The Importance of Resources After Jail

NORTHRIDGE, CA — For more than 30 years, Homeboy Industries and The Anti-Recidivism Coalition in Los Angeles help former gang members and inmates by providing tattoo removal services, general education classes, and jobs.

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Homeboy Industries Founder, Father Greg Boyle with current members. Credit, Homeboy Industries

The Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) in L.A. is a support network for formerly incarcerated men and women. Employees talk to inmates while they are inside so that when they get out they already have a network. The ARC provides clothes for inmates, if they need them or have an interview. The ARC is an inclusive and comfortable space for former inmates to interact and stay off the streets. Some members and employees get the opportunity to go on retreats and get out of the city. Allowing time to focus on their future, learn new skills, set goals, and relax.

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Credit, Anti-Recidivism Coalition

Adrian Vasquez is a Job Developer, In-Take Specialist at the ARC. He was incarcerated and took courses at a community college. Vasquez understands the lack of resources and wants inmates to have and participate in trade and rehabilitative programs.

Husband and father of six, Larry Butler started his own cleaning business. After serving nine years he could not find a job to support his family. He cleaned at the prison and started a residential and commercial cleaning business. Butler believes the support from his family and self-determination is the reason he was able to start the business. Butler struggled with reentry, and he lived in a small town that did not have nearby resources like Homeboy Industries or the ARC. Looking back he believes inmates need to be prepared for reentry. 

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The U.S. Sentencing Commission found within two years after being released nearly half of former inmates go back to jail for another offense or a violation of their parole. Dr. Allen Lipscomb helping to start up a men’s transformation program in South L.A. He works in the Social Work Department at California State University, Northridge. With the new transformation program Dr. Lipscomb plans on bettering the community. He said, “If we help mitigate the recidivism rates if we mitigate the pipeline trajectory not only are we saving funds we’re saving lives.”

Homeboy Industries in L.A. gives gang-involved men and women free services. Not all members have been in prison or jail. Homeboy Industries has an 18 month program that employs more than 200 men and women helping them re-identify themselves in the community. Homeboy Industries manufactures food like chips and salsa, and baked goods. Homegirl Cafe is a place where L.A. residents go to buy coffee for their day, or sit down and eat. Member, Ruth Butler plans on becoming an OBGYN. For her Homeboy Industries is a place to ask for help, she said members “have assistance with counselors, case management, sometimes you just need to relax your mind and they give you that.”

Carlos Caballeros used to sell drugs, and when his step-father told him about Homeboy Industries he was hesitant. Caballeros is 20 years old and has a son and recently graduated from community college. He is in the 18 month program and gives tours to visitors he questioned where he would be without Homeboy Industries. During the tour he explained his growth since he’s been at Homeboy Industries, “I never liked to talk to people, I was always quiet, but now I’m a public speaker and I give tours to strangers.”  

The Washington Post reported that the United States has the highest prison population in the world. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 2.3 million people in the U.S. are incarcerated.

Leaving Prison: How an Inmate Spent Her First Day Free

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, Homeboy Industries, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Sentencing Commission

Photos, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Homeboy Industries

Video, ABC News

EDUCATE YOURSELF

Guards Have It Worse Than Inmates

Prisoners Are Too Comfortable

Prisons Have More Money Than Schools

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Get The Proof Ready Nicki Minaj Might Pay Your Tuition Next

NORTHRIDGE, CA – One tweet from a fan turned into Nicki Minaj paying more than 30 of her fans’ student debt, tuition, and school supplies expenses, last night.

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Credit, Twitter @NICKIMINAJ

Three days ago Nicki Minaj’s music video for “Regret In Your Tears” was released. Minaj tweeted her fans of #TheKingdom, which is the new name of her fandom. She wanted to see them create their own #RegretInYourTears video with an app called, Musical.ly.

