According to New York Amsterdam News, on Saturday the northeast corner of 123rd Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue in Harlem was renamed in honor of famed acting and civil rights couple Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee (Purlie Victorious, Countdown At Kusini, Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever).
The Dwyer Cultural Center hosted the ceremonial unveiling of ‘Ruby Dee Place’ and ‘Ossie Davis Way’. Dee and Davis’ children, Nora Day HasnaMuhammad and Guy Davis, attended the event, as did the Rev. Al Sharpton, former New York City mayor David Dinkins, Assemblywoman Inez Dickens and State Sen. Brian Benjamin.
The Dwyer opened its gallery to the public to view an exhibit dedicated to Dee and Davis with numerous storyboards displayed related to the work of the couple and Cliff Frazier. The public also participated in a community mosaic mural.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. remembered him as “the apostle of nonviolence” as admirers marked the 50th anniversary of his assassination Wednesday with marches, speeches and quiet reflection.
The Rev. Bernice A. King recalled her father as a civil rights leader and great orator whose message of peaceful protest was still vital decades later. “We decided to start this day remembering the apostle of nonviolence,” she said during a ceremony to award the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize held at the King Center in Atlanta.
Dixie Spencer, president of the Bolivar Hardeman County, Tennessee, branch of the NAACP, said remembrances of King’s death should be a call to action. “We know what he worked hard for, we know what he died for, so we just want to keep the dream going,” Spencer said. “We just want to make sure that we don’t lose the gains that we have made.”
Wednesday’s events followed a rousing celebration the night before of King’s “I’ve Been To the Mountaintop” speech at Memphis’ Mason Temple Church of God in Christ. He delivered this speech the night before he was assassinated.
Inside the church, Bernice King called her older brother, Martin Luther King III, to join her in the pulpit, and she discussed the difficulty of publicly mourning their father — a man hated during his lifetime, now beloved around the world.
“It’s important to see two of the children who lost their daddy 50 years ago to an assassin’s bullet,” said Bernice King, now 55. “But we kept going. Keep all of us in prayer as we continue the grieving process for a parent that we’ve had yet to bury.”
A gospel singer led a rousing rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and the gathering took on the air of a mass meeting.
Lee Saunders, a national labor leader, recounted how on that night in 1968, King made an unplanned appearance to deliver the famous speech without notes after his aides saw how passionate the crowd was: “There was one man they wanted to hear from.”
But Saunders stressed that the purpose of the week’s commemorations was not just to look to the past.
“Dr. King’s work — our work — isn’t done. We must still struggle; we must still sacrifice. We must still educate and organize and mobilize. That’s why we’re here in Memphis. Not just to honor our history, but to seize our future,” he said.
Some of the sanitation workers who participated with King in a 1968 strike sat in the front row and were treated like celebrities, with audience members stopping to take photos with them before the event started.
NEW YORK — The WNBA has withdrawn its fines for teams and players who showed support of citizens and police involved in recent shootings by wearing black warm-up shirts before games.
WNBA president Lisa Borders applauds the league’s players for taking a stance on social issues. She just wishes the activism was kept off the court. Borders said in a statement Saturday that the league was rescinding penalties given to the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and their players for wearing the shirts during pregame protests, which began after shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“While we expect players to comply with league rules and uniform guidelines, we also understand their desire to use their platform to address important societal issues,” Borders said. “Given that the league will now be suspending play until August 26 for the Olympics, we plan to use this time to work with our players and their union on ways for the players to make their views known to their fans and the public.”
Borders also tweeted her support for the players.
Appreciate our players expressing themselves on matters important to them. Rescinding imposed fines to show them even more support.
Each organization had been fined $5,000 and players were each given a $500 penalty because WNBA rules state that uniforms may not be altered in any way. The normal fine for uniform violations is $200.
The fines seemed to galvanize the players, who have used postgame interview sessions and social media to voice their displeasure. There has also been public criticism of the fines, including from New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.
“It’s a huge win overall,” said Fever All-Star Tamika Catchings, who is president of the WNBA players’ union. “I think more than anything I told [Borders] at times you’re going to agree to disagree. With this, I’m really proud of the players standing strong and for utilizing their voices. Change starts with us. We have a social responsibility as well.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton said early Saturday that his organization, the National Action Network, would pay the $500 fines. He called the penalty “unacceptable.”
The Liberty wore the plain black shirts four times, including Wednesday against Washington. Indiana and Phoenix donned the shirts Tuesday night before their nationally televised game.
“We commend Lisa Borders for recognizing how the players of the WNBA felt and the sensitive time that we’re living in and being willing to re-evaluate their decision,” Liberty president Isiah Thomas said. “We are also very proud of our players; the world is seeing what we already knew. They’re truly incredible, thoughtful and talented individuals. Our league, our partners and our society are better because of our players’ willingness to enter the political and social activism arena.”
The fines were administered Wednesday, and neither the Fever nor the Liberty wore the shirts at their matinee game Thursday. Tina Charles did wear her warm-up shirt inside-out in honor of a shooting in Florida that morning.
Charles said she was happy that the league rescinded the fines. She has donated her entire salary this year to her charity — Hopey’s Heart Foundation — so the withdrawn fine means more money that will help buy automated external defibrillators. Still, she said it was “embarrassing” that the players had been fined in the first place.
