At noon Wednesday, members of the House shut it down—all the way down.
In a historic act of protest, Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives refused to observe the regular order of the House, staging a sit-in protest over the lack of legislation on gun control.
The protest Wednesday occurred after House Republicans ignored several demands from House Democrats to take action on guns after 49 people were murdered in an Orlando, Fla., nightclub June 12. Their first demand came during a moment of silence for the victims of the mass shooting after Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) attempted to ask Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) if action on gun-related measures was possible. Ryan gaveled Clyburn down.
Wednesday’s effort was led by civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and featured several members of the Congressional Black Caucus who have had to deal with continuing gun violence in their districts. The group included Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), who represents parts of Detroit; Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.); and several others.
“This is the right thing to do, when you look at the polling data and it shows that 90 percent of the American public says we should not allow terrorists to be able to walk in a store and buy a gun and kill 50 people,” former Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) told The Root steps away from the House floor. “We don’t lose on this. The Congressional Black Caucus did lead this.” Continue reading “U.S. House Democrats Stage Sit-in Led by John Lewis on Floor of Congress Over Guns”→
Walt Disney World Resorts, in conjunction with Essence Magazine and comedian Steve Harvey, recently hosted its 9th Annual Disney Dreamers Academy in Orlando, Florida. After selecting from thousands of applications, Disney rewarded 100 U.S. high school students and their chaperones with a four-day seminar (March 3-6) geared towards inspiring, exposing and guiding them on how to achieve their dreams.
After kicking off the long weekend leading a parade down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and being welcomed by Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis, Walt Disney World Vice President and Executive Champion Tracey Powell, Essence Editor-At-Large Mikki Taylor, gospel singer Yolanda Adams and host Steve Harvey, the Dreamers are immersed in intensive sessions with motivational speakers such as Jonathan Sprinkles and Capital Prep School Founder and Principal Dr. Steve Perry to help them understand how to overcome obstacles, learn from failures and how to work hard to make their dreams become reality.
Additionally, the Walt Disney World theme parks become vibrant “classrooms,” where Dreamers participate in hands-on, intensive “Deep Dive” workshops led by industry experts. Covering a myriad of career paths ranging from animation to imagineering to marine biology, the Deep Dives do more than expose students to a career choice; they bring to life an opportunity that otherwise might seem distant or impossible.
Celebrities such as MC Lyte, Tamera Mowery, Loni Love, Lance Gross, Lamman Rucker, Silento and film producer Will Packer also gave their personal time and shared their knowledge with the Dreamers on what it takes to gain and maintain an unconventional career.
“It has literally been so amazing,” said Dreamer Deja Kirk from Oklahoma City, who is interested in becoming an elasmobranchologist (a marine biologist who specializes in sharks and rays). “I’m not one to be corny at all, I’m usually a very stoic person, so for me to be so excited about this is really huge. Even if you don’t know what you’re going to do, just getting the general exposure to everything I feel like not only am I prepared to pursue my career, if I were to change it in any way I still have a really good foundation for whatever I want to do.”
This week, Good Black News will be bringing you even more stories from this unique event, including spotlights on several Dreamers, perspectives from their parents, as well as interviews with some of the dedicated professionals who gave their time and wisdom to DDA this year.
High school students nationwide can now apply at DisneyDreamersAcademy.comto be among 100 selected to participate in the 2016 Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE, the innovative, outside-the-classroom, educational mentoring program at Walt Disney World Resort.
Entering the search for its ninth class of Dreamers, Disney Dreamers Academy continues to hold true to its mission to inspire and fuel the dreams of teens, help them discover a world of possibilities and help them prepare for the future. Each year, students participate in hands-on, full-immersion workshops related to a variety of career paths, ranging from animation to zoology. Each participant learns important skills such as communication techniques, leadership values and networking strategies.
It all takes place in the very magical and creative setting of Walt Disney World Resort. Dreamers are taken both on stage and behind the scenes, where Disney theme parks become vibrant ‘classrooms,’ leading to career discoveries, the pursuit of dreams and fun memories to cherish for a lifetime.
Disney Dreamers are exposed to motivational speakers and celebrities who share their stories and provide insight on how to achieve success and DREAM BIG. Dreamers have the opportunity to cultivate relationships with other students from across the nation while they gain first-hand knowledge from Disney experts and world-renowned entrepreneurs and executives.
“We’re excited to welcome back Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE for the ninth year,” said Tracey D. Powell, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts vice president of deluxe resorts and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion. “This program stands out for its ability to motivate and inspire teens to think big and achieve their dreams. By applying for Disney Dreamers Academy, high school students from across the country are taking a step toward an experience that can change their lives.”
From March 5-8, Walt Disney World Resort hosted 100 high school students from across the nation at the 2015 Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine. The teens, who were chosen out of 10,000 applicants, along with a parent or guardian, received an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL, where they took part in a once-in-a-lifetime educational and mentoring program designed to inspire them to dream big, discover a world of possibilities and prepare for their future.
During the 4-day event, participants – referred to as “Dreamers” – learned important skills such as communication techniques and networking strategies, how to build confidence and create fun memories to cherish for a lifetime.
The Academy was founded in 2007 when Disney and Steve Harvey collaborated to combine the ideas from Harvey’s annual mentoring camp for boys with Disney’s concept for a Dreamers Academy.
“Disney is magnificent at making dreams come true,” said Harvey in his welcome address to the Dreamers. “Dreams are previews of life’s coming attractions. A dream will propel you to get an education. Whatever you can imagine you can have.”
