Posts tagged with "sisters"

Black Lives Matter for 360 Magazine by Symara Briel Wilson

Black Lives Matter in Pittsburgh

By: Symara Wilson

In the last five months, protests have sparked across the world in response to several devastating acts of injustice against black people. It began in Minneapolis, Minnesota, home to George Floyd, a man killed by three Minneapolis police officers after allegedly trying to make a purchase with a counterfeit bill. Officers Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were all charged in the murder of George Floyd. From that moment, protests and riots erupted across the nation and even ventured beyond the United States. Unfortunately, George Floyd wasn’t the only killing prompting outrage. Countless other incidents have occurred since then, and even those resurfacing from years before fuel the momentum of the movement. Black people being unjustly killed by police has been an act of violence prevalent in the media as of recent years. Now, people are no longer staying silent on how they feel. Millions of people have come together everywhere in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

As protests erupted across the United States, four months have passed and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is still going strong in their fight for justice—and this sadly isn’t the first time. In June of 2018, 17-year old Antwon Rose ll was shot in the back in East Pittsburgh by officer Michael Rosfield, who was not found guilty, even though Antwon was unarmed. Protests filled the streets that summer and fast forward years later, Pittsburgh still marches for Antwon and several others. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McClain, Robert Fuller, Rayshard Brooks, Oluwatoyin Salau, Daniel Prude and Jacob Blake compile just a small list of Black lives that have been at the forefront of the Black Lives Matter movement recently.

Protests in Pittsburgh have gone on for a consecutive 16 weeks. Started by Black, Young, And Educated, “Civil Saturdays” were youth-led protests that called for the amendment of PA Section 508, which is the justification for the use of force (even deadly) by law enforcement officers in Pennsylvania. Black, Young, And Educated is one of several black-led organizations in Pittsburgh fighting to make a difference in the community. Though Civil Saturdays have recently ended, protests in the city are not letting up.

Some other Black organizations are Pittsburgh Feminists for Intersectionality, an organization created to promote intersectional feminism, and SisTers, a Black and trans-led organization providing education and resources to local transgender, non-binary, and other gender-nonconforming individuals, as well as helping with transitioning and providing shelter. Protests in support of Black trans lives have been happening in Pittsburgh recently as well. With how big the Black Lives Matter movement has gotten; the Black Trans Lives Matter movement has also grown in notability and is just as important.

Crimes against those who are transgender are often times swept under the rug and don not receive attention in the media. We already know anti-transgender violence is not a new occurrence, but according to a 2018 report from the Human Rights Campaign, we also know that “it disproportionately impacts young transgender women of color, and we can identify common risk factors shared among many of its victims.” It is even said that the life expectancy of Black trans women is just 35 years old. Why do Black trans women and men face an alarmingly greater rate of violence than those who are white and/or cisgender? This is where the importance of intersectionality within activism lies.

The term “intersectionality” has caught on more in recent years, but has been around since 1989, coined by law professor, Kimberlé Crenshaw. In a paper, she argued Black women face more discrimination because of racism and sexism within our society. Since then, the term has grown and shows us that oppression can come from multiple sources. Race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and physical ability all play a part in intersectionality. In order to progress, we have to look at the way oppression overlaps, and appreciate the reality that certain marginalized groups are more susceptible to violence and discrimination than others. This is why organizations like Pittsburgh Feminists for Intersectionality and SisTers are crucial to provide advocacy and resources for the LGBTQ+ community. Tony McDade, Riah Milton, Tete Gulley, Dominique Fells, Aaliyah Denise Johnson, Nina Pop, and Monika Diamond are just a few examples of Black trans lives lost this year that protestors have also been marching for. Their stories deserve just as much attention, as well as justice.

So, when will justice finally be served?

