Posts tagged with "north carolina"

Breaking News by Nicole Salazar

Breaking News Roundup – Week of April 27

A Jewish gathering in Israel resulted in the deaths of 44 people, and the injury of some 150 others.

The New York Times estimated that crowd of approximately 100,000 people had been congregating at Mount Meron the night prior to the stampede in celebration of Lag b’Omer. This even had been the first legal huge religious gathering since India’s curtailing of coronavirus mutations. A 24-year-old witness told Army Radio that a first row of people collapsed, resulting in the second row of people to also fall due to the pressure of the stampede, and so on. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan tweeted Thursday night, “Our hearts go out to the people of Israel tonight following the tragedy at Mount Meron. We offer our condolences to the families and friends who lost loved ones in this disaster and wish a full and swift recovery to those injured.”

Coronavirus cases soar in India.

A global, record-number of cases has been set for the fifth day straight as of Monday in India. 352,991 cases had been confirmed over a 24-hour period. Immediately, the United States moved to send over medical equipment, medical gear, and other coronavirus resources. President Biden tweeted on Sunday night: “Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need.”

North Carolina sheriff requests body camera footage of Andrew Brown Jr.’s death.

A North Carolina sheriff requests that the footage of Andrew Brown Jr.’s death be made publicly accessible. However, a court motion will have to be made to do so. Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten clarified “only a judge can release the video.” Wooten has allowed four of the deputies back on active duty after video evidence proved that they didn’t fire their weapons. Three sheriffs who did fire their weapons will remain on leave until the investigation is complete. As of Wednesday, the judge denied making the footage publicly accessible, but allowed Brown’s family to view the recording.

New Orleans Shooting Resulted in Injury to Five People

Early morning on Saturday, a shooting on Bourbon Street in New Orleans resulted in the injury to five people, though none of the injuries are believed to be life threatening. One person was treated on scene, and the rest of the injured people were taken to a nearby hospital. The reason behind what led to the shooting is currently unknown, but detectives are investigating the crime scene.

Wisconsin Casino Shooting resulted in tragedy.

Saturday night, a shooting at the Oneida Casino near Green Bay, Wisconsin, resulted in the death of two people, and serious injury to a third victim. Investigators believe that the gunman had a “personal relationship” with an employee who worked inside the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center at the Duck Creek restaurant. The targeted employee wasn’t working when the gunman took to opening fire, so the gunman instead attacked his target’s “co-workers or friends,” says Lt. Kevin Pawlak of the Brown Country Sheriff’s Department. The main casino and other facilities are closed until further notice, and the investigation is still unfolding.

Medina Spirit Wins 147th Kentucky Derby

The winner of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday was Medina Spirit. This year’s derby is believed to be the most attended event since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The prized pony was trained by Bob Baffert, the most accomplished winner of the Derby–this win counting as his seventh victory. Medina Spirit won over second place Manaloun, third place Hot Rod Charlie, and Essential Quality at fourth.

On Wednesday, federal agents executed search warrants to investigate Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan apartment.

The criminal investigation into Giuliani, who served as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has been underway for more than two years already. Trump’s activities in Ukraine, which may or may not involve illegal lobbying, are one of the main focuses of the investigation. Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing, claiming innocence, and has not been charged. A search warrant for a lawyer, such as Giuliani, requires a sign-off from the highest levels of the Department of Justice. Giuliani’s electronic devices including the computer belonging to his assistant. Giuliani’s assistant, Jo Ann Zafonte, has also received a subpoena to appear before a grand jury in court next month.

President Joe Biden surpassed 100 days in office.

During his speech to mark this event in Duluth, Georgia, Biden was interrupted by protesters rallying for prison reform. Biden agreed with their demand and took to praising and acknowledging Derek Chauvin’s conviction.

Some of the other biggest feats of Biden’s 100 days in office so far include administering 200 million vaccines doses as of April 21, passage of the American Rescue Plan to bolster funding vaccinations and improve economic recovery. President Biden also reopened the federal Affordable Care Act exchange, with additional assistance as part of the Democrat’s $1.9 trillion dollar relief package.

