A comment on ‘cancel culture’

As the conversation of racial inequality continues to clog the airways (and rightfully so) we, as black people, find ourselves in a particularly delicate position balancing between patience and pissed off (again, rightfully so).

Non-black people all over the world are becoming more active in these conversations, and while this open dialogue is vital to everlasting change, it has become our job to tilt towards patience. While this may not be fair, I submit that this will be the only way we can solidify non-black allies in our movement.

With people, particularly white people, publicly sharing their position, we can easily dissect their words and look for hints of racist thought and disingenuous— this is something we have been trained to do for over 400 years. However, it is important to note the difference between an insult and an ignorant comment.

An insult is easy. There is no sense of solidarity or support— the intention is obvious. When a white business owner in Middle River made a joke on Facebook recently, insinuating that black people will not attack public service buildings, he made clear his position on the cause. This was an insult.

While the insult may have been the result of lack of education, his glib and inconsiderate comment rocked our community into ‘cancelling him’ and no longer supporting his business. Fair.However, ‘cancel culture’ may be going a bit too far in its efforts to uncover hiding racists and leave them battered and bruised via social media outrage, and their pockets empty from boycotts.

The truth is, there are instances when a problematic comment gives us the opportunity to educate rather than to cancel. This is the case for comments made in ignorance such as, “all lives matter” and arguments against kneeling during the National Anthem. People who love the country and are passionate about “doing the right thing” often can be swayed. They simply need a good lesson on “the right thing.”

Black people have been carrying the burden of educating white people for centuries— of course we are tired.

Especially, when people act as if they don’t have access to the same resources we do in order to learn more about the plight of our people. However, I question whether our job as educators will ever truly be done?

Black people have always been teachers; we set the standard for peace and understanding. By far, the majority of our movements have started using peaceful methods as a way of showing how people should respond to negativity: with love.

Black Wall Street and the Black Panthers are evidence of our desire to protect ourselves and live peaceful lives. Even now, we are the model of peaceful protesting. We have made it clear that looting does not support our mission. So why would we stop our effort to inform the public?

The problem with “cancel culture” is that it can shut potential allies down. Can we afford to cut people out of the cause for their ignorance and mistaken beliefs?

Those who make problematic statements learned this perspective from the world they lived in. Their white, military, police families colored every opinion they developed about black people for their entire lives. Overcoming this sort of social influence alone is incredibly difficult,perhaps nearly impossible.

Those who have been passive to our cause and make statements such as “all lives matter” may be reachable if we choose not to cancel them. Many racist adults did not originally choose racism for themselves, and the truth is, some of them are too far gone. However, many people have the heart and mind to be good people if, instead of going on the attack, we choose to have a conversation that leads to a new way of thinking.

We must consider, that “cancelling” a person may teach them a lesson regarding what they express publicly, but it can also serve to solidify whatever negative perspective they have about our movement.

Further, when is an apology too little, too late?

I am not saying it’s everyone’s ministry to educate the ignorant. However, in times like these we should be selective about whom we cancel and to whom we offer the olive branch. We should be willing to see if a person has enough moral aptitude to break old forms of thought and create new ones.

This is our new burden, heavy as it may be. Instead of launching an attack of insults, we can launch an attack of education. A barrage of articles, data, documentaries and books can go much farther than a barrage of hate.

Cancel culture certainly has its place— racists beware. However, if the path to rehabilitation is available, we must be willing to consider it for the good of the cause.

The New U.S.A.: The United States of Anxiety

As COVID-19 spreads across the nation levels of anxiety and stress are skyrocketing. People everywhere are experiencing heightened levels of anxiety and stress, especially black and brown people in America. One of the factors contributing to the high levels of stress and anxiety are black and brown people who are more likely to be a part of the new COVID-19 essential workforce. Essential workers must report to work daily. People in these positions often calculate the risk verses the benefit. A new framework for understanding perceived risk and risk prioritization— the Perceived Risk Hierarchy Theory (PRHT) helps to connect the dots.

The Perceived Risk Hierarchy Theory (PRHT) was developed to understand risk and risk prioritization among marginalized populations. PRHT posits that perceptions of risk severity are attenuated by what people perceive as more imminent in their lives (high-to-low risk ranking order; Edwards et al., 2017). PRHT postulates that people calculate their perceived risk based on how proximate and urgent the threats are in their lives as well as the impact assessment of the identified risk. This framework is critical for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic as they risk their lives and the health of their families to perform a job. Daily, essential workers choose between making a living, their health, and life. As a result, their stress and anxiety levels are skyrocketing.

“Essential workers” now refers not only to first responders, but also to grocery store employees, fast food workers, personal care aides, sanitarians, transit drivers, nursing home assistants, and several others still going to work during the crisis. Several of these workers, many of whom reside in hyper-segregated communities, live paycheck-to-paycheck and cannot afford to miss any days of work. Furthermore, many work multiple jobs just to make ends meet and survive. Essential workers thus face an increased risk of both being exposed to COVID-19 and contracting the disease due to their exhaustion and often, compromised immune systems due to stress.

