Hurricane Maria: Here’s How to Help Victims in the Ravaged Caribbean

RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/GETTY

by Jason Duaine Hahn via people.com

On early Wednesday, Hurricane Maria made landfall on the 100-mile-long island of Puerto Rico, causing such tremendous damage with its 155-mph winds that it knocked out power for all 3.5 million residents.

Maria killed at least nine people on Dominica before it moved to Puerto Rico, where it toppled trees, tore roofs from buildings, and damaged reservoirs and rivers that—along with heavy rain—have caused severe flooding.

Though the hurricane is expected to move toward the Dominican Republic late Wednesday, Puerto Rico and Dominica will feel the effects of the storm for a long time to come. This comes just two weeks after ferocious Hurricane Irma destroyed much of the U.S. Virgin Islands and killed three people in Puerto Rico.

If you’d like to help out in helping victims of the storm, here some verified organizations assisting in the efforts.

Unidos Por Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico First Lady Beatriz Rosselló helped to establish Unidos Por Puerto Rico to help victims of Maria on the island, and donations can be sent by way of their website.

HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/GETTY

Dominica Hurricane Relief Fund

Much of Dominica is in need of aid after Maria destroyed much of the small island. Officials say 70 to 80 percent of the island’s structures sustained storm damage, whether it be ripped-off roofs or complete destruction. Donations can be sent to the JustGiving page of the organization here.

ConPRmetidos

The nonprofit is based in Puerto Rico, and is accepting donations that will be first be used for the immediate needs of food, shelter and water, and later transitioned to long-term recovery efforts. You can donate to the organization here.

UNICEF

The United Nations fund is currently leading efforts to help young victims of both Irma and Maria, and the earthquake in Mexico. “We put children first in emergencies, committed to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable kids in the world,” the organization says. You can donate to them through their website.

GoFundMe

The fundraising website has collected a running list of dozens of pages that are collecting funds for hurricane relief in Dominica and Puerto Rico.

HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/GETTY

Puerto Rican Hurricane Relief Fund

Started by a collection of Los Angeles-based groups connected to the Puerto Rican community, the Puerto Rican Hurricane Relief Fund will collect money until September 29, 2017, when they will pass the donations to nonprofits on the island.

To read more, go to: http://people.com/human-interest/hurricane-maria-heres-how-to-help-victims-in-the-ravaged-caribbean/

Paypal, ApplePay, Spotify and Other Tech Companies Purge White Supremacist Groups from Their Platforms

by Jessica Yarvin via pbs.org

After the violent protests in Charlottesville, tech companies are rethinking their roles in providing online services for hateful groups. The fight is only beginning, as far-right groups and freedom of speech advocates have argued that tech companies are infringing on their first amendment rights by blocking their access to these services. For now, here are the companies who have taken steps to remove white nationalist and other hate groups from their platforms:

GoDaddy: The web domain name provider cut off the neo-nazi website The Daily Stormer, citing that the website had “crossed the line from exercising freedom of speech to provoking further mayhem.”

Apple Pay: On Wednesday, Apple Pay blocked websites that sell white nationalist merchandise, such as clothing with nazi symbols from using their payment services. A day earlier, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to employees where he said “hate is a cancer” and announced donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

Discord: Members of the “alt-right” movement, whose beliefs are a mix of white nationalism, neo-Nazism and extreme populism, flocked to this group messaging service due to it’s privacy and anonymity; however, after the violence in Charlottesville, the company booted white nationalist groups and users off the app. In the days leading up to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, the New York Times reported that some white supremacists used the app to organize transportation to and lodging for the event.

Spotify: The music streaming service removed dozens of white supremacist artists that the Southern Poverty Law Center had identified as hate music.

Facebook: Citing violations of the company’s guidelines, Facebook banned eight pages associated with the white nationalist movement, along with the personal page and Instagram account of a white nationalist featured in the Vice News documentary about the Charlottesville rally. Continue reading

10 Year-Old Bishop Curry is Creating Device to Prevent Infants From Dying In Hot Cars

Bishop Curry (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

by Zahara Hill via huffpost.com

After Bishop Curry heard his neighbor’s 6-month-old infant died from being in an overheated car, he decided to create a life-saving device to prevent incidents like this from reoccurring ― as any responsible 10-year-old would. “It kind of came in my head,” Bishop told HuffPost of his device, the Oasis.

The Oasis would respond to rising temperatures by emitting cool air and use an antenna to signal parents and authorities. At the moment, Bishop only has a 3-D clay model of the device, but his father, Bishop Curry IV, began a GoFundMe campaign for the Oasis in January. “I got lots of help from my parents,” Bishop said. Attorneys advised the family that the minimum amount they’d need for prototyping and manufacturing fees, as well as a patent for the device, is $20,000.

The GoFundMe campaign has already exceeded that $20,000 goal and, as of Monday, has raised over $23,700. Bishop, who will begin sixth grade in the fall, told Fox News last week that in addition to his parents, his classmates and friends are fully behind him on his projects. “They want to work for me,” he said. Last June, CNN reported that the number of hot-car deaths had nearly tripled compared to the same time in 2015, which had 24 hot-car deaths in total. When Curry grows up, he wants to center his career around inventions, including a time machine.

Source: This 10-Year-Old Is Creating A Device To Prevent Infants From Dying In Hot Cars | HuffPost

Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu, Two Escaped Boko Haram Abductees, Graduate From High School in VA, Head to Southeastern University

(photo via instagram.com)

by Taryn Finley via huffpost.com

Two of the nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 are telling their story. Joy Bishara, 20, and Lydia Pogu, 19, are among the 57 girls who were able to escape from the terrorist group. The duo gave People Magazine a detailed account of horrors they faced when the gunmen invaded their school in Chibok, Nigeria, and the events that followed.

