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Sigma Beta Xi, ACLU Slow School Pipeline to Prison

PRECINCT REPORTER GROUP NEWS — For what it’s worth, some good is coming out of the long winding school to prison pipeline, which just got a little shorter in Riverside County thanks to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, and local education activist Corey Jackson

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SIgma Beta Xi (Photo by: precinctreporter.com)

By Dianne Anderson

For what it’s worth, some good is coming out of the long winding school to prison pipeline, which just got a little shorter in Riverside County thanks to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, and local education activist Corey Jackson

Jackson, founder and CEO for Sigma Beta Xi, Inc., said he got involved with the lawsuit about a year ago after an ACLU inquiry about whether any teens in his mentoring program had been caught up in the county’s Youth Accountability Team (YAT) voluntary probation program.

He asked around and discovered that several students in his mentoring program had either served time in YAT in the past or were in YAT at the time.

Sigma Beta Xi partnered with the ACLU in the lawsuit against Riverside County’s YAT program to restore constitutional rights to teens who were wrongly criminalized.

Jackson said the so-called Voluntary Probation program is funded with state dollars. Instead of going to court, he said the county settled the case to eliminate what the ACLU and Sigma Beta Xi saw as several civil rights and civil liberties violations.

About 400 teens each year have been placed in the program as punishment for minor offenses, such as cussing, or being tardy. All were middle and high schoolers, and many never broke a law, but were criminalized for childhood behavior, such as defiant in class.

Worse, he said most parents didn’t realize the YAT program was voluntary.

“All they knew was there is some guy with a badge saying if you don’t give us a call and schedule a meeting, we might prosecute you,” he said.

In going through this process, Jackson said witnessing the extent of infringement on civil liberties shows the need for caring adults to advocate for young people in the community.  He said the community must stay vigilant and hold agencies to a higher level of accountability.

“People assume that because it’s a government agency program, it must be okay, when in fact, even government programs can be illegal. It can be detrimental to the health of people. The African American community knows that very well,” he said.

Through YAT, parents forfeited their civil liberties as well as legal representation, fearing the alternative — that their kids would be incarcerated.

The Youth Accountability Teams Complaint describes how the probation office targeted and discriminated against the teens, taking away their constitutional rights, and treating them like criminals.

“As former Senior Probation Officer Debbie Waddell stated when describing the YAT program, “what we’re really doing is using this program to get them into the system by fingerprinting and photographing them. We can search their homes any time we want and work to obtain evidence against them so that when we can get ‘em, we can really get ‘em!” Former Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Anthony Villalobos followed these statements, explaining, “We can do all kinds of surveillance, including wire taps on phones, without having to get permission from a judge,” the Youth Accountability Teams complaint stated.

Parents signed contracts basically giving permission for surprise house searches and allowing the program to tell the youth who to associate with.

Originally, the idea of the voluntary probation program was developed as an intervention program in 2001 supposedly to help prevent kids from getting deeper into trouble.

But it ended up as a faster path on the school to prison pipeline.

The ACLU complaint also raises serious questions about how widespread these types of voluntary probation programs reach, statewide and national.

“That’s why they wanted to settle rather than go to court to try to defend something that they would probably lose,” Jackson said.

He said Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted and agreed to the settlement and filed with the court last week. Once everything is certified by the judge, he said every young person in the program that never committed a crime will be removed from YAT. Their records will be destroyed.

Restorative justice also comes in the form of more money.  One outcome of the settlement is that millions of dollars will come down to support community-based organizations through an RFP process to create good diversionary programs.

“That’s $1.4 million every year for five years, minimum of $7 million by the end of five years,” said Jackson, whose nonprofit Sigma Beta Xi, Inc. is a partner in the Positive Youth Justice Initiative, a statewide philanthropic initiative managed by The Center at Sierra Health Foundation.

Another positive outcome from the settlement is that if a teen is now alleged to have committed a crime and referred to voluntary probation, the public defender must provide a lawyer in every meeting so the youth and parents fully understand their rights.

“Being supplied with a lawyer in every meeting with probation from the time they’re referred, this could be first in the nation when it comes to legal representation like that,” Jackson said.

