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By Aaron
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Sorry Jada, the Short Answer is “No”

 On Monday, Jada Pinkett Smith offered a question to her Facebook followers trying to prompt conversation around the topic of whether or not black women should be willing to allow white women to grace the covers of Black magazines such as Essence. She asks:

 With love and respect to all parties involved, my question is this…if we ask our white sisters, who tend to be the guardians of the covers of mainstream magazines, to consider women of color to grace these covers, should we not offer the same consideration to white women to grace our covers? Should women extend their power to other women simply because they are women? To my women of color, I am clear we must have something of our own, but is it possible to share in the spirit in which we ask our white sisters to share with us?

While I appreciate the effort to spur dialogue, this question shocked me for a number of reasons. 

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REPORT: Half of People Shot by Police are Mentally Ill

According to an investigation conducted by the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, a shockingly high percentage of individuals shot by police are mentally ill.

Nearly half of the 375-500 people shot by police each year suffer from mental health problems.

The two publications were able to piece together these findings  despite a lack of national data on this topic.

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NYPD Whistleblowers Say Stop and Frisk Abuse Was Propelled by Quota System; Called ‘Rats’ by Fellow Officers

Two NYPD whistleblowers testified in the big court battle over the Stop and Frisk program this week.

Both allege that the abuse of the program has been propelled by a quota system, in which officers were pressured to make a certain amount of stops per month.

Both officers say they’ve faced harassment from fellow officers for speaking out.

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Detroit Students Organize March to Protest School-to-Prison Pipeline

An organization called Detroit’s Youth Voice have organized a march this Saturday to “break the School-to-Prison Pipeline.”

As many have argued, school disciplinary policies like suspensions and expulsions remove children from the classroom. Time away from the class hurts youth academically and can set them down a road leading to prison.

According to the ALCU, 36 percent of Detroit Public School students were suspended in the 2011-2012 academic year.

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News Flash

Fox Developing O.J. Simpson Trial Miniseries

The OJ Simpson trial is the gift that keeps on giving.

Nearly 20 years after the “Trial of the Century,” Fox announced that it plans to air a series based on a book (Toobin’s The People v. O.J. Simpson) about the O.J. Simpson trial:

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Chicago Public Schools Reportedly Closing Over 50 Schools

Later today, Chicago Public Schools will reportedly announce over 50 school closures.

If this is true, it will represent the largest round of school closures in our nation’s history. Chicago Teacher’s  Union President Karen Lewis says the mass closures will send the district into chaos.

CPS denies that these initial reports are accurate, and maintains that closures are the right thing to do to ensure that students “have all the things they need to learn and succeed.”

These closures will disproportionately impact minority students.

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Massachusetts Sheriff Refuses to Apologize for Obama Assassination Joke

Joseph D. McDonald Jr, A Republican sheriff out of Massachusetts, has refused to apologize for a totally outrageous and offensive joke he made about President Obama at a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast.

Hoping to get some laughs, he told a story about Abraham Lincoln visiting Obama in his dreams and urging him to go to the theater.

In case you didn’t know, Lincoln was murdered in a theater.

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Jada Pinkett Smith: Black Magazines Should Put White Women on Covers, and Vice Versa

Jada Pinkett Smith’s latest Facebook rant went in an unexpected direction.

Jada argues that if black women want to be featured on the covers of mainstream publications, then black magazines should return the favor and feature white women on theirs (see above for Jada’s homemade examples).

According to Jada, women of all colors must work towards being able to “see each other beyond race, class, and culture.”

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Fordham Student Sandra Arnold Creates Database to Protect Slave Burial Sites

We’ve heard lots of stories about construction workers uncovering the unmarked burial sites of slaves.

Well, Sandra Arnold has created something that might help with that problem.

Arnold, a history student at Fordham University, has created a database that allows participants to mark the burial sites of slaves:

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Common Discusses His Efforts to Give Back to His Hometown

Rapper/actor/activist, Chicago native, and BYP supporter Common recently wrote an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times about how he plans to continue to give back to the youth of Chicago.

In a time when the news about Chicago’s youth seems devastatingly bad, it’s nice to know that celebrities are giving back in various ways and that they are using their resources to provide services to youth who need it most.

In his article, Common discussed his goals for his Common Ground Foundation:

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