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As the Numbers of Missing Black Children Continue to Rise, One Organization Provides Hope

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Shurrell, whom authorities said she weighs 180 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes, was last seen wearing a black shirt, green coat with fur on the hood, tan pants, and black and white sneakers. Anyone with information is asked to call DC police at 202-576-6768 or 202-727-9099.

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The 5-feet-8-inch African American female was reported missing from her home in the 2300 block of Good Hope Court in Southeast, Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, February 18.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Shurrell Caldwell is 12-years old and missing.

The 5-feet-8-inch African American female was reported missing from her home in the 2300 block of Good Hope Court in Southeast, Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, February 18.

Shurrell, whom authorities said she weighs 180 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes, was last seen wearing a black shirt, green coat with fur on the hood, tan pants, and black and white sneakers.

Anyone with information is asked to call DC police at 202-576-6768 or 202-727-9099.

As the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) continues to highlight the plight of missing individuals of color. One expert said the number of those who’ve disappeared overall is alarming.

“Over 600,000 people are reported missing to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) every single year. So, on any given day, we have more in the neighborhood of 85,000 active missing person cases on file with law enforcement,” stated B.J. Spamer, the executive director of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS), a nationwide information clearinghouse that offers free, secure, and easy-to-use technology to help expedite case associations and resolutions.

NAMUS also provides free forensic services, investigative support, victim services, and training and outreach.

According to the NCIC, of the 609,275 individuals who were reported missing in the United States last year, 205,802 were black.

Those statistics include 164,769 African Americans under the age of 21.

“The good news is that more than 90 percent of the NCIC entries are resolved each year,” Spamer stated.

NCIC noted that of the 609,275 missing person records entered in 2019, a total of 607,104 were purged during that same period.

The reasons for the purge included: a law enforcement agency located the individual; the person returned home, or the record had to be removed by a reporting authority after they determined that the record is invalid.

NCIC categorized 95.23 percent of entries as runaways; 0.84 percent as abducted by a non-custodial parent; 0.11 percent as abducted by a stranger; and 3.82 percent as missing adults.

“One of the first things we look for is for the family to file a police report,” said Spamer.

“The sooner they get a report on file with law enforcement, the sooner the family can get their loved one in the NCIC database, which is used by law enforcement across the country. If they come into contact with law enforcement, as soon as the authorities run their name and their date of birth, they’re going to locate that missing person,” she said.

Also, once the report is filed, NAMUS can publish the case in its system and offer forensic and analytical resources.

“We can help the family get their DNA profiles, get fingerprints, dental records, and all of the vital metrics that are available. Then we can get into a system where the results are actively compared and identified just in case the worst-case scenario has happened.”

Spamer added that it’s mostly a myth that you can’t report a missing person for 24 hours.

“You hear that especially on television programs, but that’s not an across the board policy,” she stated. When it’s a case involving a child, it’s mandated that every missing child case be entered into NCIC within two hours of receiving that report from law enforcement. So, I would encourage families to immediately report a missing person, especially if they fear that something has happened to their loved one,” she stated.

Finally, Spamer said that awareness is a significant component of getting a missing person home safely. “The media uses certain cases to highlight, and so many other cases don’t get the same amount of attention,” she stated.

“The media plays a huge role in making sure that we raise awareness for all missing persons and also be able to raise awareness of the tools that families have available to them that they may not know are available. We have had families sit down at the keyboard to search the database and find their loved one, essentially resolving their own case,” Spamer added.

She continued:

“It’s an empowering thing to have families to be able to participate in the search using certain tools that we make publicly available. There are so many resources available today that didn’t exist 20 or 30 years ago when their loved one may have gone missing.

“We would love to see those families come forward today and provide whatever information they still have on their loved one because we are routinely seeing identifications on cases that are 20, 30, or 40 years old. And so as long as there’s a searching family member, it is never too late to file a report, get that case in NAMUS and potentially find a match and bring resolution to that family.”

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Brittney Griner Sentenced to More than 9 years in Russian Prison

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The lawyers of WNBA star Brittney Griner, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a written statement following the verdict announcement that the court ignored all the evidence they presented and that they will appeal the decision. “We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” Attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

WNBA Superstar Brittney Griner has been sentenced to more than 9 years in a Russian prison following her conviction on drug charges.

Her lawyers called the verdict a disappointment and vowed to appeal.

The lawyers of WNBA star Brittney Griner, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a written statement following the verdict announcement that the court ignored all the evidence they presented and that they will appeal the decision.

“We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” Attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

“The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea. This contradicts the existing legal practice.

“Taking into account the amount of the substance (not to mention the defects of the expertise) and the plea, the verdict is absolutely unreasonable. We will certainly file an appeal,” they added.

Russian officials contended that Griner committed the crime on purpose. They also levied a fine totaling about $16,400 American dollars on the basketball star.

Authorities arrested Griner on Feb. 17 at an airport in Moscow after finding less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.

She has been detained since then.

Recently, American officials revealed that the Biden-Harris administration had offered notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for the release of Griner and Paul Whelan.

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” President Biden said.

“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

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Report: Human Rights Violations in Prisons Throughout Southern United States Cause Disparate and Lasting Harm in Black Communities  

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “The U.S. has long failed to live up to its international human rights treaty obligations on eliminating racial discrimination, perhaps more so in the area of mass incarceration and prison conditions than in any other context,” said Lisa Borden, Senior Policy Counsel, International Advocacy at the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

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NNPA Newswire

NEW YORK – The Southern Prisons Coalition, a group of civil and human rights organizations, submitted a new report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination on the devastating consequences of incarceration on Black people throughout the southern United States.