As news emerged that COVID-19 was infecting essential workers, especially those who could not maintain social distancing, many feared becoming infected and possibly transmitting the virus to their loved ones at home. Immediately, workers became concerned about their jobs and their finances. Their anxiety levels continuously increase as they worry about the consequences of not reporting to work. Several essential workers are also afraid of having to take public transportation to and from work, as using public transportation has helped spread COVID-19, especially in cities with high urban population density. Density is a key factor in determining area vulnerability to the virus (Florida, 2020).

Essential workers are on the front lines of this public health crisis. They know the dangers and associated-risk of being hyper-exposed to COVID-19 via underlying health risks, over-crowded housing, and limited access to healthcare and COVID-19 testing. However, their financial insecurity requires them to prioritize between the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and the risk of unemployment. For essential workers, leaving home is not a choice. Lacking the necessary, yet seldom

supplied by

employers, personal protective equipment works to further increase their anxiety. Combining these pressures along with long hours, little sleep, and sometimes having to self-quarantine within their own home to protect their family members, COVID-19 has created a crisis on top of a crisis (Catchings, 2020) and ultimately, the crisis’ interconnect.

Daily exposure to various stressors that can cause feelings of anger, fear, doubt, loneliness, and hopelessness have been exasperated by COVID-19. The accumulation of these feelings may not only create feelings of anxiety but could also cause panic attacks. In these uncertain times, some people have even mistaken anxiety symptoms as symptoms of COVID-19. Much of this is due to the stress associated with the fear of acquiring/dying from the virus and the fear of losing social and financial stability. This emotional trauma, which is in direct response to the life-altering consequences of this pandemic, often manifests in physical symptoms.

As COVID-19 continues to spread, many marginalized people already struggling with health and finances are bearing the brunt of the virus. In the U.S., health and wealth are intimately linked. Therefore, hyper-segregated cities and subpar neighborhoods rooted in the historical legacy of redlining have been hit the hardest. These communities have

experienced increased levels of stress/anxiety due to limited access to testing, denied hospital treatment, and a fear of acquiring COVID-19 and spreading the virus to others— especially vulnerable family members.

COVID-19 presents a clear and present danger for black and brown communities in the United States. Although the virus presents as an equal opportunity crisis, the impact and burden are unequally distributed. Not only is the stress regarding safety growing, but communities are concerned with their mental health as they prioritize navigating the virus for the benefit of their livelihood over the risk to their health and lives. COVID-19 has exposed the socioeconomic contributions that institutional practices and government policies have made to the disparate health outcomes experienced by marginalized communities in the U.S. The PRHT suggests that marginalized communities live every day on high alert for perceived threats and are in a constant state of mobilizing for the next assault. Although the United States of Anxiety may be an unfamiliar place for some, black and brown people know it as the place they live, work, play, and pray.


—Catchings, C. The Psychological

Impact to Essential Workers During COVID-19. Retrieve on May 17, 2020 from https://www.talkspace.com/blog/ coronavirus-essential-workers-mental-health-impact/.

—Edwards, L., Brown, L., Lindong, I., et al. (2017) None of Us Will Get Out of Here Alive: The Intersection of Perceived Risk for HIV, Risk Behaviors and Survival Expectations among African American Emerging Adults. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 28 (2), 49 – 68.

—Florida, R. (2020). The Geography of Coronavirus. Retrieved on May 17, 2020 from https://www.citylab.com/equity/ 2020/04/coronavirus-spread-map-city-urban-density-suburbs-rural-data/609394/.

Policing in America 2020: Vestiges of Slave Patrols on Contemporary Urban ‘Plantations’

It was Negro History Week, 1968. I couldn’t wait to get home from school to tell my grandfather what I had learned. Papa, 89-years-old, still lucid and engaged, always asked about my ‘lessons’ in 4th grade.

When I told Papa that President Lincoln freed the slaves he chuckled. I asked why?

He said Lincoln hadn’t freed slaves. He said President Lincoln signed a paper that changed very little. We had heard stories that Papa’s parents had been born slaves, and how he was raised a slave even though he was born in 1879, after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Papa said since slaves were mostly illiterate, had no money, nowhere to go, and no way to get there, setting them ‘free’ wasn’t real.

Not fully grasping ‘slavery’ at nine-years-old, I got a bitter lesson in what it meant to be African American eight weeks later, when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It was the first time I saw my parents and grandfather cry.

Living a half-mile from Baltimore’s downtown and two blocks from the 5th Regiment Armory, the staging area for the Maryland National Guard, whose heavy military vehicles and jeeps full of guardsman rumbled past our front door 24/7 preparing to repel the uprising that followed King’s death, was eerie.

The all-white troops with automatic weapons and German Shepherd’s like the ones I’d seen on TV attacking civil rights marchers looked ominous. My parents’ fear was palpable.

From my 3rd floor bedroom window I saw fires raging downtown, and heard sirens day and night, along with loud radio dispatches from the National Guardsman’s walkie-talkies. The evening news reports of fires, people killed, hundreds injured, and thousands arrested compounded my fright.

A white man had killed Dr. King and more white people were coming to kill the rest of us was how my nine-year-old brain processed it. These series of events and being called a nigger, threatened with arrest, and ordered out of the store by a merchant, fours years later left ugly impressions on my psyche.

