Bipartisan bill aimed at fighting sickle cell disease signed into law by Trump

A bipartisan bill aimed at fighting sickle disease was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Tuesday night.

The Sickle Cell Disease and Other Heritable Blood Disorders Research, Surveillance, Prevention, and Treatment Act of 2018 was introduced by Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., in February and passed in the Senate in October.

The bill also reauthorizes a current sickle cell disease prevention and treatment program for nearly $5 million each year over the next five years.

NAACP launches #LogOutFacebook after reports on black voter suppression

The NAACP has temporarily signed off Facebook and is calling on others to do the same due to the tech company’s “history of data hacks which unfairly target its users of color.”

In a week-long protest called #LogOutFacebook that started Tuesday, the civil rights organization will not post on the social media platform or the Facebook-owned Instagram. The NAACP said it also returned a donation it recently received from the company.

The organization is asking lawmakers to investigate the social networking giant after reports given to the Senate intelligence committee Monday showed Russians used Facebook posts in an attempt to suppress the African-American vote during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Author of memo blasting Facebook’s ‘black people problem’ speaks out

The Facebook manager who wrote a memo accusing the company of systemic racism has described an atmosphere that he said was dismissive when he raised the issue with the company’s human resources department.

Mark S. Luckie, who was a manager on the company’s entertainment and partnerships team, on Tuesday publicly posted the memo in which he alleges that Facebook “has a black people problem.”

Luckie said in a phone interview with NBC News that he brought the issue to Facebook’s attention, which downplayed the issue.

Author of memo blasting Facebook’s ‘black people problem’ speaks out

Trump addresses hundreds of young black conservatives, praises Kanye

WASHINGTON — During the 2016 campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump consistently tried to reach black voters with one controversial question: ‘What the hell do you have to lose?”

Friday, in front of hundreds of young black conservatives attending a leadership summit at the White House, Trump recalled members of his campaign telling him the question was disrespectful to African-Americans.

‘LGBT’ flyers — picturing Lady Liberty, Gun, Beer and Trump — sent to Nashville gay bars

The acronym “LGBT” typically stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. However, flyers sent to Tennessee gay bars last week with the acronym emblazoned on them were not interpreted by the local community to be supportive of gender and sexual minorities.

Gay bars in Nashville received pamphlets with the acronym and images of the Statue of Liberty (L), a gun (G), a beer bottle (B) and President Donald Trump (T). The gun pictured in the flyer, an assault rifle, is similar to the one used in the shooting at Orlando gay nightclub Pulse, advocates pointed out.

Alabama memorial reveals horrors of racism, honors victims

When The National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened this April in Montgomery, Alabama, attorney and author Bryan Stevenson was told no one would want to claim such painful and egregious part of history.

Stevenson created the 11,000-square-foot memorial in the capital city through his organization the Equal Justice Initiative. The memorial features over 800 steel monuments with the names of over 4,400 black people who were lynched from 1877 to 1950. Over 200,000 people have visited so far, according to the organization.

Former first lady Michelle Obama launches When We All Vote campaign

My reporting on former first lady Michelle Obama’s initiative When We All Vote was featured on a segment of AM JOY on MSNBC.

Former first lady Michelle Obama has just launched her When We All Vote campaign to get the vote out during the midterms. Former senior adviser to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, joins Joy Reid to discuss this nationwide tour.

Michelle Obama hits the road to push midterm voter turnout

WASHINGTON — Former first lady Michelle Obama is hitting the road to encourage people to show up for the midterms.

Hosting events through her new initiative, When We All Vote, a nonpartisan organization that she launched in July, Obama and various celebrities will promote voter registration, awareness on issues and civic participation.

“The truth is, when we stay home, things stay the same, or they get worse,” Obama said in a public service announcement released Thursday. “But when we all vote, we get new ideas and new energy. We get leaders who share our values and listen to our voices. That’s how we change America.”

Hollywood still casts based on looks, even as it makes strides to diversify

When the cast of “Crazy Rich Asians,” scheduled for release Aug. 15, was announced in 2017, many celebrated the opportunity to see a major Hollywood film with a cast of Asian descent.

But despite the excitement, there was some backlash centered on the film’s star, Henry Golding, who plays a character of Chinese descent raised in the U.K. Some believed Golding, who is of British, Malaysian, and Singaporean descent, was not right for the lead, and thought the role should have gone to an actor of full Asian descent instead.

