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IN MEMORIAM: Nichelle Nichols, Lt. Uhura on ‘Star Trek,’ has died at 89

THE AFRO — Her son Kyle Johnson said Nichols died Saturday in Silver City, New Mexico. “Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration,” Johnson wrote on her official Facebook page Sunday. “Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.”

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By LINDSEY BAHR, AP Film Writer | The AFRO

Nichelle Nichols, who broke barriers for Black women in Hollywood when she played communications officer Lt. Uhura on the original “Star Trek” television series, has died at the age of 89.

Her son Kyle Johnson said Nichols died Saturday in Silver City, New Mexico.

“Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration,” Johnson wrote on her official Facebook page Sunday. “Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.”

Her role in the 1966-69 series as Lt. Uhura earned Nichols a lifelong position of honor with the series’ rabid fans, known as Trekkers and Trekkies. It also earned her accolades for breaking stereotypes that had limited Black women to acting roles as servants and included an interracial onscreen kiss with co-star William Shatner that was unheard of at the time.

“I shall have more to say about the trailblazing, incomparable Nichelle Nichols, who shared the bridge with us as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who passed today at age 89,” George Takei wrote on Twitter. “For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend.”

Takei played Sulu in the original “Star Trek” series alongside Nichols. But her impact was felt beyond her immediate co-stars, and many others in the “Star Trek” world also tweeted their condolences.

Celia Rose Gooding, who currently plays Uhura in “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” wrote on Twitter that Nichols “made room for so many of us. She was the reminder that not only can we reach the stars, but our influence is essential to their survival. Forget shaking the table, she built it.”

“Star Trek: Voyager” alum Kate Mulgrew tweeted, “Nichelle Nichols was The First. She was a trailblazer who navigated a very challenging trail with grit, grace, and a gorgeous fire we are not likely to see again.”

Like other original cast members, Nichols also appeared in six big-screen spinoffs starting in 1979 with “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and frequented “Star Trek” fan conventions. She also served for many years as a NASA recruiter, helping bring minorities and women into the astronaut corps.

More recently, she had a recurring role on television’s “Heroes,” playing the great-aunt of a young boy with mystical powers.

The original “Star Trek” premiered on NBC on Sept. 8, 1966. Its multicultural, multiracial cast was creator Gene Roddenberry’s message to viewers that in the far-off future — the 23rd century — human diversity would be fully accepted.

“I think many people took it into their hearts … that what was being said on TV at that time was a reason to celebrate,” Nichols said in 1992 when a “Star Trek” exhibit was on view at the Smithsonian Institution.

She often recalled how Martin Luther King Jr. was a fan of the show and praised her role. She met him at a civil rights gathering in 1967, at a time when she had decided not to return for the show’s second season.

“When I told him I was going to miss my co-stars and I was leaving the show, he became very serious and said, ‘You cannot do that,’” she told The Tulsa (Okla.) World in a 2008 interview.

“’You’ve changed the face of television forever, and therefore, you’ve changed the minds of people,’” she said the civil rights leader told her.

“That foresight Dr. King had was a lightning bolt in my life,” Nichols said.

During the show’s third season, Nichols’ character and Shatner’s Capt. James Kirk shared what was described as the first interracial kiss to be broadcast on a U.S. television series. In the episode, “Plato’s Stepchildren,” their characters, who always maintained a platonic relationship, were forced into the kiss by aliens who were controlling their actions.

The kiss “suggested that there was a future where these issues were not such a big deal,” Eric Deggans, a television critic for National Public Radio, told The Associated Press in 2018. “The characters themselves were not freaking out because a Black woman was kissing a white man … In this utopian-like future, we solved this issue. We’re beyond it. That was a wonderful message to send.”

Worried about reaction from Southern television stations, showrunners wanted to film a second take of the scene where the kiss happened off-screen. But Nichols said in her book, “Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories,” that she and Shatner deliberately flubbed lines to force the original take to be used.

Despite concerns, the episode aired without blowback. In fact, it got the most “fan mail that Paramount had ever gotten on ‘Star Trek’ for one episode,” Nichols said in a 2010 interview with the Archive of American Television.

Born Grace Dell Nichols in Robbins, Illinois, Nichols hated being called “Gracie,” which everyone insisted on, she said in the 2010 interview. When she was a teen her mother told her she had wanted to name her Michelle, but thought she ought to have alliterative initials like Marilyn Monroe, whom Nichols loved. Hence, “Nichelle.”

