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Black Excellence in Action

Taking Action on Abortion

We said last week that Alabama was expected to pass that crazy abortion bill and sure enough, they did. Governor Kay Ivey (a WOMAN) signed the state’s heartbeat bill on Wednesday, which will enforce a ban on all abortions come November unless the woman’s life is in danger. What’s the time for the crime, you ask? Any medical professionals found to have performed an abortion in the state will face 99 years. You read that correctly. They’ll basically be handed a life sentence. With more conservative states working on abortion bills of their own (Missouri is waiting for their governor’s signature), it’s important to note that these laws often disproportionately affect Black women. With this in mind, how can we be more active on this issue, especially as our maternal mortality rates are through the roof? Here are some thoughts…

1. Find your representatives and make your views clear. (Thankfully, there are states actively working to strengthen abortion laws during this time.)

2. Support local and national organizations that are working against these restrictive laws:

a. Yellowhammer Fund (serving Alabama)

c. Planned Parenthood (national)

Trump’s New Immigration Plan

45 may not be willing to share his tax returns or release the full Russia report, but he DOES want to put his two cents in as it relates to immigration. In his latest plan, he proposes changing the current system to give preference to highly skilled and financially self-sufficient persons over the current preference of those who have family ties in the U.S. He also plans to include funding to build the border wall. If you’ve been paying any attention to Trump, this is right in line with him desiring to see more people from places like Norway rather than countries with primarily black or brown populations. As for the Dreamers, there was no mention of extending the DACA program, but that could be because a judge just ruled the administration’s ending of the program was unlawful. Of course, every Democrat is making sure Trump knows they’re “not one of his lil’ friends” as it comes to this idea, but even Republicans seem torn. Can 45 strong arm his allies into making sure he gets his way again?

WhatsApp’s Been Hacked

Another week, another one of Facebook’s companies is compromised. This time, it’s their popular messaging service WhatsApp. Reports have surfaced about surveillance malware being installed in their program that grants hackers access to their targets’ mobile phones. All a thief has to do is call your phone via the app. No answer is required. So far, they’ve confirmed a total of one targeted user, but that number could grow, particularly with copycats wanting to test their luck. Facebook claims to have fixed the issue and urges everyone to protect themselves by downloading the latest version of the app and by keeping up with the most recent version of their operating system. Unless you want to be lucky target number 2, we recommend doing the same.

What’s Congress Working On?

Mental health services for vets, child abuse prevention, and consumer financial protection for starters. Congress is working on a total of 19 acts this week. Get all the details your heart desires here.

2020 Happenings

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio has joined the race as another candidate in the already-crowded field of Democratic contenders. Now at 23 challengers and counting, when can we officially start putting folks on layaway for the 2024 election?

Elizabeth Warren uses Lil’ Cease and Lil’ Kim for inspiration in a clapback to Fox News.

Bernie Sanders wants to crack down on charter schools.

Kamala slams Biden over his part in the 1994 Crime Bill. Also, Shaun King calls the former Vice President the father of “modern mass incarceration.” Tough week for Obama’s bestie.

Maine officially joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, bringing the pact’s total number of electoral votes to 189. 270 votes are needed to give each member state the power to give their Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote and not to the person who wins their individual state. California and New York are also among the pact’s 14 member states.

Around the Diaspora

Jamaica’s Prime Minister wants to get serious about the nation’s drought with a $160 million (USD) plan.

Overseas Territories in the Caribbean and elsewhere will not be forced to legalize same-sex marriage laws, according the British government.

The African Union is making strides toward integration across the continent with a free trade agreement and with the potential launch of a continental passport.

Culture that Pops

Robert F. Smith, the commencement speaker at Morehouse College’s 2019 graduation ceremony, gave a massive gift to the graduating class: he will be paying off their student loan debt, which totals up to $40 million. Don’t just stop at the headline, take a listen to his entire speech as well.

Oprah donates $500,000 to a New Jersey high schools gang prevention program. Ps. For those of you coming at her for not doing enough for our children here, she’s been supporting Morehouse men. Check her resume.

Forever FLOTUS Michelle Obama is officially part of the 2019 Essence Festival lineup.


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