Hanif Johnson, 27, Is Pennsylvania’s Youngest Judge

Stories of a troubled youth who is NOW on the finer sides of the law is not usually reported. But last month in February, The Huffington Post and Black Enterprise reported on a news story of a 27-year-old man named Hanif Johnson who has become the youngest judge in Pennsylvania.

Although, he has faced his share of troubles and run-ins with the law, that were later dropped once proven his innocence. Johnson knew that if he wanted to change the way people like him were viewed in the court of law. He would have to get behind the bench.

He faced countless skepticism as people, “laughed in my face” but after numerous talks. He is now having the last laugh. He has started his six year term as judge this past January.

Bill Cosby’s Daughter, Ensa Cosby Has Passed

According to reports from CNN and spokesman Andrew Wyatt for legendary comedian and actor Bill Cosby, Ensa Cosby has died from Renal failure, a disease that impacts the kidneys.

She was only 44 years old and one of five children.

Ensa, was a very active voice during her father’s sexual assault trial. Stating how race has played an important role. She once stated, how she helplessly stood by and watched the media ridicule her father’s name while protecting the rights of others.

No word as of yet on a funeral arrangement for Ensa Cosby.

Boo!2 Madea Halloween Scares Big at Box Office


The sequel to the Madea Halloween film, Boo!2 A Madea Halloween opened up in theateres this past Friday at number one grossing over $21 million dollars.  Somewhat less than what the original film did just one year ago with $28 million in sales and $74 million worldwide. 


Boo!2 is a comedic horror film written, produced, directed and of course starring Tyler Perry himself as Madea. The film opened in theaters, October 20, 2017. 

The premise of the film is, Tiffany goes to a frat party at a haunted campground. Madea, Bam, Hattie, and Joe venture out after her and the group must run for their lives when monsters, goblins, and the boogeyman are unleashed.

Last In Line: A Slide From Obama to Trump

  Read Last In Line, a thought provoking novel that tells of a young man’s accounts during President Barack Obama’s Inauguration. 

From “Preface”

 

An Inaugural Air: The Slide from Obama to Trump

 

 

Jamal Mtshali’s Last in Line: An American Destiny Deferred (African American Images, 2016) examines U.S. public policy’s role in reproducing racial inequality in America’s justice, education, health care, and economic systems. With Donald Trump’s inauguration, these structures are certain to be reinforced. Although anchored in data and research, Last in Line also seizes narrative to underscore the magnitude of racial disparity in America and the prevalence of the biases which drive it. This excerpt details then-18-year-old Mtshali’s attendance at Barack Obama’s first inauguration and his pensive reflection on the implications of that moment. It contrasts starkly with the ominous air surrounding Trump’s inauguration, an unequivocal confirmation of the doubt which compelled his writing of Last in Line.

 

I exited a cozy station and made my way through joint-stiffening, glacial treatment uncharacteristic of Maryland’s temperance. I marched Washington’s streets in throngs reminiscent of Roman legions, warming my hands with circles of merriment, singing and dancing an unprecedented episode of American communion. Ours was a 21st century Great March, not comprised of Americans calling for freedom but Americans heralding the freedom’s arrival.

 

As I walked the streets and lawns of Capitol Hill, I thought of my ancestors and their bondage beneath Old Glory. President Lincoln’s first inauguration was their auspice, the sign of a future in which their chains would be cast off and melted into material with which a new, free America would be cast. Paralyzing chills came not from January’s pricks and pierces, but the vision that my ancestors may have regarded Abraham Lincoln the way I on this day regarded Barack Obama.

 

A silhouette rose from the east; rays shone amid the multitudes along the Western front. “Not in my lifetime.” I couldn’t help recalling the words I, born a score and seven years following Freedom Summer, often spoke with a tone of practical resignation. My ancestors’ words came into my hands a truism and dissipated in inaugural air a platitude. A hurried gust brushed my 18-year-old face, bypassing it to seize and escort the falsehood elsewhere. It was persona non grata in presence of the revered utterance, “God bless the United States of America.”