Nichols first worked professionally as a singer and dancer in Chicago at age 14, moving on to New York nightclubs and working for a time with the Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton bands before coming to Hollywood for her film debut in 1959’s “Porgy and Bess,” the first of several small film and TV roles that led up to her “Star Trek” stardom.

Nichols was known as being unafraid to stand up to Shatner on the set when others complained that he was stealing scenes and camera time. They later learned she had a strong supporter in the show’s creator.

In her 1994 book, “Beyond Uhura,” she said she met Roddenberry when she guest starred on his show “The Lieutenant,” and the two had an affair a couple of years before “Star Trek” began. The two remained lifelong close friends.

Another fan of Nichols and the show was future astronaut Mae Jemison, who became the first black woman in space when she flew aboard the shuttle Endeavour in 1992.

In an AP interview before her flight, Jemison said she watched Nichols on “Star Trek” all the time, adding she loved the show. Jemison eventually got to meet Nichols.

Nichols was a regular at “Star Trek” conventions and events into her 80s, but her schedule became limited starting in 2018 when her son announced that she was suffering from advanced dementia.

The post Nichelle Nichols, Lt. Uhura on ‘Star Trek,’ has died at 89 appeared first on AFRO American Newspapers .

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PRESS ROOM: Revolutionizing Economic Equality: Our Money United to Launch the Black Wall Street Spending Ticker, Transforming Consumer Spending and Corporate Accountability

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Our Money United is a pledged-based grassroots campaign led by Friends of the Movement and the nation’s top civil and civic rights organizations to educate consumers on the power of their spending, giving, and investing. The campaign will highlight and reward Corporations that have become friends of the movement and measure their progress on eliminating barriers to economic inclusion. Visit www.ourmoneyunited.com for more information about Our Money United.
The post PRESS ROOM: Revolutionizing Economic Equality: Our Money United to Launch the Black Wall Street Spending Ticker, Transforming Consumer Spending and Corporate Accountability first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Our Money United Will Unveil Revolutionary Technology to Reshape Consumer Spending and Foster Economic Equality

Atlanta, GA — On Tuesday, March 12, 2024, Our Money United will unveil the Black Wall Street Spending Ticker, a pioneering technology driving a consumer spending transformation with corporate accountability. The highly anticipated reveal of the Conscious Spending Platform is led by Friends of the Movement (FotM) Global, the Atlanta Black Chambers Foundation, the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Original Black Wall Street (Greenwood-Tulsa Chamber), in collaboration with civil rights and social justice organizations nationwide. The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (RICE), the largest Black incubator in the nation, will house the Black Wall Street Ticker. Pioneering as the pilot launch city, Atlanta is a conscious city and supporter of FotM.

The Black Wall Street Spending Ticker is the first of the various conscious tickers representing ethnic groups visually showcasing the collective spending influence of conscious spending groups, casting a vigilant eye on global citizens while holding corporations accountable. Similar to the Nasdaq, The Black Wall Street Ticker, signifies a new era of transparency and responsibility, visually encapsulating the collective impact of consumers in the marketplace. The Black Wall Street Spending Ticker will meticulously monitor spending within the Black community and its allies, rewarding those actively contributing to closing the wealth gap.

“As we unveil the Black Wall Street Spending Ticker, we’re not just tracking dollars, we’re tracking the heartbeat of economic justice,” says Dr. Charles Champ Walker, Chief Economic Empowerment Officer of FotM Global. “This transformative initiative signals a shift where every conscious purchase becomes a vote for a more equitable and prosperous future. Together, through the power of our wallets, we are rewriting the narrative of economic empowerment and leaving an indelible mark on the path toward true equality.”

Powering the Black Wall Street Ticker is the Voter Wallet, a tool that empowers consumers to align spending with their values and exercise their economic voting power. The Voter Wallet connects consumers with a network of aligned conscious groups and merchants reporting aggregate spending data to the ticker. Seamlessly integrating spending, giving, and investments within each group, the Voter Wallet provides a real-time window into the tangible impact of contributions within one’s community. The Voter Wallet will support Black and ally businesses while helping to close the wealth gap.

The unveiling of the first Black Wall Street Ticker will be on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at 11:30 a.m. at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (RICE). RICE is located in the heart of the Atlanta University Center at 504 Fair St SW, Atlanta, GA 30313. For more information on Friends of the Movement, Our Money United, the Black Wall Street Spending Ticker, or the Voter Wallet, visit http://www.ourmoneyunited.com or contact press@ourmoneyunited.com. Ready to become a Friend of the Movement? Visit www.FotMGlobal.com to take the pledge.

