Newswire : Read Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes Speech

By GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO, New York Times
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Oprah Winfrey accepting Golden Globes award

Oprah Winfrey accepted the Golden Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement with a rousing acceptance speech that began as a personal reflection and ended as a call to arms.
After being introduced by Reese Witherspoon, she acknowledged the significance of becoming the first black woman to win the award, and said she hoped that the raised voices of her fellow actresses might lead to a world in which “nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too,’ again.”
Here is a full transcript of Ms. Winfrey’s speech:
Ah! Thank you. Thank you all. O.K., O.K. Thank you, Reese. In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee, watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history: “The winner is Sidney Poitier.” Up to the stage came the most elegant man I had ever seen. I remember his tie was white, and of course his skin was black. And I’d never seen a black man being celebrated like that. And I’ve tried many, many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl — a kid watching from the cheap seats, as my mom came through the door bone-tired from cleaning other people’s houses. But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation’s in Sidney’s performance in “Lilies of the Field”: “Amen, amen. Amen, amen.” In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille Award right here at the Golden Globes, and it is not lost on me that at this moment there are some little girls watching as I become the first Black woman to be given this same award.
It is an honor, and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them, and also with the incredible men and women who’ve inspired me, who’ve challenged me, who’ve sustained me and made my journey to this stage possible. Dennis Swanson, who took a chance on me for “A.M. Chicago”; Quincy Jones, who saw me on that show and said to Steven Spielberg, “Yes, she is Sophia in ‘The Color Purple’”; Gayle, who’s been the definition of what a friend is; and Stedman, who’s been my rock — just a few to name. I’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, because we all know that the press is under siege these days.
But we also know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To tyrants and victims and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before, as we try to navigate these complicated times. Which brings me to this: What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell. And this year we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace.
So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault, because they — like my mother — had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farmworkers; they are working in factories and they work in restaurants, and they’re in academia and engineering and medicine and science; they’re part of the world of tech and politics and business; they’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.
And they’re someone else: Recy Taylor, a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and a mother. She was just walking home from a church service she’d attended in Abbeville, Ala., when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped and left blindfolded by the side of the road, coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone, but her story was reported to the N.A.A.C.P., where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case and together they sought justice. But justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died 10 days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived, as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. And for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up.
And I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth — like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented — goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’s heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery. And it’s here with every woman who chooses to say, “Me too.” And every man — every man — who chooses to listen. In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave: to say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. And I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning — even during our darkest nights.
So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again. Thank you.”

Newswire : Is Donald Trump the worst President on minority issues in 50 years?

News Analysis by Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
Donald Trump, a man best known as a “birther” with a reality TV show and a real estate empire, who claimed that Mexico was sending drugs and rapists to the United States, was sworn in as president on January 20, 2017. What happened next was predictable and we should expect more of the same in 2018.
Here are seven decisions from the past year confirming that Trump has been the worst president for African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities over the last 50 years.
1. Trump picks Jeff Sessions to succeed Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the U.S. Trump went out of his way to make sure that his administration’s justice policy reflected 1940s America, when he selected Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as his Attorney General.
According to a Huffington Post article published in January 2017, Sessions not only supported gutting the Voting Rights Act in 2013, he also has “a record of blocking Black judicial nominees.” Sessions, “unsuccessfully prosecuted Black civil rights activists for voter fraud in 1985―including a former aide to Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Since, Sessions has taken over at the Justice Department, he has recused himself from an investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election and ordered a review of Obama era police reforms. This is one time where the selection of Rudy Giuliani for attorney general may have actually looked like a more moderate choice.
2. Trump says “there were very fine people on both sides” at the Charlottesville White nationalists rally, during a Trump Tower press conference. Never mind that one of the largest gatherings of racists in America since the end of the Civil Rights Movement occurred only eight months into Trump’s presidency. Put that aside. Trump’s “both sides” comments on who was to blame for the public street fight in the college town was all anyone needed to understand regarding the thinking of America’s 45th president on the issue of race.
“I am not putting anybody on a moral plane, what I’m saying is this: you had a group on one side and a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible and it was a horrible thing to watch, but there is another side,” said Trump. “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.”
Trump also said, “I’ve condemned many different groups, but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there, because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue Robert E. Lee.”
3. Trump calls for NFL owners to fire players over silent protests. Trump said NFL owners should respond to the players by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!” Just in case you missed it with his comments on Charlottesville, Trump was back again to spoil the start of the NFL season by commenting on players who dared to silently protest racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Trump called kneeling during the anthem, “a total disrespect of our heritage,” and a “total disrespect for everything we stand for.” The result was more protests by NFL players who then locked arms on sidelines across the U.S. with many White players and coaches participating.
Even Rush Limbaugh found himself having issues with Trump on this one. “There’s a part of this story that’s starting to make me nervous, and it’s this: I am very uncomfortable with the President of the United States being able to dictate the behavior and power of anybody,” said Limbaugh. “That’s not where this should be coming from.”
4. Trump uses an executive order to block travel of refugees from majority-Muslim countries to the U.S. When you have former staffers for Jeff Sessions writing executive orders on immigration policy, you can expect what happened at the Trump White House on January 27, 2017. With absolutely no warning, on the seventh day of his presidency, Trump signed an immigration and travel executive order. This order had Steven Miller’s fingerprints all over it, After a few days of chaos and protests at airports across the nation, federal judges applied an initial smackdown blocking the order. But Trump’s DOJ revised the order to pass some of those legal tests.

