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ST. LOUIS, MO – NOVEMBER 30: Tavon Austin #11, Jared Cook #89, Chris Givens #13 of the St. Louis Rams pay homage to Mike Brown by holding their hands up during their pre-game introduction against the Oakland Raiders at the Edward Jones Dome on November 30, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Raiders 52-0. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)


As with the Trayvon Martin case, professional athletes are using their platforms to bring awareness to racial issues within our country. Earlier this year the Los Angeles Clippers players staged a silent protest after Donald Sterling’s racist remarks; and now on the heels of the verdict in the Michael Brown case, St. Louis Rams players have publicly showed their solidarity with the protesters in Ferguson. Five African American players, including Jared Cook, Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Stedman Bailey and Chris Given, came onto the field during a recent game with their hands raised,  symbolizing the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture that was adopted during the Ferguson protests. “I just think there has be to a change,” said tight end Jared Cook. “There has to be change that starts with the people that are most influential around the world.” Disappointed by the actions of the five Rams players, the St. Louis Police Officers Association are demanding a public apology. Read more.


Republican House Staffer Elizabeth Lauten Publicly Apologies to Malia and Sasha Obama

After publicly making ill-mannered remarks about the first daughters Malia and Sasha Obama, Republican House staffer Elizabeth Lauten has issued an apology to the first family. Lauten, a communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), went on a Facebook rant about the girls after seeing them on the presidential Thanksgiving address on national television. “Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teenage years, but you’re a part of the first Family, try showing a little class,” she posted. After a screenshot of her post circulated around the internet, Lauten received a lot of backlash (see: #FireElizabethLauten) and has since deleted her post and released an apology. “I reacted to an article and quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager,” she wrote. “After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents and re-reading my words online, I can see more clearly how hurtful my words were. Please know that these judgmental feelings truly have no [place] in my heart.” Read more.


Ferguson Mayor to Increase Minority Presence on Police Force

In the midst of unrest in Ferguson, Mayor James Knowles III is looking to evoke positive change. Knowles announced that he would increase the minority presence on the police force in Ferguson, open a line of communication between police officials and residents in the community, and get more police officers to move to Ferguson. “I think people will continue to express frustration and look for change,” the mayor said in a statement. “But I hope people understand that the city of Ferguson has been responsive. We hope that will help bring the community of Ferguson together and I hope others will start to recognize that going forward.” Read more.


Young African Americans Disproportionately Affected by Unemployment Rates

Even though the unemployment rate has decreased nationwide, young African Americans are still disproportionately affected. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 20 percent of African Americans between the ages of 20 and 24 are unemployed. The report also shows that 30 percent of Black people between the ages of 18 and 19 don’t have jobs. The lack of job security not only affects the personal lives of these young jobless African Americans, but it will have an impact the entire black community as a whole. “You have this graphic visual where you have young men who really care and want to do the right thing swimming upstream but coming downstream are all of these currents that they’re swimming upstream against that are preventing them from realistically ever being able to become successful on their own,” said Joe Jones, the President and CEO of the Center for Urban Families. “They find themselves literally out there on their own, isolated.” Read more.

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