipal building on Friday where he worked, and nothing seemed amiss. He told some of his co-workers to have a beautiful day before pulling out a .45 caliber pistol, fitted with a suppressor known as a silencer.

Armed with two pistols, he raced throughout the building, shooting some and walking away from others.

     Craddock worked for Virginia Beach 15 years. He had a pristine work record. However, he resigned by email the morning of the deadly shootings without giving a reason.

It remains a mystery what set off Craddock.

     This is unlike the fatal shooting that occurred in February in Aurora, Illinois, near Chicago, where Gary Martin,45,who had been fired from his job as a large valve assembler for the Henry Pratt Co., shot to the death five of his former colleagues before police killed him in a shootout.

     The company fired Martin for various workplace rule violations, said Sean Hall, CEO of Mueller Water Products, a Henry Pratt subsidiary.

     Martin, a 15-year Henry Pratt employee, was depressed because he had lost his job, his sister, Tameka Martin, told the New York Times. He was armed with a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol with a laser sight.

     Job loss causes depression and anxiety because of a lack of money. For Black men, it can be even worse because the unemployment rate is much higher for us compared with other racial and ethnic groups, the U.S. Bureau of the Labor Statistics reports.

Newswire : Ava DuVernay’s Central Park Five Documentary debuts on Netflix

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent@StacyBrownMedia

Scene from ‘Central Park Five’

The morning after Ava DuVernay’s four-part Netflix miniseries about the Central Park Five, “When They See Us,” premiered at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, she was in a daze. “I don’t drink, and I don’t do any other kinds of substances,” she told Rolling Stone, “but I think I have a hangover.”
She had the headache, but also the hazy memory of the community she’d felt the previous night, screening her labor of love in the neighborhood that raised the five teenagers wrongfully convicted of brutally raping jogger Trisha Meili on April 19, 1989.
It was a whirlwind of fellowship that involved “a lot of smiles, hugs, and a lot of tears,” DuVernay said.
“When They See Us,” debuts on Netflix on Friday, May 31.
The true and gripping tale of five boys of color between the ages of 14 and 16 who were forced to falsely confess to the rape of a white woman in New York’s Central Park, has received critical acclaim with reviewers noting that it’s “impassioned,” and “moving.”
One critic said it’s “must-see TV.”
We already have a category of movies that we expect to artfully, if painfully edify – think of 12 Years a Slave, or Schindler’s List – but we’re not acculturated to it on television, said Willa Paskin of Slate Magazine.
On April 19, 1989, the lives of Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, and Korey Wise changed forever.
News media described them as “a wolf pack,” and “animals,” and then-citizen Donald Trump took out a full-page ad in four New York City area newspapers attacking the youth and calling for the return of the death penalty.
Decades after they’d been exonerated, Trump still has refused to rescind his damning words against the men and he even denounced a multi-million civil settlement reached between New York City and the five men.
“Trump was the fire starter,” Salaam said. “Common citizens were being manipulated and swayed into believing that we were guilty.”
The police-coerced confessions were the only evidence against them, but racism made the boys convenient scapegoats and metaphors for all that had gone wrong in a stratified, corrupt, crime-ridden, rape-infested, and fearful New York City, according to Slate.
DuVernay, who took on the project after Santana suggested it to her via tweet, wants to dramatize what the criminal justice system and New York City stole from these innocent teenagers.
The series begins on the day of the rape. Antron (Caleel Harris and, as an adult, Jovan Adepo), Raymond (Marquis Rodriguez and Freddy Miyares), Kevin (Asante Blackk and Justin Cunningham) , Yusef (Ethan Herisse and Chris Chalk), and Korey (Jharrel Jerome) are going about their regular lives: talking about the Yankees with a father and dreaming of becoming a shortstop; kissing a girlfriend; lugging an instrument around after school.
Though they don’t know each other particularly well, they all wind up in a group of about 25 boys who head into the park that night, where some goof around, while others harass bikers or a homeless guy.
The police descend, arresting a handful of them, but the cops don’t consider any of them suspects in anything particularly serious.
That changes after the rape victim is discovered in the early hours of the morning and Assistant District Attorney Linda Fairstein decides the boys’ presence in the park that night can’t be a coincidence.
Despite there being no physical evidence that the boys were involved, the police set out to make the facts fit the theory of the case. They start trying to get confessions and names, which they use to pick up additional suspects.
Korey Wise, whose name is not on the police’s list, goes down to the precinct with Yusef just to be a good friend. He won’t leave police custody for more than a decade.
For his act of kindness, he will spend years at Rikers Island awaiting trial and then 13 years in an adult prison, the only one of the five who was 16 and so sentenced as an adult.
When Rolling Stone noted that this story had never been told from the perspective of the five men, DuVernay said she started just speaking with the men first.
“That was my first way in. And from there I folded in all of the court transcripts, different records and files that we were able to get a hold of through public means or private transfer,” DuVernay said.
“We then read every single stitch of press coverage to really get an understanding of the ways in which this was being reported, to understand the propaganda around this case. You know, there was a study done that 89 percent of the articles that were written at the time, by the New York papers, didn’t even use the word ‘alleged,’” DuVernay said.
She continued:
“I also talked with academics to get underneath the state of New York City at the time. What were the political motivations?
“But it always came back to the men and then their families. Over a four-year period, it was just exhaustive. Interviews, but sometimes just spending time. Lunches, dinners, just getting to know them. Sometimes it’s the little things more than just the core stories.”

