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Los Angeles County Leaders Honor McNair as Tuskegee University’s First Female President

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL — Met with cheers from dozens of Tuskegee University alumni clad in crimson and gold, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, as “Dr. Lily D. McNair and Tuskegee University Day.” The Board of Supervisors presented McNair with a scroll commemorating her day of honor at its regularly scheduled meeting at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in Downtown Los Angeles. The document and specially proclaimed day celebrated the university’s impact on its students and the nation. It also marked McNair’s milestone as the first female president in the university’s 138-year history.

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President McNair (center, left) and Supervisor Janice Hahn (center, right) are joined by (left to right) Tuskegee’s First Gentleman Dr. George W. Roberts, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Tuskegee Board of Trustees Chair Norma Clayton, Supervisor Hilda Solis, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, and Victoria Pipkin-Lane, retired executive director of the County of Los Angeles’ Quality and Productivity Commission, who organized the Board of Supervisors’ recognition efforts. (Tuskegee University)

By Michael Tullier, Tuskegee University

Met with cheers from dozens of Tuskegee University alumni clad in crimson and gold, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, as “Dr. Lily D. McNair and Tuskegee University Day.”

The Board of Supervisors presented McNair with a scroll commemorating her day of honor at its regularly scheduled meeting at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in Downtown Los Angeles. The document and specially proclaimed day celebrated the university’s impact on its students and the nation. It also marked McNair’s milestone as the first female president in the university’s 138-year history.

Supervisor Janice Hahn, who chairs of the five-person Board of Supervisors, commended McNair for her leadership and her focus on providing Tuskegee students — specifically those from California — with a quality education.

“Los Angeles is home to thousands of Tuskegee University alumni, and apparently the graduating class of 2019 was dominated by students from Los Angeles,” Hahn said.

Along an honorific scroll, Hahn presented McNair with a letter penned and signed by Tuskegee’s founding president, Booker T. Washington, on Oct. 17, 1910. Hahn’s father Kenneth, who served as a county supervisor for 40 years and is the namesake of the county’s governmental headquarters, acquired the letter, which he framed and hung in his office during his tenure with the county.

Fellow county supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined Hahn in touting the university’s noteworthy achievements — the nation’s only center for bioethics in health care and research of its kind included among those. He also mentioned the acclaimed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II and noted the Board of Supervisors recently celebrated some of the nation’s longest-living Tuskegee Airmen who resided in Los Angeles.

“Such an esteemed institution deserves an esteemed educator and leader at the helm. Thank you for that which you have done and that which you will do in the future for this great university and beyond,” Ridley-Thomas told McNair.

“I build on the legacy of Booker T. Washington, who said that ‘excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.’ We can thank Dr. Washington and Dr. George Washington Carver for their efforts and vision,” McNair stated after accepting the Board of Supervisors’ commendations. “We are destined to become even better than Booker T. Washington imagined we could be more than 100 years ago.”

That vision, she noted, translates into excellence across many academic disciplines, including aerospace engineering and aviation education, veterinary medicine, architecture and agriculture — professional practice areas where the university is continually cited as being a top producer of minority graduates. She also highlighted areas such as food sustainability and bioenergy where the university seeks to expand its scope of influence.

The historically black university enjoys strong student representation from California. With 10% of its student body hailing from the “Golden State,” California ranks third behind Alabama and Georgia in terms of where its nearly 3,000 students reside. Likewise, 10% of the 642 graduates who comprised the class of 2019 had ties to the state.

California also is home to two chapters of its Tuskegee National Alumni Association Inc.: the Los Angeles Tuskegee Alumni Club and the Bay Area Tuskegee Alumni Club. Both are vital to the university’s alumni relations and student recruitment efforts in their local communities and throughout the state. In addition, some of these local club members serve the association in key district and national positions of responsibility.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is the governing body of the County of Los Angeles, which encompasses 88 incorporated cities and 4,084 square miles. Serving more than 10.1 million residents, the board, comprised of five members elected to serve their respective districts, is the largest local government in the nation.

This article originally appeared in The Los Angeles Sentinel.

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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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Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson
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