Devon and Leah Still

Blessings: Leah, Daughter Of Bengals Player Devon Still, Is Cancer Free

Doctors say that Leah Still's cancer is officially in remission.

Drake's catchy phrase "blessings on blessings on blessings" is especially appropriate on this particular day. Today, we celebrate the remission of four-year-old Leah Still and her long battle with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare pediatric cancer. Fist bumps and smiles are heavy in rotation. Her father, Devon Still from the Cincinnati Bengals, is rejoicing for the recovery of his beautiful daughter, who was diagnosed nearly a year ago.

He took to Fox & Friends to confess that he learned more about true strength from the time spent with his daughter than he has in his football career. “Being tough is not on the football field," he said. "It’s not not the weight room, but [it is] watching my daughter fight for her life for nine months with a smile on her face. That taught me a lot about the perspective on life.”

Words from Devon Still on his Instagram also got the tears going.

June 2, 2014 and March 25, 2015 are days I will remember for the rest of my life. As everyone probably knows, June 2nd was the day doctors walked into the waiting room to tell me my daughter had cancer. It was the most devastating day of my life. March 25th , however, is feeling like the best day of my life. Today we received news from Leah's oncologist that her cancer, stage four neuroblastoma, is officially in REMISSION! After 296 days of day dreaming about what it would feel like to hear the doctors say my daughter is in remission, I finally know the feeling. Funny thing is there is really no way of describing it because I never knew this feeling existed. When I look at my daughter all I can do is smile and hug her. It was not easy but every day, and every treatment Leah fought like hell and kicked cancers butt! I'm so proud and blessed to call her my daughter. She has made an impact on me and on the world, at the age of four, that I can only wish to make in a lifetime. Thank you to my family and friends for the support through all those tough days. Thank you to everyone who has sent a letter to give Leah and our family motivation to keep fighting, a toy that helped Leah get through her days in the hospital, and more importantly a prayer that helped God hear our cries for healing. Thank you to the doctors at CHOP for putting together the best plan of action for my daughter. Thank you to Child Life members Sarah, Laura, and Lindsey for really turning what could be a scary place into a place where Leah would enjoy going because she knew she would have fun with you guys. Thank you to the Bengals for taking on my situation and standing by me and my family and for helping to raise money to fight pediatric cancer. To every media outlet and persons that helped raise much needed awareness, thank you. Leah is not done with treatments yet. She still needs more to make sure the cancer cells do not return and to build back up her immune system and other damage from the chemo but I know my little warrior will get through it! #FistBump #LeahStrong #BeatCancer #TheFightAgainstChildhoodCancerIsFarFromOver #ThrowingTheBiggestKidPartyEver #WaitForIt

A photo posted by Devon Still (@man_of_still75) on

With a 50/50 chance to live, Leah has showed us more about life in the past months than many of us feel in years. It first began with a viral video of Devon and his daughter fist-bumping as they took the routine commute to the hospital for treatment. A vibrant and adorable Leah is shown giving life to the camera, even amongst the conditions. With the full support and love from Devon's family, friends, and fellow Bengals, he was able to stand by his daughter's side every step of the way. The compassion of Coach Lewis allowed Devon to work close to home and maintain an income that provided for the (jaw-dropping) medical bills that piled for Leah's treatments. Devon's devoted teammates helped to raise $1.3 million dollars by auctioning off his journey, with all funds going towards the children's hospital where Leah was receiving treatment.

The love and positivity all around Leah and her father have come a long way. Now every time you fist-bump, remember the hard fight that lies behind it.

Photo Credit: Instagram

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NFL Will Reportedly Play Black National Anthem When Season Kicks Off

The NFL is reportedly adding “Lift Every Voice and Sing” to its playlist. The Black national anthem will be played (and possibly performed) during week 1 of the upcoming season, ESPN reported on Thursday (July 2).

The song will reportedly play ahead of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” during pregame festivities.

The move, which comes four years after Colin Kaepernick began his on-the-field protest against police brutality, reflects the latest shift in the league’s ever-changing stance on the Black Lives Matter movement. After previously banning players from protesting during the National Anthem, and quietly settling collusion lawsuits brought on by Kaepernick and Eric Reid, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted last month that the league was wrong for essentially silencing players and ignoring issues of police brutality, racial injustice, and systematic oppression.

