Posts tagged with "Kamala Harris"

Biden Harris illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Biden × Harris

Kamala Harris Will be First Vice President to be Immortalized by Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Madame Tussauds New York Releases Clay Head Sculpture Images of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in Honor of Their 100th Day in Office

Kamala Harris made history when she was sworn in on January 20th becoming the first woman, first Black person and first Asian American vice president. Madame Tussauds New York is adding another first to Harris’ list of achievements by creating a wax figure in her likeness; an honor that has never-before been extended to a vice president. It’s tradition for Madame Tussauds to create a wax figure of each U.S. president. President Joe Biden’s figure was announced following the 2020 presidential election.

Madame Tussauds shared the news by releasing work-in-progress images of Biden and Harris, just ahead of their 100th day in office. The clay heads were created by a team of studio artists based in London and represent meticulous detail captured by researching hundreds of images to achieve an exact likeness of the famous U.S. leader’s faces. The heads took six weeks to sculpt, and the figures will take between four to six months to complete. “We’re honored to create a figure for Vice President Harris and reflect this significant moment in U.S. history for guests inside Madame Tussauds New York,” said Brittany Williams, spokesperson for Madame Tussauds.

President Biden and Vice President Harris’ figures will be wearing replicas of the outfits worn at the 46th presidential inauguration ceremony. President Biden’s figure will be dressed in a midnight blue Ralph Lauren suit, white dress shirt with a French cuff and a lavender tie. Madame Tussauds designers also included small, yet noteworthy details including navy and gold cufflinks with the words ‘U.S. Senator’ and a United States flag lapel pin.

The outfit for Vice President Harris’ figure was created custom for Madame Tussauds New York by Christopher John Rogers, the designer of the symbolic and elegant purple coat and dress worn at the inauguration. The look created for the figure is a replica of the blazer and dress worn by Vice President Harris on Inauguration Day for her indoor appearance and swearing in of the senators. Her gold and pearl necklace, pearl earrings, bracelets and rings will also be replicated to complete the authentic look.

Madame Tussauds plans to unveil the figures later this year and place them in the “Oval Office” experience at Madame Tussauds New York where guests can make their own history posing with Biden and Harris up close. 

Film Premiere illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Twenty Pearls Premiere

COMCAST ANNOUNCES EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE OF
TWENTY PEARLS – A DOCUMENTARY EXAMINING THE STORIED HISTORY OF ALPHA KAPPA ALPHA SORORITY, INCORPORATED – ON ITS NEWLY LAUNCHED BLACK EXPERIENCE ON XFINITY CHANNEL

Comcast NBCUniversal is excited to announce the exclusive premiere of the documentary film “Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated”, arriving Friday, March 26 on its newly launched Black Experience on Xfinity Channel, available on X1, Flex, and on-the-go with the Xfinity Stream app.

From award-winning filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper, produced by Coffee Bluff Pictures, and narrated by Phylicia Rashād, Twenty Pearls closely examines the founding and legacy of the first Black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, which is now regarded as one of the most significant and influential Black organizations in historyThe documentary tells a powerful story of sisterhood. In 1908, nine Black women enrolled at Howard University made one decision that would change the course of history. These college students created Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. For over 113 years, the sorority has influenced many of the most famous watershed moments in history.

Through narration, interviews, and rarely seen archival materials, the audience will see the sorority’s impact on World War II, NASA, Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) culminating in the historic election of America’s first Black and South Asian woman Vice President. Twenty Pearls features interviews with members of the sorority including Vice President Kamala HarrisMiss Universe Ireland 2019 Fionnghuala O’ReillySmithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch III, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Fierst, great-granddaughter of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, International President and CEO of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Dr. Glenda Glover and many more.

 
Watch the Twenty Pearls trailer hereTrailer
 

“This is an extraordinary time to look back at our past to serve our future,” added filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper. “A future where Black women are centered. Helming this documentary love letter to the founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the generations of women that followed in their footsteps, and to all Black women everywhere is an honor. This is an important history for all of us to know and understand.”

“We’re thrilled to work with award-winning filmmaker, Deborah Riley Draper, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to bring this exclusive premiere to the Black Experience on Xfinity channel, furthering our company-wide mission of investing in and showcasing authentic Black stories and culture,” said Keesha Boyd, Executive Director, Multicultural Video & Entertainment, Xfinity Consumer Services. “We launched this channel to help facilitate the discovery of stories like Twenty Pearls while providing a platform for emerging Black content creators.”

“Telling our own story is essential to preserving our history and uplifting the culture,” said Alpha Kappa Alpha International President and CEO Dr. Glenda Glover. “Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated’s remarkable 113-year journey which began on the campus of Howard University is punctuated by stories of history makers, ceiling breakers, public servants, and ordinary women who have changed the course of American history.  Through this beautifully written and narrated odyssey, this film highlights in undeniable ways the vision, courage, tenacity, determination, and power of Black women while putting to bed the age-old questions about the relevance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Divine Nine sororities and fraternities.”

Black Experience on Xfinity is a first-of-its-kind destination of Black entertainment, movies, TV shows, news, and more. It features high-quality content from many of Xfinity’s existing network partners, at no additional cost, while investing millions of dollars in fostering and showcasing emerging Black content creators. The channel is the only one of its kind endorsed by the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), the world’s largest group of Black film critics that gives annual awards for excellence in film and television. Available at home on Xfinity X1 and Flex, and on-the-go with the Xfinity Stream app, the Black Experience on Xfinity will entertain, educate and uplift, featuring Black actors, writers, producers and directors. At home, Xfinity subscribers can visit channel 1622 or simply say “Black Experience” into the Voice Remote to instantly enjoy the ultimate in Black storytelling.

