Ravens make financial commitment to social justice reform

The recent occurrences of police social injustice have made it clear that change is needed. Breona Taylor and George Floyd lost their lives at the hands of

police. Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed by vigilantes. Enough is enough.

The Baltimore Ravens have always been an organization that has a deep connection to the community. Knowing that change is needed, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti is committing $1 million to make that change through social justice reform in the Baltimore area through the Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation according to the team site.

Bisciotti released the following statement via BaltimoreRavens.com on Monday, June 1, 2020:

“There is nothing I can say to ease the pain felt by African-American communities across our country. No words will repair the damage that has been done.

“Like many people, I am sickened, disheartened and shaken by the acts of racism that continue to overwhelm our society. The most recent killing, involving George Floyd, is yet another tragic example of the discrimination that African-Americans face each day.

“Now, more than ever, we must all strengthen our pursuit of positive change, as we stand with peaceful protestors around the country. We must all seek to understand by listening better and learning more. We must all discover new ways to unite. We must all work to break the cycle of systematic racial injustice.

“Our players have been— and will continue to be— at the forefront of this change. We believe in their commitment to furthering social justice and invoking meaningful change. We stand side by side with them, in full support. It is for this reason that I have asked a group of former and current Ravens players to decide which organizations should receive proceeds from the $1 million donation we are making today.”

A committee consisting of current and former Ravens players will determine which programs will directly benefit from the funds.

This isn’t the first time the Ravens have worked to create change after police brutality. In 2018, the Ravens organization along with its players donated a combined $500,000 to various social justice efforts throughout Baltimore City.

Back in 2015, after Freddie Gray’s death during an arrest by Baltimore police, the Ravens reached out to the community. Protestors stormed the streets and the protest turned into looting. The Ravens sent two busloads of coaches and players to talk to people in the community and help out where they could.

Now is the time for unity and taking a collective stand against social injustice. The Ravens are doing the right thing, which will hopefully be the start of an extreme push towards making America a better place for people of color.

Tree identification book from the Arbor Day Foundation helps people identify tree species

Nebraska City, NE.— The Arbor Day Foundation has a book that helps people identify trees in a simple, step-by-step process. The book, “What Tree Is That?” is available for a $5 donation to the nonprofit tree-planting organization.

What Tree Is That?, is a fun, easy-to-use tree identification guide that features hand-drawn botanical illustrations highlighting the distinctive characteristics of many tree species.

Nature lovers and professional arborists alike have called this pocket field guide a must-have, user-friendly resource. Its beautiful, full-color illustrations are in precise detail and depict natural colors, shapes and textures so users can make a positive species identification in a few steps.

The Arbor Day Foundation offers this book to help people identify trees throughout the Eastern and Central regions of the United States. What Tree Is That?, uses a unique step-by-step approach for identifying the species of each tree, explaining what to look for in the shape and arrangement of the leaves, differences in the leafstalks and specific characteristics of fruits, flowers, buds and bark.

“Our What Tree Is That? Pocket guide is an ideal resource for developing a greater appreciation for trees,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “The Arbor Day Foundation strives to help people enjoy and appreciate trees, and we feel our pocket field guide will do just that.”

What Tree is That? is also available as an online interactive version at arborday.org.

To obtain a tree identification guide in full color, visit: arborday.org or send your name, address, and $5 for each guide to:

What Tree Is That?

Arbor Day Foundation

100 Arbor Ave.

Nebraska City, NE 68410.

We need more of what happened at Baltimore City Hall this past Monday

Count them—three executions in the last three months took place. The cops executed George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville. Two right-wing vigilantes murdered Ahmaud Aubrey in Satilla Shores, Georgia. Who knows those killed and brutalized at the hands of the cops not counted as victims?

Malcolm X once said, “The chickens have come home to roost,” after the assassination of President Kohn F. Kennedy. Both nations, the United States and the Nation of Islam, ostracized him. They distorted his message but that is another story. Well, the chickens once again came home to roost in the way of a mass march and protest at City Hall this past Monday.

The murder of George Floyd at the hands of four white Minneapolis cops triggered the rally of an estimated several thousand people. The people attending were black, white, and many young. Demonstrators, waived signs in the air from black lives matter to white silence.

COVID-19 continues to ravage black folks disproportionately across the U.S. A horrific number of black essential, low-paid workers face life-changing decisions. Should they remain on the job, forced to return too many times to unsafe workplaces facing death. Countless numbers of us stand in unemployment lines.

Hundreds of thousands of us never have found jobs or have not met the levels of being part of the civilian workforce. Our seniors in nursing homes continue to die like swatted flies around a garbage can.

Remember the Freddie Gray killing. The people in those zip codes— 21215, 21216, and 21217 still wait for some modicum of improvement. Don’t forget the other zip codes where black folks live.

Guess what? The usual social oppression of black people continues to take place. We continue to face inequalities wrapped in racism. Most blacks, especially the working class, continue to carry these inequalities wrapped in economic and social oppression— tied with racism’s bow. No pity party resides here.

