Posts tagged with "Advocate"

Britney Spears illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Britney Spears Breaks Her Silence

“I Just Want My Life Back” 

Britney Spears Breaks Her Silence 

By: Heather Skovlund-Reibsamen 

Conservator 

con·ser·va·tor | noun 

  • a person responsible for the repair and preservation of works of art, buildings, or other things of cultural or environmental interest.

Britney Spears. We have heard her name countless times over the years in regard to her career, however, more recently regarding her conservatorship. A conservatorship is a legal arrangement that gives a court-appointed individual, known as the conservator, the power to handle the financial and/or personal affairs of another adult who has been deemed incapacitated.

In this case, James Parnell Spears is Britney’s father and conservator. Mr. Spears was appointed conservator in 2008 after Ms. Spears was taken to the hospital twice by ambulance for involuntary psychiatric evaluations in the midst of a series of public struggles and concerns around her mental health. 

The recent documentary on Britney Spears on Hulu, “The New York Times Presents Framing Britney Spears”, gives a lot of insight into how the conservatorship first came into play. Ms. Spears was failed from the very beginning, unfortunately. She had one request over the conservatorship- for her father not to be the head of it. She was adamant that he was not in charge of herself or her finances. She did not want her father making the decisions on her medical care and treatment as well as her finances.  

Essentially, Britney’s entire life was about to be dictated by people other than herself, against her will. The conservatorship enabled them to control who could and could not visit Britney and retained security guards for her twenty-four hours a day. They had the power to access her medical records and communicate with her doctors. They could take control of her house and even cancel her credit cards. They could make television deals and recordings for her and were able to be overly involved with her finances. In addition to the conservatorship, Spears had also lost the ability to see her two children, whom she shares with ex-husband Kevin Federline. A few weeks after the temporary conservatorship started, she was able to regain some visitation rights.  

On October 28, 2008, the conservatorship over Britney was made permanent. That was thirteen years ago. Thirteen. Since the conservatorship was placed over Britney, she has gone on to release albums, go on tour, and even held a Las Vegas Residency at the Las Vegas Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Britney claims that her father had her put on lithium against her will and forced her to keep an IUD in so that she would not have more children. Which leads us to this question: Why is she still under the conservatorship if she is able to work and perform to the absolute best of her ability? A conservatorship is for someone unable to make those decisions for themselves along with not being able to provide for themselves. Britney Spears has shown the entire world over and over again that she is able to function and run her own shows quite successfully.  

If you take a moment and look through Ms. Spears’ Instagram account, you will catch a glimpse of the real Britney. She is a breath of fresh air that is full of life and love, but held back by so many things out of her control. She’s a forty-year-old victim in a conservatorship that is no longer needed. Social media users have taken the internet by storm with the hashtags of #freebritney and you quite literally see it everywhere. There are millions of supporters that have followed her journey and are hoping their voices are heard as well as Britney’s to ensure her freedom.  

Additionally, Jaime Spears has been living off of Britney for the last 13 years. Ms. Spears says “Considering my family has lived off my conservatorship for 13 years, I won’t be surprised if one of them has something to say… I just don’t like feeling like I work for the people who I pay.” According to Forbes, Ms. Spears has paid her father a monthly salary, provided office space, and given him a cut of her celebrity. Jaime Spears was paid at least $5 million before taxes since 2008. Britney also has to pay the entirety of the legal fees for both herself and her conservators. Her father has also made money off of her residencies and tours, which you can read more about here.

More recently, there was a hearing where a twenty-four-minute statement against the conservatorship was aired. You can hear the audio here. Ms. Spears met virtually with Los Angeles probate judge Brenda Penny claiming she wants to sue her family and that she has been “abused” by a previous therapist, among other multiple accusations. 

Additionally, Samy Dwek has also shared an opinion on the matter:

WHOOPS, THEY DID IT AGAIN! FATHER’S CONSERVATORSHIP CONTINUES FOR BRITTANY SPEARS – AND IT SHOULDN’T

By Samy Dwek, Founder and CEO, The Family Office Doctor and White Knight Consulting

I would address something that’s been a major press story – the guardianship of Britney Spears.

In California, they use the word “conservator” – someone who looks after the affairs of a person, such as their finances, or after them as a person, their estate, their properties. In Florida, we use the word “guardianship” of the person or of the property.

For the last 10 years, Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, has been her conservator, her guardian, overseeing both her finances and her personal property, her career, et cetera. Following some very public issues, the court ruled that Bessemer Trust can come in to look after her financial affairs. I think is a very sound decision, based on the father’s background. Bessemer probably has a lot better experience in managing money.

However, the father retains the power as a guardian of the person, looking after her estate and her personal affairs, her personal care, medication, et cetera, which remains a point of contention.

I have to agree with Brittany Spears that her father should be replaced. Let me be very clear that if I were to have someone look after me, I would prefer there to be a person who is impartial, not a family member who has potentially an axe to grind, especially when my bank account would have $60 million in it, and someone who is not trained in these matters.

As parents, we care for our kids, but it’s a very different thing to deal with when the child has some kind of mental trauma or health issues. At that point, I think bringing in a professional who is an expert guardian and does this for a living would probably make more sense.

And I think there’s a lot more to play out here because I believe that Brittany was not aware of the fact that she can cancel the guardianship. She could actually ask for an end to the conservatorship. I think that would be a bit of a drawn-out process that would involve psychiatrists and others to prove that she has the mental capacity to take control of her life. And that would be something that would need to be proven to these practitioners and then presented to the court.

Given the opportunity, I would push for the implementation of a professional guardian whilst these issues are ironed out. Not all parents are good parents, hence we have CPS. A trained professional under the supervision of the courts is a more prudent solution.  

LINK TO LEAKED HQ AUDIO 

LIGHTLY EDITED TRANSCRIPT FROM AUDIO:

SPEARS: I just got a new phone, and I have a lot to say, so bear with me. Basically, a lot has happened since two years ago, the last time – I wrote this all down – the last time I was in court.  

I will be honest with you. I haven’t been back to court in a long time, because I don’t think I was heard on any level when I came to court the last time. I brought four sheets of paper in my hands and wrote in length what I had been through the last four months before I came there. The people who did that to me should not be able to walk away so easily. I’ll recap. I was on tour in 2018. I was forced to do… My management said if I don’t do this tour, I will have to find an attorney –  

JUDGE: Ms. Spears, I hate to interrupt you, but my court reporter is taking down what you’re saying, so you have to speak a little more slowly.  

SPEARS: Oh, of course. Yes. Okay. The people who did this to me should not be able to walk away so easily. To recap: I was on tour in 2018. I was forced to do… My management said if I don’t do this tour, I will have to find an attorney, and by contract, my own management could sue me if I didn’t follow through with the tour. He handed me a sheet of paper as I got off stage in Vegas and said I had to sign it. It was very threatening and scary. And with the conservatorship, I couldn’t even get my own attorney. So out of fear, I went ahead, and I did the tour.  