Currently, California ACLU affiliates have also teamed up to co-sponsor Assembly Bill 901, which limits voluntary probation, and seeks to stop criminalizing adolescent behavior that mostly impacts Black and Brown students.

“In Riverside County alone, over 3,000 young people were placed on probation between 2005-2016 for behavior like being late to class, having poor attendance, and being “easily persuaded by peers.” Black and Latinx students were disproportionately referred to probation for this normal adolescent behavior,” the ACLU of Southern California states on their website.

This article originally appeared in The Precinct Reporter News Group.

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PRESS ROOM: Black Female Excellence Takes Center Stage at St. Jude Spirit Of The Dream

NNPA NEWSWIRE — During the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream event, guests heard about the strides made by St. Jude on racial equity since its founding in 1962 as the South’s first fully integrated children’s hospital. As part of this commitment to racial equity, St. Jude launched a sickle cell program in 1968 to study this disease, which disproportionately affects African American people. That program has grown to become one of the largest in the U.S.
The post PRESS ROOM: Black Female Excellence Takes Center Stage at St. Jude Spirit Of The Dream first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Astronaut, doctor and non-profit executive are honored for outstanding achievements in advancing lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – For the first time in its history, the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream event selected women for each of its highest accolades: the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream award and the Legacy Award. The event, held Thursday, Sept. 29 celebrates the achievements of African Americans who embody the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and its founder, Danny Thomas who believed that no child, regardless of race should die in the dawn of life.

Dr. Patricia Adams-Graves, professor in the hematology/oncology division at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and a provider at Regional One Health is one of few hematologists in Memphis to serve and care for adults living with Sickle Cell Disease, and Dr. Sian Proctor, an accomplished civilian astronaut, pilot, advocate for women of color in the space industry, entrepreneur, and professor of American geology, were both presented with the Spirit of the Dream award. Emily Greer, a 30-year executive leader, most recently as Chief Administrative Officer for ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, received the St. Jude Legacy Award for her tireless service to St. Jude as a trusted advisor to CEO, Rick Shadyac. Though Greer retired in 2021, she remains committed to the mission of St. Jude.

Each honoree has made a significant impact far beyond their local communities. Together, their multiple accomplishments reflect the foundational pillars of St. Jude: research, treatment, and philanthropy.

“I didn’t come to ALSAC almost 30 years ago with the idea of sitting here today,” said Greer. “I came with the idea of serving these children and these families who get the worst news of all: that your child has cancer. And I just tried to do my small part in making a difference in their lives. It’s an honor to be recognized in this way to do work that was my privilege to do.”

The event also comes on the heels of the first anniversary of Inspiration4, the first all-civilian spaceflight to orbit the Earth, which landed safely back on Earth thanks to Dr. Proctor’s skillful navigation as the mission pilot. Inspiration4 captivated space fans the world over and raised nearly $250 million for the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.

“When I won the prosperity seat on the Inspiration4 mission, my entire life shifted,” said Dr. Proctor. “Becoming connected to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the mission of ending childhood cancer resonated with me to my core and allowed me to unleash the very best version of myself.”

During the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream event, guests heard about the strides made by St. Jude on racial equity since its founding in 1962 as the South’s first fully integrated children’s hospital. As part of this commitment to racial equity, St. Jude launched a sickle cell program in 1968 to study this disease, which disproportionately affects African American people. That program has grown to become one of the largest in the U.S.

As a physician in Memphis, Dr. Adams-Graves continues to extend quality care to sickle cell patients in the greater Midsouth region. “Receiving this award is an honor, pleasure and validation of the service that I have been walking in my life to improve the quality of life for individuals, both children and adults, living with sickle cell disease,” said Dr. Adams-Graves.

Past honorees include Dr. Rudolph Jackson, one of the first Black doctors at St. Jude, Penny Hardaway, University of Memphis Tigers head men’s basketball coach, and the city of Memphis.

To learn more and donate, visit stjude.org/spiritofthedream.

About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since the hospital opened in 1962. St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.

