Haley Taylor Schlitz, who graduated from high school at 13 via homeschooling and completed her bachelor’s degree via Tarrant County College and Texas Woman’s University, will now pursue a law degree at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law.
The Dallas-based institution is one of nine schools that accepted Schlitz and is recognized as one of the top 50 law schools in the country. Among the other schools that accepted her were the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Howard University, and Texas Southern University.
According to newsone.com, Schlitz’s family recognized she was gifted at an early age. Her parents decided to homeschool her to give Schmitz the opportunity to learn at her own accelerated pace.
Schlitz, who was a guest on Good Morning America Wednesday, initially wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and pursue a career in medicine, but witnessing all of the inequality in our country motivated her to want to become a lawyer.
“It is my hope that I can bring my passion for addressing education equity issues, and help facilitate a program that focuses on the legal advocacy needs of underserved students and their families in accessing gifted education programs,” she wrote in a piece for Better Make Room.
“The lack of access to these programs helps promote stereotypes and keeps students of color in our K-12 schools locked in an education system that views them as the problem instead of the solution.”
NBA star Carmelo Anthony took to Instagram Friday with a lengthy post about the need for fellow professional athletes to drop all fear of backlash and use their platform to speak out against injustice.
“I’m calling for all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge,” Anthony wrote. “There’s NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore. Those days are long gone.”
The post was written in reaction to the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the killing of five police officers in Dallas Thursday night during protests over the two fatalities.
“I’m all about rallying, protesting, fighting for OUR people,” he wrote. “Look I’ll even lead the charge, By Any Means Necessary. We have to be smart about what we are doing though. We need to steer our anger in the right direction. Shooting 11 cops and killing 5 WILL NOT work.”
Melo’s caption accompanied a photo of Muhammad Ali with Jim Brown and Kareem Abdul Jabbar and other black athletes at the famed 1967 Cleveland summit in support of Ali’s refusal to be drafted into the Vietnam War.
As I combed my RSS Feed for stories to share on GBN today, I was particularly taken by an article posted by the indefatigable Tambay A. Obenson of Shadow And Act, (the most comprehensive site on black cinema, past and present, that I have ever come across). It was an update on a documentary project now called “True Conviction” that Obenson has been tracking on his blog for about 2 years, starting with its Kickstarter fundraising campaign in early 2013. Today, he posted the link to a seven-minute preview of the film directed by Jamie Meltzer.
I opened it to watch and was immediately riveted by the story – how three men, each convicted, imprisoned and eventually exonerated for crimes they didn’t commit – banded together to form an agency to help countless other innocent people who are still unjustly serving time. When one of the detectives, Christopher Scott, confronts Alonso Hardy, who confessed to having committed the crime for which Scott was imprisoned, it is a moment to which every person in America should bear witness, and hopefully begin to understand and help change our devastatingly faulty and racist criminal justice system.
Even though robbed of a large chunk of their adulthoods, Scott and his partners Johnnie Lindsey and Steven Phillips dedicate their lives to helping others, because, as Scott states so poignantly at the end of the trailer:
As much as I paid for his weakness, he didn’t do this to me. It was men much more powerful than Alonso. Cops, prosecutors, D.A.s, judges… The justice system wronged me so much, you know, I had to come out and try to make a change. My whole mission is to free as many people as I can before I leave this world.
I’d embed the video if I could, but it won’t allow me. So I am posting the link to the trailer right here: https://vimeo.com/145864128.Additionally, if you want to sign up to receive newsletters about the film, events related to it and upcoming screenings, you can do so at trueconvictionfilm.com.
Over the past year, Natural Hair Stylist Isis Brantley has been fighting to teach hair braiding in the state of Texas. Now, A federal judge has finally ruled in her favor.
Brantley, who runs a hair braiding business sued the state in 2013 stating that the laws related to her hair braiding school were ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unconstitutional.’
Texas law would have required Brantley to set up a 2,000-square-foot barber college, with 10 sinks and reclining barber chairs. As well as require her to take and pay for hundreds of hours of courses and acquire licenses she wouldn’t need or use in order to be certified to provide students the necessary classroom hours for a hair-braiding license.
“This means that Isis must spend 2,250 hours in barber school, pass four exams, and spend thousands of dollars on tuition and a fully-equipped barber college she doesn’t need, all to teach a 35-hour hairbraiding curriculum.” — Isis Brantley’s 2013 Institute for Justice Statement
According to Dallas News, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled that the state of Texas violated Brantley’s 14th Amendment right to due process by setting unreasonable and irrational requirements for her to teach braiding. Sparks also said that the regulations excluded Brantley from the market “absent ‘a rational connection with … fitness or capacity to engage in’ hair braiding instruction.”
Sparks found the various rules requiring Texas hair braiding schools to become fully equipped barber colleges “irrational,” citing licensed braiding salons don’t need sinks because washing hair is not involved in the braiding process.
“I fought for my economic liberty because I believe there is a lot of hope for young people who seek to earn an honest living,” said Brantley. “This decision means that I will now be able to teach the next generation of African hair braiders at my own school.”
