Joseph Lowery, civil rights leader, and MLK aide, has died at 98yrs old

The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery fought to end segregation, lived to see the election of the country’s first black president and echoed the call for “justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream” in America.

For more than four decades after the death of his friend and civil rights icon, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the fiery Alabama preacher was on the front line of the battle for equality, with an unforgettable delivery that rivaled King’s – and was often more unpredictable. Lowery had a knack for cutting to the core of the country’s conscience with commentary steeped in scripture, refusing to back down whether the audience was a Jim Crow racist or a U.S. president.

“We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back; when brown can stick around; when yellow will be mellow; when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right,” Lowery prayed at President Barack Obama’s inaugural benediction in 2009.

Lowery, 98, died Friday at home in Atlanta, surrounded by family members, they said in a statement. He died from natural causes unrelated to the coronavirus outbreak the statement said. 

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In this Aug. 14, 2013  photo, civil rights leader the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery speaks at an event in Atlanta.


“Tonight, the great Reverend Joseph E. Lowery transitioned from earth to eternity,” The King Center in Atlanta remembered Lowery in a Friday night tweet. “He was a champion for civil rights, a challenger of injustice, a dear friend to the King family.”

Chicago’s McCormick Place to be turned into a 3,000-bed hospital.

McCormick Place is being turned into a makeshift hospital to treat COVID-19 patients.

The Army Corps of Engineers said it will have 3,000 beds and that all three halls of the convention center will be used.

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Patients will be separated by the level of care they require.

The hospital is expected to be up and running by April 24.

A similar facility is opening on Monday, at a convention center in New York.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Chicago patients to be treated at McCormick Place

 

Warrant issued for Antonio Brown with no bond

An arrest warrant has just been issued for Antonio Brown with no bond, according to Andy Slater of Fox Sports 640.00:00/04:1300:00Next VideoCancelAutoplay is paused

On Tuesday, a heavy police presence was outside of the wide receiver’s home in Hollywood, Fl. after he and his trainer allegedly assaulted the driver of a moving truck.

Court records obtained by TMZ Sports state that the driver was hired to deliver Brown’s belongings, but that when he asked Brown for $4,000 in payment, Brown refused.

The driver then attempted to leave Brown’s home with Brown’s belongings still in the truck, resulting in Brown picking up a rock and throwing it at the vehicle, causing a dent and paint chipping in the driver’s side door. The drive reported the damage to police.

Shortly after, the moving company called the driver to tell him to deliver Brown’s belongings, stating that Brown was willing to pay the $4,000 plus an extra $860 to cover the damage caused to the truck.

When the driver got back to Brown’s home, Brown gave the driver the $4,000 but refused to pay for the damages. The two argued, and Brown then entered the truck and begin to hit him before the 31-year-old was restrained by his associates.

Brown’s trainer, Glenn Holt, proceeded to grab the keys out of the ignition and open the side of the truck so Brown could get his goods, but once the driver told Brown and Holt that they were taking items that belonged other people, the items were thrown back into the truck, causing damage to the goods.

Holt has already been arrested for battery and burglary.

BLENDED FAMILIES: A look at different types of stepfamilies can highlight the unique challenges each stepfamily may encounter.

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Statistics show that “approximately one-third of all weddings in America today form stepfamilies.”http://www.smartstepfamilies.com/view/statistics
A look at different types of stepfamilies can highlight the unique challenges each stepfamily may encounter.

Portrait no. 1: Husband with children marries never-married, no-kids wife.

Dads who remarry often expect their new brides to assume a similar role to their former wife. The new wife, on the contrary, steps into the marriage ready for romance and quality time together as a couple. Instantly filling the role of a wife is challenge enough; being interim Mom is often overwhelming. Wives in this situation often feel frustration and disillusionment when they are handed someone else’s kids to care for (and the kids don’t like it, either!).

In this scenario, Dad must step up to the plate and handle the disciplining of his children to avoid conflict with his new wife. He should also teach the kids to treat their stepmom with respect and talk through (or even write down) household duties with his new wife until a fair arrangement is reached.

Portrait no. 2: Wife with children marries no-kids husband.

Entering this marriage, Mom’s relief at having a new partner in life might result in her handing off too many responsibilities to her new husband. The kids, then, usually will rebel. They have a dad (or had one); they don’t think they need a new one. Tread lightly with any stepparent administering discipline. Biological parents are the ones who should handle rules and punishments, at least initially.

This couple needs to bond and show solidarity to the children. The wife must be careful not to shut out her new husband in favor of her children. Avoid inside jokes with the kids and subtle put-downs that would cause the kids to disregard their new stepfather altogether. There is a fine line between handling the discipline and devaluing the husband’s position in the home. Require children to show the same respect for their stepdad that they would any teacher, law enforcement officer, or another adult in authority. Don’t try to force love.

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Portrait no. 3: Divorced mom with kids marries divorced dad with kids.

This type of stepfamily may seem to come with the most hurdles to overcome initially but has the potential to be the most successful makeup because Mom and Dad are motivated to pull together for the kids. Kids, however, experience the most loss when their parent marries someone with children. Access to their biological parent must now be shared by not just the new spouse but also by other children. Their physical space is shared with a stepparent and stepsiblings. New cities, new homes, new schools, and new roommates are also common changes when families join. And, some children must face the end of their dream of their parents reuniting.