The app allows users to make videos with music and it is the largest and easiest platform for users to share videos. Musical.ly tweeted that Nicki Minaj would pick her favorite videos and pay for the creators’ flights to the Billboard Music Awards to hangout with her. Minaj also tweeted that first place winners may get to hangout in the studio with her and listen to unreleased music. Winners may be picked next week.

In a tweet the singer-rapper expanded the competition to all countries.

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Credit, Twitter @NICKIMINAJ and @cjbydesign

After the tweet and reply, Minaj responded to 31 other fans on Twitter. The fans asked her to help them pay off their student loan debt, summer programs, tuition, room and board, meal plans, and class materials. The artist replied to the tweets asking for proof of their debt and grades. She also told them to direct message her their bank information.

Nicki Minaj is known for being an education advocate. She has made comments about young girls staying in school and getting their education in her lyrics, interviews, speeches after getting awards, and during her concerts.

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Credit, BuzzFeed

The 34-year-old said she plans on paying more of her fans’ expenses in a month or two. Minaj has won more than 20 awards in the last 7 years. The estimated total of how much she gave to her fans is about $50,000.

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CNN reported that 40 million Americans have at least one student loan according to Experian. MarketWatch said $1.2 trillion in student loan debt is stopping Americans from economic growth making them unable to purchase cars, and homes. Forbes said that in December 2016, the unemployment rate for college graduates was only 2.5 percent. Students prefer to work jobs that are not related to their major or dream career in order to pay off their debt and personal expenses. The student debt crisis makes it hard for some students and graduates to continue school.

Student Loan Debt

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, Twitter, Forbes, CNN Money, MarketWatch

Photos, Twitter

GIF, BuzzFeed

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The Rich Don’t Give Their Money Away

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Soccer Player Fights Racism

NORTHRIDGE, CA – Ghanaian central midfielder, Sulley Muntari said he has been abused multiple times after a racist experience last Sunday on the field during Serie A game against Cagliari. 

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Sulley Muntari after he told the referee, “This is my color.” Credit, Ghana Soccer Net
In the last 10 minutes of the game, Cagliari fans started shouting racists chants. When Muntari heard the chants he tried to report the abuse of the small group in the crowd. Referee Daniele Minelli did not stop the game to address the situation. The 32-year-old went toward the small group, and the referee then booked the player.

The Pescara player walked off the field as a demonstration and he got another yellow card. After refusing to play, Muntari was suspended but on Friday the Italian Football Federation overturned the suspension.

When Muntari was with Internazionale he helped them win the Champions League in 2009 and 2010. Pescara is standing by Sulley Muntari, they released a statement to, “send a strong signal against racism, whether it’s done by one or 100 people.” The world football player’s union, FIFPro also supports Muntari’s decision to walk off the field. The union said, “We urge Italian authorities to hear Muntari’s version of events, investigated why the situation was mismanaged and take firm action to ensure this never happens again.”

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They also said, “Muntari was well within his rights to approach referee Daniele Minelli, as the first point of reference, to make his grievances known and seek a solution. Players should feel comfortable bringing any issue to the attention of the referee, especially one as significant as allegations of racism in the workplace.”

The husband and father, had an interview with CNN Sport. He told the interviewer this was not the first time he experienced racism. He said his cup was full and he could not take it anymore, and that he is human. The interview was very emotional. Muntari is not the only international soccer player who has experienced racism. Mario Balotelli, Scott Sinclair, and Medhi Benatia have also experienced racism on the field.

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Credit, CNN
According to a research analysis from University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, last year there were 104 racist incident reports in sports internationally.

Black and White:The Evolution of Racism in Sports (DOCUMENTARY)

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, Football Italia, ABC, Mirror, Black America Web , CNN

Photos, Ghana Soccer Net, CNN

Video, Nick Parr

EDUCATE YOURSELF

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Malaria Vaccines To Be Tested In Africa Next Year

NORTHRIDGE, CA – In 2018, malaria vaccines will be tested on 360,000 babies and children in Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi. 

