NAACP Issues a National Advisory To Black Travelers About Flying American Airlines

Tuesday Oct. 24, The NAACP issued a national advisory “alerting travelers—especially African Americans—to exercise caution, in that booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions.”

According to the NAACP‘s advisory, the organization has “for several months now has been monitoring a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines.”

According to the NAACP, some of the incidents include:

1.) An African-American man was required to relinquish his purchased seats aboard a flight from Washington, D.C. to Raleigh-Durham, merely because he responded to disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers;

2.) Despite having previously booked first-class tickets for herself and a traveling companion, an African-American woman’s seating assignment was switched to the coach section at the ticket counter, while her white companion remained assigned to a first-class seat;

3.) On a flight bound for New York from Miami, the pilot directed that an African-American woman be removed from the flight when she complained to the gate agent about having her seating assignment changed without her consent; and

4.) An African-American woman and her infant child were removed from a flight from Atlanta to New York City when the woman (incidentally a Harvard Law School student) asked that her stroller be retrieved from checked baggage before she would disembark.

The Advisory went into effect Tuesday and will remain in effect indefinitely.

The Advisory notes that “Historically, the NAACP has issued travel advisories when conditions on the ground pose a substantial risk of harm to black Americans, and we are concerned today that the examples cited herein may represent only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ when it comes to American Airlines’ documented mistreatment of African-American customers.”

“All travelers must be guaranteed the right to travel without fear of threat, violence or harm,” stated Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP in the advisory. “The growing list of incidents suggesting racial bias reflects an unacceptable corporate culture and involves behavior that cannot be dismissed as normal or random.  We expect an audience with the leadership of American Airlines to air these grievances and to spur corrective action.  Until these and other concerns are addressed, this national travel advisory will stand.”

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Colin Kaepernick Files a Grievance Against the NFL and Its Owners for “Colluding to Keep Him Out the League”

On Sunday Oct. 15, Colin Kaepernick’s attorney Mark Geragos, filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners for “colluding to keep him out the league,” demanding an arbitration hearing on the matter.

The filing says that the NFL and its owners “have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.”

Geragos released an official statement on Twitter saying that the grievance was filed “after pursuing every possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives.”

Some individuals think this move is a good move for Kaepernick who has become a victim of the very racism he protested, such as Chair of the African-American Studies program at University of Mississippi, Dr. Charles Ross.

“At this point he doesn’t have much to lose,” Ross said. ” I think that clearly his strategy of just kind of being quiet over the last year and a half and not doing any interviews, hasn’t beared any fruit.”

“It’ll be interesting to see whether or not the NFL can be dragged into court and some kind of an argument or a case can be made that NFL owners are colluding to keep him from working, which is kind of an obvious thing right now,” Ross said. “Jay Cutler got signed and he was retired. They basically talked him into coming back.”

Kaepernick began kneeling for the national anthem last year as a response to the continued police brutality against unarmed individuals and the justice system’s failure to prosecute police officers who use excessive force. Following the 2016 season, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers to test the free agency.

Six weeks into the season, Kaepernick has yet to find a job. Kaepernick’s agent has reached out to all 32 NFL teams this year to express Kaepernick interest in returning to the field but so far no teams have reached out to him. Some of the quarterbacks that have been signed this year include Blaine Gabbert, Jay Cutler and most recently Brandon Weeden. To view a complete list of the 30+ free agent quarterbacks that were signed before Kaepernick here.

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Atlanta Decriminalizes Marijuana

Monday the Atlanta city council voted unanimously to pass Ordinance
17-O-1152 which would decriminalize marijuana.

Under current Georgia law, individuals found in possession of an amount of marijuana under an ounce face up to a six month jail sentence and up to $1,000 in fees. Ordinance 17-O-1152 would removed the potential for a jail sentence and reduce the maximum fine for individuals with less than an ounce to $75.

According to the Foundation for Economic Education, 92 percent of marijuana arrest come from the black community.

The bill was introduced in March by council member Kwanza Hall.

“Today we stand with every parent of Atlanta who is fearful of or has seen their children’s lives destroyed, or careers ruined because of a racist policy that unjustly incarcerated minorities by more than 90 percent,” Hall said following the bill’s passage Monday.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed still needs to sign the bill but said on twitter he intended to.

