Taylor Richardson, a 14-year-old aspiring astronaut from Jacksonville, Fla., exceeded her goal of raising money to send 1,000 girls to see the upcoming film A Wrinkle In Time. As of press time, her GoFundMe page for the goal has raised $17,455 of her $15,000 goal.
“This campaign is so very important to me because it will give me the opportunity to change not only girls perception of STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] and space exploration but boys as well,” explains Richardson in her original post about her goal.
A Wrinkle In Time stars Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon, and is directed byAva DuVernay. The story tells the tale of a young girl, her friend and her brother, who are transported through time and space to a new world to rescue the girl’s father, a scientist who is being held prisoner on another planet.
Richardson was recently named a member of Teen Vogue’s Class of 2017 21 under 21 for girls who are changing the world. The self-proclaimed “STEMinist” recently attended the publication’s first ever Teen Vogue Summit in Los Angeles, and also spoke on the panel of TEDxFSCJ [Florida State College at Jacksonville] Salon: Rediscovering Space. Last year, Richardson raised money to have 1,000 girls see the science film, Hidden Figures.
“This campaign [“Send 1,000 Girls To Wrinkle In Time”] means a lot to me because it shows a female protagonist in a science fiction film,” she wrote in her most recent update. “Girls will know that the possibility of going into space, exploring other planets, being rocket scientists, engineers, mathematicians and astronauts for them is not that it is limited but limitless!”
According to theurbandaily.com, Issa Rae, star and creator of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and the upcoming HBO series Insecure, in an effort to take positive action after the police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana earlier this week, started a scholarship fund for his children. t not only exceeded its $200,000 goal within hours, it is currently at over three times that amount, at $664,986.
“Can we get a scholarship fund going 4 #AltonSterling’s son/kids?” she tweeted Wednesday (July 6). “Some of us feel helpless when these things happen, but that’s a small step.”
Sterling, a 37-year-old father of five, was fatally shot by police outside of a Louisiana convenience store on Tuesday. A graphic video of the altercation shows Sterling being held on the ground before being shot multiple times in the chest and back. The incident has sparked national protest, and a civil rights investigation has been opened by the Justice Department, the New York Times reports.
Hakim’s Bookstore, the oldest African-American bookstore, is getting some much-needed help from the Philadelphia community.
According to owner Yvonne Blake, people who heard the news that the store, which has been family-owned-and-operated since 1959, was struggling were quick to respond. Blake said that she has been overwhelmed by all the support she received, reports Philly.com.
Blake’s story, and her store, have been pasted all over social media by everyone from locals to even Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter of the Roots, with many using the hashtag #BlackBooksMatter. But Blake said that the most important thing she has seen people do is shop at the store. Their business helps keep the store afloat.
The Early Birds, an online community dedicated to helping support black-owned business, also held a cash mob, in which they encouraged their followers to go to Blake’s store and spend at least $20.
Other people have also volunteered to help Blake run the store, since Blake is also caring for her ailing mother, and people like Temple University student Ebonee Johnson have volunteered their time to keep the doors open.
The support has been overwhelming to Blake, and she hopes it will continue past the holiday season.
“It’s like a dream I don’t want to fully embrace because I don’t want it to end,” she told Philly.com. “It’s been an eye-opener because I thought we were dead and irrelevant. I really thought our time had passed, but I realized that I was living in the past and we have to do things differently if we want to stay around.”
To help out, if you’re in the area, Hakim’s Bookstore is located at 210 S. 52nd St. Visit or call: 215-474-9495. Check them out on Facebook. They also have a GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/HakimsBookstore
A broad coalition of women’s groups is coming together to raise awareness about sexual assault and to propel black women to be a force for getting Detroit’s languishing rape kits processed.
The coalition is named the African American 490 Challenge because it is urging black women, individually and collectively, to raise multiples of $490, the cost of processing a single rape kit. The group will kick off its efforts at a gathering Tuesday morning to be attended by leaders of several black women’s service organizations, sororities and other supporters.
Their effort buttresses the work of Enough SAID (Enough Sexual Assault In Detroit), the rape kit testing and investigation effort being led by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthyand the Michigan Women’s Foundation. Worthy has been leading a campaign to get kits tested since learning five years ago that more than 11,300 kits — the key investigative evidence of assault taken from women during a physical exam — were left unopened and untested in a police storage unit.