5. Trump launches sham voting commission to investigate “voter fraud.” Since many voting rights advocates agree that Republican-controlled state legislatures cook up the most egregious voting laws, it should have been surprising to no one that former Kansas Attorney General, Kris Kobach, would be a fixture of the Trump Administration. Kobach is the Vice Chairman and “driving force” behind Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Since, he’s spent so much time rooting out voter fraud that is all but non-existent, Kobach was perfect for the job.
According to the Brennan Center, Kobach was the “driving force behind a Kansas law that included both a strict photo ID requirement to vote and proof of citizenship to register—which has blocked thousands of eligible citizens from the polls” and “has repeatedly made extravagant claims of in-person voter fraud or noncitizen voting with little or no evidence.”
After Trump kept repeating the falsehood that millions of fraudulent votes were cast in 2016, everyone knew this was coming. Hillary Clinton won 3 million more votes than Trump so a “voting integrity” commission was a given.
6. Trump pardons Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The Bull Connor of his era, Arpaio was Sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., for 24 years. According to one DOJ expert, Arpaio oversaw “the worst pattern of racial profiling by a law enforcement agency in U.S. history.” Trump was perfectly consistent in his anti-immigrant rhetoric of 2016 in pardoning Arpaio on August 25, 2017 from a conviction for criminal contempt of court. Trump just couldn’t resist another opportunity to give a wink of approval to the right-wing.

7. Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Instead of nominating a Black woman to replace Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama picked someone whose nomination no one cared about or would rally around (the instantly unexciting Merrick Garland). With that, the deal was done. The selection of Garland easily allowed the Republican-controlled Senate to ignore Obama’s pick and run out the clock out, opening the door for Trump to select Neil Gorsuch, who has “voted 100 percent of the time with the court’s most conservative member, Clarence Thomas, according to SCOTUSblog,” NPR reported.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist, political analyst and contributor to the NNPA Newswire

Newswire : H&M apologizes for ad showing black child model wearing ‘monkey’ hoodie

By Zlati Meyer, USA TODAY

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Woman walking past H & M logo