Visit Xfinity to learn more about the Black Experience on Xfinity and other Black programming available on X1, Flex, and the Xfinity Stream app. Visit Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated to learn more about Twenty Pearls, which premieres on March 26 on Xfinity and is free for subscribers, and will be available nationwide, on-demand, starting on March 30, 2021.

Gabrielle Archuleta illustrates Black History Month for 360 MAGAZINE

Black History Month

By Hannah DiPilato

February is Black History Month and 360 Magazine would like to recognize some historic people of color who have become a positive influence on society. In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement skyrocketed and brought attention to the diversity that still exists within our community. Although society has come a long way from the early 1900s when segregation ran rampant, the movement for equality has a long way to go. From inventors to musicians, there are a number of successful people we would like to acknowledge in honor of Black History Month.

Martin Luther King Jr.
Arguably one of the most important leaders in the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King spent his time preaching for equality in a peaceful way. He will always be remembered for his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and his ability to lead others in this historical movement. Dr. King is one of the most influential

Joseph E. Lowery
Joseph E. Lowery is the grandfather of 360 Magazine’s President Vaughn Lowery and founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference alongside Dr. King. Throughout his life, Lowery served as vice president, chairman of the board and president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference as well as a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.

George Washington Carver
Many people are familiar with George Washington Carver for his inventive skills. He made over 300 products from peanuts and as an agricultural scientist promoted methods to prevent soil depletion.

Garrett Morgan
Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. is to thank for the invention of traffic lights as well as gas masks. Every time you stop at a red light, take a moment to think of Morgan for this essential technology.

Barack Obama
As the first black president of the United States, Barack Obama made an impact as the 44th president and showed young people of color they have representation in politics. He continues to use his voice to connect with the American people.

Kamala Harris
Keeping in the theme of politics, Vice President Kamala Harris is the first woman vice president, the first African American vice president and the first Asian American vice president. She’s giving young women of color everywhere a sense of representation.

Madam C.J. Walker
As the first recorded female self-made millionaire in America, Madam C.J. Walker was an influential entrepreneur, philanthropist and activist of her time.

Frederick McKinley Jones
Frederick McKinley Jones was the co-founder of Thermo King and he brought incredible improvement to long-haul transportation of perishable goods. Jones also won the National Medal of Technology.

Stevie Wonder
Stevland Hardaway Morris, better known as Stevie Wonder, is a musical prodigy that became blind after birth and learned to play the harmonica, piano and drums by age nine. He is now a notable singer, songwriter, musician and record producer.

Lonnie Johnson
Lonnie Johnson is known for his success as an aerospace engineer. He has worked on the U.S. Air Force term of service and has also worked at NASA for twelve years including in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Patricia Bath
As an ophthalmologist, Patricia Bath was an early innovator of laser cataract surgery. She was also the first woman, African American physician to receive a patent for a medical invention.

Oprah Winfrey
One TV personality almost everyone is familiar with is Oprah. Known for her television show The Oprah Winfrey Show, she has made waves in the world of entertainment. She is also known for co-producing a Broadway musical version of The Color Purple, establishing O, The Oprah Magazine, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) as well as creating Oprah.com.

Harriet Tubman
After being born into slavery, Harriet Tubman was a conductor of the Underground Railroad and helped many enslaved men and women escape. She led many people to freedom with her bravery and connection with antislavery activists.

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks gained her notoriety as an activist in the Civil Rights Movement and is known for starting the Montgomery bus boycott after refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. She has been called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement” by the United States Congress.

John Lewis
John Lewis was chairman Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as well as one of the “Big Six” leaders who organized the 1963 March on Washington. He was an essential part of the Civil Rights Movement and ending legalized racial segregation.

Alexander Miles
If you’ve ever ridden in an elevator, you can thank Alexander Miles for the automatic opening doors; he was awarded the patent for this invention in 1887. Mills was riding in an elevator with his daughter and he deemed an elevator shaft door left open could be dangerous.

Mary Kenner
Mary Kenner was an inventor famous for her development of the sanitary belt, the precursor to the self-adhesive maxi pad. However, due to racial discrimination, the idea wasn’t adopted for thirty years. She has five patents for various household items.

Maya Angelou
Known for her many famous pieces of writing, Maya Angelou was a poet, memoirist and civil rights activist. Over fifty years, she wrote a number of autobiographies, essays, poems, plays, movies and television shows. She also received over 50 honorary degrees as well as awards for her writing.

LeBron James
Along with being considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time, LeBron James also started the LeBron James Family Foundation to help create generational change for the children and families of LeBron’s hometown in Akron, Ohio.

Malcolm X
As a popular spokesperson at the time of the Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X encouraged Black Americans to protect themselves against racism. He preached a much different lesson than Martin Luther King Jr. who preached nonviolence.

Thurgood Marshall
Thurgood Marshall was the Supreme Court’s first African American justice as well as a prominent civil rights activist. He served on the court for 24 years and helped with influential rulings at the time of the Civil Rights Movement such as the case of Brown v. Board of Education.

Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the United States during the 20th century. He broke the color barrier of the MLB when he played for the National League Brooklyn Dodgers as second baseman with the jersey number 42.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Illustration by Kaelen Felix

The Presidential Inauguration

Today, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States which commences his four-year presidency and Kamala Harris as Vice President. 

Earlier it was revealed that former president Donald Trump would not attend the ceremony. Trump announced this on his Twitter account before the account was suspended. On January 8 he tweeted, “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

Trump is the sixth outgoing president that did not attend the presidential inauguration. The last time this occurred was in 1921 when Woodrow Wilson did not attend the inauguration of Warren G. Harding because of poor health. 

“It’s usually a sign that American society is in the midst of major political feud,” the presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said in the New York Times. “The fact that the incoming and outgoing presidents can’t shake hands and co-participate in an inauguration means that something’s off-kilter in the democracy.”

President Biden took an upbeat approach while speaking to the public in front of the Lincoln Memorial at the “Celebrating America” concert. After  addressing many difficulties the nation has encountered recently, he asked if American’s were up for a challenge. 

“Will we meet the moment like our forebearers have?” he asked. “I believe we must and I believe we will. You, the American people are the reason why I have never been more optimistic about America than I am this very day.”

“There isn’t anything we can’t do, if we do it together,” he added. 

“So thank you for this honor, I will give my all to you,” Biden concluded. 

The “Celebrating America” concert was star-packed and many celebrities came together to celebrate the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris. Performers such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, John Legend and Katy Perry all had smashing performances. The celebration was hosted by Tom Hanks, who many sources noted as looking “freezing” because he didn’t have time to take a break in the heated trailers set up for performers. 

There was of course concerns because of the violence that recently occurred at the Capitol earlier in January, explained Adrienne Elrod, the director of talent for the Biden transition team. “What happened on January 6th I wouldn’t say derailed us, but it certainly caused us to take a step back,” she said.

This inauguration is monumental as the first female Vice President is sworn in inspiring girls throughout America. Many people showed heartwarming tweets of their daughters watching Harris as she was sworn in as president. It was also reported that Harris will not immediately be moving in to the Vice President’s residence at the Naval Observatory. 

In Harris’s first statement to the public in her role as Vice President, she encouraged the people of the United States to unite in this time of crisis. 

“In many ways this moment embodies our character as a nation. It demonstrates who we are, even in dark times. We, not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be. We shoot for the moon, and then we plant our flag on it. We are bold, fearless and ambitious. We are undaunted, in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up. This is American aspiration,” Harris said.

Dr. Jill Biden tweeted a video of her and President Biden arriving at the North Portico of the White House as her first official tweet as First Lady. “Thank you for your faith in something that is bigger than all of us: that we will build a better world because we’re going to do it together,” the tweet read.

One unexpected part of the inauguration that has taken social media by storm is an image of Bernie Sanders sitting in a chair with mittens on. A huge number of memes have been created of Sanders in various locations and according to the Los Angles Times Sanders has also been laughing at the memes. 

A school teacher from Vermont was responsible for crafting the famous mittens and has since been flooded with requests from people that want to buy them. However, she has announced she is no longer selling them.

“Thanks for all the interest in Bernie’s mittens!” Jen Ellis wrote on Twitter. “I’m so flattered that Bernie wore them to the inauguration. Sadly, I have no more mittens for sale. There are a lot of great crafters on ETSY who make them.”

Sanders said he had no idea that the image of him would cause such an uproar on social media. “I was just sitting there trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on,” he said during an interview on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” Thursday. Even celebrities like Reba and Sarah Jessica Parker joined in on the fun making memes of the image. 

Biden began his duties as early as Wednesday when he finalized over a dozen executive moves in the Oval Office. “There’s no time to start like today,” Biden told reporters as he began signing a stack of orders and memoranda. “I’m going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people.”

Biden also made it clear during a swearing-in ceremony that his employees are expected to respect each other.”If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treating another colleague with disrespect, talking down to someone, I will fire you on the spot,” said Biden. 

The Biden administration has also put a plan in place to focus on specific issues that need attention. Starting on January 20, the Biden Administration began with Inauguration and four Crises to focus on.

They decided to pick a theme for the following ten days so they would be able to focus on specific issues each day. Some of these themes include Covid, Economic Relief, Climate, Health Care and Immigration. In February there is a plan to focus on restoring America’s place in the world. Throughout these days there will be a variety of executive orders depending on the theme.

Donald Trump illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

Donald Trump Impeached Again

By Dana Feeney

The House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time in his four-year term as president, which started in January of 2017. He is the third president to be impeached and the first president ever to be impeached more than once. This second impeachment comes shortly after the riots in the capital last week on January 6th, 2021. Trump is being impeached on the charge of “incitement of insurrection’’ because of the statements he made on January 6. He told his supporters to “fight like hell” because the Democrats were stealing the election. You can watch the speech hereDuring the riots, Trump supporters carrying a variety of racist and white supremacist paraphernalia swarmed the Capitol and forced their way into the building to stop the count of electoral votes. The riot caused the deaths of at least five individuals, including a Capitol police officer. 

Because of the insurrection, Democrats pushed for Vice President Mike Pence to enact the 25th amendment, which he could use to declare Trump unfit to serve as president and remove him from office. Republicans blocked this move. U.S. Congressmen David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Ted Lieu (CA-33), and Jamie Raskin (MD-08) introduced the article of impeachment to the House of Representatives on the morning of January 11, 2021. The article of impeachment is co-sponsored by 211 members of Congress according to Cicilline’s press release. You can read the full article of impeachment here. On January 13, 2021, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump with a 232 to 197 majority. 10 Republicans voted to impeach, more members of the president’s party than in any prior impeachment.