It’s no secret that America has a very long way to go when it comes to repairing a system that was built on racism since the beginning. The Supreme Court’s recent upsetting decision in the Breonna Taylor case has only motivated protestors all over the country, especially in Breonna’s home of Louisville, Kentucky. Brett Hankison, only one of three officers involved, was indicted on charges for shooting into the neighbor’s house, not for the actual murder of Breonna in her sleep. Therefore, the end of the fight for equality is still nowhere in sight. Although many argue that the protests are doing nothing to help the movement, Elijah McClain’s case being reopened and the Supreme Court choosing to further investigate Breonna Taylor’s case demonstrates actions matter. Sharing resources, donating, making calls and emails to officials, protesting, signing petitions— it all counts.. There is much more to be done here and America’s youth has shown the world that they are not letting up anytime soon.

Infant Loss Retreat

The Ramsey Keller Memorial, a non-profit organization that pays for infant funerals in Montana, is launching its first-ever national retreat for moms who are living without a child. “The Retreat” is designed to connect moms in person and is slated for the weekend of October 26, 27 and 28 at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort near Butte, Montana. The registration fee is $325/person and moms, nationwide, who have experienced the loss of a child are invited to attend. Topics are primarily focused on infant loss (children 1 year of age or younger and stillborn babies). Nationally known keynote speaker and founder of Still Standing Magazine Franchesca Cox is donating her time in an effort to offer “The Retreat” at the lowest cost available. Registration includes all scheduled events, the resort room, all meals Saturday and Sunday and additional goodies for attendees.

“Franchesca Cox is known for helping moms grieve and fight for the privilege to love life again,” says Ramsey Keller Memorial Founder Kori Keller. “She has experienced the loss of her firstborn daughter and while she has spearheaded many local and worldwide projects in her daughter’s name, she found the most healing came from living life to the fullest. The Retreat is about celebrating our babies lives and finding joy in life, even through the grief. I’m grateful and humbled that Franchesca is coming to Montana to share her message with moms like myself who have lost a child.”

Franchesca Cox is the author of Facets of Grief: a creative workbook for grieving mothers, and Celebrating Pregnancy Again. She is scheduled to speak twice during the weekend retreat. Her topics are “The Space Between Love and Loss” and “Broken and Brave.” Cox is also opening up discussion on baby loss to attendees and inviting the audience to participate in a Q & A session.

“Surviving the aftermath of infant loss is something we, as mothers who have lost a child, think about often. Whether the loss was last month or last decade, this retreat has excellent programming with key takeaways for everyone, as well as a format designed to build lasting relationships,” says Founder of Still Standing Magazine Franchesca Cox.

“Women who attend The Retreat will walk away with a lifelong network of people who belong to the same club, one that no one wants to be part of, but who understand something that very few people do. We’re a network, an incredibly strong support system. We will bond together and grow together and we’re there for each other,” says Keller.

Check in for The Retreat opens Friday October 26 at 4:00 p.m. with opening remarks from Ramsey Keller Memorial Founder Kori Keller starting at 6:00 p.m. Saturday’s agenda kicks off at 8:00 a.m. with breakfast, followed by the keynote address from Franchesca Cox, break out topical discussions, a message from Kori Keller about unnecessary baggage, a creative outlet activity presented and donated by Held Your Whole Life, a second impactful message from Franchesca Cox followed by dinner at 6:00 p.m.. Sunday includes breakfast starting at 8:00 a.m. followed by a panel discussion. The Retreat wraps up at 11:00 a.m. Sunday.

For more information or to register, visit The Retreat Website. Moms are encouraged to seek sponsors if they choose to do so, as payment for the retreat is considered a non-profit donation to the Ramsey Keller Memorial. While the topics are tailored for moms who have experienced baby loss, moms are welcome to invite the women who support them to attend so that they may be joined by sisters, mothers and close friends.

Chloe × Halle

The sisters Chloe × Halle are an American R&B duo who first came to attention after winning Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing. They have been active from 2013 and since then, they have made appearances in Beyonce’s Lemonade album and during her Formation World Tour. They have grown significantly in the last several years and after a highly anticipated wait, they released their debut album “The Kids are Alright” on March 23, 2018. The album was both written and produced by the talented sisters and has left an impressed reaction amongst their audiences.

See 360’s collaboration with them here.

