Aria Brooks (ARIA) is an actress from Atlanta, Georgia who joined the cast of All That in the second half of its first season. Growing up around a family of performing arts teachers and musicians, ARIA has turned to a path in the entertainment industry. We got to speak with ARIA about her debut EP castles and she touches on topics such as mental health and real-life issues affecting youths today.
What has the reaction to castles been like?
The reaction has been great! People have been streaming it and I am beyond grateful. My fans seem to have the same favorites as I do, which has been cool to see.
What was your songwriting process for your debut EP?
My songwriting process in general has been based on my mood. I only wrote when I was inspired to write because that’s how my best songs come out. For castles, I started writing in 2020 until the beginning of 2021 on and off because I needed to be in the correct mindset to write.
How long did the production of castles take?
I started recording in January of 2021. We built a home studio and got to work. The official production lasted from January to March for castles pt.1. We’re still finalizing pt. 2 to be released later this year.
Is there a certain track off castles that you’ve noticed is a fan favorite? If so, why do you think that is?
The fan favorite has been Dear Brown Girl since I first released it. I did a focus group prior to the release and it seemed to be a favorite then as well. I think that is because of the overall vibe…it’s empowering and very musical.
Do you prefer making music or acting on the big screen?
I cannot pick which one I like better. Music is my foundation, but I’ve grown to love acting just as much. I think there are pros and cons to both though.
Fans love your single “Fire x Water.” Can you describe the sound of the single in three words for those who haven’t heard it?
It is mysterious, subliminal, and climatic. I was so excited to share it with the world.
For your 14th birthday, you created the “14 til 14 Challenge” to support tolerance and acceptance. Can you speak a bit more about your vision behind this challenge?
I didn’t really know what I wanted for my birthday, so I figured I could do some kind of Instagram challenge. I wanted the challenge to have some kind of meaning behind it, so my mom helped me come up with the idea of having a different challenge every day for 14 days. There were challenges that focused on social issues and I am glad I got to educate my followers and bring light to the things that were important to me.
Your followers really seem to love your Instagram Live show, Ask Aria. What did you enjoy most about making the show?
I enjoyed getting to learn about the industry from people like Tabitha Brown, Kenan Thompson and Chantae Cann. I got a chance to ask for advice that helped me as an artist, and I am sure it helped a lot of my followers as well.
You’re such a young artist who has already done so many amazing things. What is your main focus or goal in the entertainment industry?
My goal is to inspire people. Sharing my art with the world is like sharing a piece of myself. So, I hope to be relatable and inspiring to people. I also want people to know that prioritizing yourself is not a bad thing. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
Can fans look forward to any other upcoming projects/releases from you in 2021?
I have another single being released this year. I can’t reveal too much, so you’ll just have to wait and see. I am also releasing castles pt. 2 later this year, along with more visuals.
Black-Owned Crowns & Hops Brewing Co Launches Equity Crowdfunding Campaign Inviting The Community To Be Owners With Crowns
Today Crowns & Hops Brewing Co, the first Black-owned craft beer brand in Inglewood, CA, launches their equity crowdfunding campaign OWN CROWNS to invite the community to invest in the brand’s mission and success. The capital raised will go directly to the buildout of the new flagship restaurant/brewpub Crowns Inglewood, secured at 3200 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA. In an effort to collaborate with the community of Inglewood and those who champion racial equity in the U.S., co-founders Beny Ashburn & Teo Hunter believe this opportunity will allow for the community to invest in the city’s development while supporting Black-owned businesses in the region.
Crowns Inglewood will be a community establishment based in the heart of Inglewood and will provide a safe family-friendly space to gather, dine and have delicious independent craft beer. During a time where most Black & Brown communities feel left out of the development of their own neighborhoods, this investment opportunity allows for the community to participate in the revitalization efforts of the city. Crowns & Hops will offer locals and visitors alike an opportunity to publicly connect in Inglewood/South L.A. to enjoy premium products produced in Inglewood.
This Crowns & Hops early-stage investment opportunity is made possible by the efforts of the Obama Administration who passed the JOBS Act (2012), allowing cited Americans from all walks of life to invest in start-up businesses, not just the wealthy and well connected.
