Ieshia Champs, Single Mother of 5, to Graduate Magna Cum Laude From Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law

by Kerry Justich via Ieshia Champs never could have imagined what she would achieve when she grew up, as…
Source: Good Melanin News

Coachella 2018: Beyonce Pays Tribute to HBCUs, Brings Out Kelly Rowland, Michelle for Destiny’s Child Reunion

INDIO, Calif. (AP) — Beyonce has paid tribute Saturday to historically black colleges and universities and also reunited with Destiny’s Child during her headlining performance at Coachella, which was delayed for a year because of her pregnancy.

Beyonce performed a two-hour set of her hits in Indio, California, where the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is held each year. The superstar was due to perform last year but had to postpone because she was pregnant with her twins, Sir and Rumi.

Her return did not disappoint the audience with a rousing set, including paying tribute to the marching bands, the dance troupes and step teams at HBCUs. She even performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the national black anthem.

Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams also joined her as they sang their smash “Say My Name,” and husband Jay-Z also came out for a collaboration.

Beyonce is due to return for her second performance as Coachella returns for its second run next weekend.


A post shared by Beylite (@beylite) on Apr 15, 2018 at 2:13am PDT

Associated Press contributed to this story.

Source: Black info

Marlon Wayans Says Showing Black Love Is Crucial and Netflix Isn’t Scared Of Black Stories

Marlon Wayans Black Love

With 25 years in entertainment under his belt, Marlon Wayans is still flying high, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be landing anytime soon.

His show “Marlon” on NBC has been picked up for a second season, plus, he scored a deal with Netflix, who released his stand-up special “Wokish” in Febuary and his film “Naked” in August.

The talented 46-year-old recently spoke with Ebony about his successful sitcom and its co-star Essence Atkins, who plays his ex-wife. On the show, they’re both still close with each other and Wayans said it’s crucial for people to see Black love being displayed on the big and small screen. He also said there are other areas of Black life that need to be shown and sees that happening in the near future.

“I think it’s extremely important for us to showcase all that we do,” he said. “Black people, we haven’t been known to get the most opportunity. But what’s beautiful about that is that we’ve been known to create these opportunities, and one day those opportunities are going to come our way. And so it’s good for us to show all the different complexions that we are.”

“You know, they say that we can’t be Black superheroes,” added Wayas. “We never had the budget to do a really good Black superhero movie. But films like ‘Black Panther’ give us a $20 million budget, and we give it a soul. I think to myself Black is still human, we have all the complexities that any other race does, and it’s good that we can now showcase this. It’s good that there’s not just one Black show on TV, there’s my show, ‘Black-ish,’ ‘Power’ and so many more that are going to pop up because we have stories to tell.”

And Netflix is willing to tell some of those stores, said the comedian, since it’s released projects that have people of color in prominent roles, like “Dear White People,” “Narcos,”  “Master of None” and “One Day at a Time.”

Plus, according to Wayans, Netflix doesn’t follow Hollywood’s much criticized blueprint of trying to reach merely one demographic. Instead, it tries to reach everyone, so the company won’t shy away from telling Black stories.

“What I love about Netflix is they don’t think Black and White,” he explained. “They think worldwide. They think cross cultures. They’re in 200 million homes, 193 countries. They don’t want something that just resonates one place for an audience. They want something that will translate worldwide. My movie ‘Naked’ was No. 1 in 193 countries.

Later in the conversation, Wayans talked about he and his siblings having to fight for their position in Hollywood and said it’s crucial for minorities to do the same thing. In fact, his co-star Atkins — who he raved about during the interview — said she feels the same way, which could be why she and Wayans have stayed afloat for so long.

“I mean, one of my favorite people right now in terms of just trajectory is Issa [Rae],” said Atkins in a 2017 interview. “You know Issa Rae because there wasn’t, she wasn’t invited to the table and she’s like, ‘Okay, well, that’s cool, I’m not invited so I’m gonna go over here, I’m gonna make my own buffet, I’m gonna create my own meal, I’m gonna invite my own people and they’re going to show up.’”

You can see Atkins and Wayans on screen when “Marlon” returns on June 14 and stream the funny man’s comedy special now.

Source: Black info

Chicago’s Tap Water Tested Positive For Brain Damaging Lead 

Water upgrades (Cheryl Corley/NPR)

A severe amount of poisonous lead was located in the water of nearly 70% of Chicago homes and endanger the lives of countless residents.

Around 70 percent of the 2,797 Chicago homes tested during the last two years had a high amount of lead. According to an analysis report conducted by the Chicago Tribune, the tap water in 3 of every 10 homes evaluated had lead concentrations above 5 parts per billion, which is the maximum allowed in a water bottle according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations.

The significant quantity of the deadly metal showed up in water sample taken across Chicago. The city was tested due to its use of lead service lines between homes and streets. However, Congress forbid the application in 1986, the news source reported.

“My immediate take is that Chicago has a lead problem… However, nobody should panic here. This is a problem that has to be dealt with, but it’s not a cause for panic… In the meantime, fortunately, children can be protected here simply by switching water sources,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The city’s Department of Water Management wrote a statement to the Tribune.