Further, Biden rescinded Trump’s national emergency declaration regarding the former president’s “zero tolerance” policy regarding migrant families. Biden has reversed Trump’s travel ban that targeted mostly Muslim countries and secured the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for children brought into America as children.

Biden has also looked to address foreign policy issues, committing to withdrawing troops for Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Additionally, Biden has looked to salvage the US-Iranian nuclear deal previously put into place by former President Barack Obama. The Biden administration has also issued diplomatic expulsions against Russia in response to Moscow’s interference in the 2020 election.

Looking to address issues of climate change, Biden looks to lower the US’ emission of greenhouse gases. Biden has already pursed this commitment by formally rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement back in February.

Finally, the President has showcased his commitment to social justice by hosting the most racially diverse cabinet in history, dissolving the 1776 commission, signing executive orders surrounding racial equity, and repealing Trump’s ban unto transgender people joining the military.

Biden looks to continue the national shift to greener energy, improve the US’ infrastructure, and invest in a $1.8 trillion federal investment program regarding education, childcare, and paid family leave.

Transgender Sports illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam

NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam facilitators publish open letter condemning anti-transgender legislation

The NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam, a group of NCAA- trained facilitators at colleges across the country published an open letter condemning the actions taken by 28 states across the country to introduce, pass, and sign anti-transgender legislation. 2021 has been a record year for anti-transgender legislation, with 93 anti-transgender bills introduced across the country, the vast majority of which attempt to ban transgender women and girls’ participation in girls’ sports or ban transgender youth from accessing medically necessary, gender-affirming health care.

Laws have been signed banning transgender women and girls’ participation in girls’ sports in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas, with Executive Orders being signed to the same effect in South Dakota.  Legislators across the country have failed to provide examples of issues in their states to attempt to justify these attacks, laying bare the reality that these are attacks on transgender youth that are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact.  Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident, and there is no reason any state would need a ban on transgender participation in sports.

The NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam open letter reads as follows:

An Open Letter in Support of Transgender Student-Athletes

We, the undersigned, are facilitators of the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s (NCAA)Division III LGBTQ OneTeam Program, which is a national training program that fosters LGBTQ+ inclusion in NCAA Division III athletics, and members of the NCAA’s Division III LGBTQ Working Group. Given the recent rise in legislation that is focused on excluding transgender people from athletics across the country, we have decided to use our collective voice to condemn such actions. We call on elected officials across the country to immediately halt legislation that is aimed at excluding transgender youth and young adults from equal and equitable participation in sport.

In our role with the NCAA’s LGBTQ OneTeam Program, we train coaches, athletics administrators, and student-athletes across the whole of Division III athletics. This program is aimed at helping to understand the importance of LGBTQ inclusion in college athletics, while also identifying strategies and best practices for institutions and conferences to better ensure that all student-athletes–regardless of their sexuality, gender identity, and/or gender expression–can participate in an inclusive and safe athletic climate. We cannot, in good conscience, fail to speak out at this critical moment.

In the past several weeks, actions–which are aimed at excluding transgender youth and young adults from equal and equitable participation in sport–have been taken by elected officials inseveral states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia. At the time of this writing, the Governors ofArkansas,Idaho,Mississippi, andTennessee have already signed such dangerous legislation into law. 

Legislation aimed at categorically banning transgender people–and particularly transgender girls and women–from sport is inherently discriminatory. Such legislation is often “informed” by hate and misinformation rather than science, and it is most certainly “informed” byfear instead of fact. Conversely, trans-inclusive policies, such as those established by theNCAA and theInternational Olympic Committee (IOC), are better informed by the current scientific evidence, and this evidence shows that transgender women do not have an inherent competitive advantage over cisgender women.

Furthermore, discriminatory legislation that is aimed at excluding transgender people from sport has a number ofserious consequences for transgender students. Such legislation dehumanizes transgender students, refuses them the opportunity to participate equally and equitably in athletics, undermines their support in educational settings, damages their mental health, and ultimately harms these students, while also contributing to an exclusionary athletic environment and a more hostile school climate for all students.