As stated by Beny Ashburn, CEO, Our brand started with the community, now we want to offer the community an opportunity to own a part of Crowns in the City of Champions and wherever we expand.
We have always celebrated the mission of community and ownership in the craft beer industry. We’re excited to bring these concepts of investment and equity to a region that has been starved of resources for generations, said Teo Hunter, COO & Head of Beer Operations.
Crowns & Hops Brewing Co launching an equity crowdfunding campaign for the community to invest in the Crowns & Hops brand. Capital will be used for the completion of the flagship restaurant/brewpub Crowns Inglewood
Starting Tuesday, 7.20.21
Through equity crowdfunding platform Start Engine was also successfully used by U.K.-based BrewDog. The JOBS Act, allowing all Americans to invest in start-up businesses, not just accredited Investors
To learn more about the Crowns & Hops Brewing Company’s equity crowdfunding campaign and to invest, please visit their website.
In 6-years, Co-Founders Teo Hunter & Beny Ashburn have become the leaders and voices of a craft beer movement bringing much-needed diversity and inclusion to the industry. Hunter & Ashburn disrupted the status quo of the craft beer industry and built a brand that is bigger than beer. Through their global social movement #BlackPeopleLoveBeer & #BrownPeopleLoveBeer, they have been able to galvanize the voice of people of color in craft beer. Crowns & Hops Brewery Co. will be the first Black-owned brewery in Inglewood, CA, a few short miles from the new Rams/Chargers Stadium.
Crowns & Hops Brewing Co’s mission is to create spaces that are community-centric driving diversity, racial equity, economic growth, and influencing inclusion. This creates jobs and new career paths for people of color in and around the beer industry. Crowns & Hops Brewing Co. is the first-ever craft beer brand that bridges lifestyle, communities of color, dope culture, and delicious craft beer. Welcome to The New Now of craft beer. #OWNCROWNS
Mare Monstrum/Drown in My Magic, a digital exhibition by David Uzochukwu on Artsy
2016 – ongoing.
Italy, Senegal, Germany
Mare Monstrum / Drown In My Magic channels the power of myth by explicitly visualizing Black merfolk. It envisions water as expanse which the characters can cut through, be safe in. No longer are they subject to whims of the tide, or drift into a void that holds the potential for destruction. Instead, the portrayed are equipped to survive and find freedom in the monstrous.
It almost seems as though Blackness is inevitably linked to a passage through the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, Evros River, whether historic or recent. The potential of self-actualisation lapping at someone’s feet always calls to mind the blood, sweat and tears of those who have come before them. Can new lore shift the entanglement of Black bodies and their environments, making unquestionably clear that they belong?
About the series:
David Uzochukwu’s photographs deliver you into warm and sensitive worlds where humans and nature entwine in search of belonging. Expanses of sand, water or sky embrace Black bodies emanating strength and resilience. Often their limbs morph into fantastical forms against hyper-real landscapes that offer a space for contemplation or escape. It’s this interplay between the natural and supernatural, between the visible and invisible, that imbues the artist’s images with an arresting presence.
Uzochukwu’s ongoing body of work, Mare Monstrum / Drown In My Magic, uses the central idea of Black mermaids to explore both the historical relationship between the African diaspora and the water, and contemporary politics around illegal migration. A great part of the images were made in Senegal in 2018 and show mermen emerging from the seas protecting and healing one another. The most recent images came together in Germany and introduce a whole community of hybrid merfolk in states of solace and rebirth. An incubated baby, a proud centaur and a tender couple, among others, inhabit a boundless realm.
The Austrian-Nigerian artist was born in 1998 in Innsbruck. His photographic practice began as a teenager with intimate self-portraiture that soon gained recognition. He’s enjoyed collaborations with artists including FKA Twigs, Pharrell Williams, Ibeyi and Iris van Herpen. Since joining Galerie Number 8, he’s exhibited at Bozar, Photo Vogue Festival, Unseen Amsterdam, Off Biennale Dakar and LagosPhoto. He was named ‘One to Watch’ by the British Journal of Photography in 2020, and his first co-directed short film, Götterdämmerung, was selected for Max-Ophüls-Preis in 2021. He is currently studying philosophy at HU Humboldt University of Berlin.
