Connect with us

Family

Nigel Shelby: A Tribute to the Alabama High School Student

THE WESTSIDE GAZETTE — Nigel Shelby killed himself after he was subjected to anti-gay bullying in Huntsville, Alabama, his family says. Shelby was 15 years old. The state of Alabama provides no legal protections for LGBTQ+ high school students.

Avatar

Published

on

Nigel Shelby killed himself after he was subjected to anti-gay bullying in Huntsville, Alabama, his family says. Shelby was 15 years old. The state of Alabama provides no legal protections for LGBTQ+ high school students. If you or anybody you know is depressed or considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or The Trevor Project on 1-866-488-7386.

By Paul Farrell

The circumstances surrounding Shelby’s tragic death were revealed in a Facebook post from Huntsville’s local LGBTQ+ pride organization, Rocket City Pride. Huntsville is known as Rocket City due to its association with U.S. space missions.

A GoFundMe Page That Has Been Setup for Shelby’s Family Has Already Surpassed Its Goal

The group said, “We are heartbroken over the death of Nigel Shelby, a 15-year-old Freshman at Huntsville High School. Nigel took his life because he was bullied for being gay. There are no words that can be said to make sense of this devastating news.” That post was published on April 20 and included a link to a GoFundMe page that has been set up to help to pay for Shelby’s funeral. At the time of writing, the page has raised close to $15,000. The original goal of the crowdfunding page was $10,000. The blurb for the page simply reads, “Help Us Raise Money For Nigel Gone Too Soon.” A candlelight vigil was held for Shelby at University Park/Northridge on April 21.

Shelby’s mother thanked those who donated in a Facebook post. She wrote in part, “Everyone one for this amazing blessing and I want you to know I am humble and truly grateful. Even though I cannot thank all of you one by one just know I know who each and every one of you are and my heart feels a little less empty knowing you all are here.”

An Alabama Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Graves said in response to Shelby’s Death: ‘Liberty Guns Bible Trump BBQ: That’s My Kind of LGBT’

#NigelShelby took his life because he was bullied for being gay. Then the Madison County Deputy Sheriff Jeff Graves made homophobic comments on the post. I am disgusted by my hometown. #HuntsvilleAL

Madison County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Graves has been suspended from duty after he commented on a local TV station’s Facebook post regarding Shelby’s death. Graves wrote in the comment, “Liberty Guns Bible Trump BBQ That’s my kind of LGBTQ I’m seriously offended that there is such a thing as this movement. Society cannot and should except this behavior. I have a right to be offended and will always be offended by this fake movement which requires no special attention by persons persons with an altered ego and fake agenda.” Graves’ suspension was first reported by Al.com.

A Huntsville Pride Performer Said: ‘These Bullies Have to Be Held Accountable’

Among those contributing to the GoFundMe page was Rocket City Pride who raised more than $800 through brunch on April 21 and will hold bingo night in Shelby’s honor on April 23. One of the Rocket City Pride performers, Caila Malone, told Rocket City Now, “I remember being called terrible words even when I was in elementary school before I knew what they meant. These bullies have to be held accountable, and until our state legislation shows that they have to do that, they’re able to run a muck and do whatever they want.” Fellow performer, Zonnell Glamoure, added, “It really does get better. I mean, we stand here as full-grown adults proud of what we do.”

74% of LGBYQ+ Youth ‘Do Not Feel Safe at School’

The principal of Huntsville High School Aaron King identified Shelby as a 9th-grade student at the school in a statement. King wrote, “We were saddened to learn this morning of the death of Nigel Shelby, one of our 9th-grade students. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.” That statement included guidelines to parents to help them notice worrying behavior in children. According to the Center of Social Equity, 74 percent of LGBTQ+ youth say they did not feel safe at school.

Mental health awareness campaigner Nadia Richardson, a graduate of Huntsville High School, said in a statement, “Suicide in Black youth is on the rise and has reportedly reached twice that of White youth… Don’t shy away from the necessary conversations around this. The cost is too high.” Richardson is the founder of No More Martyrs. She later wrote, “I am still processing this loss. We have so much to understand and so much work to do. Racism, sexism, homophobia, classism; all of this plays a part. Bullying is a by-product of a world ill-equipped to include that which is deemed different. As a result, psychologically damaging othering occurs and leaves many isolated, self-loathing and depressed. Don’t shy away from the necessary conversations around this. The cost is too high.”

Nigel Shelby No More Martyrs

This article originally appeared in The Westside Gazette.