International retail giant H&M has apologized for an ad featuring a Black child model wearing a hoodie emblazoned with the phrase “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
Social media blew up over the photo of a young boy wearing the green hooded sweatshirt, which had racist undertones. The online advertisement for the top was for sale in the U.K.
“We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top,” H&M said in a statement. “The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in the United States.We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues.”
Everyone from celebrities to social-justice experts to comedians chimed in. Tweets ranged form GIFs of head-shaking to adding the letters S, A and E to the retailer’s name to spell “Shame”.
“It was a horribly insensitive combination of memes,” said Bruce Turkel, executive creative director of Miami-based firm Turkel Brands. “People will forget. Trouble will happen if they don’t fix their approval process and something like this happens again, because each time it does, this issue will be brought up again.”
This isn’t the first time the Sweden-based retail chain’s has been criticized for racial and ethnic insensitivity. In 2015, it drew fire after its South Africa division featured no black models. When questioned about the lack of diversity, H&M’s tweeted response suggested that white models conveyed more positivity. And in 2013, H&M pulled feathered headdresses from its stores after Canadian customers complained it made fun of First Nation tribal customs.
Nor is H&M the only company to blunder. In October, Kellogg’s pledged to replace a racially insensitive drawing on its Corn Pops box after an uproar on Twitter. The sole brown Corn Pop in the artwork was depicted as a janitor. That month, Dove, a Unilever brand, apologized for a Facebook ad it ran for Dove Body Wash, which showed a black woman taking off a brown T-shirt, revealing a while woman. It prompted calls to boycott the company.
And one week in April saw Pepsi pulling a Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial that some people viewed as belittling the Black Lives movement, while skincare company Nivea pulled an ad for Invisible For Black & White deodorant, which included the tag line “White is purity.”
Founded in Sweden in 1947, the company now known H&M has more than 4,100 stores worldwide. The initials stand for Hennes & Mauritz.

Newswire : Essence Magazine, once again, Black-owned after purchase by Sundial Brands Founder Richelieu Dennis

 

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
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Richelieu Dennis

In a deal that reestablishes Essence magazine as a totally, Black and independently-owned entity, Sundial Brands founder Richelieu Dennis recently announced the purchase of Essence Communications from Time Inc.
The Essence Communications deal also comes a week after Dennis was knighted in his native Liberia by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who admitted him into the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneer with the Grade of Knight Commander. Sirleaf reportedly described Dennis as an “Awesome Hero.”
“Talk about surreal,” Dennis said in an interview with NNPA Newswire. “I can’t even bring myself to say [knighthood]. It’s been a phenomenal week.”
Dennis said that the purchase of Essence Communications comes with a deep-seated passion and commitment to making sure that, “we are doing everything we can to leverage the power of the business to impact our community in a positive way and to demonstrate that we can run highly-profitable organizations.”
Dennis continued: “We can also leverage the impact and the resources that those businesses generate to drive economic empowerment and social justice in our communities for ourselves and by ourselves.”
Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and the publisher of the Crusader Newspaper Group, said that it was good news to hear that ownership of Essence magazine has returned to the Black community.
“I hope it’s a trend,” said Leavell. “We do need strong Black ownership in our industry, even as I’m expecting that our Black newspapers will prosper in 2018.”
Leavell also said that she hopes that Black entrepreneurs will see the work and products of the Black Press and “seek to restore some light.” Leavell added: “We need more and more publications that depict us in a positive way and that’s certainly what ‘Essence’ has done in the past and I hope they will continue.”
While financial terms of the Essence Communications purchase weren’t disclosed, Dennis said he’s not only retaining Essence President Michelle Ebanks, who will continue to run the company, but Ebanks will also join the organization’s board of directors and lead an all-Black executive team at Essence, who will have equity stakes in the business.
“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude,” Ebanks told the NNPA Newswire. “The ‘Essence’ brand…has always had a special place in the hearts and minds of Black women and entrepreneurs and leaders like [Dennis] recognized ‘Essence’ and its importance and wants to restore it. This has allowed a dream to come true and we couldn’t be happier.”
Ebanks said that it was an extraordinary and special privilege to be part of an organization that would be responsible for elevating Black women in the industry.
Dennis said the deal to purchase Essence came together rather quickly after reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about Time Inc.’s intention to sell the company.
“The stars aligned. We started to think about the implications of what this would mean if ‘Essence’ were truly bought back into the community and the impact it could have on the audience and on the industry to be able to create our content and to monetize our own content,” said Dennis. “There was never a waiver in the commitment on what ‘Essence’ means to our community.”
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA, congratulated Richelieu Dennis for purchasing Essence magazine and for returning this iconic publication to 100 percent Black ownership.
“This is a very timely and an important milestone for the Black Press in America and throughout the world,” said Chavis. “Essence magazine, under the able leadership of Michelle Ebanks, is a valued treasure of Black America and the NNPA acknowledges, with supportive gratitude, Richelieu Dennis for this significant Black-owned business transaction.