State, local, private and public funds have resulted from Worthy’s efforts, and donations have poured in from all over the country. The African American 490 Challenge is working with Enough SAID and plans to raise at least $650,000.
“I think this is a fabulous effort,” said Worthy, who will attend Tuesday’s meeting. “If ever there’s an issue these women should get behind, it’s this one. The support they’ll be able to amass will be essential to our success.”
About 10,000 kits have been tested since an assistant prosecutor discovered them in a police storage unit in 2009. More than 1,000 kits have yet to be tested, and money is needed to complete the investigations of those assaults, Worthy said.
Investigations of the kits thus far have revealed that more than 500 rapists were serial offenders, according to data from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.
More than 80% of victims associated with the rape kits are African-American women, according to data released by the foundation.
“They look like my mother, my aunts, our sisters, our daughters, our nieces,” said Maureen Stapleton, a local leader of the Links and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, two community service organizations tailored to African-American women.
Stapleton joined forces with civic leader Kim Trent and public relations executive Darci McConnell in spearheading the coalition. Trent was moved to action by a Facebook debate that seemed to place the blame for sexual assault on women.
“I decided I needed to do something constructive with my anger,” said Trent, a member of the Wayne State University Board of Governors. “We want to come together to say: ‘This is unacceptable, and we are black women who stand ready to make sure this never happens again, and that the women it happened to get justice.’ ”
Both Trent and McConnell said they were victims of sexual assault, and neither reported it. Trent said statistics show that the majority of women don’t report sexual assault. “Those who do deserve to have their day in court,” especially given the invasive procedure required to obtain rape kits.
“We want to make sure that people understand how serious this is, and that they don’t do what many of us did, which was to keep quiet and retreat,” McConnell said.
The coalition has begun raising money through an online donation site — crowdrise.com/AfricanAmerican490Challenge — and has gained the support of local businesses owned by black women, including two spas — Woodhouse Day spa in Detroit and Lavender Mobile Spa — that are donating part of profits to the effort.
Additionally, the group is encouraging black womens groups, book clubs and other organizations to host fund-raising house parties and other events to raise money.
“The great majority of the victims of these unsolved crimes are black women,” states the coalition’s fund-raising page. “Our mothers. Our sisters. Our daughters. Our neighbors. Our aunts. Our cousins. Our friends. Women who look and live like us. Now is the time for black women to use our voices and resources to show sexual assault victims that they have not been forgotten.”
UPCOMING SPA EVENTS
The two spas are holding fundraising efforts this month for the African American 490 Challenge are:
The Woodhouse Day Spa, 1447 Woodward Ave., which will donate 10% of its profits on Oct. 22 to the challenge. In addition, there will be a reception for supporters 5-7:30 p.m. that day. The reception is free and open to the public.
Lavender Mobile Spa will host a fund-raiser at the Westin Hotel in Southfield 1500 Town Center, Southfield, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 24.
DETROIT – Dreia Davis couldn’t help but smile as as she gazed around her bedroom and clutched the key to her new home. “It’s so beautiful,” Davis said. “I’m so thankful. I feel fabulous.”
For Davis and her father, Curtis White, it has been a long journey since she was struck by a bullet from a passing car on Detroit’s east side and nearly killed on Aug. 5, 2009, when she was 13. She suffered two heart attacks and a stroke, and underwent numerous surgeries. White was told it was likely she would not survive.
But now, the devoted dad and teen finally have a happy ending after receiving a lift van and a debt-free, furnished home that accommodates her disabilities Wednesday from Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries.
“I’m speechless,” White said, as he cried. “Oh, this is perfect. I love it. I am so overwhelmed. This is a blessing. I’m ready to move in. This is the best feeling in the world.”
“It’s a dream come true for me,” Stephens said. “I’ve been looking forward to this from day one. I haven’t seen her talking this much, Curtis smiling and crying, like this in so long. It’s a joyful moment.”
More than 20 people gathered Wednesday to watch the family get their new home, including Wayne County Executive Warren Evans. Their new neighbors, including a retired Detroit firefighter, came to welcome them.