These heavy-handed policing tactics had grown out of slave patrols, a more than 300-year policy of subjugating African Americans. According to a scholarly analysis on this topic in 2006 by Turner, Giacopassi and Vandiver, “the Slave Patrol should be considered a forerunner of modern American law enforcement.”

Slave Patrol behavior continued openly as a legal police policy and practice despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Fast forward to 1980. On a cold winter night a guy I knew came by at 1 a.m. on a Monday to say my 21-year-old brother had been shot by Baltimore City police and was taken to University of Maryland Shock Trauma, clinging to life. My brother survived the shooting after a two-month hospital stay.

The police report said he matched a robbery suspect and was approached from behind by patrol officers with guns drawn, telling my brother to raise his hands. The report continued that my brother wheeled around with a gun in his hand and officers fired. The report concluded that a gun was found under a nearby car, without a firing pin.

The medical report concluded he had been shot 3 times— all from the back. One bullet through his left forearm, one lodged near, his spine and a bullet through his right thigh.

When my brother was released from the hospital, despite having no ability to stand or walk, police attempted to toss him into the back of a patrol wagon, Freddie Gray-style, to be arraigned for attempted murder of cops. I protested and cops took him in a squad car instead.

At the arraignment, our family was represented by a sitting city councilman in private, law practice. Our attorney asked the judge for a sidebar. After five minutes the judge dismissed all charges. Case closed.

“Members of slave patrols could forcefully enter anyone’s home, regardless of their race or ethnicity, based on suspicions that they were sheltering people who had escaped bondage,” according to criminologist Gary Potter, who further explains that police were empowered to brutalize the “dangerous underclass” which included African Americans, immigrants and the poor. Sound familiar?

Harassment, beat downs, shootings and killing people of color by police, who evolved from official strong-arm

enforcers of America’s overtly racist system, not surprisingly, continues because the culture that historically spawned such treatment was never dismantled. The urban terrain is different but the racist plantation enforcement mentality of many cops is unchanged.

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, native son Freddie Gray, all among the countless unarmed African Americans killed at the hands of police. Too many of us have personally lived these stories. Institutional slavery is dead. Slavery’s legacy is alive and lethal.

Joe Biden attacks freethinking black Americans while President Trump empowers them

A bigot is defined as “a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.” By that definition, Former Vice President Joe Biden is a bigot.

At the end of a recent interview on the very popular radio show, “The Breakfast Club,” Joe Biden said, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

For a man who claims to have graduated with honors from so many elite schools, and is married to an educator, it is surprising that he would say “You ain’t black.” Maybe that is how he speaks on a regular basis, or maybe that is how he speaks when talking to black people.

The last thing that any freethinking, civically engaged black person needs in 2020, is a 77-year-old white man from Delaware “whitesplaining” blackness to us.

I was born black; still live the black experience as a black man in America every single day. My family comes from the South, and we have experienced discrimination, racism, bigotry, and survived Jim Crow. My Papa was a proud member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded by Dr. King, and still knowing my history, I am a black man voting for Trump.

Try as they might, the one thing Joe Biden and his liberal friends can’t take away, define, or critique is my blackness because I am voting for Donald Trump.

In 2016, President Trump looked at the conditions and statistics of many predominantly black cities in America and saw that despite being led by Liberal lawmakers, our communities were faced with high crime, high unemployment, and poor public schools. Real estate values were down and there were not as many opportunities to advance, as there should have been. He asked us to trust him, listen to his plans and vote Donald J. Trump because at that point he said: “What do you have to lose?”

In response to Joe Biden’s bigoted comment, Charlemagne tha God said, “It don’t have nothing to do with Trump, it has to do with the fact I want something for my community.” At the end of the day, that is exactly what the black vote is about in 2020, our community. Identifying who has the record and resolve to get things done for the black Community. I have worked most of my adult life advocating, promoting, and defending my community inside the Republican Party at all levels and have seen many results. However, I have seen the most results for my community under the Trump Administration.

Joe Biden asked The Breakfast Club audience to look at his record. That was not a gaffe— he was serious. For 44 years Joe Biden has been either MIA or on the wrong side of history when it comes to fighting for the black community. Let’s start with his record on justice. We all know Joe Biden was the architect of the infamous 1994 Crime Bill that literally locked up thousands of men that look just like me. Biden was proud of his record on mass incarceration of black men that destroyed communities, dismantled families and stifled black wealth for generations.

How many strikes do we give Joe Biden until we say enough is enough, you are out? Out of touch; out of the mainstream; outside what black Americans need in leadership.

Thankfully, black people can look at the record of Donald Trump on the issue of Criminal Justice Reform and see the thousands of people who went home because of his bold advocacy of the First Step Act righting Biden’s wrongs in just under, four years.

In 2012, Joe Biden told a predominately black audience in Virginia, “They’re gonna put y’all back in chains,” referring to Republicans.

Joe Biden can’t accept that the Republican Party has historically been and currently is the party of freedom, and opportunities for everyone, especially the black community. We have a Republican President and candidate in Donald Trump, and an entire party that believes in school choice. We believe giving all parents the ability to place their children in better performing schools no matter your socio-economic background, color and zip code is the right thing to do. But Joe Biden only sees color and class saying, “poor kids are just as smart as white kids.”