We immediately call for 1) an end to such legislation in all states and 2) a repeal of such laws in Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, and Tennessee. And finally, we also encourage our legislators to better consider theNCAA best practices and importance of an inclusive athletic environment for all student-athletes.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Timothy R. Bussey, Ph.D.

Pronouns: they/them

Associate Director, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | Kenyon College

Kayla Hayes, M.Ed.

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dept. of Athletics | Denison University

Kyrstin Krist, Ph.D.

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Faculty Athletic Representative | Methodist University

Melynda Link, M.B.A.

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Athletic Facilities & Game Day Operations, Dept. of Athletics | Haverford College

Kathleen M. Murray

Pronouns: she/her

President, Office of the President | Whitman College

Jess Duff

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Director for Student Athlete Services & Internal Operations Dept. of Athletics | Bates College

Jessica Weiss

Pronouns: she/her

Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Randolph-Macon College

Jennifer Dubow

Pronouns: she/her

Executive Director | Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC)

Maura Johnston

Pronouns: she/her

Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Fairleigh Dickinson University

Scott McGuiness

Pronouns: no pronouns

Director of Athletics, Dept. of Athletics | Washington & Jefferson College

Danielle Lynch, M.S.Ed.

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach Athletic Department | Penn State University – Harrisburg

Melissa Walton

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Associate Athletic Director Athletic Department | Albion College

Amy Reed

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dept. of Athletics | Rochester Institute of Technology

Donna M. Ledwin

Pronouns: she/her

Commissioner | Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC)

Donnesha Blake, Ph.D.

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Diversity and Inclusion Dept. of Student Affairs | Alma College

Tim Wilson

Pronouns: he/him

Assistant Track and Field Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Stevens Institute of Technology

Anne Kietzman

Pronouns: she/her

Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Washington College

Ashley Crossway, D.A.T., A.T.C.

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Clinical Education Dept. of Kinesiology | SUNY Cortland

Melissa Brooks

Pronouns: she/her

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Athletic Department | Fairleigh Dickinson University – Florham 

Tiffany Thompson

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Director of Gender and Sexuality Initiatives, Intercultural Center | Swarthmore College

Kirsten Clark

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Athletic Director, Dept. of Athletics and Recreation | Clark University

Kate Levin

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Sports Information Director Dept. of Athletics | Ramapo College

Cori Collinsworth

Pronouns: she/her

Head Softball Coach, Athletic Department | Hanover College

Bethany Dannelly

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Director of Athletics, Dept. of Physical Education and Athletics | Washington and Lee University

Jennifer Childress-White, M.Ed.

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Director and University Title IX Coordinator Dept. of Athletics | Pacific Lutheran University

Elise Fitzsimmons, M.S., A.T.C.

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Trainer, Dept. of Athletics| SUNY Oswego 

Amanda Walker

Pronouns: she/her

Athletic Program Coordinator Athletics Department | Lake Forest College

Danielle O’Leary

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Athletics Department | Mount Aloysius College

Crystal Lanning

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Athletics, Dept. of Athletics | University of Wisconsin – River Falls

Neil Virtue

Pronouns: he/him

Assistant Director of Athletics and Head Swimming Coach | Dept. of Athletics, P.E., and Recreation Mills College

Jose’ Rodriguez, M.Ed.

Pronouns: he/him

Chief Diversity Officer, Office of University Diversity Initiatives | Cabrini University

Karen Moberg, M.Ed., L.A.T., A.T.C.

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Athletic Trainer, Athletic Department | Macalester College

Yishka Chin

Pronouns: she/her

Coordinator for Tutoring Services and Trailblazer Program Director, Dept. of Student Success | Notre Dame of Maryland University

Renee Bostic

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Athletics & Wellness Dept. of Athletics & Wellness | Notre Dame of Maryland University

Megan Cullinane

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Director and Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics Dept. of Athletics and Recreation | University of Massachusetts – Boston

Maureen Harty

Pronouns: she/her

Executive Director | College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW)

Stephanie Dutton

Pronouns: she/her

Commissioner | North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC)

Sharia Marcus-Carter

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Director of Compliance, Athletics Department | Brooklyn College

ReverbNation winner Isabelle Dubroy image by Isabelle Dubroy for use by 360 Magazine

ReverbNation Winner – Isabelle Dubroy

Isabelle Dubroy is a 14 year-old singer/songwriter, actress, model, dancer, author and philanthropist from Greenville, North Carolina.

