Seattle High School Makes Only Black Students Sign Pledge To Be Better Students

A Seattle High School is under fire after a school pledge created by the staff turned into something quite prejudiced.

The school staff only asked Black students to sign the “Keepin' it 100” pledge to be better students. One student immediately told her mom about the pledge, which asked “African American scholars” to promise to come to class on time, complete high school, and hold themselves up to a high standard, The Grio reports.

Franklin High junior Niya Thomas told her mom Neffertiti Thomas about “Keepin' it 100,” to which she responded, “I don't think they read that letter feeling encouraged, uplifted at all. They walked away feeling like I can't do enough, I still didn't make it.” Niya added, “Every student counts in the school, I feel like if you gave it to one culture, you should have given it to the others as well.”

High school senior Bazia Potts said, “We were upset because the whole 12th grade class got the paper but it was supposed to be for us. I know I felt embarrassed and my peers felt embarrassed as well. They threw it in the garbage; they were angry; they threw it away.”

Seattle Public Schools issued a statement about the controversial pledge:

“Seattle Public Schools is committed to eliminating opportunity gaps and accelerating learning for each and every student. A student covenant was recently created by staff at Franklin High School. After meeting with senior students, Franklin staff discontinued the covenant as it proved to be a distraction from their original intent which is to increase efforts and support for African American students and ensure college readiness. In addition, a parent/community advisory group is under development to increase the school's collective wisdom, inform their practices and build capacity to reach the goal more

Family Receives Letter 14 Years After Their Son Was Shot & Killed

Nineteen-year-old Aaron Vickers was killed in a drive-by shooting 14 years ago in Compton. However, his family recently got an unexpected pleasant surprise in regards to his death.

Over a decade after the Stockton High School student was murdered, a long-lost letter he'd written made its way back to the family. Two years before his 2002 death, the high school junior was asked to write a letter to his future self by his teacher, Daryl Hutchins, who promised to mail it back to him in ten years, just as he promised for all of the other students given the assignment.

But after the ten-year mark, Hutchins discovered that his former student had been killed. He then tracked down Vickers' sister, Tyra Vickers-Kearney, on Facebook and promised to send her the letter. Tyra told reporters, “The days waiting for the letter, the anticipation was so high. We were wondering, what did the letter say? You know, I hope it's not like a one-liner.”

Mother Deanetta Vickers said of the letter, “I've never felt his presence like that in the past 14 years, but I felt like he was sitting right next to the side of me as [Tyra] was reading this letter.”

In the letter, he mentioned, “In ten years, we'll probably have a black vice president. Or maybe a woman would run for president.”

Aaron Vickers' murderer has never been caught. He leaves behind a 13-year-old son.

SOURCE: Daily Mail | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Facebook more

College Football Player Sues University Of Virginia For Bullying & Being Forced To Wrestle Naked

A freshman football player is suing the University of Virginia after he was allegedly bullied, harassed, and discriminated against on the team. The freshman, Aidan Howard, says he's been called “retarded” and forced into “prize fights” by team coaches.

From Daily Mail:

Aidan Howard claims in his suit against the school that he was mocked by other players for a learning disability, and that team coaches forced him into a ‘prize fight' with another recruit inside the locker room.

The freshman player said he was called ‘retarded' and ‘stupid' by teammates, including junior Doni Dowling and sophomore David Eldridge, in court documents posted by Deadspin.

According to the suit, Howard was targeted because upperclassmen thought of him as “soft” and “not manly.”

Howard goes on to claim the school's wide receiver coach, Marques Hagan, was aware of the harassment, and took it a step further by arranging for the new recruit to fight another freshman, Hasise Dubois, in front of 105 people.

The brawl, which allegedly took place on August 12, was part of an ‘initiation' designed to prove his ‘toughness and manliness'.

Howard, who says he suffered a concussion and broken eye socket in the fight, claims other people witnessed what was going on but did nothing to stop it. He also claims senior players made freshman participate in “ramming,” fights and wrestling matches performed while naked or partially naked.

SOURCE: Daily Mail | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty more

Flint Water Crisis Could Have Been Resolved Earlier, Report Says

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency had sufficient authority and information to issue an emergency order to protect residents of Flint, Michigan, from lead-contaminated water as early as June 2015 — seven months before it declared an emergency, the EPA's inspector general said Thursday.