The girls were sleeping when the invasion occurred. They woke to the sounds of gunshots and bombs. Pogu told People that men in uniforms stormed into their dorm and told them they were officers who were there to protect them. But the girls said they knew they weren’t real officers based on the way they described themselves.

“We were all crying and screaming. They told us to keep quiet or they’re going to kill us. So they start to shoot their guns up on top of us, making us quiet. All of us were scared. We were just holding each other,” Bishara said. “They asked us to follow them, we should go with them. When we tried going with them, some of us start running … then they went and put us all back together and said, ‘OK, you all have to cooperate or else we are going to just shoot any girl who just followed a different direction that we didn’t point.”

She said they gave the girls an ultimatum: run away and die or get on a truck and leave with them. Once the truck drove away with the girls on it, it created clouds of dust, making it difficult to see behind the truck. Girls began jumping from the truck and running away in different directions. Bishara and two other girls found each other in the bush and were able to stop a motorcyclist, who brought them back to Chibok.

Bishara and Pogu were able to return back to their families. In August of the same year, the duo and several other girls who escaped moved to the United States to complete school. With the help of a Christian nonprofit and a Nigerian activist group, they were able to attend boarding school in Virginia. Bishara and Pogu transferred their senior year and recently graduated from Canyonville Christian Academy. Both gave speeches at the ceremony. They will be attending Southeastern University in Florida in the fall and have started a GoFundMe to help with their expenses.

In April 2014, Boko Haram abducted as many as 276 schoolgirls from Chibok. The girls were subjected to rape, torture, starvation and forced marriages. They were also forced to join the group’s army. This sparked the #BringBackOurGirls campaign online and caught the attention of notable figures, including former first lady Michelle Obama.

To read more, go to: 2 Escaped Boko Haram Victims Graduate From High School | HuffPost

Colin Kaepernick Secures Cargo Plane and $1 Million in Aid via GoFundMe for Somalia

Colin Kaepernick (photo via essence.com)

article by Paula Rogo via essence.com

Kaepernick is putting his money, and power, where his mouth is

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick continues to make philanthropic waves after securing a way to provide relief to the people of Somalia. After joining a Twitter campaign beseeching Turkish Airlines to send a cargo plane with aid, the former quarterback announced on Twitter Friday that he had secured one from the airline to bring supplies to the East African nation.

Turkish Airlines is one of the few that travel to Somalia, and the flight is expected to take place March 27.

The GoFundMe page’s goal is $1 million, a number it quickly surpassed in 24 hours.

“This is a victory for the people, this is a victory for the people of Somalia,” said Kaepernick. “It was done out of love, out of respect for these people. We wanted to bring structure to this so we’re going to use the name Love Army for Somalia. So use the #LoveArmyforSomalia. This is amazing, let’s keep building, let’s keep going.”

To see full article, go to: Colin Kaepernick Secures A Plane and $1 Million In Aid For Somalia | Essence.com

Compton, CA Teen Elijah “E-Jayy” Christopher DeVaughn Overcomes Hardships to Earn Early Acceptance to Harvard

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(Screenshot via nbclosangeles.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

According to nbclosangeles.com, 17 year-old Elijah Christopher DeVaughn – known to family and friends as “E-Jayy” –  recently found out he was accepted into Harvard University after applying as an early action candidate.

E-Jayy was raised for 13 years primarily by his mother Sherree DeVaughn, a teacher, while his father was in a federal penitentiary.  E-Jayy, who commutes 45 minutes to the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, CA (where he earns straight As in all AP courses as he attends on scholarship) said his rough Compton upbringing motivated him to succeed. “I think that struggle – it ignites a fire under you to want to work hard and to want to do more.”

To see video of E-Jayy and learn more of his story click here.  And if you really want to support this impressive young man and his future, do like I did and go to his GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/fromcompton2harvard and make a donation to help him pay for expenses at Harvard that financial aid and scholarships won’t cover, such as travel, books, winter clothes, etc.

Source: Congratulations, E-Jayy! Compton Teen is Harvard-Bound | NBC Southern California

Donors Raise Over $200,000 for Historic Black Church Defaced in Mississippi

Hopewell Baptist Church in Greenville, MS (photo via chnistiantoday.com)

Hopewell Baptist Church in Greenville, MS (photo via chnistiantoday.com)

According to the outlet, no one was harmed in the fire, but the blaze left behind charred pews and inside structure damage.  At a Wednesday news conference, Hopewell’s pastor, Carolyn Hudson, said parishioners were “heartbroken,” but was faithful that “God would allow us to build another sanctuary in that same place.”

Blair Reeves, a New York Native who organized the GoFundMe campaign, told ABC he felt “compelled” to act and was overwhelmed at the response.  “The animus of this election cycle combined with the potent racial history of burning black churches as a political symbol makes this event something we must not ignore,” Reeves wrote in the campaign’s description. “Only two weeks ago, the internet came together to help repair a North Carolina GOP field office that had been burned by thugs. Justice demands we do the same now.”

Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons, said there was no doubt the attack was calculated at Wednesday’s presser.  “We are well familiar that this form of attack on a black church has occurred many, many years ago. It happened in the ’50s, it happened in the ’60s, but we’re in 2016 and [this] should not happen.”

As previously reported, the Greenville Police Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime, while the FBI announced plans to launch a civil rights probe.

To read more, go to: http://blackamericaweb.com/2016/11/05/donors-raise-over-200000-for-historic-black-church-defaced-by-vandals/

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