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Credit, Al Jazzera

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported more than 200-million malaria cases worldwide in 2015. Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease, it affects people and animals.

RTS,S also known as, MosquiriX is a vaccine that is said to be injected in four doses. Next year, doctors and WHO officials are hoping the vaccine will work under real-life circumstances.

Africa has the highest number of malaria cases. In 2015, WHO estimated 429,000 deaths globally because of malaria, 92% of those deaths were in Africa. Kenya and Ghana are countries on the edge of Africa, right next to the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic Ocean. Malawi has a large lake of more than 11-thousand square miles.

Mosquitoes are attracted to sweat and live in water their first days, they need it to reproduce. Once a mosquito bites parasites are released into the bloodstream.

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The amount of malaria cases and deaths have both gone down more than 40% but this new vaccine is expected to close the 43% gap of unprotected people. Not having access to nets and bugs spray tests has affected pregnant women and their babies, men, and children.

Malaria is very life-threatening, it can cause: organ failure, swollen brain blood vessels, too much fluid in the lungs, anemia, and low blood sugar. The parasites make treatments and drugs ineffective.

WHO made April 25, 2017, World Malaria Day. The organization asked for serious help to improve the access to life-saving prevention tools.

The shrinking malaria map. Credit, The Economist

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, The World Health Organization, Malaria Vaccine Initiative, Healthline, BBC, Mega Catch

Photos, Al Jazzera, The Economist

EDUCATE YOURSELF 

Mosquitoes and Their Types

What Took So Long?

Malaria Myths

Rape Laws in Maryland Change and Remain

NORTHRIDGE, CA – Maryland Governor signed bills making it easier to prosecute rapists and an all male panel failed to end the Rape Custody Bill Tuesday morning. 

Credit, Rolling Stone

Maryland changed their definition of rape with SB 217. Maryland rape victims do not need to prove how they physically resisted against their attackers. Gov. Larry Hogan signed a new bill in the second signing ceremony at the State House. Before the Rape and Physical Resistance Bill, victims had to show evidence of trying to physically fight off or show lack of consent to charge perpetrators with rape or a sexual offense. Gov. Larry Hogan signed around 11 more bills with the intention of reforming sexual assault investigations.

BuzzFeed News did an investigation last year and found that some detectives were dismissing rape cases before looking into them. Alleged rapists would never know of the accusation because they would not be questioned by officers. BuzzFeed said cases would be ruled as “unfounded,” meaning false or baseless. Maryland reportedly had 42 unfounded cases. BuzzFeed’s analysis shows that this is an issue across the nation.Image result for trader joe's logo

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The Rape Custody Bill remains the same. Five male legislators failed to pass the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act on the last day of the State’s General Assembly session. The Rape Survivor Family Protection Act was introduced by Maryland Delegate Kathleen Dumais. If the act would have passed, women who were raped would be allowed to block rapists’ parental rights. The panel reportedly ran out of time. Dumais has been working on this issue for the last 10 years.

“About 5% of women of reproductive age who are raped become pregnant,” according to The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. The assembly will not meet to discuss the proposal until next year in January.

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, BuzzFeed, Time, CNN, Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Photo, Rolling Stone

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UPDATE: Facebook Murder Suspect Killed Himself

NORTHRIDGE, CA – The man who broadcasted the killing of a 74-year-old man on Facebook, killed himself in Pennsylvania after a police chase Tuesday morning.

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Left: Steven Stephens during Facebook video. Right: Robert Godwin Sr. moments before he was shot and killed. Credit, BizPacReview

Police got a call from an employee who spotted Stephens’s white Ford Fusion in a McDonald’s drive-thru near Eerie, Pennsylvania. State police troopers were chasing Stephens and even rammed his car with the attempt to disable it. While the car was spinning out of control, police said, “Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head.”

