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Tales From a Black Filled Childhood: How I Became an Upstander

 I faced history one day and found myself. I was once a 14 year old boy introduced into a program that would change my life forever. My first experience was with a Holocaust survivor named Max Edelman back when I was in 9th grade. I can still hear his voice ringing in my ear as I remember him stating that, when he was in the work camps he use to wonder “does that world care?”, arriving on the negative side of this question. Listening to him made me look within myself, realizing that I was guilty of the same feat. I use to not care. In middle school I was known as the class bully, taking my title too far at times. But I faced history one day and found myself.

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Featured Article

Youth Civil Rights Activists Finally Get A Prom, Fifty Years Later

As Black youth around the country prepare for Prom season, former youth activists will finally get to celebrate half a century later.

Young people from Birmingham, AL that took part in Dr. King’s Children’s March in 1963 were denied their proms in their home city.

Now fifty years later, an event has been organized to give those students the prom they never had.

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News Flash

Tyler, the Creator Responds to Mountain Dew Controversy: “There’s no type of hate being portrayed in that work of art at all”

A couple of days ago we reported that PepsiCo decided to pull a Mountain Dew ad directed by Tyler, the Creator due to claims that the commercial–one of three in a series–was racist.

Now, Tyler, the Creator has issued a response to all of the criticism and speaks directly to Dr. Boyce Watkins, one of the commercials most vocal critics.

From The Fader:

…There’s no type of hate being portrayed in that work of art at all — which I’m confused by. But this older black dude, Dr. Boyce Watkins, I guess he found it racist because I was portraying stereotypes, which is ridiculous because, one, all of those dudes [in the line-up] are my friends….

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Featured Article

Morehouse College Athletes Accused of Raping Spelman Student

Four Morehouse students–three basketball players and one football player–have been charged with rape in two separate cases.

The alleged victim is an 18 year-old Spelman student.

The accusations were brought to campus police, and all four were subsequently arrested. Each has since been released on $100,000 bail.

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Featured Article

Angela Davis Speaks Out on Addition of Assata Shakur to Most Wanted Terrorist List

In the wake of news that Assata Shakur has been added to the Most Wanted Terrorist List, renowned activist/scholar Angela Davis and Shakur’s longtime attorney Lennox Hinds spoke with Democracy Now about the motivations behind the FBI’s recent actions.

From Democracy Now:

It seems to me that this act incorporates or reflects the very logic of terrorism,” Davis says. “I can’t help but think that it’s designed to frighten people who are involved in struggles today.

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Featured Article

San Diego Students Suspended, Banned from Graduation and Prom Over Twerk Video

A group of students at Scripps Ranch High School in San Diego have been suspended, banned from prom, and will not walk at graduation after participating in a twerk video that found its way onto the internet.

Thirty-two dancers participated in the video, allegedly unaware that it would be semi-professionally edited with music, and posted on YouTube. The filmmakers used school equipment and filmed the video outside of their media classroom.

Many of the affected students and their classmates are outraged by the harsh punishments, and hope to have their privileges reinstated at an upcoming hearing.

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Guest Post

A 16 Year-old Black Girl, The Criminalization Of Students, And The Push For STEM Studies

By Kim Moore

On Monday, April 22, 2013, Kiera Wilmot went to school and mixed “The Works” toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a water bottle she brought from home. The outcome was a small “explosion” causing the top of the bottle to pop off which resulted in no damage and no injury to anyone.

According to the police report, an officer was called to the school and Kiera was arrested and taken off campus to a Juvenile Assessment Center. The arresting officer contacted the Assistant State Attorney, Tammy Glotfelty, who instructed him to charge Kiera with possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device. Kiera has been expelled from school, will complete her diploma through an expulsion program and will ultimately be tried as an adult. But does the punishment fit the “crime”? And how does this incident fit into the criminalization of students and the push for STEM (science, technology engineering and math) studies?

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News Flash

Emmett Till’s Family Dismiss Lil Wayne’s “Apology;” Call for Face-to-Face Meeting

Earlier this week we reported that Lil Wayne had issued a letter to Emmett Till’s family, apologizing for using Till’s name in the song “Karate Chop.”

Well, a spokesperson for the family dismissed the apology, claiming that it was inadequate.

From Rolling Stone:

“While it’s commendable that he has vowed to respect the legacy of Emmett Till and his memory to ‘not use or reference Emmett Till or the Till family in his music,’ this statement falls short of an apology, as none is mentioned,” Airickca Gordon-Taylor, who is also executive director of the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation, said.

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News Flash

VIDEO: Janelle Monae’s “Q.U.E.E.N.” f/ Erykah Badu

Yesterday, two of our absolute favorites – Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu – unleashed a brand new video, “Q.U.E.E.N.

“Q.U.E.E.N.” is the first single from Monae’s forthcoming album Electric Lady; and it’s probably the funkiest thing you’ll hear all year!

Only two R&B phenoms like Janelle and Erykah could give us something like this.

Check out “Q.U.E.E.N.” below:

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Featured Article

Principal Fires Security Guards and Invests in Arts Programs; Transforms School!

Like many schools around the country, Roxbury, MA’s Orchard Gardens was plagued by violence, lack of organization, and falling test scores.

Then school principal Andrew Bott (the 6th in seven years) came along and changed everything.

He immediately fired the school’s many security guards, and invested that money into art teachers, programs, and facilities.

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