Colin Kaepernick Pledges $25K Toward Efforts to Keep DACA

Pro Football QB and Activist Colin Kaepernick (photo via theundefeated.com)

via eurweb.com

Colin Kaepernick has pledged $25,000 toward aid for immigrant youth and efforts to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in place. The news comes in the wake of Donald Trump’s announced end of DACA, leaving the fate of some 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children up to Congress.

Kaepernick, who remains a free agent for the NFL, has been at the center of political controversy since his decision to take a knee last year during the National Anthem in protest of racism and police brutality. Additionally the former quarterback had pledged to donate $1 million toward efforts to help communities affected by systemic racism, social injustice and police brutality.

Kaepernick announced that a quarter of the $100,000 he donates to that end each month (for 10 months) will go toward children of immigrant backgrounds who are being affected by Trump’s planned repeal of DACA. In partnership with United We Dream – the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the U.S. – he will contribute a percentage of the amount to the following areas:

• Addressing the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth. Over 100,000 members. Current focus: Organize and work for immigrant children to keep DACA in force.

• $10,000 for upcoming travel. Air, hotel, lodging, and ground transportation. United We Dream recently held event in Washington DC and sent 300 dreamers to lobby to keep DACA. This budget will pay for 75-100 attendees for a similar rally upcoming.

• $10,000 for series of upcoming local gatherings in NY, CT, TX, FL, NM. Facilities rent and security, transportation, food, technology

• $5,000 for text service for the network of over 100,000 members.

Source: Colin Kaepernick Pledges $25K Toward Efforts to Keep DACA | EURweb

Philando Castile Fund Aims to Feed Children in Need, Wipe Out School Lunch Debt and Keep His Legacy Alive 

Philando Castile (photo via blavity.com)

via blavity.com

Over and over again, it has been proven that Philando Castile was a kind hearted and loving man. One thing that he often did as the cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori in St. Paul, MN was paid for the lunch of students who were unable to do so. “No child goes hungry so we ensure that every student has breakfast and also lunch whether they can pay or not,” Stacy Koppen, Nutritional Services Director for St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) told WCCO.

Some students are eligible for free school lunch, but many aren’t. When students can’t pay for their lunch, they will run a debt. “Lunches just for one elementary student are about $400 a year,” Koppen said. “When a student couldn’t pay for their lunch, a lot of times (Castile) actually paid for their lunch out of his own pocket,” she said. Castile’s kind gesture moved the heart of one college professor to keep the ball rolling despite Castile’s untimely death.

Inver Hills Community College professor Pam Fergus typically assigns her students in her Diversity and Ethics class a service project, but this time created her own. “His death changed who I am,” Fergus said. Her project is called Philando Feeds the Children. The project started with a $5,000 goal that was then doubled and so far has raised over $13,800 with 90 days left to donate. Castile’s mother Valerie also told WCCO and Fergus she plans to match the final total with her own donation. “She said the only thing I want for my son is for people to remember him with honor and dignity,” said Fergus.

St. Paul Schools have also started their own campaign, Food For Thought, which allows people to make a donation to clear lunch debts.“That campaign helped us raise almost $40,000 (last year) and it helped almost 2,000 students who couldn’t pay for their meals,” said Koppen. “This year we have almost 900 students who currently appear that they need our help as well.”

To read more, go to: New Philando Castile Fund Aims To Wipe Out School Lunch Debt And Keep His Legacy Alive | BLAVITY

All Star Code Founder Christina Lewis Halpern Exposes Boys of Color to STEM Opportunities

All Star Code founder Christina Lewis Halpern with All Star students (photo via allstarcode.org)

via blavity.com

“We all want and need a seat at the table, and then we want to run the table and then we want to have our own table. Coding is the ticket to that,” says Christina Lewis Halpern, the founder of All Star Code, a six-week initiative for high school boys of color to discover innovative career opportunities through a computer science based curriculum.

According to Atlanta Black Star, the New York activist is the daughter of the late Reginald F. Lewis, a Wall Street attorney who became the first African-American to build a billion-dollar company. Her father, a Harvard graduate before dying of brain cancer in 1993, operated TLC Beatrice International, a grocery, beverage and household products distributor.

The month before he passed, Lewis named Halpern, who was only 12-years-old at the time, to the board of his foundation. “My family foundation is committed to social justice and believes in the power of entrepreneurship and investing in our community,” Halpern said. Two decades into the future and Halpern, a professional business journalist, created the All Star Code program “to help the next generation of youth catch the next wave of opportunity.”

So how did she do it? “We seeded this initiative and provided an anchor grant. About 20 percent of the money invested in All Star Code last year was from the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, or Lewis family personal funds,” Halpern explained. Other donors included Bond Collective, Cisco, Comcast, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Chase, MLB Advanced Media and Yahoo!. These corporations in addition to operational support gave $350,000 in funding.