History tells us that black people’s economic and social gains accrued from protests, demonstrations, rallies and the like. We remember dynamic groups and

famous spokespersons. The groups and spokespersons rest on the shoulders of the people or the masses. Over 200,000 blacks fought for the North in the American Civil War, not counting those that walked off plantations. Who can forget the different black migrations or the black toilers that plowed the fields?

What about the unsung heroes such as Lucy Parsons; Hubert Harrison; Cyril Briggs; Mary Terrell; Harry Haywood; Claudia Jones; Queen Mother Moore; and Ella Baker, who helped to stir the black masses?

We need more of what took place at Baltimore City Hall with the voices that must be heard and the bodies that must be actively involved. Even though, what started out as peaceful, protests were hijacked by agitators creating chaos, breaking windows looting stores and burning buildings, we know the truth. We have known it for 400 years.

NBA Hall of Famer Wes Unseld dies at 74

Wes Unseld, the burly Hall of Famer who led the then-Washington Bullets to the franchise’s only NBA championship, died Tuesday morning, his family said in a statement. He was 74.

Unseld’s family said he passed away surrounded by relatives and following lengthy health battles, most recently with pneumonia.

“He was the rock of our family — an extremely devoted patriarch who reveled in being with his wife, children, friends and teammates,” his family wrote. “He was our hero and loved playing and working around the game of basketball for the cities of Baltimore and Washington D.C., cities he proudly wore on his chest for so many years.”

Selected with the second overall pick in the 1968 draft by the Baltimore Bullets, Unseld made an immediate impact and changed the fortunes of the franchise — now known as the Washington Wizards.

In his first season in Baltimore, he guided the team to a 57-25 record — 21 more wins than the prior year — and led the Bullets to their first-ever playoff appearance.

Averaging 13.8 points and 18.2 rebounds per game his rookie season, Unseld won both the Rookie of the Year and regular season Most Valuable Player awards, becoming the second NBA player after Wilt Chamberlain to capture both awards in the same season.

Known for his rebounding and great outlet passes, Unseld led Baltimore to five consecutive playoff appearances, which continued after the franchise moved to Washington — technically, the Maryland suburbs — in 1973. The Bullets made 12 straight playoff appearances and four NBA Finals during his career. Over this time the five-time All-Star averaged 10.8 points, 14.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

His biggest moment came in 1978, when he and Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes led the Bullets to the NBA championship, defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in seven games. Unseld was named the Finals’ Most Valuable Player.

“We all admired Wes as the pillar of this franchise for so long, but it was his work off the court that will truly leave an impactful legacy and live on through the many people he touched and influenced throughout his life of basketball and beyond,” said Ted Leonsis, Chairman & CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Wizards.

In 1981, Unseld’s No. 41 was retired and his is now one of five Bullets/Wizards jerseys hanging in the rafters at Capital One Arena in Washington.

After retiring from the NBA, Unseld remained with the Bullets, first working in the front office and then coaching the team. He won 202 games, the second-most in franchise history.

In 1988 Unseld was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was voted a top 50 player in league history in 1996.

“His physical prowess, undeniable talent and on-court demeanor may have struck fear in opponents throughout the NBA but he will be remembered best as a mentor, leader and friend,” Washington Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard said.

Wes Unseld is survived by his wife Connie of 50 years, daughter Kimberly, son Wes Jr. and his two grandchildren.

Attorney General Keith Ellison Takes over George Floyd Murder Case

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has taken over the prosecution of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed and handcuffed African American who died because of the actions of Chauvin and other officers.

“It is with a large degree of humility and great seriousness, I accept for my office, the responsibility for leadership in this critical case involving the killing of George Floyd,” Ellison said during a news conference in Minneapolis.

“We are going to bring to bear all the resources necessary to achieve justice in this case,” he pronounced.

Ellison’s appointment came following a telephone meeting between hip-hop icon Jay-Z and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz.

JAY-Z described the conversation as “very earnest” and thanked Governor Walz.

“Earlier today, Governor Walz mentioned having a human conversation with me – a dad and a black man in pain,” Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, wrote in a statement.

“Yes, I am human, a father and a black man in pain, and I am not the only one. This is just a first step. I am more determined to fight for justice than any fight my would-be oppressors may have.”

Walz noted that the icon came to him “not as an international performer, but dad, stressing to me that justice needs to be served.”

This week, Jay-Z’s superstar wife, Beyonce, also spoke out on Floyd’s death on a social media post.

“We need justice for George Floyd,” she uttered. “We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We’re broken, and we’re disgusted. We cannot normalize this pain.”

Walz’s selection of Ellison comes as uprisings are taking place around the country and abroad. It also comes as Floyd’s family and their attorney, Ben Crump, have demanded that the other three officers involved face charges.

The family remains outraged that Chauvin is the only officer arrested so far, and prosecutors have leveled just the relatively minor third-degree murder charge against the cop.