The Flint crisis should have generated “a greater sense of urgency” at the agency to “intervene when the safety of drinking water is compromised,” Inspector General Arthur Elkins said in an interim report.

Flint's drinking water became tainted when the city began drawing from the Flint River in April 2014 to save money. The impoverished city of 100,000 north of Detroit was under state control at the time. Regulators failed to ensure water was treated properly and lead from aging pipes leached into the water supply.

Federal, state and local officials have argued over who's to blame as the crisis continues to force residents to drink bottled or filtered water. Doctors have detected elevated levels of lead in hundreds of children.

A panel appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder concluded that the state is “fundamentally accountable” for the lead crisis because of decisions made by state environmental regulators and state-appointed emergency managers who controlled the city.

Even so, Snyder and other Republicans have faulted the EPA for a slow response.

“As Gov. Snyder has stated all along, what happened in Flint was the result of failure of government at all levels,” spokeswoman Anna Heaton said Thursday.

State agencies have undergone “culture changes” and updated procedures to prevent a recurrence, so “it's encouraging to see other agencies undergoing evaluations that can result in improvements to help people here and across the nation,” Heaton said.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver called the report “deeply troubling.”

Weaver, a Democrat who took office after the Flint crisis emerged, said agencies such as the EPA and the Michigan Department of more

Michelle Obama Won’t Say His Name But She’s Donald Trump’s Biggest Critic

PHOENIX (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama has emerged as perhaps the most effective Donald Trump critic in the Democrats' lineup, and she's done it without ever uttering two key words: Donald Trump.

In her six campaign trail speeches for Hillary Clinton, the first lady has never said the Republican nominee's name. She's talked about “this candidate” and dedicated much of her time to a searing indictment of his words and positions. But throughout her buzzworthy takedowns, Trump remains the man who shall remain nameless.

Mrs. Obama didn't depart from her rhetorical dismissal of Trump in Phoenix Thursday. Her appearance in Arizona was a mission to crack open new territory in a GOP-leaning state polls show is now competitive.

The Clinton campaign and Mrs. Obama's staff are reluctant to discuss motives for the obvious omission. But Mrs. Obama's rhetoric shows her trying to balance her position as first lady — a figure long viewed as out of the political fray — while also holding little back in a race she clearly feels strongly about.

At the rally in Arizona, she referred to Trump dozens of times, but in the abstract. “When a presidential candidate threatens to ignore our voices and reject the outcome of this election, he is threatening the very idea of America itself,” she told roughly 7,000 raucous supporters at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Trump said he would withhold judgment on accepting the outcome of the election.

She also spoke in deeply personal terms, suggesting that Trump's life in a Manhattan tower keeps him from seeing the humanity in people who are different from him. And that, she suggested, is why he speaks so harshly of African-American communities and insults Muslims, women, people with disabilities, Mexicans and more.

“Maybe that's why he calls communities like the one where I was raised, ‘hell,'” she said. “Because more

Emmett Till Memorial Desecrated With 50 Bullet Holes

This country never ceases to amaze.

Incredibly, a memorial sign that marks the place where a just-turned 14-year-old Emmett Till‘s mutilated body was discovered in a Mississippi river in 1955 is again riddled with bullet holes, according to a report by the New York Daily News.

We all mourn the tragic story of Till, a teen from Chicago visiting family in LeFlore County, Mississippi, who was kidnapped and brutally killed on August 28, 1955, for allegedly whistling at a White woman. His murderers, J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, were acquitted by an all-White jury but later confessed to his murder in Money, Miss.

According to, Milam and Bryant—the White woman's husband and her brother—made Emmett carry a 75-pound cotton-gin fan to the bank of the Tallahatchie River and ordered him to take off his clothes. The two men then beat him nearly to death, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head, broke many of his teeth, and then threw his body, tied to the cotton-gin fan with barbed wire, into the river.

The News reports that in 2007, the Emmett Till Memorial Commission erected eight site-markers, including a sign at the location where Till's badly disfigured remains were recovered from the Tallahatchie River three days after he was murdered.

NYU graduate school film student Kevin Wilson, Jr., who is raising money for a short entitled “My Nephew Emmett,” posted a photo last week to Facebook of the river site sign with roughly 50 bullet holes in it, making the sign's words nearly illegible.

