Young Voters To Host #BarackTalk State of the Union Discussion

With President Barack Obama's second term already underway, young voters are ensuring their voices are heard through a medium they know best: social media.

In #BarackTalk, an interactive State of the Union viewing party and online discussion, young voters and seasoned veterans will come together to weigh in on Obama's address and forge connections to help advance policy agenda this year. Important topics will include climate change, gun violence, voter suppression and youth entrepreneurship.

Featured panelists for #BarackTalk include Goldie Taylor (MSNBC), Michael Brune (Executive Director, Sierra Club), Reverend Yearwood (Executive Director, Hip Hop Caucus), Rob “Biko” Baker (Executive Director, League of Young Voters), Monique Gamble (University of DC), Jasiri X (One Hood Media), Carmen Berkeley (Executive Director, Generational Alliance), Shamar Robbins (Green For All), Jared Ball (author, I Mix What I Like: A Mixtape Manifesto), Malik Rhasaan (Occupy The Hood), Janee Bolden (Bossip), Austin Thompson (SEIU), Liz Ryan (Executive Director, Campaign for Youth Justice), Jessica Sandoval, Eddie Ferrer (COO, DC Lawyers for Youth), Michael Kemp (juvenile justice activist) and other leading pundits.

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, the discussion will take place in the heart of the nation’s capital at legendary cultural space, Busboys and Poets (2021 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009) and broadcast live via Ustream at Join the conversation online by using the hashtag #BarackTalk.

See the schedule of events below.

10-12 a.m.: #MorningStatus: Weekly political livestream with Biko Baker

1-3 p.m.: Talking Points: Monthly political livestream with Carmen Berkeley

3-4 p.m.: Jasiri X performance + Live Google Hangout with special guests

5-6 p.m.: Education panel with United States Student Associate + Opportunity Nation

6-7 p.m.: Juvenile Justice panel with Campaign for Youth justice

7-8 p.m.: Climate Change panel with Sierra Student Coalition + Energy Action Coalition

8-9 p.m.: Immigration panel with Leadership Conference + Voto Latino

9-9:30 p.m.: State of the Union Watch Party + #BarackTalk Tweet-up

9:30-11 p.m.: Reaction Panel with special guests

Watch on UStream below.

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Former Chicago Cop Jason Van Dyke Sentenced For Killing Laquan McDonald

Former Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke, could end up serving just over three years in prison for killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months Friday (Jan. 18), and according to the Chicago Tribune , the former officer is eligible to receive credit for good behavior.

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan had to decide between sentencing Van Dyke for second-degree murder or aggravated battery, the latter of which carried a mandatory minimum of six years in prison, the Tribune reports. Gaughan decided that it made more sense to sentence Van Dyke for murder, which makes him eligible for early release.

McDonald was shot to death in 2014. At the time, authorities claimed that the teen was behaving erratically while carrying a small knife. The police department waited 13 months to release video of the shooting. In the footage, McDonald is seen walking away from the cops as Van Dyke opens fire, shooting him 16 times. Van Dyke, a 14-year veteran of the CPD, was arrested and quickly released on bond the day that the video was made public. He was found guilty of second-degree murder and more than a dozen charges of aggravated battery last October.

Darren O'Brien, Van Dyke’s lawyer, pushed for sentencing “leniency,” due in part to his client’s clean criminal record. Depicting O’Brien as the victim, Van Dyke stated that his client feared for his life when he killed McDonald.

“He didn’t start the confrontation,” O’Brien said. “He reacted to what Mr. McDonald did..Everything that happened was set in motion by Mr. McDonald.”

Gaughan called the court case a tragedy for families from both parties. “It’s just so senseless that these acts occur because you can see the pain on both sides. This is a tragedy for both sides."

Van Dyke's sentence came a day after a Cook County judge acquitted three CPD officers charged with covering up the shooting.

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Rep. Maxine Waters meets with CBS Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity, Kim Goodwin, and CBS Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief, Christopher Isham, on Capitol Hill. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Waters Office)

Maxine Waters Meets With CBS To Discuss Media Diversity And Inclusion

California Rep. Maxine Waters met with CBS' Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity to discuss the lack of media diversity and inclusion within the media empire.

Their meeting steemed from the network's recent release of their predominately clear  team for the coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Comprised of 4 white producers, 5 white-passing reporters and 3 journalists of color, though the 2020 campaigns reporting staff does not have any black anchors.

It's Official: The @CBSNews 2020 Election Team has assembled!

— Ben Mitchell (@bfmitchell) January 11, 2019

Waters, like other prominent speakers in the black community, have discussed their reluctance to embrace the staff citing issues with who will tackle the roles that racism will play in elections and the role racism has been playing in the United States. Taking the issues directly to the source, the congresswomen had a discussion with the higher up's to talk redirection.

“The CBS representatives accepted full responsibility and understood the troubling optics-- and subsequent public backlash -- that occurred as a result of the rollout of their 2020 presidential election team. CBS admitted that the initial 2020 campaign team did not reflect the diversity that the company had committed to; assured me that it will not happen again; and revealed that in the coming months they will unveil a more diverse and inclusive slate of African American journalists and journalists from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences,"  Waters said in a press statement.

"They also identified key individuals in Washington, D.C. and New York City, NY whom they have brought onto their team to fulfill this mission and ensure their news organization reflects the diversity of the country and the communities who will most certainly be engaged in the 2020 elections."

The 43rd district representative has vowed to hold CBS accountable for their diversity issues and is dedicated to working alongside her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus.

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Louisville International Airport To Be Renamed After Muhammad Ali

Louisville, Kentucky's hometown hero will have an airport named after him.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced Wednesday (Jan. 16) that the Louisville International Airport will be renamed after Muhammad Ali.

"Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville," Fischer said.

"Muhammad became one of the most well-known people to ever walk the earth and has left a legacy of humanitarianism and athleticism that has inspired billions of people."

The city is hoping to finalize the renaming of the Louisville International Airport to the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport by June. The news was shared a day before the two year anniversary of Ali's 2016 death. Ali would've been 77.

Officials with the Louisville airport are currently working on receiving approval from Ali's family, however, they say an agreement is near. The decision for the rename to hopefully increase tourism.

"It is important that we, as a city, further champion The Champ's legacy," the mayor added. "And the airport renaming is a wonderful next step."

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