Impeachment does not mean removal from office; impeachment is adjacent to an indictment. The difference in American law is that indictment applies to criminal charges, while impeachment is the accusation of misconduct in a political setting. Any civil officer in the United States can be impeached. In the case of the President or Vice President, the first step is the introduction of the article(s) of impeachment in the House of Representatives. After the article(s) of impeachment are introduced to the House, the House then votes on each article of impeachment, and if any pass by a simple majority, more than 50%, the articles will be tried in front of the Senate. During the Senate trial, the chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over the Senate trial, the Senate body functions as the jury, a committee of House representatives, called “managers,” act as the prosecution, and the president and his or her lawyers act as the defense. All articles of impeachment are argued on the Senate floor, then are voted on by the Senate body to either convict or acquit; to convict, there must be a two-thirds majority. Only two presidents, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, were impeached and reached the Senate trial, both were acquitted. Despite an extensive impeachment investigation, Richard Nixon was never impeached because he resigned.  

Yesterday, January 13, 2021, the House voted to impeach Trump with only six days until the inauguration of Joe Biden. It is highly unlikely that Trump will be removed from office before the end of his term as president. The Senate is not set to be in session until January 19, 2021, and neither Democrats nor Republicans benefit from rushing the trial to be any sooner as this Senate trial will be a lengthy process that requires preparation from both the prosecution and the defense. Despite Trump losing the support of some members of his party, it is unclear how likely it is that Trump will be convicted because, even Mitt Romney, who voted to impeach in the first impeachment, has implied he is unsure that this is the right way to go. Many Republicans may hesitate to vote to convict because of the 74 million people who voted for Trump; these are the people who control whether Republicans will be reelected in the future. The main person who could cause a possible shift is Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. If McConnell chooses to vote to convict Trump, other members of the Republican party may do the same. McConnell released this statement on January 13 saying that “there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week.”

Trump has been silent since besides releasing this video condemning violence and has not acknowledged the second impeachment. He has been banned from social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, and Snapchat. Along with these bans, the tech industry has made broad statements against this recent violence. Apple and Google have removed the app Parler from their app stores. The app was used by Trump supporters and white supremacists to communicate and coordinate the attack on the Capitol. Further, Amazon Web Services, which hosted the app, has cut off its service to Parler on the premise that it violated its terms of service. One feature of the app was that users could upload a photograph of their government-issued ID or driver’s license to become a “Verified Citizen.” The app lost the support of its security services, which protected user data, leaving it vulnerable to hackers who stole the data and turned it over to the FBI to be used to identify terrorists present at the riot. Read more about it here. Additionally, there are accounts publicly identifying people in photographs from the riots on platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Federal officials are identifying and arresting individuals who were at the event.

 The riots have caused many security changes in Washington D.C. and state capitals across the U.S. as Joe Biden’s inauguration grows closer and threats of further violence continue to spread online. These changes include the resignation of the U.S. Capitol Police chief, Steven Sund, increased police and national guard presence in Washington D.C. and the implementation of high security barriers around the Capitol building. Many D.C. businesses inside of the security perimeter are already making changes in preparation for the inauguration. Some are boarding up their windows in preparation for possible protests while others are preparing to serve guests who come to D.C. for the inauguration. In response to various local, state, and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C., Airbnb has canceled all reservations in the Washington, D.C. metro area during the inauguration week, according to this press release. Some hotel chains in the city have stated that they will be hosting guests; as of now, nothing has been done to prevent this.

The events in this article, including the Senate trial, the consequences of the riots, and the coming inauguration, are all ongoing.

 

Kaelen Felix illustrates Ritchie Torres for 360 Magazine

TRAILBLAZER: CONGRESSMAN RITCHIE TORRES

By Elle Grant

January 3rd marked the commencement of the 117th Congress and the swearing of its newest members. For many, it marked the beginning of a new dawn. One that will be followed by the inauguration of TIME’s People of the Year, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. They will replace President Trump on Inauguration Day on January 20th. Yet several other remarkable individuals were elected this year and sworn in a bit earlier, solidifying the 117th Congress as the most diverse in American history. One of these representatives is a freshly elected Ritchie Torres, a 32-year-old politician serving the 15th congressional district in the Bronx, New York. Torres is the first openly gay Afro-Latino man elected to Congress, and one of two gay Black men that will serve in the 117th Congress, a distinction he shares with fellow New Yorker Mondaire Jones. 360 Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Torres to discuss the story of his life, the issues he considers vital, as well as pick his brain for his thoughts on current events.

“I am a product of the Bronx,” Torres says of his childhood, “I spent most of my life in poverty.” Ritchie Torres was raised by a single mother, one of three children, in the Throggs Neck neighborhood of the East Bronx. He recalls the difficulty his mother had raising a family on minimum wage in the 1990s, as well as the awful conditions of the public housing he grew up in. Torres recollects these experiences with the soft yet fluid countenance that marked his speech throughout 360’s conversation with him. He floats between topics and memories with ease.

He recalls, with a rich sense of irony, the construction of Trump Golf Links as a child. “My life is something of a metaphor. I grew up right across the street of what became Trump golf course and actually something funny, is when the golf course was undergoing construction, it unleashed a skunk infestation. So, I often tell people I’ve been smelling the stench of Donald Trump long before he became President.” His own situation, compared with the government subsidized construction of the Trump Golf Links, deeply unsettled Torres’ image of society. He says collectively of his youth, “Those experiences shape not only who I am as a person, but as a public official.”