The media needs to stop calling these statements gaffes because they are not. Call them dog whistles, call them bigoted, call them offensive and call them racist.

In 2020, there is a clear choice to be made for the black community. We should examine the records of both Joe Biden and Donald Trump and vote our interests. By all objective measures, President Trump remains the champion for the black community in this election. His record of support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, school choice, opportunity zones, criminal justice reform, minority businesses, kidney health, and direct aid and support to

underserved communities during this global pandemic makes him worthy of our vote in November. Black people are signing up for “Black Voices for Trump” because he has kept his promises to our community.

The bigoted statements and damaging policies of Joe Biden need to remain quarantined with him in his Delaware basement.

Paris Dennard, Senior Communications Advisor for Black Media Affairs at the Republican National Committee

Courtesy Photo/Paris Dennard

Paris Dennard, Senior Communications Advisor for Black Media Affairs at the Republican National Committee

Paris Dennard is a GOP political commentator, strategist, and Senior Communications Advisor for Black Media Affairs at the Republican National Committee. Follow him on Twitter at @PARISDENNARD.

The American Legion pays tribute to America’s fallen veterans

Every crisis has new heroes. During the 9/11 attacks, they were the first responders running into burning and crumbling buildings as others ran out. Now, during the Coronavirus pandemic, the most visible heroes are the health care professionals, who are saving others and risking their own lives while doing so.

These heroes have much in common with the people that we honor today – America’s fallen veterans. They are men and women who have sacrificed their own lives so others could live. They are both elite and ordinary. They are elite in the sense of character. Giving your life so others could live is the ultimate definition of selfless.

They are ordinary in the fact that they represent the diverse fabric of our country. They are rich and poor, black and white, male and female. They come from every ethnicity and background. In short, they looked like anyone of us.

As we celebrate the selfless and untiring performances of the healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, it brings to mind the military medics, doctors and nurses who sacrificed their lives while treating others on the battlefield.

One such hero was Pharmacist Mate Third Class Jack Williams. The Navy Reserve corpsman was only 20 years old when he landed on Iwo Jima 75 years ago.

On March 3, 1945, James Naughton, a Marine in Williams’ unit, was wounded by a grenade. While under intense enemy fire, Williams dragged Naughton to a shallow depression and treated his wounds. Williams used his own body as a screen and was shot four times. Yet he continued.

After he treated Naughton, Williams dressed his own wounds. He then proceeded to treat another Marine, despite his own immense pain. While heading to the rear, he was hit by a sniper’s bullet and killed. For his actions, Petty Officer Williams was awarded the Medal of Honor.

We also remember Army veterans like Lieutenant Sharon Lane.

According to her biographer, Philip Bigler, Lt. Lane threw herself into her work as a nurse. While serving in Colorado, she requested a transfer to Vietnam.

“There, at least, you are busy 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week,” she said in a 1968 letter to her parents.

Her dedication was obvious, even as she treated enemy Viet Cong soldiers who would return the favor by kicking, cursing and spitting at their American captors.

In the early morning of June 8, 1969, Sharon’s tour of duty ended. A Soviet-built rocket struck the hospital. Lieutenant Sharon A. Lane was killed in action at age 25.

If she were still here, her skills as a nurse might still be benefiting us during the current crisis. But not all of the heroes working during the COVID-19 pandemic are in the healthcare industry. Grocers, first responders, delivery workers and drive-through restaurant employees are just a few of the many people that we rely on to provide vital services for society while risking their own safety.

The military also has heroes in every occupational field. Truck drivers, cooks and administrative clerks have all paid the ultimate price. At sea, on land or in the air – military service requires great risk.

Roy Knight, Jr. was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. On May 19, 1967, he was shot down while attacking a target on the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos. He was posthumously promoted to colonel. Last year, a joint team from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency discovered and later identified Col. Knight’s remains.

When his remains arrived at Dallas’s Love Field, a crowd had gathered to witness the dignified transfer of the flag-draped casket from the Southwest Airlines jet into the receptive arms of the military honor guard. One observer reported that the entire crowd fell silent.

The Southwest flight was piloted by another Air Force veteran, Col. Knight’s son, Bryan. Bryan Knight was only five-years-old when he said goodbye to his father as the elder Knight left for Vietnam.

This is yet another legacy that these heroes leave behind. A legacy that includes their sons, daughters, grieving parents, grandparents and friends.

Their heroic acts are sometimes performed to protect those with whom they serve. Corporal Jason Dunham was a squad leader with the Third Battalion, 7th Marines in Iraq.

On April 14, 2004, his squad approached a Toyota Land Cruiser. After his squad discovered AK-47s in the vehicle, the enemy insurgent exited and engaged in hand-to-hand fighting with the unit. The driver dropped a grenade.

To save his fellow Marines, Corporal Dunham made the ultimate sacrifice. He threw himself on the grenade and tried to use his helmet to shield the blast. Severely wounded by the grenade’s fragments, Cpl. Dunham was taken off life-support eight days later.

