A sophomore student at Mater Dei High School in San Diego had been suspended and told to cut his braided hair last week because it was out of compliance with the school’s dress code. He was then given an in-school suspension for “arguing and insubordination” after questioning the rule and the order, said his mother, Melissa Harden, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
The incident was taken to social media and after it caused an uproar, the school’s leadership informed Harden Monday afternoon that they will allow her son to return to the school Tuesday and that he does not have to make any changes to his hair. The school also is taking the suspension off his permanent record. The student had missed a total of three school days because of the initial decision.
Harden said she did not understand why her son was being punished because the length of his curly hair has been the same since he started at Mater Dei in 2018. It wasn’t until he showed up with braids in his hair last week that he was reprimanded for his hair. “My son has the right to not cut his hair. He has beautiful hair,” Harden said.
The story picked up steam when local activist Tasha Williamson, who is running for mayor, publicly pleaded with private schools in San Diego County to stop policing black hair. She took to Facebook with this message, “Day 2.5 of a hair suspension from Mater Dei: We are launching a campaign of awareness and asking every private school in San Diego County to stop the practices of hair suspension discrimination in line with the Crown Act. Mater Dei is a private Catholic school with the Catholic Diocese of San Diego overseeing it. Catholic religion believes in Jesus Christ who adorned “locs” on his head. I could not agree more with Pope Francis when he said, ‘2020 is off to a rough start.’ I also agree in context of this hair and cultural issue that it is beyond time we acknowledge the many troubling cultural issues that happen in San Diego County.”
“We understand that this is a broader issue than braids. It is an issue of cultural sensitivity, of rules being used in discriminatory ways and the lack of professionalism to sit down and discuss the concerns to seek resolution. The end result will be to launch a campaign of awareness, inundate businesses with calls, have press conferences, protest and litigation to set precedents to limit the impacts hair has on the wearer.”
“I have contacted Senator Holly Mitchell’s office to make them aware of what is going on in Chula Vista. We are hoping to ensure that the Crown Act prevents this type of discrimination by ensuring all schools understand the disproportionate impacts this has on children from cultures where braiding is as natural as their skin. #WearYourCrowns“
After several prisoner deaths at a Mississippi prison, The Mississippi Department of Corrections is being taken to court by no other than rapper and justice reform activist Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, according to NBC News.
Jay-Z is suing the head of the Mississippi Department of Corrections as well as the warden of the state penitentiary on behalf of 29 prisoners who claim that the two prison officials have done nothing to stop the violence there. There has been a reported five inmates dead in the past two weeks alone.
The lawsuit names Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall and Mississippi State Penitentiary Superintendent Marshall Turner as defendants in the case. “These deaths are a direct result of Mississippi’s utter disregard for the people it has incarcerated and their constitutional rights,” according to the lawsuit filed by Jay-Z’s attorney Alex Spiro at the U.S. District Court in Greenville, Mississippi.
“We cannot treat people this way and it’s time to do something about it,” Spiro of the Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan L.L.P. law firm, said in a statement to NBC News.
The lawsuit was started after a letter dated January 9th of this year was sent to Hall and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on behalf of Jay-Z and hip-hop artist Mario “Yo Gotti” Mims. The basis of the correspondence was to protest the “inhumane conditions in prisons operated by the Mississippi Department of Corrections.”
Spiro warned that they were “prepared to pursue all potential avenues to obtain relief for the people living in Mississippi’s prisons and their families.”
“This unthinkable spate of deaths is the culmination of years of severe understaffing and neglect at Mississippi’s prisons,” Spiro’s letter reads. “As Mississippi has incarcerated increasing numbers of people, it has dramatically reduced its funding of prisons. As a result, prison conditions fail to meet even the most basic human rights.”
“People are forced to live in squalor, with rats that crawl over them as they sleep on the floor, having been denied even a mattress for a cot,” the letter goes on to say.
Spiro ended the letter with a warning: “Roc Nation and its philanthropic arm, Team Roc, demand that Mississippi take immediate steps to remedy this intolerable situation.”
The Mississippi Department of Corrections responded for an NBC News request for comment by saying it does not discuss pending litigation.
Black college students are suffering under an unequal burden of student loan debt, according to a recent study reported by Blavity. The median black student federal debt for graduate school was about 25% higher than their white counterparts, while their total federal debt was $25,000 higher.
Ben Miller, vice president for Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress, wrote a lengthy report about the current debt situation amongst college students, detailing the difficult position many black teenagers and young adults are facing. Miller’s report shows that this country’s student loan problem has a significant dangerous effect on blacks who are looking toward higher education as a means to get out of entrenched poverty.
“The sustained rise in graduate debt also has substantial equity implications, particularly for black students. Black students are more likely to borrow in graduate school and have more undergraduate debt than their white peers. As a result, the median debt for a black student borrower finishing graduate school is 50% higher than that of a white borrower. Societal pay disparities also mean that women with graduate degrees receive salaries comparable to their less-educated male peers,” Miller stated in the article.
“The result is that individuals seeking graduate education to address pervasive societal pay gaps will end up paying more for those credentials over the long run,” he added.
Sadly, based on the findings, many black college students feel they must justify taking out the high-interest loans to try to keep pace with their less-educated white peers in order to stand a chance of making any type of comparable money—especially when they feel they need to obtain more than a bachelor’s degree to earn the type of salaries that less-educated white men receive.
“Black and Latinx graduate students are more likely to go into debt than their white peers, and those who finish end up with much more total debt. Almost 90% of black or African American students who took on federal loans for graduate school and finished in the 2015-16 academic year had debt from undergraduate studies. Black students’ median federal debt for graduate school was about 25% higher than that of their white peers, and their total federal debt was $25,000 higher,” Miller wrote.
The report also states that to allow black students to continue taking out high-interest loans just to keep up with their white peers will only make the situation worse.
“The laissez-faire federal approach to graduate student debt must change. The unchecked accumulation of federal debt can lead too many students into loans they will struggle to repay, while extended repayment time frames can make it harder to build wealth and leave an entire generation behind,” Miller said.
“The current system has had particularly pernicious effects on black and Latinx students, as well as women, who are seeking a better life for themselves and their families. It is time for the federal government to make sure that the tens of billions of dollars in graduate student loans it provides each year really are making lives better.”
In addition to raising an astounding $34.5 million in the final quarter of 2019 and taking the lead in Iowa just weeks away from the state’s Feb. 3 caucuses, Sen. Bernie Sanders seems to be making headway in wooing black voters in his quest for the White House. A poll conducted by VICE News-Ipsos last week reveals that just as many voters of color would support the Vermont senator as they would former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election should either of them win the Democratic nomination. When asked would you consider voting for the following candidates for president in 2020?, 56% of African Americans said they would consider supporting Sanders in the general election while 54% said they would back Biden. Meanwhile, more Hispanic respondents said they would “consider voting for” Sanders than those who said they’d consider voting for Biden.
According to the report:
Fully 56% of African-Americans said they’d “consider voting for” Sanders in 2020 — a statistical tie with the 54% who said the same about former Vice President Joe Biden and significantly higher than any other candidate.
Only 23% of African-Americans said they wouldn’t consider voting for Sanders, about the same number as the 24% who said they wouldn’t consider voting for Biden.
Sanders does even better relative to Biden and the rest of the field among Hispanics: 47% say they’d consider voting for Sanders, while 37% said they’d consider voting for Biden. More Hispanics say they wouldn’t consider voting for Biden (37%) than wouldn’t vote for Sanders (31%).
“Despite frequently being described as a ‘socialist’ or ‘too liberal’, Bernie Sanders has as many, if not more, minority Americans considering voting for him as any other candidate,” Ipsos Public Affairs Vice President Chris Jackson told Vice News.
The survey reveals that Biden and Sanders are the most popular Democratic candidates with black and brown voters at this point in the race. In comparison, only 39% of African Americans said they would consider voting for Sen. Elizabeth Warren in comparison to 29% who said they would not. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they would support former Michael Bloomberg compared to 37% who say they would not, while 17% said they would back Pete Buttigieg if he won the primary and 42% would not.
Since losing the 2016 Democratic Primary to Hillary Clinton, Sanders has made a concerted effort to reach more voters of color in his 2020 campaign. “His failure to win over more non-white voters, especially early on in the primaries, was a big reason Hillary Clinton won the nomination,” reports Vice News. Biden, however, still maintains a tight lead on the black vote in the Democratic Primary race. A new Washington Post-Ipsos poll shows that 48% of African Americans said they would vote for Biden if the primary or caucus was held in their state today. That’s a 28-point lead over Sanders, who gained just 20% of support. On the other hand, Sanders is leading among black voters under age 35.
