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16-Year-Old African American Girl's Alleged Raped Goes Viral

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By Amen Oyiboke
Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Sentinel

Victim is speaking out after images of her alleged rape appear on social media

A young girl lying on the floor passed out with a black t-shirt and no clothes from the waist down floated around social media recently.

Jada, 16, reported to police that she was allegedly drugged and raped two months ago at house party in Houston, TX.  She stepped forward once she realized she had been raped.

In an interview, the victim told Houston’s KHOU news about the incident leading up to the horrendous photo taken of her.

She reported that it all started with an invitation to a house party. According to Jada, she was offered a cup of punch that she believes was spiked and said she later woke up half naked.  She fully didn’t realize what happened until pictures surfaced online.

She chose to address her alleged rapists publicly in an interview because she said,  “everyone knows” and  “there is no point in hiding” what happened.

“I had no control,” Jada told KHOU news. “I didn’t tell anyone to take my clothes off and do what they did to me.”

The source of where the pictures came from is not immediately clear due to twitter deleting most of the pictures and deactivating accounts closely associated with the incident.

The alleged rapist, 17 year-old Innel Yahia, posted a response denouncing Jada and her story before his Twitter account was deactivated. His tweet stated, “HOW ITS RAPE? YOU HAD 2 MONTHS TO SAY SOMETHING BUT YOU AIN’T SAY S__T TILL YOU GET EXPOSED?”

Most rape victims are usually kept anonymous, but it’s extremely difficult to do so when those victims are exposed to social media.

“There’s no point in hiding,” she said. “Everybody has already seen my face and my body, but that’s not what I am and who I am.”

Countless Internet trolls have made a mockery of her unfortunate alleged rape. One of the saddest things about this case is the mockery and sick humor people have made about her.

Photos of her unconscious sparked the creation of the hash tag #jadapose on social media, where users posted photos of themselves mimicking the position she was passed out in. She was openly mocked on Twitter, Instagram and other social sharing mediums.

Sadly, African American social media users made most of the crude pictures and jokes. What does this say about the issues of rape via the younger generation?  The issue of rape seems to be stripped of its seriousness on social media. Where is the respect that humanity has about the life of a young teenage woman who was ripped of her dignity? Her nightmare went viral for the entire world to see and access. It sickening to see how far social media has dictated peoples’ lives and ruin the emotional stability a victim can try to restore.

Women and men have been posting pictures on social media to show support for Jada using the hash tag #iamJada. The picture shows people raising their fists and holding signs, as Jada did in her picture. Supporters are demanding a change in rape culture, education and the arrest of Jada’s alleged rapist. Houston police are now investigating the case.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Announces $900K STEM Grant

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Special to the NNPA from The Oakland Post

Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) announced Alameda-based Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science (IWITTS) will receive a $899,841grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase enrollment and retention of women in community college STEM courses.

“I am pleased that the Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science has been selected to receive this important and competitive funding,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “It is our obligation to ensure that young women are both encouraged and supported as they pursue studies and careers in STEM related fields so they are prepared to contribute and thrive in the economy of the future.”

This federal award will fund IWITTS’s online professional development about evidence-based practices in outreach, teaching skills and learning to increase enrollment and retention of women in community college STEM courses.

Since 1994, IWITTS has helped educators nationwide close the gender gap for women and girls in male-dominated careers such as technology, the trades and law enforcement. They also work with employers to assist them in integrating women successfully into their male-dominated workplace.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense. With an annual budget of $7.2 billion (FY 2014), the NSF are the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.

Phi Beta Sigma Museum Opens in NW D.C.

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By Courtney Jacobs
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper

The ribbon cutting ceremony was one of several events planned for members and their guests to take part in during the 2014 Centennial Celebration. Members of  sister sorority, Zeta Phi Beta, also attended the ribbon cutting.

“I traveled all the way from Detroit to be here just to see this museum,” Ben Hilton, a Sigma member told the AFRO.  “A lot of my brothers may have forgotten the history and origins behind the Sigma name, but this museum is here to help refresh their minds.”

International President Jonathan A. Mason thanked his fellow brothers, during the ceremony and emphasized the museum, in the Kennedy Street corridor, was built for them.

When the ribbon was cut, hundreds of people flooded into the new space in awe.

“This is a moment in history that I will never forget,” Zeta Phi Beta member Tracy Washington said.  “It’s so good to see that a brotherhood like this can stay strong for 100 years.  I commend every single man that traveled here today, coming from close or far.  They deserve it.”

The Sigmas are the first Black fraternity to open its own museum.

Prior to the ceremony, a Centennial Collegiate Summit was held for the brothers and their Greek sisters Zeta Phi Beta Sorority to discuss various topics that affect the youth.

“I was sitting in the collegiate summit mesmerized by Brother Rafeal Matos,” one Sigma said of the remarks from a California higher education administrator who is also the  fraternity’s historian, western region secretary and an active member of the Sigma Leadership Institute.  “He is transforming a vital and complex discussion into in an exciting and interactive dialogue.”

One member said the summit gave him a new insight on his own life.

“This summit taught me that I need to implement my rituals in every aspect of fraternity life, and promote the principles and services of my brotherhood,” John Phillips told the AFRO of his fraternity.

“It’s great to look at what our founders had in mind 100 years [ago] and then to look around today and see that we are stronger than ever,” another member, Tom Beal said.  “When is the last time you’ve seen a line for a museum?  Great way to start my week.”

Follow the PEPCO energized AFRO coverage of the Sigma Centennial and the Zeta 2014 Boule’ celebrations on afro.com  or on the special AFRO Live Updates mobile app at live.afro.com

Crisis Task Force Formed to Look into Riverside General Hospital

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By Jeffrey L. Boney
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times

In response to the front page article that appeared in the Houston Forward Times (HFT) concerning Riverside General Hospital, July 9, 2014, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has announced that she is convening a Health and Human Services (HHS) Crisis Task Force to reassess the federal government’s position concerning Riverside General Hospital.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee, who represents the 18th Congressional District of Texas, is extremely concerned about the issues surrounding Riverside, in that the historic hospital sits in her congressional district.

“I spoke to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and indicated we are in a crisis position regarding the preserving of the historic Riverside General Hospital,” says Congresswoman Jackson Lee. “In helping to convene this Crisis Task Force, we want to work with HHS to use creative thinking in order to address the issues involving the resources and the future of this important hospital that has served the city of Houston for almost 100 years and would be a vital resource for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act.”

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who replaced Kathleen Sebelius, was sworn in as the 22nd Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) on June 9, 2014.

The Legislative Affairs Department of HHS will lead the Crisis Task Force and they will be consulting with the Secretary of HHS and the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as it relates to Riverside. Congresswoman Jackson Lee says that this Crisis Task Force will engage the state officials along with federal officials to be able to ascertain what monies Riverside General Hospital is still eligible for.

Community leaders and activists have been in an uproar and are calling on the Obama administration to release much needed funding they say is being withheld from one of the nation’s only functional Black hospitals, as punishment for the proven rogue actions of one executive back in 2012.

Back in February 2012, Mohammad Khan was arrested and charged in a $116 million Medicare scheme that paid kickbacks to patient recruiters and personal care home owners in exchange for directing residents to Riverside’s mental health clinics. Khan pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks and five other counts of paying and offering to pay kickbacks for his role in the scheme and after his guilty plea, an additional $42 million in fraudulent Medicare claims were discovered, bringing the total to $158 million.

Supporters say that if Riverside does not receive the payments that are being withheld by the federal government, they may have to close their doors in six weeks.

“We should not be looking to close hospitals by federal action we should be looking to keep hospitals and healthcare services open,” says Congresswoman Jackson Lee. “I know the Obama administration supports that and we’re going to work towards a solution.”

Riverside General Hospital, originally known as the Houston Negro Hospital, was founded in 1927 in Houston, Texas. Riverside has a very rich history in the Greater Houston area and is equally rich in assets also. Riverside is a community-based non-profit acute care facility that owns at least six Houston area clinics and one in Dallas, with assets totaling approximately $100 million. Riverside is extremely important to the African American community, especially in the areas of medical care and the treatment of drug addiction.

Community leaders and activists are encouraged about the news of the Crisis Task Force, but are still concerned and calling on President Obama and his administration to acknowledge the current and historical relevance of this institution to the African American community and immediately release funds to Riverside so they can continue the good work they do in the community and make the necessary adjustments to implement the proper infrastructure to prevent future financial losses.

The HFT will keep its readers up to date on the latest happenings.

Black Man Killed in Chokehold by NYPD Officer

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By Herb Boyd
Special to NNPA

NEW YORK – Rev. Al Sharpton was in the middle of his speech recounting how Eric Garner, 43, had been killed in a chokehold by NYPD officer when Garner’s wife collapsed by his side on the stage of the National Action Network in Harlem on Saturday morning.

“They will try to scandalize the decease,” Sharpton said of the NYPD and what he anticipated they would say. “The issue is not about an unarmed man selling cigarettes…It’s about a man who was subjected to a chokehold and is no longer with us.”

At that point, Esaw Garner collapsed and had to be held up by Sharpton and Rev. Herbert Daughtry, another prominent activist. After she was led from the stage and to a backroom, Sharpton continued his speech.  “You can never predict how someone will react to grief,” he said.

All of Garner’s relatives were in pain and weeping as they left the stage, including his mother, Gwen Carr, his sister Ellisha Flagg, and his daughter, Emerald Garner.

Sharpton promised the family that the National Action Network would pay for the funeral next week of a man the family knew as “Big E” or more affectionately the “Bear” by his wife.

None of these appellations were effective in stopping the officers who sought to detain him in front of a hardware store in Staten Island last Thursday. It didn’t matter to the officers who surrounded him that he was the father of six children and was known as the “Gentle Giant.”  Or, the fact that he repeatedly told them:  “I can’t breathe.”

Once Garner, who was asthmatic, was no longer moving the cops took a step back and one of them stooped over Garner as if to see if he was still alive.  He wasn’t.

The entire video can be seen on YouTube courtesy of liveleak.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Mayor Bill  de Blasio, who postponed his vacation departure to Italy, expressed his condolences.  After asking that people not jump to conclusions, he said, “We have a responsibility to keep every New Yorker safe, and that includes when individuals are in custody of the NYPD.  That is a responsibility that Police Commissioner [William] Bratton and I take very seriously. We are harnessing all resources available to the city to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the circumstances of this tragic incident. The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is working closely with the Office of the Richmond County District Attorney, which is leading this investigation,” the mayor added.

Bratton began his remarks by citing the arrest record of Garner and explaining that the police were there to apprehend Garner for the sale of illegal cigarettes.  He said that the corner where the incident occurred had been the source of numerous complaints from storeowners. “Mr. Garner went into cardiac arrest while in the ambulance on the way to the hospital,” Bratton said, “and he died upon arrival.”

During the question and answer session Bratton said that two of the officers involved in the incident have been placed on “desk duty” while the investigation continues, and that the “final determination” of the circumstances will come from the District Attorney’s office.

Watching Garner, who weighed more than 300 pounds struggle to free himself from the chokehold was reminiscent of the death of Anthony Baez in 1994.   After a football hit a police car, Baez, who also suffered from asthma, was confronted and placed in a chokehold that took his life. Two years before the incident with Baez, chokeholds had been outlawed by the NYPD.  His mother was among those in attendance at the NAN rally on Saturday.

“The video raises serious questions and it is important that we review whether departmental procedures were followed,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.  “There must be a swift investigation of this horrific incident.”

New York City’s Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch said in a statement, “Not wanting to be arrested does not grant an individual the right to resist arrest nor does it free the officers of the obligation to make the arrest,” he said. “In these cases, justice for all involved demands a complete and thorough investigation of all the facts before any conclusions are drawn.”

Later Saturday afternoon, Sharpton led a rally in Staten Island where he was joined by members of the Garner family as they marched to the spot where the encounter occurred.  A number of candles and flowers were placed at the spot.

Garner’s funeral is to be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bethel Baptist Church, on Bergen Street, in Brooklyn.

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BVN National News Wire