When I came off that tour, a new show in Las Vegas was supposed to take place. I started rehearsing early, but it was hard because I’d been doing Vegas for four years and I needed a break in between. But no, I was told this is the timeline and this is how it’s going to go. I rehearsed four days a week. Half of the time in the studio and a half of the other time in a Westlake studio. I was basically directing most of the show. I actually did most of the choreography, meaning I taught my dancers my new choreography myself. I take everything I do very seriously. There’s tons of video with me at rehearsals. I wasn’t good – I was great. I led a room of sixteen dancers in rehearsal.  

It’s funny to hear my managers’ side of the story. They all said I wasn’t participating in rehearsals, and I never agreed to take my medication – which my medication is only taken in the mornings, never at rehearsal. They don’t see even see me. So why are they even claiming that? When I said no to one dance move into rehearsals, it was as if I planted a huge bomb somewhere. And I said no, I don’t want to do it this way.  

After that, my management, my dancers and my assistant of the new people that were supposed to do the new show all went into a room, shut the door and didn’t come out for at least forty-five minutes. Ma’am, I’m not here to be anyone’s slave. I can say no to a dance move. I was told by my at-the-time therapist, Dr. Benson – who died – that my manager called him and then that moment and told him I wasn’t cooperating or following the guidelines in rehearsals. And he also said I wasn’t taking my medication, which is so dumb, because I’ve had the same lady every morning for the past eight years give me my same medication. And I’m nowhere near these stupid people. It made no sense at all.  

There was a week period where they were nice to me, and I told them I don’t want to do the – they were nice to me, they said if I don’t want to do the new Vegas show, I don’t have to because I was getting really nervous. They said I could wait. It was like lifting literally two hundred pounds off of me when they said I don’t have to do the show anymore, because it was really really hard on myself, and it was too much. I couldn’t take it anymore. 

So, I remember telling my assistant, but y’know what I feel weird if I say no, I feel like they’re gonna come back and be mean to me or punish me or something. Three days later, after I said no to Vegas, my therapist sat me down in a room and said he had a million phone calls about how I was not cooperating in rehearsals, and I haven’t been taking my medication. All this was false. He immediately, the next day, put me on lithium out of nowhere. He took me off my normal meds I’ve been on for five years. And lithium is a very, very strong and completely different medication compared to what I was used to. You can go mentally impaired if you take too much, if you stay on it longer than five months. But he put me on that, and I felt drunk. I really couldn’t even take up for myself. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mom or dad really about anything. I told him I was scared, and my doctor had me on six different nurses with this new medication, come to my home, stay with me to monitor me on this new medication, which I never wanted to be on to begin with. There were six different nurses in my home, and they wouldn’t let me get in my car to go anywhere for a month. 

Not only did my family not do a goddamn thing, my dad was all for it. Anything that happened to me had to be approved by my dad. And my dad acted like he didn’t know that I was told I had to be tested over the Christmas holidays before they sent me away, when my kids went home to Louisiana. He was the one who approved all of it. My whole family did nothing. 

Over the two-week holiday, a lady came into my home for four hours a day, sat me down and did a psych test on me. It took forever. But I was told I had to. Then after, I got a phone call from my dad, basically saying I’d failed the test or whatever, whatever. “I’m sorry, Britney, you have to listen to your doctors. They’re planning to send you to a small home in Beverly Hills to do a small rehab program that we’re going to make up for you. You’re going to pay $60,000 a month for this.” I cried on the phone for an hour, and he loved every minute of it.  

The control he had over someone as powerful as me – he loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000%. He loved it. I packed my bags and went to that place. I worked seven days a week, no days off, which in California, the only similar thing to this is called sex trafficking. Making anyone work against their will, taking all f their possessions away – credit card, cash, phone, passport – and placing them in a home where they work with the people who live with them. They all lived in the house with me, the nurses, the 24-7 security. There was one chef that came there and cooked for me daily during the weekdays. They watched me change every day – naked – morning, noon and night. My body – I had no privacy door for my room. I have eight vials of blook a week.  

If I didn’t do any of my meetings and work from eight to six at night, which is ten hours a day, seven days a week, no days off, I wouldn’t be able to see my kids or my boyfriend. I never had a say in my schedule. They always told me I had to do this. And Ma’am, I will tell you, sitting in a chair for ten hours a day, seven days a week, it ain’t fun… and especially when you can’t walk out the front door.  

And that’s why I’m telling you this again two years later, after I’ve lied and told the whole world” I’m okay and I’m happy.” It’s a lie. I thought I just maybe if I said enough maybe I might become happy, because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized. You know, fake it till you make it. But now I’m telling you the truth, okay? I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.  

And the reason I’m telling you this is because I don’t think how the state of California can have all this written in the court documents from the time I showed up and do absolutely nothing — just hire, with my money, another person and keep my dad on board. Ma’am, my dad and anyone involved in this conservatorship and my management who played a huge role in punishing me when I said no — ma’am, they should be in jail. Their cruel tactics working for Miley Cyrus as she smokes on joints onstage at the VMAs — nothing is ever done to this generation for doing wrong things. 

But my precious body, who has worked for my dad for the past fucking 13 years, trying to be so good and pretty. So perfect. When he works me so hard. When I do everything, I’m told and the state of California allowed my father — ignorant father — to take his own daughter, who only has a role with me if I work with him, they’ve set back the whole course and allowed him to do that to me. That’s given these people I’ve worked for way too much control. They also threaten me and said, If I don’t go, then I have to go to court. And it will be more embarrassing to me if the judge publicly makes the evidence we have. 

You have to go. I was advised for my image; I need to go ahead and just go and get it over with. They said that to me. I don’t even drink alcohol — I should drink alcohol, considering what they put my heart through. Also, the Bridges facility they sent me to, none of the kids — I was doing this program for four months, so the last two months I went to a Bridges facility. None of the kids there did the program. They never showed up for any of them. You didn’t have to do anything if you didn’t want to. How come they always made me go? How come I was always threatened by my dad and anybody that participated in this conservatorship? If I don’t do this, what they tell me to enslave me to do, they’re gonna punish me. 

The last time I spoke to you by just keeping the conservatorship going, and also keeping my dad in the loop, made me feel like I was dead — like I didn’t matter, like nothing had been done to me, like you thought I was lying or something. I’m telling you again, because I’m not lying. I want to feel heard. And I’m telling you this again, so maybe you can understand the depth and the degree and the damage that they did to me back then. 

I want changes, and I want changes going forward. I deserve changes. I was told I have to sit down and be evaluated, again, if I want to end the conservatorship. Ma’am, I didn’t know I could petition the conservatorship to end it. I’m sorry for my ignorance, but I honestly didn’t know that. But honestly, but I don’t think I owe anyone to be evaluated. I’ve done more than enough. I don’t feel like I should even be in room with anyone to offend me by trying to question my capacity of intelligence, whether I need to be in this stupid conservatorship or not. I’ve done more than enough. 

I don’t owe these people anything — especially me, the one that has roofed and fed tons of people on tour on the road. It’s embarrassing and demoralizing what I’ve been through. And that’s the main reason I’ve never said it openly. And mainly, I didn’t want to say it openly, because I honestly don’t think anyone would believe me. To be honest with you, the Paris Hilton story on what they did to her to that that school, I didn’t believe any of it. I’m sorry. I’m an outsider, and I’ll just be honest. I didn’t believe it. 