Corporal Dunham died so other Marines could live. He, too, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallantry.

Approximately one million men and women of the U.S. military have lost their lives in defense of our nation since the founding of this great Republic.

Not all have died from enemy fire. Some have died from diseases that have too often festered around war zones. Often times, deaths from disease and accidents outnumbered casualties caused by enemy weapons.

During the Spanish American War, 60 soldiers of the all-black 24th Infantry Regiment volunteered to serve as nurses. Thirty-six of them would later die of yellow fever or malaria.

A generation later, the flu would kill nearly 16,000 U.S. soldiers in France during World War I. Another 30,000 American servicemembers died in stateside camps. These men and women could have isolated safely in their homes. But they knew they had an important job to do. A mission to accomplish. They were all on a mission to serve.

Even when the enemy is an invisible virus or a microscopic germ, the sacrifices made are just as meaningful. The U.S. military has already lost servicemembers to COVID-19.

This Memorial Day as we continue to honor those who fell for us in battle, let’s also pause to remember those who have also sacrificed their lives while serving others.

May God bless them and may God bless you for remembering them here today.

Thank you.

Source: The American Legion

No Easter for America?

Because of Covid-19 many churches will not be in their sanctuaries for Easter on April 12, 2020.

Easter Sunday can fall on any date between March 22 and April 25. The dates change because Easter happens on the Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon. The word Paschal means “Passover” in Greek, which is a transliteration of the

Hebrew word pesach. The Paschal Full Moon is the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. This is sometimes referred to as the Egg Moon. This moon sometimes occurs in March and sometimes in April. So, April 12 is not locked in for Easter every year, but it is the date for 2020.

Easter 2020 will be remembered for a very long time, as the Sunday that America had no Easter or the Easter where churches did not gather in small and large buildings. This is disappointing to multitudes. It is the “one” Sunday that many Americans attend church. Globally, churches pull out all the stops for presenting their best music. Ministers have been working the last several weeks polishing up their sermons. But it’s the same story, the old story that, once a year, people come to hear.

Some people still buy new clothes for Easter. Americans are more casual than ever but retailers still make out good for Easter, but not this year. Macy’s and other retailers just furloughed hundreds of thousands of workers. For these retailers Easter has been cancelled and they are feeling it in their pocketbooks.

We don’t know the date of the first Easter but we do know that the followers of Jesus were terrified. They had just watched him crucified on a cross and they feared they were next. Financially, they were struggling because they had left everything to follow Jesus. They had “sheltered” themselves in fear of the religious opposition.

That first Sunday morning Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. In the middle of her sorrow Jesus appeared, spoke her name and Mary realizing it was Jesus called him “Teacher.” She must have put her arms around Jesus

because he said, “Don’t hold onto me, I have not ascended to my father.” John 20:17 Essentially he said, “Don’t touch me!” This story is more relevant all the time. The saddest weekend of Mary’s life turned into the greatest day of her life as she became the first witness of the risen Jesus, later exclaiming to the disciples, “I have seen The Lord!” Wouldn’t you like to have that kind of Easter? We will miss gathering in church this Easter but experiencing Easter and the risen Christ can happen even if you are alone.

There will be Easter on April 12, 2020. There will be Easter for every person on the planet who will take the time to celebrate the old story, the good news of Easter wherever you are and whatever your situation, this Easter 2020.

Dr. Glenn Mollette is an author and syndicated columnist. To contact him, visit:

GMollette@aol.com or visit his website: www.glennmollette.com

5 Titleholders Of Major Pageants Are All Women Of Color

CNN Video

5 Titleholders of Major Pageants Are All Women Of Color


5 Titleholders Of Major Pageants Are All Women Of Color. And That’s A Bigger Deal Than You Might Think

Originally Published: 16 DEC 19 11:02 ET

By Holly Yan, CNN

    (CNN) — Several decades ago, this wasn’t even possible.

Black women weren’t allowed to compete in the Miss America pageant until the 1940s, and the first black contestant didn’t take that stage until 30 years later. The first black Miss USA wasn’t crowned until 1990.

And it wasn’t until this month that Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA were all women of color.

“I think black women need this,” Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin told CNN’s “New Day” on Monday.

“It’s a symbol, and it shows that no matter where you’re from, what country you’re from … you can be successful.”

She was joined by the newly crowned Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi, who said during the pageant that traditional portrayals of beauty didn’t feature women like her.

“I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me — with my kind of skin and my kind of hair — was never considered to be beautiful,” she said in her last response before she was crowned. “I think it is time that that stops today.”

Tunzi told CNN it’s important that young girls look at the history-making quintet to see that anything is possible.

“We can’t be what we cannot see,” the 26-year-old from South Africa said. “I think that’s why this is so important, because then young girls can look at us and feel like they, too, are important.”

But don’t think these beauty queens are token winners based on their race. Had that been the case, we wouldn’t have seen three black Miss USAs since 2016, said the reigning Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst.

“Three of the last four Miss USAs were women of color — there was Kara McCullough, there was Deshauna Barber — and that was important for me to see,” said Kryst, an attorney who does pro bono work for wrongfully sentenced inmates.

