Paula Dance is North Carolina's First Black Female Sheriff
Even with this win, North Carolina's law enforcement agencies are still predominantly white and male.
Paula Dance has become the first Black female sheriff in North Carolina's history.
She was sworn in this past Monday surrounded by colleagues, family and friends. Her 28-year tenure is impressive, considering the state's notoriously racist history. Dance was appointed the position after she won an election for the coveted position. There are only five Black female sheriffs in the entire nation, including Dance.
Attorney Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the National Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, weighed in on the lack of diversity within this nation's sheriffs department. Specifically, she focused on racial and gender diversity.
Clarke even expressed her concern at what appears to be a case of voter suppression of Black and Native American votes distinctively in North Carolina. Her concerns are valid, given that in every aspect of the state's government agencies, there is an incredibly higher percentage of white representation among people in these positions even in predominantly Black cities like Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Charlotte.
Dance's election is an important win though. She covets the first Black female sheriff to be elected in the state. The true irony is that Dance is the first Black sheriff EVER to be elected in Pitt County.
The county's Black population is roughly 34 percent of the people who live there. Her campaign for the position was comprised of obtaining body cameras for the sheriff's office, tackling the opioid epidemic with rehab programs and school safety. Hopefully, her strategy is to bring equality and justice in a fair and unbiased way so that all members of the community can have access to being treated equally by law enforcement in the county.
Hopefully, this will make the dawn of a new era in the county's law enforcement practices.
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"I've always loved basketball because it's about building a team that's equal to more than the sum of its parts," Obama tweeted.
It is well-known that former President Barack Obama is a basketball aficionado. From filling out his NCAA bracket to leading pick-up games at the White House, basketball has always been a part of the 44th president's life.
While some people coach high school when they retire, Obama is thinking global. On Saturday, the NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the launch of the Basketball Africa League (BAL), a joint effort of the NBA and International Basketball Federation (FIBA). Who is the go-to player for this project? None other than Obama.
He tweeted on Saturday about BAL:
I've always loved basketball because it's about building a team that's equal to more than the sum of its parts. Glad to see this expansion into Africa because for a rising continent, this can be about a lot more than what happens on the court. https://t.co/lghcLaUN9a
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 16, 2019
Obama will have a role with the league, but the extent of his involvement has yet to be announced.
BAL, the NBA's first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America, will be built on the foundation of current club competitions FIBA is organizing in Africa. The inaugural season will begin in 2020, and will feature squads from Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.
The NBA shared a video of Obama speaking to African basketball players about the importance of sports, then hitting a long-range 3-pointer.
"I hope you know through sport that if you put in effort you will be rewarded, I hope you learn through sport what it means to play as a team and that even if you are the best player your job is not just to show off but your job is to make your teammates better," Obama says.
For years, the NBA has fostered a program, with the assistance of FIBA in Africa, called Basketball Without Borders. This program grows the game by promoting and identifying young talent from all areas.
"The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa," said Commissioner Silver, in a statement. "Combined with our other programs on the continent, we are committed to using basketball as an economic engine to create new opportunities in sports, media and technology across Africa."
The series is written by and starring Ryan O'Connell, author of "I'm Special: And Other Lies We tell Ourselves."
With "The Big Bang Theory" winding down, Jim Parsons, better known as "Sheldon," is taking a role behind the scenes as the executive producer of the new series "Special."
The show, set to debut on Netflix on April 12, is loosely based on the upbringing and experience of Ryan O'Connell, a gay man living with cerebral palsy. O'Connell authored a 2015 book called "I'm Special: And Other Lies We tell Ourselves."
O'Connell stars in the series, along with Jessica Hecht, Punam Patel, Marla Mindelle, Augustus Prew and Patrick Fabian. He also wrote the show and will executive produce with Parsons, Eric Norsoph and Todd Spiewak.
Both Parsons and O'Connell took to social media to celebrate:
Special comes out April 12th on Netflix. Critics are already calling it "gay" and "disabled" so you know it must be good! https://t.co/o7rtrDqQVO
— Ryan O'Connell (@ryanoconn) February 5, 2019
O'Connell has a long resume filled with stints on some prominent writing teams. He has written for MTV's "Awkward" and the reboot of "Will and Grace."
At this time, being gay is more acceptable than having cerebral palsy, he said.
"Being gay is chic now," he told NBC Out. "Cerebral palsy will never be chic."
But, hopefully "Special" will make being disabled cool just like "The Big Bang Theory" made being a nerd cool.
O'Connell has never been politically correct about his disability referring to himself as a "gimp."
"Honey, I've walked in these orthotics for 29 years. I own the f—ing right to say 'gimp,'" O'Connell said.
O'Connell's disability affects his fine motor skills and causes his muscles to be stiff.
Having a disability when you are gay is difficult, according to O'Connell. He used to refuse to go to the bathroom when he was on a date in fear that his date would notice his limp. He would avoid walking in front of people and eventually took to drugs as a way to cope with his disability.
"I had the choice to turn [my disability] into this big giant monster, or it could be this ant on the ground that I saw with a magnifying glass. And I chose to make it into a big monster," he said.
He has made that big monster morph into his ticket to stardom as he will be the main character in "Special."
Through this show, O'Connell hopes to give the unheard a voice.
"I am the descendant of African slaves. I am the descendant of Indigenous people. I am the descendant of Spanish colonizers," explained Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an MSNBC interview.
Conversations around race and ethnicity have been prominent in the media because of the onslaught of diverse newly elected public officials. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is one of them. In an interview on MSNBC, she addressed her heritage with respect to her race.
Family and friends said the apology was insulting, and that Timothy Caughman's death was their "life sentence."
James Jackson, 30, a white supremacist, killed Timothy Caughman, 66, a Black man with a sword. Jackson was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
His apology: "I just wanted to apologize to everyone who has been negatively affected by this horrible and unnecessary tragedy. If I could do it all over again, this never would have happened."
Caughman's friends dismissed the apology, as fake.
Black students are more likely to borrow, less able to make progress on paying down their loans, and almost half defaulted on their school loans. Many do not graduate. Now 34 seniors can.
Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., decided to clear the debt of 34 Howard students.
95 percent of Howard students are on financial aid. About 4,000 church members fasted and prayed for 30 days, saving money to donate to something charitable.
They donated $100,000 to 34 students.
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Disability rights advocates urged Major League Baseball to rename the roster designation for players recovering from injury.
Major League Baseball is renaming its league-wide medical database from the commonly known "Disabled List" to the "Injured List".
"The principal concern is that using the term 'Disabled' for players who are injured supports the misconception that people with disabilities are injured and therefore are not able to participate or compete in sports," explained Jeff Pfeifer, Major League Baseball's Senior Director of League Economics and Operations, informing the league's teams in a December memo that was obtained by ESPN.