 

A chuckle froze. It turned me. “Man—racism is finished. It is dead.” He gazed for seconds, a heavy grin complementing eyes radiating limitless optimism. He turned toward the projector in injected stiffness, freeze frame belying motion picture. I tried to mirror his effervescent smirk, but found paralysis—a pensive discomfort unbefitting, perhaps even insulting of, this moment.

 

For the rest of the afternoon as the world celebrated Barack Obama’s ascent to the Oval Office, I mulled that stranger’s words. Friends and family, some who witnessed the height of the Civil Rights Movement, marveled at images of the president and first lady greeting the nation. I could not marvel, for I could not help chewing that late twentysomething’s verse. It seemed to fly in the face of the dispiriting elements of American scripture I had known. Like the Book of James Byrd. Its ink dried when I was seven years old. What was that—solitary confinement? An outlying emblem of hatred long since banished from America’s heart? Given the experiences of my family members, my friends—even myself—I was reluctant to accept his prophecy. It seemed unfulfilled—his belief that race was anywhere near the finish line. I heard praises of victory but no buzzer flatlining us from scorched Earth to Eden’s divinity.

 

I entertained that he was perhaps right. Perhaps I’d glorified myself in some malcontent archetype, covering my eyes and ears as strange, partisan fruit of petulance. This was not James Byrd’s day—this was Barack Obama’s day. Reformation was upon us. This was America’s dawn, the day which would heal the sufferings of the multitudes—every James Byrd. America rejoiced in a new Pontifex Maximus—a man with whom I shared not only blackness but first-generation African descent—yet all I could do was groan. America saluted a black president hoisted by a variegated will, entertaining an era free of the sit-ins, bus boycotts, and freedom rides that convened about an operating table excising cancers threatening our Constitution with a threadbare fate. Many died for our sins, nailed to fiery crosses, mocked by unholy masses, blood-sacrificed unto Sodom’s devils. They rose from the dead in schools, neighborhoods, and colleges convoked in Christ’s name. The day of reckoning portended in the prophecy of resurrection dawned. I blasphemed. My wanton thoughts were libel, spilling blood upon consecrated soil.

 

As I walked Washington’s streets on inauguration day, disparity accosted me. Its profile was black—and in the neighborhood of a palace where, because of the discriminate acquiescence of mortgage lenders, a black man and his family would soon reside. Middle-aged black men idling on porches, frozen by January, arrested me. Children held me captive; I recoiled at clones made in my image a foot, one hundred pounds, and ten years prior taking baby steps that, with socks, shoes, and bootstraps, would be giant leaps. Young men bearing resemblance to the then-me mean-mugged—their cruel contortions perhaps originating from some intoxicant peddled by a kingpin on a far-away planet. Perhaps not so far.

 

Truth frisked; I had no right to resist. “These people”—my people— were not stuff of inanimate will, feral sentiment, and Petri dishes. Laziness, violence, pathology—measurements of the dark visage America struck and neglected—stared not with concrete savagery, but a graveled, dispossessed affect. Where men of titles and tailors saw feral children, I saw human sorrow. That sorrow harked to a familiar face—one of hard work, humility, and hope. I looked into those eyes, dark as my own, and saw the sorrow I, as a child, once saw slip from the eyes of my grandfather, a man born and reared in rural Georgia. It was a sorrow somewhat assuaged by his migration to Buffalo, New York, an exodus affording him, his family, and many black Southerners of the Great Migration some semblance of spirit. But no dam could contain such falls. I wondered if, on this day, the souls of black folk would at last be free.

 

On this day, Americans autopsied sorrow. We tested its vital signs. We placed our frozen fingers over its face, feeling no fumes. We grasped steel; its caged, rocking ribbing ceased. We declared it deceased. On the day of this great coronation, we designated ourselves licensed coroners; our degree of qualification became apparent as we declared racism’s death after determining its proper resting place. We dared to dream. Dream we can. But the dream is cruel fantasy. In this dream, there is no justice ruling against minorities and on behalf of injustice. In this dream, there is no euthanasia failing black organs, harvested both from poverty’s casualties and Jack and Jill card-carriers. In this dream, there is no birthing room denying admission to two black infants for every one white failing to thrive. In this dream, there is no executive shredding African American opportunity, shouting black credentials to double doors ex officio. In this dream, none of these figments permeate into present. Wrapping embalms King’s body from substance seeping to spoil the slumber deferring America’s awakening.