“The long history of oppression experienced by people of color in the West makes an unlikely context for art devoted to the fantastical. All the more so when you consider recent developments such as the racist rhetoric and anti-immigration policies of the Trump administration, the chilling roll call of African-Americans killed by US police (Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Philando Castile) and the bigotries unleashed in Britain by Brexit (monkey chants at football matches and a spike in xenophobic hate crimes). Under such conditions, it’s worth asking if a turn to the fantastic by black artists is driven by a desire to escape from the charged and painful circumstances of daily life. Yet the opposite seems to be true. What characterizes much of the imagery being produced today is an eagerness to grapple with urgent questions of culture, identity and history– albeit through imagery that accentuates the extraordinary rather than the everyday. (…)
Ultimately, the Berlin-based David Uzochukwu – whose recent Drown in my Magic project situates a panoply of mythical water creatures within arid landscapes – may speak for all the artists currently finding inspiration in fantasy. The goal, as Uzochukwu puts it, is to reclaim the narrative of fantasy’ by embracing ‘the alien otherness projected onto black bodies in a way that could be read as pure empowerment.’” -Extract of the essay “A Fantastic Turn” by Ekow Eshun for Unseen Magazine.
Drown in My Magic will go live starting April 16th 2021 on ArtsyHERE.
From acting out telenovelas scenes on “The Island of Enchantment” to Hollywood, California…
Say hello to actress Alondra Delgado, born in Mayaguez and raised in Arecibo Puerto Rico. Ms. Delgado is very proud of her Latina heritage and can currently be seen as Vanessa Montes on the CW football drama , ‘ALL AMERICAN’ ’, which follows the journey of star player Spencer James (Daniel Ezra) as he is recruited away from his homeschool to play for Beverly Hills High. Vanessa is the daughter of the new head coach and the confident new girl at school who has a history with one of her classmates. The cast also includes Taye Diggs and Samantha Logan. The third season is airing now. While Delgado has guest starred, wrote, and produced other shows and short films, this role has introduced the young actress to an exciting new level of stardom. Here at 360 Magazine, we dished with Delgado about her role on All American, upcoming involvement in the film Safe House, her Puerto Rican heritage and Latinx idols, and more.
How was your upbringing in Puerto Rico?
My childhood in Puerto Rico was beautiful. I love Puerto Rico. It involved a lot of dancing, since that’s what I started with first when I was two and a half years old, going to the beach, studying in a bilingual school, and acting on feature films when I was seven years old. It was great!
What are some of your favorite things about your community / culture?
I love the people and the warmth and passion we all have; and of course the food! We always have a party in every activity. We are loud, passionate, and very prideful of our tiny Island!
What attracted you to begin a career as an actress?
Growing up I never liked cartoons that much. I was always fascinated with the Telenovelas and would play out scenes and act like the mean characters. My mom saw my passion so she put me with a talent agency. I did my first feature film when I was seven, and I fell in love.
Where were you and what was your reaction when you received the call from CW confirming your role as Vanessa Montes?
I was at my mom’s house with all my family decorating for Halloween. My manager and agents called me and I screamed and jumped and hung up the phone three times by accident. I was so excited! And it was great that my close family was there because we got to celebrate right away.
How has your experience been, so far as the new girl at school on All American?
It’s been great! I’ve had a lot of fun and have learned a lot. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.
Can you describe how you feel working alongside Taye Diggs and Samantha Logan?
It is amazing. At first I was a bit scared and nervous to be on set because this is a great cast. But once I was there, they were very nice to me and I’ve been learning a lot about them.
Will we see more writing & producing any time soon?
I’ve been writing some things recently so that is definitely something that will come soon, hopefully.
Who are your role models in life?
There are many Puerto Rican figures that always inspire me, like Rita Moreno and Benicio del Toro, who have had a great career in Hollywood and always represent the Island. Someone I always look up to is Roberto Clemente, who had a huge passion for baseball and loved helping others. That is something I would love to do!
With the lack of Latinx talent representation (in front and behind the cameras) in Hollywood, how would you advise “the industry” to move forward?