SOUTHERN HALO’s JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIES

 SOUTHERN HALO‘s story arc expands with the April 27 release of their latest CD, the concept-driven, dream-inspired JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIES. This 14-track package, produced by Catt Gravitt and Gerald O’Brien, mirrors the emotional and musical growth of Natalia, Hannah and Christina Morris, the three sisters from the Mississippi Delta who form SOUTHERN HALO.

 

 

Inspired by a dream of Natalia’s, JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIES features 10 songs written or co-written by the lead vocalist/guitarist, and four titles from Music City’s hottest tunesmiths. The catchy ode to the glories of Southern womanhood, “Southern Halo,” kicks off the project and marks the first “scene” of this movie-made-music.  A co-write with Roxie Dean, the strong, multi-layered vocals and sing-along chorus make this a natural choice for the first “instant gratification track” offered with each  iTunes and Amazon pre-order of the CD.  The disc is the second outing for the trio with SESAC’s 2012 Writer of the Year Catt Gravitt (Kelly Clarkson, Jake Owen) and Gerald O’Brien (Martina McBride, Trace Adkins) at the helm.

 

 

Dream-Inspired Concept Disc Available For Pre-Order Now.

THE DOWNS SISTERS

Reiya Downs

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Reiya’s interest in acting started in her early years, as she would perform skits and self-created plays for her family and guests. Reiya’s mother, actress Elle Downs, brought her young daughter with her to auditions and oftentimes casting would invite Reiya in, giving her a seat at the panel, where Reiya sat silent as a bee taking in the performances. At the age of 5, Reiya booked her first feature film, John Singleton’s ‘Four Brothers’ where she played the role of Taraji P. Henson’s daughter, alongside her sister Riele.

In the years to follow, Reiya continued to act for film and television, occasionally booking roles with her younger sister Riele, where they often played siblings in film.  Reiya’s resume continued to build as she worked with the likes of American History X director Tony Kaye, Mark Wahlberg, Terrence Howard and the great Stan Lee. Her credits include roles on VH1s ‘Nikita,’ ‘Regenesis,’ Disney’s ‘Made, The Movie’ and her most current role as strong-willed, no-nonsense Shay Powers on the long-running television series, ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’ as well as now on the Netflix continued series, ‘Degrassi: Next Class.’

In addition to her film work, Reiya garnered television commercial experience, filming ads for several brands including Comcast, Walmart, Children’s Advil and Macy’s.

Reiya strongly values the importance of a stellar education, and continues to be an avid learner and straight-A student while nurturing her acting career.

Riele Downs

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Riele Downs stars in the Nickelodeon hit series ‘Henry Danger’ as Charlotte Bolton, Henry’s ambitious and highly perceptive best friend. Produced by Dan Schneider and now about to enter its fourth season, the show centers around teenager Henry Hart who finds himself the side kick to a superhero, a secret he has to keep from his friends and family. The show has even branched off into an animated series entitled ‘The Adventures of Kid Danger and Captain Man.’  The show is currently airing new episodes until the end of the year.
Riele can be seen next starring in Tiny Christmas alongside Lizzy Green (Nicky Ricky Dicky & Dawn). Nickelodeon’s new movie puts a tiny spin on the year’s biggest holiday as two cousins who get accidentally shrunken must comically work together and overcome massive obstacles to set themselves and their Christmas right. 

Riele was introduced to the industry at the tender age of 4 years old, starting her acting career as Taraji P. Henson’s daughter in John Singleton’s ’Four Brothers.’ She is no stranger to children’s programming as well, guest starring as Kat in ‘Ruby Skye: P.I.,’ Karinna in Disney’s ‘Made, the Movie’ and in her role as Turtle and Rabbit in the award-winning cartoon ‘Peep and the Big Wide World.’

Throughout the years, Riele continued to grace the screen in films such as ‘The Best Man Holiday’ by director Malcolm D. Lee and ‘The Gabby Douglas Story’ as well as roles on TV series such as  ‘Rookie Blue’ and ‘Regenesis.’ 

In her free time, Riele enjoys basketball, gymnastics, rollerblading and sprint running.

 


*Featured image top right shot by Amanda Elkins.

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213.841.1841

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