Eutaw City Council postpones decision on new fire truck

Police Chief Derrick Coleman with
new officer William Walker

The Eutaw City Council postponed action at the Tuesday May 28 regular meeting on applying for CDBG funding to purchase a new fire truck for the city.
The acquisition of a new fire truck has been the subject of the past two meetings of the City Council. Fire Chief Benny Abrams, who also represents District 5 on the City Council, said that the city had only one fully functional fire engine and was in need of another.
At the May 14 City Council meeting, the Mayor proposed applying to ADECA for $350,000 of competitive Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to purchase a new fire truck. At the work session on May 21, Cory Johnson, with West Alabama Planning and Development Commission (WAPDC) explained that ADECA had several funds and that the most appropriate one was the ADECA Enhancement Fund that provides funding for up to $250,000 specifically for fire trucks.The City would have to provide matching funds for the remaining cost of the fire truck, above $250,000, and some administrative fees ($20,000) for WAPDC. Some of the Council members voiced their continuing concern with approving projects that require matching funds, without a city financial report and budget, which would help them to determine if they could afford major capital expenses.
The Eutaw City Council postponed action on approving the grant request for the fire truck at the request of Benny Abrams. No explanations of the reasons for the postponement were given in the meeting. After the meeting, Mayor Steele said, “Chief Abrams was concerned about the significant reduction in the available grant funds and the need to explore other funding sources as well.”
The Council approved spending $4,250 for a digital SCADA Control and Acquisition System for the Well No. 3 and the landfill water tanks. This system will allow the tanks to communicate and report problems with the water system to the operators to detect leaks in the system and save money in the operation of the system. Stone and Sons Electrical Contractors will be doing the installation work. Eventually the system will need to be expanded to all water tanks in the city system.
The Council approved a salary of $500 a month for Attorney Joshua Swords to serve as City Judge.
The City Council discussed seeking bids to repair roads in King Village. Mayor Steele said he did not agree with a major repaving of the roads in King Village since they were not as damaged as the roads in Branch Heights. The Mayor suggested patching the roads in King Village at this time. This led to a larger discussion of the funds used to pave roads in Branch Heights and how this related to the Sheriff setting aside bingo funds for paving Branch Heights roads. The Council agreed to suspend paving of King Village until a meeting could be scheduled with the Sheriff to discuss the earmarked bingo funds.
There was a discussion of authorized signatures on Certificates of Deposit and a Safety Deposit Box for the city. The Council has already moved to remove the Mayor as a signatory on most city accounts. Mayor Steele said this action was “unprecedented and hampered his ability to do the day-to-day business of the city. The Council said they had to take action to prevent the Mayor from making decisions that involved spending money without the Council’s approval and support. There was a tie vote and no action was taken.
On another controversial issue which separates the Mayor and the council, on a 4 to 1 vote, the council approved publication of an ordinance that deals with declaring the shed at the National Guard Armory surplus and vacant so it can be rented to other interested parties. The Mayor says the shed is in use for storing city materials, including Christmas lights and other supplies.
The Council approved travel for the Chief of Police and Assistant Chief to attend the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police Summer Conference in Orange Beach.
Police Chief Derrick Coleman introduced new police officer, William Walker of Northport, who will be attending the State Police Academy in August and joining the Eutaw city police force.