I think lately there have been a few more Latinos out there, but we definitely need more. I would say that we need to stop writing characters that are specifically Hispanic rather than giving roles to Hispanic actors. There is always this mindset that the character has to be this or has to be that, rather than hiring people because of talent and not looks. So many people have started to watch All American and are excited because there is more Latino representation now. We need to change our mindsets and hire because of talent!
Any advice for teenagers who dream of writing, acting and producing?
Go for it! If you have a passion, you have to try it. You have to have a positive mindset because it will not be easy and you’ll face rejection, but you have to learn how to trust and believe in yourself and your talent. If you work hard enough, you’ll make it.
What is one of your top acting tips?
I love to learn the lines and then just play with it. Read it with different people and you will find different things from each read that will help you create a character with more depth.
What can you tell us about your upcoming film Safe House?
I am so excited for this one! It’s an action film. I play Carla and she is the lead character. She’s a strong female lead with a lot of stunts and drama. People will love her!
The modeling industry has two very different faces. One side are supermodels, like Gigi and Bella Hadid, glamorously modeling, making millions of dollars, and traveling the world. The other are the unknown models working job to job, facing exploitation and manipulation by their agencies and clients, and trying to make their name in the industry. The mistreatment of models is as old as the industry itself. Skinny, cis, and white models experience this brutal reality. Working as a model is only worse for people of color [POC], LGBTQA+, and immigrants because of the lack of transparency or regulation and rampant misconduct.
The current push for diversity and inclusion has caused a much higher demand for POC, and LGBTQA+ models with different body types. In recent months, a few new players in the game are building their reputations on accountability and proper treatment of the models and creatives they represent. Three small agencies and one superpower are disrupting the model representation world: New Pandemics, Zandwagon, Community New York, and film and television power player Creative Artists Agency (CAA). The way modeling deals traditionally work is that a model signs to an agency, such as Next Models, Ford Models, IMG Models, or Wilhelmina Models. The agency provides its models with certain services such as housing, transportation, portfolio shoots, and more. In most cases, anything an agency provides for a model they have to pay back to the agency, often at a high-interest rate. The interest rate means the longer they take to pay it back, the more they owe to the agency.
Although models sign contracts to agencies, they are not considered employees of those agencies and instead are independent contractors who the agency aids in booking jobs. The agencies do not keep models on their payroll. They do control the money that the models earn on a job and how their money models earn is distributed. Bad payment practices reach far beyond the agencies. The agencies are responsible for billing the client right after the model completes their job. Payment for jobs by agencies to their models is notoriously sketchy because clients are not required to pay upfront before shoots and can legally take up to 90 days to settle up. Most agencies take at least a 20% fee out of any money their models make and charge clients a “booking fee,” so for a $1000 job, they would charge $1200 but only pay the model $800. Worst of all, if a client does not pay the agency for work a model did, the agency does not owe the model the money they earned. The common practice in the industry is that the model only gets paid if the agency gets paid.
The film and television management world contrasts the modeling world in many ways. The modeling industry as a whole is riddled with misconduct, manipulation, and poor treatment of models by their agencies and brands. Many modeling agencies use contracts that include fees and costs they can pull out of the model paychecks and use debt, housing, and visas to keep their models dependent.
Agencies in other media such as film, only make money if their clients make money. In film, the percentage is around 10% because of unions. Although, none of these industries are flawless especially considering scandals in the film and tv world with predators like Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer. Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has a long history of representing talents across film, tv, music, and more. In August of 2020, CAA announced their partnership with KCD Worldwide, a fashion services agency, which signaled CAA’s entrance into fashion model management for the first time in the agency’s history. CAA has a strong legacy of representing high-profile individuals and building their careers. They have also stated that they only take a 10% fee out of their models’ earnings, half of the general standard of 20%. Despite their claims for better treatment of models, CAA is not blemish-free when it comes to allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct. Multiple former CAA agents have faced lawsuits.
Additionally, CAA has previously represented multiple people accused of misconduct, including Shia LaBeouf, Chris D’Elia, and Marilyn Mason; all of whom are no longer represented by CAA. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the smaller boutique agencies mentioned earlier, New Pandemics, Zandwagon, and Community New York. New Pandemics is “a casting and management agency dedicated to increasing LBGTQ+ visibility.”