Because of the lack of opportunities in STEM for men and women of color, Halpern’s All Star Code is designed to change that. The nonprofit raised more than $740,000 in 2016 at the annual All Star Code fundraiser in the Hamptons. Due to the generous contributions of the donors, the organization, which started in New York City and has stretched to Pittsburgh, has expanded and continues to grow rapidly.

The number of boys that participated in the Summer initiative skyrocketed from only 20 in 2014 to 160 this year. Halpern says that their goal is to have at least 1,000 high schoolers in 2020.

To read full article, go to: Daughter Of The First African-American To Build A Billion-Dollar Company Exposes Boys Of Color To STEM Opportunities | BLAVITY

Black Students Make Gains in Eligibility for California State Universities

University of California system map (image via frc.edu)

via jbhe.com

A new report by Research Triangle International finds that Black high schools students have made tremendous progress in qualifying for admissions to the California State University System and the University of California System.

Under the state’s master plan for higher education, the top 12.5 percent of all high school students qualify for admission to the University of California System and the top 33 percent of the state’s high school students are eligible for admission to the California State University System. The report found that the percentage of all high school graduates qualifying for California State University admission has increased from 29.6 percent in 1996 to a record high of 40.8 percent in 2015.

California State University system map (image via qph.ec.quoracdn.net)

The percentage of Black students who qualified for admission to CalState schools more than doubled during the period. In 2007, the eligibility gap between White and Black students was 13.1 percent. But by 2015 it had declined to 9.8 percent. In 1996, only 13 percent of all Black high school students in California qualified for admission to the California State University System. In 2015, the rate was 30 percent.In the University of California System, the eligibility gap between White and Black students dropped from 8.3 percentage points in 2007 to 5.4 points in 2015.

In 1996, only 2.8 percent of all Black high school students in California qualified for admission to the University of California System. In 2015, the rate was 6.5 percent. Of course, qualifying for either state university system does not guarantee admission to a particular campus. Students must compete for places at these schools. And due to state law, race cannot be taken into consideration in admissions decisions at all public colleges and universities in California.

Source: Black Students Making Significant Progress in Eligibility for California State Universities : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

Salt-N-Pepa Mentor “Girls Make Beats” DJs, Have Them Open SnP’s Pompano Beach Show in FL

Girls Make Beats Founder Tiffany Miranda (l) and three of her aspiring DJs (photo via cbsmiami.com)

by via cbsmiami.com

POMPANO BEACH (CBSMiami) – They are iconic – two female rappers and a DJ who made their mark on the 90s, the music industry and the “glass ceiling.” Trio Salt-N-Pepa – made of up of Cheryl James (“Salt”), Sandra Denton (“Pepa”) and Deidra Roper (“Spinderella”) – is best known for their songs “Shoop” and “Whatta Man.” They inspired a generation, including Tiffany Miranda. Miranda is a successful DJ and performer, and founder of Girls Make Beats, a nonprofit program that teaches young girls the ins and outs of music production, DJ’ing and audio engineering. “Salt-N-Pepa, they were my jam what I was growing up,” said Miranda. “I would just watch VH1 and MTV and The Box. It was all Salt-N-Pepa, all the time.”

Salt-N-Pepa give advice to young women of Girls Make Beats (image captured from cbsmiami.com)

The girls of Girls Make Beats opened for Salt-N-Pepa, who performed their classics at the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre, and took time to say hello to the future DJs who look up to them. “You have to really believe in yourself and your talent,” said Salt. “You have to be strong. Salt-N-Pepa have endured a lot in the business, and there were a lot of times where we felt defeated, and like we wanted to give up, but there’s a certain energy that you have to have a woman when you’re in a male dominated field. You have to stay focused.”

Girls Make Beats partnered with the city of Pompano Beach and Ali Cultural Arts Center, with help from a Knight Foundation grant, to provide training to inner-city girls. Spinderella was thrilled to hear about the program, and said girls should use any negativity they encounter along the way to catapult them.“The women that are coming through the doors, we’d like to see, of course, more of them,” she said.  “But I’m proud as a female DJ to see the young ladies doing what they do, because they have been put into this box. They’re women, they can do anything. I say to the young girls out there, use that as your catalyst.”

To see video and read more, go to: Salt-N-Pepa Share Words Of Wisdom With Up-&-Coming DJs « CBS Miami

Journalist Shaun King Reveals 1st Part of 5-Part Investigative Series on Corrupt Policing and Arrest Quotas in NYC

Investigative Journalist Shaun King

A snippet and the link to this brave man’s work is below. Please read and follow this groundbreaking series via medium.com as well as Shaun King (Facebook, Twitter). He is doing so much what needs to be done to root out injustice not only in NYC, but all across the country:

What I’m about to tell you is the most painful, traumatic, outrageous, outlandish, over-the-top story of government sanctioned police brutality, wrongful imprisonment, wrongful convictions, forced testimony, widespread corruption, money, lots of money, and deep, deep, deep soul-snatching psychological abuse in modern American history. I would not have believed it had I not seen it all for myself. The rabbit hole I am about to take you down is deep and twisted. It should lead to the termination of a whole host of officials. Many should be arrested and a comprehensive independent investigation should begin immediately.