She began singing at the age of four, and by six, Isabelle wrote her first song, “Coconut Mama.” A YouTube channel was created for Isabelle at age seven so that she could share her music. Isabelle even stared in a web series, “Microchip Jones,” in which she wrote and performed all the featured songs.

Between filming a series, releasing music videos and hosting her own talk show, Isabelle found time to write a children’s book titled, “Stuffy The Lucky Puppy,” with special thanks to her second grade teacher, Ms. Shiva Salehpour. Isabelle has proven to be a multi-faceted talent at a very young age and her craft is continuing to evolve.

Isabelle has dedicated her life to being an inspiration for the younger generation and hopes to help stop bullying. She even started a foundation called Isabelle’s Heart Foundation where she has donates supplies to homeless shelters, hosts her own food drives and gives back to less fortunate children and families in her community. Isabelle’s passion to help others has no boundaries.

Basketball illustration by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

North Carolina Introduces Anti-Trans Sports Ban

On Fifth Anniversary of HB 2 ‘Bathroom Bill’ Passage, North Carolina Introduces Anti-Trans Sports Ban.

North Carolina puts forward another anti-transgender bill, again invoking the rhetoric of protecting women and girls from transgender people.

Late Monday, the North Carolina House introduced House Bill 358, an anti-transgender bill that would ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports (including college sports) consistent with their gender identity. The timing of this bill introduction could not have been more ironic, as it came on the eve of the fifth anniversary of Governor Pat McCrory signing the now-notorious House Bill 2, which mandated discrimination against transgender people in bathrooms.

Like HB2, the “Save Women’s Sports” bills rely on false narratives based in fear, rather than facts or science. Like HB2, these sports bans are fear mongering and an attempt to score political points by singling out already marginalized people for additional discrimination.

“In a moment of sad irony, North Carolina legislators have shown they clearly did not learn their lesson from the HB 2 ‘Bathroom Bill’ fight that threatened the state to the tune of billions in revenue, taxpayer-funded litigation, and a tarnished reputation–in addition to the personal reputational harm Gov. Pat McCrory suffered that cost him his job,” said Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Kate Oakley. “By introducing an anti-transgender sports ban bill, they are playing with fire once again, and engaging in a fight that is doomed to the same fate. This legislation is simply the latest iteration in a failed series of attempts to thwart equality for LGBTQ people. Two conservative governors have either threatened to veto or vetoed anti-transgender sports ban legislation out of the same fears that were realized in North Carolina five years ago. Let North Carolina’s ‘bathroom bill’ fight be a lesson to all states and governors considering anti-transgender legislation this session. North Carolina does not want to go down this road again.”

The legislative fight to pass discriminatory anti-transgender legislation has been fast and furious, led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states – quite like the bathroom bill push in 2016. There are 174 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country so far this year. Of those, 95 directly target transgender people and about half of those would, like HB 358, ban transgender girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. As was the case in the HB 2 fight, legislators across the country invoke hypothetical scenarios of harm but have failed to provide actual examples of issues in their states to attempt to justify these attacks, laying bare the reality that these are attacks on transgender youth that are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact.  Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident, and there is no reason North Carolina or any other state needs a ban on transgender participation in sports.

Wide range of business and advocacy groups, athletes oppose anti-trans legislation

  • Earlier this month, more than 55 major U.S. corporations stood up and spoke out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country. New companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Altria, Peloton, and Dell joined companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Google, Hilton, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, Uber, and Verizon in objecting to these bills.
  • Nearly 550 college athletes have stood up to anti-transgender legislation by demanding the NCAA pull championships from states with anti-trans sports legislation
  • The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups-representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1,000 child welfare organizations-released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular.

States that pass anti-transgender legislation suffer economic, legal, reputational harm

Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills across the country, like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and North Carolina and an anti-transgender sports ban in Idaho, show that there would be or has been devastating fallout.