And maybe I’m wrong, and that’s why I didn’t want to say any of this to anybody, to the public, because I thought people would make fun of me or laugh at me and say, “She’s lying, she’s got everything, she’s Britney Spears.” 

I’m not lying. I just want my life back. And it’s been 13 years. And it’s enough. It’s been a long time since I’ve owned my money. And it’s my wish and my dream for all of this to end without being tested. Again, it makes no sense whatsoever for the State of California to sit back and literally watch me with their own two eyes, make a living for so many people, and pay so many people, trucks and buses on the road with me and be told, I’m not good enough. But I’m great at what I do. And I allow these people to control what I do, ma’am. And it’s enough. It makes no sense at all. 

Now, going forward, I’m not willing to meet or see anyone. I’ve met with enough people against my will. I’m done. All I want is to own my money, for this to end, and my boyfriend to drive me in his fucking car. 

And I would honestly like to sue my family, to be totally honest with you. I also would like to be able to share my story with the world, and what they did to me, instead of it being a hush-hush secret to benefit all of them. I want to be able to be heard on what they did to me by making me keep this in for so long, it is not good for my heart. I’ve been so angry, and I cry every day. It concerns me, I’m told I’m not allowed to expose the people who did this to me. 

For my sanity, I need you to the judge to approve me to do an interview where I can be heard on what they did to me. And actually, I have the right to use my voice and take up for myself. My attorney says I can’t. It’s not good. I can’t let the public know anything they did to me and by not saying anything, is saying it’s OK. 

It’s not OK. Actually, I don’t want an interview — I’d much rather just have an open call to you for the press to hear, which I didn’t know today we’re doing, so thank you. Instead of having an interview, honestly, I need that to get it off my heart, the anger and all of it that’s been happening. 

It’s not fair they’re telling me lies about me openly. Even my family, they do interviews to anyone they want on news stations. My own family doing interviews and talking about the situation and making me feel so stupid. And I can’t say one thing. And my own people say I can’t say anything. 

It’s been two years. I want a recorded call to you actually, we’re doing this now — which I didn’t know that we’re doing this. My lawyer, Sam (Ingham), has been very scared for me to go forward because he’s saying if I speak up, I’m being overworked in that facility of that rehab place, that rehab place will sue me. He told me I should keep it to myself. I would personally like to — actually, I’ve grown with a personal relationship with Sam, my lawyer, I’ve been talking to him like three times a week now, we’ve kind of built a relationship but I haven’t really had the opportunity by my own self to actually handpick my own lawyer by myself. And I would like to be able to do that. 

The main reason why I’m here is because I want to end the conservatorship without having to be evaluated. I’ve done a lot of research, ma’am. And there’s a lot of judges who do end conservatorships for people without them having to be evaluated all the time. The only times they don’t is if a concerned family member says something’s wrong with this person. 

And considering my family has lived off my conservatorship for 13 years, I won’t be surprised if one of them has something to say going forward, and say, “We don’t think this should end, we have to help her.” Especially if I get my fair turn exposing what they did to me. 

Also, I want to speak to you about my obligations, which, I personally don’t think at the very moment I owe anybody anything. I have three meetings a week I have to attend no matter what. I just don’t like feeling like I work for the people whom I pay. I don’t like being told I have to, no matter what, even if I’m sick. Jodi, the conservator, says I have to see my Coach Ken even when I’m sick. I would like to do one meeting a week with a therapist. I’ve never before, even before they sent me to that place, had two therapy sessions. I had a doctor and then a therapy person. What I’ve been forced to do illegal in my life. I shouldn’t be told I have to be available three times a week to these people I don’t know. 

I’m talking to you today because I feel again, yes, even Jodi is starting to kind of take it too far with me. They have me going to therapy twice a week and a psychiatrist. I’ve never in the past – wait, they had me going, yeah, twice a week and Dr. Gold, so that’s three times a week. I’ve never in the past had to see a therapist more than once a week. It takes too much out of me going to this man I don’t know. 

Number one, I’m scared of people. I don’t trust people with what I’ve been through. And the clever setup of being in Westlake, one of the most exposed places in Westlake, which, yesterday, paparazzi showed me coming out of the place literally crying in therapy. It’s embarrassing, and it’s demoralizing. I deserve privacy when I go and have therapy, either at my home, like I’ve done for eight years. They’ve always come to my home. Or when Dr. Benson — the man that died — I went to a place similar to what I went to in Westlake which was very exposed and really bad. Okay, so where was I? It was like, it was identical to Dr. Benson, who illegally, yes 100% abused me by the treatment he gave me, to be totally honest with you, I was so — 

JUDGE: Ms. Spears, excuse me for interrupting you, but my reporter says if you could just slow it down a little bit, because she’s trying to make sure she gets everything that you’re saying. 

SPEARS: OK, cool… And to be totally honest with you, when [Dr. Benson] passed away, I got on my knees and thanked God. In other words, my team is pushing it with me again. I have trapped phobias being in small rooms because of the trauma, locking me up for four months in that place. It’s not okay for them to send me — sorry, I’m going fast — to that small room like that twice a week with another new therapist that I pay that I never even approved. I don’t like it. I don’t want to do that. And I haven’t done anything wrong to deserve this treatment. 

It’s not okay to force me to do anything I don’t want to do. By law, Jodi and this so-called team should honestly – I should be able to sue them for threatening me and saying if I don’t go and do these meetings twice a week, we can’t let you have your money and go to Maui on your vacations. You have to do what you’re told for this program and then you will be able to go. But it was a very clever thing, one of the most exposed places in Westlake, knowing I have the hot topic of the conservatorship, that over five paparazzies are going to show up and get me crying coming out of that place. I begged them to make sure that they did this at my home, so I would have privacy. I deserve privacy. 

The conservatorship, from the beginning, once you see someone, whoever it is, in the conservatorship making money, making them money, and myself money and working – that whole statement right there, the conservatorship should end. I shouldn’t be in a conservatorship if I can work and provide money and work for myself and pay other people — it makes no sense. The laws need to change. What state allows people to own another person’s money and account and threaten them and saying, “You can’t spend your money unless you do what we want you to do.” And I’m paying them. 

Ma’am, I’ve worked since I was 17 years old. You have to understand how thin that is for me every morning I get up to know I can’t go somewhere unless I meet people, I don’t know every week in an office identical to the one where the therapist was very abusive to me. I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive, and that we can sit here all day and say oh, conservatorships are here to help people. But ma’am, there is a thousand conservatorships that are abusive as well. 

I don’t feel like I can live a full life. I don’t owe them to go see a man I don’t know and share him my problems. I don’t even believe in therapy. I always think you take it to God. I want to end the conservatorship without being evaluated. In the meantime, I want this therapist once a week. I just want him to come to my home. I’m not willing to go to Westlake and be embarrassed by all these scummy paparazzi laughing at my face while I’m crying, coming out and taking my pictures as all these white nice dinners, where people drinking wine at restaurants, watching these places. They set me up by sending me to the most exposed places, and I told them I didn’t want to go there because I knew paparazzi would show up there.

