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Ayanna Pressley Tweets Epic Photo of New Congresswomen

Pressley gives a shoutout to fellow Democrats who are making history in Congress.

REUTERS

Ayanna Pressley, the first Black woman to be elected to Congress in Massachusetts' history, posted a photo on Twitter on Thursday night that's since gotten more than 27,000 likes.


It's a photo of Pressley along with other new freshmen in Congress who made history in November's midterm elections — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico), Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) and Veronica Escobar (D-Texas ). The women are pictured in the Longworth House Office Building at the U.S. Capitol.

Pressley, who was also the first Black woman to serve on Boston's city council, said in her tweet: "Album dropping 1/3/19"

The women represent the changing face of Congress and statehouses across the country.

At age 29, Ocasio-Cortez, a Latina, is the youngest woman elected to Congress. She, has over 1 million Twitterfollowers, as many as the other incoming 60 Democratic freshman House members — combined. Ocasio-Cortez uses her social media accounts to connect with people around the country.

Omar, the first Somali-American in Congress, is a former refugee who spent the last four years as a state legislator. She along with Rashida Tlaib (not pictured), are the first Muslim congresswomen.

Haaland and Davids are the first Native American congresswomen. Davids, who is an attorney and former MMA fighter, is the first lesbian congresswoman from Kansas. She is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation based in Wisconsin. Haaland is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe. She was the first woman to chair a state political party in New Mexico.

Escobar, a former county judge, won her race in Beto O'Rourke's former district in El Paso. She along with Sylvia Garcia (not pictured) are the first Latina congresswomen from Texas.

The women in the photo are trailblazers, yet much more needs to be done in terms of representation of people of color and women in Congress — in both parties.

The 116th Congress is only 23 percent women, only up 19 percent in the 115th Congress. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women make up almost 51 percent of the country's population, but hold less than a quarter of the seats in Congress.

Over the decades, Congress has been slowly growing more diverse, but consistently lags behind the nation as a whole.

Latinos, Asians and Blacks — the largest minority ethnic groups — are significantly under-represented in Congress.
The Conversation (1)
votetocorrect01 Dec, 2018

What a classic Democratic photo that you'll never see from the Republican/Repugnacan Party!

Obama Teams Up With NBA, FIBA to Launch Basketball Africa League

"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.

Screenshot from NBA video

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:

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."

Rev. William Barber Condemns Evangelicals Who Support Trump's Policies

"I'm a Christian evangelical, I grew up in the Christian faith, and one of the most clear public policies that you're supposed to engage in as a just society is fairness toward the strangers, immigrants," Barber said.

The NAACP and Rev. Dr. William Barber called out evangelical Christians who back President Donald Trump's family separation policy, and called the policy racist.

"We see this happening," Barber said, "and this attack on children — we know it's brown children, it wouldn't be happening if it wasn't brown children at the southern border — is white supremacy, white nationalism, being implemented in our public policy right in front of our faces."

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New Comedy Series is Based on the Life of a Gay Man With Cerebral Palsy

The series is written by and starring Ryan O'Connell, author of "I'm Special: And Other Lies We tell Ourselves."

Ryan O'Connell/ YOUTUBE

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:

O'Connell tweeted:

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.

TV Station Reports on Michigan Governor's 'Curves' and Gets Slammed on Twitter

"I've got a message for all of the women and girls like mine who have to deal with garbage like this every day: I've got your back," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) gave her first annual address to the state on Tuesday focusing on infrastructure, education and bipartisanship to reach effective solutions. But a local TV station chose to focus more on Whitmer's curves in her dress. It's "a cheap, sexist and indefensible shot at a strong woman in leadership," said State Democratic Party Chairwoman Lavora Barnes.

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Senate Backs Legislation to Make Lynching a Federal Hate Crime

"Lynching is a dark, despicable part of our nation's history and I'm hopeful this measure will swiftly pass the House," Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted.

It's 2019 and lynching still hasn't been properly outlawed. A bill, introduced by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), was cleared on Thursday in the Senate to make lynching a federal crime. The measure will now go to the House. Harris, Booker and Scott are the only Black members of the Senate.

Harris tweeted on Thursday:

Congress has tried more than 200 times to pass an anti-lynching law, but has failed. The Senate passed a resolution in 2005, apologizing to lynching victims.

The bipartisan bill acknowledges the harms of lynching, which is a form of domestic terrorism, and the federal government's failure to stop it.

It defines the crime as "the willful act of murder by a collection of people assembled with the intention of committing an act of violence upon any person."

In December, the Senate also passed the bill. But it was days before the 115th Congress went out of business, and the measure never reached the House floor.

"It's not the first time we've come down to this body to try to right the wrongs of history," Booker said on the Senate floor.

"For too long we have failed, failed to ensure justice for the victims of history and failed to make clear in the United States of America, in this great country, lynching is and always has been not only a federal crime but a moral failure."

According to the NAACP, "From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States."

"Of the total, 3,446 of the victims were Black, accounting for approximately 72.7 percent; and 1,297 were white, which is 27.3 percent."

"These numbers seem large, but it is known that not all of the lynchings were ever recorded," the organization stated.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Explains Her Race and Ethnicity

"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.

Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez

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.

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