AOL reports that The Walt Disney Company will cut funding to the Boy Scouts of America beginning in 2015 because of a policy that bans gay adult leaders in the organization.
The Boy Scouts organization is "disappointed" by the decision, which will affect the organization's ability to serve children, Deron Smith, a Boy Scouts spokesman, said in a statement Sunday. Disney does not provide direct funding to the Boy Scouts, but it donates money to some troops in exchange for volunteer hours completed by Disney employees, he said.
"We believe every child deserves the opportunity to be a part of the Scouting experience and we are disappointed in this decision because it will impact our ability to serve kids," he said.
David Jefferson, chief spokesman for The Walt Disney Company, did not respond to calls or emails.
Disney's decision came to light after the president of a local Boy Scout council based in Orlando, Fla., where Disney World is based, sent a memo alerting local troops to the decision.
The memo was posted on the website of Scouts for Equality, an organization that is critical of the Boy Scouts' policy to ban adult gay troop leaders.
The Boy Scouts lifted a ban on gay youth last year.
Val Demings shares her journey to becoming Orlando's first female Chief of Police. Demings believes that her brain is her best weapon; under her leadership Orlando saw the most dramatic decrease in violent crime in the city's history!
Val Demings’ parents—her mother a maid and her father a janitor—never graduated from high school, but they instilled in their daughter the message that Demings could “Do more, be more and have more.” After 24 years in law enforcement, Demings was appointed to Chief of Police, becoming Orlando’s first female Police Chief and proving to young girls and women everywhere that they too could do more, be more and have more.
Attending a segregated school until sixth grade, Demings overcame tremendous hardship and discrimination. Growing up black, poor and female, Demings heard her fair share of “no’s.” But for Demings, the “no’s” motivated her all the more: “The more people told me I could not do something, it just made me more and more determined to do just that.”
At the police academy, despite her small stature—5’4 tall and weighing 120lbs—and the fact that she was one of very few women, Demings was still elected class president by her peers. Unstoppable, she graduated at the top of her class and received the Board of Trustees Award for Overall Excellence. Her determination paid off as she rose up the ranks to become Chief of Police. Male officers, unfamiliar with reporting to a female boss, often challenged her authority. Over time, however, she established herself as a force to be reckoned with and received the respect she deserved. “Brains are much more important than brawn in police work.”
Val Demings is now running for Mayor of Orange County, Florida. (We wish her the best of luck!) For more information about her campaign, visit: http://www.valdemings.com
According to Reuters, Russia's Black Sea Fleet has told Ukrainian forces in Crimea to surrender by 5 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Tuesday or face a military assault, Interfax news agency quoted a source in the Ukrainian Defence Ministry as saying.
The ultimatum, Interfax said, was issued by Alexander Vitko, the fleet's commander.
The ministry did not immediately confirm the report and there was no immediate comment by the Black Sea Fleet, which has a base in Crimea, where Russian forces are in control.
"If they do not surrender before 5 a.m. tomorrow, a real assault will be started against units and divisions of the armed forces across Crimea," the agency quoted the ministry source as saying.
Russia has staged war games with 150,000 troops along the land border, but so far they have not crossed. Kiev says Moscow is orchestrating the protests to justify a wider invasion.
Ukraine's security council has ordered all armed forces to be put on highest alert. However, Kiev's small, under-equipped military is seen as no match for Russia's superpower might.
While the EU and NATO stepped up verbal pressure on Moscow, a German spokesman said Merkel believed it was not too late to resolve the Ukrainian crisis by political means despite differences of opinion between Putin and the West.
read the full story at the Source
Racial tensions between students at the UCLA School of Law appear to be growing. Following the release of a student-produced video to raise awareness about the lack of diversity at the law school, reports have surfaced of flyers from black student organizations being pulled down, as well as one student receiving hate mail. Currently, UCLA's law school has just 33 Black students. The school has 994 students pursuing their Juris Doctor, and if students who are pursuing their Master of Law degree are included, the total student population is roughly 1,100.
While speaking at an event at Pratt Institute Tuesday evening, Spike Lee slammed an audience member's question about the "other side of gentrification" with a powerful 7-minute response.