They only gave me two options for therapists. And I’m not sure how you make your decisions, ma’am. But this is the only chance for me to talk to you for a while. I need your help, so if you can just kind of let me know where your head is. I don’t really honestly know what to say but my requests are just to end the conservatorship without being evaluated. I want to petition basically to end the conservatorship. But I don’t want to be evaluated and be sat in a room with people four hours a day, like they did me before. And they made it even worse for me after that happened. 

I’m honestly new with this. And I’m doing research on all these things. I do know common sense and the method that things can end – for people, it has ended without them being evaluated. So, I just want you to take that in consideration. 

It also took a year, during COVID, to get me any self-care methods. She said there were no services available. She’s lying, ma’am. My mom went to the spot twice in Louisiana during COVID. For a year, I didn’t have my nails done — no hairstyling and no massages, no acupuncture. Nothing for a year. I saw the maids in my home each week with their nails done different each time. She made me feel like my dad does. Very similar, her behavior and my dad, but just a different dynamic. 

The team wants me to work and stay home instead of having longer vacations. They are used to me sort of doing a weekly routine for them. And I’m over it. I don’t feel like I owe them anything at this point. They need to be reminded they actually work for me. 

I was supposed to be able to — I have a friend that I used to do AA meetings with. I did AA for two years. I did three meetings a week. I’ve met a bunch of women there. And I’m not able to see my friends that live eight minutes away from me, which I find extremely strange. 

I feel like they’re making me feel like I live in a rehab program. This is my home. I’d like for my boyfriend to be able to drive me in his car. And I want to meet with a therapist once a week, not twice a week. And I want him to come to my home. Because I actually know I do need a little therapy. (Laughing.) 

I would like to progressively move forward, and I want to have the real deal, I want to be able to get married and have a baby. I was told right now in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby, I have a (IUD) inside of myself right now, so I don’t get pregnant. I wanted to take the (IUD) out so I could start trying to have another baby. But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children – any more children. So basically, this conservatorship is doing me waaay more harm than good. 

I deserve to have a life. I’ve worked my whole life. I deserve to have a two-to-three-year break and just, you know, do what I want to do. But I do feel like there is a crutch here. And I feel open and I’m okay to talk to you today about it. But I wish I could stay with you on the phone forever, because when I get off the phone with you, all of a sudden all I hear all these no’s — no, no, no. And then all of a sudden, I get I feel ganged up on and I feel bullied, and I feel left out and alone. And I’m tired of feeling alone. I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does, by having a child, a family, any of those things, and more so. 

And that’s all I wanted to say to you. And thank you so much for letting me speak to you today. 

JUDGE: Ms. Spears, you’re quite welcome. And also, I just want to tell you that I certainly am sensitive to everything that you said and how you’re feeling, and I know that it took a lot of courage for you to say everything you have to say today, and I want to let you know that the court does appreciate your coming on the line and sharing how you’re feeling. 

For Women Under Conservatorship, Forced Birth Control Is Routine

In June, Britney Spears spoke publicly for the first time about her conservatorship. She told a Los Angeles judge she has been forced to perform, forced to take medication she did not want, and, perhaps most shocking to the general public, forced to use contraception. Last night, Spears reiterated many of the claims she made in June, adding that in addition to major abuses like being forced into a residential psychiatric facility, she was subjected to a number of petty ones.

Journalist Sara Luterman, who focuses on disability politics, reports that a lot of people were shocked by the allegations that Britney Spears is being forced to wear an IUD. After looking into how common the practice is for other people under guardianship, she’s not going to lie: It’s bleak.

For Women Under Conservatorship, Forced Birth Control Is Routine

No one with knowledge of conservatorship Luterman interviewed was surprised by any of Spears’s allegations, including the ones around reproductive choice. Advocates say forced birth control and sterilization are still routine in the United States for women under conservatorship. Tom Stenson—the deputy legal director of Disability Rights Oregon, a federally funded protection agency—said he has never seen a case involving a man’s family seeking birth control or sterilization of a son. “I’m sure somewhere out there, there’s somebody trying to get their son or brother with a disability sterilized. But I’ve had a number of these cases arise, and they are, in my experience and so far, all women.”

Read the full article here

Juneteenth Image via Rita Azar for use by 360 Magazine

TIDAL x Angela Rye – Triumph Over Trauma

TIDAL, in partnership with influential politico, lawyer and advocate Angela Rye, is announcing the premiere of “Triumph Over Trauma: Black Wall Street Then and Now” – a one-hour long special commemorating the centennial of one of the worst attacks of racial violence in American history: the Tulsa Race Massacre. The special will premiere on Saturday, June 19 at 6 pm ET to also honor the Juneteenth holiday, which celebrates the effective end of slavery in the United States.

The Tulsa Race Massacre devastated the prosperous African-American business community in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District known as “Black Wall Street” and claimed hundreds of lives. Viewers will hear from three living survivors of the massacre – Mother Fletcher, Mother Randle, and Uncle Red – who will discuss memories of Black Wall Street, escaping the night of the massacre, their legacy, and much more. The hour-long special will also feature local politicians, business leaders, Black youth of Tusla, activists, writers, and more reflecting, learning, inspiring, and growing – and most importantly shedding light on untold history.

The special will be broadcast simultaneously on TIDAL’s YouTube channel as well as in-app – both members and non-members alike will be able to view. You can find a preview HERE.

Highlighting the historical moments that impact society is an integral part of TIDAL’s DNA. By celebrating how integral all voices are to culture and community, TIDAL continues its commitment to providing its members with culture-shifting content.

Art by Maria Solomon for use by 360 Magazine

AdventureWomen Partners with African Wildlife Foundation

AdventureWomen, a by-women, for-women adventure travel company, has announced that they are partnering with the African Wildlife Foundation, an organization that supports the conservation of Africa’s wildlife and environment through community development, sustainability projects, education initiatives and more. As part of the collaboration, leaders from the two organizations will be hosting a special women’s safari to Zimbabwe in May of 2022.

Joining the trip will be AdventureWomen’s owner Judi Wineland, a longtime conservationist and adventure travel pioneer; and Carter Smith, AWF safari program manager and author of the children’s book African Tea. Joining Judi and Carter will be several other visionary women including Olivia Mufute, the first female Chief Ecologist at the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the current Zimbabwe country director for AWF; and Sharon Stead, founder of the Mother Africa Trust, which supports female-focused projects throughout Zimbabwe.

Both AdventureWomen and the African Wildlife Foundation believe in empowering girls and women throughout the continent, and this shared mission will be weaved into many aspects of the trip. A highlight of the journey will be a dinner hosted by Aunt Flatter, a Zimbabwe local with decades of wisdom about the country.

“At African Wildlife Foundation, we believe that women in Africa have a critical role to play in conservation on the continent,” says Carter Smith. “That’s why I’m so excited about AWF’s budding partnership with AdventureWomen, and honored to participate in this beautifully crafted safari with Judi Wineland. The Zimbabwe safari will feature women ambassadors, travelers, and conservation heroes. We can’t wait for this inspiring adventure.”

The trip will include once-in-a-lifetime experiences, including a visit to the majestic Victoria Falls, a walking safari to try to spot incredibly rare white rhinos, and a sunset cruise along the Zambezi River. Participants will also have the opportunity to visit the Lupani Primary School in Kazungula, Zambia (across the country border, nearby Victoria Falls). The school was rebuilt as an initiative of the African Wildlife Foundation’s Classroom Africa program, providing a safe learning environment for children across seven grades.