Newswire : South African War on Corruption moves into high gear

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Protest in South Africa

(TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN) – A shakeup in the African National Party has boosted hopes that new party officials will make a clean sweep of the backroom dealings that have made millionaires out of a small South African elite and punished the majority with high unemployment and a national credit rating downgraded to “junk status.”
Business tycoon Cyril Ramaphosa, newly elected president of the African National Congress, has raised hopes that he will stamp out corruption, expedite job creation, improve the lackluster economy and speed up the transfer of land to black people.
“Corruption must be fought with the same intensity and purpose that we fight poverty, unemployment and inequality,” Ramaphosa declared in his maiden speech after his election. “We must also act fearlessly against alleged corruption and abuse of office within our ranks.”
“We must investigate without fear or favor the so-called ‘accounting irregularities’ that caused turmoil in the markets and wiped billions off the investments of ordinary South Africans,” he said.
Ramaphosa was echoing the frustration of South African citizens who turned out in the thousands this fall to march in anti-corruption protests in major cities around the country with blame often laid at the feet of the President.
“Things are just going down under President (Jacob) Zuma,” textile worker Florence Titus told Reuters. “He needs to play a president’s role not just be there to fill his pockets and his family’s pockets. He must step down.”
Efforts to recover several billion rands diverted “into the hands of unproductive and corrupt elites” are not, however, waiting for the new administration. Last month, a 151 page application with thousands of attachments was submitted to the North Gauteng High Court suing the President, his son, and 71 others, demanding a criminal investigation and the recovery of billions of dollars within 20 days of the order.
The foundation of Helen Suzman, an anti-apartheid activist who died in 2009, was one of the filers of the suit.
In a related development, South Africa’s top court ruled last week that Parliament failed to hold President Zuma accountable over his use of state funds to upgrade his private home. The court’s ruling could trigger impeachment proceedings.

GLOBAL INFORMATION NETWORK creates and distributes news and feature articles on current affairs in Africa to media outlets, scholars, students and activists in the U.S. and Canada. Our goal is to introduce important new voices on topics relevant to Americans, to increase the perspectives available to readers in North America and to bring into their view information about global issues that are overlooked or under-reported by mainstream media.

Newswire: Republicans are planning an assault on programs for the poor

Written By Nigel Roberts, Newsone

House Speaker Paul Ryan wants to cut holes in the social safety net during the 2018 legislative session, taking aim at programs poor people depend on to survive, Fox News reported.
“We’re going to get back at reforming these entitlements. And we’re going to take on welfare reform, which is another big entitlement program, where we’re basically paying people, able-bodied people, not to work and depriving them with all these disincentives from going to the workforce,” he said.
Fresh off passing tax reform legislation in December, the GOP wants to roll that momentum in 2018. The tax overhaul, which mainly benefits corporations and wealthy individuals, adds $1.4 trillion to the deficit. Now, the Republicans are looking for ways slash the debt they created. The solution to them is axing government health care programs and social services spending. “Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health care entitlements — because that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking,” Ryan said on Ross Kaminsky’s talk radio show.

Here’s what to expect:
1. Medicare
Yes, Medicare is on the table, even though the GOP has long feared a backlash from seniors. Ryan has been talking with President Donald Trump about the need to cut the program. “I think the president is understanding that choice and competition works everywhere in health care, especially in Medicare,” the House Speaker said.
their totally unnecessary $1.5 trillion tax cut for the rich the GOP will spend the next ten years saying we must cut Medicare, Medicaid, & Social Security because the deficit is too damn high. Never let the American people forget their tax cuts caused that deficit.

2. Medicaid
In addition to funding cuts, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency within the Department of Health, has already signaled that changes are coming to the health care program for poor people. The agency, in a departure from President Barack Obama’s approach, is recommending that states establish a work requirement for certain Medicaid beneficiaries.

