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Stretch of Road in Los Angeles Renamed Obama Boulevard

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A stretch of road in Los Angeles has been renamed after former President Barack Obama.

A concert and ceremony May 4 unveiled Obama Boulevard. The street replaced Rodeo Road, a 3 ½-mile street that runs across the city’s historic Black neighborhood. It also intersects with Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and further establishes a “presidential row” that includes Washington, Adams and Jefferson boulevards.

“I get to live in a lifetime where we elected our first Black president,” The Rev. Russell Thornhill of South Los Angeles told KABC TV. “I get to share that with my mother, who’s 92 years old who voted and actually went to the inauguration. I called her before I came here to let her know what I was doing, and she was just in tears because she was seeing in her lifetime … the naming of a street of the first Black president in this community.”

Midori Bastien, second from right, and Jameela Hammond have their photo taken with the newly unveiled Obama Boulevard sign in Los Angeles, Saturday, May 4, 2019. A stretch of road in Los Angeles was renamed after former President Barack Obama during a festival and unveiling ceremony Saturday. The Obama Boulevard will replace Rodeo Road, a 3 ½-mile street that runs across the city’s historic black neighborhood. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti noted at the May 4 ceremony that Obama Boulevard is in a section of the city that has a number of other streets named after presidents, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“As we drive through this city and we see past presidents on Adams, on Washington, on Jefferson, now we’ll have one that was in our lifetime, who was a president for everybody: Barack Hussein Obama,” Garcetti said.

Los Angeles City officials at podium on right, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, from left, Mayor Eric Garcetti, State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Los Angeles Urban League President and CEO Matthew Lawson, unveil the Obama Boulevard sign in Los Angeles, Saturday, May 4, 2019. A stretch of road in Los Angeles was renamed after former President Barack Obama during a festival and unveiling ceremony. The Obama Boulevard will replace Rodeo Road, a 3 ½-mile street that runs across the city’s historic black neighborhood. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

A couple who proposed the name change told the Times they wanted to raise the profile of the road, attract more funding for the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw neighborhood and honor the 44th president.

“With this change, we are publicly documenting what Obama’s legacy as our nation’s first black President means to our city and our South Los Angeles community,” City Council President Herb Wesson said in a statement.

“For every child who will drive down this street and see the President’s name, this will serve as a physical reminder that no goal is out of reach and that no dream is too big.”

While residents were receptive to having a street named after Obama, some believed organizers should have chosen a more prominent street. Wesson argued Rodeo Road was symbolically important: The road is home to Rancho Cienega Sports Complex, where Obama held a campaign rally when he was running for president in 2007.

For decades, discriminatory practices, including the use of racially restrictive covenants on deeds to keep people of color from buying homes, kept the area off-limits to non-Whites.

After the U.S. Supreme Court banned housing discrimination, and segregation was scaled back, Black residents moved into the formerly White enclave of Baldwin Hills and established the first of L.A.’s Black middle- and upper-class neighborhoods.

Black-owned businesses and cultural activities once thrived on Crenshaw Boulevard. But over the years, they struggled and there are ongoing efforts to revitalize the commercial corridor.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a political analyst and author who has lived in the area for 50 years, said he hopes the name change will lead to more investments in the neighborhood.

“The area needs not just street name change, but also fresh programs, initiatives and spending on jobs, education, and housing programs for the mostly Black and Hispanic low-income residents that live on or near Obama Boulevard,” Hutchinson said. “This will truly be the greatest way to pay tribute to Obama.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture Renews $2.5M Partnership With Thurgood Marshall College Fund For HBCU Internship Program

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The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is proud to announce today the continued partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) Thurgood Marshall College Fund-USDA Internship Program totaling $2.5 million.

Secretary Sonny Perdue established the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement to rapidly expand outreach to America’s agricultural community and facilitate greater access to USDA programs and serve as the lead agent for USDA partnership and outreach activities. The partnership was originally created with USDA’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach, whose programs are now a component of the OPPE.

TMCF will continue to help assist the USDA achieve its goal in attracting a cross section of candidates into careers in agriculture and other related disciplines, while offering TMCF member-school students opportunities to develop their professional goals and build practical work experience. The TMCF Internship Program includes 10-week summer sessions, 15-week spring sessions and 15-week fall sessions designed to employ selected internship recipients and diverse candidates from TMCF member-schools.