Bay Area

Oakland Program Distributes $500 to Families of Color

The assistance, which targets low-income families of color in the 426,000-population city, will last 18 months. Mayor Schaaf detailed that the money comes with “no-strings attached,” and recipients can use it as they please. “We have designed this demonstration project to add to the body of evidence and to begin this relentless campaign to adopt a guaranteed income federally,” Mayor Schaaf told the local ABC News station.

In the middle of a worldwide awakening to the centuries-old racism and oppression suffered by Black people, some African Americans finally see tangible assistance – even if the help isn’t characterized as reparations.

Oakland, Calif., Mayor Libby Schaaf announced that the city would begin a guaranteed income project that would provide $500 per month to Black and Indigenous families.

The assistance, which targets low-income families of color in the 426,000-population city, will last 18 months.

Mayor Schaaf detailed that the money comes with “no-strings attached,” and recipients can use it as they please.

“We have designed this demonstration project to add to the body of evidence and to begin this relentless campaign to adopt a guaranteed income federally,” Mayor Schaaf told the local ABC News station.

The station reported that, for the project, the Oakland Resilient Families program has so far raised $6.75 million from private donors, including Blue Meridian Partners, a national philanthropy group.

The programs require residents have at least one child under 18 and income at or below 50 percent of the area median income – about $59,000 per year for a family of three.

Half the spots are reserved for people who earn below 138 percent of the federal poverty level or about $30,000 per year for a family of three, ABC reported. Participants are randomly selected from a pool of applicants who meet the eligibility requirements.

The report noted that Oakland’s project is significant because it is one of the most outstanding efforts in the U.S. so far, targeting up to 600 families. And it is the first program to limit participation strictly to Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities.

Oakland, where 24 percent of the residents are Black, is among a growing list of municipalities providing financial payments to people of color – or reparations.

Evanston, Illinois, a city where 18 percent of its more than 74,500 residents are Black, approved the Local Reparations Restorative Housing Program, which provides up to $25,000 for housing down payments or home repairs to African Americans.

In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law historic legislation that paves the way for African Americans and descendants of slaves in the Golden State to receive reparations for slavery.

The bill, authored by California Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, establishes a nine-person task force that will study the impact of the slave trade on Black people.

It does not commit to any specific payment, but the task force will make recommendations to legislators about what kind of compensation should be provided, who should receive it, and what form it would take.

“After watching [the presidential] debate, this signing can’t come too soon,” Newsom declared during a videoconference with lawmakers and other stakeholders, including the rapper Ice Cube, who championed the bill.

“As a nation, we can only truly thrive when every one of us has the opportunity to thrive. Our painful history of slavery has evolved into structural racism and bias built into and permeating throughout our democratic and economic institutions,” the governor stated.

Last summer, Asheville, a North Carolina city where Black people make up just 11 percent of the more than 92,000 residents, formally apologized for its role in slavery. The City Council voted unanimously to provide reparations to African American residents and their descendants.

“Hundreds of years of Black blood spilled that fills the cup we drink from today,” said Councilman Keith Young, one of two African American members of the City Council that voted 7-0 in favor of reparations.

“It is simply not enough to remove statutes. Black people in this country are dealing with systemic issues,” Young declared.

Asheville’s resolution doesn’t include monetary payments to African Americans but promises investments in areas where Black people face disparities.

Earlier this year, Congress debated H.R. 40, a bill that doesn’t place a specific monetary value on reparations but focuses on investigating and presenting the facts and truth about the unprecedented centuries of brutal enslavement of African people, racial healing, and transformation.

The bill would fund a commission to study and develop proposals for providing reparations to African Americans.

The commission’s mission includes identifying the role of federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery, forms of discrimination in public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and lingering adverse effects of slavery on living African Americans and society.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee, who sits on numerous House committees, including the Judiciary, Budget, and Homeland Security, has made the reparations legislation her top priority during the 117th Congress.

“I think if people begin to associate this legislation with what happened to the descendants of enslaved Africans as a human rights violation, the sordid past that violated the human rights of all of us who are descendants of enslaved Africans, I think that we can find common ground to pass this legislation,” Congresswoman Jackson Lee pronounced.

The project in Oakland targets groups with the city’s most significant wealth disparities.

According to CNN and per the Oakland Equality Index, the median income for White households in Oakland to be nearly three times that of Black homes.

“The poverty we all witness today is not a personal failure. It is a systems failure,” Schaaf remarked. “Guaranteed income is one of the most promising tools for systems change, racial equity, and economic mobility we’ve seen in decades.”

