PODCAST: City of Asheville, NC, Apologizes for Historical Racism (BCNN1 7.17.20)

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According to Asheville Citizen Times, In an extraordinary move, the Asheville City Council has apologized for the North Carolina city’s historic role in slavery, discrimination and denial of basic liberties to Black residents and voted to provide reparations to them and their descendants. The 7-0 vote came the night of July 14. “Hundreds of years of Black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today,” said Councilman Keith Young, one of two African American members of the body and the measure’s chief proponent. “It is simply not enough to remove statues. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature.” The unanimously passed resolution does not mandate direct payments. Instead, it will make investments in areas where Black residents face disparities. “The resulting budgetary and programmatic priorities may include but not be limited to increasing minority home ownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities, strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay, neighborhood safety and fairness within criminal justice,” the resolution reads.

According to Charisma News, An Atlanta-area megachurch announced this week it will suspend all in-person worship services for the remainder of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. North Point Community Church, which meets in multiple locations throughout metro Atlanta and was named the second-largest church in the U.S. in 2017 with a weekly attendance of more than 30,000, is led by pastor and bestselling author Andy Stanley. The church had previously planned to resume in-person services in August. However, Stanley shared in a video posted on WSB-TV2 in Atlanta, “As you would imagine, that was not a casual decision. Back in May when we announced a possible August 9 reopening, the COVID numbers were moving in the right direction. That has changed. Consequently, we cannot guarantee your safety, and that’s a big part of this decision.” In weekend services, Andy shared an interview with Stuart Hall, a survivor of the coronavirus, and his wife, Kellee. When he posted the video of the interview on Twitter, he wrote, “When global becomes personal.” In his announcement, Stanley added that he realized some would view this as a lack of faith on his part. “I actually have a lot of faith,” he said. “In fact, I have so much faith that I’m absolutely confident that the church and our church will not only survive this, but I think ultimately, we’re going to thrive as a result. … 2,000 years of church history attest to the fact that Jesus is actually building His church, and we are simply invited to participate in the process.”

According to Minneapolis Star Tribune, Attorneys for the family of George Floyd sued the city of Minneapolis and the four officers involved in his death Wednesday, vowing to send a message that the police training and practices that target Black people and led to his killing must no longer be tolerated in the United States. “This is a teachable moment for America,” said attorney Ben Crump, standing outside the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis. While not specifying how much the family will demand in compensation, Crump said, “This is an unprecedented case, and with this lawsuit we seek to set a precedent that makes it financially prohibitive for police to wrongfully kill marginalized people — especially Black people — in the future.” Crump said that how the city leaders react to the demands put forth by the Floyd family lawyers will have consequences. “Their political legacy will be defined by how they respond,” he said. City Attorney Erik Nilsson said in a statement that “George Floyd’s death is a tragedy. The city is reviewing the lawsuit filed by his family and will be responding to it. Criminal charges are pending against four Minneapolis police officers, and it’s very important that the criminal case proceed without interference.”

According to Axios, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced on Wednesday he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate, Tulsa World reports. The 47-year-old Stitt is believed to be the first governor in the U.S. to test positive. He attended President Trump’s rally in Tulsa last month, which the county’s health department director said likely contributed to a surge in cases in the region. Stitt led one of the most aggressive reopening plans out of any state and rarely wears a mask in public, according to AP. He has also resisted a statewide mask mandate and said Wednesday after testing positive that he’s still “not thinking about a mask mandate at all.” Oklahoma has reported 21,738 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and saw a record 993 new infections on Tuesday, according to its health department.