Zandwagon is “a talent management company that could guide everyday life individuals who are breaking beauty standards daily” according to their website. Community New York is run by Butterfly Cayley, Moe Lamstein, and Richie Keoall, three first-generation immigrants from Laos, and “is founded on inclusivity and progressive values by changing not only the style but the very structure of management.” Cayley, Lamstein, and Keoall have impressive experience at agencies including DNA and Elite Model Management. Community New York now represents stars such as Hunter Schafer, who is well known for her work on the hit HBO show “Euphoria” and is now a brand ambassador for Shiseido.
With small diversity forward agencies up and coming, the existing modeling industry is under attack from all sides. All three of these agencies emphasize how much they value representation and inclusivity in this industry that has avoided breaking societal beauty standards for so long. They also claim they will be different from other agencies and provide better treatment for their clients. These agencies are sending the message that you’re either with them or against them, and they’re willing to think outside of the box to get proper treatment and equity for models from all walks of life.
Same Old Problems
Many of the biggest fashion houses in the world are still reckoning with the #MeToo movement. The fashion industry is known as a highly predatory business. Many of even the largest names in modeling have had to survive people abusing their power on sets and behind the scenes to become who they are. Household names, such as Kate Upton, Coco Rocha, and Cameron Russel, have all spoken out about their experiences with the abuse they’ve experienced while working as models.
Kate Upton spoke out against Paul Marciano in 2018, which led to a total of $500,000 in settlement agreements involving five individuals. He has remained an active participant at GUESS as a board member and chief creative officer, despite resigning from his position as an executive. At the beginning of February, the news broke that Marciano is once again being sued over sexual assault allegations by a woman who has chosen to remain anonymous. The allegations against Marciano are not an isolated incident. Similarly, allegations were brought against Alexander Wang in December of 2020 but began as early as 2017, yet some still chose his side despite the overwhelming corroboration of multiple individuals. If the word of a woman as successful as Kate Upton is not enough to oust a predator from power, it’s unclear what realistically can protect vulnerable individuals with less acclaim from the same experiences or worse.
The silver lining of these allegations coming to light is the industry supporting the individuals coming forward more than ever before. In the past, many models lost their careers before they had even begun due to the actions of predators and the mechanisms powerful people use to silence their victims. Accounts such as @shitmodelmgmt and @dietprada have been using their online platforms to expose predators and condemn their actions openly across Instagram and Twitter. Additionally, the Model Alliance, an organization dedicated to giving models a voice in their work, has also spoken out against Wang on their Instagram saying, “We stand with David Casavant, Owen Mooney, Gia Garison, and all the accusers of @alexanderwangny in their pursuit towards justice.”
The upheaval that began in 2006 with survivor and activist Tarana Burke’s creation of the #MeToo movement has continued into 2021. Slowly but surely survivors are taking their power back and pushing to create real change in media industries that have exploited them for far too long.
While others spend the day with their families outside, grilling kabobs, taking advantage of the last inklings of warm weather, or swarming flash retail sales, others will spend it inside either on the clock on site, from home, or in isolation.
This Labor Day, 28 million Americans are out of work. Those who are, chiefly nurses, grocery store workers, custodial staff, and essential workers alike, are risking their health to stay employed. And, these are the people who, most likely, will not actually be permitted a day off to celebrate the federal holiday.
Created by the labor movement, Labor Day is meant to pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of American workers. More than a century ago, when it was celebrated in New York City for the first time, a parade ran through the streets, made complete by waving workers wearing smiling faces and flying flags, proud to be members of the new and progressive labor party.
But, its establishment as a federal holiday came at a steep price. It was only after a massive boycott and the bloodshed of 13 and injuries of 53 did President Grover Cleveland recognize the first Monday of each and every September, which was already being observed in 23 other states, as a federal holiday.
Today, a great proportion (43%) of the essential working men and women of this country are people of color. And the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting them the hardest.