The first two years in any stepfamily, but especially this type, are crucial. Expect conflict and extend grace — lots of it. There will be different relationships between members of this type of stepfamily, different levels of intimacy, connection, and love between stepsiblings and between children and stepparents. Don’t worry; that’s normal.

Portrait no. 4: Widow or widower with kids’ remarries.

When a family experiences the loss of a beloved spouse and parent, the new spouse/stepparent will inevitably confront the “ghosts of family past.” On some level, grieving continues for years after the death of a spouse.

This stepfamily needs to make sure it is taking steps to heal from their grief in order for the new family to unite. Rather than trying to assume a parental role, the successful stepparent in this situation will step into the role of friend and mentor. Family members can honor their loved ones with photographs and memories, but erecting a shrine and idolizing their past prevents intimacy with the new spouse and stepparent. Establishing common ground and moving forward together is difficult but possible.

Portrait no. 5: Divorced or widowed parents of adult children marry.

Even if the children have left the nest, remarried couples with children still qualify as stepfamilies. Due to a lack of daily interactions, bonding and connecting may be more difficult. Many relationships will be strained for years or may never achieve any level of intimacy. Stepparents and stepchildren can make an effort to connect through cards, letters, phone calls, emails, and family get-togethers.

Unique issues to this stepfamily may include establishing healthy grandparenting relationships and inheritance tension. Family fears can be alleviated by communication and welcoming love. Distributing family keepsakes ahead of time or deciding how you will distribute your property can ease some of the tensions related to inheritance.

No matter what type of stepfamily yours may fall under, with the right resources, family, and friends, your stepfamily can find encouragement and hope.

Willow Smith comes out to mother and grandmother: ‘I love men and women equally’

Jada Pinkett Smith talked with her daughter Willow about polyamorous relationships on "Red Table Talk."

Willow Smith has come out to her mother and grandmother, saying: “I love men and women equally,” and would “definitely” consider polyamory.

The 18-year-old daughter of actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith made the announcement on an episode of Red Table Talk, a regular Facebook web series in which three generations of the Smith family have open conversations about “taboo” subjects.

The episode broadcast on Monday (June 24) was focused on “unconventional relationships” as Willow has recently become interested in polyamory.

She gave a crash course on polyamory to her mother, Jada, and grandmother, Adrienne, before opening up about her sexuality, explaining that her ideal relationship would be with a man and a woman.

“Personally, male and female, that’s all I need,” she said.

It appeared to be the first time Willow had revealed her sexuality to her mother, as Jada replied with a smile, “Well, there it is… I think my stomach just [jumped].”

Jada added: “Listen, you know me Willow, whatever makes you happy.”

“I love men and women equally and so I would definitely want one man, one woman.”
— Willow Smith

Encouraged by her mother’s support, Jada elaborated further on her sexuality. “I love men and women equally and so I would definitely want one man, one woman,” she said. “I feel like I could be polyfidelitous with those two people.

“I’m not the kind of person that is constantly looking for new sexual experiences. I focus a lot on the emotional connection and I feel like if I were to find two people of different genders that I really connected with and we had a romantic and sexual connection, I don’t feel like I would feel the need to try to go find more.”

Suicide among teens and young adults reaches the highest level since 2000

The rate of U.S. adolescents and young adults dying of suicide has reached its highest level in nearly two decades, according to a report published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In 2017, there were 47 percent more suicides among people aged 15 to 19 than in the year 2000. Overall, there are 36 percent more people aged 20 to 24 living in the U.S. today than at the turn of the century.

With more than 6,200 suicides among people aged 15 to 24, suicide ranked as the second-leading cause of death for people in that age group in 2017, trailing behind deaths from unintentional motor vehicle accidents, which claimed 6,697 lives.

To study the change, a team from Harvard Medical School pulled data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracks deaths and their “underlying cause” nationwide.

Suicide rates among females have been on the rise for several years in this time period, with the rates for 15- to 19-year-olds rising more quickly after 2009. An even more noticeable spike has occurred in suicides for adolescent and young adult males since 2014.

The researchers said that trend might be connected to the opioid crisis, because of the added stressors that come with addiction, said Oren Miron, a research associate at Harvard Medical School and one of the report’s authors.

Social media, as well as a reduced stigma for parents and coroners to report a child’s death as suicide (rather than as an accident), could also be playing a role in the increase, the researchers suggested.

But Miron cautioned that the study did not identify causes. Instead, they say that now the upward trend has been identified, more research can be done to pinpoint the factors contributing to the deaths.

The researchers found there were 11.8 deaths per 100,000 adolescents — aged 15 to 19 years — in 2017. That’s up from 2000 when there were eight deaths per 100,000.

For young adults aged 20 to 24 years old, the suicide rate was 17 per 100,000 in 2017, an increase from 12.5 per 100,000 in 2000.

A leap in the suicide rate “is not a predetermined curse that comes with modernization,” said Miron, noting the fluctuation from year to year.

