Loretta Lynch Confirmed as Attorney General, Finally

Loretta Lynch

After a long delay, the Senate has confirmed Loretta Lynch as the new Attorney General.

From the New York Times:

After one of the nation’s most protracted cabinet-level confirmation delays, the Senate Thursday approved Loretta E. Lynch to be attorney general. She is the first African-American woman to hold the position.

Ms. Lynch, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, was confirmed 56 to 43, with 10 Republicans voting for her.

Her confirmation took longer than that for all but two other nominees for the office: Edwin Meese III, who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan, and A. Mitchell Palmer, who was picked by President Woodrow Wilson, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Republicans have found themselves in a quandary for months. They longed to replace Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and they agreed that Ms. Lynch was qualified for the job. But they opposed her because Ms. Lynch defended President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

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Photo: Loretta Lynch/Screenshot

Teen Girl Recovering After Being Shot By Minnesota Police


Tania Harris, 18, suffered two gunshot wounds after being shot by police yesterday. Police claim that she was holding a knife but her family disputes police claims.

From Fox 9:

A Robbinsdale, Minn. police officer shot a high school student after an “unwanted person” call was made at an apartment complex early Thursday evening. According to the Hennepin County sheriff, Robbinsdale police responded to 3755 Hubbard Avenue North at 5:41 p.m., where they found a woman with a knife. VIEW PHOTOS

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis identified the woman as 18-year-old high school student Tania Harris. She is in stable condition at an area hospital with two gunshot wounds to her abdomen, according to the group. No officers were injured during the incident.

The sheriff said the woman was shot after refusing to comply with the officer’s commands, but Tania’s mother claims her daughter was unarmed.  Black Lives Matter likened this incident to the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, in that “we are witnessing a policing culture that insists on shooting first and asking questions later.”

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Photo: Fox 9/ Tania Harris

Report: National Guard Called Ferguson Protestors ‘Enemy Forces’ And ‘Adversaries’


CNN released a damning report this morning that revealed that the Missouri National Guard referred to Ferguson protesters as “enemy forces” and “adversaries”.

From CNN:

As the Missouri National Guard prepared to deploy to help quell riots in Ferguson, Missouri, that raged sporadically last year, the guard used highly militarized words such as “enemy forces” and “adversaries” to refer to protesters, according to documents obtained by CNN.

The guard came to Ferguson to support law enforcement officers, whom many community leaders and civil rights activists accused of using excessive force and inflaming an already tense situation in protests that flared sporadically from August through the end of the year.

The National Guard’s language, contained in internal mission briefings obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, is intensifying the concerns of some who objected to the police officers’ actions in putting down riots. They broke out after the August 9 shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by city police officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury declined to indict Wilson in the case.

“It’s disturbing when you have what amounts to American soldiers viewing American citizens somehow as the enemy,” said Antonio French, an alderman in St. Louis.

This revelation isn’t shocking — anyone watching the Ferguson demonstrations last summer could deduce that demonstrators were being brutalized by law enforcement. This report confirms what protestors have known to be true all along — that they were being treated like enemies of the state and not as citizens.

Photo: Ferguson protests/Wikimedia Commons


Amandla Stenberg: Don’t Cash Crop On My Cornrows

amandla stenberg

Amandla Stenberg, the 16 year-old actress that played Rue in the “Hunger Games”, broke down the appropriation of black culture in her short film project, ‘Don’t Cash Crop On My Cornrows’.

Originally posted on her Tumblr a few months ago, Stenberg asks an important question in her film: “What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?”

Photo: Amandla Stenberg/Youtube Screenshot

‘First Gen’: Growing Up “Other” in America

first gen

By the looks of its official trailer, “First Gen” has the chops to make it from a pilot to a major network .

Created by Yvonne Orji, the show is based on her real life experiences. Orji completed undergraduate and graduate school with the intention to continue to medical school. Instead, she followed her real dreams and moved to New York to pursue acting and comedy. Orji’s goal with “First Gen” is to offer a “refreshing take on the modern day immigrant family,” while flipping the script on the usual images of Africans on mainstream media.

“An interesting shift is occurring where kids of immigrant parents are growing up and discovering America for themselves; not solely through the lens of their parents. This opens up a whole new world of opportunities. Until First Gen, we haven’t seen Africans portrayed in mainstream media as regular, everyday people. They’re usually warlords, cab drivers or fleeing genocide. The African immigrant story in America is so much richer than that. The success of entertainers like Lupita Nyong’o David Oyelowo, and Uzo Aduba suggests that mainstream America is ready to tune into a series like ‘First Gen’,” the creators told IndieWire.


Photo: Youtube/Screenshot


Victims of Chicago Gun Violence Are “Unforgotten”


A pop-up exhibit currently in downtown Chicago called “The Unforgotten,” is a project of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. The exhibit highlights victims of gun violence in Chicago and throughout Illinois.

Artists carefully studied images and videos of victims in order to create lifelike statues of them. Some statues are wearing clothing from the victims.

The statues were commissioned to remind viewers of the humanity of the victims. They remain faceless to remind viewers that while the statues are lifelike, the victim is permanently lost.

“It does (convey) the message that my daughter was once here and she is no longer here,” Bonita Foster, the mother of a shooting victim, told the RedEye.

Read more.

Photo: Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence

ICYMI: John Legend Launches Campaign to End Mass Incarceration


On Monday, John Legend launched FREE AMERICA, an initiative to end mass incarceration, reports the Huffington Post.

“We have a serious problem with incarceration in this country. It’s destroying families, it’s destroying communities and we’re the most incarcerated country in the world, and when you look deeper and look at the reasons we got to this place, we as a society made some choices politically and legislatively, culturally to deal with poverty, deal with mental illness in a certain way and that way usually involves using incarceration,” Legend told the Huffington Post.

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Photo: John Legend/Instagram

Survivors of Chicago Police Torture Will Receive Reparations

chicago reparations

From Project NIA:

This morning, members of Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM), Amnesty International, USA and representatives of the Mayor’s Office announced an agreement on a reparations package for survivors of torture by Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and officers under his command before a special session of the City Council Finance Committee.

The package, based on the Reparations Ordinance introduced in October of 2013 by Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno (1st Ward) and Howard Brookins (21st Ward), provides concrete redress to the torture survivors and their family members, which includes: a formal apology for the torture; specialized counseling services to the Burge torture survivors and their family members on the South side; free enrollment and job training in City Colleges for survivors and family members; a history lesson about the Burge torture cases taught in Chicago Public schools; a permanent public memorial to the survivors; and it sets aside $5.5 million for a Reparations Fund for Burge Torture Victims that will allow the Burge torture survivors with us today to receive financial compensation for the torture they endured.

This historic agreement is the product of decades of organizing for justice in these cases, and represents the culmination of a concerted six-month campaign led by CTJM, Amnesty International – USA, Project NIA and We Charge Genocide, with the help of actions from several other organizations including BYP100, Chicago Light Brigade and the Chicago Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

Photo: Project NIA