“According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native people had an age-adjusted COVID-19 hospitalization rate about 5.3 times that of non-Hispanic white people,” reported William F. Marshall, III M.D. “COVID-19 hospitalization rates among non-Hispanic Black people and Hispanic or Latino people were both about 4.7 times the rate of non-Hispanic white people.”
For the 1 in 5 people in the workforce receiving unemployment compensation, the day is similarly solemn. Benefits are in high demand. And, some of those who applied for it have either not received it because they were denied, or are still waiting. The extension of their benefits, some of which have not even been delivered yet to applicants, are a hot spot of contention amongst congress, and job opportunities are few and far in between.
According to Aimee Pichee of CBS News, the unemployment rate fell below 10% for the first time since March. Despite this promising piece of news, she also reminds us that, “the hiring rate has slowed each month this summer, a signal that the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic may be losing steam.”
Today, instead of going to a party or participating in a parade, we will acknowledge the impact of our workers, and mourn those who lost their lives fighting on the front lines against a pandemic that our country’s unit of government could not contain. Many are still fighting, punching a clock day-in and day-out, and will do so today despite the holiday.
“This song was inspired by wanting to teach my sons that it is ok for a man to feel emotions deeply and to cry. Like many men, I was raised to believe that we have to be “tough” and not show our vulnerability, which I don’t want to teach them. While I was shut in during the Pandemic and watching the death of George Floyd, the ongoing slaughtering of Black men and women, the protests and the events that unfolded, I became very connected to the wider universal feeling of hopelessness. Like many, I grew increasingly frustrated by how slow things have been to change. I became very depressed thinking about all sons who have lost their fathers to police brutality, social injustice and violence; the daughters and mother’s too. So I returned to this song and realized it was intended for this time, so I finished it and here it is,” said Usher.
Usher will be donating his proceeds from the record to LISC, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which provides grants to Black-owned small businesses and communities. In addition to the release of “I Cry” today, Usher will also debut the track live tomorrow at Global Goal: Unite for Our Future – The Concert.
About Local Initiatives Support Corporation:
LISC is one of the nation’s largest nonprofits investing in underserved communities and communities of color across the country. LISC provides grants to minority-owned small businesses that are the lifeblood of their neighborhoods and local economies, and that are reeling from the health and economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. LISC also supports thousands of community-based organizations in urban and rural places to connect residents with affordable housing, education and good jobs, and with programs that support community health and safety and address the wealth gap created by structural racism.
About Global Goal: Unite for Our Future:
International advocacy organization Global Citizen and the European Commission are partnering on Global Goal: Unite for Our Future – The Concert, a globally televised and digitally streamed special that will highlight the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has on marginalized communities. Global Coal: Unite for Our Future will include a summit and a concert and will be streamed on many services, around the world. The summit will showcase world leaders, corporations and philanthropists and their responses to equal treatment of COVID-19 treatments to everyone. The concert will feature musical and entertainment stars who will celebrate the current triumphs and encourage even more positive change. See all the ways to watch Global Goal: Unite for Our Future here.
Los Angeles finally agrees to settle excessive force claim for the 2015 LAPD shooting of unarmed teenagers
On February 10, 2015, Jamar Nicholson and friends were rapping in an alley on the way to school when LAPD opened fire. The City of Los Angeles agreed to settle a lawsuit for excessive force against the Los Angeles Police Department for $985, 000 for the wrongful shooting a black high school student in the back while he was on the way to school. Jamar Nicholson, Jason Huerta and their schoolmates were rapping in an alley a block from school when an LAPD officer, Miguel Guitterez, recklessly assumed there was a robbery in progress. The officer shot at the four students, striking Nicholson in the back and nearly hitting Jason Huerta. According to the Los Angeles Times, the officers did not identify themselves as police offers.
Despite having been shot for no reason, Nicholson remained handcuffed when transported by ambulance to the hospital and while in the emergency room. Both of the minors remained handcuffed and in custody for approximately five hours even though the police immediately learned at the scene that they had shot into a group of innocent minority children on their way to school.
