Report: U.S. Right-Wing Extremists Killed 330 People In Last Decade

A new Anti-Defamation League report also finds that an anti-Latino massacre at a Walmart made 2019 the sixth-deadliest for extremist-related violence since 1970.

NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson Dies At Age 101

Her calculations helped the first American to orbit the Earth and inspired the movie “Hidden Figures.”

Chance The Rapper Unearths Old Video Of Lizzo Interviewing Him In 2012

“I am immensely proud of her and so inspired by her journey,” the Chicago rapper wrote.

3 Things to Never Ask a Military Veteran in the Workplace

veterans

Veterans Law Attorney cites critical questions to avoid when interviewing a military veteran for hire—and engaging with those already on-staff—to avoid legal landmines and foster military-friendly employer status

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in August 2019 the 3.4% veteran unemployment rate represented the 12th consecutive month this metric was lower than the non-veteran unemployment rate (at 3.6%)—an indication that the hiring of veterans is going strong. Considering NCSL.org estimates that there are 18.8 million veterans living in America today, representing 7.6% of the country’s population, this is a robust, trained and skilled employee pool that can make a significant impact on U.S. industry and, in turn, the global economy at large.

However, while the copious benefits of hiring military vets have been well-reported and it appears U.S. employers are taking heed, there are a number of critical considerations business owners and managers must keep top-of-mind—and impart to their staffers—relative to what’s considered inappropriate dialogue with a person who has served in the military. There are also legal landmines to avoid when interviewing a veteran for any kind of employment opportunity, whether full or part-time, contract, freelance, or any other.

What not to ask veterans in the workplace

According to retired Army Lt. Col. John Berry of Berry Law Firm, you can improve your veteran hiring and retention by making small changes to your interview process. Berry, whose law firm became the first to ever receive the Department of Labor’s HIREVets Platinum Medallion, has filled his staff with veterans by following a few simple rules. Among them is a list of questions to NEVER ask, including:

  • Do you have PTSD? – First, in an interview situation, it’s illegal to ask this mental health question before a job offer has been made under the Americans With Disabilities Act, and even after unless certain conditions are met. So, avoid this line of questioning (even after a hiring decision has been made) or risk exposing the company to legal repercussions. Second, it’s just disrespectful. The veteran will likely think they’re being stigmatized and labeled as “damaged goods” in some way or regarded as a stereotypical “unstable veteran,” which will make it difficult to establish trust, a healthy rapport and a sustainable professional relationship ongoing.
  • Have you ever killed anyone? – Most veterans who served in combat don’t want to discuss the details of their military service with a civilian, whether it be a boss or workplace counterpart. This question can be offensive, disconcerting, or generally uncomfortable to the veteran who did, in fact, have to take a life in the defense of his or her country—and can be equally objectionable for veterans who made many sacrifices but did not have to take the life of another. The notion of taking another human being’s life in the line of duty is a highly sensitive and emotion-evoking topic that demands the utmost courtesy of privacy.
  • Have you ever been shot? – While the veteran may not have a current disability from an injury, you don’t want to take the chance of touching on what could be deep-seated emotional wounds and traumatic memories of physical distress that may have been difficult to come to terms with. Furthermore, the veteran who was not in combat is likely proud of his or her accomplishments in the military, and, whether or not they’ve engaged in gunfire and/or been hit, may perceive the comment as belittling.

In a DiversityInc.com workplace article, Army veteran Ryan Kules stated, “Far too often, people assume a level of familiarity with former military that not only breaches proper office conduct but also invades one’s ‘personal space’.” With that in mind, according to a Military.com article, here are a few other things one should avoid asking military veterans in a job interview or any other form of conversation:

  • Is it hard to get back to real life after being in the military?
  • How could you leave your family for so long?
  • What’s the worst thing that happened to you?
  • Were you raped?