  • The Idaho anti-transgender sports bill that passed was swiftly suspended by a federal district court. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) came out against the Idaho bill and others like it and subsequently moved planned tournament games out of Idaho.
  • The Associated Press projected that the North Carolina bathroom bill could have cost the state $3.76 billion over 10 years.
  • During a fight over an anti-transgender bathroom bill in 2017, the Texas Association of Business estimated $8.5 billion in economic losses, risking 185,000 jobs in the process due to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and professional sporting event cancellations, a ban on taxpayer funded travel to those states, cancellation of movie productions, and businesses moving projects out of state.

The economy and reputation of North Carolina suffered very real harm caused by HB2. Here’s just a snapshot of the overwhelming outcry at the time of the bill’s passage:

  • Over 200 major business leaders, from Apple to Zola, signed an open letter to NC Gov. Pat McCrory opposing HB2, because discrimination is bad for business. The letter was first announced on March 29, 2016, when it was hand-delivered to Pat McCrory by HRC President Chad Griffin, Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro and transgender advocate Candis Cox.
  • On April 5, 2016, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman announced that the company will seek an alternative location for its new “global operations center.” PayPal’s investment was expected to bring 400 skilled jobs to North Carolina, with an annual payroll impact of more than $20 million. In its statement, Schulman said, “The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.”
  • On April 8, 2016 Bruce Springsteen cancelled his concert in North Carolina over HB2, saying, “Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry-which is happening as I write-is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”
  • On May 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice determined North Carolina’s discriminatory HB 2 violates federal civil rights law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. At a press conference on May 9, Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke directly to the transgender community, saying “We see you. We stand with you, and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward.”
  • On July 21, 2016, the NBA decided to stand up to North Carolina lawmakers who refused to repeal HB2 by pulling its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, NC. Despite the NBA’s repeated warnings that it would have to consider moving the high-profile game out of the state if the anti-LGBTQ law was not repealed, the state’s General Assembly shamefully adjourned after 100 days of inaction.
  • In North Carolina, basketball is king-but that didn’t stop the NCAA from standing up for their LGBTQ players, employees and fans by vowing to move tournament events from the state because of HB2. The NCAA announced that they would move all 2016-2017 championship games out of the state on September 12, 2016.
  • On Election Day, NC Governor Pat McCrory, who signed HB2 into law, was defeated at the ballot box — the only incumbent governor from either party to lose on Election Day. Polling by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research showed that HB2 was the most cited issue leading to McCrory’s defeat in those who voted against McCrory.
  • In February, the North Carolina Sports Association sent a letter to lawmakers warning of a loss of NCAA championship games through 2022 if HB2 is not immediately repealed. In the letter, the sports association warned that the NCAA decision could cost the state at least another half a billion dollars in economic activity when other sports organizations follow the NCAA’s lead in moving events out of the state. In November 2016, Forbes estimated that the state had already lost hundreds of millions of dollars due to HB2.
  • In March, the Greensboro Coliseum Complex revealed it had lost $23.5 million in revenue from various championships and conventions because of HB2.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people  are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Gym Illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

Planet Fitness Southeast 100th Club Opening

Sunshine Fitness is Planet Fitness’ first franchise group and it continues to experience steady growth across the Southeast amid pandemic with plans to open nearly 15 more clubs in 2021

Sunshine Fitness Growth Holdings, LLC (“Sunshine Fitness”), a leading owner and operator of Planet Fitness clubs in the Southeast United States backed by TSG Consumer Partners (“TSG”), today announced its 100th Planet Fitness club opening with new locations simultaneously opening in South Carolina and North Carolina.

“Opening our 100th club during this challenging year is not only a testament to our franchise group, but also the desire of the communities to prioritize physical and mental wellness as an essential part of their lives,” said Shane McGuiness, co-owner and CEO of Planet Fitness Southeast. “In 2021 we will continue bringing jobs to local economies, while prioritizing the health and safety of our members and employees.”

