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Florida Republicans seek to make ex-felons pay up before exercising newly-won voting rights

March 25, 2019

A pair of Republican-led bills in Florida's state legislature would require certain ex-felons, whose voting rights were restored last November in a statewide referendum, to pay fees before they can head to the polls. 

Republicans argue that the fees are part of an ex-felon's sentence and are thus obligatory. Democrats, however, charge that the Republican effort is an attempt to institute a modern-day "poll tax" to prevent ex-felons from voting.In November, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing convicted felons who complete all terms of their sentence, including parole or probation, the right to vote, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense. Amendment 4 passed with nearly 65% of the vote, exceeding the 60% threshold required to become a law and restoring voting rights to about 1.4 million Floridians.

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Category: Government & Elected Officials


Us Broke a Big Box Office Record—Consider It the Umpteenth Reminder that Black Narratives Are Marketable

March 25, 2019

The movie that had one of the best marketing campaigns known to man (shout-out to the scissors and fan art, just to name a couple), was helmed by a man debuting a highly anticipated follow-up to his first feature (a huge hit!), and dominated every social media feed for the past few months since its trailerdropped...did really, really fucking well on its opening weekend.

Quelle surprise! 

According to TIME, Jordan Peele’s Us raked in $70.3 million in its opening weekend, making it the largest-ever debut for an original horror film. The only films it trails in the genre, It (2018) and Halloween (2018), were a remake and sequel, respectively. The now-blockbuster Us made back its $20 million budget and then some in just a couple of days; and thanks to the classic word-of-mouth marketing technique (which creates major FOMO), that number is only expected to climb—and fast.

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Category: History, Art & Culture Organizations


North Carolina GOP Bragged About Gerrymandering. It Still May Not Be Enough To Convince SCOTUS.

March 25, 2019

In 2016, North Carolina Republicans got caught.

It was seven months before the presidential election, and a panel of three federal judges ruled GOP lawmakers had illegally diluted the black vote by packing African American voters in two congressional districts. They told the lawmakers, who had a super-majority in the state legislature, to come up with a new map in just two weeks.

State Rep. David Lewis (R), one of the chairs of the redistricting committee, openly acknowledged at the time that Republicans were trying to use political data to maximize their partisan advantage. “I propose we draw a map to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats,” Lewis said during a legislative meeting. Republicans implemented a new map that did just that. (Lawyers representing Lewis now say the comment was meant to be a joke.)

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Category: Government & Elected Officials


Venture capitalist spreading funding to Middle America

March 25, 2019

Billionaire Steve Case says too much venture capitalist money goes to businesses on the coasts. So he's touring the middle of the country on a bus in search of the next big idea

For years, pundits have declared the United States has split into "two Americas". A nation divided by politics, geography and the economy. But one tech icon believes he can help even out the playing field.

Steve Case, the man who co-founded America Online and injected the jingle "You've got mail!" into the American lexicon is now trying to steer venture capitalists and their money to areas they've typically overlooked. Mostly, small towns and cities in the middle of the country. His vehicle to do that is a $150 million dollar investment fund and a 35-foot long, bright red bus.

We joined the billionaire on his bus for a recent road trip and soon found ourselves aiming for the edge of a wheat field in Tennessee. 

Steve Case is here to meet a few entrepreneurs who say they've created a new technology that could revolutionize the way America farms. These robots are actually miniature tractors that are operated remotely.

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Category: History, Art & Culture Organizations


Inside Monaco: The ultimate playground for the rich

March 25, 2019

There's a reason Monaco has often been described as "a sunny place for shady people." For decades, crooks, courtesans, and con artists were drawn to this slip of land by the sea because of its wealthy residents, its famous casino and its willingness to ignore pesky banking regulations. It's the smallest country in the world outside the Vatican, less than one square mile, and in America, it's been associated with glamour ever since movie star Grace Kelly became Princess of Monaco in the 1950s. Today, it's home to more multi-millionaires per square foot than any other country and while Grace Kelly's son Prince Albert has been trying to push his nation into the 21st century, it unapologetically remains a place where you can parade your jewels, park your money, and not pay any income tax. There are certainly prettier parts of Europe, but it's Monaco where the super-rich are clamoring to get in.  

For many, Monaco is synonymous with the highlife. Maseratis and martinis, mega yachts and motorboats.