According to Fox News, The father of a 1-year-old boy who was fatally shot at a family cookout in Brooklyn Sunday night pleaded for answers on “Hannity” Monday before sharing a powerful message for the “cowards” responsible. “You took my son’s life,” Davell Gardner Sr. told Fox News contributor Lawrence Jones. “I can’t get that back. I can’t hold him no more. I can’t hear him calling me ‘daddy’ no more. I can’t kiss him no more. I can’t play with him no more. I’ve got to put my son in the ground now,” he continued. “He’s only one. His birthday is in two months. He didn’t live to see two. He didn’t live life. It’s like, I wanted to get him out of this violence before something like this happened.” Davell Gardner Jr., was seated on a small chair at the cookout when two men approached the gathering just before midnight and began shooting from across Raymond Bush Park in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, police said. Davell was shot in the stomach and succumbed to his wounds at a local hospital early Monday. Davell’s grandmother, Samantha Gardner, shared a message of her own for the “cowards” responsible. “For the cowards that did this, you should be ashamed of yourselves because everybody talks about Black Lives Matter. What about baby lives? What about teenager lives?” she asked. “You took an innocent child from [his] mother and father as well as the grandparents and I don’t think it’s fair. You can go to hell,” the grieving grandmother said pointedly. “Excuse my expression, but you took something that was precious for me, precious for my son, something precious for his mother, and we will never see him. He cannot come back. He cannot wake back up. He was an innocent little baby and he’s gone forever.” Gardner Sr. said he is certain members of his community have information about the shooting, but have remained silent.

According to Mail Online, Atlanta Police issued a warrant Tuesday for Julian Conley, 19, in the death of eight-year-old Secoriea Turner on July 4 and charged him with felony murder and aggravated assault. He turned himself into police around 4.30pm local time Wednesday. His lawyer insists he’s innocent. The third grader was shot around 9.30pm on the Fourth of July after her mom’s SUV tried to drive around an illegal roadblock set up by protesters. The devastating shooting took place across from the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed on June 12 by a white police officer. The charges come the same day as Secoriea’s funeral.

According to The Christian Post, Liberty University is suing The New York Times for $10 million over a series of news stories published earlier this year about the evangelical Christian school’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a lawsuit filed in Lynchburg Circuit Court on Wednesday, the Virginia-based academic institution also named New York Times reporter Elizabeth Williamson and photographer Julia Rendleman as defendants. At issue is a series of stories centered on Liberty’s decision to reopen their Lynchburg campus amid the spread of the coronavirus, which some feared would increase infections. The complaint laid out three counts of defamation regarding news articles written about Liberty’s decision, arguing that the stories wrongly blamed the school for spreading COVID-19. “Defendants’ defamatory statements about Liberty caused enormous harm to Liberty’s business and reputation for which damages are presumed,” the lawsuit reads. “The foregoing statements, individually and collectively, give rise to the false and defamatory impression that Liberty recklessly caused a COVID-19 outbreak and got students sick by disregarding state health directives and encouraging students to return to the Liberty campus after spring break.” Liberty also accused the defendants of civil trespassing. The lawsuit noted that as part of their efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Liberty had closed off their campus to outsiders at the time.

According to CBN News, Now that Roger Stone is no longer going to jail, the former political consultant has quite a few people to thank. Donald Trump is right at the top of the list, but spiritually speaking, he has someone even greater than the president to thank, namely, Jesus Christ. In January of this year, in the middle of all his legal troubles, Stone attended an outdoor prayer service in Florida led by Franklin Graham. Stone tells CBN News he was desperate, struggling and stressed out. Graham had met with him before the event, and that night, Stone made his move. “At that moment, I felt the calling,” Stone says. “I stood up with 500 other people. I wasn’t the slightest bit embarrassed. I confessed that I was a sinner. I repeated a pledge that he recited, and it was as if a cement block was lifted off my chest. I can’t even explain it.” Stone says it gave him security about his future. “I was never scared. I was never worried. I was completely confident that the Lord would guide the president to do the right thing.” For decades, the provocateur enjoyed a reputation as the bad boy of politics. Then came convictions of lying to Congress and obstructing a congressional investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. “I don’t regret anything that I did in 2016 because I didn’t break the law,” Stone tells CBN News. “They wanted me to lie, to bear false witness against the president in return for some kind of leniency.”

