Bits and Pieces

current news + topics

Collected by Leslie Nash

Wrongfully Accused Black Bird-Watcher Lands TV Show About Birding

When Christian Cooper decided in May of 2020 to go to New York’s Central Park to take part in his favorite hobby—bird-watching—he had no idea he would end up in the national news. At the park, he encountered a woman with her unleashed dog. He asked her to kindly leash her pet, but her reaction caused him to take out his phone and start recording. Amy Cooper (no relation) called police, crying that a Black man was threatening her, though no such thing had occurred. The viral video added to the current debate about Black men deemed suspicious or threatening by just being alive.

Now, in a truly positive development, Christian Cooper will host a television show about birds, Extraordinary Birder,

New American Women Quarters™ Feature Maya Angelou

Have you seen the Maya Angelou quarter? The U.S. Mint began circulating the design honoring the poet and author in January. A part of the “American Woman” series, the coin is the first-ever to honor a Black woman. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the series conveys “what we value and how we’ve progressed as a society.” The coin’s designer, Emily Damstra, says “It struck me that she lived life very passionately.

Other coins in the series released this year honor Astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, Native American Activist Wilma Mankiller, New Mexico Suffragette Nina Otero-Warren, and Chinese American Film Star Anna May Wong.

New York State Senate Passes the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act (NYJLVRA)

This past January, a federal version of the bill failed to get the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster in the dysfunctional US Senate. Their inaction on this important issue (and others), led states to consider passing their own version of the bill to ensure the right to vote. On June 2, 2022, the New York State Assembly voted to approve the NYJLVRA.

The NYVRA’s critical protections include:

• Preclearance for some localgovernments to prove that proposed voting changes will not harm voters of color before they can go into effect.
• Providing new legal tools to fight discriminatory voting provisions in court.
• Expanding language assistance for voters with limited English proficiency.
• Creating strong protections against voter intimidation, deception, or obstruction.
• Instructing state judges to interpret election laws in a pro voter way whenever possible.
• Establishing, through companion legislation, a central hub for election data and demographic information that will empower officials and community members to ensure accessible elections.

Amplifying Black Expectant Mother’s Voices

The pregnancy experience of seven-time Olympic Medalist Allyson Felix caused her to want to raise awareness about the experiences of other Black mothers. Felix developed severe preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication, which can be deadly if not treated quickly. Inequalities for Black maternal health is a passionate subject for Felix, whose daughter is now 3 years old. Pampers has partnered with Felix and they’ve committed $250,000 to tackling systemic issues in Black maternal health, and a $100,000 partnership with the National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC). The partnership will develop resources to empower Black women to use their voices when working with providers to ensure healthy outcomes for babies and for mothers.

NAMA Brownstone: A Harlem Institution for 100 Years

One hundred years ago, June 26, 1922 to be exact, The New Amsterdam Musical Association (NAMA) purchased the brownstone at ...
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Mayor Ras J. Baraka Appoints Fritz Fragé as Director of Public Safety

24-year New Jersey State Police veteran brings extensive skillset and experience to Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka today announced the ...
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ICYMI: Leaders Come Together to Rectify a 20-Year Old Failed Promise to Newark Residents

A State-of-the-art Early Learning Center Now Occupies the Site of the Abandoned Project Just recently, families, community leaders and public ...
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Jackie Robinson Museum opens in New York City

The Lower East Side facility honors the late baseball legend for his career as an athlete and activist. A museum ...
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Beloved Imam Hajji Earnest Shakir Celebrates 89th Birthday

Family and friends gathered in an exquisitely adorned private tent at Stage House Tavern, Mountainside, NJ to celebrate Imam Hajji ...
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Together Again  Anthony David & Algebra Blessett

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