Rev. William Barber says Alabama abortion ban is hypocrisy in claiming to be pro-life while disregarding the lives of poor people

Rev. William Barber, Co-Director of the Poor People’s Campaign joined the SOS Coalition for Justice and Democracy at its weekly Tuesday rally on the steps of the Alabama State House to urge Governor Kaye Ivey and the Alabama Legislature to support Medicaid Expansion, under the Affordable Care Act, for working poor people in the state.“I have come here today as a bishop of the church to expose the distorted moral narrative of the Governor and the Alabama State Legislature in claiming they are pro-life in adopting a mean spirited ban on all abortions, with no exceptions for rape, incest and health of the mother. They are forcing women in Alabama back to back alleys to seek reproductive health care services,” said Rev. Barber.
“ A number of states including, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio and Missouri are adopting these total abortion bans while at the same time having the highest rates of infant mortality, maternal death rates, food stamp utilization and failing to expand Medicare Expansion,” said Barber.
Rev. Barber indicated, “It is the height of hypocrisy for the Alabama Governor and the Legislature to say they are pro-life when 948,000 people in the state make under $15 hour. These are the very mothers who cannot get health care insurance coverage because the state has not extended Medicaid to the working poor. To be more concerned about the unborn, than with people after they are born, makes little sense.”
A grandmother from Birmingham, who had reunited her five grandchildren from foster homes, testified that she was working two jobs and still could not qualify for health insurance coverage because her income was still too low. She also indicated that she was struggling to keep her food stamps and other government support.
John Zippert, Chair of the Board of the Greene County Health System testified, “Our small rural 20 bed hospital is seriously challenged with providing $100,000 a month in uncompensated care to people who would have some health insurance to pay for their care if the State of Alabama expanded Medicaid. Our hospital, like most of those in the state, is operating with a financial deficit. We cannot continue operating this way very much longer.”
Sandy Fox, Southeast Regional Director for Planned Parenthood said, “My organization plans to sue the State of Alabama to prevent this abortion ban from going into effect.
We are continuing to offer reproductive health services to women in Alabama as we have since 1930. Black women in the South have a rate of cervical cancer six times higher than whites, and the Legislature and the Governor are trying to cut and stop health care services for poor women.
Zippert also said, “The SOS has developed a Citizens Arrest Warrant for Governor Kay Ivey. We want to arrest her for the crime of failing to expand Medicaid, which has lead to 500+ people a year dying unnecessarily without heath care; signing the draconian abortion ban, which hurts women; failing to act on prison reform and criminal justice; and continuing to suppress the votes of African-American, Latino and other voters.”
Rev. Barber pointed out that there was a statute in front of the Alabama State Capitol of Dr. Marion Sims, a medical doctor who practiced surgery on Black women during slavery without anesthesia to learn new gynecological procedures and that the Alabama abortion ban was following his brutal and misguided legacy.
“The most dangerous thing about the pro-life people is that they anchor these beliefs in their religious faith. But Jesus says nothing in the Bible about abortion but he does say a lot about treating the poor well and as you would want to be treated,” said Rev. Barber.

Newswire : U.N. creates new ‘Ebola Chief’ position as fears of cross border transmission in Africa

Ebola protection suit

May 27, 2019 (GIN) – “We have no time to lose.”

That’s the new mantra at the United Nations as the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo now appears almost unstoppable.

In an effort to bolster efforts to contain the growing outbreak that has killed more than 1,200 people in 10 months, United Nations officials on Thursday named David Gressly as the emergency Ebola response coordinator.

Gressly will oversee the coordination of international support for the Ebola response and work to ensure that an enabling environment — particularly security and political — is in place to allow the Ebola response to be even more effective,’ according to a statement from the World Health Organization.

The drive to rein in the deadly virus has been hampered by attacks on treatment centers by armed groups operating in Congo’s lawless east as well as by distrust among local residents, many of whom view the disease as a conspiracy.

In addition, the WHO announced it discovered holes in its ring vaccination program, which thwarted efforts to track down and vaccinate all exposed people.

“Somehow we have to catch up with the outbreak and break the transmission chain very quickly,” Congolese Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said, adding that a new approach was already been used in a few remote villages.

Meanwhile, as the second-largest Ebola outbreak continues to spread, health officials say it’s likely to reach the populous city of Goma. Once there, the risk of it spreading beyond the Democratic Republic of Congo to Rwanda, South Sudan, or Uganda increases. … ‘I wouldn’t say (the spread to Goma) is inevitable, but it’s highly probable,’ said Ray Arthur, director of the Global Disease Detection Operations Center at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Newswire: Congressional lawmakers introduce bill to examine disparities that impact Black men and boys

By Jane Kennedy

5000 Role Models of Excellence Project

U. S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), center, introduces a Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys.

( – Nearly five years after Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City policeman, recklessly choked Eric Garner to death, he is just now facing prosecution at a disciplinary trial that may—or may not—lead to his firing. The officers who stood idly by during the incident that was just one of a series of needless police killings of African-American men and boys, will likely not have to pay for their inaction.

