RYSE Youth Center in Richmond is calling for the removal of two police officers from De Anza High School in Richmond after it was revealed that the two and three other officers allegedly had sex with an 18-year-old teenager who used to attend the school.
The Youth Center is demanding that the officers who work on school campuses be placed on leave while they are under investigation.
“Those who are trusted with protecting the most vulnerable in our community must behave in a manner that is above reproach,” according to a statement released by RYSE. “Therefore, it is unacceptable for these officers to remain part of the Youth Services Unit of (Richmond Police Department) and (West Contra Costa Unified School District.”
“We believe that they should be immediately removed from working with young people until an investigation is complete.”
The victim of sexual exploitation is the same woman who is at the center of the police rape scandal that has rocked the Oakland Police Department and extended to include officers in Contra Costa and Alameda counties.
Of great concern is the fact that none of the Richmond school officers implicated in the widening sex-crime scandal have been place on leave.
“We’re distraught that despite the allegations the officers have not been swiftly removed from their positions working with young people,” according to RYSE’s statement.
“As an organization that prioritizes the safety and voice of youth, RYSE condemns anyone that abuses their power on the backs of young people.”
“It’s especially critical at this time that we listen to young people since they’re the experts on what they both need and want in order to feel safe in their schools and neighborhoods.”
Incidents Like Gabrielle Union’s “Too Black” Hair Will Soon Be Protected by New State Law
On Jan. 1, 2020, California will enact a new law, the CROWN Act or Senate Bill 188, that protects Black women and men from discrimination in the workplace for wearing natural hairstyles.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the law, the first of its kind in the nation, in July.
Authored by state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), who is African American, the bill expands the definition of racial discrimination to include hair.
“We believe this is just the beginning of the end to hair discrimination. It’s another chink in the armor of racial discrimination in this country and I’m just proud to be part of the movement,” Mitchell said when the governor signed her bill.
Just weeks before the law takes effect, news broke that SAG-AFTRA, the Los Angeles-based labor union representing more than 160,000 television and film industry professionals, is investigating the circumstances of popular actress Gabrielle Union’s dismissal from her job as a judge on the NBC television series “America’s Got Talent,” partly because of her rotating natural hairstyles.
Four sources who claim to have insider information about the way decision makers at the television competition series treated Union say the actress received more than six notes describing her hairstyles as “too Black.”
Union, known for her roles in more than 25 films and as the star of the long-running BET series “Being Mary Jane,” has not made public comment about the incident. But her husband, NBA star Dwyane Wade, has tweeted about her firing.
If Union decides to sue NBC or the show’s producers for hair discrimination, she will not be able to stand on the CROWN act, which stands for Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair, because of the timing of her case.
But the show producers have confirmed that they are speaking with Union’s representatives to resolve their differences.
Some Twitter users are calling for a boycott of the show.
Birmingham Promise Education program exceeded expectations, city officials say
BIRMINGHAM TIMES — The Birmingham Promise Initiative, launched this summer to build pathways into quality jobs for Birmingham City School (BCS) students, came to a successful conclusion last week, said city officials. Last week, 23 BCS students finished their apprenticeships at companies across the metro area and the program had an impact, said Mayor Randall Woodfin and Councilors on Tuesday.
By Erica Wight
The Birmingham Promise Initiative, launched this summer to build pathways into quality jobs for Birmingham City School (BCS) students, came to a successful conclusion last week, said city officials.
Last week, 23 BCS students finished their apprenticeships at companies across the metro area and the program had an impact, said Mayor Randall Woodfin and Councilors on Tuesday.
“There’s now more work to do to make sure that many more high school students can participate in this program, so I’m proud of the success of the pilot but . . . I’m looking forward to engaging parents directly, students directly and employers about these opportunities and so to employers,” Woodfin said.
“Our economy is changing and you all talk about your gaps in workforce, here’s an opportunity to close that workforce gap . . . our parents need to know these options exist before their children walk across the stage and to our children who have the passion, as a city we’re here to support your dreams and make them come true before you walk across the stage.”
Councilor John Hilliard said during Tuesday’s council meeting, “We must change our direction of how we deal with education . . . we have to meet the demand the corporate community is asking. A four-year education is important but it’s not the only way to go . . . I think it’s important we instill in our young people a different type of work ethic and give them the opportunity on the front end rather than the back end to make things happen.”
The seven-week summer pilot is part of the larger Birmingham Promise Initiative, which will offer multiple pathways for Birmingham students to “earn and learn” as they develop skills to prepare for jobs in industries that are growing in the regional economy.
The inaugural apprenticeships involved a vocational education component and work-based learning opportunities that were guided by a mentor. The pilot was complemented by the City of Birmingham’s partnership with Southern New Hampshire University, a national leader in delivering digital education to youth, the Jefferson County Commission on Economic Opportunity (JCCEO) and the city’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity.