The CDC has linked increased drug use to suicides and recommends a number of prevention measures, including encouraging adults to limit access to prescription drugs in the home. And experts in suicide prevention say paying attention to changes in lifestyle can help parents determine if their child is at risk.

For adolescents, using social media in a way that detracts from face-to-face interactions could be particularly detrimental to mental health. said Victor Schwartz, chief medical officer at suicide prevention nonprofit The Jed Foundation.

Yet while social media can facilitate bullying and lead to more anxiety and depression among young people, it can also be used to help those who are struggling with depression and can help loved ones pick up on warning signs early on.

“Dramatic changes are a sign,” said Schwartz. “Looking for changes in sleep, in social relationships — any of these big areas should start to raise big flags. Changes in substance use, even in the use of social media might suggest something is going on.”

 

Bill Cosby calls himself ‘America’s Dad’ in Father’s Day post on Social Media

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Bill Cosby has earned backlash after a Father’s Day message referring to himself as “America’s dad” was shared on his social media channels.

The comedian, who is currently serving a prison sentence for aggravated indecent assault, shared the message on Saturday on Twitter and Instagram.

“Hey, Hey, Hey…It’s America’s Dad…” the message begins, in reference to Cosby’s former nickname.

“I know it’s late, but to all of the Dads… It’s an honor to be called a Father, so let’s make today a renewed oath to fulfilling our purpose – strengthening our families and communities.”

On both platforms, the message is accompanied by a video of Cosby in the 1968 CBS documentary Black History: Lost, Stolen or Strayed.

“After slavery was over, America kept breaking up the black man’s family,” Cosby says in the archive clip.

“And that’s some awful history to teach. Now, if you want to look history right straight in the eye, you’re going to get a black eye.”

He used several hashtags on Twitter and on Instagram, including #RenewedOathToOurCommunity, #AmericasFavoriteDad, and #FarFromFinished.

Cosby’s decision to call himself “America’s dad” was met with outraged reactions on social media.

“Just stop. This is awful,” one person wrote, while many others expressed their disagreement in gifs.

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Cosby was sentenced in September last year to three to 10 years behind bars.

He was found guilty in April that year of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in a landmark trial.

 

Attorney General Kwame Raoul ‘reviewing’ Van Dyke sentence

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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office says it is reviewing the legality of the sentence handed down last week to former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke for the murder of Laquan McDonald.

“We are going to do a careful review of the record and the law and make a determination based on our review,” Maura Possley, a spokeswoman for the office, said Wednesday afternoon.

Raoul, sworn in as attorney general this month, would not say whether he believes Van Dyke’s punishment is fair.

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan last Friday sentenced Van Dyke to 81 months in prison — less than half of what prosecutors had sought. Van Dyke could be released in three years.

Outside the courtroom, Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon said he was “satisfied” with the sentence.

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“We achieved our goal of justice and holding Jason Van Dyke accountable for his actions,” McMahon said.

But many police-accountability activists viewed the sentence as a setback.

A jury in October convicted Van Dyke of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, one for each shot into McDonald.

Some legal experts say the best way to challenge Van Dyke’s sentence would be to seek a “mandamus” order from the Illinois Supreme Court. That court could find Gaughan violated the law by basing the punishment on the second-degree murder count, a Class 1 felony, instead of the battery counts, which carry a more serious designation, Class X.

A spokesman for McMahon on Wednesday said the special prosecutor is “still reviewing” the sentence. The spokesman would not say whether McMahon asked McDonald’s mother, Tina Hunter, for her view on whether the sentence should be challenged.

McDonald’s great uncle Rev. Marvin Hunter, the family’s spokesman, said “justice was not served” and accused Gaughan of treating Van Dyke as if the crime were a “minor drug offense.”

A staffer in Gaughan’s chambers on Wednesday said the judge declined to comment on the sentencing.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx did not answer what she thinks of the sentence or whether she would play a role in challenging it. A consideration for Foxx is her predecessor Anita Alvarez’s recusal of the office from the case after civil-rights groups accused her of pro-police bias.

Locke Bowman, an attorney who led the push for a special prosecutor in the case, said the Supreme Court has authority to toss out Gaughan’s “illegal” ruling that second-degree murder is the greater offense.

“If you turned the tables and if a young African-American man had regrettably fired 16 shots at a Chicago police officer and killed him,” Bowman said, “the judicial system would impose a massively punitive sentence.”

On Thursday, Van Dyke’s attorney slammed Raoul for reviewing the sentence.

“Another politician has chosen to exploit the tragic death of Laquan McDonald for his own political gain,” the attorney, Dan Herbert, said in a statement. “The judge in this case carefully considered the arguments made and issued the correct ruling under the law.”Van Dyke’s defense team says it is exploring its own options for challenging the sentence as well as the conviction.

Van Dyke began shooting McDonald, 17, as the teen carried a knife and walked away from officers on a South Side road in 2014. Many of the 16 shots hit the teen after he had collapsed to the pavement.

A police dashcam video contradicted reports by officers that McDonald was attacking Van Dyke.

Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson last week acquitted three officers of charges they covered up for Van Dyke

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