The search for Steven Stephens was in five states according to CNN. The mayor of Cleveland announced anyone with information on Stephens’s whereabouts would have been rewarded $50,000. The mayor also mentioned that there are no reports about the 13 other people Stephens said he killed, in another video.

The 37-year-old went live on Facebook, Sunday afternoon. One of Stephens’s friends posted a video and said he suffers from mental illness and depression. He also asked for prayers because his friend was armed and dangerous.

He then posted a video of himself getting out of his car approaching Robert Godwin Sr. Stephens asked Godwin to say the name “Joy Lane”, who is Stephens’s ex-girlfriend. Godwin said he didn’t know anyone named Joy Lane and Stephens then said, “She is the reason why this is about to happen to you.” Then shot and killed Godwin. Steven Stephens was driving a white Ford Fusion, with temporary Ohio tags.

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Credit, The Sun

The video of Stephens shooting Godwin was taken down from Facebook after three hours. Godwin’s family does not want the video to be shared because they do not want him to be remembered by the way he died. The YouTube videos that were shared are also

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Godwin had ten children. He was walking home from an Easter dinner with his family. There is a GoFundMe Account set-up to help the victim and family. The account has already raised more than $48,000.

Steven Stephens: “I’m going to kill as many people as I can.”

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, CNN, ABC

Photos, BizPacReview, The Sun

Video, LucidVisuals

EDUCATE YOURSELF

Who is Joy Lane?

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#SayHerName Wants Police Brutality Against African American Women and Girls Publicized

NORTHRIDGE, CA — #SayHerName is a movement that started in 2015. It’s a call to bring attention to police brutality against black women and girls throughout the United States.

Credit, African American Policy Forum

Black women and girls everywhere, of all ages, have been killed, sexually assaulted, and beaten by police officers. Media outlets give Black men and boys, national media coverage after violent altercations with law enforcement. Say Her Name wants the same attention for Black women and girls.

The author of No Doubt: The Murder(s) of Oscar Grant, Thandisizwe Chimurenga came to CSUN. In her book, Chimurenga discusses the ways society devalues people of color. She talked about the various ways racism affects America’s criminal justice system.

When it comes to the #SayHerName movement and the deaths of African-American women she said, “Our deaths get treated as either accidental or it really wasn’t that big of a thing or a deliberative targeting.”

CSUN students got a chance to share their opinions with Chimurenga on her visit to campus and student, Shante Price, spoke about her experiences. Price’s cousin is joining the Los Angeles Police Department. Her cousin said that she and other officers are being trained not to ask questions, just shoot black and brown.

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Looking at Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, and Trayvon Martin’s cases, some would say officers are protected because they aren’t getting arrested. Twenty years ago the LAPD  worried about their officers being under prepared to deal with violence. Officer training and civil interaction is now a huge issue. In 2016, the LAPD had the most civilian shootings and deaths nationwide for the second year in a row.

Correctional Officer, Latasha Griffin is an African American woman. She said she didn’t know about the police brutality against African American women and girls, because it’s not publicized. “I read files of inmates and see what they are in for and a lot of them are crimes against Black women and girls,” Griffin said. “It kind of hardens me as how I do my job because I’m looking at it like you (officers and inmates) killed one of me.”  

#SayHerName was founded by The African American Policy Forum. They found that 1 out of 3 women and girls shot and killed by the police are African American.

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By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, The African American Policy Forum, LA Weekly

Photo, African American Policy Forum

Video, FOX 9 News | KMSP-TV Minneapolis-St. Paul

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The African American Policy Forum, Founder Kimberlé Crenshaw

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Missing Girls in D.C. Creates Uproar on Social Media

NORTHRIDGE, CA – An article alleging that 14 African American teen girls disappeared from D.C. within 24-hours made social media users push for more effective search tactics.

#FindOurGirls and #MissingDCGirls started going viral on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook on Thursday. Celebrities and public figures also hashtagged posts to bring attention to the issue.