The post PRESS ROOM: Black Female Excellence Takes Center Stage at St. Jude Spirit Of The Dream first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Uniformed & Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) Vote-By-Mail Ballots to Be Mailed for the November 8, 2022, General Election

WESTSIDE GAZETTE — The deadline to request a UOCAVA Vote-By-Mail ballot is 5:00 p.m. October 29, 2022. UOCAVA Vote-By-Mail ballots can be returned by mail or faxed directly to the Supervisor of Elections office. Ballots cannot be emailed to us.
The post Uniformed & Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) Vote-By-Mail Ballots to Be Mailed for the November 8, 2022, General Election first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Submitted by Ivan Castro | The Westside Gazette

BROWARD COUNTY, FL. — Over 4,000 Vote-By-Mail ballots for the General Election were sent to military and overseas citizens on September 24, 2022. In addition to registering to vote online, UOCAVA voters may request a Vote-By-Mail Ballot by using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA).

The deadline to request a UOCAVA Vote-By-Mail ballot is 5:00 p.m. October 29, 2022.

UOCAVA Vote-By-Mail ballots can be returned by mail or faxed directly to the Supervisor of Elections office. Ballots cannot be emailed to us.

An overseas voter has 10 extra days from election day for their Vote-By-Mail ballot to be received. The ballot must be postmarked or dated by Election Day November 8th.

Important Dates and Information for the General Election

  • New voters must be registered by Tuesday, October 11, 2022
  • Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2022

For further information regarding UOCAVA voters visit http://www.browardvotes.gov/Voter-Information/Oversees-Military-Voters.

Please visit our website browardvotes.gov, follow us on social media @browardvotes, and for media questions please contact: icastro@browardvotes

The post Uniformed & Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) Vote-By-Mail Ballots to Be Mailed for the November 8, 2022, General Election appeared first on The Westside Gazette.

The post Uniformed & Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) Vote-By-Mail Ballots to Be Mailed for the November 8, 2022, General Election first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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What Hip-Hop Means to Benny The Butcher

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Hip-hop means everything to Benny The Butcher. Hip-Hop is the reason why I’m here. You see I’m nominated for Collab of the Year. You see I’m nominated for Lyricist of the Year. It means everything. I’m going to be there on the red carpet tomorrow with my s— on like this.
The post What Hip-Hop Means to Benny The Butcher first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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The breakthrough for the Bufflao, New York, MC came later than most, but it’s here and it’s glorious

By Rashad Miligan | RollingOut.com

You never know when your life is going to change. Hip-hop has traditionally been considered as a space for young people. Two of this generation’s most influential artists, Chief Keef and Pop Smoke, both had their breakthroughs as teenagers. Nas released one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time with Illmatic at 17.

For Benny The Butcher, however, the breakthrough came at 34 in 2019 with the rise of his rap group Griselda, based out of Buffalo, New York. The group helped bring the grimy East Coast sound of rapping about selling cocaine over hard-hitting instrumentals back to listeners’ ears.

“He’s fam,” Wicked Money Family co-founder Iren “IG” Golder told rolling out. “East Coast represent. Bringing New York back, from the music to the production.”

During BET Hip-Hop Awards weekend in Atlanta, The Butcher spoke to rolling out about what hip-hop means to him, and what’s coming up next.

ATL Jacob is making his debut as an artist and his label has been signed under Republic Records. What is your message to ATL Jacob?

I want to say man he’s a hustler. He goes crazy. He and all his boys go crazy. That’s why I f— with them n—–. And as an artist, I’d be in the studio and that n—- playing s—, nasty s—. As good as anybody else I’ve heard, so I’m excited for him to do his thing.

What does hip-hop mean to Benny The Butcher?

Hip-hop means everything to Benny The Butcher. Hip-Hop is the reason why I’m here. You see I’m nominated for Collab of the Year. You see I’m nominated for Lyricist of the Year. It means everything. I’m going to be there on the red carpet tomorrow with my s— on like this.

What’s next for you?

Working with ATL Jacob, working with Symba. Just f— with everybody, getting game from the OGs, everybody. [Golder] is a hustler.

The post What hip-hop means to Benny The Butcher appeared first on Rolling Out.

The post What Hip-Hop Means to Benny The Butcher first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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