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Jussie Smollett Surprises 6-Year-Old Double Amputee With Wheelchair Accessible Van

Kayden Kinckle got a special surprise after his school district failed to provide him with proper transportation. 

Kayden Kinckle is quite the inspiration.

The 6-year-old bilateral amputee, who has been motivating people to “do great things” with his daily Instagram videos and children’s books, got a huge surprise on Monday (Oct. 15) thanks to Jussie Smollett.

Smollett bought Kayden a brand new van complete with a wheelchair lift so that he can get to school without delay. The Empire star stepped in to help Kayden after the Englewood Public School district (where he attends school) failed to provide a proper bus to pick him up on the first day of school.

“He’s the only double amputee in Bergen County [New Jersey] where we live,” Kayden’s mom, Nicole Sessoms, told VIBE on Tuesday (Oct. 16). “They had a bus the prior two years and this year they forgot about him, [after] he switched to a new school.”

Before the van, Sessoms had been putting Kayden’s wheelchair in her small Nissan sedan to drive her son to another school where he was forced to wait for a standard school bus to pick him, once all the other students were dropped off. An aid was on hand to carry him on and off the bus, according to CBS New York. The school district blamed the mishap on a paperwork mix-up and promised to provide Kayden with a proper lift bus.

Smollett, who learned about Kayden’s story through social media, has become a family friend. He tries to spend time with Kayden whenever his schedule permits, Sessoms said.

When Smollett found out about the transportation issue, he reached out to Sessoms with a solution. “He saw what was happening with the bus and he called me and said ‘Kayden needs his own van!’”

The 35-year-old actor arranged to have the van delivered while Kayden and his family were hanging out with him in New York City.

 

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Guess who got Kayden a van with a lift??? Thank you Jussie Smollett!!!

A post shared by KaydenElijah (@kaydenkinckle) on

He may not be able to drive yet, but Kayden’s new van gives him a sense of independence. The first-grader has been overcoming obstacles and shattering expectations since he was in the womb. “That’s why the videos are so important and why I push so hard,” Sessoms said of her goal of chronicling the challenges that her son overcomes on a daily basis.

Kayden was born with omphalocele, a birth disorder that caused his bladder, liver, intestines and spleen to form outside of his body. His umbilical chord was also wrapped around his foot and legs causing both limbs to be deformed at birth. Doctors told Sessoms that Kayden would never be able to walk.

He’s not only walking on his prosthetics, Sessoms believes that he’ll be able to run one day. “They had to close his stomach up before anything else,” she recalled. “Seeing his feet and legs like that? I wasn’t worried. It’s just a big [example] of walking by faith and not by sight.”

Kayden underwent two abdominal surgeries as an infant. His right foot and left leg were amputated by the time he was a toddler. A video of him learning to walk with prosthetics went viral in 2014, but he tore his ACL a few months later. “That’s usually a sports injury with a lot of pain, he didn’t have any pain with it," Sessoms said. “They went back in and looked at his knee and found out other problems.”

Doctors suggested surgery but warned her that he would have to undergo “multiple” surgeries after the initial procedure. “They couldn’t guarantee that his knee would be able to handle his weight, so he had a second amputation.”

The family launched a Go Fund Me page to raise money to buy  Kayden a motorized wheelchair, which is not covered by insurance. A new wheelchair will make it easier for Kayden to transition between the chair and his prosthetics, especially when he gets tired from walking (which is mother said can happen within minutes of moving a short distance.) Sessoms likes to challenge Kayden to do things like walk to his wheelchair and un-hook the seatbelt, to subtly teach him that his disability is not a limitation.

 

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A post shared by KaydenElijah (@kaydenkinckle) on

Kayden will soon undergo what Sessoms hopes will be his last surgical procedure. The surgery is necessary because Kayden's limb was “contracted outward” following his second amputation. “If he lays on his back or on his stomach his leg isn’t flat unless he puts it that way. The surgery is to loosen the muscles.”

Kayden will be without his prosthetics for about a month-and-a-half after the surgery. He will also get a new pair of prosthetics that will be made specifically for him.

Despite what can be a hectic schedule between working and taking care of two young children, Sessoms -- who is a mother of six (four adult children and two minors) -- said that she's grateful for such a large family. “I say that’s my tribe called blessed. Their help and support means everything. I really don’t know what I would do without them.”

See below for video of Kayden learning to walk after his first amputation.

 

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People keep asking was this Me! YES and I still GOT IT!! My name is Kayden !

A post shared by KaydenElijah (@kaydenkinckle) on



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Black Out Tuesday: A Letter From VIBE

These unprecedented times are insightful, intense, infuriating, and inspiring. As Black editors, writers, and creatives, we have the privilege of telling our stories from those within the entertainment industry and to those who consume the Black art that has influenced generations.

Since before the days of Rodney King, this is nothing new. We’ve been here before, one too many times in Black history. Yet, we’ll continue to tell our often overlooked and untold stories within Black culture through the lens of facts and feelings. Although we’ve always made this our mission for nearly three decades, we’ll continue to stand in the fact that Black Lives Matter.

Today, we join #TheShowMustBePaused movement in honor of the one too many sisters and brothers lost to police brutality and systemic racism. Our support includes ceasing the production of content for #BlackOutTuesday. Please take a moment to practice self-care, and find ways to lend your voice and power to make “justice for all” ring true.