I entered a cozy station. Frostbite yielded to a sweltering wave fostering equilibrium. Its sheltering did not consummate with bodily homeostasis, but with consumption of the sacrament it bore. Spirit’s nourishment conceived Last in Line; it is sacrament for a greater body. I believed then and believe now, at the end of his presidency, what all Americans knew on that day—that President Obama’s election is both a symbol of change and a representation of our country’s potential for greatness. Where I, along with many Americans, diverge is in the belief that his election is far from a sign that America has salvaged its damaged soul, crediting its constitutional “master promissory note.” American masses have certified Barack Obama’s election a sign of long-awaited heaven on Earth. In doing so, these denominations perpetuate the strangely pernicious idea that racism is no more—and that to speak otherwise is to assume the dark mantle of the victim. On January 20, 2009, while American congregations, young and old, black and white, rejoiced in a dream, spirit commanded me to desert.

 

  Adapted from Jamal Mtshali’s Last in Line: An American Destiny Deferred, published by African American Images and available on Amazon. For more on the author, visit http://www.JamalMtshali.com. Follow Jamal on Twitter at @jtmtshali.

Terror in France

Another tragedy has occurred in the beautiful country of France Thursday evening on July 14, 2016. In the city of Nice, France an attacker rammed through the streets with a cruel intention.

In an article on theguardian.com, they explain “Witnesses said the driver was aiming the vehicle at the crowd and ‘zigzagging’ so he could hit as many people as possible. It was reported that the attack lasted for 2km.” The estimated length of the night attack was about a mile and a half.

The vehicle contained arms, also with loaded grenades French police say. The attack happened on the celebrations of Bastille Day. Eric Ciotti, a representative of the Nice in the French Parliament, said 77 people were killed, 65 injured, including 15 critically. Authorities also said the driver was firing on the crowd as he drove.

On an article in theguardian.com they reveal witnesses explained the event as scenes of terror and chaos on the beachfront of Promenade de Anglais. In the crowd of the victims there included families, babies, and children.

France Attack 2

Pictured above: Bodies covered at the attack site. (Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters) 

Police eventually killed the loaded assassin driver.

Previously earlier on Thursday, French President Francois Hollande, said the state of emergency of France will be lifted this month. This was due to the previous terrorist attacks on Paris in November 2015.

Story is being further developed as more news come.

Sources:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2016/jul/15/bastille-day-truck-attack-truck-in-france-in-pictures

https://gma.yahoo.com/nice-lockdown-amid-fears-terror-attack-215606296–abc-news-topstories.html

Written by: Karina  Bran

We Are More Than Hashtags: Death of Sterling and Castile 

  Black men are dying. Black men are dying at such an alarming rate it’s downright scary. They were our brothers, uncles, fathers and husbands. Now they are reduced to nothing but a mere hashtag. 

What has our country become when black men can’t even live without being in constant fear of their lives. Wives, mothers and sisters living in fear if they will return home at the end of the day. 

 

 
Simply selling CDs or exercising your right to bare arms is reason enough to kill?!? (Alton Sterling)

I think not! 

No one bats an eye until the murder of police officers are in question. Although the lives of innocent people is a devastation in an of itself. But just like police officers lives matters so does black lives. 

We are not saying other lives don’t matter but we need to get the same amount of sympathy for our slain black men just like those slain officers. 

Something needs to be done. But destroying innocent civilians isn’t the answer. We need love not hate. 

We need to come together and fight injustices. But until the ones with all the power and wealth change the way they think nothing will ever change in this crazy world. 

The girlfriend of Philando Castile live streams her boyfriend’s murder. Please be careful everyone you are worth more.  Don’t become the next hashtag. 

Chicago Native to NBA MVP

Bulls DRose

Famed former Bulls basketball player, Derrick Rose, is one of the biggest names in basketball. He was born October 4th 1988 in Chicago, Illinois. Rose’s three older brothers, Reggie, Allan, and Dwayne, taught him how to play basketball. Rose played high school ball at Simeon Career Academy where he landed in the national spotlight. Through his efforts against the nation’s top teams, he garnered such awards as the USA Today’s National High School Player of the Week. In college Rose played for the Memphis Tigers for the 2007-2008 season. His basketball IQ, slick moves, and leadership helped lead the Tigers to a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Shortly after in 2008, Derrick Rose decided to enter the NBA draft. In spite of unbelievable odds, the Bulls landed the #1 pick and the hometown kid. Rose thrived in his first year in the NBA and helped lead the Bulls to the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. In April 22, 2009 Derrick Rose was named Rookie of the Year. Then in May 3, 2011 he received the MVP Award.

Despite the various injuries Rose has amassed, he still plays fearlessly on the courts. On June 22, 2016 Derrick Rose was traded to the New York Knicks. New York traded center Robin Lopez and guards Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant. The chairman of the Bulls, Jerry Reinsdorf, said the trade was a “hard one” to make. In an article on espn.com, Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek and general manager Steve Mills said that the team was interested in upgrading its point-guard position in the offseason. For them the decision of acquiring Rose was set in stone. Despite the trade and an uncertain future, Chicago natives say farewell. Without a doubt Rose’s legacy and the memories he left will be remembered for years to come.

Sources: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/16427840/new-york-knicks-acquire-derrick-rose-chicago-bulls & drosehoops.com 

Written by: Karina Bran

Money Matters Monday: Make These Changes Now, New Tax Season Approaching 

By: CoKane 

  Make these changes now: new tax season approaching

Whew! This past tax season was a real joy working with Jackson Hewitt. It’s was my pleasure helping the customers of East Point, Ga and surrounding areas with preparing and e-filing both their federal and state income tax returns. I am always a strong advocate for tax clients and I’d help them in any way possible to avoid the devastating news of “Balance Due.”

Yes. I meant “BALANCE DUE”. This past season was the first tax season where I’ve encountered so many people, young and old, that owed federal and state balances after I concluded their estimate’s. I still found it difficult to explain to a customer that he/she has a balance that must be paid, and as a result, all preparation fees must be paid upfront. Their whole mood changes, and for those college kids who have always heard of big tax refund checks, their entire belief in the IRS fades to black. So much so that they don’t want to file anymore until they’re in their career. If only my tax kiosk could talk…

What are the real reasons behind these balances and low refund amounts, you ask? Sheer lack of tax education and understanding. The problem that I saw most, which tops the list, remained taxpayers not knowing how W4 exemptions tie into W2 federal withholding. 

  Secondly, human resource employees weren’t educating their new hires on the process of claiming exemptions on the W4 form. Another reason I picked up on was parents not educating their children on how to properly fill out the W4 during the hiring process. It could also happen when younger taxpayers don’t know that they won’t qualify for earned income tax credit until the’re 25 years old. Lastly, taxpayers simply weren’t updating their knowledge with new tax laws as well as the do’s and don’t’s.

To break it down, the absence of knowledge on how the W4 directly relates to federal withholding taxes hinders many young taxpayers between the ages of 18 and 24. No one sat them down and explaiend the difference between claiming exempt or claiming ‘0’ or ‘1’ exemption. For tax purposes, one can be exempt from income tax withholding if he or she had no income tax liability last year and expects none this year, income didn’t exceed a certain dollar threshold nor include more than a certain dollar amount of unearned income, and cannot be claimed on another person’s tax return. 

Legally, parents can claim their adult child until he or she reaches the age of 24. Because of that reason, young adults between 18yo and 24yo must claim the correct exemption amount, which is ‘0’ or ‘1’. This will allow the IRS to deduct the appropriate amount of federal witholding taxes throughout the year which helps to possibly increase the tax refund the following year.