Steven Saltzman: That's our fisher island. That would be where all the wealthiest people rent.

Visit to watch the full interview


Category: Business


A UGA fraternity was suspended over a video mocking slavery that included a racial slur

A fraternity at the University of Georgia has been temporarily suspended after a video circulating on social media shows several people mocking slavery and one person using the n-word.

The video, about 30 seconds long, shows an individual lightly hitting another person with a belt. At least one person is heard saying, "Pick my cotton, b****." As the group laughs, the phrase is repeated several times. A male voice is heard saying, "You're not using the right words," and then someone uses the n-word.

The Xi-Lambda chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at UGA is currently suspended and "there is an investigation underway regarding the students involved in the video," UGA's Student Government Association said in a statement.The national Tau Kappa Epsilon organization said it is "disgusted, appalled and angered by the remarks shown in the video," according to a release.

"TKE will not tolerate any actions such as these that would be defined as racist, discriminatory and/or offensive."

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Category: Media Community


R. Kelly Had Dubai Plans, but Dubai Government Officials Never Got the Memo

March 25, 2019

Robert “R.” Kelly wanted to go to Dubai to meet the royal family and perform a concert, so that he could make funds to pay his outstanding child support fees. He wished, he wished, he wished.

However, his itinerary hasn’t been corroborated with Dubai government officials at all.

“Authorities in Dubai have not received any request for a performance by singer R. Kelly nor are there any venues that have been booked,” read a statement from the Dubai Government Media Office, via the Associated Press

The statement also added that the R&B singer “has not been invited by the Dubai royal family for a performance.”

Kelly appeared in court Friday to request Judge Lawrence Flood’s permission in order to leave the state of Illinois and travel to Dubai. The 52-year-old faces 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse in relation to three underaged girls and one adult woman.

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Category: Media Community


Black woman legal scholar named dean of Stetson College of Law

March 24, 2019

Michèle Alexandre, a top 50 law professor and noted civil rights, gender and race scholar, was appointed this week after a nationwide search as the new dean of Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, The Weekly Challenger learned Monday.

Alexandre, whose appointment announced Wednesday by Stetson officials becomes effective in June, is the first black dean at the Stetson College of Law, Florida’s first law school founded 119 years ago as part of Stetson University based in Deland, Fla.

“Dean Alexandre brings an extraordinary wealth of vision and experience to this position,” said Dr. Noel Painter, Stetson University executive vice president and provost in a statement made available to The Challenger. “Her work in civil rights and gender equity fit hand in glove with Stetson Law’s emphasis on social justice and global citizenship and our ongoing work for veterans, the elderly and the environment.”

“I am thrilled to serve as the next dean of the College of Law at Stetson University,” Alexandre told The Challenger in an email. “The College of Law is a leader in social justice, advocacy, legal writing and internationalization. Specifically, the law school is ranked number one in trial advocacy and number three in legal writing in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.” 

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Category: History, Art & Culture Organizations


My Sistah’s Place brings wraparound services to girls leaving foster care

March 24, 2019 

More than 250,000 children enter the foster care system annually in the U.S., and according to the National Foster Youth Institute, 23,000 will age out of foster care nationally. This will result in 20 percent of those youths ending up homeless as they leave care as early as age 18, often unprepared to be on their own.

More than one-third of these young people never finish high school. Their rates of arrest, health problems, and welfare dependency are far higher than those of the population as a whole. Only 58 percent will complete high school, less than three percent earn college degrees, and 25 percent will suffer from mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Enter Juanita Suber, executive director and co-founder of Golden Generations, Inc., which has developed the My Sistah’s Place program to address some of these frightening statistics in Pinellas by offering “wraparound services” for a population in dire need.

“My Sistah’s Place is a pilot project through Golden Generations, Inc. We provide housing support services for young women who have transitioned out of foster care or who are transitioning out of foster care–so they can be 18 to 21,” explained Suber.

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Category: Homegoing


Sisters Kin-nect Community of Inspiring Women Igniting & Connecting

Date/Time: March 22, 2019 5:30 pm

Location: St. Petersburg Coliseum 535 4th Avenue North, St. Petersburg FL 33701

For more information Contact Urban Affairs at (727) 893-7885

Registeration Link:

Category: Business Events


'Avengers' poster reissued after Danai Gurira backlash

March 17, 2019

Marvel Studios reissued the official poster for "Avengers: Endgame" after a backlash over star Danai Gurira not receiving top billing.