“People didn’t think, ‘Oh, that’s enough (black winners),'” Kryst said. “It’s still possible for us to be successful on your own merit. And it doesn’t matter if you look like the last winner, (if) you look like the last three. If you’re the best, you’re the best, and you can win.”

™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Additional Assistance For Victims Of Hurricane Dorian

— In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas continue to struggle to rebuild their lives and reconstruct their beautiful islands.

We wish to thank our Baltimore Community for their overwhelming support and contribution to our initial City-Wide Relief Drive on Tuesday, September 24th. While we are extremely grateful for your efforts, our relief work is not yet over.

The committee of Caribbean organizations and supportive Baltimore entities headed by Dr. Elaine Simon, will coordinate yet another City-Wide Hurricane Relief Drive on Tuesday, October 29th , 2 pm–7pm. Donations will be accepted at Langston Hughes Community Resource Center, 5011 Arbutus Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21215.

Acceptable donation items include: Non-Perishable food items, first aid items, sheets, blankets, disinfectant, bleach, garbage bags, deodorant, mouthwash, toothbrush, toothpaste, aluminum foil, soap, lotions, hair brushes, combs, shampoo, disposable wipes, pampers (child), adult pampers (seniors), detergents, coffee, canned milk, towels, wash cloths, bedsheets, flashlights, (new) baby clothes, books, school supplies, pen and pencils, over the counter pain and fever medicine (pill and liquid form), medical and general supplies, children and adult vitamins.

For financial donation, you can visit https://www.cdra-inc.org/. You can also make checks payable to: CDRRA, Caribbean Disaster Relief and Recovery Alliance.

For additional information please call 443-869-1835. Please leave a brief message with your telephone number, if there is no immediate response to your call.

Organizations and Supportive Entities for The Bahamas Hurricane include: Trinidad and Tobago Association of Baltimore, The Barbados Nationals Trinidad Association of Baltimore, The Image Band, Senator Larry Young, Radio One 1010 AM, Reverend Michael Jenson, The Baltimore Times, The Langston Hughes Education Complex (George Mitchell), Antigua and Barbuda Sity Liters T-shirt Mas, The Arena Players, Reynold Small (Evolve), Print Works LLC, P and T Associates, Carlton Douglass Funeral Services, The Cultural News Page (Oswald Copeland), Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, Neil Mattei and the WEAA FM 88.9 crew, Delegate Regina Boyce.

Black Pilot Flying With A Mission Of Diversity

Walking on to an airplane and seeing a black pilot is as rare as a blood moon sighting.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that of the approximately 690,000 active certificated pilots in the U.S., less than three percent are African American.

While a blood moon occurs about every two years, Jerome Stanislaus often takes the pilot’s seat in the cockpit of a private aircraft.

He pilots friends, family members, and others from New York to Philadelphia. Sometimes, he flies further south to Virginia and, there are occasions where he traverses the skies above the Big Apple on a traffic-beating short flight to Long Island.

“Right now, I’m in San Antonio going through Flight Engineer School in the Airforce for the C5 Galaxy,” Stanislaus said.

The C5 Galaxy is a large military transport aircraft.

“It’s a huge cargo plane, and I would like to continue training to make it [as a commercial airline pilot] when I am done with this school,” Stanislaus said.

Despite the limited amount of African Americans in the cockpit, Stanislaus said now is the time for people of color to join the pilot ranks.

“There is about to be a mass exodus of commercial pilots, and their spots will need to be filled,” he said. “African Americans should know that this is possible for them.”

The Brooklyn-born father of two said although he dreamed of becoming a pilot, he never believed he would. And, that belief stemmed from a blunt observation: “I had never seen a black pilot,” he said.

Earlier this year, Stanislaus began donating his free time to a nonprofit that helps racially diverse children and young adults explore their interest in flying.

“My family has always been extremely supportive of my flying. I have two daughters, and they have their dreams and flying isn’t one of them,” Stanislaus said. “As far as they are concerned they don’t need to be pilots if I can just fly them where they want to go.”

After graduating high school, Stanislaus trained to become an aircraft mechanic in the Marine Corps.

Later, he earned a degree in airport management and then went to work as a school teacher.

Flying, however, remained his foremost passion.

He signed up for flight lessons and, in 2015, Stanislaus took his first solo flight on a Piper Warrior II single-engine plane.

While he doesn’t own a plane yet, Stanislaus said that is a dream that will one day become a reality.

It also makes sense because of the number of free flights he’s doled out to family and friends. He said he’s focused on saving money and he’s started a Go Fund Me to help expedite the process.

“The demand for what I offer is growing and renting no longer makes the most sense. In the long run, buying a plane is the most cost-effective course of action, so that is where I am focusing my money,” he said.

Stanislaus hopes to raise $50,000, and officials at GoFundMe have reached into their pockets, too.

“As part of our Gives Back program, we’re grateful for the chance to donate to campaigns that have touched us,” GoFundMe officials wrote on Stanislaus’ page. They donated $750 toward his goal.

Flying isn’t the only sky-high activity Stanislaus enjoys. He is also a licensed skydiver.