The fact that Chicago’s police superintendent was fired hours before the premiere of Spike Lee’s latest feature, “Chi-Raq,” only reinforced the timeliness of the movie’s message about the senselessness of gun violence and racial discrimination. And instead of an after-party, Lee led many attendees out of Manhattan’s Ziegfeld Theater on a march down Broadway to Times Square.
The movie, the first feature produced by Amazon Studios, is a loose adaptation of the ancient Greek drama “Lysistrata.” In Lee’s telling, a group of determined women in Chicago band together to demand that their husbands and lovers put down their weapons, or lose their intimate privileges.
“It was great in 411 B.C. — it’ll work today,” Lee said of the source material Tuesday night. “This film is about changing lives.”
Chicago is among the big U.S. cities that is suffering through a spike in violence and homicides, particularly among African-Americans. Protests have rocked the city in the past few days following the release of a video showing the police shooting a 17-year-old black teenager some 16 times last year. Lee said he hoped “Chi-Raq” would help inspire others to “work harder to make America safer.”
Kevin Willmott, who co-wrote the script with Lee, said the events of the day made for a “surreal” experience at the premiere. The movie was shot in Chicago last summer over a six-week period, which allowed cast members to see first-hand the issues depicted in the story. Chicago is the “epicenter” of violence at present but these issues are hardly isolated to one city, Willmott said. “It’s an American problem,” he noted. “It’s about guns, it’s about race, it’s about jobs. There’s nothing new about the problem.”
Technology companies have been the target of questioning when it comes to hiring minorities. In fact, with the lack of adequate minority representation in companies like Facebook and Google, civil rights activists such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson along with the Rev. Al Sharpton have called out these companies. By calling out major technology companies with regard to their hiring practices of minorities to managerial and upper management positions, some companies are listening.
In a recent development, Apple has elected James, A. Bell to its board of directors. This move is without a doubt, a move in the right direction for a company as powerful as Apple.
Bell is the former chief financial officer and corporate president of the Boeing Company. With a 38-year tenure at Boeing, Bell served as the interim CEO of the the company in 2005.
When asked about his election to the board of directors for Apple, Bell said “I am an avid user of Apple products and have a tremendous respect for the company’s ability to innovate. I am delighted to join the Apple board and look forward to contributing to its continued success in any way I can.” according to The Root.
With all of his vast experience in corporate America, Bell brings quality leadership and strategic planning to the board. In addition to that, his experience in finance will definitely be a huge contributing factor.
“In August, Apple said it was making efforts to hire more women and underrepresented minorities, recruiting more diverse candidates in the past 12 months than in any previous year, but overall there was little change in the demographics of the company, which is overwhelmingly male and white, USA Today reported Thursday.”
Apple isn’t the only board appointment Bell has. He’s a board member of the following: Dow Chemical, JP Morgan Chase, and CDW. He’s also a trustee of the Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center .
John Legend and Tyrese Gibson were honored for their positive impact on the community at the Triumph Awards, which took place Saturday night in Atlanta and will air Oct. 3 on TV One.
Legend received the Presidential Award for service and humanitarian efforts. The Grammy-winning singer was not in attendance, but accepted his award in a pre-taped video sitting alongside the Rev. Al Sharpton. (The network collaborated with Sharpton and his National Action Network.)
Gibson was presented the entertainer of the year award by Martin Luther King III. After the singer was given the award, he took the stage to perform his single “Shame.”
The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery received the Chairman’s Award for historic and transformative service as a civil rights leader, while comedian Wanda Sykes was given the Activism in the Arts honor for years of service to youth homelessness and engagement within the LGBT community.
Intel chief diversity officer Rosalind Hudnell was presented with the Corporate Executive of the Year.
Actress Tichina Arnold of the Starz series “Survivor’s Remorse” hosted the show.
Rapper T.I. delivered a spoken-word piece titled “United We Stand,” urging youth to not lose focus and the meaning behind the Black Lives Matter movement.
Other performers included Tasha Cobbs, Ledisi, Jazmine Sullivan and Estelle. The Youth Ensemble of Atlanta unveiled “Put Your Guns Up,” a tribute recounting the victims of unfortunate deaths as a result of gun violence.
Grammy-winning jazz artist and producer Robert Glasper was the show’s musical director of the house band. Chante Moore and R&B singer Stokley Williams performed in a duet, singing a rendition of Donny Hathaway’s classic song “Someday We’ll All Be Free.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 10,000 protesters converged on the U.S. capital Saturday to help bring attention to the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police and call for legislative action.
Led by several civil rights organizations, the crowd will march to the Capitol on Saturday afternoon with the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed black men who died in incidents with white police officers. The Rev. Al Sharpton, a prominent civil rights advocate, also will be part of the march. The groups and marchers — with signs reading “Black Lives Matter” and “Who do you protect? Who do you serve” — are calling for law enforcement reforms after several high-profile cases of what they call police brutality.
At Freedom Plaza, the rally was interrupted briefly by a group of protesters who took the stage with a bullhorn. They announced that they were from Ferguson, Missouri — where Brown died — and demanded to speak.
Rally organizers called the interruption unnecessarily divisive. Speakers were delayed about five minutes as supporters of the interruption chanted, “Let them speak.”
Protests — some violent — have occurred around the U.S. since grand juries last month declined to indict the officers involved in the deaths of 18-year-old Brown and Garner, 43, who gasped “I can’t breathe” while being arrested for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes in New York. Some protesters held signs and wore shirts that said “I can’t breathe” Saturday.
Politicians and others have talked about the need for better police training, body cameras and changes in the grand jury process to restore faith in the legal system.