Since March, Sunshine Fitness has focused on adapting to the current pandemic while maintaining plans for expansion.  Additionally, Planet Fitness has taken several steps to strengthen existing cleanliness policies, introduced touchless check-ins and “Social Fitnessing,” created its Clean Thumb Club™ policy, and implemented a “crowd meter” available on the Planet Fitness app for customers to see capacity levels in real time. Throughout the year Planet Fitness has taken several steps to strengthen existing cleanliness policies, introduced touchless check-ins and “Social Fitnessing,” created its Clean Thumb Club™ policy, and implemented a “crowd meter” available on the Planet Fitness app for customers to see capacity levels in real time.

Sunshine Fitness has been one of the fastest growing Planet Fitness franchisees in the U.S. and has opened multiple locations since the start of 2020 with strong plans to open 13 additional clubs in communities across the Southeast in 2021. The momentum is driven by the more than 113 million check-ins to Planet Fitness since May 2020, when gyms were cleared to reopen by local officials after the pandemic forced their doors to close. 

For more information, or to join online, please visit www.PlanetFitness.com or follow on Facebook and Twitter. 

About Planet Fitness

Founded in 1992 in Dover, NH, Planet Fitness is one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisors and operators of fitness centers in the United States by number of members and locations. As of September 30, 2020, Planet Fitness had more than 14.1 million members and 2,086 stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Mexico and Australia. The Company’s mission is to enhance people’s lives by providing a high-quality fitness experience in a welcoming, non-intimidating environment, which we call the Judgement Free Zone®. More than 95% of Planet Fitness stores are owned and operated by independent business men and women.

About Planet Fitness Southeast 

Opening its first location in 2003 in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Planet Fitness Southeast is the very first franchisee and one of the largest within the Planet Fitness brand. Started by longtime best friends, Shane McGuiness and Eric Dore, Planet Fitness Southeast now operates 100 locations and still holds true to the original mission of enhancing people’s lives by providing a high-quality experience in a welcoming, non-intimidating environment known as the Judgement Free Zone®.  

About TSG Consumer Partners
TSG Consumer Partners, LLC is a leading private equity firm focused exclusively on the branded consumer sector. Since its founding in 1987, TSG has been an active investor in the food, beverage, restaurant, beauty, personal care, fitness, health & wellness, household, apparel & accessories, and e-commerce sectors. Representative past and present partner companies include Duckhorn Wine Company, Planet Fitness, IT Cosmetics, REVOLVE, HUDA Beauty, BrewDog, Canyon Bicycles, Pabst, Backcountry, vitaminwater, thinkThin, popchips, Stumptown, Smashbox Cosmetics and e.l.f. Cosmetics. For more information, please visit www.tsgconsumer.com.

Oprah Winfrey Virtual Town Halls

Oprah Winfrey announced plans Monday to host virtual town halls in states that look to play a large role in the upcoming election.

As part of OWN’s OWN YOUR VOTE get-out-the-vote initiative, the town halls will be a non-partisan effort to encourage, inspire and support voters across the country before Nov. 3.

The events are free and open to the public, and you can register in advance by clicking right here.

She will host an event for voters in Wisconsin Oct. 26, voters in North Carolina Oct. 27, voters in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania Oct. 28 and voters in South Carolina Oct. 29. All of the town halls will begin at 8 p.m. ET.

Winfrey will speak with local voters in an effort to acquire adequate resources, information and inspiration to create a more informed voting base. Local voters, national thought leaders, voting rights experts and others who can provide insight and resources to voters will join her.

Speakers at the town halls include Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Representative Gwen Moore, Kristen Clarke, Vi Lyles, Kamilia Landrum, Andrea Hailey, Tameika Isaac Devine, Arisha Hatch, Tamika D. Mallory and Sherrilyn Ifill.

Representatives from women’s organizations will also attend, like Dr. Glenda Glover, Beverly E. Smith, Melanie Campbell, Glynda Carr, Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Dr. Kimberly Leonard, Rasheeda S. Liberty and Valerie Hollingsworth Baker.

For this event, OWN YOUR VOTE has partnered with the following organizations: 

Advancement Project National Office

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

AME Church Social Action Commission

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated

Fair Fight Action

Higher Heights Leadership Fund

Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights

The Kapor Center

The King Center (Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc.)