The News reports that the sign had already been shot at least 20 times from different angles. It also reports that an “Emmett Till Memorial” roadside marker in Greenwood, Mississippi, was stolen in 2007 and the bullet-marked sign at the Tallahatchie more

NYPD Finally Admits To Wrongdoing After Shooting A Mentally Ill Grandmother

NYPD kills 66-year-old woman with mental illness #DeborahDanner

— Blavity (@Blavity) October 19, 2016

Deborah Danner, 66, was shot and killed by an NYPD officer on Tuesday night after she allegedly lunged towards officers while wielding scissors and a bat inside her Bronx apartment.

New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill said police were “called to help a person in crisis.” Sadly, things didn't end that way.

Sgt. Hugh Barry fired the two shots that ultimately ended Danner's life. After being hit in the torso, she was pronounced dead at Jacobi Medical Center. O'Neil added via ABC, “That's not how it's supposed to go. It's not how we train. Our first obligation is to preserve life, not to take a life when it can be avoided. Cops know when you become a police officer you are 100 percent accountable for your actions — everything you do. When a life is taken, as one was last night, we have to ask tough questions.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the shooting “tragic” and said it “should not have happened.”

We're determined to get to the bottom of what happened and won't rest until we do.

— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) October 19, 2016

He also said Sgt. Barry did not follow his police training, but added that until last night, the NYPD had properly handled nearly 200 calls in 2016 involving an emotionally disturbed person.

People marching for #DeborahDanner in the Bronx! #BlackLivesMatter #SayHerName

— Ash J (@AshAgony) October 19, 2016

The NYPD has launched an investigation into the incident. Protests have already begun in Danner's honor.

SOURCE: ABC | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty,Twitter more

Did The Escort Queen Just Win Her Case Over The University Of Louisville?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The NCAA accused Louisville of four violations stemming from its investigation into allegations that a former basketball staffer hired escorts and strippers for sex parties with recruits and players.

The governing body's report Thursday does not mention a lack of institutional control — the most serious violation — but says coach Rick Pitino failed to monitor staffer Andre McGee.

The NCAA's letter is the first step in a process that could extend into next spring, according to the timetable of responses and hearings on the allegations. Louisville has 90 days to respond. The school scheduled a news conference for Thursday.

The NCAA's letter culminates an inquiry that began with the publication last October of Katina Powell‘s book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.”

Powell alleged book that McGee paid her $10,000 for strippers to perform 22 shows over that period with many occurring in the players' Billy Minardi Hall dormitory. The building is named for Pitino's brother-in-law, who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York.

The NCAA's letter lists the value of the impermissible/extra benefits as at least $5,400 and cites several instances in which McGee hired strippers to dance and have sex with recruits.

Louisville already has imposed its own penalties. The most severe one was announced Feb. 5 — a postseason ban after the school determined violations occurred. A month later, the school announced the reduction of two scholarships along with the number of days staffers could recruit.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich and acting President Neville Pinto said the NCAA notice aligns with the results of the school's investigation.

“Improper activities took place in a dormitory that never should have occurred,” they said in a statement. “When the facts were established, we acted. We took appropriate punitive and corrective actions. The penalties we imposed were more

Police Release 2 Men Arrested In Deadly LA Party Shooting

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police have released two men who were arrested after a shooting at a South Los Angeles birthday party left four people dead.

The men, both Jamaican nationals, were released Tuesday. No criminal charges have been filed.

The shooting broke out early Saturday morning during a gathering at an informal eating place that operates out of a private home. It is known as a gathering place for members of the local Jamaican community.

Fifteen people were shot and four died.

The two men were arrested at hospitals where they were being treated for gunshot wounds.

City News Service says police suspect an argument over a soured drug deal may have started the shooting but it led to more gunfire into and from the crowd of party guests.

Like on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

(Photo Source: Thinkstock) more

Hearing airs ideas on cutting Massachusetts' soaring health care costs

Soaring drug prices and other rising costs, as well as lack of information, may be preventing many lower- and middle-income individuals from meeting health needs. Health care specialists and elected officials met to explore data and propose solution steps, including promoting telemedicine, faster approval of generic drugs and greater utilization of community hospitals. more