Ellison, a former congressman from Minnesota who ran for chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2017, noted that he was accepting the lead on the case with “a large degree of humility and great seriousness.”

Police Murder of George Floyd Sparks Uprisings Across America

From the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to the Streets of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Louisville, Atlanta, Washington, DC, and New York City, and the bright lights of the Big Apple, African Americans are expressing outrage over the police killing of George Floyd, the latest in a country-mile long list of Black men and women murdered under the color of law.

City officials in Minneapolis and St. Paul called on the National Guard, and state police lined the streets there in riot gear.

An 8PM curfew was ordered, and an African American CNN reporter was arrested while giving a live report from a hotspot of protests.

In California, demonstrators closed the 101 freeway in San Jose as marchers took to the streets in San Francisco and Oakland.

In New York, where the novel coronavirus hit America the hardest and where residents had remained reluctant to gather outdoors, protestors jammed city streets.

New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined an extensive list of politicians condemning the action of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, 44, who, along with three other officers, were videotaped using excessive force on Floyd.

National Newspaper Publishers Association Chair Karen Carter Richards and NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., and numerous other Black Press of America newspaper publishers have expressed outrage over Floyd’s murder and concern about the rampant killings of African Americans at the hands of police and white supremacist vigilantes acting under color of law.

Chauvin inexplicably pressed his knee against a handcuffed Floyd’s neck while the young Black man lay on the ground.

The assault went on for nine minutes, with Floyd pleading that he couldn’t breathe.

Floyd died a short time later at a local hospital.

On Friday, May 29, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Later on that day, bail was set at $500,000.

He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

“This is not a new story, this is a continuing narrative,” Governor Cuomo stated. “This is just another chapter in the book called: Injustice and inequality in America.”

Earlier, former President Barack Obama released a statement weighing in on the injustice regularly experienced by African Americans.

“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal,’” Obama stated. “If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.

“It will fall mainly on the officials of Minnesota to ensure that the circumstances surrounding George Floyd’s death are investigated thoroughly and that justice is ultimately done.”

“But it falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station — including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day — to work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.”

Margaret Huang, president, and chief executive officer of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), said the organization joins with its allies in condemning the recent police killings of Floyd, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, and Breonna Taylor.

“Following the tragic killing of Ahmaud Arbery by a former police officer, the impact of these murders reaches across the country, and there must be accountability. It is absolutely imperative that local police departments and district attorneys investigate, arrest, and prosecute officers and all who violate the rights of the people who live in the communities they are charged to serve,” Huang stated.

“Equally important, law enforcement must stop responding to peaceful protest of police killings with more violence. Police are obligated to protect those in the community, and punishing peaceful protest is a gross abuse of human rights,” she stated. We stand with millions of people across the country who are rightfully outraged by the killing of unarmed Black people, the lack of responsiveness, the lack of action and President Trump calling for violence against those demanding justice for Mr. Floyd’s death.”

Florida Rep. Val Demings, who is Black and a former Orlando police chief, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post Friday, noting that, “as a former woman in blue, let me begin with my brothers and sisters in blue: What in the hell are you doing?”

“As law enforcement officers, we took an oath to protect and serve. And those who forgot — or who never understood that oath in the first place — must go. That includes those who would stand by as they witness misconduct by a fellow officer,” she wrote.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. concluded, “The NNPA, the voice of Black America, calls for an independent investigation into the police murder of George Floyd. We do not trust the perpetrators to investigate themselves. Black America’s cup has run over with grief, anger and rage as a result of these continuing racially motivated murders. If there is no justice, there will be no peace.”

District of Columbia Resident Celebrates 103rd Birthday

Washington, DC —Dorothy Boggess celebrated her 103rd birthday on Saturday, May 30, 2020. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority members honored the centenarian with a drive-through celebration at 1 p.m. at the corners of Tamarack ST NW and Verbena St NW in Washington, D.C.

Boggess is a 79-year resident of the District of Columbia. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Kentucky State College, Boggess served as one of the original five African American “War Girls,” when she was recruited to work in a typing pool at the United States War Department in the 1940s. While in D.C., Boggess completed her Master of Social Work at Howard University and met her husband of 73 years, George Boggess. Mr. Boggess passed away at 104-years-old in 2016.

Early in her career, Boggess briefly moved back to Kentucky to serve as the first African American social worker at Louisville’s General Hospital. Ultimately, she retired in Washington, D.C. as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. Her early career is documented in “American Dream Deferred: Black Federal Workers in Washington, D.C. 1941-1981” written by Frederick W. Gooding.

Together, Boggess’ traveled to all 50 States and 33 foreign countries. Their travels in the early 1950s during segregation were met with challenges when trying to find lodging. On several occasions, they rested in their car and ate at the local railway and bus stations. Mrs. Boggess’ travels led to a published book titled “I Wish You Were Here.”

Dorothy Boggess has been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for 81 years and is an active member of Xi Omega Chapter in Washington, D.C.