“We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black people, Goodell said in a video statement. “We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter.”

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans are expected to kick off the 2020-2021 NFL season on Sept. 10.

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Bubba Wallace Noose Incident Was Not A Hate Crime, FBI Says

An FBI investigation into a noose found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage door at the Talladega Superspeedway had been their since last October. After a “thorough review of the facts and evidence,” the bureau determined that Wallace, the only Black full-time NASCAR driver, was not the victim of a hate crime.

“Fifteen FBI special agents conducted numerous interviews regarding the situation at Talladega Superspeedway.  After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed,” U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent Johnnie Sharp Jr. said in a joint statement on Tuesday (June 23).

Although the noose was found in Garage 4, “nobody could have known” that Wallace would be assigned that garage number.

NASCAR released a similar statement confirming that “photographic evidence” concluded that the garage pull “roped fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since last fall.”

“We appreciate the FBI's quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba,” NASCAR's statement continued. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing.” The incident came two weeks after NASCAR banned the Confederate Flag.

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— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 23, 2020

After the noose was found Wallace stated in part that the “despicable act of racism and hatred leave me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society.” Later that day, Wallace was joined by all 39 NASCAR drivers and their crews as they pushed his car down the pit road in a show of solidarity.

The 26-year-old Alabama native has said that the murder of Ahmaud Arbery inspired him to become more vocal  about the Black Lives Matter Movement.

 

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A post shared by bubbawallace (@bubbawallace) on Jun 7, 2020 at 1:58pm PDT

Despite a small number of Black drivers to join NASCAR the sport remains notoriously segregated but recent event have brought on more Black fans. “Supporting and thanking the pre-existing fans, and encouraging the new ones,” Wallace captioned an Instagram photo of him greeting fans. “For all of those new to the sport, we welcome you with open arms.”

 

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Supporting and thanking the pre-existing fans, and encouraging the new ones. For all of those new to the sport, we welcome you with open arms.

A post shared by bubbawallace (@bubbawallace) on Jun 23, 2020 at 8:42am PDT

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Colin Kaepernick on stage at the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal Award Ceremony at Harvard University on October 11, 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Colin Kaepernick Partners With Black Verticals, ‘Level’ and ‘Momentum,’ Joins Medium Board Of Directors

Months after Colin Kaepernick revealed his plans to release a memoir, he and his publishing company—Kaepernick Publishing—are joining forces with Medium.

Aside from having a seat on Medium's board of directors, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback will be conducting a series of Q&A interviews on the topics of race, prison reform, and more. Content from Kaepernick's tentatively titled series "Conversations with Colin" will be published on Medium's Level, where he'll also consult on a series of feature articles on the Black men-focused vertical led by former VIBE editor-in-chief, Jermaine Hall.

“Colin is one of our social justice leaders,” Hall said to The Washington Post. “I think he’s leading the charge and it’s based on what’s going on in the country right now. And because he’s no longer in the NFL and we’ve lost his talent on the field — hopefully he gets back there — but we’ve gained an incredibly powerful voice for the black community who can actually affect social change.”

Kaepernick will also be collaborating with Level's Black news focused vertical, Momentum, and "sharing his thoughts on anti-racism in our society" and "co-publish thought-provoking feature stories from diverse writers of color," according to the statement released by Medium's CEO Ev Williams.

Kaepernick Publishing and its founder released the following statement on Twitter:

We’re excited to announce our founder, @kaepernick7, will be the newest Board Member @medium. In addition to this, #KaepernickPublishing partners with Medium to further our mission uplifting voices of our communities. pic.twitter.com/FQYYNdTQcP

— Kaepernick Publishing (@KaepernickPub) June 18, 2020

"Throughout history, our stories have been manipulated, destroyed, and erased," says Kaepernick in the video reel on his publishing company's official website. "Our culture has been colonized, our genius exploited, and our creativity co-opted.

"We've had to fight for our humanity, representation, and control. Control of our narratives is crucial to decolonize knowledge, stories, cultures, and minds. We must take control of our narratives. The kind of control that can liberate us from seeing ourselves through the gaze of others. The kind of control that can change the way we see the world and how the world sees us."

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