Breanna Guinyard, a 2018 TMCF-USDA intern, stated, “During the internship, I have developed better problem-solving skills and networking techniques. I can now advance in my field and have insight into how the USDA operates. I’m very confident that this experience has granted me the tools I need to be successful as a full-time USDA employee in the future.”

This unique paid internship program affords Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students the opportunity to intern in USDA offices around the country, expanding their geographic worldview by living and working in locations that have included: Washington, DC; Ames, IA; Miami, FL; Idaho Falls, ID; Harlingen, TX; Ft. Collins, CO; Burlington, VT; Wells, ME; St. Paul, MN; Lewisburg, WV; Columbia, SC; Okemos, MI; Pittstown, NJ; Nashville, TN; Greenville, NC; Amherst MA; Harrisburg, PA, and, Port Allen, LA.

“The USDA has proven to be one of TMCF’s strongest Federal Government partners, and the TMCF-USDA internship program has been one of our most popular offerings for our students,” said Harry L. Williams, TMCF president & CEO. “In 2018, we had over 1,400 applicants for this competitive program where we selected 66 scholars to intern.”

For more information on TMCF programs, please visit: .

ABOUT THE THURGOOD MARSHALL COLLEGE FUND (TMCF)

Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending Black colleges and universities.

Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.

TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. For more information about TMCF, visit: .

Climate Change Is Real – And The Time For Action Is Now

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UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 17: Ranking member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., speaks during the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi hearing on "Implementation of the Accountability Review Board Recommendations" on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

Recently, at my direction, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a critically important hearing on “”

We did so because, in the face of denial, inaction, disinformation and opposition from the president, his congressional allies, and the fossil fuel industry, the American people deserve to know the truth about the dangers that we must face and overcome.

Our witnesses at our April 9 hearing, former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, offered sobering testimony on the urgent need for action by the president and Congress to protect our nation and her people from the massive and growing threat posed by a rapidly changing climate.

Every American, whatever our political perspectives, should heed the warning that Secretary Kerry and Secretary Hagel delivered on April 9.

Just a few weeks ago, record-breaking floods forced parts of Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska under as much as eight feet of water. Offutt Air Force Base is home to U.S. Strategic Command, and the flooding this year has been far beyond what it has suffered before.

Last September, Hurricane Florence caused massive damage to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. As a result, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert Neller, warned that “One third of the combat power of the Marine Corps is degraded and will continue to degrade.”

These natural disasters should not have been a surprise. In fact, the negative impact of climate change on our nation’s ability to defend itself has been predicted for decades.

Our national security leaders – from Democratic and Republican Administrations alike – have been warning that we need strong and decisive leadership to combat climate change and defend against the damages that extreme weather events pose to our national security.

In fact, in the most recent National Climate Assessment ( ), mandated by Congress and issued under the Trump Administration, 13 federal agencies and more than 300 experts from around the country issued this warning: “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities.”

Just as sobering, the National Climate Assessment found that, thus far, our response to this crisis has not been sufficient to avoid “substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades.”

Earlier this year, President Trump’s Director of National Security, Dan Coats, warned that climate change is “likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond.”

Director Coats noted that heat waves, droughts, and floods driven by climate change are already “increasing the risk of social unrest, migration, and interstate tension in countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, and Jordan.”

Yet even in the face of these clear and present threats to our national security, the President has failed to show the leadership Americans need.

When the experts in his own Administration issued the National Climate Assessment last year, President Trump responded by declaring:  “I don’t believe it.”

Instead of leading a national, bipartisan mobilization to fight climate change, President Trump has attacked the scientific consensus, weakened environmental protections, and undermined U.S. leadership in combatting this existential threat abroad.

The American people deserve to know why our President and his Republican allies in Congress have not done more to tackle this problem – or even acknowledge it exists.

This is why our Subcommittee on the Environment brought in experts to examine how politics has prevented our government from taking action on climate change, even though scientists have been issuing dire warnings for more than 30 years.  That hearing can (and should) be viewed at .

Above all else, the American people deserve congressional leadership in enacting a Green New Deal [H. Res. 109 / S. Res. 59] to lead us away from the ecological abyss that we now face, keep America competitive in a rapidly changing global economy, invest in millions of living wage jobs, and protect our environment for generations to come.

I am grateful for the opportunity to co-sponsor this vision for our future, despite the political attacks that surely are to come.

Our attackers will call our Green New Deal “socialism.” In fact, it is a roadmap for America to think big again: to conquer climate change while making our nation fairer and more prosperous.

I understand that there may be differences of opinion on how to respond to climate change, but there should be no uncertainty about whether we should respond.