Registering to vote is a start. ✊🏾✊🏿✊🏽✊🏼

#BlackOutTuesday. #TheShowMustBePaused. pic.twitter.com/JcuT23la5Q

— Vibe Magazine (@VibeMagazine) June 2, 2020

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Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

George Floyd Died From Homicide By Asphyxiation, Independent Autopsy Finds

George Floyd was asphyxiated to death from “sustained forceful pressure” that cut off blood flow to his brain, according to an independent autopsy performed by medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson.

The 46-year-old father died from “homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump announced on Monday (June 1).

“Sustained pressure on the right side of Mr. Floyd’s carotid artery impeded blood flow to the brain and weight on his back impeded his ability to breathe,” reads a statement posted to Crump’s Twitter account. “The independent examiners found that weight on the back, handcuffs, and positioning, were contributory factors because they impeded the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function.”

The autopsy also found that Floyd “died at the scene” and not at a hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

Fired Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed jamming his knee into Floyd’s neck ass he lay handcuffed on the ground, pleading for air. Two additional officers were helping to apply pressure to Floyd's body, while a fourth officer stood and watched. Chauvin was arrested on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges last week. The other officers, Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kuen and Tou Thao, have not been arrested.

“For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse. Beyond question, he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by fired officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body from two additional officers kneeling on him,” Crump said. “Mr Floyd’s death was a homicide by officers who taunted him while holding him down for more than eight minutes. And the officer who stood by doing nothing was a physical blue shield — a living symbol of the code of silence.”

Floyd’s family ordered the private autopsy after the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office claimed that his death was caused by pre-existing health conditions.

“What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death,” said Dr. Baden. “Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breath. That’s not true.”

Global protests continued to call for justice in the murders of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other victims of police brutality and racial violence.

Read the full autopsy statement below.

 

Independent medical examiners determined #GeorgeFloyd’s death was due to asphyxia from sustained forceful pressure. Full statement: pic.twitter.com/cIbWu8ssWX

— Benjamin Crump, Esq. (@AttorneyCrump) June 1, 2020

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Prince Williams/Wireimage

Killer Mike Gives Emotional Speech Urging Peaceful Protests Amid Unrest In Atlanta

Killer Mike joined T.I., and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in delivering emotional pleas to discourage ATLiens from burning the city as protests broke out on Friday (May 29) in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless victims of police brutality.

“I don’t want to be here,” began Killer Mike. “I’m the son of an Atlanta city police officer, my cousin is a police officer…I got a lot of love and respect for police officers down to the original eight [Black] police officers in Atlanta that, even after becoming police, had to dress in a YMCA because white officers didn’t want to get dressed with ni**ers. And here we are, 80 years later and I watched a white officer assassinate a Black man and I know that tore your heart out. I know it’s crippling and I have nothing positive to say in this moment because I don’t want to be here.”

The Atlanta native went on to share background on his family’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and other social justice issues. “I’m duty-bound to be here to simply say, 'It is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with the enemy.’”

In what turned out to be another viral moment, Tip called Atlanta “Wakanda” while imploring demonstrators not to destroy the city. “Atlanta has been here for us, this city don’t deserve that. I understand that a lot of others do, but we can’t do this here, this is Wakanda. It’s sacred. It must be protected,” said the 39-year-old rapper.

Mayor Bottoms simply told protestors to simply “go home.”

“Above everything else, I am a mother to four Black children in America, one of whom is 18 years old,” she said. “When I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt. Yesterday, when I heard there was a rumor about violent protests in Atlanta, I did what a mother would do: I called my son and I said ‘where are you?’ I said ‘I cannot protect you and Black boys shouldn’t be out today.’ So you’re not going to out-concern me, and out care about where we are in America.

“I wear this each and every day and I pray over my children each and every day. What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos.”

WATCH: "If you love this city, go home!" https://t.co/c8cPBZLATJ pic.twitter.com/v9IEBVoXpB

— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) May 30, 2020

At the request of Mayor Bottoms, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency in Fulton County, and deployed 500 troops from the state's national guard.

They will deploy immediately to assist @ga_dps, @GaDNRLE, @GA_Corrections & local law enforcement who are working tirelessly to subdue unlawful activity & restore peace. We will continue to make all state resources available to local leaders during this emergency situation. (2/2)

— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) May 30, 2020

See Killer Mike's full statement below as well as photos and video of the protests.

A powerful scene in Atlanta right now, this gives me chills. pic.twitter.com/SK7oOvzs8g

— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) May 29, 2020

More shots from Atlanta tonight pic.twitter.com/TmUmW5nXxZ

— kieron (@kieroncg) May 30, 2020

The chief of police in Atlanta talking and listening to everyone that has something to say#ATLFORUS #AtlantaProtest pic.twitter.com/qirbQRgViU

— Lilly - BLACK LIVES MATTER (@joonhopekook) May 29, 2020

It’s not just Minneapolis, we are now seeing protests in cities across the country over the death of George Floyd. This is in Atlanta as some smash the glass at our downtown CNN headquarters. #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/iwJxFaUfxW

— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) May 30, 2020

Police cars getting literally destroyed in Atlanta outside the CNN Center pic.twitter.com/x5zRxZVQpb

— Fernando Alfonso III (@fernalfonso) May 29, 2020

Downtown Atlanta right now.... PEACEFUL PROTEST ! #BlackLivesMatter ! pic.twitter.com/6nejzqccVE

— KP 🦋. (@kailynnlee) May 29, 2020

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