Such injustices prompted Torres to seek to become “The change that you wish the see in the world,” he says, quoting Mahatma Gandhi. He named public figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Ted Kennedy as role models. He got his start as a housing organizer and eventually took the leap of faith to run for public office, becoming New York’s youngest elected city official at age 25. He had “No ties to the machine. No ties to the dynasties of Bronx politics, but I was young and energetic. I knocked on thousands of doors,” he claims that kind of face-to-face contact won him that election. Torres then became the first LGBTQ+ official elected from the Bronx.

“I think it has several implications,” he says when asked what this early accomplishment meant to him. “I mean, first, we are all products of our identities and our lived experiences. Right? Who we are as people shapes what we do as policy makers. It is important to have LGBTQ policy makers in the room where decisions are being made. A wise person once said, ‘If you don’t have a seat at the table, then you are probably on the menu.’” Referring to his 2020 election win, he says “My election means that LGBTQ people of color, in particular, will have a seat at one of the most powerful tables, the United States Congress.” He calls the reality of his election both empowering and normalizing. “I am a symbol of possibility.”

“I met Mondaire for the first time four years ago,” Torres says of Mondaire Jones, U.S. representative of New York’s 17th congressional district. “I remember when I met him for the first time, we had a conversation about the lack of LGBTQ representation of color in New York state politics. And I never imagined that four years later, he and I would become the first openly LGBTQ Black members of United States Congress.”

Congressmen Torres recognizes that his path, though marked with accomplishments, has not been one of only highs. Torres stands apart as a public official on the national stage who is open about the lows of his life and his struggles with mental health. When asked why he chooses to be so transparent, he says “I felt a deep sense of obligation to speak openly about my own struggles with depression in order to break the silence and shame and stigma that surrounds mental health.” He seeks to evolve, not perpetuate, the current ideas surrounding mental health. He hopes to show that “there is a way forward” out of difficult moments, which for him were struggles with substance abuse, the loss of a friend, and moments when he considered taking his own life. But seven years later, Torres was elected to city council. “I would not be alive today, much less a member of the United States Congress, were it not for mental health care which saved my life.” He aspires to send a message that “Recovery is possible. You can take an antidepressant, as I do every day, and find normalcy and stability” and achieve feats like being elected to Congress.

The 117th Congress is slated to be the most diverse in history. Torres says of this reality, “I think American is increasingly becoming a multi-racial, multi-ethnic inclusive democracy. We are witnessing the collapse of politics as an old voice network. I am part of a new generation of young leaders every bit as diverse as America itself. Congress is becoming what it always should have been, a miniaturization of America itself.”

Torres acknowledges the year 2020, monumental in many ways, as harrowing for his Bronx community. “COVID-19 has been a catastrophe for the city and the country, and the South Bronx has been the epicenter of COVID-19. The South Bronx had the highest rate of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality during the peak of the pandemic. And just as destructive as COVID-19 itself were the deeper inequalities that were brought to light.” He argued that the coronavirus exposed the deeper health inequalities, racial inequalities, and class inequalities laid bare by the pandemic.

These issues are at the forefront of Torres’ mind in thinking of his work as a legislator. When asked what he saw as the first step to rectifying the rampant racial injustice in the United States, he answered “the first thing is to bring greater accountability to policing in America,” an argument familiar to many Americans following the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd and their ensuing protests. As the Black Lives Matter movement swept the nation with greater momentum than ever before, cries for justice and defunding the police became common across the country’s cities. “Where there is no accountability, there will never be an end to police brutality” Torres says, being especially critical of qualified immunity in the United States.

Torres heads to Congress as a man with a mission regarding many issues. He himself declares “My great passion is affordable housing,” reflecting a long journey working continually in the housing sphere. He seeks to secure far greater funding for public housing in New York City and to expand the Section 8 program. The Section 8 program, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program, created by an act in 1978, provides assistance to eligible low- and moderate-income families to rent housing in the private market. Torres says, “For me the surest way to stimulate the economy is to put money in the pockets of struggling families.” In order to do that, he believes the solution is an expanded child tax credit, which he describes as the single largest tax expenditure in America, yet he finds fault with a system that is “so regressive that it excludes a third of American families. Particularly the poorest families in America.” Torres’ passion shines through when he discusses the subject, detailing how this solution could slash childhood poverty by 40% in the span of the year. He calls its potential an absolute “game changer.”

Without question, affordable housing and tax reform are the first issues Torres hopes to address after being sworn in to the 117th Congress on January 3rd, 2020. “For me, the central mission of my life is to fight poverty in America. Racially constructed poverty in America. The South Bronx is said to be the poorest district in America and if we can make progressive policies work in the South Bronx, we can make them work anywhere.”

360 Magazine also had the opportunity to discuss a variety of current issues with Congressman Torres, one of which being the then impending Senate run-offs in Georgia. Following races too close to call in November 2020, Republican incumbent David Perdue is facing a challenge from Democrat Jon Ossoff. Additionally, GOP appointee Kelly Loeffler is defending her seat against Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock. The election is vital because it will determine which party will control the Senate. “The stakes are supremely important,” Torres says of Georgia. “As long as Mitch McConnell refuses to bring critical bills to the floor for a vote, there is a limit to what we can accomplish. For me, Mitch McConnell is the single greatest obstruction on the path to progress. Winning those two seats in Georgia are essential.”