Climate change is real, and the time for action is now.

Congressman Elijah Cummings represents Maryland’s 7th Congressional District  in the United States  House of Representatives.

 

LeBron James Makes Time’s 100 Most Influential List For The Fourth Time

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LeBron James was named as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, but it’s not his first time on the list.  This year marks the fourth time the Los Angeles Lakers’ star has made the magazine’s list, which has been released annually for the last 16 years. In addition to LeBron James, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, George Clooney and a few others are also four-time honorees.

Although James is no stranger to the honor, his profile this year focused less on his accomplishments on the court and instead centered around his work in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

Billionaire Warren Buffett wrote a tribute to James and his endeavors in the world of education.

“Early heroes will mold a person’s future. LeBron has justified the adulation of millions and millions of young people, thanks to his ability to live up to enormous expectations on the basketball court, his business successes in Hollywood and media, and his new I Promise School for disadvantaged kids in his hometown of Akron, Ohio,” Warren Buffett, who is James’ longtime friend, wrote for Time. “That adulation will make a positive difference in their lives. And you know what else is exciting? As great as he has been so far—on and off the court—you’re just seeing the start of LeBron.”

In the first year of its existence, the I Promise School, which was founded by the LeBron James Family Foundation, has already shown remarkable results. According to school administrators, 90 percent of the school’s 240 third and fourth graders “met or exceeded” their goals in reading and math. The students also outperformed other schools in the Akron public school district.

Students At LeBron James’ I Promise School Are Going Beyond ‘Expectations’

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Just one year after it opened, LeBron James’ “I Promise” school in Akron is producing some very impressive results.

While only 240 students were enrolled in the inaugural 365 days, 3rd and 4th graders, according to the New York Times, are greatly improving their test scores. In math and reading, 3rd graders district-wide exam scores jumped to the 9th percentile while 4th graders moved into the 16th. Both had previously been in the lowest percentile at 1 percent.

In math, 3rd graders jumped from the lowest percentile to the 18th while 4th graders jumped from 2 percent to the 30th.

LeBron James is taking note of how his school and influence is making a big difference in his hometown. “These kids are doing an unbelievable job, better than we all expected,” he told the Times. “When we first started, people knew I was opening a school for kids. Now people are going to really understand the lack of education they had before they came to our school. People are going to finally understand what goes on behind our doors.”

As previously reported, beyond normal school supplies and access to teachers, the I Promise school provides clothing and snacks to families who need it. Students are also provided a bicycle.

Congrats to a wonderful first year!

Stephen A. Smith Is Slated To Become The Highest Paid Personality At ESPN

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Stephen A. Smith, the popular and sometimes controversial sports analyst, may become the most compensated on-air talent at ESPN.

According to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, Smith is “in line” to rake in between $8 million and $10 million annually. His current deal with ESPN is set to expire in 2021 and the two sides are currently in the final stages of negotiations.

ESPN is reportedly prepared to give Smith a substantial raise rather than losing him to a competitor.

Smith has been with ESPN since 2005, and is one of the most notable names and voices at the network. Currently, he’s an analyst on “First Take,” “The Stephen A. Smith Show,” a frequent guest on ESPN’s NBA coverage, and more. His current deal is worth around $5 million per year.

For a point of reference, the current highest paid on-air talent at ESPN is Mike Greenberg who earns $6.5 million a year to host “Get Up!” The Post’s report also claims “PTI’s” Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser are “believed to be in Greenberg’s neighborhood.”

Congrats to Stephen A. Smith. Keep winning!

James Harden Opens Up About Nipsey Hussle’s Death

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James Harden is breaking his silence over the loss of his friend Nipsey Hussle.

Nipsey’s death was so hard on the Houston Rockets’ guard that he took off practice on Monday to mourn the Slauson rapper. During a postgame interview Wednesday night (April 3) in Los Angeles, Harden explained what the loss of Nipsey Hussle meant for him and the world.

“He was powerful, not just to a certain dynamic or to a certain city, but just to the world,” he said of Hussle after the Rockets beat the Clippers 135-103. “He was a leader. He was so many things and his life got taken away off nonsense, off BS. So, it’s been sad, man. I think, not only myself, but a lot of people around this world were affected by it. It doesn’t seem real.”

In an Instagram post about Nipsey’s death, Harden alluded to a project he and the rapper were working on and promised to “finish what we started.” He wasn’t ready to further explain those details on Wednesday in talking to the press.

