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Georgia High School Band Spells Out Racial Slur During Performance

The students involved said it was meant to be a joke.

Brookwood High School in Snellville, Georgia's marching band, whose instrument covers spell out their mascot "Broncos," rearranged them to spell a racial slur that once again shocked fans and had band directors under the microscope.


On Friday, some of the band members arranged the instrument covers to spell out a derogatory term for African-Americans, "c--n." Letters went to parents apologizing for the incident.

In his letter, Principal Bo Ford described the action as "hurtful, disrespectful and disappointing." Ford went on to say that the display was a "completely unacceptable, racial term."

An investigation into the incident found that three seniors planned and executed the stunt. An additional student, who carried one of the letters spelling out the racial slur, appears to have agreed to go along with it "at the last minute," Ford said.

Two other students did not plan the prank, but provided false information to administrators.

"In our interviews, the students — two of whom are African-American, one of whom is Asian, and one of whom is Hispanic — indicated that this was intended as a joke, one that they thought would be funny," Ford said in the letter. "However, they acknowledged that they knew this racist term was not acceptable."

Michelle Muñoz Montes, the mother of the student who wore the letter "C," was not amused.

"I am severely disappointed with him, all of them," Montes told WSB-TV. "With everything that is going on right now in our nation and the state, with the election itself."

She continued, "I don't know where he got it from, or where they got it from or why they thought it would be really funny. It's harmful, hateful, and very regretful. Let's make it a teachable moment and grow from it."

Marlyn Tillman, a Gwinnett County parent and founder of Gwinnett SToPP, a nonprofit advocacy group, said the incident shows there's "a need for conversations about race."

"What propelled this?" Tillman told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. "What lack of self-worth must these students have to do this?"

Penny Poole, president of the Gwinnett NAACP chapter said: "What happened here is a microcosm of what's going on nationally. These kids created a hostile environment and for [the students] to be so bold and brazen and unashamed is telling. They need to really know it won't be tolerated."

The six students involved will be disciplined with punishments "commensurate with their involvement in this incident," Ford said.

Oracle Underpaid People of Color and Women by More Than $400M: Department of Labor

Oracle's "suppression of pay for its non-white, non-male employees is so extreme that it persists and gets worse over long careers," according to a federal filing.

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The U.S. Department of Labor, in a federal filing on Tuesday, accused Oracle of underpaying thousands of people of color and women employees by more than $400 million. Employees with years of experience are paid as much as 25 percent less than their white male peers.

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Supreme Court to Allow Trump Administration Transgender Military Ban

"The Trump administration's cruel obsession with ridding our military of dedicated and capable service members because they happen to be transgender defies reason and cannot survive legal review," Jennifer Levi, of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, said.

The Supreme Court has allowed President Trump to move forward with his ban of transgender people from military service, as the case continues to make its way through lower courts.

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Two Students Leave University of Oklahoma After Blackface Video Surfaces

"Obviously we've had a second incident in several years," University of Oklahoma President James Gallogly said. "It shows that there must be something systemic. We have work to do."

Screenshot/ Snapchat

Another video of a student in blackface has surfaced at the University of Oklahoma (OU).

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Senator Holds Airlines Accountable When Servicing Customers With Disabilities

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is working to stop wheelchairs from getting damaged during air travel.

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U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is leading the charge for better airline management of customers' motorized wheelchairs. Duckworth has been confined to a wheelchair since her helicopter was shot down in Iraq and she lost both of her legs.

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California Defies Trump's Order NOT to Pay Furloughed Workers Unemployment

Over 55 percent of civil service employees in the state are people of color.

Screenshot from ABC 7

President Donald Trump signed legislation on Wednesday that said all furloughed workers would receive back pay once the government reopens. However, the Trump administration has ordered states not to provide unemployment coverage to federal workers who have been required to work without pay during the partial government shutdown.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday the U.S. Department of Labor sent states a letter with that mandate, according to NPR. The Department of Labor said the roughly 420,000 federal employees who are "essential" cannot file for unemployment as they are "generally ineligible."

It also reported 10,454 initial claims by federal workers for the week that ended Jan. 5, doubling the previous week's figure. Thousands more have applied since, state officials said.

Newsom said the decision by the Department of Labor's decision was "jaw-dropping."

"So, the good news is, we're going to do it, and shame on them," he said.

"From a moral perspective, there is no debate on this issue and we will blow back aggressively on the Department of Labor."

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) reports unemployment claims for one week during the shutdown are up 600 percent from the same time last year. The state has over 245,000 federal employees.

Over 55 percent of civil service employees in the state are people of color, and they are over 35 percent of the country's federal workforce.

Newsom encouraged people to continue to apply while the state figured out how to get the money. He estimated benefits that would last up to 26 weeks and provided a few hundred extra dollars a month. He said he knows it doesn't fix everything, but hopefully it helps.

His message to Trump: "Let us states do the job you can't seem to do yourself."

Some state officials said they had asked utilities and other companies to extend mercy to federal employees, and the federal Office of Personnel Management published sample letters that furloughed employees could send to creditors to ask for patience.

Texas has received more than 2,900 claims from federal workers since the shutdown began on Dec. 22, while Ohio is approaching 700. Kansas reported 445 filings, and Alabama was closing in on 500. Montana said it had logged almost 1,500.

Trump tweeted on Friday that he would be making a "major announcement" on Saturday about the government shutdown.

A senior administration official told CNN that Trump plans to offer Democrats another proposal to end the shutdown.

Reader Question: How are people you know that are furloughed workers surviving?

Southern Company: Stay Safe, Warm and Save Money as Temperatures Drop

Southern Company's Georgia Power offers tips to help customers as winter weather sets in.

Originally Published by Southern Company.

As winter temperatures begin to drop, Georgia Power encourages customers to keep safety in mind and offers safety tips to help prevent electrical fires.

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