Regarding the impending mayoral race in his home of New York City, as well as early polls that display former Presidential candidate Andrew Yang as the frontrunner, Torres is coy. “The mayor’s race is wide open. Anyone who claims to have it figured out is lying.” He goes on to affirm “It is full of more than one credible candidate.”

“To be clear, I never announced that I wasn’t going to be in the squad.” Torres says, referring to ‘The Squad’ of United States Congress, composed of Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a fellow New Yorker, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. With new young progressive politicians like Torres joining the fray, claims of expanding membership are common. Torres, along with the aforementioned Mondaire Jones, as well as Congresswoman Cori Bush, Congresswoman Marie Newman, and Congressman Jamaal Brown are commonly referred to as impending members.

Instead, Torres clarifies, “I would never issue an announcement that I would not be a part of something. That would be an odd thing to do. Whenever I’m asked about the squad, I simply state that I’m my own person and I prefer to be judged on the basis of my own story and my own record, on my own terms.” He goes on to assert he is willing to work with “anyone and everyone in the service of delivering to the people of the South Bronx. That is my highest priority.” Torres is clear in this declaration that he is willing to work with more conservative members of his own party or the Republican party in hopes of progress.

On a future in politics, Torres affirmed his intent to serve the people in the moment and to “let the dice fall where they may” regarding the future. When asked what wisdom he would impart to a younger generation, Congressman Torres says “We are all only as strong as the support we have in our lives and be grateful for the supporters you have. The friends and family. I would not be here today if not for the friendship of people who believed in me more than I believed in myself. Know who those people are and value them and be grateful for them.”

Update as of 1/14/21, Congressman Ritchie Torres has formally endorsed former presidential candidate Andrew Yang for mayor of New York City. This comes just a day after Andrew Yang announced his campaign in a video titled ‘Why I’m Running,’ which features Torres in it.

LGBTQ Illustration for 360 Magazine by Gabriella Archuleta

OUT CELEBRATES ANNUAL OUT100 ISSUE

Pride Media’s Out magazine is thrilled to release the 2020 Out100 presented by Lexus. The list remains the largest annual portfolio recognizing members of the LGBTQ+ for their ground-breaking, ripple-inducing, and culture-shifting impact nationwide. 

The coveted and anticipated Out100 issue features four covers including trailblazing actor Wilson Cruz, activist and BLM organizer Janaya Khan,  actor and director Joe Mantello, and artist and icon Janelle Monáe.

This year’s honorees make up one of the most diverse lists in Out magazine’s history, spanning several generations and a multitude of intersections. From 18-year-old rap sensation Kidd Kenn and 99-year old trans WWII U.S. Navy fighter pilot Robina Asti to MSNBC journalist Rachel Maddow, who in a year of political tension was a voice of reason for the LGBTQ+ community. 

From fashion legend André Leon Talley, headlining musician Lizzo, comedian Wanda Sykes, actors Jeremy Pope and Cheyenne Jackson to modeling industry heavyweight Ivan Bart, the creators of Queer Eye, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s very queer team Jamal Brown, Reggie Greer, and Karine Jean-Pierre, inclusivity and progress are the driving force behind this year’s list. 

Each honoree represents not just the past but also the future. Leading into 2021, the LGBTQ+ community as a whole will undoubtedly reap the benefits of their accomplishments. This year might have brought an onslaught of challenges, but it also welcomed new opportunities to reflect on what matters to the LGBTQ+ community and what lies ahead in the fight for equality and justice.

Now more than ever, it’s vital to recognize the powerful voices leading the charge and sounding off the new vanguard of queer leaders. In a year of Pride celebrated at home instead of in the streets, community support from company partners like Lexus, Citi, Gilead, McDonald’s USA, Truly Hard Seltzer, and Stoli® Group USA, LLC has never been more important or helpful in amplifying these powerful Out100 voices moving the LGBTQ+ community forward. 

 “Community building has been the bedrock of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and part of that is understanding the fact that we are not and have never been monolithic. All of us have a story and role to play in this fight. All of our experiences and lived realities are different, special, and integral in building a better world — together,” said Editor in Chief of Out, David Artavia.

“The Out100 list is a representation of this journey. For 26 years, it has stood the test of time and continues to empower the next generation of LGBTQ+ thought leaders, artists, and professionals to create a more inclusive future for all of us,” continued Artavia. 

This year, Out’s nationally recognized and respected Out100 issue extends beyond the brand’s print and online properties with two exciting virtual events. On Friday, November 20, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Canada, Janaya Khan, will moderate a dynamic “How Do We Come Back From This?” symposium on what moving out of the last four years looks like for culture, politics, the movement, and ourselves, including Emmy-winning creator of Transparent Joey Soloway, trans activist Ashlee Marie Preston, and PR strategist Kelly Bush Novak.

On Saturday, November 21, the Out100 culminates in the first-ever 2020 Out100 Virtual Honoree Induction Ceremony, live at 5 p.m. Pacific (8 p.m. Eastern) at Out.com/Out100Live, and available on all Revry live channels and on-demand at 6 p.m. Pacific (9 p.m. Eastern) at watch.revry.tv.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden illustration for 360 MAGAZINE by Kaelen Felix

Biden’s victory means workers once again have a seat at the table

Joe Biden’s election victory is one for working families throughout this country.

