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California Approves Bill Banning Racial Discrimination Based On Hairstyles

“Hair remains a rampant source of racial discrimination with serious economic and health consequences.”

California is set to become the latest state to ban racial discrimination based on hairstyles. Senate Bill 188, also known as The Crown Act, was introduced by state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) in January and unanimously approved in a 37-0 vote Monday (April 22).

The bill outlines the proximity between race and hair and how the history of the U.S. has been “riddled with laws and societal norms” that equate  “blackness’” which includes physical traits such as “dark skin, kinky and curly hair” with inferiority, and therefore subjecting black people to “separate and unequal treatment.”

“This idea also permeated societal understanding of professionalism,” Morgan states in the bill. “Professionalism was and still is closely linked to European features and mannerisms, which entails that those who do not naturally fall into Eurocentric norms must alter their appearances, sometimes drastically and permanently, in order to be deemed professional.

“Despite the great strides American society and laws have made to reverse the racist ideology that Black traits are inferior, hair remains a rampant source of racial discrimination with serious economic and health consequences, especially for Black individuals,” Morgan continues.

Furthermore, dress codes and grooming policies prohibiting “natural hair” have a “disparate impact on Black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees than any other group.”

The 1964 Civil Rights Act banning racial discrimination extends to afros as well but doesn’t include other hairstyles. As pointed out in SB 188, “courts do not understand that afros are not the only natural presentation of Black hair. Black hair can also be naturally presented in braids, twists, and locks.”

Although the bill has yet to be signed into law, the state isn't alone in making moves to end the racist bias against natural hair. In February, New York City passed a similar bill in February imposing a $250,000 penalty for hair discrimination.

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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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MANDEL NGAN

Baltimore Sergeant To Plead Guilty For Planting Evidence

A retired Baltimore police sergeant will enter a guilty plea next week after prosecutors allege he planted evidence at a 2014 crime scene.

According to The Baltimore Sun, Keith Gladstone was out to dinner with another officer when he received a frantic phone call from his mentee, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins who said he ran down a man with his car in Northeast Baltimore.

Gladstone allegedly got a BB gun from the trunk of his police car and drove it to the scene. When he arrived he “dropped the BB gun near a pickup truck” as the man named Demetric Simon laid on the ground injured. Per an indictment, Jenkins told another officer to move the BB gun closer to Simon.

During an interview with The Sun, Simon denies having any weapons on his person, especially a BB gun. “I never had no BB gun,” Simon last year. “I never aimed nothing at him. He ran me over because I was getting away.”

Gladstone and Jenkins often collaborated together before Jenkins went on to lead the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force Unit. He's now serving 25 years in federal prison.

New charges outline Jenkins wrote the false police statement against Simon and attributed it to another cop who was at the scene.

It appears Gladstone's unethical ways have caught up to him. He reportedly worked in high-ranking drug units despite misconduct accusations that included being reprimanded by a federal judge and also being found liable by a civil jury for assaulting a man in 2015 during an arrest.

Gladstone has been charged with conspiracy to deprive civil rights, conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States and witness tampering. If convicted of all three, he could face 20 years in prison.

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Mark Wilson

Single Mom Lands NASA Internship, Neighbors Raise Money To Cover Costs

India Jackson landed a prestigious internship with NASA, however, the single mother was unsure how she would manage it, as NASA — which received a budget of $21.5 billion for 2019 fiscal year — requires all interns to pay for their own housing, travel, and other costs.

Jackson had her daughter Jewel when she was a junior at Georgia State University, yet went onto earn her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the same school. After her acceptance into the 10-week program in Houston, the 32-year-old wasn't sure how she was going to get it done.

Then her cousin launched a Go Fund Me page and within two days neighbors and some strangers helped raise $8,510.

"Some people gave $3, $1, $5 — whatever they could give," Jackson, of Atlanta, Georgia, said. "I was extremely overwhelmed with hope and promise and joy. I am forever grateful to everyone on that donor list and I sent personal thank you's. Some people I knew, most people I don't and it's amazing of what humanity can bring regardless of race, gender.'

Jackson says it wasn't easy being a full-time college student and mother.

"I definitely didn't imagine being in the place I am today," she said. "Money was always an issue, cars always break down. My daughter always comes first, so I had my final exams next week when she was taking her milestones test [at school], so when she was asleep I had to study."

Jackson will be researching solar energetic particles Johnson Space Center and said her desire to be a scientist isn't rooted in money.

"We don't become scientists to make money. We become scientists to make history," Jackson said. "There are no words, only emotion that I have. Who doesn't want to work for NASA? [I'm] ecstatic."

Congrats to India Jackson.

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