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Credit, Shaun King

AP reported since the start of 2017 the police department received more than 500 teens are missing in the D.C. area. When children of color go missing authorities assume they ran away, and on Wednesday only 22 cases were open for investigation.

Washington Metropolitan Police Department’s new Youth and Family Division commander, Chanel Dickerson said that the number of missing young girls is going down. She says there isn’t any evidence of the numbers going down and there also isn’t any evidence if there is a prevalent sex trafficking issue in D.C. Last year, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimated that one of six reported runaways in the U.S. were likely sex trafficking victims.

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Credit, Instagram

Some council members and neighbors wondered why there were not any amber alerts or immediate attention created after a 10-year-old African American girl went missing. Some families affected believe if the girls were Caucasian there would have been amber alerts and national media coverage. Some social media users say if the girls were Caucasian they may have even already been found.

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Last week Metro police started to post critical missing person cases on Twitter to spread more awareness and bring the girls home. They managed to post 22 and half of them were teens and children. Six of them returned home Sunday, but five are still missing.
Police are investigating leads and asking anyone who sees the girls or notice unusual behavior to call them. The community thinks the longer the girls are missing the harder it would be to find them.

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Credit, Madamenoire

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from CNN, ABC, Polaris, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Photos, Shaun King, Instagram, and Madamenoire

EDUCATE YOURSELF

Black and Missing

No One Knows Their Names

D.C. Commander Dickerson’s View

Truth Behind The Missing DC Girls

Documentary Director used surveillance footage of Michael Brown to show the real him

NORTHRIDGE, CA – Film director, Jason Pollock, used surveillance footage of Michael Brown in his documentary starting protests at a market in Ferguson Monday night.

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Credit, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Ferguson Market and Liquor store where police said Michael Brown stole cigarettes from in August 2014. News outlets only showed the the store’s surveillance footage of Brown moments before he was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson.

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Credit, Heavy

The director of Stranger Fruit, Jason Pollock used surveillance footage of Brown and the market clerk at 1 a.m. Viewers might assert that Brown and the clerk had a relationship before officers said Brown robbed the market.

Police only gave half of the surveillance videos to the public. The videos showed Brown choking a man by the door, throwing something over the counter, and talking to the clerk aggressively.

Pollock’s goal of showing the footage is to let Brown’s true character show, unlike the police and news outlets. The documentary Stranger Fruit premiered on Saturday at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Protesters want to see all of the original footage.

The market’s attorney Robert McCulloch said that there is no relation between the two surveillance clips but Pollock, Brown’s family, and protesters believe that there is.

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The New York Times reported that Brown’s parents filed a federal lawsuit against the now resigned Officer Wilson. The civil trial will start sometime next year.

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from CNN, The New York Times

Photo, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Heavy

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Attorney’s Perspective

Director’s Break Down

New Trail for Michael Brown’s Case

Chance the Rapper helps Chicago public schools “reach the finish line”

NORTHRIDGE, CA – Chance the Rapper donated $1-million to the Chicago Public School Foundation, during a press conference at Westcott Elementary School Monday morning.

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Credit, GQ

Chance said, “Our kids shouldn’t be held hostage because of political positions.” Back in December, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would have given the public schools $215 million. The schools were planning to end the year almost 20 days early because of insufficient funds.

At the press conference, Chance explained how winning the three Grammys helped him get a meeting with Governor Rauner. The two met a few weeks ago and the meeting did not go well. Chance told the Republican Governor, to do his job and “give Chicago’s children the resources they need to fulfill their God-given right to learn.”

The money is going to help develop enrichment and afterschool programs. Chicago’s public school system has been suffering from the state’s racially discriminatory system of funding.Image result for ford

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Chance the Rapper grew up in Chicago and he also donated $10,000 to the Westcott Elementary School. He challenged private and corporate businesses to donate. He said for every $100,000 he would donate $10,000 to individual schools.

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from Pitchfork and Billboard

Photo, GQ

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CBS

Chicago Tribune

Critics of Rauner