According to ABC News, The city of Tulsa is breaking ground on a mission to find the truth. It’s a mission many agree is 99 years too late, but officials are beginning a journey to unearth a piece of the city’s history that many refused to speak openly about until recently. A team of professional historians, forensic anthropologists and archaeologists is digging up ground at Oaklawn Cemetery in search of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. What began as a confrontation between groups of white and black residents following the arrest of a young black man named Dick Rowland ended with 35 city blocks being burned to the ground in the city’s Greenwood District. Greenwood was an affluent area known as Black Wall Street, and home to 1,200 black residents and 300 black-owned businesses. Rowland was riding in an elevator with a white woman named Sarah Page. Details about what happened in the elevator have never been confirmed, but reports say Page screamed and Rowland ran off. According to official reports on the event, Tulsa Police arrested Rowland the next day. An article published in the local paper led members of the black community to believe Rowland would be lynched, so a group of black residents went to the courthouse where Rowland was being held, where they were confronted by a group of white residents. Shots were fired, witnesses interviewed in the weeks and months following the event said, but as black residents returned to Greenwood, they were followed by white mobs, who opened fire on black residents and began looting and setting fire to buildings. The case against Dick Rowland was dismissed in September 1921. Historians believe that as many as 300 people were killed as white mobs destroyed homes, businesses, churches, schools, hospitals and other buildings over a span of two days. Nearly 100 years later, many of those victims’ bodies have never been found.

According to USA Today, Nick Cannon is apologizing for anti-Semitic sentiments made recently on his podcast, a day after ViacomCBS cut ties with the TV host. “First and foremost I extend my deepest and most sincere apologies to my Jewish sisters and brothers for the hurtful and divisive words that came out of my mouth during my interview with Richard Griffin,” Cannon tweeted Wednesday evening. He continued: “They reinforced the worst stereotypes of a proud and magnificent people and I feel ashamed of the uninformed and naïve place that these words came from. The video of this interview has since been removed.” Cannon further said he wanted to “assure my Jewish friends, new and old, that this is only the beginning of my education—I am committed to deeper connections, more profound learning and strengthening the bond between our two cultures today and every day going forward.” Cannon, who created and hosted Viacom-owned VH1’s sketch comedy series “Wild ‘N Out,” shared a lengthy statement to his Facebook account earlier Wednesday saying he was “deeply saddened” that the network refused to use this opportunity to “grow closer together and learn more about one another.” He also demanded ownership of “Wild ‘N Out.” Cannon, 39, has been partnered with Viacom for over two decades. “Wild ‘N Out” has aired on Viacom’s MTV and VH1 since it debuted in 2005. Season 15 premiered in April 2020. “Instead the moment was stolen and highjacked (sic) to make an example of an outspoken black man. I will not be bullied, silenced, or continuously oppressed by any organization, group, or corporation,” a defensive Cannon wrote in the earlier Facebook post. “I am disappointed that Viacom does not understand or respect the power of the black community.” When ViacomCBS fired Cannon Tuesday, the network said in a statement to USA TODAY it “condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism.” The statement continued: “While we support ongoing education and dialogue in the fight against bigotry, we are deeply troubled that Nick has failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism, and we are terminating our relationship with him.”

According to NBC News, Four people, including two juveniles, were charged Monday with murder in the February killing of Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke during a robbery in Los Angeles, prosecutors said. Corey Walker, 19, and Keandre Rodgers, 18, were the only two named by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. They are charged with murder with the special circumstance allegation that the murder occurred during the commission of a robbery and a burglary, which makes them eligible for the death penalty, the district attorney’s office said in a statement. A decision on whether to seek it will be made at a later date, the office said. Two others, ages 17 and 15, have also been charged with one count of murder and robbery, according to the office, but were not identified. Pop Smoke, 20, whose legal name is Bashar Barakah Jackson, was killed in the Hollywood Hills short-term rental home where he was staying on the morning of Feb. 19, police have said.

According to Billboard, Rapper Megan Thee Stallion suffered multiple gunshot wounds Sunday morning (July 12) and is currently recovering. She shared a detailed account on Instagram today (July 15) of what happened over the weekend, when fellow rapper Tory Lanez was arrested on a gun charge after police officers found the weapon in his car along with the “Hot Girl” rapper and another woman. “On Sunday morning, I suffered gunshot wounds, as a result of a crime that was committed against me and done with the intention to physically harm me,” she wrote in the public note in an attempt to set the record straight. “I was never arrested, the police officers drove me to the hospital where I underwent surgery to remove the bullets. I’m incredibly grateful to be alive and that I’m expected to make a full recovery, but it was important for me to clarify the details about this traumatic night.” As the 25-year-old artist plans to focus on recovery so she can return to her music, she described the experience as an “eye opener and a blessing in disguise” in her caption.

You can read these stories and more at BlackChristianNews.com

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!