What to keep in mind 

There are also a few key concerns owners and managers should bear in mind when managing veterans who are already on the payroll as formal hires. According to Berry, here are top-line things to avoid:

  • Don’t make combat references or analogies. It’s bad form to tell a veteran that dealing with a competitor or other professional foe is like “hand-to-hand combat” or that you’re taking “friendly fire.” Relating these kinds of serious phrases in the mind and heart of a veteran to civilian experiences can be distasteful at best and even deemed utterly reprehensible.
  • Don’t make fun of any military branch if you didn’t serve. It’s generally accepted for veterans to lightheartedly make fun of the other branches of service with and among fellow veterans. You might hear a vet refer to Marines as “crayon eaters,” joke about the Air Force “not really being military,” and other such tongue-in-cheek remarks. However, veterans greatly frown upon a person who has never served making fun of their branch of service or any other.
  • Don’t bad-mouth military conflicts. You may think you are showing empathy by talking about “unnecessary” wars and deployments and that our veterans should not have had to make sacrifices. Political views aside, you may be speaking to a veteran who is proud to have served in that conflict and, irrespective of all, respects the governmental decisions made to go that route. Don’t risk degrading the veteran’s actual service—and choice to throw themselves into the fray—because you disagree with the nature of the conflict.

Take a look at these conversation starters

Also as reported on Military.com, as part of American coffee company Starbucks’ growing commitment to empowering military veterans, it advises civilians to: “Get to know somebody and take it slowly, just like you would with anyone else. Ask questions about who they are, where they’re from, and what they like to do.” Conversation starters included on Starbucks’ list include:

  • How long did you serve?
  • What did you do (in the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, Guard, or Reserves)?
  • Why did you choose that branch?
  • Do you come from a military family?
  • Did you visit any other countries?
  • Where was your favorite place you lived?