"She should have been up there all this time," the studio tweeted with a photo of the revised poster. "Check out the official Marvel Studios' #AvengersEndgame poster. @DanaiGurira #WakandaForever."

The actress is far from an unknown.Not only did she star as Okoye in "Black Panther," but Gurira is also a Tony-nominated playwright for "Eclipsed" and has also starred as Michonne on the hit AMC series, "The Walking Dead." 

She was one of 13 cast members featured on the poster for the new "Avengers" film -- and the only black woman.But while the other 12 movie cast members had their names featured at the top of the poster, Gurira was not listed.People on social media very quickly noticed and complained.

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Category: History, Art & Culture Organizations


Southern Poverty Law Center dismisses co-founder Morris Dees

March 17, 2019

The Southern Poverty Law Center has fired its co-founder Morris Dees, the nonprofit announced Thursday.

Dees' termination was effective on Wednesday. The Alabama-based nonprofit activist group is known for tracking civil rights and hate crimes in the United States.SPLC President Richard Cohen did not cite a specific reason for Dees' dismissal but noted in a statement released Thursday that the organization "is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world.""When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action," he added.

Dees, 82, was also the former chief litigator. He co-founded the SPLC in 1971. His biography has been removed from the SPLC's website.

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Category: History, Art & Culture Organizations


Black workers in Ohio accuse UPS of allowing hate at work

March 17, 2019

Nineteen UPS workers are suing the parcel distributor, saying they suffered repeated racial discrimination and the company did nothing to stop it.

Managers and supervisors enabled and even encouraged the hate at the distribution center in Maumee, Ohio, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday afternoon in Lucas County Court in Ohio.The workers claim nooses were hung above the workstation of an African-American employee, that a monkey doll dressed as a UPS employee was placed near others and the N-word was frequently used.

Workers say a monkey doll was dressed as a UPS employee and placed near black workers.The workers, many of whom have been at the company for more than two decades, argue the racist comments caused reactions ranging from "fear, anger and disgust to dismay" about the comments and lack of action from the company. 

"UPS promptly investigated and took swift disciplinary action against those found to have engaged in inappropriate actions, including the discharge of two employees," UPS Director of Corporate Media Relations Glenn Zaccara told CNN when asked for comment about the lawsuit. Zaccara said that since then, the company has participated in "remedial actions" in cooperation with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to ensure employees are trained and has also monitored its operations to ensure a positive and harassment-free environment. 

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Category: Media Community


St. Petersburg's NAACP branch in turmoil as it heads into an election

March 17, 2019

In 2014, the NAACP suspended its St. Petersburg branch as the group prepared to elect its executive officers. 

Five years later, the civil rights organization is again being forced to intervene in the business of the local branch, which has been rent by accusations of vicious language, racist Facebook posts, political disagreement and a dispute that led to the deployment of police officers. 

This evening the national office will send a representative to St. Petersburg to conduct elections for the local group’s next president and other executive officers. The Baltimore-headquartered organization canceled a mandatory November election because of the persistent squabbling.

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Category: Government & Elected Officials


Black Farmer Grows Blueberries In South Georgia, and looks to expand his market

March 15, 2019

Did you know that Johnnie Swain with Swain Farms is the first black-owned berry marketing company in the state of GA and possibly the first in the country. We Buy Black has launched a crowd fund to create a supermarket housing all Black owned products including fresh produce from Black farmers like Jonnie Swain. 

In 1920, Black farmers represented 14 percent of U.S. farmers owning 15 million acres; today, according to 2012 data from the USDA, they represent just 1.4 percent of the country’s farmers owning 3.6 million acres. In 2016, after working over 15 years in marketing, advertising, and brand management, Johnnie Swain left the corporate world to begin farming full time. He started Swain Farms, a blueberry farm in South Georgia. In addition to starting the farm, he also started Swain Foods, the first black-owned berry marketing company in the state of GA and possibly the first in the country. Today, Swain Foods markets blueberries for growers throughout the state of GA under the brand name Swain Farms. From late-April through Mid-July Swain Farms blueberries can be found from South Florida to Canada. 