About Our Money United

Our Money United is a pledged-based grassroots campaign led by Friends of the Movement and the nation’s top civil and civic rights organizations to educate consumers on the power of their spending, giving, and investing. The campaign will highlight and reward Corporations that have become friends of the movement and measure their progress on eliminating barriers to economic inclusion. Visit http://www.ourmoneyunited.com for more information about Our Money United.

About Friends of the Movement (FotM) Global

Friends of the Movement Global (FotM), is a conscious spending platform where conscious spending converges with cutting-edge technology to usher in a social and economic change like never before. In an era where every dollar wields the potential to shape our collective future, FotM is at the forefront of revolutionizing how we spend, give, and invest. FotM’s mission is to empower individuals and groups to make a lasting impact by voting with their wallets at the cash register and endorsing policymakers aligned with their values through donation votes. FotM proudly introduces the World’s first Conscious Spending Platform – the Voter Wallet, a groundbreaking concept that sets us apart as pioneers in the field. FotM believes money should be a force for good, not just a transaction.

Step into a new era of conscious spending, where every purchase or donation becomes a potent instrument for positive transformation. FotM lives by the principle that what gets measured gets done. Tracking spending and giving, FotM will display it on the Black Wall Street Spending Tickers throughout the country fostering accountability for ourselves and corporations alike. FotM helps turn financial choices into a brighter future. Together, we redefine the possibilities of conscious consumerism, one transaction at a time. Visit http://www.fotmglobal.com for more information about Friends of the Movement Global.

The post PRESS ROOM: Revolutionizing Economic Equality: Our Money United to Launch the Black Wall Street Spending Ticker, Transforming Consumer Spending and Corporate Accountability first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Federal Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty for White Man Who Fatally Shot 10 Black People in Buffalo Grocery Store

Gendron is already serving a life sentence without parole after pleading guilty to New York state murder charges in November 2022.
The post Federal Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty for White Man Who Fatally Shot 10 Black People in Buffalo Grocery Store first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown

NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Federal prosecutors announced on Friday, Jan. 12, their intention to pursue the death penalty for Payton Gendron, a 20-year-old white man responsible for a racist rampage that claimed the lives of 10 Black shoppers at a Buffalo grocery store in May 2022. Prosecutors revealed the decision in a court filing before a scheduled status conference hearing at the Robert H. Jackson Federal Courthouse in Buffalo.

Gendron is already serving a life sentence without parole after pleading guilty to New York state murder charges in November 2022. Defense attorneys have expressed Gendron’s willingness to plead guilty to federal hate crimes and weapons violations if prosecutors choose not to pursue the death penalty.

“Today’s decision by the Department of Justice provides a pathway to both relief and a measure of closure for the victims and their families,” said civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump. “They have been pleading for full justice for nearly two years, and today they are one step closer. We thank the DOJ for its diligence and for fighting for those whose lives were so tragically affected by this atrocity. We ask that you continue to keep the victims, their families, and the entire Buffalo community in your prayers as they continue to grieve and pursue full justice for those who were stolen from them.”

The announcement follows a nearly 20-month Justice Department case review, marking the first time Attorney General Merrick Garland has authorized a new capital prosecution. President Joe Biden, who campaigned against the death penalty, faced criticism from civil rights groups, arguing that the death penalty historically and disproportionately affects racial minorities and the poor. Garland issued a moratorium on federal executions in 2021, which remains in place but does not prevent prosecutors from seeking a death sentence.

In 2023, emotions ran high at a sentencing hearing as the sister of one of the victims confronted Gendron. Chaos erupted when an enraged man charged at the defendant, leading to authorities rushing Gendron out of the courtroom. After returning, Judge Susan Egan acknowledged the pain experienced by the victims’ families but emphasized the need for appropriate conduct.

Gendron, who had targeted a specific predominantly Black Buffalo zip code, admitted to the racially charged massacre. He said he regretted his actions, attributing them to online hate and the belief in the “replacement theory.” Gendron was sentenced to life in prison by Judge Egan, who condemned his ideologies as “ignorant, hateful, and evil.”

