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NNPA President Represents Black Press at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “We are assembled together from across the nation as the media of America at a time when the Trump administration continues to have a frontal assault on the freedom of the press,” said Chavis, who received an invitation from Urban Radio Network White House Correspondent April Ryan and AARP’s Senior Vice President of Multicultural Leadership Edna Kane Williams.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

https://www.c-span.org/video/?459869-1/2019-white-house-correspondents-dinner

Presidents have traditionally attended and spoken at the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) Dinner in Washington, D.C., but President Donald Trump has chosen to hold competing rallies on the night of the event each year since taking office.

While Trump was riling up his base in Wisconsin on Saturday, April 27, National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., was among this year’s Dinner’s distinguished attendees at the Washington Hilton.

“We are assembled together from across the nation as the media of America at a time when the Trump administration continues its frontal assault on the freedom of the press,” said Chavis, who received an invitation to attend the event from Urban Radio Network White House Correspondent April Ryan and AARP’s Senior Vice President of Multicultural Leadership Edna Kane Williams.

NNPA President and CEO, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. (right) and AARP’s Senior Vice President of Multicultural Leadership Edna Kane Williams.

“The Black Press of America, represented by the NNPA, will not be silent at this critical moment in history,” Chavis said.

“The NNPA will continue to speak truth to power and we will defend the freedom of the press without fear or hesitation and I am proud that the Black Press of America remains on the front lines of the struggle for freedom, justice and equality,” he said.

The yearly dinner serves as a fundraiser for WHCA scholarships.

It’s a gathering of journalists who cover the president and administration. Traditionally, a noted comedian has served as host and usually roasts presidents, politicians and just about anyone associated with the White House as well as many members of the media in attendance.

In previous years, presidents from Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to Barack Obama have used the occasion to poke fun at others and themselves.

“The fact is I feel more loose and relaxed than ever,” Obama famously said at the dinner in 2015. “Those Joe Biden shoulder massages feel like magic,” he said.

Later, Obama joked: “Dick Cheney said I was the worst president of his lifetime, which is interesting because I think Dick Cheney is the worst president of my lifetime.”

At his final Correspondents’ Dinner as president in 2016, Obama famously finished his speech with a mic drop.

Last year, comedienne Michelle Wolf notoriously roasted White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and other members of Trump’s administration.

“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful,” Wolf said in skewering Sanders during the 2018 dinner. “She burns facts, and then uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Maybe she’s born with it; maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies,” Wolf joked.

Ron Chernow, a political historian and author and this year’s featured speaker quoted Will Rogers during his speech noting that “people are taking their comedians seriously and their politicians as a joke, and that certainly describes our topsy-turvy moment.”

Even though this year’s theme was “Protecting the First Amendment,” the White House ordered staff to boycott the dinner and Trump once again took to Twitter to call the media “the enemy of the people.”

WHCA President Olivier Knox led a toast to the First Amendment in his opening remarks before calling Trump out for his anti-journalism rhetoric.

“I’ve had to teach my family not to touch packages on our stoop. …I’ve had death threats — including this week — and too many of us have,” Knox said.

“We should reject politically expedient assaults on the [media] …,” he continued, before shining a light on journalists who’ve put their lives on the line around the globe.

He also called for the support of state and local journalism and asked those in the audience who cover the White House to stand and be acknowledged.

WHCA also presented scholarships to students from a number of universities from around the country, including Historically Black Howard University.

“While tonight is a festive occasion, this is the time for the voice of the Black community to be at its strongest and thus we are committed to making the Black Press of America stronger and fully aligned with the aspirations of the nearly 50 million African Americans who are striving to improve our quality of life in every aspect of America’s progress and advancement,” Chavis said.

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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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