“We are thrilled to partner with AWF,” says Judi Wineland, whose philanthropic work in Africa began with her founding a Tanzania-based non-profit 25 years ago. “By inviting participants to foster female-to-female connections, we hope this trip will continue to bolster AWF and bring awareness to their incredible work.”

For more information, please visit here.

ABOUT ADVENTUREWOMEN
AdventureWomen® has been a pioneer and a leader in adventure travel for women since 1982, custom-designing and leading some of the most unique adventure travel tours for active women, worldwide. Owners Judi Wineland, President of Wineland-Thomson Adventures Inc., and her daughters Erica Landerson and Nicole Wineland-Thomson, describe AdventureWomen as a “relationship company” where women create connections with other women while exploring new frontiers and active outdoor adventure. Offering adventure tours to over 20 countries each year, AdventureWomen invites women to physically and mentally challenge themselves while exploring the world at their own pace and on their own terms.


ABOUT AFRICAN WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
The African Wildlife Foundation (http://www.awf.org) is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.

Luverne Cox illustration by Heather Skovlund (Photo Credit Jami Kandel (Vision PR)) for 360 Magazine

Laverne Cox × Live From E! Host

E! NAMES LAVERNE COX HOST OF NETWORK’S SIGNATURE RED CARPET FRANCHISE “LIVE FROM E!” BEGINNING JANUARY 2022 

Actor and Advocate Will Also Headline a Series of Celebrity Interview-Based Specials to Air Throughout Next Year  

E!, the global, multi-platform brand for all things pop culture, announced today that Emmy-nominated actor, Emmy-winning producer, advocate and style star Laverne Cox will lead the network’s signature red carpet coverage beginning with the 2022 award season. Laverne’s passion for advocacy, fashion and fun aligns with E!’s commitment to build out a modern, inclusive and interactive experience for celebrities and their fans.  

Additionally, she will host a series of celebrity-based interview specials spotlighting trendsetters, tastemakers and those making an impact in the Hollywood community and airing throughout next year.  

“Laverne Cox is a risktaker, groundbreaking pioneer and a fashion tour de force,” said Jen Neal, Executive Vice President, Entertainment Live Events, Specials and E! News, NBCUniversal Television & Streaming. “As we continue to evolve the way we cover Hollywood’s biggest nights, Laverne’s passion for, and extensive knowledge of, the fashion community resonates with our audience and we look forward to seeing her shine on the other side of the velvet rope.”    

“I’m so excited and deeply humbled to be hosting E!’s iconic red-carpet coverage. For many years I would wake up early on awards show days, get my snacks in place and watch E!’s coverage all day long,” said Cox. “I dreamed of walking red carpets. Now, not only have I had several fun and amazing personal red-carpet moments, I also get to be a red carpet guide for E!’s discerning audience and chat with my colleagues and folks I deeply admire for these very special events in their lives.  I can’t wait to get started while hopefully serving up fashion fantasies for the ages honey.”

About Laverne Cox  
With various ‘firsts’ in her already impressive career, Laverne Cox is a four-time Emmy-nominated actress, Emmy winning producer and a prominent equal rights advocate and public speaker. Cox is best known for her groundbreaking role of Sophia Burset in the critically acclaimed Netflix original series “Orange is The New Black.” This role helped Cox become the first openly transgender actress to be nominated for a Primetime acting Emmy and made her the first Trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television series. Cox can currently be seen in the Oscar-winning film “Promising Young Woman.” She is the host of “The Laverne Cox Show” podcast for Shondaland Audio and iHeart and recently wrapped production on Shonda Rimes’ limited series “Inventing Anna” for Netflix.  She is also the Executive Producer of the critically acclaimed documentary Disclosure, which was just nominated for a Peabody Award and is currently streaming on Netflix.   

About E! Entertainment   
E! is the only global, multi-platform brand for all things pop culture, and airs some of the most sought-after reality series on TV, including “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “The Bradshaw Bunch,” “Botched” “Overserved with Lisa Vanderpump” and “E! True Hollywood Story.” “E! News” is the leading multi-platform publisher delivering breaking entertainment news and pop culture coverage 24/7 across EOnline and all digital and social media. The brand’s programming slate includes “Daily Pop,” “Nightly Pop” on linear and “E! News’ The Rundown” on Snapchat. “Live from E!” covers signature red carpet events, keeping fans connected to their favorite stars on pop culture’s biggest nights and the “E! People’s Choice Awards” celebrates the best in pop culture and is the only award show for the people, by the people. E! is part of the NBCUniversal Television and Streaming portfolio, which includes NBCU’s broadcast, cable and streaming platforms: NBC, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, Universal Kids, USA Network and Peacock. For more information, visit EOnline

Pregnancy illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Black Maternal Health Crisis

Free Virtual Webinar During Black Maternal Health Week:

“The Black Maternal Health Crisis in the United States”

As this unpredicted season begins against the backdrop of Covid-19, racial unrest, and action for justice and healing – nothing is normal. The Promise Heights From the Heights virtual series will look at the challenges of the moment, offering actionable insights that you can use today. 

The third of these freevirtual webinar conversations is scheduled for Monday, April 12, 2021 from 2-3:30 pm, and will feature a message from Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, representing the 14th District of Illinois as the first woman, the first person of color, and first millennial to represent her community in Congress, and also the youngest Black woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives. The Black Maternal Health Caucus was launched by Congresswomen Alma Adams and Lauren Underwood to improve Black maternal health outcomes and to raise awareness within Congress about the problem and advocate for effective, evidence-based, culturally component policies and best practices for health outcomes for Black mothers.

Also joining our conversation, moderated by Reporter Tatyana Turner of The Baltimore SunL. Latéy Bradford, MD, PhD, University of Maryland Medical Center: Chief Resident, Family Medicine; Stacey Stephens, LCSW-C, Director, B’more for Healthy Babies, Promise Heights; and Stephanie Etienne, CNM, Certified Nurse Midwife based in Baltimore.
 

ABOUT THIS EVENT:
As stated in the Black Maternal Health Caucus/Momnibus website, “In the richest nation on earth, moms are dying at the highest rate in the industrialized world—and the rate is rising. For as dire as the situation is for all women, the crisis is more severe for Black mothers.”  More recently, the March 11, 2021 New York Times featured story, “Why Black Women Are Rejecting Hospitals in Search of Better Births” reported that, “Black mothers in the United States are 4 times as likely to die from maternity-related complications as white women.”

Black women also experience higher rates of maternal complications and infant mortality. They are twice as likely to lose an infant to premature death, and these disparities have not improved in more than 30 years. These disproportionate inequities exist regardless of income, educational level or any other demographic characteristic.  This April 12 virtual session will provide insight how to make pregnancy and childbirth safer in the U.S., amplify community–driven policy, practice and systems and enhance community organizing on Black maternal health by taking action to reduce maternal mortality and reduce morbidity related to childbirth. 
 

Click here to learn more and register for this free program

To learn more about the From the Heights series of virtual events, click here.