 

Marijuana is still illegal under Georgia state law meaning meaning individuals found in possession outside of Atlanta could still face jail time.

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Young Dolph In Critical Condition But Expected to Survive After Being Shot Multiple Times in Hollywood

Tuesday Adolph Thornton, Jr., better known by his stage name Young Dolph, was shot outside the Loews Hotel in Hollywood after an altercation that turned violent. During the altercation Young Dolph was pushed to the ground and shot multiple times.

He was transported to the hospital where he is in critical condition but expected to pull through.

Corey McClendon was charged with attempted murder in connection with the shooting Wednesday. McClendon is an acquaintance of Hoe Gotti, a fellow Memphis rapper who has beef with Young Dolph.

Young Dolph was shot at 100 times outside a nightclub in Charlotte earlier this year. Dolph was inside his bulletproof SUV and survived the attack and still made his scheduled performance at the same club. Dolph later made a song about the incident called “100 shots.” The song can be listened to below.

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President Donald Trump Calls Protesting NFL Players “Sons of Bitches” and Ask That They be Fired Causing a Spike in Protest

Friday President Donald Trump visited Huntsville, AL to give a speech. The speech closely resembles the rallies Trump held during his campaign and he used it to campaign for Luther Strange as Senator.

During the speech, Trump made some comments about the ongoing anthem protest that has taken place through out the NFL. Trump called the protesters “son of bitches” and asked that the owners fire any players who “disrespects” our flag.

This prompted widespread outrage and protest from players, owners, CEOs, supporters of the protest and supporters of American’s first amendment right a like Sunday and Monday.

“I think its a good thing that [the protesters, players, owners, etc] did [protest] to prove a point that the president is trying to take the first amendment away from certain people and I don’t think it should be tolerated,” sophomore biology student Kiersten Ellis said. “I think its a good thing to do that to make a point that they’re not going to give into him.”

 

Many people called the president’s words divisive.

The growing spike in protest did cause backlash from Trump, his base and critics of the protest.

Trump took to Twitter to ask fans to avoid games if they were offended.

Trump Tuesday also took to Twitter to ask the league to put in place a rule against players kneeling for the anthem.

Trump made a point to say the anthem protest wasn’t about race but about respecting our flag.

Although the president’s recent comment caused a spike in the protest and has drawn tremendous attention to the conversation of racial injustices, some people see the protest as veering off track such as sophomore international studies major David Pfaehler.

“Originally when Colin Kaepernick started to kneel during the national anthem, it had a serious reasoning behind it,” Pfaehler said. “It was to protest obviously police brutality against young black men and against communities of color in general. Now instead of uniting behind a constructive movement and Black Lives Matter it has now taken turn to satisfy egos. NFL owners only joined the protest when they thought their profits were going to be hurt or their players, who make them so much money, were completely against [the presidents comments].”

Director of the African-American Studies Program at Ole Miss, Dr. Charles Ross has some concerns with the turn the protest is taking too.

“I’m a little concerned that Colin Kaepernick has not gotten the opportunity to get a job,” Ross said. “He was the first one to start the protest last year, now these owners have come out suites. They’re on the field locking arms with players and its taken on a whole different kind of identity. Its like this unity protest and its not necessarily focused on police brutality.”

“[owners and CEOs joining the protest] is a relatively positive thing but I don’t think it can be totally positive because the individual that facilitated all this basically came out and spoke against police brutality and in essence racial inequality and racism in America,” Ross said. “He is now himself a victim of his own kind of willingness to take on this issue because he still doesn’t have a job.”

“I’m hoping that where it goes is that Kaepernick is given an opportunity to play football again, which i think is a real disservice,” Ross said. “In a lot of ways it just validates every thing he’s been standing for because the fact of the matter is that the racism of these white owners is perpetuated in the fact they’re not giving him a job. Yet they’re down on the field. They now embrace what he was doing, yet they’re still not giving him a job, so there is this other layer of racism that is being placed on the racism that he was talking about.”

St. Louis Judge Finds Jason Stockley Not Guilty of Murder in the 2011 Police Shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith

On Friday Sept. 15, a St Louis Judge found Jason Stockley not guilty of murder in the 2011 police shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith.

The Prosecution argued that the defendant intended to kill Smith as video footage from within the police car captures Stockley saying “We’re going to kill this motherfucker” and that Stockley planted the weapon recovered from the scene as only his fingerprints were found on the weapon and not Smith’s.