Two years ago, 100 residents in Stockton, California, began receiving unconditional $500 payments, CNN reported. Other initiatives in Newark, New Jersey, and Atlanta, Georgia, were launched as recently as 2020.

Former Stockton Mayor, Michael Tubbs, is the founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a network of advocating mayors founded in 2020.

Oakland Mayor Schaaf is also a founding member of the network.

“One of my hopes in testing out a guaranteed income is that other cities would follow suit, and I’m thrilled that Oakland is among the first,” Tubbs told CNN.

“By focusing on BIPOC residents, the Oakland Resilient Families program will provide critical financial support to those hardest hit by systemic inequities, including the pandemic’s disproportionate toll on communities of color.”

Continue Reading

Art

Student Work – Nayzeth Vargas

There is freedom with the Zentangle; there is no expected visual outcome and students are less prone to creative blocks and self-criticism. 

Avatar

Published

on

This piece was created by Nayzeth Vargas, a senior at Oakland Technical High School. The Zentangle Method is a therapeutic technique which uses combinations of contrasting patterns and values to create an image. Students were introduced to the Zentangle Method to offset the mental stress they were experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social isolation.  

There is freedom with the Zentangle; there is no expected visual outcome and students are less prone to creative blocks and self-criticism. 

Nayzeth is enrolled in the West Oakland Legacy and Leadership Project, an integrated arts program that supports youth in developing thoughtful, educated voices for their communities. Though art, youth practice mindfulness and boundless creativity. Enrollment for the West Oakland Legacy and Leadership Project is open to youth ages 13-18 through AHC, for more information visit ahc-oakland.org/legacy.

Continue Reading

Barbara Lee

California to Receive $3.8 Billion in Federal Cash to Help Childcare Providers

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a childcare crisis on top of a public health crisis. Child-care providers are almost entirely women and 40% are people of color. Providing relief to help keep childcare centers and schools open is critical for our students, parents, educators, and care providers, and is essential to support our country’s economic recovery and build back better.”

Avatar

Published

on

Help is on the way for childcare providers in California — an industry rocked by widespread closures with surviving operators burdened by the weight of sharp increases in their operating costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But those companies offering babysitting and other related services will soon receive an infusion of much-needed monetary aid from the federal government. 

On April 15, the Biden Administration announced the release of $39 billion in direct funding allocated for childcare providers in the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law on March 11. California U.S. Congress-member Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) welcomed the President’s announcement. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a childcare crisis on top of a public health crisis. Child-care providers are almost entirely women and 40% are people of color. Providing relief to help keep childcare centers and schools open is critical for our students, parents, educators, and care providers, and is essential to support our country’s economic recovery and build back better.”

According to a September 2020 report compiled by the Center for American Progress, the cost of center-based childcare increased by 47% due to enhanced health and safety requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cost of home-based family childcare increased by 70%. The report found that these increased costs were driven by the need for more staff and more sanitation supplies to meet COVID-19 protocols.

In this latest round of federal funding for childcare providers, about $25 billion will go toward funding grants through a childcare stabilization fund. Childcare providers can use these grants to help cover fixed costs like rent, make payroll and purchase sanitizing supplies. Another amount, around $15 billion, will be available as emergency funding through the Child Care and Development Fund, to provide childcare to essential workers. Lawmakers are also requiring that childcare providers who receive these funds make financial relief available for families struggling to pay tuition.

Combined with the $10 billion allocated in the December 2020 COVID-19 relief package, and $3.5 billion allocated in the March 2020 CARES Act, the child-care industry has now received more than $50 billion in federal support.

The Biden Administration’s announcement also highlighted the effects that the increased need for childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic have had on women and families of color. As of December 2020, about 1 in 4 early childhood and child-care providers that were open at the start of the pandemic have been closed. 

The affected centers are disproportionately owned by people of color, and their closures have both put women of color out of work, and left families of color without childcare. Also, since the start of the pandemic, roughly 2 million women have left the workforce due to caregiving needs.

On April 20, Lee released an announcement detailing the specific amount of funds available for California’s childcare providers. 

Over $2.3 billion will be given to the Golden State from the child-care stabilization fund, her statement said. Another $1.4 billion is available through flexible funding to make childcare across California more affordable for families, increase access to care for families receiving subsidies and increase compensation for childcare workers.

“I’m pleased to see this funding come through for families and child-care providers in the East Bay and across our state,” said Lee.

In total, California will receive nearly $3.8 billion for providers and families.

Continue Reading

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending