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.

Newark Congressman Donald Payne Jr. dead, weeks after suffering heart attack

Rep. Donald Payne Jr., who followed his father into politics and represented Newark in Congress for more than a decade...
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Newark Boys Chorus School

The Positive Community’s annual Great American Emancipation Day Awards Banquet, celebrates excellence, service, freedom and the genius of Black music...
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Rev. Al Sharpton

The media referred to him as a “controversial figure,” “race baiter,” “charlatan,” and more since the 1980s. When he began...
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The Truth about “The Star-Spangled Banner”

It was September of 1814. The British had sacked Washington and torched the White House. The conflict became known as...
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Activist Viola Plummer dies at age 86

Activist and Chairperson of the December 12th Movement Viola Plummer has died. Her passing was announced on Monday. She was...
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 Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz Art Collection at Brooklyn Museum

Call it an embarrassment of riches: The musician Alicia Keys and her husband Kasseem Dean, the producer and D.J. known...
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20-Bed Transitional Housing ‘Village’ Opens in Newark

Officials Say Hope Village II Improves on First Container Community A 20-bed “bridge housing community” is open for people in...
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The 38th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

BAM honors Dr. King’s radical spirit at this beloved Brooklyn tradition, which rings in a new year with musical performances...
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Rev. Dr. James A. Kilgore Installed

The Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Greater NY & Vicinity installed Rev. Dr. James A. Kilgore as the new president of...
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