The judge argued that the prosecution couldn’t prove the officer intended to kill Smith or that the gun was planted as video didn’t show the gun in Stockley’s possession prior to finding it.

In December of 2011, Stockley and his partner, Brian Bianchi, attempted to stop Smith after a suspected drug deal in a parking lot. In video captured from the scene, Smith can be seen fleeing in his car causing the officers to take pursuit before they finally crash into Smith’s car. As the officers close in on Smith, video from inside the police car captured Stockley saying “we’re going to kill this motherfucker.”

Shortly after the car is stopped, both the officers make their way to the driver side of the car and eventually Stockley fires five shots into the car and kills Smith. Stockley exits the car with his department issued pistol and his own personal Ak-47 which is against department policy to carry. He later puts the weapon away before using his issued pistol to shoot into the car.

A gun was recovered from the car but only it only had Stockley’s fingerprints on it. Heroin was also recovered from the scene.

Stockley was eventually suspended in 2013 for violating departmental procedures for pursuit and use of force and eventually resigned from the police force. In 2016 charges were brought against Stockley. He waived his right to a jury trial and requested a bench trial and a judge eventually found him not guilty.

Following the not guilty verdict Friday, protestor took to the streets to demonstrate. Initially the protest were peaceful but eventually turned violent as protesters began throwing rocks at the mayors house and smashed the windows of police cars. Officers in riot gear used tear gas to disperse the crowds and at least 80 people have been arrested so far.

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Justice Department Ends Investigation Into Freddie Gray’s Death Without Prosecution

On Aug 12, the Justice Department announced it would end the investigation into Freddie Gray’s death in police custody without prosecution stating “that the evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Caesar Goodson, Officer William Porter, Officer Garrett Miller, Officer Edward Nero, Lieutenant Brian Rice, or Sergeant Alicia White willfully violated Gray’s civil rights.”

According to the Justice Department’s report, Gray made eye contact with a uniformed bicycle patrol and began to flee prompting the officer to pursue Gray before eventually detaining him. Once he was detained, the officers found a knife that they claimed was a “illegal switchblade” which was later found to be a legal knife. His arrest was captured on video by passerby.

Gray was put into the back of the police van head first on his stomach and wasn’t secured with a seat belt which is against the police departments procedures. On the way to transport Gray, the van made four stops and somewhere during the 30 minute drive Gray suffered suffered a fatal spinal injury. Once Gray arrived at the police station he wasn’t able to breathe or talk and was given medical attention.

Gray later died after being in a coma for seven days prompting the Obama Administration’s Justice Department to launch an investigation into the death of Gray and into the Baltimore Police. The Baltimore Police and the Justice Department entered a consent decree in 2016 which requires reforms accords the department.
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Martin Luther King Statue Erected In Atlanta On the 54 Anniversary Of King’s “I Have A Dream” Speech

On Monday Aug. 28, the city of Atlanta unveiled a statue dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. on its state capitol grounds.

The statue was unveiled on the 54th anniversary of King’s “I Have A Dream” Speech. It comes three years after Georgia lawmakers endorsed the statue.

The King statue shares the capitol grounds with statues of Confederate general and alleged Ku Klux Klan leader John Brown Gordon and U.S. Sen. Richard Russell, who strongly opposed the civil rights legislation King advocated for.

Currently a Georgia state law prevents the removal of any publicly owned monument dedicated to military service whether it be for the United States or the confederate states.

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Curbed Atlanta

 

 

Lil Wayne Released From Hospital After A Pair Of Seizures

Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. better know by his stage name, Lil Wayne, has been released from the hospital following a pair of seizures that left him unconscious in his hotel room in Chicago Sunday.

The seizures are reportedly due to a lack of sleep. Sources told TMZ Lil Wayne was going out after shows. Then he would go straight to the studio with no sleep in between.

Wayne who has been hospitalized for seizures in the pass is epileptic.

“Like, this isn’t my first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh seizure,” Wayne revealed on NME. “I’ve had a bunch of seizures, y’all just never hear about them”

Following his hospital visit, Wayne plans to follow the doctors orders and take a two week break from touring to get some long overdue rest and relaxation.

Wayne’s next performance is scheduled for Sept. 23 and he is expected to be there.

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