For Evans, seeing Davis and her father was a special moment.
“I was chief of (Detroit) police at the time and responded to the hospital the night of the actual tragedy,” Evans said. “It’s just wonderful to be able to come back years later to see what Detroit Rescue Missions has been able to do. She’s rebounded tremendously. She has goals, dreams and aspirations, and she’s not going to be defined by this injury. The dad has the patience of Job. He’s been waiting on her hand and foot, which loving fathers do, but it doesn’t make it easy. So this helps to make it easy for them both.”
Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries President Chad Audi said the plan to get the family a home came together after a FOX 2 News reporter connected him with the family. Their previous home was small, cramped and not properly equipped.
The new house is near 7 Mile in a close-knit, tree-lined neighborhood. It has two bedrooms, a large basement, kitchen and a dining room. Audi said White will have to pay taxes and utilities and maintain the house, but he will be the sole owner. The bathroom was retrofitted to fit Davis’ wheelchair and to allow her to bathe herself, which has been a stress on White. The house’s upgrades and furniture totaled around $21,000.
“It is so exciting,” Audi said. “I’m so excited that she gain her freedom and her dignity. It is her house and her dad’s house forever. … We are thankful to God that we are finally able to give this deserving family a home.”
The shooting left Davis in a wheelchair, but she has beaten the odds. She attends Jerry L. White Center High School in Detroit and is set to graduate and receive her diploma in 2016. She plans to enroll at the Wayne County Community College Districtfor courses she hopes will lead toward becoming a lawyer.
Davis also has her eyes set on a new goal: being able to walk by Feb. 2, 2017. White said she’s set to begin intensive therapy in the coming weeks. “I want to walk when I’m 21,” she said, smiling coyly.
Although Davis loves the new home, van and support she has gotten from the community, nothing matters more than the love from her father. “This all means so much,” she said, hugging White. “But I just want to thank my daddy so much for sticking by my side. I love you, Daddy.”
White, who has had to check on his daughter often to make sure she doesn’t fall out of bed or have other problems, is excited that he’ll finally be able to get more than four hours of sleep at a time. But he’ll never stop being a doting father.
“I’ll never stop,” he said. “I’m always watching her. All of this? Everything I’ve done is just a testament of my love. Doctors told me she wouldn’t make it, then they said she wouldn’t make it past a few years. But here she is today. Look at her now. She beat those odds six years later. The world is hers now. She’s going to walk. She’s made it this far.”
article by Katrease Stafford, Detroit Free Press via usatoday.com
Dreia Davis shouldn’t be alive. Yet she is. Doctors were doubtful Davis would survive after she was shot in the face in a drive-by shooting on Detroit’s east side in August 2009.
But she did.
Although the shooting left Davis in a wheelchair, she has continued to beat the odds, despite setbacks and recurring nightmares of that late summer night, when she nearly lost her life at age 13. Two heart attacks, numerous surgeries and a stroke later, Davis, 19, is determined to reclaim her life and achieve her dream of attending the University of Michigan and becoming a defense attorney.
There’s no denying Davis still has a long road ahead, but she has found unparallelled love and support in the one person who has remained by her side, caring for her and pushing her forward: her father, Curtis White. “It feels great to have him in my life,” she said while gripping his hand. “He’s had me since I was 3 weeks old. I love him.”
White, a single father, has relatively no help in caring for his daughter. Her mother, who still lives in Detroit, is not in the picture, White said, and his own family is unable to help.
But the father and daughter have formed a bond that grows each day.
“She’s my daughter, my best friend,” White, 45, said. “She knows me inside and out. It’s us against them. It’s us against the world. We beat the odds. We can do anything together. Me taking care of her, that’s second nature. I never had my dad, and I went through hell not knowing my dad. … So I have to be there, be here for her. That’s what’s given me the drive to do this for her. Since she’s come this far, the sky’s the limit. I’m never going to give up on her.”
Davis was a lively teen. She was a popular, nearly straight-A student and a head cheerleader at Greenfield Union School, on 7 Mile and Charleston. Before the shooting Aug. 5, 2009, Davis asked her father whether she could go to her friend’s house. He said yes. But later, he discovered she had caught the bus to go to another friend’s home, where he specifically told her not to go.