During the Dreamers Academy, the Walt Disney World theme parks became vibrant “classrooms,” where Dreamers participated in hands-on, full-immersion “Deep Dive” workshops led by industry experts. Covering a bevy of career paths, ranging from animation to zoology, the Deep Dives do more than expose students to a career choice; they bring to life an opportunity that otherwise might seem distant or impossible.
“I actually didn’t know there were other African-American women neurosurgeons. I mean, I knew… but I never met one in real life,” said Fairfield, CA 11th grader Morgan Buckner after her Deep Dive session led by Orlando-based neurosurgeon Dr. Keyne K. Johnson. “So actually meeting one and seeing the work that she does and how she cares for her patients really instilled in me and solidified how I want to be a neurosurgeon,” Buckner added.
Dreamers were also addressed by motivational speakers such as Capital Prep School founder and Principal Dr. Steve Perry, Bishop TD Jakes and Jonathan Sprinkles, celebrities such as E! host Terrence J, gospel great Yolanda Adams, actor Lamman Rucker, Chef Jeff Henderson, former Disney star Coco Jones, and movie producer Will Packer, entrepreneurs, executives and Disney Cast Members who shared their stories and provided insight on charting a positive course and achievement.
Additionally, the Academy also offered Dreamers instruction on how to present themselves positively via clothing and image in sessions called “Style 101; Young, Fit and Fly” for the young women with Brandi Harvey and Karli Harvey and “Tied to Greatness” for the young men with Dr. Alex Ellis.
“Year after year, Disney Dreamers Academy continues to help students dream big and achieve those dreams,” said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Vice President of Deluxe Resorts and Disney Dreamers Academy Executive Champion Tracey D. Powell.
ESSENCE Communications President Michelle Ebanks added, “ This program transcends the normal classroom setting, taking learning to the next level. Our valued partnership with Disney Parks and Steve Harvey represents our commitment to the leaders of tomorrow.”
NEW YORK – From the day of his 1989 arrest in a deadly New York City shooting, Jonathan Fleming said he had been more than 1,000 miles away, on a vacation at Disney World. Despite having documents to back him up, he was convicted of murder. Prosecutors now agree with him, and Fleming left a Brooklyn court as a free man Tuesday after spending nearly a quarter-century behind bars.
Fleming, now 51, tearfully hugged his lawyers as relatives cheered, “Thank you, God!” after a judge dismissed the case. A key witness had recanted, newly found witnesses implicated someone else and prosecutors’ review of authorities’ files turned up documents supporting Fleming’s alibi. “After 25 years, come hug your mother,” Patricia Fleming said, and her only child did.
“I feel wonderful,” he said afterward. “I’ve always had faith. I knew that this day would come someday.” The exoneration, first reported by the Daily News, comes amid scrutiny of Brooklyn prosecutors’ process for reviewing questionable convictions, scrutiny that comes partly from the new district attorney, Kenneth Thompson. He said in a statement that after a monthslong review, he decided to drop the case against Fleming because of “key alibi facts that place Fleming in Florida at the time of the murder.”
From the start, Fleming told authorities he had been in Orlando when a friend, Darryl “Black” Rush, was shot to death in Brooklyn early on Aug. 15, 1989. Authorities suggested the shooting was motivated by a dispute over money.
Fleming had plane tickets, videos and postcards from his trip, said his lawyers, Anthony Mayol and Taylor Koss. But prosecutors at the time suggested he could have made a quick round-trip plane jaunt to be in New York, and a woman testified that she had seen him shoot Rush. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison and was due to have his first parole hearing soon.
The witness recanted her testimony soon after Fleming’s 1990 conviction, saying she had lied so police would cut her loose for an unrelated arrest, but Fleming lost his appeals.
The defense asked the district attorney’s office to review the case last year.
Defense investigators found previously untapped witnesses who pointed to someone else as the gunman, the attorneys said, declining to give the witnesses’ or potential suspect’s names before prosecutors look into them. The district attorney’s office declined to comment on its investigative plans.
Prosecutors’ review produced a hotel receipt that Fleming paid in Florida about five hours before the shooting – a document that police evidently had found in Fleming’s pocket when they arrested him. Prosecutors also found an October 1989 Orlando police letter to New York detectives, saying some employees at an Orlando hotel had told investigators they remembered Fleming.
Neither the receipt nor the police letter had been provided to Fleming’s initial defense lawyer, despite rules that generally require investigators to turn over possibly exculpatory material.
Patricia Fleming, 71, was with her son in Orlando at the time of the crime and testified at his trial.
“I knew he didn’t do it, because I was there,” she said. “When they gave my son 25 to life, I thought I would die in that courtroom.”
Still, she said, “I never did give up, because I knew he was innocent.”
Thompson took office in January, after unseating longtime District Attorney Charles “Joe” Hynes with a campaign that focused partly on questionable convictions on Hynes’ watch. Hynes had created a special conviction integrity unit to review false-conviction claims, but some saw the effort as slow-moving and defensive.
Thompson has agreed to dismiss the murder convictions of two men who spent more than 20 years in prison for a triple homicide. He also dropped his predecessor’s appeal challenging the 2013 release of another man who had served 22 years in prison on a questioned murder conviction.
On Tuesday, Jonathan Fleming left court with an arm around his mother’s shoulders and the process of rebuilding his life ahead of him.
Asked about his plans, he said: “I’m going to go eat dinner with my mother and my family, and I’m going to live the rest of my life.”
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas has been selected to host the NAACP national convention in July 2014. The choice was announced by NAACP and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority officials after the conclusion of the organization’s national convention in Orlando, Fla., last week. NAACP Las Vegas branch president Frank Hawkins hailed the selection, saying local members are up to the challenge of hosting the gathering. He says they realize they’ll need the help of the Las Vegas community to make it a successful event. Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.