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Links, Incorporated

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)

National Council of Negro Women

National Urban League

Power Rising

Power to the Polls

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated

Sistahs in Business Expo

Vote Run Lead

Vote.org

VoteAsIf.org

When We All Vote

Woke Vote

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated

You can also learn more about OWN YOUR VOTE by clicking right here.

Toosii x Sinners Prayer

TOOSII RELEASES VIDEO FOR SINNERS PRAYER Poetic Pain Out Now

Watch Sinners Prayer Video HERE

Listen to Poetic Pain HERE

Today, South Coast Music Group star Toosii releases the third video, Sinners Prayer, from his new project, Poetic Pain, which dropped Friday. The cinematic visual finds Toosiialone on a barren street, creating a stark backdrop for the charisma that the Raleigh, NC, rapper brings to his music. Similarly, his contrasting all-black outfit and copious drip highlight the track’s dark mood and the lyrics’ defiant rags-to-riches proclamations. Watch the video for Sinners Prayer HERE and stream Poetic Pain HERE.

Directed by Toosii’s frequent collaborator Edgar Esteves (Chris Brown, Pedro Capo x Alicia Keys x Farruko) and shot in Los Angeles at night, the video for Sinners Prayer is another haunting, stirring statement from one of rap’s most exciting young voices. Shining in the glow of streetlights, Toosii walks us through his world. He’s alone but doesn’t need anybody else. Sinners Prayer sets the emotional stakes for Poetic Pain, which Toosii says is rooted in both the trauma that he’s experienced, and the cathartic release music gives him. My pain is a work of art, he says. It’s equivalent to poetry. It’s a beautiful thing and it describes me.

Following the recent release of the Right Now track and video, Sinners Prayer and its visual double down on Toosii’s quest for redemption and personal growth. They also reaffirm the bold vision he introduced on his last mixtape, Platinum Heart. That set has since amassed over 200 million global streams, hit No. 1 on Billboardߣs Heatseekers Albums chart, and launched Toosii into the top 10 of Rolling Stone’s Breakthrough 25 chart.

Born in Syracuse, NY, and raised in Raleigh, NC, Toosii has won acclaim for his poignant, melodic flow and autobiographical storytelling since signing with South Coast Music Group (the label that catalyzed DaBaby’s rise as one of music’s biggest new stars in recent years). On Sinners Prayer, Toosii faces the camera with zero distractions, demonstrating his willingness to pour out unguarded emotion in order to offer some insight into his world.

About South Coast Music Group:

South Coast Music Group is the first major record label out of the Carolinas to produce an artist as successful as DaBaby. Owned by Arnold Taylor, the American label is focused predominantly on hip hop, rap and urban music. Taylor and Vice President Daud Carter are two businessmen on a mission to continue elevating the label that has stunned the world in 2019 with the release of DaBaby’s Baby on Baby. The label’s roster also includes Blacc Zacc, Toosii, TiaCorine, and Big Mali.

Toosii – Poetic Pain

Today, South Coast Music Group’s Toosii announces his new EP Poetic Pain coming this Fall and releases the title track Poetic Pain. Listen HERE. While deeply personal, Toosii wrote the smooth and soulful track during a spontaneous livestream session with fans.

Toosii recalls, “I was on live with the fans and they liked the beat I was playing, so I had them tell me what the beat made them feel, and we made the song from there.”

The official video, directed by NORATCHETSS, finds Toosii penning a love letter to the woman who shattered his heart and reminiscing about the special moments they shared. View HERE.

Like nearly all of his music to date, Poetic Pain was self-recorded at Toosii’s home in Raleigh, NC a purposely solitary approach he considers essential to his self-expression. “I really just love making music, so all I ever do is record,” he says.

Last week, Toosii released Love Cycle (with Summer Walker). Listen HERE. HotNewHipHop said, “Toosii and Summer Walker make a great team on Love Cycle, a perfect song for a mood playlist.” Love Cycle, one of the most popular tracks from Toosii’s Platinum Heart (Deluxe), has amassed nearly 35 million combined global streams to date.

