Tag: Houston

Black Lawyers to Challenge Police Brutality in 25 Cities

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.

BlackLawyerPamela
National Bar Association President Pamela J. Meanes

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.

Continue reading “Black Lawyers to Challenge Police Brutality in 25 Cities”

83-Year-Old Lillie McClendon Fights Off Burglar With a Stick, Pot of Boiling Water

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An 83-year-old Houston woman fought off an intruder this weekend with a stick and a pot full of boiling water after giving him a piece of her mind.  “I told him, I said, ‘What kind of momma you got that raised you up like this? You ought to be ashamed of yourself,’” Lillie McClendon, who celebrated her 83rd birthday two days before on Independence Day, told ABC station KTRK-TV.

McClendon had just come out of the shower and put a load of laundry in Sunday when she noticed a wide-open window and some things out of place, according KTRK in Houston.  “I couldn’t see his face, just his eyes like that. All he was asking about was, ‘Where’s the money at? Where’s the money at?” McClendon said.

Related Post:  82 Year-Old Grandfather George Bradford Fights off Intruder with Hammer

The intruder proceeded to choke her while demanding to know where she kept her money, she added.  That’s when McClendon says she fought back.

“Oh, shoot yeah. I got a stick and tried to hit him,” she said. “I had sausage on the stove. I put hot water on him.”

The intruder left without getting what he had come for, but not before receiving some minor injuries from McClendon, she said. McClendon’s family is relieved that the woman was able to emerge from the situation with only a few scrapes herself.

article by Sarah Figalora via abcnews.go.com

Beyoncé’s $7M Gift To Houston

BeyonceAs a proud native of Houston, Texas, Beyoncé is leaving her mark on the city that groomed her to become an international star. The singer’s hometown pastor says the star has donated millions to his church to help the homeless and feed the poor.

In a recent interview with KHOU 11Rev. Rudy Rasmus said St. Johns Downtown has benefited from Beyoncé’s $7 million gift to the establishment. Despite her superstar status, the pastor explained the Grammy award-winning artist still has a heart of gold.

“She has a global platform and is doing some amazing work and I’m glad she’s a friend of mine,” Rasmus said. “[…] She’s an incredible human being. Has an incredible heart and has been extremely helpful in our mission and our ministry here.”

Rasmus said Beyoncé has kept the ministry near and dear to her heart because she grew up at that very church and entertained the congregation with her musical talents.

“She used to sing right here,” he pointed out. “I don’t remember the song but I do remember she had long braids, tennis shoes and jeans on. A far cry from what she is today.”

article by Camille Travis via uptownmagazine.com

Seattle Seahawks Superbowl Champ Christine Michael Takes Houston Teen Taylor Kirkwood to Prom

Christine Michael

For most, prom night is one of the most memorable moments of a young girls life. For 18-year-old Taylor Kirkwood, Saturday night was her special night.  Kirkwood had everything a girl could ask for: the perfect earrings, perfect bracelet and the perfect pink dress.  In another room her date to the Anahuac High School prom was getting ready as well. He’s plays football but not for the high school team.

He’s Christine Michael, running back for the super bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.  “I’m just here for Taylor,” Michael said. “It’s a blessing. Like I said, she’s a beautiful kid. I’m very proud of her.”  Turns out the former Texas A&M star is a friend of Kirkwood’s family and he agreed to take Kirkwood to her high school prom.  “I think he’s cute,” Kirkwood said.

Her family wanted to do something special for her because she hasn’t always had picture perfect days like these.  Kirkwood is diagnosed with autism, and up until surgery a couple of years ago she battled scoliosis, making a night like her prom all the more special.

“I’m so happy to go dance and have a good time,” Kirkwood said.

To see video of the story above, click here.

article via thegrio.com

Drake Grants 15-Year-Old Brain Cancer Patient Kennedy Brown’s Wish

Drake Grants Brain Cancer Patient's Wish

If you haven’t already figured it our from his music, hip-hop/pop star Drake has a really big heart and we’re super happy to see him share it in this way.