Funding for the From the Heights series was provided by The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Kaiser Permanente

Javier Ramos illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Javier Ramos Vigil

Rideshare Driver Killed in Chicago Amid Carjacking Crisis Targeting Uber and Lyft Drivers

Drivers Guild Demands Action from Uber, Lyft, City of Chicago

7pm Tonight: The Independent Drivers Guild will take part in Prayer Vigil Tonight Honoring Javier Ramos – Details Below

The Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) is mourning the loss of rideshare driver Javier Ramos who was killed in a carjacking early Tuesday morning in Chicago. Ramos is survived by his 9-year-old daughter and a close-knit circle of family and friends. His death comes amid a carjacking crisis in the city in which rideshare drivers have been targeted repeatedly. 

Ramos was killed exactly one week after the IDG held a vigil for other rideshare drivers who were attacked in car jackings earlier this month, one of whom was left paralyzed from the waist down and one who was kidnapped, robbed, and sexually assaulted by her passenger. The vigil was followed by a vehicle procession to Uber and Lyft’s Chicago offices where the Guild posted its safety demands in letters to the companies’ CEOs. 

“Javier Ramos was found lying in the street by police and transported to a hospital as a John Doe. Unable to communicate and robbed of his belongings, he passed. He tried to fight off his attackers. They shot him in his face and head. He was then removed from his car, and the violent criminals proceeded to run him over with it,” said IDG organizer and longtime Chicago rideshare driver Lenny Sanchez.

“Javier Ramos was a father, a brother, and a beloved member of our community. And he did not have to die. Say his name, Dara Khosrowshahi. Say his name, Logan Green. Blood is on your hands and it’s not the last of it. Comply with our driver safety demands now,” demanded Sanchez.

In January, the IDG launched a driver safety campaign, demanding action from Uber and Lyft, and the City of Chicago to protect rideshare drivers. The Guild has called for a City Council hearing on the crisis. Drivers and members of the community who wish to learn more and show their support are urged to go to IDGactnow.org where you can sign a petition to the City Council and sign up for updates on upcoming actions and events.

“If Uber and Lyft won’t protect Chicago’s hardworking drivers, the city needs to act to compel them to. Chicago cannot allow these apps to be used by criminals to hunt down their next victims,” said Brendan Sexton, executive director of the Independent Drivers Guild. “While Uber and Lyft have made rider safety a priority with constant improvements, driver safety has been virtually ignored and this is the result. Rideshare drivers must be licensed, and background checked before they can begin serving our community, but Uber and Lyft do not even require passengers to verify their identity. End the disparity and protect drivers now.”

Earlier this month, the Guild launched a fund to support Chicago rideshare drivers and their families affected by car jackings and assaults.

The Independent Drivers Guild is the largest rideshare driver organization in the nation, organizing for drivers’ rights, fair pay and better working conditions. Together, we’ve won landmark victories that put billions of dollars in drivers’ pockets. The Independent Drivers Guild is a non-profit affiliate of the Machinists Union that advocates for more than 250,000 drivers in NY, IL, NJ, CT and across New England. We are driver-led and driver-powered.

Learn more

Javier Ramos Vigil Information

Friends and family of Javier Ramos will gather for a prayer vigil in his honor Friday, March 26, 2021, at 7 pm in North Park, 10040 Addison Avenue, Franklin Park, Illinois. Invited guests include Congressman Jesus “Chuy” García, Senators Don Harmon, Karina Villa and Ram Villivalam; Representatives Maura Hirschsuer and Kathy Willis; Franklin Park Mayor, Barrett Pedersen; Director of Police, Michael Witz; and Independent Drivers Guild advocate, Lenny Sanchez.

The vigil will honor the life of Javier Ramos who was killed by his passenger during an attempted carjacking earlier this week. Those who knew “Javi” knew that he lived for the joy of his life, his 9-year-old daughter. 

Javier’s death comes as Chicago is seeing an exorbitant increase in city-wide car jackings, some of which have culminated in the deaths of the victims. It is well past the time to address the issue of senseless gun violence. Javi’s death should not be in vain. 

Cousin and spokesperson for the family, Ms. Illinois International 2021, Hortencia Ramos said “This could have been anyone’s brother, anyone’s son, anyone’s father, anyone’s cousin,” The vigil is open to all who want to share their love and support of Javier and his family. Attendees are encouraged to wear orange in support of a future without gun violence.

Uber/Lyft Drivers Demand Action from Rideshare Companies After Recent Driver Killings

Drivers Guild to Hold Rally, Caravan To Protect Drivers’ Lives

Drivers and supporters can learn more at IDGActNow.org

Rideshare drivers are being assaulted in targeted attacks at an alarming rate and just last week two drivers were killed by their passengers. The Independent Drivers Guild is demanding that Uber and Lyft take immediate action to protect driver safety, starting with verifying customer identities. On Friday, the Guild will hold a rally at the O’Hare airport TNP waiting lot before caravanning to the Uber and Lyft hubs where rideshare drivers, including carjacking victims, will hold a press conference with community activist Ja’Mal Green, city leaders and the family of Javier Ramos, the driver who was killed by his passenger in Chicago last week.

The Guild will also hold rallies in New York and Connecticut in memory of Javier Ramos and Mohammad Anwar and in solidarity with rideshare drivers nationwide facing violence on the job.

FRIDAY 4/2 RALLY, CARAVAN, AND PRESS CONFERENCE

10AM rally at O’Hare Uber/ Lyft Waiting Lot (ORD TNP lot)

11:30AM Caravan to Uber and Lyft Chicago Hubs

12:00PM Press conference at Uber Hub: We stand up for ourselves and demand action now!
Uber Greenlight Hub on North Avenue

1401 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Digital Divide illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Digitally Disconnected

DIGITALLY DISCONNECTED

13 TIPS FOR HELPING BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR CHILDREN DURING COVID-19

While social, racial, and economic disparities have always existed within the educational system, the COVID-19 pandemic is exasperating these inequities and widening gaps between students at a drastic rate. For families who can’t afford home computers, laptops, or high-speed internet access, remote learning is nearly impossible, and for students who already found themselves struggling before the pandemic, the prospect of more than a year of lost classroom time is a devastating blow. However, there are steps parents can take to shrink this digital divide, and there are resources available via schools, non-profits, and government initiatives that can help children access the technological tools they need to succeed. Indeed, Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder of Children and Screens, notes that “the inclusion of 17.2 billion dollars for closing the ‘homework gap’ in the recently passed American Rescue Plan is a watershed moment for digital equity.”   
 
Several of the leading figures in the fields of public health, education, psychology, and parenting have weighed in with their suggestions on the best ways to combat the digital divide, and many will participate in an interdisciplinary conversation and Q&A hosted by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development on Wednesday, March 24, at 12pm ET via Zoom. Moderated by the Director of Internet and Technology Research at the Pew Research Center Lee Rainie, the panel will engage in an in-depth discussion about the digital divide and actionable steps we can all take to bridge the gap. RSVP here.
 
1. DON’T WAIT, ADVOCATE 

While schools across the country are doing everything they can to make sure that children have access to the technology and connectivity they need for remote learning, the unfortunate reality is that many families still lack adequate resources. If your family is among them, says author and MIT Assistant Professor of Digital Media Justin Reich, know that you’re not alone and that there are steps you can take to advocate for what your children need. “Start with your school staff,” Reich recommends. “They’re often overwhelmed during this challenging time but be polite and persistent. If you run into a dead-end with your school system, consider reaching out to school libraries and youth organizations like The Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA to see what kind of support they might be able to offer.”
 