“Since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office, he has made it a priority to improve Chicago’s overall water quality and infrastructure… Today, the city’s water exceeds the standards set by the (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) for clean, safe drinking water. And the Department of Water Management continues to take a proactive approach to mitigating lead in our water system and is continually evaluating additional methods of lead mitigation.”

One resident Jenny Abrahamian had one of the highest levels of lead found in her Northside home.

Chicago Tribune
Jenny Abrahamian explains how the whole-house water filtration system works at her Chicago home on April 4, 2018. She installed the system after testing showed her tap water contained lead. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

Abrahamian collected 250 ppb of lead which is enough to cause brain damage. She’s since invested in a $1,100 water filter system. ‘I’m really happy I did… But this definitely isn’t something that everyone could afford,” she said.

On the other hand, the president of Gabriel Environmental Services in Chicago, John Polich told CNN, “As a general rule, our testing does not disclose high amounts of lead” and residents should not be alarmed one bit.

Around 4 million homes in the U.S. have been exposed to high levels of lead concentration from a multitude of sources including deteriorated lead paint, house dust and more according to the CDC.

Dr. Landrigan assured that Chicago should follow up on its findings and ascertain where the lead is coming from, how they can resolve the problem, and to test children for high toxic metal levels.

“It’s a very straightforward test. It can be done with either a finger stick blood sample or from the vein… If children are tested, if they’re put through testing and so on, the effects will show up… — the child will look OK. They’re not going to be obviously sick. This is what’s been referred to as silent poisoning,” he said.

Source: Black info

Win A Free Pass To DevOpsDays Chicago

BIT has once again partnered with DevOpsDays Chicago to provide an exclusive professional development opportunity to advance your technical skills. DevOpsDays Chicago brings development, operations, QA, InfoSec, management, and leadership together to discuss the culture and tools to make better organizations and products. BIT is giving away a limited number of free passes to the […]

The post Win A Free Pass To DevOpsDays Chicago appeared first on Blacks In Technology.

Source: Melanin beings in Technology

Why are Black Women Suffering from PTSD?

black women ptsdWhen post-traumatic stress disorder is discussed, images of broken, injured soldiers returning from combat frequently come to mind. But PTSD is not limited to the military.  According to the American Psychological Association, “PTSD does not just happen to combat veterans. PTSD can occur in all people, in people of any ethnicity, nationality or culture, and any age.” African-American women are no exception.

Recently, The Chicago Tribune reported that researchers from Northwestern University had found interesting results as they studied low-income African-American women living in the Chicago community of Oakland. The researchers, who recruited 72 women with depression symptoms from the high-crime Southside neighborhood for their 2016 study, found that nearly 30 percent of the women had PTSD, and 7 percent exhibited strong symptoms of the disorder. If one-third of African-American women in some communities may be at risk, PTSD is an issue that should concern the African-American community.

Why are African-American women suffering from PTSD? What can be done to help them?

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, “PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.” The NIMH notes that to be diagnosed with PTSD after a traumatic event, a person must display one or more symptoms from each of the following categories: re-experiencing (e.g., flashbacks), avoidance (e.g., staying away from places associated with the trauma), reactivity (e.g., being easily startled), and changes in cognition or mood (e.g., difficulty remembering the trauma, etc.).

Many traumatic events can provoke PTSD.  According to the Mayo Clinic, events that can trigger PTSD include military combat, childhood physical abuse, sexual assault (rape), physical assault, being threatened with a weapon, car accidents, fires, natural disasters, violent crimes (muggings, robberies, etc.), and other “extreme or life-threatening events.”

However, the NIMH cautions that not every person who is exposed to a traumatic event will develop PTSD.  There are risk factors that make a person more likely to develop the disorder. One of the risk factors is being a woman, as women are more likely to develop PTSD than men. The National Center for PTSD  found that while women have lower exposure to traumatic life events as compared to men, because women are more likely to experience sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, they may be more likely to experience PTSD. Additionally, the National Center found that women may be at higher risk because they are more likely than men to experience trauma within trusted relationships or to suffer chronic violence. A trauma like domestic violence during a marriage or romantic relationship would meet both criteria.

For African-American women, gender and race intersect to make them uniquely vulnerable to PTSD. Dr. Monnica T. Williams, author, licensed clinical psychologist, and associate professor at the University of Connecticut’s Psychological Sciences Department, spoke to Atlanta Black Star about PTSD in African-American women.  “African American women experience the same traumas as other women, but at higher rates.”

Dr. Williams is correct. According to research by Darkness to Light, a nonprofit dedicated to ending child sexual abuse, “African-American children have almost twice the risk of sexual abuse than white children.” According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, girls are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than boys. Therefore, Black girls are at risk for sexual assault. As African-American women grow into adulthood, their risk does not decrease. According to the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, “African American girls and women 12 years old and older experienced higher rates of rape and sexual assault than white, Asian, and Latina girls and women from 2005-2010.” The Coalition also found that 60 percent of Black women have experienced abusive sexual conduct by age 18 and 40 percent of sex trafficking survivors in the United States are African-American. Thus, over their lifetimes, there is a significant likelihood that African-American women will suffer sexual trauma.  The research indicates that African-American women who are sexually assaulted are four times more likely to experience PTSD than those who are not.