 

 In addition to claiming correct exemptions, adults also claimed exempt the entire year and wasn’t properly taxed by their employers. Claiming exempt for the entire year created balance due notifications because taxpayers had too much money coming in and no taxes being paid out. All payroll checks should be taxed at least 15% to avoid penalties and balances. If one incorrectly claims exempt for the year, and has more exemptions on their tax form than what’s actual, the taxpayer will owe the IRS. While it’s not good practice to claim exempt, taxpayers do have six months of every year to claim exempt with no deductions on federal withholding. The biggest thing to remember is GOING BACK AT END OF SIX MONTHS AND CHANGING EXEMPTIONS TO MATCH ACTUAL HOUSEHOLD.

Thirdly, today’s human resource offices don’t bother eduating their new hires on the W4 and claiming exemptions process. I’ve asked many taxpayers if anoyone helped them file out their forms and they all said the same thing: someone from human resource gives them a pakcet of forms to fill out alone with no assistance. This, too, goes with parents not educating their children on how to properly fill out the W4 new hire form. The home is where many lessons are start. If parents fail to sit down with their children and walk through the W4 and W2 form, they’re subjecting their children to being taxed incorrectly, thereby procuring the balances that must be paid. 

During the new hire process explanation, parents should also inform their children that they won’t be able to qualify for earned income tax credit (or EITC) until they’re 25 years old or become a parent. Young adults automatically assume that they’re earned income eligible because that’s what they’ve been told their whole life. It saddens them when they find out that it’s not appliable until they reach age 25. This is the reason why parents can and should claim their children until they reach age 24 unless than child has made over $4,000 in earned income.

 

 To end, taxpayers simply do not update their knowledge on new tax rules and tax laws. Because of the scam that occured over a period of two years that caused the IRS to lose over a billion dollars from fraudulent returns, and with the ongoing attempt of hackers trying to access the IRS tax refund system, new ruels and laws have been established to prevent that type of loss from occuring again. Having your income taxes prepared by a non-tax professional or someone who isn’t a CPA or accountant can lead to refund amounts being inflated through incorrect means. Whether it’s intetnional or unintentuional, that incorrect inflation could cause longterm problems that result in penalties. taxpayers care the responsibility of updating their tax knowledge every year or having their taxes done by trained professionals who were taught the law and made aware of any significant changes.

Yes, that means taking your business to Jackson Hewitt, or one of our direct competitors, H&R Block or Liberty Taxes, to ensure that your taxes are completed correctly and you receive the maximum amount of whatever refund is owed to you. And one service that all three companies advertiser is reviewing previous submitted returns for mistakes or missed credits to see if it’s possible to obtain more money in the refund check. And who doesn’t want more money? It is better to get a refund rather than to owe money especially if you don’t have access to the funds necessary to pay off any balance. When properly filled out, the W4 withholds the correct tax to alleviate any amounts that may be owed. Be smart… ask a tax pro or human resource expert before you go from refund check to balance due.

——————————————–

Bio:

Co Kane was born and raised in Miami, FL. She worked as a tax preparer for the last three years and a published author for the last year. She began writing poems and short stories while in middle school and continued writing throughout high school. In 1999, she was accepted to Florida A&M University (FAMU) where she obtained an Associate of Arts degree, a Bachelor of Social Work degree and a Bachelor of Criminal Justice degree. She received her Master of Human Services from Liberty University online in September 2014.

Co Kane was a contributing staff writer for the campus newspaper while in attendance at FAMU. She is an avid spoken word artist, hoping to one day publish her poetry to share with the world. She uses her writing skills in her free time, and while it may take some time for her to create her next story, she uses the downtime to try and update herself with the times that she lives in. In June 2015, she established her own publishing company called Co Kane Publications, and she is currently accepting submissions from new authors.