2. SCALE DOWN 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Professor Dr. Wayne Journell agrees, pointing out that sometimes, despite their best efforts, teachers and administrators may not always know which students are struggling with connectivity issues. “Let teachers know if you have slow internet at home,” says Journell. “Sometimes detailed graphics and animations that look cute but have little relevance to the actual lessons being delivered can cause problems for students with unreliable internet. If teachers are aware, then they can scale down the ‘frilly’ stuff and still get the important content across.”
 
3. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF  

While it’s important for parents to speak up on behalf of their children, RAND Senior Policy Researcher Julia Kaufman, Ph.D., highlights the importance of encouraging children to express their needs, as well. “If your child does not have access to technology at home and is falling behind, make sure your child’s teacher knows the obstacles they’re facing and ask what accommodations will make it easier for your child to do assignments offline,” says Rand. “At the same time, help your child feel comfortable expressing any technology concerns or confusion to their teachers, including cases where they have the technology but cannot use it well.”
 
4. CHECK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS 

One critical step that educators and policymakers can take in addressing the digital divide is to check their assumptions. They cannot – and should not – assume that students do or do not have access based solely on demographics such as family income level. “In addition, they cannot assume that providing access alone creates equity,” adds Dr. Beth Holland, a Partner at The Learning Accelerator (TLA) and Digital Equity Advisor to the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN). “This is a complex and nuanced challenge that needs both a technical and a human solution to ensure that students not only have access to sufficient high-speed internet and devices but also accessible systems and structures to support their learning.”

5. SURVEY AND MODIFY  

For teachers who are on the ground and in the classroom, checking your assumptions can be as simple as asking a few basic questions at the start of the term. “Survey students to determine the percentage of your population that doesn’t have home Internet access,” recommends former AAP President Dr. Colleen A. Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Once you know the divide, you can address it,” adding, “When planning 1:1 projects and choosing devices, for example, you can consider a device’s capacity for offline use. For those without Wi-Fi, a public library in the child’s neighborhood can also be an excellent resource.”

6. VOTE FOR CHANGE 

That parents and teachers need to worry about the digital divide at all is a failure on the part of our elected leaders, says Bates College Associate Professor of Education Mara Casey Tieken. “Contact your elected officials—local, state, and federal—and complain,” she suggests. “Write letters, call their offices, attend their legislative sessions, and make your voice heard. Join with other families whose children are impacted by this divide to amplify your message and use your vote to support lawmakers who understand the impacts of this divide, have a clear plan to address it and are willing to take action.”
 
7. MAKE BROADBAND A UTILITY  

Reich agrees, reminding those families who already have their needs met that they share in the responsibility to advocate for the less fortunate. “It’s our job as citizens to demand that we as a society give families and children the tools and resources that they need for remote learning now and in the future,” says Reich. “We need to advocate for a society where broadband is treated as a utility rather than a luxury good, and young people enrolled in schools and educational programs have access to computers for learning.”

8. CONCRETE INITIATIVES  

Angela Siefer, Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, advocates four concrete initiatives. “Establish a permanent broadband benefit, increase access to affordable computers, digital literacy and technical support, improve broadband mapping (including residential cost data), and support local and state digital inclusion planning.” By implementing these changes, Siefer says, policymakers can start to mitigate the digital divide. 

9. USE TECH FOR GOOD 

There are many reasons to consider equitable solutions along a “digital continuum” rather than the “digital divide;” a binary description leaves less room for nuanced and customized interventions. It may be imperative to fortify existing institutions, implement new governance structures and promulgate policies to confront disparities regarding working families. Antwuan Wallace, Managing Director at National Innovation Service, suggests that legislators consider a Safety and Thriving framework to increase family efficacy to support children with protective factors against the “homework gap” by utilizing technology to train critical skills for executive functioning, including planning, working memory, and prioritization. 
 
10. LEVEL THE FIELD 

Emma Garcia of the Economic Policy Institute emphasizes that guided technology education will be of great value after the pandemic. She says, “it will need be instituted as part of a very broad agenda that uses well-designed diagnostic tests to know where children are and what they need (in terms of knowledge, socioemotional development, and wellbeing), ensures the right number of highly credentialed professionals to teach and support students, and offers an array of targeted investments that will address the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on children’s learning and development, especially for those who were most hit by the pandemic.”
 
11. APPLY FOR LIFELINE 

Research also shows that the digital divide disproportionately affects Latino, Black, and Native American students, with the expensive price of internet access serving as one of the main obstacles to families in these communities. “Eligible parents can apply for the Lifeline Program, which is a federal program that can reduce their monthly phone and internet cost,” suggests Greenlining Institute fellow Gissela Moya. “Parents can also ask their child’s school to support them by providing hotspots and computer devices to ensure their child has the tools they need to succeed.”
 
12. GET INVOLVED 

Learning remotely can be difficult for kids, even if they have access to all the technological tools they need. Research shows that parental encouragement is also an important aspect of learning for children, notes London School of Economics professor and author Sonia Livingstone. “Perhaps sit with them, and gently explain what’s required or work it out together.” She adds that working together is a great way that parents with fewer economic or digital resources can support their children. “And if you don’t know much about computers, your child can probably teach you something too!”
 
13. NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL 

When it comes to encouraging your children, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. “Reflect on the more nuanced ways your children learn and leverage accessible resources (digital and non-digital) to inspire their continued curiosity,” says University of Redlands Assistant Professor Nicol Howard. Leaning into your child’s strengths and interests will help them make the most of this challenging time.
 
While the move to remote learning may seem like an insurmountable obstacle for families that can’t afford reliable internet or dedicated devices for their kids, there are a variety of ways that parents can help connect their children with the tools they need. For those privileged enough to already have access to the necessary physical resources, it’s important to remember that emotional support is also an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to children’s educational success, especially during days as challenging as these. Lastly, it falls on all of us to use our time, energy, and voices to work towards a more just world where the educational playing field is level and all children have the same opportunity to thrive and succeed, regardless of their social, racial, or financial background.
 
About Children and Screens
Since its inception in 2013, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, has become one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing and supporting interdisciplinary scientific research, enhancing human capital in the field, informing and educating the public, and advocating for sound public policy for child health and wellness. For more information, visit Children and Screens website or contact by email here.
 
The views and opinions that are expressed in this article belong to the experts to whom they are attributed, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, or its staff. 

Emmett Till illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Emmett Till × Mamie Till Mobley

National Trust Partners’ Advocacy Leads to Roberts Temple: Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley Senate Bill

Sen. Tammy Duckworth introduced a bill with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) as co-sponsors to establish Chicago’s Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ as a National Monument. The move would offer the highest level of federal support for the church and would ensure that the National Park Service will preserve, protect, and interpret its powerful impact on American civil rights history for generations to come. Civil rights activist Mamie Till Mobley was a member of Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, and the church played a historic role in the funeral of Emmett Till, her fourteen-year-old son killed on August 28, 1955, during a visit with relatives in Money, Mississippi.