“The officer falsely claimed a crime was being committed by Blacks and a Latino as they filmed themselves rapping with a bright orange-tipped replica gun as a prop,” stated John Harris of Harris & Associates who represented the plaintiffs. “This shooting wouldn’t have occurred if the kids were white, or on the way to school in a Westside neighborhood. This was a classic example of the mistreatment, racial prejudice and injustice against blacks, including black children. They regularly and routinely suffer at the hands of police. After waging a long and rigorous five-year battle against the City of LA for Guitterez’s blatant and egregious misconduct, we finally convinced them to do the right thing and compensate our clients for their physical injuries and emotional distress suffered.”
As we mourn the lives of wrongfully attacked Black people in our country, it is uplifting to see justice in this 5-year-old case.
Last month, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent two letters to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, requesting comprehensive national race and ethnic demographic data for tests, cases and fatalities related to COVID-19. The Lawyers’ Committee received a letter in response last week from the director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Robert Redfield.
The director’s response, lacking in substance, indicates that it could be weeks, or even months, before HHS provides a true and accurate account of the impact of this devastating this virus.
The coronavirus has been circulating in major U.S. cities since January. And five months into this pandemic, neither HHS nor the CDC has provided a full and complete data set showing the number of African Americans, and other racial and ethnic minorities, who have been tested for, contracted, or died from the virus. However, the limited data that has been released shows communities of color are suffering disproportionately from the pandemic. Robust and comprehensive race and ethnic demographic data is critical to shape effective policy responses that direct resources to African American communities and other communities of color, and to stem community spread of COVID-19.
“How many African Americans have to die before either HHS or the CDC can provide substantive data on the true racial impacts of COVID-19 and provide a clear plan to address the existing disproportionate impacts on African Americans and other communities of color?” said Kristen Clark, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “This is a public health emergency that requires a strategic response that directs resources to hot spots and towards African American communities that are suffering at higher rates. We cannot properly address a growing problem if the nation’s top health agencies will not adequately report useful data. Everyday there is a delay costs more lives and causes suffering.” Read the CDC response letter here.
As we celebrate Black History Month, which takes place every February,RespectAbility recognizes the contributions made and the important presence of African Americans to the United States. It is important to note this includes more than 5.6 million African Americans living with a disability in the U.S., 3.4 million of which are working-age African Americans with disabilities. Therefore, we would like to reflect on the realities and challenges that continue to shape the lives of African Americans with disabilities. The full piece provides statistics relating to employment, education, criminal justice and more.
Some celebrities and business leaders are using their voice to share their stories, educating people about both visible and invisible disabilities. They are defying the statistics and have remained highly successful with their disabilities. These role models make a big difference in setting high expectations for youth with disabilities. RespectAbility will be sharing content throughout this month – and throughout the entire year –highlighting additional African Americans with disabilities, including some personal pieces from our own team members.
– Tameir Yeheyes, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow
Maya Angelou had selective mutism, an anxiety disorder that causes a child to not speak due to physical and psychological trauma they endured. In the five-year span that she experienced this, her listening, observing and memorizing skills improved and her love of books expanded. This helped her later when she began working in becoming successful in her career.
The first Deafblind person to graduate from law school, Haben Girma stated that removing barriers for herself helped in her journey to becoming a disability advocate. Her disability advocacy is not restricted to education; she also uses the media to decrease the stigma in the community.
Reading scripts and writing books as often as Goldberg does was hard at first with her dyslexia. Like she did in elementary school, Goldberg found it easiest to have someone read to her so she could memorize the lines for her scripts. For her books, she dictates instead of writing before sitting down with an editor to adjust the language.
Diana Elizabeth Jordan, actress, writer, producer and director, is an important figure in the conversation about the inclusivity or lack thereof of people with disabilities in Hollywood. She found a way to get into and around Hollywood, with the help of her faith and self-confidence.
– Bryan Munguia, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow
When it comes to the traditional expectations of a pop star in Hollywood, Solange Knowles shatters the glass ceiling as a woman of color who also happens to be diagnosed with a disability that affects 10 percent of the U.S. population: ADHD. Knowles has been outspoken about her ADHD, educating people about her disability.
Jenifer Lewis resisted the diagnosis at first and refused to take medication until a self-described nervous breakdown left her convulsing in sobs, a hostage to her untreated neurochemistry. A quarter-century later, she is thriving and happy because, as she says, she “does the work.”
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