“Like a typical teen, she was being rebellious,” he said. He called her and told her to come home. “I told her, ‘Don’t make me come over there and get you,’ ” he said. “She promised she would make it home. The last thing I heard from her was, ‘Daddy, I’m on my way home. I love you.’ “
He started pacing when 8 p.m. came. Then 9 p.m. passed. As 10 p.m. neared, a feeling of dread swept across White. “I could feel it in my stomach,” he said. “I couldn’t pinpoint it, but something was not right.”
Minutes later, his daughter’s aunt called. In a trembling voice, she told him to come to the hospital immediately. “I couldn’t even comprehend what she was telling me,” he said. ” ‘Shot in the head?’ ‘What do you mean?’ As soon as I got there, they met me with the chaplains in the emergency room and I was already thinking it was over.”
Davis, an innocent bystander, was shot at the corner of Emery and Eureka, near 7 Mile on the city’s east side, while she talked to some friends. She was the only one injured.
“All it took was one unfortunate night of her not listening for a tragedy to occur,” White said.
After she was shot, Davis was rushed to the hospital and taken into the ICU, where doctors used an automatic external defibrillator to shock her heart back into rhythm after she suffered a heart attack on the operating table.
Doctors told White that his daughter had a 7% chance of making it. “I just lost my mind. That’s my only child,” he said. “From there, it was a whole lot of hoping, praying and being at the hospital 24/7. When I saw her in the emergency recovery room, I was shocked. Her head had swelled up to the size of a pumpkin.”
After several months on life support, doctors told White it was likely his daughter wouldn’t recover, and that he might have to consider removing the support.
“Doctors were telling me she was going to be a vegetable,” he said. “After the second heart attack and stroke, I started considering it. But I had a good cousin that came down from Battle Creek. She said: ‘God can do anything. Put your faith in God.’ And I swear on my life, that as soon as I did that, she made a drastic turnaround.”
An article published in The Root last year about a Florida barbershop that promotes literacy sparked a movement miles away in the cities of Prichard and Mobile, Ala.
Freddie Stokes launched Books for Boys about three weeks ago. He initially intended to establish small libraries, of about 75 books each, in two or three barbershops, but the response to his initiative was so overwhelming that Stokes says he’s now able to establish libraries in at least six barbershops. The first one will open in mid-June.
“We don’t want to stop until all the barbershops in this community have libraries,” he says, with an air of reserved confidence that it will be done.
Stokes is supplying books with which black boys can identify. “When our boys say they don’t like to read, a lot of that is coming from not being interested in reading about characters that don’t look like them,” he explains. His growing stockpile includes biographies, such as Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X, 12 Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali and Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope.
In addition to promoting literacy, Books for Boys aims to raise self-esteem. Stokes grew up in public housing and struggled early in school, having to repeat the third grade. A teacher inspired him to read books, including those about successful African Americans, which allowed him to dream big and ultimately achieve his goals.
Stokes worked in classrooms for two years through Teach for America, an organization that places recent college graduates and professionals in underserved classrooms. He introduced his students to books with positive black characters and watched their self-esteem grow.
“When I went from the classroom to the courtroom, I was able to connect the violence to a lack of reading and self-esteem,” says Stokes, who is also a criminal defense attorney in private practice.
“After reading the article in The Root, I asked myself, why isn’t this [barbershop libraries] in every community?” he recalls. “Then one day I got an epiphany: Just get up and do the work. We can’t wait on the government to do it for us.”
Stokes admits that he didn’t expect the overwhelming response that he received. Barbershop owners said that they are expecting scores of boys to come in over the summer and would gladly offer them books. Parents, sometimes groups of them, are donating with a request that Stokes open a library where they take their sons. And local professionals are opening their wallets to sponsor barbershops, sometimes with a request that Stokes purchase books that emphasize math and science.
In a few short weeks, Stokes’ grassroots effort raised more than $1,500 on GoFundMe. Folks in the community have also given about $800 in cash donations toward the purchase of books. Stokes hopes that this small effort ignites a larger movement that reaches well beyond the Mobile area.