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Who will save our missing children of color?

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A few weeks ago while attending the American Black Film Festival in New York City, I witnessed the short film “Muted.” Written by Brandi Ford, featuring “Grey’s Anatomy” star Chandra Wilson and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and directed by Rachel Goldberg, “Muted” was only 20 minutes long, but the offering sat on my chest like a lump of steel for days afterward. 
 
In the film a sweet, loving and creative African-American girl, Crystal Gladwell (Daniele Watts), leaves her home in the morning to go to school and is never seen alive again. Gleaned from the experiences of real African-American families forced to endure such terrible circumstances, “Muted’s” plot is an accurate depiction of what black families searching for their lost children can expect. A side storyline includes a white teenage girl, abducted at the same time, who is featured on the local evening news. Meanwhile, Crystal’s mother (Wilson) has to beg local journalists to cover the story, to no avail.  
 
I say this often, but art does often imitate real life. When a black child goes missing, the authorities seemingly lack in action and empathy as black parents beg for help locating their missing child. Oftentimes, standard questions place blame on the missing: “Has the child run away before? Has the child gotten into a recent disagreement with their parents? Does the child use illegal drugs? Have you checked with the child’s friends?” 
 
This hits the family with a triple whammy. First they have to convince law enforcement that their child is not the type of kid to run away. Then they have to convince the local media to air the child’s photo on the nightly news.
 
And last, they oftentimes must lead the search for their loved one themselves. While all of this is happening, they must fend off the eventual suspicions that they had something to do with the child’s disappearance themselves. 
 
These may be standard or even habitual questions. But all the while, the clock is ticking. According to Parents.com, a child goes missing or is abducted every 40 seconds in the United States. In 2001, 840,279 people were reported missing in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center. Of those reported missing, 85 to 90 percent were children. Twenty percent of the children reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for nonfamilial abductions were not found alive. 
 
With all that’s going on in the world, it’s a safe bet that the abduction of a family’s children is among its primary fears. But for black children in particular, it’s been a horrible year.
 
As the father of an autistic son, I was an emotional wreck when autistic 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo’s remains were found near the East River in New York City in January. Avonte slipped past a security guard and walked right out the door of his Queens school in October 2013. Authorities had no leads or information on the case until three months later, when the boy’s dismembered remains were found and identified via DNA. According to a March 2014 follow-up report by the New York Times, school surveillance video showed that the unlocked door Avonte used to leave the building was purposely left open by a still-unidentified man. 
 
But it’s not the last time a black or Hispanic child has gone missing. According to the nonprofit Black & Missing Foundation, 14-year-old Alliyah Johnson of Calumet City, Ill., has been missing since June 27. Days later, on July 1, 12-year-old Talaija Dorsey of St. James Parish, La., disappeared. Yet there has been no national news coverage. Why?
 
Read more at the Shadow League.
 
Source:

Shock jock fired over ‘racially charged’ posts

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SiriusXM spokesman Friday announced the firing of a co-host of the “Opie & Anthony” radio show, citing “racially charged” and incendiary tweets about a confrontation in New York City earlier in the week, the Associated Press reports.
 
Shock jock Anthony Cumia was fired late Thursday, SiriusXM spokesman Patrick Reilly told the AP. He described Cumia’s Twitter rant as “abhorrent” to SiriusXM, the news site reports.

Marching back to Mississippi

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Those of us who were in Mississippi to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer know very well none of it could have unfolded in the way it did without the quiet and courageous leadership of Robert Moses and David Dennis. 
 
Bob, a Harlem-born son of a janitor and graduate of Hamilton College, had studied philosophy at Harvard. He left a job teaching mathematics at New York City’s private Horace Mann School to work for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and in 1961 began leading a voter registration project in Mississippi, where voting was a white sport with no or few blacks allowed to play in many counties.

Use of arrest records at heart of class action suit against U.S. Census Bureau

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Did the U.S. Census Bureau unlawfully screen out approximately 250,000 African-Americans from temporary jobs for the 2010 census?
 
That’s the assertion in a class action lawsuit certified by a New York federal court on Monday (July 1st), the eve of the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Right Act of 1964.
 
U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas’ 61-page opinion ensures that the lawsuit, pursued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, will go forward as a class action on behalf of African-American job applicants who were denied Census Bureau employment because of its criminal background check policy.
Filed in April 2010, the lawsuit alleges that in hiring nearly a million temporary workers, most of whom went door to door seeking information from residents, the Census Bureau erected unreasonable, largely insurmountable, hurdles for applicants with arrest records – regardless of whether the arrests were decades old, for minor charges, or led to criminal convictions.

THIS WEEKEND IN MEMPHIS!

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Your source of information for where to go and what to do each weekend in the Greater Memphis area.

FRIDAY
 
Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular
9pm | Riverside
 
Southaven’s July 4th Celebration
7:30pm | 6285 Snowden Lane