Platinum Heart (Deluxe) charted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums tally and entered the Billboard 200 in June. With over 200 million combined global streams to date across its 20 songs, Toosii shot into the top 10 of Rolling Stone’s Breakthrough 25 chart for July, which tracks the fastest-rising artists of the month.

In the months following the mixtape’s release, Toosii has released a string of accompanying videos, including Stuck Inside Mercedez Love Cycle, which is the director’s cut of the Mercedez and Love Cycle videos that Toosii co-directed with Edgar Esteves, and Reminiscing, plus the official video for a new song, Push Start.

The 20-year-old rapper is an entirely self-driven and strong-minded artist, fiercely dedicated to following his instincts and one-of-a-kind vision. Since signing with South Coast Music Group (the label that catalyzed DaBaby’s rise as one of music’s biggest new stars in recent years), the Syracuse, New York native has won acclaim for his melodic flow and autobiographical storytelling, endlessly demonstrating his willingness to pour unguarded emotion into each song. Flaunt predicted, Toosii is about to take over the rap game. A compelling live performer, Toosii has supported such artists as DaBaby, Summer Walker, Polo G, Moneybagg Yo, Money Man, NBA Young Boy, Yung Bleu, City Girls and more

Storm illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Hurricane During Pandemic

By Mina Tocalini

Evacuations, power outages, flooding and devastation are expected from the c and rain that wreak havoc on coastal communities during hurricane season. Managing the damages and protecting communities is further challenged by the threat of COVID-19 as the Tropical Storm Isaias’ violent path continues up the East Coast.

Designated a tropical storm near Puerto Rico, Isaias began to travel northwest hitting the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Florida and North Carolina, where it was assessed as a Category 1 hurricane. As it persisted up the East Coast the intensity reverted back to a tropical storm. Regardless, Isaias has been accompanied by strong winds between 60mph – 70mph, over 20 reports of tornadoes, rampant flash flooding and over 3 million homes and business without power. In New Jersey and Delaware the wind gust reached speeds of 109mph and 96mph, respectively.

A report from USA Today, warns that recent 2020 hurricane season forecasting reveals 10 more hurricanes will likely follow, leaving Isaias as a practice run for a hurricane during a pandemic. With that in mind, evacuations needed to be addressed cautiously in consideration of social distancing and other COVID-19 preventative measures. The combination of COVID-19 and Isaias has heightened concerns for emergency services which face overwhelming demands. The COVID-19 consequences of Isaias remain undetermined, but a potential spike in infections could be in our future.

Superhero illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Black-Owned Superhero Brand

Aza Comics, owned by black woman creator Jazmin Truesdale and known for its roster of multicultural female superheroes, is aiming to continue providing hope and escapism for the world as people support the Black Lives Matter movement. “Aza Comics has always addressed the issues of black people in its storylines,” says Truesdale, “I’m just happy that now people are finally understanding what is happening and joining this fight that is truly everyone’s fight.”

The Aza Universe is centered almost entirely around women of color and has always tried to provide hope and inspiration for women around the world as they face various issues like racial inequity, sexism, misogyny and homophobia. This hits especially close to home for Truesdale as countless black women like Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor have yet to see justice in a time when black women face the highest rates of homicide in the US.  During this time, Aza Comics received an incredible growth in sales and exposure as more people discovered what the Aza superhero universe is all about. “I just want people to at least feel safe in their imagination,” says Truesdale.  “For black people and many other people of color, everywhere we look pain is reflecting back at us.  I want Aza Comics to be that escape where you can feel heard and empowered to fight another day.”

Aza Comics has a lot in store this year for its growing number of fans. “We will do what we’ve always done,” says Truesdale,” Continue to grow and enrich the lives of people of color around the world and partner with people and brands who truly care about the lives of others.”  The company plans to use its revenue to invest in entrepreneurs of color, support women athletes, expand its universe with more inclusive superheroes and do what it can to continue being a voice.

Aza Comics is a superhero brand based in Durham, North Carolina founded by serial entrepreneur and author Jazmin Truesdale.  The company is known for its multicultural female superheroes and philanthropic initiatives that have been featured in Vogue, TIME, USA Today, and various other national and international publications.

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