Last night, 15-year-old Kennedy Brown got the surprise of her life when Drizzy showed up on her doorstep unexpectedly. According to ABC News, Kennedy, who’s currently in hospice, was diagnosed with brain cancer two years ago, but this weekend she made a special trip back to her high school, Carnegie Vanguard in Houston,TX, where her classmates threw her a surprise prom, crowned her prom queen, and even gave her an honorary diploma in a private graduation ceremony. Part of the goal of the events was to grant Kennedy’s wish of getting a special message or visit from her favorite rapper, which is why classmate Payton Campbell gave out these instructions:

“We would ask all of your viewers to #DrakeForKen so we can get him to come see her or send something for her because that would mean the world to her.”

Thankfully, Drake saw the social media campaign and paid Kennedy a personal visit yesterday that you can tell was likely the highlight of both of their lives. Posting photos on his Instagram page, Drake captioned the pic below with “She asked to touch the brows #accessgranted”.

We have to say these might be the sweetest photos we’ve seen in a long time. Check out more pics of Drake and Kennedy’s time together on what he said was an “incredible day” by clicking here.

See more at: http://madamenoire.com/419676/sweet-drake-grants-15-year-old-brain-cancer-patients-wish/#sthash.8bfZ96W7.dpuf

NFL Receiver Andre Johnson Spends $17,000 on Toys for Kids (VIDEO)

Andre JohnsonIt has been an underwhelming season for the Houston Texans, but eleven straight losses have not gotten in the way of wide receiver Andre Johnson’s yearly effort to bring some smiles to the faces of kids who could use them.  Johnson has made an annual tradition out of giving twelve kids chosen by Child Protective Services in Houston on a shopping spree at Toys R Us. The kids have 80 seconds, in honor Johnson’s No. 80, to fill up carts with everything they can grab off the shelves. Every kid teamed up with a Texans cheerleader to race through the store and was guaranteed an entertainment system of their choice and two games in addition to anything else they grabbed.

“I remember times where I wasn’t able to get things that I wanted,” Johnson said, via the Texans website. “It just gives them a chance to go through the store and get whatever they want. They don’t have to ask anybody for it. Whatever they have on their Christmas list they can pick up.”

The Texans website has some great video from the event (seen below), which Johnson has hosted for seven years. The final tab for this year’s event was $17,352, which is a pretty impressive total given the short period of time the kids had to work even if it is a bit less than last year’s total.

article by Josh Alper via profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

 

Good Black News Wins 2013 Black Weblog Award for Best Political or News Blog

Winner_Award_for_WebThe 2013 Black Weblog Awards were held in Houston, Texas at the Ensemble Theatre this past weekend, and among the winners was none other than this site, Good Black News!  GBN is a bit chagrined that even though we knew we were nominated for Best Political or News Blog, we didn’t discover until today that we actually won our category! (Our e-mail, goodblacknews@yahoo.com, has been down for several days but is back up as of a few hours ago).  

We unfortunately were not able to attend the ceremony (as always, money and time are tight and GBN is still a non-profit labor of love) but are thrilled nonetheless and want to share this accomplishment with you, our loyal readers and followers.  Without your support and votes, this win would not have been possible.  Sincere thanks to this year’s volunteer contributors Becky Schonbrun, Ashanti Hutcherson, Gabriel Ryder and Terry Samwick, tech consultant and web genius Andrew Lin, and lastly vast appreciation to our Lifestyle and Fashion Editor Lesa Lakin for her film and television reviews as well as her keen eye for fashion, culture and current events.

GBN looks forward to continuing to build and grow in the new year, and bring you even more original, multimedia content in 2014 and beyond.  Thank you again for your readership and support – we are forever grateful.  Onward and upward!