I receive hundreds of personal emails about injustice in America every single day. In mid-July, dozens of those emails were about a Bronx teenager named Pedro Hernandez. People all over the country had seen reports from Sarah Wallace of NBC New York or James Ford of Pix 11 on how Hernandez, who was jailed at Rikers Island, was running out of time to be released in time to start college. Hernandez had won awards at Rikers for his leadership and academic performance, and had also been granted a scholarship from the Posse Foundation to enter college this fall. Offered a plea deal from the Bronx DA’s Office to be released for time served, Hernandez did what few people in his position would do — he turned down the deal. Accused of shooting Shaun Nardoni, a neighborhood teenager, in the leg on September 1st, 2015, Hernandez was offered a ticket out of Rikers in exchange for admitting he shot Nardoni. The District Attorney even sweetened the pot and pledged to expunge his record in five years if he met all of the terms of his probation. Hernandez still refused to take the deal — continuing to pledge that he was completely innocent and would rather take his chances with a jury before admitting to something he didn’t do.

Pedro Hernandez (photo via medium.com)

For nearly a week, people emailed me about Pedro’s case before I finally clicked on the link to see what it was all about. Tory Russell, an activist and organizer from St. Louis, who I’d come to know fr

om Ferguson, sent me a direct message on Twitter asking me if I could read the story and support Pedro somehow.  I was on vacation with my family and it still took me another three days to finally read the story. I was hooked, but I had questions. As I Googled Pedro’s name and case, I saw several local reports that stated he had been wrongfully arrested and harassed by the NYPD for years. A guard at another facility was actually arrested and charged with criminal assault, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal obstruction of breathing and blood circulation, and harassment after being caught on film brutally beating and choking Pedro. Eight different eyewitnesses had all come forward to state that Pedro was not the shooter. Many even went so far as to identify the actual shooter. Why then, did Pedro remain behind bars? Why did it seem like the NYPD had it out for him? And how could the Bronx DA simultaneously believe that Pedro was safe enough to set free if he took the plea, but so dangerous, that if he didn’t, his bail would be set at an outrageous $250,000 with a stipulation that he not pay the typical 10%, but pay all $250,000 — effectively ensuring that he’d never get out on bail. That Pedro Hernandez, with the entire deck stacked against him, still refused to take a plea, hooked me.

As I reached out to Pedro’s family, I was immediately struck by something peculiar. I’ve written nearly 1,000 stories about police brutality and misconduct and have interviewed hundreds of families suffering through the consequences of those things. Almost every single one of those families, particularly when they are still in a stage of grief or conflict, without fail, want to speak exclusively about their very specific case. Pedro’s family was different. They immediately wanted me to know that Pedro was not alone, but that he was just one of hundreds of victims whose lives had been turned upside down by officers from the 42nd precinct in the Bronx who were working in close concert with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. The accusations were so sweeping and broad that I wasn’t sure how to process them.

To read full article, go to: Soul Snatchers: How the NYPD’s 42nd Precinct, the Bronx DA’s Office, and the City of New York…

13-Year-Old Kimora Hudson to be Youngest Freshman at University of West Georgia for Fall 2017

Kimora Hudson (photo via westga.edu)

by Jessica Murphy via westga.edu

Just like her friends, 13-year-old Kimora Hudson will be purchasing school supplies to prepare for the upcoming school year. However, it won’t be high school that she is looking forward to attending. Instead, Kimora will be the youngest student enrolled for the fall 2017 semester at the University of West Georgia.

At a young age, Kimora’s family knew how advanced she was going to be.“When she was a baby, this was always the vision,” Fawn Hudson, Kimora’s mother, explained. “Even when she was a few months old her doctor was saying she is a little advanced.”When Kimora was four, her mother began a mentor program based on human growth and development that encouraged her to think outside the box and beyond academics.

This program encourages young people to go out and follow their dreams and not wait. In 4th grade, Kimora became aware of students graduating from college before getting their high school diplomas, and she set a personal goal to become one of those people.“All throughout my life my mom was always making sure I was prepared for everything,” Kimora explained. “My parents know what I need, and they always strive for me to do my best.”

The UWG dual enrollment program is offered to 10th, 11th and 12th grade students who wish to take college level coursework for credit towards both high school and college graduation requirements. However, Kimora was lucky and was able to apply for the program whenever 9th grade students were being accepted. “It was ironic that the year she was going into 9th grade the laws changed to allow the advanced 9th graders a chance, so I said this is it,” Fawn explained. “As soon as she applied and got accepted they took away the 9th grade component. So when that happened, I knew this was meant to be.” Continue reading