Domestic violence (intimate partner violence) is also associated with PTSD. According to Dr. Williams, “Domestic violence is traumatic, and being victimized more than once increases your risk of PTSD.” Although women of all races and economic backgrounds can experience domestic violence, there is some evidence that African-American women may be at higher risk. A limited study from the University of Texas found that among nearly 2,000 couples, domestic violence was nearly twice as prevalent in the African-American families. Statistics from the Department of Justice show that African-American women are more likely than white women to experience domestic violence from the ages of 20-24, but not at other ages. Either way, African-American either face domestic violence at slightly higher or significantly higher rates than other women. Significantly, research from the Journal of Women’s Health found that low-income African American women who had experienced domestic violence not only had PTSD, but also had “strikingly high levels of PTSD symptoms.”

Yet another issue must be considered: racism. Many researchers have made note of the connection between racism and trauma. A study from the University of Michigan stated, “Blacks are more likely to experience race-related stressors and oppression that can lead to increased feelings of victimization, which may also increase the risk for PTSD.”  A Harvard study also observed that, “perceived discrimination, race-related verbal assault and racial stigmatization have been linked to PTSD, and may partially account for the higher conditional risk of PTSD among Blacks.”

When asked how racism may contribute to PTSD in African-American women, Dr. Williams was careful to explain that dealing with racism in daily life is different than other traumas.  She stated, “PTSD is typically thought of as a response to a specific trauma. However, it is now recognized that repeatedly being exposed to traumatic materials can result in a formal diagnosis of PTSD. Although a single life-threatening event motivated by racism qualifies as a trauma, most expressions of racism tend to be less extreme and more frequent than events typically considered traumatic. Thus, most cases of racial trauma are the result of repeated events, not unlike traumatization resulting from ongoing sexual harassment or bullying. In these cases, chronic interpersonal events of a distressing nature occur with enough frequency that the victim begins to worry about future distressing events, resulting in hypervigilance, avoidance, and anxiety — all core symptoms of PTSD. Trauma is cumulative — the more traumas people experience the more traumatized they become — so even small acts of racism contribute to the traumatic load. Black people experience more racism than any other group, so it makes sense that we see more traumatization as a result.”

In other words, over time, the repeated experience of dealing with the trauma of racism can take a psychological toll on African-American women. Indeed, researchers from Boston University found that African-Americans who reported experiencing racism had the highest rates of PTSD in the non-white racial groups studied.

PTSD can affect many areas of a patient’s health. Although it is a psychological condition, it can have other impacts as well. Recent research has shown that African-American women with PTSD are more likely to experience obesity, disordered eating, and even chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Indeed, researchers from Harvard found that PTSD was associated with a 90 percent higher risk for type 2 diabetes among African-American study participants. For these reasons, PTSD should not be taken lightly.

Though PTSD is serious, some Black women may be cautious about seeking help from mental health professionals, particularly if those professionals are white. In 2001, the Surgeon General conducted a report on mental health and found that for nonwhites, “The foremost barriers include the cost of care, societal stigma, and the fragmented organization of services. Additional barriers include clinicians’ lack of awareness of cultural issues, bias, or inability to speak the client’s language, and the client’s fear and mistrust of treatment.”

Dr. Williams further explained, “The biggest problem is lack of meaningful diversity training among therapists. Until recently, clinical psychologists didn’t get much diversity training in their graduate programs, and so they never learned how to work with people of color. Now the APA is trying to crack down on this and make sure that the students are getting the training they need, but graduate programs still find many of ways to get around the is requirement, usually because they don’t have faculty qualified to teach diversity issues to students.”

Despite barriers to seeking counseling, the good news is that if the patient can overcome those obstacles, Black women are excellent candidates for many of the most effective PTSD treatments.  Researchers have found that African-American women improve greatly after using methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and mindfulness-based stress reduction.  Moreover, Dr. Williams noted that she and her colleagues are pioneering the use of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, also known as “ecstasy” or “molly”) in nonwhite populations.  She stated, “The FDA recently designated MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD breakthrough treatment, and we want to make sure that it is effective and available for people of color.”

Professionals at the American Psychological Association suggest these steps, among others, to provide help to a loved one who might be suffering from PTSD:

  • DO NOT force the person to discuss the traumatic event.
  • DO NOT offer advice.
  • DO NOT try to “talk them out of it” or tell them to “look on the bright side.”
  • DO offer support without judgment.
  • DO listen.
  • DO give the person “time, space, and patience.”
  • DO help them find support, if asked.
  • DO encourage them to seek additional professional help, especially if the person has physical symptoms of stress, sleep disturbances, emotional upset, or begins abusing drugs or alcohol to cope.

African-American women face a number of public and private traumas — some directly connected to our Blackness and femaleness, some not. Although Black women are often viewed as the caretakers of Black communities, Black women can care for no one if they do not first take care of themselves, and that includes maintaining their mental health.  As Dr. Williams stated, “No can or should be strong all the time.”

Source: Black info

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