For the full list of 2013 Black Weblog Award Winners, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Founder and Editor-In-Chief

2013 Black Weblog Awards To Be Announced Saturday

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With nominees from over 90 countries, the Black Weblog Awards is one of the largest international Internet award events for Black bloggers. Founded in 2005, the award aimed to give recognition to Black bloggers, many whom were overlooked by other Internet award events.  The Black Weblog Awards has recognized over 180 blogs in more than 30 categories.

The event has also been featured in several mainstream and online media outlets, including NPR, CNN, and others. Winners of the Black Weblog Awards have gone on to appear in other media outlets, like MSNBC, the Huffington Post, BET, and more.  The award ceremony will be held on November 2, 2013, at The Ensemble Theatre in Houston, Texas. The blogger of the year will be revealed in addition to the winners of each of the categories. See the finalists below:

Best Political or News Blog

Polite on Society

Good Black News

WaterCooler Convos Blog

Inform and Engage

Take Another Look

Independent Underground News & Talk

Best Parenting Blog

We Got Kids

Diary of a First-Time Mom

Sailing Autistic Seas

MommyBrown

[v]To Be a Better You

Simply Senia

Spelhouse Love

Best Faith-Based Blog

The Journey Suite

[v]My Faith and Fitness

Maurice Lindsay

Empower Moments

To Be a Better You

Jubilee Mag

Brother Preacher. Faith. Law. Life.

Continue reading “2013 Black Weblog Awards To Be Announced Saturday”

Harvard Law Student Cortlan Wickliff Graduates at 22

Cortlan Wickliff says he wants to own and operate a medical device company.

CAMBRIDGE — On a recent Wednesday afternoon, 22-year-old Cortlan Wickliff walks into a pizzeria looking every bit the college student, with headphones, braces, and slightly overgrown hair. Finals are over, and there’s not much to do but have dinner with friends and watch movies, lots of movies, until graduation.

Oh, and start studying for the bar exam. When Wickliff dons his cap and gown, regalia his mother had to remind him to order, the Texas native will be one of the youngest African-Americans ever to graduate from Harvard Law School. Wickliff was 19 when he graduated from Houston’s Rice University with a degree in bio­engineering in 2010. That fall he started law school, but said the age gap with his classmates, about five to six years, was not the biggest issue.

“Being at a school where there aren’t any right answers when you have been in engineering or sciences classes, that’s a bit of a change,” he said with a shrug. “School was different because of my engineering background, being from the South, being from Texas, rather than different because of my age.”

There is no age requirement for admission to Harvard Law; school administrators said the average age in the graduating Class of 2013 is 27. Students need strong test scores and grades. But more than anything, they must show an aptitude for advocating a point of view, something proven through work experience, extra­curricular activities, volunteering, leadership positions.

Continue reading “Harvard Law Student Cortlan Wickliff Graduates at 22”

Marvin Gaye-Inspired Stage Play to Hit Theaters Tonight

Marvin Gaye performing on stage (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

Marvin Gaye performing on stage (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

The story of the late, legendary Motown artist Marvin Gaye will be coming to a stage near you, thanks to the efforts of his sister Zeola “Sweetsie” Gaye.  My Brother Marvin is said to provide behind-the-scenes insights in the life of the “Let’s Get It On” singer.  “Through the years, I became taken aback and disappointed with everything that had been written, said and published about my family, especially my brother Marvin that wasn’t accurate,” Zeola Gaye said in a press release.  The cast for the show includes Lynn Whitfield in the role of Gaye’s mother and Keith Washington as the singer himself.

“In the play, I simply wanted to set the record straight. I wanted to leave a true account about Marvin the man and our family. People need to know what really happened and Marvin would want his fans to really know what happened. We are finally bringing the truth the world needs and must know,” Zeola added in her press release.  The show will be on tour throughout several major American cities including Houston, Baltimore and Motown’s birthplace of Detroit starting today (February 15) and concludes in the spring.  Click here to buy tickets.

article via thegrio.com