Councilor Wardine Alexander said the Birmingham Promise prepares students to be college and career ready.
“When I served on the Board of Education, I had the pleasure to shake the hands of every student who graduated from the City of Birmingham… I think the mayor will remember we had one board member who would always ask the students as they were going through the line, ‘what’s your next goal’ and often students were not able to tell us what their goal was or what they were going to do,” said Alexander.
Birmingham Promise gave students the opportunity to work with Fortune 500 companies, earn a salary and have an idea of what they were going to do, Alexander said.
Council President Valerie Abbott, who attended graduation ceremony for the students along with Mayor Randall Woodfin, Alexander and Hilliard, said she was inspired by the students.
“Just to see those young people, they were full grown adults and doing those jobs, it was very impressive,” said Abbott. “We do need more people in the corporate community, but businesses of any kind can use an intern. It doesn’t have to be a corporation… we have so many students to benefit from that opportunity and only a handful got to participate in this pilot. We need hundreds of businesses to take on these young people so they can learn. I was just inspired by the quality of the young people and how inspired they were and their level of enthusiasm was just wonderful. I think we all need to encourage as many businesses as we can to participate.”
The following employers participated in the Birmingham Promise pilot program this summer:
- Alabama Futures Fund
- Alabama Power Company
- Baptist Princeton
- BIG Communications
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Brasfield & Gorrie
- Encompass Health
- HOAR Construction
- Pack Health
- Renasant Bank
- Vulcan Materials
This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.
You Had Me at Hello: ‘I finally had the nerve’ to pop the question
THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES – Adrian and Starsha met in 2007 when they both worked at a pharmaceutical warehouse in Pelham. “We would cross paths at work but we never dated,” said Starsha, a native of Jemison. Starsha eventually left that job. In 2016 Adrian, who grew up in Alabaster, said he received a friend suggestion from Facebook for Starsha and he accepted it.
By Anita Debro
“You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future “Hello’’ column, or know someone who would, please send nominations to Erica Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
ADRIAN AND STARSHA RHINEHART
Married: March 23, 2019.
Met: Adrian and Starsha met in 2007 when they both worked at a pharmaceutical warehouse in Pelham. “We would cross paths at work but we never dated,” said Starsha, a native of Jemison. Starsha eventually left that job. In 2016 Adrian, who grew up in Alabaster, said he received a friend suggestion from Facebook for Starsha and he accepted it.
“I saw her face and I remembered she was a pretty girl,” Adrian said. A few days later, Starsha said she sent him a message and they started talking. After a few conversations, Starsha suggested they meet up for a date.
First date: Adrian and Starsha met up at Chow Time Chinese restaurant in Hoover. “I liked her attitude and her spiritual relationship with God,” Adrian said. Starsha said she felt Adrian was special even before the date. “I knew he was going to be my husband,” she said. “But I still prayed on it.”
Starsha said she liked that he was a “Godly man . . . I knew he was not the typical guy and he was looking for love,” she said. Adrian said he and Starsha dated for a few months before the relationship became serious.
Previous relationships: Adrian had been married before and Starsha said she had been in a few relationships that did not work. He said the couple took it slow. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to be married or in a serious relationship again,” he said. “I wanted to be sure that if I did, that it was true love.”
The proposal: On Valentine’s Day 2018, Adrian took Starsha to a photo studio to take pictures. “I just thought it was a regular photo shoot,” Starsha said. But Adrian had other plans. Starsha said the photographer told her to do a pose, but then told her that pose wasn’t working. When she turned around towards Adrian he was on bended knee. “I was really shocked. I could not believe that that was happening,” she said. Adrian said he had decided around New Year’s Day that year that he was ready to pop the question. “I finally had the nerve to do it,” he said.
The wedding: The couple married at Jemison City Hall in front of about 200 people. The wedding included 24 people in the bridal party. “I remember being nervous and excited at the same time,” Adrian said. Adrian sung “Stand by Me” and surprised her with a horse and carriage ride. Starsha said her wedding day was a “dream come true” made possible by her wedding coordinator, Shevelle Brown.
Words of Wisdom: Couples should put God first, Starsha said. “God should be the foundation of the relationship.” Adrian agreed. He said that people who are wary of being in a relationship after a failed attempt should “trust in God. Anything is possible.”
“If a relationship is meant to be, it will happen,” Starsha said.
Happily ever after: Starsha, the mother of a 6-year-old from a previous relationship, recently started working as a corrections officer for Alabama Therapeutic Educational Facility in Columbiana. Adrian is a crane operator at Glidewell Specialties Foundry in Calera. The couple enjoy dining out and especially enjoy getting dressed up for elegant formal events.
This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.
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