Nipsey Hussle was reportedly murdered on Sunday outside of his Marathon Clothing Company in Hyde Park, Los Angeles. Born Ermias Asghedom, he was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital after being shot six times. At least two others were reportedly shot in the incident, though their condition is unknown. On Tuesday, police arrested Eric Holder in connection with Hussle’s murder. The LAPD claim the shooter was motivated by a personal dispute with the Grammy-nominated rapper.

Simone Biles Says She ‘Slept All The Time’ After She Was Sexually Abused By Larry Nassar

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Simone Biles is one of several USA gymnasts who experienced sexual abuse at the hands of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Although Biles accused her former doctor of the abuse, she has remained relatively quiet about her personal experience. In a recent YouTube special, Biles broke her silence and opened up about the dark time she faced after the abuse.

During a conversation with Priyanka Chopra for the actor’s new YouTube special,”If I Could Tell You Just One Thing,” the 22-year-old gold medalist said she relies on therapy to help her get past the trauma.

“I’m still going through things in everyday life, things that I have to go to therapy for,” she said.

Biles explained she was in denial of the abuse when it first happened and did not come to terms with the assault until she spoke with a friend about the definition of sexual abuse.

“There was a time I asked my friend, and I called her and I asked her the definition of ‘sexually abused.’ Because, you know, some of my other friends, they had had it worse than me. And they’re like, ‘No if he did that’ — and I told her. She said, ‘If he did that and that, you’ve been sexually abused,’” she told Chopra.

She then revealed how her depression kept her bedridden.

“I was like, ‘No, I’m not willing to put that out there for the world to see. They’re not gonna see me as Simone the gymnast, they’re gonna see Simone as the sexual abuse survivor.’ And so I denied it, and I buried it,” she continued.

“I was very depressed, I, like, never left my room. I was sleeping all the time and I told like one of my lawyers, ‘I sleep all the time because it’s the closest thing to death.’ ”

“I had just read the story about my friend coming out and I was bawling and I called my mom and then I told her,” she added. “We had detectives come and stuff like that. That was the moment I realized …”

After several gymnasts came out and accused Nassar of sexual abuse, Biles shared a letter to Twitter saying she too was a survivor.

“I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” Biles said in the January 2018 letter. “Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper. There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault.”

Biles’ Olympic teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas are among the over 150 women and girls who came forward to accuse Nassar of abuse.

In 2018, Nassar was sentenced to more than 175 years in prison on several charges of sexual assault and child pornography.

Police Chief Whitesplains Officers Pulling Guns On Black Man Picking Up Trash In His Back Yard

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Colorado police chief was on the defensive when protesters and local lawmakers demanded to know why his police officers drew their weapons on an innocent African-American man who was collecting trash in his back yard.

Besieged Police Chief Greg Testa looked into the audience and saw folks clacking trash grabbers at a Boulder City Council meeting on Tuesday, the  reported. An internal affairs investigation is ongoing while the initial responding officer is on administrative leave.

At the council meeting, Testa admitted that the Black man did nothing wrong yet his officers pulled their guns on him.

Councilwoman Lisa Morzel asked him to explain the policy that allowed his officers to draw their weapons in that situation, the reported.

Testa said it’s authorized when cops perceive a threat. “This is an extremely concerning issue, and one that we are taking very seriously,” Testa rambled.

On March 1, a Boulder officer confronted the man, a Naropa University student, and asked him if he was permitted to be there. The man told the officer that he lived and worked in the building, showing the officer his school ID card. Nevertheless, the cop decided to detain him and call for assistance, claiming that the man was uncooperative and refused to put down the grabber he was using to pick up trash.

The man was fortunate to survive the encounter. The troubling trend of police killing unarmed Black people have shown no signs of letting up, from to  to  Jr., there appears to be a new nearly shooting every week.

This also comes against the backdrop of the wave of white people calling the police on innocent Black people doing routine things. Last October, the listed 39 incidents that captured national attention since May 2018. They include a  mowing a lawn in Cleveland, a uniformed  in Oakland and a former  aide  in New York.

Charles Lief, president of Naropa University, said the unidentified man does not want to come forward to become a symbol of racial profiling in the city.

“I do not want to underestimate the amount of trauma that was experienced by our student, who was the victim in this situation,” Lief said at the meeting. “Students, staff and faculty of color at Naropa, and other institutions have all experienced various degrees of racism living in this community.”

Philadelphia Police Arrest Of Two Black Men In Starbucks, Prompts Apology From Company's CEO

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