Today, Co Kane currently resides in Florida. All of her work can be found on her website, http://www.KanePresents.com and she can be contacted at CoKanepublications@gmail.com

Love Over Hate

Orlando

Imagine going out on a Saturday night with friends to enjoy the weekend together. You all go to a nightclub and dance it out. You’re having a BLAST and seeing your friends smiling, warm faces. But all of sudden everything changes and this exactly happened to many clubgoers on June 12. On June 12, 2016 around 2 A.M., Omar Mateen, entered Pulse Nightclub a gay nightclub located in Orlando, Florida and created a tragedy. He had an AR-15 type assault rifle, a handgun, and multiple rounds of ammunition which proceeded the shooting. This horrific and inhumanely act caused 49 innocent, lives to be killed. There were also 53 wounded and 30 survivors. About 15 to 20 people who hid in the bathrooms called and texted their loved ones for help. At 5 A.M. police freed the hostages and had a shootout with the gunman, where he was killed.

Many grieving families are struggling with their emotions and still in shock. On the internet as well as on the television there has been many interviews with families. President Obama visited Orlando on June 16, 2016 met with survivors and family members. Obama and Vice President Biden also payed tribute to the victims. Many families when interviewed, said positive words about them. As well taking a time to remember them with such great love and warm thoughts. Akyra Monet Murray’s mother remembers her as a dream child and couldn’t ask for anything better. Friends of Edward Sotomayor Jr. remember him as a sweetheart and kind, loving man. An avid traveler, pharmacy technician, barista, recent high school graduate, telemarketer, and bouncer- a description of some of the victim’s. Young and bright futures ahead for them all, but stolen forever by violence.

After hearing and reading what happened that night in Orlando, my heart grieves for everyone who was affected. No family or friends should EVER have to go through agony and horror. There needs to be change immediately because enough is ENOUGH. Guns are the mass killers along with dangerous people. Here’s to love, justice, and peace.

Sources: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/06/12/us/what-happened-at-the-orlando-nightclub-shooting.html?_r=0 , http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/victims/os-pulse-nightclub-orlando-shooting-victims-htmlstory.html , http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/13/us/orlando-victims-profiles/

Written by: Karina Bran

 

 

Hollywood screws up the classics…again

So I was minding my own business and the trailer for the new Turtles movie comes on and I immediately thought, REALLY?! Really Michael Bay, you’re doing this again!!! Hollywood is clearly running out of material. For the last 2-3 years, the film industry has taken it upon themselves to remake some of the most classic and iconic movies from the 70s, 80s and 90s and I’m sick of it! Why am I sick of it? Because the remakes suck! It makes the originals look bad. The new generation won’t appreciate the awesomeness of those movies if Hollywood doesn’t stop trying to update them. Prime example, Total Recall, awesome movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mars, mutants, perfection. Hollywood remade it starring Colin Ferrell… it bombed horribly. Robocop, 1987, BEST movie EVER, once again Hollywood tampered with greatness…another bomb. Carrie was destroyed like 3 times. Ummm Sissy Specek was pure genius as Carrie. There was clearly no need to remake it and give it sequels!!! Michael Bay took on the Turtles franchise. I think he should stick to Transformers because he’s killing me with the Turtles. They don’t even look right. Remember how they originally looked, like actual turtles. Now, they look like underdeveloped dinosaurs on steroids ughhhhh, I can’t even!! Oh but check this out, Hollywood is making a sequel to Independence Day but without Will Smith. Yeah I know. The director said that Will is too big of a star and he can’t afford to pay him what he’s worth per movie. Dude! Will MADE that movie. He punched the alien in the face and dragged it across the desert in a parachute, c’mon!!! And guess who they got to replace him… Liam Hemsworth. You know the Australian actor from The Hungar Games who is engaged to Miley Cyrus. (insert twisted face with the side eye). Listen Hollywood, I know you need to make money, I mean making movies is your job but please, you’re doing it wrong. What’s next, The Fifth Element with Julianne Hough as Lelu? Or The Color Purple with Jussie Smollett as Mista? Or Enter the Dragon with Drake as Bruce Lee?!! (let me calm down). Just get it togetha Hollywood, get – it-togetha!