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Obama Gives Hope to Working Families In Motor City

The Flint water crisis and the economic reliance of the automobile industry put Michigan high on the White House agenda of this week. Today, Obama and his advisors stepped outside 1600 Pennsylvania for a trip to a Midwestern convention and lunch with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

"Dear President Obama, I am 13 years old and I am worried about my family's future in Michigan," the daughter of a laid-off worker within the automobile industry wrote six years ago. The now-19-year-old and her employed father joined President Barack Obama during his address on enabling a successful economy for working families.

The Flint water crisis and the economic reliance of the automobile industry put Michigan high on the White House agenda of this week. After an Oval Office debriefing with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, the 44th president expressed his distress over the lead-filled pipes and inadequate drinking water Weaver's residents face. Wednesday (Jan. 20), Obama and his advisors stepped outside 1600 Pennsylvania for a trip to a Midwestern convention and lunch with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

POTUS addressed a room full of factory workers and car manufacturers at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. First, Obama mentioned the situation in Flint briefly, acknowledging the efforts the federal government is making on the ground and making a personal statement, "I know that if I was a parent up there, I would be beside myself that my kid's health could be at risk," he said, "It is a reminder why you can't shortchange basic services that we provide to our people and that we together provide as a government to make sure that public health and safety is preserved."

But his main focus in front of the United Auto Workers was his administration's impact on the revival of the nicknamed Motor City and the domestic auto industry in general. The president compared industry statistics now to those before his first term seven years ago. And with a city dependent on automobile production, he drew connections between the community's enhancement and his administration recession relief.

Obama put emphasis on the "hard-working families" of the United States, citing the significant increase in jobs relative to other nations. His speech also warned the cheering crowd, of the candidates vying for his executive office. "When you heard people claiming that America's in decline, They don't know what they're talking about. They're peddling fiction during a political season," he said, "I want everyone to remember these are the same folks who would have let this industry go under." Obama then quoted the doubts those running had with his plan to save the auto industry.

Other points the president raised stemmed from securing unions, stabilizing employment rates despite automated labor technologies, strengthening benefits like health care and pensions, increasing the affordability and access to high education, and easing the reintroduction into the job market for unemployed individuals. Returning to the conversation on Flint with hints at pollution, climate change, discrimination, and poverty, Obama targeted banks and large companies' irresponsibility when it comes to the community. POTUS said, "We need to make sure the system's not rigged against working families." He also mentioned initiatives to aid small businesses, appreciating the innovative designs seen at the auto show.

Outside the convention at the GM Center for Human Resources, POTUS toured Detroit with Mayor Duggan. After lunch, the two visited the Shinola factory and were inspired by the account of a supervisor who was previously homeless. "What's true of Detroit is true of the country. I want America to have confidence in where we can go," said Obama as he celebrates the seventh anniversary of his inauguration today.

Watch President Obama's full speech below.

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Disturbing Footage From Aftermath Of Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder Released

Travis McMichael , the man who shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery can be seen drenched in blood as he speaks with authorities in new body camera video obtained by the Glynn County police.

The footage, first reported by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution on Monday (Dec. 14), shows Travis McMichael recounting the deadly incident with authorities. His hands and forearms are covered in Arbery’s blood.

One police officer at the scene attempts to calm Travis McMichael before gently asking him if there’s anyone that he wants them to call on his behalf. She goes on to explain that he has to go to the police station as a formality, and asks if he sustained any injuries.

Travis McMichael paces around with his hands in his pockets, at times wiping blood of his arms and face, while blaming Arbery for his own murder. Arbery’s body lay on the ground and he was still breathing at one point in the video, according to USA Today.

While authorities investigate the shooting, Travis McMichael appears agitated and tells an officer, “I want it [the investigation] done right, because this doesn’t look good. I mean, I just shot a man. Last thing I’ve ever wanted to do in my life.”

Arbery, 25, was out for a jog before being chased in a pick-up truck, cornered and gunned down by Travis McMichael with his father, Greg McMichael, a retired investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit D.A.’s office, by his side. Despite having no proof, father and son claim that they thought Arbery had been burglarizing the neighborhood.

Greg McMichael reportedly backed up his son’s account to police stating that his son “had no choice” but to kill Arbery. At least one  officer at the crime scene was familiar with Greg McMichael from his years in law enforcement and recent retirement.

In an additional recording, Greg McMichael says that he would have “shot him myself” and continues accusing Arbery of being the aggressor. “The guy turns and comes at him [Travis], and they start wrestling and Travis shoots him right in the damn chest,” he tells police. “The guy was trying to take the shotgun away from him [Travis].”

A third man, neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan filmed the incident on his cell phone and was later arrested for murder along with the McMichaels. Bryan has since questioned if they should have been following Arbery in the first place.

All three men remain jailed as they await trial on murder charges.

Click here to watch the body cam footage, but please be warned that the video is explicit.

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Bowie State And More HBCUs Receive Record-Breaking Donations From Billionaire

MacKenzie Scott is back at it! The billionaire venture philanthropist, novelist, and ex-wife of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, has donated tens of millions of dollars to several HBCUs in the last few days.

The week's isn't over yet, but so far, Scott has donated well over $100 million to historically Black colleges including Tougaloo College, which received $6 million on Wednesday (Dec. 16).

A day earlier, Scott gave a record $40 million each to Morgan State and Norfolk University, $25 million to Alcorn State University and Bowie State, $20 million to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore , and $15 million to Elizabeth City University.

Morgan State's $40 million gift is the largest single-party donation in the HBCU’s history, and the second-largest donation to a public Maryland university. 

“This monumental gift will change lives and shape futures,” Morgan State President David Wilson said in a statement. “I thank Ms. Scott for her due diligence and acknowledgement of the substantive value Morgan offers to so many throughout this nation and around the world, and entrusting that we will ensure the enduring impact of her generosity is truly transformational for many years to come.”

A majority of the donated funds will go to Morgan State’s newly established endowment fund. The remainder of the money will be used to continue the university’s efforts “essential to student success,” as well as advancing research and enhancing investments in other “mission-focused priorities and initiatives.”

Scott also donated millions to Howard University, Clark Atlanta and Delaware State University.

Her latest HBCU donation spree is a small portion of the $4 billion that she has given away over the last four months. The multi-billion dollar charitable windfall has been dispersed to 384 organizations and educational institutions in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.

And she’s still not done.

“Though I’m far from completing my pledge, this year of giving began with exposure to leaders from historically marginalized groups fighting inequities, and ended with exposure to thousands of organizations working to alleviate suffering for those hardest hit by the pandemic,” Scott wrote in a post on Medium.com. “Witnessing the determination, creativity, and compassion of people in a crisis has been inspiring.”

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Father And Son Who Brutally Murdered Ahmaud Arbery Denied Bail

Travis and Gregory McMichael, the father-son duo charged for the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery, were denied bail and must remain behind bars, a judge ruled on Friday (Nov. 13). Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, urged the judge to keep Travis, 34, and Gregory, 64, in custody.

“These men are proud of what they've done,” she said according to NBC News. “In their selfish minds, they think they're good guys.”

William “Roddie” Bryan, a neighbor to the McMichales', was denied bail over the summer.

Bryan recorded Arbery’s murder. All three men have been indicted on suspicion of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

Investigators found racist text messages and social media posts from Travis McMichael,  Cobb County prosecutors noted in court on Thursday. Bryan also told authorities that he heard Travis use the n-word after fatally shooting Arbery.

Arbery, 25, was out for a jog in late February when the men, approached, cornered, and shot him to death. The incident was recorded on Bryan’s cell phone.

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