It brings with it a renewed sense of optimism that they will once again have their voices heard in the revered Oval Office. As we celebrate this victory, we know there is much work to be done, and we, the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), look forward to working with the Biden administration to reestablish and further the interests of all working Americans.

Earlier this year, a survey of OPEIU members—the first-ever of its kind in our union’s history—showed a strong majority of us support the election of Biden as the forty-sixth president of the United States. OPEIU members throughout the country worked tirelessly in the months leading up to the election to help get out the vote for Biden and his vice-presidential running mate, Kamala Harris.

The democratic ticket is one of hope. Biden and Harris recognize the power of unions and worker organization. They promise that, as a part of their plan as leaders of the U.S., that they will “grow a stronger, more inclusive middle class – the backbone of the American economy – by strengthening public and private sector unions and helping all workers bargain successfully for what they deserve.”

His specific plan for doing is outlined on his website. Among his talking points, he swears to check the abuse of corporate power, encourage and incentivize unionization and collective bargaining, and ensure that workers are “treated with dignity and receive the pay, benefits, and workplace protections they deserve.”

“This is a historic day for working people. Not only has our members’ work to oust an anti-worker president come to fruition, but working people now have someone in the White House who will strive to protect America’s working families, not just the wealthy and powerful, and help bring our nation back together to heal after four years of divisiveness,” said OPEIU President Richard Lanigan.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Donald Trump has not protected workers. After the benefits of the CARES Act expired in July, which allotted citizens who filed for unemployment an extra $600 per month, Trump opposed its extension, leaving citizens without fiscal support from the government.

“Though we anticipate a wave of last-ditch legal challenges from the Trump campaign, our union will move forward knowing working people’s needs and struggles will be considered as President-elect Biden begins to assemble his cabinet,” he continued.

Trump has so far brought almost a dozen cases to smaller courts in Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgie, calling into question the validity of ballots and calling for the count to stop. Trump has made clear that he wants to take the election to the Supreme Court where it will determine a winner. But, according to the Associated Press, the margins with which Biden won the race make it difficult for Trump to build a case for himself.

“We congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their victory,” he concluded. “Working people across the country, especially OPEIU members, are looking forward to fighting side-by-side as we confront the biggest issues facing our country today: the COVID crisis, the attack on workers’ rights, economic inequality, racial justice and climate change.”

Biden and Harris won the popular vote and the Electoral College, securing, as of now, more than 74 million popular votes and 279 electoral votes, and counting. The AP called the election for Biden today.

OPEIU stands ready to work with the Biden administration to expand workers’ rights, make billionaires pay their fair share, combat inequality in all its forms, and undertake the difficult but necessary work required to protect our planet for future generations.

ABOUT OPEIU

The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) represents more than 103,000 working people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Representing employees in nonprofit organizations, credit unions, hospitals, insurance agencies, colleges and universities, hotels, administrative offices and more, OPEIU is committed to advancing economic justice for working people no matter their occupation.

Professional organizations and guilds affiliated with OPEIU are a diverse group that includes podiatrists, registered nurses, teachers, Minor League Baseball umpires, and helicopter pilots.

The first female, black and South Asian Vice President-elect.

Kaelen Felix illustrates Nas for 360 Magazine

BET’s New Documentary

Illustration by Kaelen Felix

BET PRESENTS NEW ORIGINAL GROUNDBREAKING DOCUMENTARY “SMOKE: MARIJUANA + BLACK AMERICA” EXECUTIVE PRODUCED AND NARRATED BY MULTI-PLATINUM RAPPER AND ENTREPRENEUR
NASIR “NAS” JONES

The Two-Hour Original Documentary Explores Black America’s Complex Relationship with Marijuana and the Current Fight to Reap the Benefits of Legalization. “SMOKE” Will Premiere
Wednesday, November 18 at 10 PM ET/PT

Produced by Swirl Films, “SMOKE” Features Sit-Down Interviews with Senator Kamala D. Harris, Senator Cory Booker, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney
Kim Foxx, Representative Barbara Lee, Former NBA Player Al Harrington, WNBA Star Cheyenne Parker, Former NFL Player Ricky Williams, Rapper B Real, Singer/Producer Ty Dolla $ign, Son of Notorious B.I.G. C.J. Wallace and others

Watch The Trailer Here

BET has announced a new original documentary titled “Smoke: Marijuana + Black America,” set to premiere onWednesday, November 18th at 10pm ET/PT. Narrated and executive produced by multi-platinum rapper and entrepreneur, Nasir Nas” Jones, the two-hour special examines marijuana’s cultural, social, economic and legal impact on American society and the Black community. Told through the lens of aficionados, policy makers, advocates and innovators in the booming legal cannabis industry, SMOKE features testimony from a range of notable individuals including Senator Kamala D. Harris, Senator Cory Booker, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Representative Barbara Lee, former NBA player and cannabis investor Al Harrington, WNBA star Cheyenne Parker, former NFL star Ricky Williams, rapper B-Real (Cypress Hill), award-winning music artist Ty Dolla $ign, son of Notorious B.I.G. C.J. Wallace, Columbia University PhD Professor Carl Hart and others.