“In April 2014, I went on my first skydive for my [ex] girlfriend’s birthday,” Stanislaus said. “I was really calm and excited until I got into the plane and it started to leave the ground. During the climb, I had this internal fear that intensified tremendously, but I was calm externally.”

When the door opened, Stanislaus said he could no longer “keep it together.”

“I began to freak out. All of my dignity, pride, and masculinity went out the door,” Stanislaus said. “It was hands down, the scariest moment of my life.”

He later found the courage to complete the jump and then began searching drop zones to other jumps.

“I saw myself living myself to the fullest and inspiring others to do the same. Most importantly, I saw myself finding the courage to face the biggest fear in my life and enjoying the fuck out of it,” he said. “My ultimate goal in life is to inspire others.”

To contribute to Stanislaus’ GoFundMe, go to: www.gofundme.com/f/nowthisfuture-tuskegeebloodline? utm_medium= email&utm_source=product&utm_campaign=p-email+4803-donations-alert-v5.

Zimbabwe’s Former President Robert Mugabe Dies At 95

CNN Video

Former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe Dies

CNN Video

Robert Mugabe dies at 95

Robert Mugabe, who once said ‘only God’ could ever remove him, dies at 95

Originally Published: 06 SEP 19 01:18 ET

Updated: 06 SEP 19 10:47 ET

By Tricia Escobedo, David McKenzie and Hilary Clarke, CNN

    (CNN) — Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe, who was once feted as an independence hero but whose 37-year rule left his country deeply divided and nearly broke, has died at the age of 95.

To his loyal supporters, he remained until his death the revered leader who ushered in independence after bringing an end to white-minority rule. But to his critics, Mugabe was the caricature of an African dictator who oppressed his opponents and ruined a country to retain power, which he was forced to relinquish, at the age of 93, in 2017.

Rumors had swirled around the health of the ex-president, who spent months in a hospital in Singapore earlier this year. Details of what ailed him were a closely guarded secret.

Mugabe — who infamously claimed that “only God” could ever remove him from office — was deposed in a coup in 2017, when members of his own party turned against him after he dismissed his longtime ally, then-vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, to make way for his much younger wife Grace.

Fearing an erosion of their influence, senior security forces officials ousted him, replacing him with Mnangagwa.

“It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe,” tweeted President Mnangagwa on Friday.

“Cde Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

A former teacher, Mugabe was imprisoned for ten years for opposing the white-minority government of Rhodesia (as Zimbabwe was known before independence). After his release, he orchestrated a guerilla war which won freedom for his country in 1980. As Zimbabwe’s first prime minister, he was at first lauded internationally for building schools and hospitals.

However, the former champion of one man, one vote soon mounted a brutal crackdown against the opposition led by the late nationalist politician Joshua Nkomo. For decades, he maintained his grip on the country with the support of the army and a series of controversial elections.

His rule was marked by the violent eviction of thousands of white farmers in 2000, and increasingly dubious elections, including one in 2008 which he lost to Morgan Tsvangirai, sparking political violence that human rights groups say claimed over 200 lives.

Widely seen as a disgraced aging despot desperately clinging to power, Mugabe’s rule finally came to an end at the hands of the regime he had spent decades building.

The son of a carpenter and a teacher

Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born on February 21, 1924, at the Roman Catholic Kutama Mission, Southern Rhodesia. His father, Gabriel Mugabe, was a carpenter and his mother, Bona, a catechism teacher.

After elementary school he entered a teacher training college, going on to work in several schools in Rhodesia before winning a scholarship to the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, where he studied history and English.

In 1952, after graduating, he returned to teach in Rhodesia, later moving to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Ghana, a period during which he accumulated more university degrees, and met his first wife, Sally Hayfron.

In 1960, he returned to Rhodesia and worked as publicity secretary for the newly founded anti-colonialist, African nationalist National Democratic Party. Quickly rising in influence, he advocated violence to end white rule, co-founding the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) with Ndabaningi Sithole in Tanzania after fleeing Rhodesia.

He and his comrades insisted the white leadership was illegitimate, had occupied his people’s land and made them “a race of no rights beyond those of chattel.”

In 1963, he returned and was arrested for making subversive statements. He spent almost eleven years in jail, during which time he continued his political activism and study, earning university degrees in education, economics, administration and law.

After his release in 1974, he led the ZANU-PF, the guerilla movement, from Mozambique against Premier Ian Smith’s white minority rule.

When the war ended in 1979, Mugabe was hailed as a war hero at home and abroad.

He went on to lead the newly independent Zimbabwe — as prime minister from 1980 to 1987, when he became its president.

Articulate and smartly dressed, Mugabe came to power commanding the respect of a nation. He had a strong head start, inheriting a country with a stable economy, solid infrastructure and vast natural resources.

But the descent into tyranny didn’t take long.

His hardline policies drove the country’s flourishing economy to disintegrate after a program of land seizures from white farmers, and agricultural output plummeted and inflation soared.

At first, Mugabe preached reconciliation with former enemies at home and abroad. For the country’s black majority, Mugabe built schools and hospitals and promoted agriculture for peasant farmers.

He was lauded by the West as a new kind of African liberation leader, particularly by former colonial ruler Britain, which had refused to recognize Smith’s government and leveled economic sanctions against the country.

