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Fitzgerald Ends Effort to Become Baltimore’s Next Police Commissioner

THE AFRO — Mayor Catherine Pugh’s pick Ft. Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald formally withdrew his name from consideration to be the city’s next top cop.

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By Stephen Janis

The continuing turmoil plaguing the city’s efforts to select a new police commissioner hit a major snag today, when Mayor Catherine Pugh’s pick Ft. Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald formally withdrew his name from consideration to be the city’s next top cop.

In a written statement sent to the AFRO Pugh said Fitzgerald’s decision came amid an ongoing family crisis involving his son.

“After a lengthy discussion with Chief Joel Fitzgerald, I respect his decision to withdraw his candidacy for Baltimore Police Commissioner in order to devote his full attention to his son who is now facing a second brain surgery tomorrow to remove a mass that was discovered late last week.  Our fervent prayers are with him and his family during what is unquestionably a troubling and stressful period for them,” Pugh stated.

The move came after a contentious public hearing over the weekend where residents expressed misgivings about Fitzgerald’s record and inaccuracies in his resume, which overstated the decrease in crime in Ft. Worth during his tenure as first reported by the Baltimore Sun.

Fitzgerald’s withdrawal also follows pushback from key members of the city council, including Councilman Brandon Scott who told the AFRO he had reservations about Fitzgerald’s ability to run a department currently under federal consent decree and battling record high crime.

“What I need to see is someone who is a proven crime fighter, who has the ability and the wherewithal to be on the same level of importance with reform and restructuring,” Scott said.

“And as of yet, I haven’t seen that.”

Fitzgerald was scheduled to appear before the city council today for a formal hearing before the executive appointments committee. But, that meeting was postponed when he canceled the appearance citing the emergency surgery for his son.

The announcement leaves the city’s beleaguered police department without a permanent leader for the foreseeable future.  The abrupt withdrawal also comes after the city council spent $5,000 traveling to Ft. Worth to vet Fitzgerald by conferring with the residents there.

Currently, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD), is headed by interim police commissioner Gary Tuggle.  Tuggle, a former DEA agent, withdrew himself from consideration for the top job late last year.

In 2018, Pugh’s previous pick, Darryl De Sousa resigned after he was indicted for failing to file several years of tax returns.   In December, DeSousa pled guilty to three count of failing to file federal tax returns.

It is unclear what happens next. City officials said they had considered dozens of candidates during a nationwide search, but refused to release a short list of who was under consideration.

This article originally appeared in The Afro

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NAACP Launches #WeAreDoneDying Campaign, Empowering Black and Brown Communities to Take Action Against Senseless Killings of African Americans

THE AFRO — The campaign is a Call-to-Action and highlights the NAACP’s policy interests and supported legislation for African Americans and people of color, a large demographic that is often left out of recovery effort conversations. The integrated and interactive content will create actionable steps for people to feel empowered by demanding action from their state’s elected officials on issues such as healthcare, education, criminal justice, economic justice, and voting rights.

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The NAACP has launched a campaign entitled #WeAreDoneDying, aimed at exposing the inequities embedded into the American healthcare system and the country at large. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

Washington, D.C. (May 7, 2020) – The NAACP, the nation’s foremost social justice organization, has launched a campaign entitled #WeAreDoneDying, aimed at exposing the inequities embedded into the American healthcare system and the country at large. From COVID-19 to running while Black in America, the abuse faced by people of color, particularly African Americans is devastating.

The campaign is a Call-to-Action and highlights the NAACP’s policy interests and supported legislation for African Americans and people of color, a large demographic that is often left out of recovery effort conversations. The integrated and interactive content will create actionable steps for people to feel empowered by demanding action from their state’s elected officials on issues such as healthcare, education, criminal justice, economic justice, and voting rights.

“With crumbling economic infrastructure, our community members face tough choices as access to food, good jobs, and a quality education slips further away,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP. “These issues are compounded by the lack of strong leadership from the White House. In the absence of adequate guidance, Black lives are adversely affected. We will no longer stand idle as our people suffer discrimination, marginalization, and are offered as disposable for poor decisions by this Administration.”

As the incidence of COVID-19 cases and deaths rise, the Black community is experiencing the worst outcomes. With more confirmed cases and deaths than any other country, African Americans are facing the brunt of this virus. The numbers continue to rise each day while states reopen non-essential businesses with little to no evidence that the country is ready.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the deep-seated racial disparity in America embedded in all aspects of life,” said Leon W. Russell, Chairman, NAACP Board of Directors. “The NAACP Empowerment Programs’ 111 years of advocacy and fighting for the rights of Black people positions us to lead the fight for our community’s interest during this time of uncertainty.”

Learn how you can join and get involved with the campaign by visiting NAACP.org.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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The AFRO Awarded $100,000 Grant by Facebook Journalism Project

THE AFRO — After receiving more than 2,000 applications for the COVID-19 Local News Relief Grant Program from newsrooms across every state in the US, all US territories and Washington, D.C., we are providing grants ranging from $25,000-$100,000 to help publishers continue serving communities during the coronavirus outbreak. These grant recipients were selected through a process led by the Local Media Association (LMA) and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and with significant contributions from the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION), Local Media Consortium (LMC), and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Thanks to these organizations’ partnership and expertise, we were able to set up a program to meet the immediate and timely needs of these newsrooms.