Watch The “Smoke” Trailer Here“SMOKE” traces the fascinating and complex legacy of marijuana in the Black community. Early usage was recreational in nature, but political and racial dynamics led to the criminalization of cannabis and eventually its prohibition. America’s unjust war on drugs systematically targeted marijuana use in the Black community, resulting in racially disproportionate numbers of arrests and convictions. “SMOKE” features the voices of high-profile lawmakers, including the potential Vice President of the United States Senator Kamala D. Harris, Senator Cory Booker and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who are fighting to bring restorative justice to those incarcerated and others saddled with felony convictions. SMOKE also spotlights the tragic story of Corvain Cooper, a father, who is serving a life sentence for selling marijuana in the same neighborhood where legal dispensaries now operate in the open.

While the legal cannabis industry is expected to generate $30 billion in sales by 2025, only 4.3 percent of dispensaries are currently Black owned. “SMOKE” spotlights the hypocrisy of the system, highlighting the stories of pioneering African American entrepreneurs across the country, including former NBA player Al Harrington, who are fighting to own a piece of the booming legal cannabis industry currently dominated by White owned conglomerates and entrepreneurs.

“SMOKE” also dives into the controversy and stories of brave African American athletes, including former NFL star Ricky Williams, and WNBA star Cheyenne Parker, who have risked their careers by openly embracing their use of Cannabis.

“Smoke: Marijuana + Black America” is produced by Swirl Films. Nasir “Nas” Jones, Jason Samuels from BET, and Eric Tomosunas from Swirl Films serve as executive producers. Erik Parker serves as director for the documentary and Swirl Films’ Tony L. Strickland serves as co-executive producer.

For more information, go to BET.com and follow us @bet and @betnews across social media.

ABOUT BET
BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news, and public affairs television programming for the African American audience. The primary BET channel is in 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa, and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

ABOUT SWIRL FILMS
Swirl Films is one of the leading independent TV & Urban Film Production companies in the country, based out of Atlanta, Georgia and founded by Eric Tomosunas in 2001. Swirls project slate includes the wildly popular original drama series, Saints & Sinners, and as well as high-quality films and series produced for BET, TV One, Bounce, Lifetime, Hallmark, Reel One, Netflix & Up TV. Swirl Films provides services and content across various areas of production spanning from script to screen, for movies, biopics, scripted series, award shows and documentaries. Purchased in 2019, Swirl Films owns and operates its own 100,000 square foot film studio in Atlanta.

Pence vs. Harris illustration for 360 mag

Harris vs. Pence Vice Presidential Debate

By Hannah DiPilato

On Wednesday night, amidst many members of the White House testing positive for Coronavirus, the vice presidential debate was still held. Vice President Mike Pence and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris discussed important topics with 57 million people watching. 

The debate was a little calmer than last week’s, but there is still a lot to take away from the dispute. Moderator Susan Page of USA Today was able to keep things in check between the two, allowing a fair debate. 

The first topic was the unavoidable coronavirus, even more relevant now that so many people in Washington have tested positive. “Stop playing politics with people’s lives,” said Pence when he brought up Harris’ opinion that she wouldn’t get a COVID vaccination unless it was endorsed by public health experts. Pence also shot blame at China for causing the coronavirus while Harris contrasted this idea by saying the Trump administration didn’t do enough to combat the pandemic. 

Another pressing issue presented was the two candidates’ opinions on abortion. Pence made a comment that “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support taxpayer funding of abortion all the way up to the moment of birth, late-term abortion.” Although this is an exaggeration, Biden does support abortion rights. 

Pence and Harris argued about loopholes that currently exist in abortion laws that allow abortion all the way up to birth, but comparing the right to abortion to infanticide are two drastically different things. Pence could not confirm how Judge Amy Coney Barrett would vote on Roe v. Wade if confirmed into the Supreme Court. This has been a hot topic ever since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Many Americans are familiar with Biden’s plan to raise taxes on many people across the United States, but Pence took this a step forward claiming Biden would raise taxes on everyone. “Senator Harris is denying the fact that they’re going to raise taxes on every American,” said Pence. Harris noted that Biden has made it clear he won’t be raising taxes for anyone that makes less than $400,000 a year. 

Pence also acknowledged that climate change is real and that the Trump administration will “follow the science,” but he quickly changed the subject back onto Biden’s proposed tax increase. Harris responded that the government needs to do more to combat the changing climate, but didn’t say exactly how much preventative measures would cost. She also said Biden would rejoin the United States with the Paris climate accords. 

On the lighter side of the debate, social media buzzed about a fly landing on Pence’s head. The Vice President didn’t notice the fly, but the fly’s black body stood out to the audience against Pence’s bright white hair. 

The fly became a sensation and many twitter accounts were created from its perspective. There were hopes for a Saturday Night Live skit and jokes about a Netflix special. An online Halloween store is even selling a white wig with a fly on it called “Debate Fly Wig.” Biden also took advantage of this running joke and created a tweet with a fly pun to encourage donations and put a fly swatter up for sale.  

In the debate’s final moments, a question submitted by an eighth-grader was asked regarding the political division of The United States and the disagreement between the country’s leaders. 

Pence responded by attacking the news media for showing more of a significant divide that actually exists between most citizens. Harris referenced the 2017 Charlottesville violence and how this motivated Biden to run. “Joe Biden has a history of lifting people up and fighting for their dignity,” she said explaining how Biden could unite Americans. “I mean, you have to know Joe’s story to know that Joe has known pain, he has known suffering, and he has known love.”

On Thursday, following the vice presidential debate, President Donald Trump stated he would not be attending the next virtual debate against presidential candidate Joe Biden. Trump said on Fox News he would hold a rally instead.