‘A degree in violence’

But early on in his rule, Mugabe showed a penchant for dealing with opponents ruthlessly. The most startling example was the Gukurahundi killings between 1983 and 1987.

Mugabe was accused of leading the massacre against political opponents. Tens of thousands of ethnic Ndebeles were killed — including many found in mass graves that the victims reportedly had to dig themselves.

His reputation for ruthlessness stemmed from this period. Later Mugabe would boast of having a “degree in violence”.

Despite the turmoil, Zimbabwe’s economy was strong in the early years of Mugabe’s rule. The country was known as the “breadbasket” of southern Africa and showed startling improvements in literacy rates.

But the tone began to change in 1987 when Mugabe consolidated his power, assuming the office of president and head of the armed forces. In the early 1990s, the government began to amend laws allowing it to purchase land for resettlement and redistribution, prompting objections from landowners and the US and UK.

As land-grabs escalated, the economy began a downward spiral in 1995 that culminated in catastrophic hyperinflation. Mugabe’s government faced charges of elitism, cronyism and corruption.

In 1996, he married his former secretary, Grace Marufu (following the death of his first wife in 1992). Elections that year became a one-man contest, after all other opponents dropped out days before the poll.

In 2000, Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party suffered their first major defeat since coming to power. Voters rejected a new constitution, handing the longtime president an unexpected blow in what was widely considered a confidence vote on his government.

The rejection emboldened the newly formed opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), but it also prompted Mugabe to take drastic measures to stay in power.

As the economy continued to worsen, Mugabe gave his blessing to roving bands of so-called war veterans to embark on often violent seizures of hundreds of white-owned farms they claimed had been stolen by settlers.

Mugabe called the land battle “The Third Chimurenga,” deliberately linking the farm seizure program to Zimbabwe’s struggle against colonial rule.

Many of the farms were turned over to Mugabe’s cronies, who subsequently did not harvest the land, further contributing to Zimbabwe’s economic collapse. International aid and foreign investment dried up in the wake of the land-seizure program, and the US and European Union imposed economic sanctions on the country.

In the following years, his government charged the MDC’s leader Tsvangirai with treason and passed increasingly tough laws aimed at stifling the independent media and public dissent.

In 2007, the University of Edinburgh withdrew the honorary degree it awarded Mugabe in 1984 for his services to education in Africa. In 2008, the UK stripped him of his 1994 knighthood and the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees revoked the honorary law degree it gave to Mugabe in 1986.

But at elections marred by deadly violence and accusations of vote rigging in 2008, Mugabe was forced to concede some of his power. The MDC won a majority of seats in the parliamentary vote, claiming also that Tsvangirai had secured more than 50% of the presidential votes as well.

Mugabe claimed victory, but he was forced to hold talks to resolve the ongoing political dispute. Tsvangirai accepted the post of prime minister in a power-sharing deal negotiated by South Africa — though claims of ZANU-PF harassment and violence against opposition politicians persist to the present.

Despite Zimbabwe’s deepening economic crisis, Mugabe continually rebuffed calls to step down, insisting he would leave office only when his “revolution” was complete. That, he said, meant until the end of his days on earth: “Only God who appointed me will remove me — not the MDC, not the British.”

He focused his ire on the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, which he said were “unjustified” and “illegal” and intended to bring about regime change.

In 2010, he was nominated by his party to run for the presidency again. However, the 86-year old was reportedly making regular trips to Singapore for medical treatment.

Despite this, Mugabe, appearing as politically strong as ever, was re-elected with a solid majority in 2013, ending the power-sharing agreement signed in 2008. Tsvangirai alleged widespread fraud.

However, in 2014 signs of dissent emerged among his loyalists. Mugabe fired his deputy Joice Mujuru, a few hours after she dismissed allegations that she’d plotted to assassinate Mugabe as “ridiculous”. Zimbabwe’s Chief Secretary to the Cabinet Misheck Sibanda said that Mugabe also fired eight Cabinet ministers.

‘He focused on himself’

On November 7, 2017, Mugabe finally came unstuck when he fired Mnangagwa in a move to clear the way for his ambitious wife.

A week later, Zimbabwe’s military leaders seized control, placing Mugabe under house arrest and deploying armored vehicles to the streets of the capital, Harare.

On November 21, 2017, Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years of autocratic rule.

In his “retirement,” Mugabe was rarely seen in public, instead spending his time between Singapore, where he received medical treatment, and his plush 25-room Blue House residence in Harare.

Sightings of his wife, nicknamed “Gucci Grace” for her love of designer goods, became similarly scarce. The couple were criticized for their luxury lifestyles as the country was plunged into economic ruin.

He celebrated his 85th birthday with an opulent party that cost a reported $250,000 and continued to hold such birthday events annually, last year spending a reported $800,000 and celebrating in a region suffering drought and food shortages.

He repeatedly rebuffed repeated calls to step down, insisting he would only leave office when his “revolution” was complete.

“This is a man who had so much to offer to Zimbabweans, but he didn’t, he focused on himself,” said Trevor Ncube, one of the country’s most powerful publishers.

™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.