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Macklemore Responds To Alton Sterling Shooting By Calling Upon White People To Demand Change

"The systematic oppression that enables a murder like this will be corrected once white people care enough to change it."

Macklemore has always been outspoken about his ideals on racism. In the past, he has identified his own white privilege and called out celebrities, such as Iggy Azalea, for cultural appropriation.

Most recently, the "Same Love" rapper chose to speak up about the death of Alton Sterling, a Baton Rouge man shot by two Louisiana police officers.

How many more murders of black people by police before we hold our system and those that enforce it accountable? The footage of Alton Sterling being murdered by a police officer is equal parts horrific, infuriating and devastating. How many times can we watch a family at a press conference in hysterics over the killing of their loved one? Murdered by those that have been assigned to protect us. What do we do in times like these? It's a question for everyone, but specifically white people. The systematic oppression that enables a murder like this, will be corrected once white people care enough to change it. Alton Sterling didn't create this problem. This is hundreds of years of conditioning. We have been told our entire lives that people that look like Alton Sterling, selling CD's outside of a store, are a threat to our society. The news, TV, movies, jails, history books, schools and our laws all uphold this false belief. A person isn't born fearing someone because of the color of their skin. This fear is taught, crafted and instilled in the fabric of our American lives. And although we make strides and progress is measurable at times, I can't help but think....If I was put in the exact same situation that Alton was in, I would be alive today...Because of the color of my skin. And he's dead because of his. I often don't know what to do during these moments. It becomes easier to vent on social media than to take direct action. Here's a couple things I've gotten hip to in the last 2 years. 1: Financially support black led organizations. Put your resources behind people of color that are at the forefront of the movement 2: Do a People's Institute "Undoing racism" training. One of the most eye opening and important tools to understanding our past in relation to the work that needs to be done. The website is http://www.pisab.org 3: Have conversations about race. In real life. With people that look like you and people that don't. RIP #altonsterling

A photo posted by Ben Haggerty (@macklemore) on

Macklemore blames what happened to Sterling on what he refers to as "hundreds of years of conditioning." "We have been told our entire lives that people that look like Alton Sterling, selling CD's outside of a store, are a threat to our society," Macklemore says. "The news, TV, movies, jails, history books, schools and our laws all uphold this false belief. A person isn't born fearing someone because of the color of their skin. This fear is taught, crafted and instilled in the fabric of our American lives."

What does the "White Privilege II" rapper believe will end injustice and senseless death? "The systematic oppression that enables a murder like this will be corrected once white people care enough to change it," Macklemore says.

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SNAP Changes Place Nearly 700,000 People At Risk Of Losing Food Stamps

In a report by USA TODAY, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) assisted over 40 million Americans in 2017. Two years later, the program faces changes that may result in the loss of food stamps for 688,000 people. According to NBC News, the Trump administration will revamp the mandate that recipients work a certain amount of hours to be eligible for food assistance.

Those within the age range of 18 to 49 and have no children or are able-bodied were previously mandated to work no less than 20 hours a week in order to qualify. Now, as states were once allowed to excuse this requirement due to increased unemployment rates in certain states, the Trump administration will no longer allow states to practice this method. NPR notes Americans within that age range tallied at four million in 2016. The new mandate will only allow states to waiver a recipient's unemployment situation if that state's unemployment rate is six percent.

"We're taking action to reform our SNAP program in order to restore the dignity of work to a sizable segment of our population and be respectful of the taxpayers who fund the program," Sonny Perdue, Agriculture Secretary, said. "Americans are generous people who believe it is their responsibility to help their fellow citizens when they encounter a difficult stretch. That's the commitment behind SNAP, but, like other welfare programs, it was never intended to be a way of life."

Analysts state the government could save close to $5 billion through this new legislation. Out of the 2.9 million adults that fall into this category that utilize SNAP, 2.1 million are unemployed.

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Cory Booker Outlines $100 Billion Plan To Support HBCUs

In an effort to continue the support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), revealed a plan to do just that. According to The Hill, Booker shared on Tuesday (Dec. 3) a $100 billion investment agenda that'll focus its funds on the education departments in the form of grants, revamp infrastructure, and stand at the forefront of pushing policies that'll combat climate change.

"I am here today because of the power of these institutions to uplift and bring about opportunity to Black Americans," Booker said. "As president, I will redouble our efforts to support and invest in HBCUs across the country—my mother and father wouldn't have it any other way." His parents attended Fisk University and North Carolina Central University (NCCU).

Part of the proposal also aims to bolster HBCUs' Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs and support the Debt-Free College Act. The legislation has the potential to allow students at HBCUs, MSIs (minority-serving institutions), or public colleges to receive a higher education debt-free through public funding.

Another point of the plan aims to "provide $30 billion in grants to upgrade infrastructure, including facilities and technology, at HBCUs and MSIs to ensure all students have access to a world-class education in world-class facilities."

Read more of the plan's points here.

As the son of two proud HBCU grads (@FISK1866 and @NCCU!), I'm proud to announce that today my campaign is proposing the boldest-ever plan to invest in HBCUs: https://t.co/j7kpKmGRjV

— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) December 3, 2019

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Texas Appeals Court Grants Stay Of Execution For Rodney Reed Stay

A Texas Criminal Appeals Court granted Rodney Reed a stay of execution on Friday (Nov. 15). The decision came hours after the state’s parole board recommended that Reed’s lethal injection be delayed by 120-days.

Reed was scheduled to be lethally injected on Nov. 20. Although the court decision means that he no longer has an execution date, the parole board failed to approve a request to commute Reed's sentence to life in prison, the Washington Post reports.

The 51-year-old Texas native has spent that last two decades on death row for the1996 rape and murder of Stacey Stites. Reed has filed numerous appeals over the years but his story only recently went viral catching the attention of lawmakers and celebrities including Rihanna, Oprah, Beyonce, T.I., Kim Kardashian West, the latter of whom was visiting with Reed when his execution was delayed.

Reed, who has long maintained his innocence, says Stite's was killed by her fiance, Jimmy Fennell. Fennell’s lawyer Robert Phillips “laughed off” Reed’s allegations, according to numerous reports.

Fennell served 10 years in prison for the attempted kidnapping and rape of another woman while working as a police officer in 2007. He was briefly suspected in Stite’s murder. Authorities turned their attention to Reed after his DNA was found inside Stites, from what he contends was a consensual relationship. Reed, who is black, believes that race played a part in the case because Stites was a white woman. He was convicted by an all-white jury.

Reed’s legal team has also provided evidence to prove his innocence, including new witnesses.

"We’re happy that we’re going to have an opportunity to present the compelling evidence that Rodney Reed didn’t commit the crime," Bryce Benjet of the Innocence Project, who took on Reed’s case, told The Texas Tribune. "The Court of Criminal Appeals recognized the substance of this case and the need for a special hearing where all the evidence can be considered."

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