With the long-term goal of eliminating all forms of racial discrimination in the criminal legal system, including the carceral system, the report describes the widespread, disparate harms resulting from the arrests, harsh prison sentences, and incarceration on Black communities.

The report also cites the devastating impacts of solitary confinement, prison labor, the school to prison pipeline, and incarceration of parents on Black families.

On August 8, 2022, the UN will review the United States’ compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination for the first time since 2014.

Among the ongoing stark racial disparities throughout prisons in the southern United States, Black people are five times more likely to be incarcerated in state prisons.

In states like Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas, where Black communities comprise 38% of the total population, Black individuals account for as much as 67% of the total incarcerated population.

While incarcerated, Black people are more than eight times more likely to be placed in solitary confinement, and they are 10 times more likely to be held there for exceedingly long periods of time.

By submitting the report to the United Nations, the Southern Prisons Coalition hopes to solicit concrete recommendations from the UN Committee as well as commitments from the United States delegation about their plans to address systemic issues in the United States prison system, particularly in the South.

According to the report, several states in the United States have also failed to meet several of the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the treatment of incarcerated people, including:

  • Work should help to prepare incarcerated people for their release from prison, including life and job skills;
  • Safety measures and labor protections for incarcerated workers should be the same as those that cover workers who are not incarcerated;
  • Incarcerated workers should receive equitable pay, be able to send money home to their families, and have a portion of their wages set aside to be given to them upon release.

“The U.S. has long failed to live up to its international human rights treaty obligations on eliminating racial discrimination, perhaps more so in the area of mass incarceration and prison conditions than in any other context,” said Lisa Borden, Senior Policy Counsel, International Advocacy at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“We hope the Committee will help to shine a light on these very dark truths and prompt the U.S. to take its obligation to make significant improvements more seriously.”

“The abuses of forced labor are inextricably tied to racial discrimination in our nation,” said Jamila Johnson, Deputy Director at the Promise of Justice Initiative.

“In Louisiana, for instance, people are still sent into the fields to labor by hand in dangerously high heat indexes, for little to no compensation, and with brutal enforcement reminiscent of slavery and the era of ‘convict leasing’.”

“This report reveals the suffering of Black people in southern U.S. prisons, whose stories of marginalization and discrimination echo the racial subjugation of slavery and convict leasing during our country’s most shameful past,” said Antonio L. Ingram II, Assistant Counsel at the Legal Defense Fund.

“Despite widespread knowledge of the longstanding racial inequalities in the criminal legal and carceral systems, the United States continues to allow egregious human rights violations to persist for Black incarcerated people in violation of international law. This report serves as a sobering reminder of how far we need to go.”

Read the full report here.

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Celebrate your birthday with 10 free items

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Is your birthday coming up, and you’re not sure how to celebrate? Beat the summer heat by grabbing free ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, or a daiquiri at WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe.” Not in the mood for sweets? Head over to Jersey Mike’s or McDonald’s. Check out the rest of these Top 10 places giving out free items on your special day.

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By Angelina Liu, Entertainment Editor of The Trendsetter / Texas Metro News

Is your birthday coming up, and you’re not sure how to celebrate? Beat the summer heat by grabbing free ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, or a daiquiri at WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe.” Not in the mood for sweets? Head over to Jersey Mike’s or McDonald’s. Check out the rest of these Top 10 places giving out free items on your special day.

1. Chocolate Secrets

At Chocolate Secrets, located at 3926 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas, TX 75219, you can celebrate your birthday by getting one free piece of candy under their candy cases.

2. WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe”

Head to WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe”, located at 684 W Pioneer Pkwy Suite 100, Grand Prairie, Texas 75051, to claim a free small personal daiquiri on your birthday. Quench your thirst with signature flavors such as “Strawberry Shortcake” or “Bahama Mama.”

3. Sephora

Sign up for a free, Beauty Insider account and receive your choice of 250 bonus points, Laura Mercier, Amika or Tatcha sets on your birthday. The choice of powders, lipsticks and skincare is bound to make you look fabulous for your special day.

4. Starbucks

Need a quick pick-me-up on your birthday? Starbucks has it covered! Join the Starbucks Rewards Program seven days prior to your birthday and make one purchase. Starbucks will then email you a coupon for a free food or beverage item two days before your birthday. The birthday reward qualifies for anything on the menu, including any size handcrafted drink or food item.

5. Jersey Mike’s

In the mood for a sub? Head over to Jersey Mike’s and receive a free sub and drink. Make sure to sign up for the Jersey Mike’s Subs Email Club prior to your birthday to receive this reward. Nothing tastes quite like melted cheese and meat in between a toasted baguette, along with an icy cold drink.

6. The Cheesecake Factory

Celebrating with friends? Tell your server it’s your birthday and receive a free treat as well as a song. It may be mildly embarrassing, but hey, it’s free!

7. Culver’s

Need something cold and sweet to beat the Texas heat? Head to Culver’s for a free sundae when you sign up for their rewards program. The sweet creaminess will surely not disappoint.

8. IHOP

Want to indulge in a sweet breakfast before birthday festivities? Join the International Bank of Pancakes rewards program to receive a free stack of pancakes on your birthday. Pair your pancakes with a choice of chocolate chips, syrup, fresh fruit or a dollop of whipped cream.

9. McDonald’s

Need a snack before embarking on your next birthday adventure? Download the McDonald’s app and join MyMcDonald’s Rewards to receive free large fries. Mmm, the taste and smell of fresh, perfectly salted french fries.

10. Smoothie King

Want to celebrate your birthday with a healthier option? Enjoy a birthday smoothie at Smoothie King. Download the Smoothie King app to receive this offer.

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