Nevertheless, the polling suggests that black voters are fired up to vote this November for whoever lands on the Democratic ticket. When asked what the biggest reason for them to vote in 2020 was, more than half, 52%, of African Americans said: “to vote against President Trump.”
Although Jalen Uboh is only 23 years old, he has constructed a multimillion-dollar business empire called Jalen Uboh Enterprises, a holding firm that includes Premier Medical Supply and All American Contracting Solutions, among other enterprises and investments.
The focus of All American Contracting is freight trucking and logistics. Uboh already owns a fleet of four semi-tractor trailers despite the company still being in its beginning stages—making him the youngest black entrepreneur to own his own fleet of trucks.
According to BlackBusiness.com, before this enterprise, Uboh was already a successful entrepreneur in the healthcare, real estate, and construction industries. What inspired him to create All American Freight was the desire as a federal contractor to provide transportation and logistics services to the U.S. Department of Defense. Now, he utilizes the trucks to deliver army tanks, army vehicles, ammunition, and food supplies.
The core of his company, Uboh states, is to go above and beyond the expectations of his clients while providing efficient and cost-effective solutions to the government, according to BlackBusiness.com.
Uboh’s interest in trucking initially began with the 2016 film War Dogs, based on the true story of two men who won a $300 million government contract. It was this film that inspired him to become a federal contractor and led to the success of his business.
Uboh and his team now use their experiences to teach others how to achieve similar business success. They have designed a two-day online workshop called “How to Start a Freight Trucking & Logistics Company Debt-Free,” in which students of the course can learn a variety of skills such as how to incorporate a business, how to obtain trucking authority, how to fight freight (locally and nationally), how to win commercial and government contracts, how to get licensing and Department of Transportation certifications, and how to determine the best places to start your business.
As a certified franchise consultant, I typically steer clients away from choosing businesses based on the love of a particular food, brand, sport, or hobby, simply because people have a tendency to attach the idea of a successful business with something they are (or think they are) passionate about. Just because you’re passionate about something, doesn’t mean you will be successful at running a business around it. But passion and excitement combined with experience and dedication can be a winning formula.
Regina Crittenden is a self-proclaimed “HGTV geek” never thought she would own her own kitchen and bath remodeling business. She spent 12 years working in procurement for the U.S. Army, followed by a corporate role with ExxonMobil, also in procurement, in the supplier diversity department. That experience gave her the opportunity to work with a variety of local businesswomen in the Houston area. As a result, Crittenden gained a level of insight and confidence to make the decision to pursue owning her own business.
Based on her personality, Crittenden knew that the best route for her would be franchising. “I tend to be both cautious and conscientious, and while I’m willing to take risks, I prefer that they be calculated and proven,” she shares. In working with a franchise consultant who completed a business profile assessment for her, Crittenden was presented with a set of recommendations based on her experience, personality, goals, and interests. When she learned about Kitchen Tune-Up, she knew it was the perfect fit. And after attending Discovery Day she really appreciated how family oriented the team and company were and was highly impressed with their female president, Heidi Morrissey.
Goals and Purpose
Crittenden has a revenue goal of $1 million for 2020 and feels confident that she will meet and potentially exceed that goal. “Kitchen and bath remodeling in the Spring, Texas, area is in high demand,” she expresses. “We currently have one remodeling sales consultant working for us and two cabinet Installers. Our longer-term goal is to scale the business up and increase the number of territories we own.” But that’s not all. While the Kitchen Tune-Up franchise focuses mostly on residential remodels, Crittenden is exploring commercial remodel opportunities that have ongoing residual income opportunities.
Ultimately, Crittenden is working to build a legacy for her family by building wealth and providing new opportunities for advancement for team members. She was raised in a family where her parents insisted that going to college and getting a degree was the best path to stability. “I don’t want to condition my children into thinking there’s only one path to success. Business ownership is a great option and opportunity to achieve financial freedom.”
Crittenden’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to believe in yourself and focus on positive energy by ignoring the naysayers. She shared these powerful words: “People give advice based on beliefs that limit them from pursuing their dreams and goals.” In other words, the advice you’re getting does not define who you are, so consider seeking advice from people that are successful in an area you would like to be successful in, as it will help you gain confidence.