3. Food stamps
Reigning in the food stamp program is a perennial goal for Republicans. They see an opportunity through the pretext of reducing the budget deficit explosion they created. On top of cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the GOP plans to give states more flexibility in how they administer the program. As with Medicaid, they also want to add a work requirement for receiving food stamps and direct cash assistance to the poor.

 

Newswire : Activist Erica Garner remembered for her relentless campaign for justice

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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Erica Garner
Erica Garner, who became an activist for all who were wronged by the American justice system, died on Saturday, December 30. She was 27.
Twitter account associated with Erica Garner spoke of her compassion for humanity. CNN reported that her family is controlling the account. “When you report this you remember she was human: mother, daughter, sister, Garner’s account tweeted. “Her heart was bigger than the world. It really, really was. She cared when most people wouldn’t have. She was good. She only pursued right, no matter what. No one gave her justice.”
Garner famously and fiercely sought justice for her father, Eric Garner, who died from a police chokehold in Staten Island, New York on July 17, 2014.
She led marches and demonstrations in New York City and other places, and even appeared on national television imploring the Department of Justice to review the circumstances that led up to her father’s death.
Erica Garner’s mother, Esaw Snipes, said, “She was a fighter, she was a warrior and she lost the battle. She never recovered from when her father died,” according to CNN. Snipes said that Garner suffered from the effects of an enlarged heart after giving birth to her son three months ago, CNN reported.
“I warned her everyday, you have to slow down, you have to relax and slow down,” Snipes said.
According to Erica Garner’s Twitter account, the activist went into cardiac arrest and suffered major brain damage from a lack of oxygen.

In a statement about Erica Garner’s work as an advocate for criminal justice reform, Rev. Al Sharpton called her a warrior. Sharpton famously joined the Garner family in their push for justice against the New York City Police Department.
“Many will say that Erica died of a heart attack, but that’s only partially true because her heart was already broken when she couldn’t get justice for her father,” Sharpton said. “Her heart was attacked by a system that would choke her dad and not hold accountable those that did it.”
On a summer day in July 2014, officers approached Eric Garner whom they said was selling loose cigarettes near a store in Staten Island.
A video released showed Officer Daniel Pantaleo grabbing Garner from behind and applying a chokehold while other officers helped tackle Garner, whom family members said had asthma. On the video, in a plea that has resonated around the world, Garner is heard saying, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” repeatedly. He died shortly after the incident. A grand jury failed to indict Pantaleo and, in 2015, the city settled a civil claim by Garner’s family against New York for nearly $6 million.

Before and despite the settlement, Erica Garner pushed for justice and, with a national platform, her voice became as big as any in the fight for freedom, justice and equality.
“I had the honor of getting to know Erica and I was inspired by the commitment she made working towards a more just world for her children and future generations,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted. “She was a fighter for justice and will not be forgotten.” Erica Garner supported Sanders’ 2016 campaign for president, even appearing in an ad for his campaign.
“Though Erica didn’t ask to be an activist, she responded to the personal tragedy of seeing her father die while being arrested in New York City by becoming a leading proponent for criminal justice reform and for an end to police brutality,” Sanders said.
The police “killed her unarmed, nonviolent father with an illegal chokehold and got off with nary a word,” activist Brittany Packnett wrote in a Twitter post. “Erica had to fight for justice. Then for her own life…she didn’t deserve this, her father didn’t deserve this. Her family doesn’t deserve this. All this for being Black in America. I can’t.”
In a March 2015 interview on NBC News, Erica Garner spoke passionately about the Black Lives Matter movement and other protests that sought justice. She recalled the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and how it wasn’t until months later, when the video of her father’s death was released, that the Eric Garner incident received national attention.
Garner described seeing her father die via a cellphone video “a thousand-million times,” and when a grand jury failed to indict police officers, she said it was time to take her fight for justice to the streets. “To me, it was just saying, ‘you know what? I’m just going to march,” she told NBC News.
Even when there weren’t television news cameras, Garner said she was determined to keep marching, to keep fighting. “That’s the most annoying question I get. People ask, ‘when will you stop marching? What do you want from marching?’ He was my father,” Erica Garner said during the interview. “I will always march.”