Golding has said it was fair for others to question the film’s casting and also defended his upbringing. “I think it’s fair to question motives of why they’re choosing me instead of someone else,” he told The New York Times. “I never felt I wasn’t suitable for the role because I was half-white. I’ve always seen myself as Asian, so I never had any qualms about that.”

Hollywood still casts based on looks, even as it makes strides to diversify

Trump praised as ‘pro-black’ at White House prison reform event

WASHINGTON — President Trump focused on efforts to reform the prison system Wednesday, meeting with faith leaders and lawmakers at the White House.

In a roundtable discussion with nearly 20 inner city pastors and faith leaders, Trump touted a low unemployment rate and booming economy that he said would make it easier for former prisoners to reintegrate into society.

“We have passed the First Step Act through the House and we are working to pass that into law, and I think we’ll be able to do it. When we say ‘hire American,’ we mean all Americans,” the president told a group that included Trump supporters Paul White-Cain, Alveda King and Pastor Darrell Scott, along with celebrity pastor John Gray. White House chief of staff General John Kelly and son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner were also present.

Trump praised as ‘pro-black’ at White House prison reform event

Papa John’s founder resigns as chairman of the board amid backlash after admitting he used the N-word

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter resigned as chairman of the company Wednesday amid growing backlash over his use of the n-word during a conference call in May.

In a statement late Wednesday night, the company said it had accepted his resignation and that Olivia Kirtley will be the company’s Lead Independent Director. The company said it will also appoint a new chairman in the coming weeks.

The resignation comes after Schnatter admitted that he used “inappropriate and hurtful language” while on a conference call in May.

Papa John’s founder resigns as chairman of the board amid backlash after admitting he used the N-word

Hundreds gather to celebrate life of Antwon Rose II

SWISSVALE, Pa. — Hundreds gathered in a school auditorium Monday to pay respects to Antwon Rose, the unarmed 17-year-old high school student who was killed by a police officer last week.

Rose, a rising senior and honor student, was shot three times after fleeing a vehicle during a traffic stop and running away from officers.

The funeral service was mostly restricted to friends and family. The ceremony was held at Woodland Hills Intermediate School, where Rose attended middle school. No protests were scheduled Monday out of respect for his family.

Protests erupt following fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose

Chanting ‘black lives matter’ and demanding justice, hundreds of people gathered outside of the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh on Thursday to protest the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen who was running away from officers when he was killed.

“I am not what you think. I’m confused and afraid. I wonder what path I will take. I hear that there’s only 2 ways out,” said Christian of Youth Park Collective, reading a poem written by Antwon Rose II in tenth grade and afterward calling for a moment silence.

Protests erupt following fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose

Roseanne Barr blames racist tweet on Ambien after ABC cancels ‘Roseanne’

Roseanne Barr went on an extended apology offensive Tuesday night after ABC canceled her hit sitcom “Roseanne” over a tweet in which Barr referred to a former adviser to President Barack Obama as an “ape.”

Roseanne Barr blames racist tweet on Ambien after ABC cancels ‘Roseanne’

Pulse survivor and others gather to celebrate ‘freedom’ from being gay

WASHINGTON — Pulse nightclub shooting survivor Luis Javier Ruiz joined a few dozen others at a so-called Freedom March in Washington, D.C., on Saturday where those in attendance celebrated no longer identifying as gay or transgender.

“I don’t want to tell everyone it’s a ‘gay-to-straight’ thing because God is not calling me to that,” Ruiz told NBC News. “I feel that I want to live in a life of purity. I feel that through loving Christ, he will walk me out of any situation. I love the LGBTQ community, I love my family. There’s no hate here, there’s love.”

Pulse survivor and others gather to celebrate ‘freedom’ from being gay

Legendary actress Cicely Tyson reflects on her storied career

Cicely Tyson says she’s been prayerful and patient throughout her career which has spanned more than six decades.

The 93-year-old actress and humanitarian added another prestigious honor to her storied career Friday when she was honored with a hand and footprint ceremony at the world-renowned TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.

Presented by Turner Classic Movies during the networks annual TCM Classic Film Festival, Tyson is among other industry icons featured with a hand and footprint, including Marilyn Monroe, Denzel Washington, Michael Jackson, and others — an honor Tyson said leaves her speechless and one she couldn’t have imagined.
I spoke with Tyson as she was preparing to travel to L.A. about the recognition, the future of black actors and actresses in Hollywood, and advice she has for women of color in the entertainment industry.