“It is the first time that hair-braiding schools have been addressed by the federal courts and the third time that African hair braiding has been handled in the federal court system,” said Brantley’s attorney, Arif Panju. It has broad implications. These are economic regulations, and it’s unconstitutional to require entrepreneurs to do useless things. … Texas was not only preventing African hair-braiding schools from even opening, but it was also violating the 14th Amendment. This ruling is a resounding victory for Isis Brantley and entrepreneurs like her across Texas,” Panju said. “It is unconstitutional to require people to do useless things.”
WASHINGTON (NNPA) – In an effort to combat police brutality in the Black community, the National Bar Association (NBA) recently announced plans to file open records requests in 25 cities to study allegations of police misconduct.
Pamela Meanes, president of the Black lawyers and judges group, said the NBA had already been making plans for a nationwide campaign to fight police brutality when Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a White police officer following a controversial midday confrontation in a Ferguson, Mo.
Meanes called police brutality the new civil rights issue of this era, an issue that disproportionately impacts the Black community.
“If we don’t see this issue and if we don’t at the National Bar Association do the legal things that are necessary to bring this issue to the forefront, then we are not carrying out our mission, which is to protect the civil and political entities of all,” said Meanes.
The NBA, which describes itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges,” selected the 25 cities based on their African-American populations and reported incidents of police brutality.
The lawyers group will file open records requests in Birmingham, Ala.; Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix; Los Angeles; San Jose, Calif., Washington, D.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Miami; Atlanta; Chicago; Louisville, Ky.; Baltimore, Md.; Detroit; Mich.; Kansas City, Mo.; St. Louis, Mo.; Charlotte, N.C.; Las Vegas, Nev.; New York City; Cleveland, Ohio; Memphis, Tenn., Philadelphia; Dallas; Houston; San Antonio, Texas, and Milwaukee, Wis.
In a press release about the open records requests, the group said it will not only seek information about “the number of individuals who have been killed, racially profiled, wrongfully arrested and/or injured while pursued or in police custody, but also comprehensive data from crime scenes, including “video and photographic evidence related to any alleged and/or proven misconduct by current or former employees,” as well as background information on officers involved in the incidents.
Not only will the NBA present their findings to the public, but the group also plans to compile its research and forward the data over to the attorney general’s office.
Meanes said the group’s ultimate goal is to have a conversation with Attorney General Eric Holder and to ask, and in some cases, demand he seize police departments or take over or run concurrent investigations.
Meanes said federal law prohibits the Justice Department from going into a police department unless a pattern or history of abuse has been identified.
“The problem is that the information needed for that action is not readily available in a comprehensive way on a consistent basis with the goal of eradicating that abuse,” said Meanes, adding that the open records request is the best way to get that information.
Meanes said that the NBA was concerned that the trust had already brrn broken between the police force and the residents of Ferguson and that the rebellion and the protests would continue.
“We don’t think St. Louis County should investigate this. We don’t think the prosecutor should investigate this. There should be an independent third-party investigating this and that is the federal government,” said Meanes.
Phillip Agnew, executive director of the Dream Defenders, a civil rights group established by young people of color in the aftermath of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager in Sanford, Fla., said law enforcement officials taunted, antagonized and disrespected peaceful protesters who took to the streets of Ferguson and at times incited the violence they attempted to stamp out in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown.
“An occupying force came into the community, they killed someone from the community, and instead of being transparent and doing everything they could do to make sure the community felt whole again, they brought in more police to suppress folks who were exercising their constitutional rights,” said Agnew.“If your protocol results in greater violence, greater anger, and greater disenchantment of the people, you have to chart a different course.”
On the heels of the NBA announcement, Attorney General Holder launched two initiatives designed to calm anxiety and frustration expressed by Ferguson’s Black residents towards the local police department over allegations of misconduct, harassment and discrimination.
The Justice Department also introduced a “Collaborative Reform Initiative” to tackle similar concerns with the St. Louis County Police Department and to improve the relationship between police officers and the communities they serve.
When Whitney Mitchell (pictured) lost her arms and legs to an illness two and a half years ago, she was pursuing a career in dance. Her life has taken a different path since then, but she continues to dream big. Mitchell just took her first steps a few weeks ago with her new prosthetic legs. Her movements were small and paced, but the young woman plans on taking giant strides in the future, reports CBS Dallas.
“I really want to inspire people,” said Mitchell. “I want to tell them no matter what (their) circumstances (are) you can pull through and keep going.” The 21-year-old was celebrated at a fundraiser to cover her medical costs at the Chocolate Secrets and Wine Gardens in Dallas on Sunday night.
Her positive spirit has kept her forging ahead with new aspirations of becoming a fashion designer. Mitchell developed flu-like symptoms back in 2010, that ended up being diagnosed as sepsis, a bacterial infection of the blood. The then-aspiring dancer and performing arts university student was given a twelve percent, one week survival rate. The bacteria in her body was causing alarming levels of inflammation. In order to survive, doctors would have to amputate her arms and legs.