Rather than cover up the brutality of the murder, Mobley bravely decided to hold an open casket funeral at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ so people could witness the bitter consequences of racism. When tens of thousands of people came to view young Till’s mangled body from September 3-6, 1955, and photographs of his mangled face were published in journals around the country, it ignited the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, similar to the way George Floyd’s death has impacted movements today. TIME magazine named a photo of the Till funeral one of the 100 most influential images of all time.

Last year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ on its 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list, recognizing its groundbreaking significance and the need to restore and preserve the site. Support has continued through Trust grants and technical assistance as well as through advocacy to gain federal support to maintain the site. The Trust has partnered in this work with members of the Till and Roberts families, The Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the National Parks Conservation Association, Latham & Watkins LLP pro bono program, and other interests committed to the longevity of this historic landmark. Efforts are also ensuing to obtain National Park status for Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, as well as for important sites linked to Emmett Till in Mississippi.

“The Roberts Temple Church is both extraordinarily and heartbreakingly important to Chicago, our state, and to our country’s history,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth said. “It’s time we recognize how historic sites can not only teach us about our history – but provoke us to build a more just future. By designating this church a historic site, we will help ensure that this awful chapter is not erased and that generations of Americans to come can show respect to Mamie and Emmett’s stories.”

The National Trust’s Chief Preservation Officer Katherine Malone-France said, “Our nation will benefit tremendously when Roberts Temple is designated a National Monument, lifting up its profoundly important role in American history. It is imperative that our country appropriately honors the site of Emmett Till’s funeral and of Mamie Till Mobley’s remarkable courage. We are honored to support the Roberts Temple congregation, the Till family, and the local community as they advance this designation and determine how to carry forward the legacies of this powerful place, as a unit of the National Park system.”

Reverend Wheeler Parker, who witnessed his cousin Emmett’s abduction in 1955, and his wife, Dr. Marvel McCain Parker, said, “We are grateful for the introduction of legislation to preserve the legacy of Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley by making Roberts Temple a National Monument, which will help to fulfill Mamie’s request for my wife and I to continue her work to ensure her son’s death was not in vain.”

Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ was founded in 1916 and is known as the “mother of all of the Churches of God in Christ in Illinois.” With its founding, it became a central place of worship and political organizing for many who migrated to Chicago from the South during the early 20th Century.

Today, the building remains in use by the Church of God in Christ denomination, now led by Elder Cleven Wardlow who said, “On behalf of the congregants of Roberts Temple and members of the Roberts Family, we strongly support this endeavor as well as the ongoing efforts by racial justice and preservation organizations to obtain federal protection for Roberts Temple.”

Patrick Weems, Executive Director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center stated, “What took place at Roberts Temple changed the world. We commend the Roberts Temple congregation, the Roberts and Till families, especially Rev. Wheeler Parker, Jr., Dr. Marvel McCain Parker, and Ollie Gordon for their commitment to telling the truth, and we want to thank Senator Duckworth for her leadership in bringing forth this legislation.”

“The time for turning away from this painful chapter in American history is long over” stated Alan Spears, Senior Director for Cultural Resources. “The National Parks Conservation Association applauds Senator Duckworth for introducing this very significant piece of legislation commemorating the legacies of Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley.”
For more information on the campaign to designate the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ National Monument visit their website.

Canadian Goose with basketball illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

PETA Attacks NBA Over Sponsorship

PETA Attacks NBA Over Canada Goose Sponsorship

Natural Fibers Alliance Blows Foul on Extremism

This week members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) demanded the NBA scuttle its new multiyear partnership with Canada Goose. On Monday, the Canadian company announced a multi-year partnership with the NBA to develop specialized attire for NBA All-Star Games.

PETA has had a long-running campaign against Canada Goose because the company uses feathers and fur in some of its outerwear. PETA has vigorously attempted to ban the use of all leather, wool, fur, cashmere, down, and silk at the federal, state, and local levels because they are derived from animals–including the leather used to make basketballs.

Mike Brown, head of sustainability and communications with the Natural Fibers Alliance, issued the following response to PETA: PETA has gotten so extreme that it would ban basketballs simply because they’re made with leather. This is a lay-up for the league: Tell PETA to hit the showers.”

Not only does PETA’s advocacy against natural materials harm the environment but threatens consumers’ freedom of choice. Synthetic clothing is one of the top global polluters of waterways. Researchers estimate that synthetic fabrics alone are responsible for up to 35 percent of microplastic pollution in our oceans; synthetic clothing “sheds” microparticles when cleaned. Natural fibers, in contrast, are a sustainable and renewable resource.

The Natural Fibers Alliance is a newly formed environmental justice coalition representing wool, leather, fur, and other naturally produced materials. For additional comments or questions, contact Mike Brown.

Chaz Cardigan Drops Everything’s Wrong Video

Today, Chaz Cardigan shared the official video for his new single, Everything’s Wrong. While Vulnerabilia, his early 2020 EP, examined living with panic disorder, Chaz’s new song is all about not letting a breakdown keep you broken down. Directed by Haoyan of America (Crumb, Cautious Clay), the accompanying video features a scanned 3D model of Chaz, coming to life. The model was created using photogrammetry in a virtual environment. View HERE.

Haoyan explains, We approached the videos as a four-part series (quadrilogy) to support Chaz’s upcoming project. Each subsequent video loosely relates to and builds on the previous ones. The series will touch on topics like technological hubris, infinite regress and memory.

Premiering the single, Flaunt said, Everything’s Wrong speaks volumes to the current state of the world. The message: a bad day is never the end of the story. The track appeared on the Ones To Watch #NowWatching Weekly playlist and Billboard Prides weekly First Out roundup. Billboard noted, [the song] is Cardigan’s music declaration that things are messy, and he’s perfectly happy with that.

Chaz performed Everything’s Wrong on Today In Nashville earlier this week. View HERE. Check out his recent Nashville Scene No-Contact Show session HERE. Chaz also performed at To All The Music, a virtual concert event celebrating the vinyl release of the To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You original soundtrack, which includes his contribution, As I’ll Ever Be.

Hailing Chaz as a certified 21st century pop artist, Billboard praised the top 20 Alternative Radio hit Not OK! as a pumping mélange of bright beats, rough guitar riffs, and hypnotic sitar lines, with Cardigan’s deeply emotive voice soaring over all. American Songwriter said, [S.O.S] is an infectious, pop anthem. ADVOCATE called Chaz an alt-rocker for a new, angsty generation. The Nashville Scene observed, He writes songs grounded in compassion and honesty, often grappling frankly with mental health in a way that’s being heard more often in mainstream pop these days.

A classically trained pianist who taught himself to play guitar, bass and drums, Chaz grew up near Louisville, KY. Inspired by Prince and Stevie Wonder’s achievements in self-producing, he saved up enough money to purchase a four-track recorder and began recording himself at age 10. By the following year he was gigging in local punk bands. Upon moving to Nashville at age 17, Chaz began producing in a local hip-hop collective called The Diatribe. He made his full-length debut with the 2017 album I and soon was selling out headline shows throughout Nashville. Chaz is the first artist jointly signed to Capitol Records/Loud Robot. Loud Robot is the record label from J.J. Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot.

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