It is this casual disregard for the safety and well-being of Black males that led Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) to create the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Caucus. Co-chaired by Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Cedric Richmond (D-La,), and Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), the caucus publicly introduced at a press conference last week legislation to establish an advisory body that will examine the societal inequities that adversely affect this demographic.

They were joined by several other lawmakers, representatives of national organizations, and Tracy Martin, father of slain teenager Trayvon Martin. In addition, dozens of boys who are members of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project mentorship program Wilson founded 25 years ago traveled to Washington from Miami and Jacksonville to participate in the event.

“We are here because we acknowledge a tragic truth: All too often, Black males in America are treated as their own class of citizen. They are rarely given the benefit of the doubt. They are labeled delinquent, not rowdy. They are hardened criminals, not misguided youth,” Wilson said. “Their very existence is often seen as a threat.”

The Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act of 2019 calls for a bipartisan commission to be housed within the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ office. Led by a staff director, its 19 members would include appointees from the Senate and the House, the Congressional Black Caucus chairperson and five CBC members, as well as representatives from federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations. Duties include examining homicide rates, arrest and incarceration rates, poverty, violence, fatherhood, mentorship, drug abuse, death rates, disparate income and wealth levels, school performance at various grade levels, and health issues.

One year after their first meeting, members will be required to produce an annual report that includes recommendations to address these issues. In addition, the report, which will be publicly available, will be submitted to the president and cabinet secretaries, Congress, and the chairs of the appropriate committees of jurisdiction.

Rep. Jeffries noted in his remarks that while African-Americans have made “tremendous progress,” there is still a long way to go.

“We understand that when America catches a cold, the black community often catches a fever. When the black community catches a fever, it’s young black men and boys at the center of the affliction of economic pneumonia. You can’t continue to ignore realities of this situation, which is why this Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys is so incredibly important,” the New York lawmaker said. “We all recognize that unless we take the time to give our young men and our young black boys the opportunity to be successful, the system will seize the opportunity to give these men and young black boys some [jail] time.”

Jamonza Clark, a sophomore at Miami’s William H. Turner Technical Arts High School, feels blessed to be a part of Wilson’s Role Models program and a strong family unit, but recognizes that there are countless boys who look like him whose futures are very uncertain.

“Many of us live in ZIP codes that don’t have the same resources and opportunities that give our white counterparts head starts in life,” he said. “How are we supposed to get ahead when on the day we are born, we’re already behind?”

Rep. Richmond empathizes with boys and men who are judged by the color of their skin or what they wear. Sports, he said, is the one area where all the rules are the same for everybody, and African Americans excel. “So when we start talking about the game of life and making sure that our young men achieve the success that they should, then we have to look at all of the barriers,” Richmond said.

Rep. McBath, who is serving her first term in Congress, experienced every parent’s worst nightmare when her 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was gunned down at a Jacksonville gas station because his killer thought the music in the teenagers’ car was too loud.

“I was teaching him to stand up against unrighteousness and to stand up in the face of injustice. I was preparing him to take his place in this world at the decision-making table as a powerful young black man. My son, like so many others, was a victim of implicit bias and racism and I feel an obligation in my core to address these issues on behalf of each of the young men that are standing here today full of potential and destined to do great things,” she said, adding that any form of discrimination, “both explicit and implicit” is unacceptable.

Turning to the 5000 Role Models of Excellence students, she continued, “I implore each of you to stand up. You deserve to have a place at the table and decide the course of our world. I believe in all of you. This is what democracy looks like, and this is how we will change our world.”

Newswire: Record number – 34 female African-American cadets graduate from West Point Military Academy

By Sarah Ruiz-Grossman, Huffington Post

Black female graduates of West Point

Black women made military history on Saturday, as the West Point military academy graduated its class of 2019 with its highest-ever number of female African American cadets.
There are 34 Black women cadets graduated from the academy on Saturday, May 25 ― a record high number, the school confirmed to HuffPost. All will receive a Bachelor of Science degree and commissions as 2nd lieutenants in the U.S. Army.
“My hope when young black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability and fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” cadet Tiffany Welch-Baker told online publication Because of Them We Canearlier this month.
There were about 1,270 cadets in the 2019 graduating class, of which 280 were women ―around 22%, per the school. And there were 189 Black students in the class, around 15%.
This racial and gender milestone comes just one year after Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams broke barriers as the first black officer to be superintendent and command the academy, founded in 1802. It’s been less than two years since Simone Askew made history as the first Black woman to be named first captain of the corps of cadets, the highest student position at the academy.
The first womanto graduate from the academy, Andrea Hollen, was in the class of 1980, and in that same class was Vincent Brooks, the first Black cadet to serve as first captain.
Once cadets graduate from the academy, located in New York, they serve on active duty in the militaryfor at least five years.