"Let me just kill you right now," Lee intervened. He then specifically pointed to a recent article in the New York Times titled "Argument Over A Brownstone Neighborhood," which the legendary director criticized as "bullshit."While the debate over gentrification may be nothing new, Lee's defense is particularly stunning because of its deeply personal point of view. It's also backed with statistics. According to a report conducted by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute's Michael Petrilli, Brooklyn is home to four of the 25 fastest gentrifying zipcodes in the entire country.
According to AOL news, nearly two months after the Midland Police Department learned of the game, the two officers were suspended for three days without pay, according to findings of the internal affairs investigation obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request. The investigation found the two officers, Derek Hester and Daniel Zoelzer, violated the department's professional standards of conduct. There is no ordinance against panhandling in Midland, an oil-boom city of more than 110,000 where a recent count put the homeless number at about 300. About a quarter of those are transient.
"The fact that they are making sport out of collecting the personal property of homeless individuals could be seen as them targeting these individuals for discriminatory harassment, simply holding a sign is absolutely a protected part of our free speech." said Cassandra Champion, an attorney in the Odessa office of the Texas Civil Rights Project.
According to the investigation report eight signs were found in the trunk of Hester's patrol car on November 20 and Zoelzer had thrown about ten signs he had confiscated into a city trash container after Hester called him to warn him he had been reprimanded by his superior for having the signs. The two told the internal affairs investigator, that they were issuing criminal trespass warnings when they took the signs. But according to the report, no homeless people were issued criminal trespass warnings by either officer in 2013. Most of those warnings in Midland are written, but some are verbal.
Police Chief Price Robinson said the actions were an isolated incident in a department of 186 officers and didn’t deserve a harsher punishment. After the investigation of all officers were reminded to respect individual rights and human dignity, he said.
Visit the Source for more details.
image: Creative Commons
“Success will be measured by ensuring that the federal government supports African American educational excellence."
Watch David Johns, The Executive Director to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans speak on black masculinity and closing the achievement gap.
According to an article on BlackAmericaWe.com, President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans who were systematically overlooked because of their racial and ethnic backgrounds. The ceremony, scheduled for March 18, will honor Army veterans of African American, Hispanic and Jewish heritage who were bypassed because of discrimination during World War II, The Korean War, and The Vietnam War. Only three of the recipients are living and one honoree, Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris, is African -American.
In 2002, Congress called for a review of war records from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to ensure that soldiers deserving the Medal of Honor were not denied because of prejudice. The ensuing research identified a number of deserving candidates. Of the 3,464 Medals of Honor awarded, just 88 have been given to 87 individual black Americans.In 1900, William Carney was the first Black recipient.
Through this unusual ceremony, the president is signaling to the nation that racial prejudice is wrong and, when possible, past biases should be acknowledged and corrected. At the White House this week, Obama met with several civil rights leaders including Rev. Al Sharpton about raising the minimum wage, black unemployment, health care, voting rights and education.
read the full story at the Source
Sandra Khalifa, co-communications director of Dream Defenders, was in her Tallahassee apartment coordinating a Twitter strategy, and within an hour, she and a few other staff members created graphics capturing the team’s emotions and tweeted them. #NeverLovedUs was trending a few hours later, because the group has no official office and all voulenteers work from home, most member communicate via cellphone and email over how to respond.
“I think, especially after the Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin verdicts, that it just feels dangerous to be a youth of color today, especially in Florida. With laws like Stand Your Ground, with huge amounts of school-based arrests in schools disproportionately affecting youth of color, these are the kinds of issues we face on a day-to-day basis. For a person to see a youth of color as dangerous and feel compelled and justified in killing him or her and then walk away free tells us that legislators and the laws that are in place in Florida perpetuate a system that says ‘we don’t care about youth of color,’ so I think that’s where #NeverLovedUs came from.”
The Dream Defenders do not have a physical reach beyond Florida, so they rely heavily on social media to nationalize their message and galvanize support around local causes. Jelani Cobb, associate professor and director of the Institute for African American Studies at University of Connecticut in Storrs, told NewsOne that social media is as vital to the group today as the advent of television was to the civil rights movement.
Join The Dream Defenders on Twitter:
Stephen "TheeBlackSocialite" Hale