Article by Tisha M. Instagram: @profstudent


Category: History, Art & Culture Organizations


Create The First Black Owned Supermarket Carrying All Black Owned Products

March 15, 2019

Soul Food Market will be the first African American owned supermarket chain which sells 100% of its products from the our community. The selection of naturally grown vegetables and fruits will be sourced from Black farmers in Georgia. New and exciting Black owned products ranging from everyday necessities such as diapers and detergent to all natural household cleaning products will stock the shelves!

Currently crowdfunding for its flagship store in Atlanta, GA , Soul Food Market is raising $1.2 million dollars in 30 days to purchase a facility currently under contract, for its renovation, and operations. Soul Food Market has plans to become an international supermarket chain. We now have only 24 days left!


Category: History, Art & Culture Organizations


Why Southeast Asia Is Flooded With Trash From America And Other Wealthy Nations

March 11, 2019

IPOH, Malaysia

Bales of plastic garbage, stacked 15 feet high, shimmered in the 100-degree heat. They gave off a faint chemical smell as they warped and softened under the equatorial sun.  

A canary-yellow Walmart clearance tag poked out from one of the dirty heaps. Wrappers and packages from American products were visible nearby. These items had likely traveled 10,000 miles to this unmarked and apparently unauthorized dumpsite in a quiet industrial neighborhood in northwestern Malaysia. 

Ad hoc dumps like this one, teeming with foreign waste, have popped up across Southeast Asia in recent months ― each an ugly symbol of a global recycling system that regional activists and politicians have described as unjust, inequitable and broken. In January and February, HuffPost visited several of these sites in Malaysia to see what really happens to much of the plastic trash that originates in the U.S. and other wealthy nations.

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Category: Manufacturing, Industrial & Energy


Introducing the First Black-Owned Supermarket Carrying All Black-Owned Products

March 11, 2019

Soul Food Market, a dream project that will establish the first-ever Black-owned supermarket that sells 100% Black-owned products, is currently crowdfunding for $1.2 million to be able to make it actually happen.

Three years after the success of his brainchild, the online marketplace for Black-owned sellers, Shareef Abdul-Malik has once again started an initiative that will further make Black businesses flourish. He recently launched the crowdsourcing platform that features a major campaign to establish Soul Food Market.

The supermarket will feature naturally-grown vegetables and fruits sourced from Black farmers in Georgia. All other daily necessities, from shampoo and soap to diapers and household cleaning products, the supermarket will carry, will be Black-owned. Visit to read the full article.

Category: History, Art & Culture Organizations


Watch: Arkansas State Sen. Stephanie Flowers Is the Hero We Deserve

March 11, 2019

Arkansas State Sen. Stephanie Flowers has officially become my spirit human after an impassioned speech during a debate over the state’s “stand your ground” law.

Flowers, A Democrat from Pine Bluff and the lone black face on the state’s eight-member committee, wanted more time to debate the merits of “stand your ground law,” which argues that civilians have the rights to use their firearms when they feel threatened because it disproportionately targets people of color.“It doesn’t take much to look on the local news every night and see how many black kids, black boys, black men are being killed with these ‘stand your ground’ defenses that these people raise, then they get off,” she said. “So I take issue with that. I’m the only person here of color, OK? I am a mother, too. And I have a son. And I care as much for my son as y’all care for y’alls. But, my son doesn’t walk the same path as yours do, so this debate deserves more time.”

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Category: Government & Elected Officials


The racist online abuse of Meghan Markle has put royal staff on high alert

March 8, 2019

Britain's royal family is beefing up its social media operation amid a rise in racist online abuse targeting the Duchess of Sussex in the months after the announcement of her pregnancy, sources have told CNN.

Kensington Palace staff are devoting more resources to deleting comments targeting Meghan, and blocking abusive Twitter and Instagram accounts. Software is being used to filter out the use of the n-word as well as emojis of guns and knives. As part of the effort, the royal family issued a set of guidelines last week for people engaging with its social media channels. Separately, the advocacy group Hope Not Hate analyzed a sample of more than 5,000 tweets containing the most commonly used anti-Meghan hashtags. The analysis of the tweets, posted between January and the middle of February, shows that a tight-knit group of accounts is behind much of the trolling.

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Category: History, Art & Culture Organizations

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