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Brooklyn Officials Fight To Combat Erasure Of Black History In Public Schools

This is the perfect example of the fight against colonialism, and simply not giving credit to people of color for their achievements in American history. 

After a slew of preventative measures has taken place in an effort to stop teaching black history across public schools in New York City, Brooklyn Democrats have taken initiatives to nix out the culturally insensitive idea.

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton and Assemblywoman Diana Richardson rallied on Wednesday (Feb. 14), in an attempt to revoke the idea. Additionally, they hope to place this issue on the governor’s radar within the next few weeks, The New York Daily News reports.

“We will not allow black history to be erased, to be denigrated, or to be put to the sidelines by ignorance,” Hamilton said. “We are here to make sure that our educational system embraces the accomplishments of people of color.”

This initiative couldn’t have come at a more timely juncture considering all the controversial things happening in NYC public schools regarding black history. For instance, Patricia Catonia, a principal at Intermediate School 224 in the Bronx recently landed in hot water for prohibiting the teachings of Lena Horne, an African-American jazz and pop singer. Reportedly, Catonia took a poster of the legendary artist from a sixth-grade student without an explanation.

The Horne family released a statement to The Root regarding the matter saying:

The Horne Family sends its love, support, and deepest respect to the students of IS 224 in the Bronx, and to the teacher of class 601, Ms. Mercedes Liriano-Clark. Lena Horne had wanted to be a school teacher, joining the ranks of teachers in her own family. Life took her in a different direction. Our family is outraged at the actions of Patricia Catania: A woman who apparently believes the way to educate American children is to deny them knowledge of great Americans. Lena Horne has been honored by the highest levels of government around the world, as have many of the artists of the Harlem Renaissance. They are, whether Ms. Catania likes it or not, architects of this nation.

To the two students who did the work, the third student who liberated it from confiscation, and Ms. Mercedes Liriano-Clark, it would be our great privilege to meet with you and share stories of Lena Horne. Thank you for choosing to honor her with your project.

She sees you from above and sings, for you.

 

Other incidents have taken place like at Queens' Christ the King High School where 17-year-old student Malcolm Xavier Combs, was prohibited by his principal to get his first and middle initial printed on a school sweatshirt.

Still, governmental officials are determined to make a change and push to implement schools to teach its students about black history. “The truth is African-American history is American history,” Richardson affirmed. “Now is the time for this bill to come alive.”

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102-Year-Old Woman Evicted From Home To Make Room For Landlord’s Daughter

A 102-year-old woman living in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Ladera Heights is being evicted from her home of three decades. Thelma Smith was notified on March 8 that she has to move out so that the landlord’s daughter can move into the single-family home, after she graduates from law school.

Smith was on a month-to-month lease and has been paying “very low rent,” her longtime neighbor told the L.A. Times. She has to be out of the home by June 30.

While Smith’s eviction is legal, as landlords have the right to evict tenants to help relatives under L.A.'s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, Larry Gross of the Coalition for Economic Survival told the Times that the law is used to “target low-income paying tenants.”

Smith is a former director of the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charity aimed at serving underprivileged youth. She has yet to find a new home, and rejected her neighbor’s offer to move in, but it looks like she’ll be getting housing assistance from Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actor and former California Governor vowed to help Smith, whom he called a “dear friend for a long time.”

“Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless,” he tweeted Friday (May 24). Schwarzenegger went on to state that he will be reaching out to Smith. “Landlords, you’ll hear from me too,” he added.

Thelma has been a dear friend for a long time. Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless. Thelma, I’ll be reaching out to help. Landlords, you’ll hear from me too. https://t.co/IJQrclGQ6I

— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) May 24, 2019

Landlord Arthur Hilton explained to CBS News that the home was never meant to be a rental property, even though Smith had been living there for 30 years. “This property was purchased by my parents not for rental but for the Hilton family,” he said.

Smith, a widow who never had children, planned to live in the home for the remainder of her life.

See more on her story in the video above.

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Rey Ma Facing Additional Charges In Alleged Assault Against Brittney Taylor

Rey Ma has been hit with additional charges in an ongoing assault case in which she stands accused of attacking former Love & Hip Hop: New York cast member Brittney Taylor. The Bronx native appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court Friday (May 24) where she was arraigned on four misdemeanor charges, according to TMZ.

Although Remy was initially charged with assault, and turned herself in to authorities earlier in the month, she now faces two counts of third-degree assault, one count of second-degree aggravated harassment, and one count of second-degree harassment. She was offered the option to plead guilty to the top charge and enter anger management in exchange for having the other charges dropped but reportedly rejected the deal.

A trial date has been set of July 12.

Taylor claims Remy punched her in the eyed during a run-in at the Pretty Lou Charity Concert at New York City’s Irving Plaza last month. Remy was among the event performers along with Fat Joe, Jim Jones and more. She denies attacking Taylor and claims to have video evidence proving her innocence. TMZ reports that prosecutors have since changed the time of when the supposed altercation took place to line up with the time that Remy would have been at the venue.

Upon leaving the courtroom Friday, Remy didn’t mince words when speaking about going to trial. “Who looks forward to going to trial? I have things to do in my life,” she said according to the New York Daily News. “I have a real job, I have a family, I have a husband, I have a daughter.”

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34 black female cadets from West Point's Class of 2019 pose at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
Cadet Hallie H. Pound/U.S. Army via AP

Black Women Cadets Make History At West Point Graduation

A record number of black female cadets are set to graduate from West Point (The United States Military Academy). After completing four years of education and "testing their limits," 34 black women will be walking across the stage at the 2019 commencement ceremony for the first time in the school's 217-year history.

Earlier this month, the black female cadets came together for a pre-graduation group photo. Little did they know, the photos of them in traditional Old Corps uniforms with ceremonial sabers would make their rounds on social media.

“My hope when young Black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability an fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” shared one of the cadets, Tiffany Welch-Baker, in an interview with Because Of Them We Can.

Although West Point admitted its first black cadet until 1870, the academy didn’t graduate its first black cadet until the Reconstruction in 1877. In 1979, Vincent K. Brooks was made the first black captain of the Corps of Cadets. In 2017, Simone Askew became the first Black woman to lead the Corps of Cadets.

Senior cadet Stephanie Riley told The Associated Press in another interview: “I just showed myself and those who thought I couldn’t do it initially that yes, I can. And not just, ‘Yes, I can.’ I can show other little girls that yes, you can come to West Point. Yes, you can do something that maybe the rest of your peers aren’t actually doing. And yes, you can be different from the rest of the group.”

The class of 2019 includes a total of 223 women, another milestone since the first female cadets' graduation in 1980. The total number of graduation African-Americans doubled to 110, while the number of graduating Latinos became the largest, 88, in the academy's history. West Point also appointed Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams as its first black superintendent in July 2018.

Not only will West Point be graduating its 5,000th female cadet, but it will also have its highest number of female Hispanic graduates, 19. The commencement ceremony is set for Saturday, May 25, with Vice President Mike Pence delivering the commencement speech.

Congratulations to the black ladies of West Point's graduating Class of 2019!

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