 

The post Federal Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty for White Man Who Fatally Shot 10 Black People in Buffalo Grocery Store first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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The Unchecked Path: Trump’s Victory in Iowa Sparks Concerns Over Accountability

Just one day before his second sexual assault civil trial was to begin, Trump cruised to a landslide victory in the Iowa caucuses, solidifying his front-runner status for the Republican presidential nomination.
The post The Unchecked Path: Trump’s Victory in Iowa Sparks Concerns Over Accountability first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown

NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

@StacyBrownMedia

A good parent usually chastises and punishes their child when they’ve egregiously misbehaved. Jaywalkers get tickets, and murderers have received the death penalty. Generally, no one goes unpunished for breaking the law. Not in the United States. Not unless you are of a particular social and financial status, and the crime, for the most part, isn’t much more than white collar.

But that’s not the case with Donald J. Trump. Undoubtedly, Trump is the kid who has never been chastised or punished. And, as a grown-up, and certainly since his false election claim in 2020 and his egging on a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, the twice-impeached and four-times indicted former president hasn’t seen a scintilla of punishment. One could argue that America, or his parents, have rewarded his unprecedented bad behavior.

Just one day before his second sexual assault civil trial was to begin, Trump cruised to a landslide victory in the Iowa caucuses, solidifying his front-runner status for the Republican presidential nomination. As several outlets reported, losing one-term presidents rarely mount subsequent successful primary campaigns, much less pull off landslides that demonstrate utter dominance of their party.

Trump transformed the GOP in 2016. By claiming 50% of the vote in the biggest win in caucus history, putting him on course for his third consecutive nomination, Trump showed that the current GOP is now entirely his party.

President Joe Biden beat Trump in the 2020 general election, 81 million popular votes to 75 million. And while both numbers were stunning, Trump’s was more telling, as it demonstrated that 75 million could vote for a man who single-handedly destroyed American Democracy, who championed white supremacy, caged babies, mocked the disabled, and called cowards American troops whom the enemy captured. Not all Trump followers are racist, but there’s no doubt that you must be a racist to be a Trump follower.

Biden’s victory over Trump came in part because his slogan, his message, “saving the soul of America,” resonated. It was the first time since President Obama’s “Yes We Can” that Dems had a message folks could understand and get behind. Mainly a message that the ultimate swing voters, African Americans, could embrace. During the current campaign, when Biden says there’s a need to “save Democracy,” the message falls flat particularly to African Americans who have come to a reckoning that Democracy today, like the Confederacy of decades ago, doesn’t work for Black people.

So, what are they saving? A system that fosters outright racism from politicians, the emphatic truth that Black Lives really don’t matter, and more than 75 million, including a few who were born Black (Ben Carson, Clarence Thomas, Candace Owens, Jason Whitlock, etc.) show the worst of African Americans with their allegiance to slavery and their slave master Trump.

It indeed says a whole lot that Trump is the clear front-runner to return to office, where he promises that “on day one,” he’ll be a dictator. He’ll have people – read Black people — shot by police on the spot if they are deemed to have participated in shoplifting or any minor crime. Trump will get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which provides otherwise uninsured Black and poor people with life-saving healthcare coverage. He’ll release the seditious, murderous January 6 inmates whom he calls hostages.

Having already banned just about any book with a Black author or one that reveals true American history, Trump will ensure that publishing houses that produce such work will be shut down. That could also mean the Black Press of America, founded in New York 197 years ago before slavery ended in America.

Trump once proudly proclaimed that he could shoot someone on New York’s Fifth Avenue and get away with it. He also exclaimed on national television that he and other celebrities are allowed to grab a woman, any woman, by their private parts without permission, and it’s okay. Subsequently, a jury found him civilly responsible for sexual assault, and he currently has 91 felony charges pending against him.

And with a favorable U.S. Supreme Court and three of the justices he put there, Trump is on his way to proving the accuracy of his declarations of committing crimes and getting away with them. America has been good lately about canceling sexual predators, even those who were only accused of sexual assault. America has been good of late with jailing some of the January 6 perpetrators. A judge ordered Trump to pay $5 million after being found guilty of sexual assault, another judge is on the verge of ordering Trump to pay more than $250 million for massive business fraud, and evidence recently emerged that Trump probably sold U.S. secrets to foreign entities while in office. Yet, he swept to victory in Iowa and may easily defeat Biden in November. To Trump, there’s no better parent, none more lenient, than America.

The post The Unchecked Path: Trump’s Victory in Iowa Sparks Concerns Over Accountability first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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