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Sign up for the Facebook Journalism Project newsletter to receive updates on Facebook’s ongoing efforts to support the news industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

Today, Facebook is announcing that more than 200 news organizations will receive nearly $16 million in grants through the Facebook Journalism Project’s relief fund for local news. These grants stem from $25 million in local news relief funding announced in March as part of Facebook’s $100 million global investment in news. It includes:

$10.3 million being awarded to 144 US local newsrooms as part of the COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program. The fund is supporting many publishers who are hardest hit by this crisis: nearly 80 percent of recipients are family- or independently owned and more than half are published by or for communities of color.

$5.4 million being awarded to 59 North American newsrooms that participated in Facebook Local News Accelerator programs focused on subscriptions and memberships.

Remaining funds will be used throughout 2020 to support projects focused on longer-term sustainability in local journalism. This includes $2.5 million for Report for America, helping the group place 225 journalists in 160 local news organizations for their 2020 reporting corps.

Partnering with leading industry organizations like The Local Media Association and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism to move quickly, the Facebook Journalism Project has awarded more than 600 grants across the US and Canada since the pandemic began. Additional grant programs have been launched to support journalism around the world.

COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program

After receiving more than 2,000 applications for the COVID-19 Local News Relief Grant Program from newsrooms across every state in the US, all US territories and Washington, D.C., we are providing grants ranging from $25,000-$100,000 to help publishers continue serving communities during the coronavirus outbreak. These grant recipients were selected through a process led by the Local Media Association (LMA) and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and with significant contributions from the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION), Local Media Consortium (LMC), and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Thanks to these organizations’ partnership and expertise, we were able to set up a program to meet the immediate and timely needs of these newsrooms.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role local news plays in our communities, while simultaneously threatening their very existence. Reviewing hundreds of applications on a tight timeline both illustrated the depth of need, but also highlighted the innovation that these small, independent publishers can provide for their communities when given the resources,” said Jonathan Kealing, INN’s chief network officer. “I’m excited to see new news products and more critical original reporting in these communities, thanks to Facebook’s support.”

The pool of grant recipients is notable in several ways:

  • Nearly four in five are family- or independently owned.
  • Half are published by or for communities of color.
  • Nearly 40 percent are digitally native publishers.
  • Just over a third are non-profits.

“We’re proud to support this diverse group of publishers — many of which are family- or independently owned. Not only are these journalists working tirelessly to serve people right now — they’re focused on transformation, building innovative local news businesses that can continue to serve communities beyond the current pandemic,” said Campbell Brown, VP of global news partnerships at Facebook.

The COVID-19 Local News Relief Grant Program was designed to provide support for US local news organizations serving a critical role for communities impacted by COVID-19. Funding is intended to a) respond to immediate community needs and/or b) offset some revenue shortfalls to help publishers maintain long-term sustainability during this crisis.

Facebook Journalism Project Local News Accelerator Program

Launched in 2018 to support local news businesses in their transformation to reader revenue-driven business models, the Local News Accelerator program has grown to more than 600 participants from more than 100 newsrooms worldwide.

he program includes a three-month period of workshops, now fully virtual, led by the Accelerator’s executive director Tim Griggs, regular reports on best business practices and grants administered by the Lenfest Institute and the International Center for Journalists.

Accelerator participants from the US and Canada are receiving relief grants to help safeguard the transformation they’ve achieved over the last several years and to capitalize on new opportunities. As these news organizations continue to test and learn, we’ll share their progress, actionable tips and results on the Facebook Journalism Project website.

The coaches in the Facebook Accelerator went “above and beyond to help us, teaching practical concepts and tools that we could use right away and taking time to talk through problems. Our cohort members have been encouraging, collaborative and generous with their knowledge and experience,” said Jennifer Napier-Pearce, editor of the Salt Lake Tribune, a participant in the 2020 Subscriptions Accelerator program. “We’re so grateful to Facebook for supporting local news at such a precarious time.”

The Facebook Journalism Project will host a webinar session on Friday, May 8th at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST titled “Practical Lessons to Accelerate Your Reader Revenue Strategy.” Led by Accelerator Executive Director Tim Griggs and Accelerator Program Manager David Grant, the session will give a distilled look at key tactics and strategies drawn from Accelerator publishers. To join, register to receive information about the program here: FB.me/BootcampRegistration.

News reporting has never been more critical. We’re proud to support all these news organizations as they provide critical reporting to their local communities during this challenging time.

Sign up for the Facebook Journalism Project newsletter to receive updates on Facebook’s ongoing efforts to support the news industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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VIDEO: THE RUN DOWN – DJ D-NICE / #Homeschool House Party

THE AFRO — Host Micha Green talks about DJ D-NICE’s online house party, and trending topics in the AFRO American Newspaper.

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BE INSPIRED GLOBAL

By Micha Green, AFRO.COM

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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