“Veterans are some of the hardest working, dedicated and loyal employees you could ever hope to hire … I know, because I have hired dozens of them on my team,” Berry notes. “In fact, they are the most important asset in my company. If you get the chance to hire a veteran, don’t mess up what can be a hugely fruitful and rewarding engagement by saying something distasteful—or downright stupid. As a hiring manager or a colleague, you can establish camaraderie with veteran coworkers by being [a] mindful and respectful person, and the vet will undoubtedly ‘cover your six’ no matter what challenges come your way.”

~~~

As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist, and futurist. As a prolific branding and marketplace trends pundit, Merilee spotlights noteworthy industry innovators, change-makers, movers and shakers. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations, and events across all categories. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com / Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor / Facebook www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern

 

Amazon Raises Pan-African Flag at Seattle HQ to Celebrate Black History Month

Amazon

A 40-foot Pan-African Flag was raised last week on Amazon’s headquarters in downtown Seattle as a symbol of the tech giant’s commitment to diversity.

The Black Employee Network (BEN), one of Amazon’s 10 employee affinity groups, organized the flag display and a corresponding event on Feb. 13 as part of Amazon’s Black History Month programming. In addition to commemorating the 150th anniversary of the 15th amendment, which granted African Americans the right to vote, the event was held to shine a light on black Amazon workers.

“For black and African members of the Amazon community, we hope that this flag tells you that we see you, that we value you and that we’re in it with you as we make progress together,” said Ian Wilson, the vice president of Human Resources at Amazon Web Services, reports The Seattle Times.

“And for other Amazonians, we hope that this flag is a reminder to learn and be curious about black history,” Wilson added. “Black history is too often smoothed over in U.S. history books and in U.S. education, and it’s critical to acknowledge more historic perspectives and the role that black leaders have played in the development of our country and our culture and our companies.”

Pan-African Flag

Brian Olsavsky, Amazon CFO, and Angelina Howard, Sr. Product Manager and President of BEN (Photo credit: Carlos Imani)

The Pan-African flag was designed in 1920 by activist and black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey to represent people of the African Diaspora in response to the infamous 1900 song “Every Race Has a Flag but the Coon.”

“Show me the race or the nation without a flag, and I will show you a race of people without any pride. Aye! In song and mimicry they have said, ‘Every race has a flag but the coon.’ How true! Aye! But that was said of us four years ago. They can’t say it now,” Garvey was quoted saying in 1921 in the Negro World weekly newspaper.

Each color in the tri-colored flag has a symbolic meaning: red represents the blood that unites all people of black African ancestry and was shed for liberation; black symbolizes black people; and green stands for the abundant natural wealth of Africa.

“Black History Month is a very important element of our understanding of American history, and something that we need to find a way to better incorporate into the way we talk about our country’s history,” said Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services and BEN Executive Sponsor, in a statement sent to BLACK ENTERPRISE. “I see the opportunity here at Amazon for sharing stories, celebrating, and promoting the accomplishments of black people throughout our great history.”

Although Amazon has flown the rainbow Pride flag from its headquarters during Pride Month since 2016 and long celebrated Black History Month, this is the first time the company has flown the Pan-African flag. Nevertheless, Amazon executives acknowledge that the company needs to do more on diversity and inclusion, reports The Seattle Times. According to Amazon’s most recent disclosures, 24.5% of its U.S. employees identified as black from the end of 2018, but only 7.2% of black employees are managers. This is an increase from 2014 when white Amazon employees constituted 71% of all managerial roles, while black and Hispanic employees were only 4%.

 

Serena Williams Joins Startup That’s Helping Working Moms Get Jobs

Serena Williams

Tennis and entrepreneurial great Serena Williams has joined forces with The Mom ProjectWilliams will serve as the company’s new strategic advisor.

The Mom Project is the leading career destination connecting moms with world-class companies. The Mom Project, which launched in 2016, serves a growing community of over 200,000 professionals by connecting them to over $50 million in economic opportunity.

“I’m calling on CEOs, Heads of People and Business Leaders big and small. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a team of 1 or 100,000; if you’re hiring, are you considering hiring moms? Together, we can influence how work gets done and build a better workplace for the future,” said Williams, a wife and mother, in a statement.

The Mom Project has partnerships with some prestigious organizations including Facebook, Nike, Invesco, Etsy, JLL, Gap, Delta, Uber, Twitter, Apple, and Georgia-Pacific.

“It is a dream to welcome Serena to our team; she is truly the embodiment of The Mom Project’s mission and what we aspire to. Serena is a role model to so many moms, reminding us that when we recognize our own strength—we are unstoppable. By joining forces, we will be able to accelerate change for moms in America and champion the support needed in the workplace and through public policy to ensure they can thrive,” said Allison Robinson, CEO, and founder of The Mom Project.

  • According to the Center for American Progress, 41 percent of mothers were the sole or primary breadwinners for their families, earning at least half of their total household income. This includes single working mothers and married mothers who out-earn their husbands.
  • Despite increased family financial responsibility and significant educational gains, 43 percent of women still choose to leave the workforce after becoming mothers with most of the gap in female workforce participation attributable to motherhood and time away from the paid workforce for caregiving reasons.
  • The economic potential in solving this problem is immense; The United States could add up to $4.3 trillion in annual GDP in 2025 if women attain full gender equality, according to a recent McKinsey & Co. report.

The Mom Project, with a community of over 200,000 talented professionals and more than 2,000 companies, is committed to building a better workplace for mothers and the businesses they support by harnessing the often overlooked intellectual workplace power of moms. In 2019, the Chicago-based company launched MP Labs, a research and insights division that works with companies to build a better workplace from within.

 

 

Illinois Police Unlawfully Arrest and Detain Black College Athlete

Jaylan Butler

In one of the latest incidents of cops’ gone rogue, Illinois police officers arrested an innocent young black man.

On Feb. 24, 2019, Jaylan Butler was traveling by bus from a college championship tournament in South Dakota with his swim team. Sometime after 8:00 p.m., the bus pulled over on a road off Interstate 80 near East Moline, Illinois. One of Butler’s coaches asked him to take a photo of a roadside sign for the team’s social media account. Butler took the photo and headed back toward the bus. This is when several law enforcement vehicles came up, and with guns drawn, officers began yelling and cursing at Butler. He then put his hands up, dropped his cell phone, and dropped to his knees. The team bus driver and Butler’s coach exited the bus to tell the officers Butler was part of the EIU swim team. Before realizing Butler wasn’t the suspect they were looking for, the cops placed him in handcuffs in the back of a police vehicle. After several minutes, the officers finally released him, but only after forcing Butler to provide photo identification.

“My dad taught me at a young age what to do when you are stopped by police officers—stop instantly, put your hands up, drop anything you are holding, and drop to your knees,” said Butler. “I hoped I would never have to use this advice in my life, but all that changed in seconds.”

Butler, who was the only black member of the Eastern Illinois University swim team, claims that he was wrongfully arrested. The teen says he was held face down on the snowy ground with a gun to his forehead while being threatened by a group of police officers without justification. A lawsuit has been filed due to the unfortunate occurrence.

Butler is suing officers from the Hampton Police Department, the East Moline Police Department, and the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office for false arrest, excessive detention, and excessive use of force. He is being represented by attorneys at the ACLU of Illinois and Sidley Austin LLP. The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

“I was scared and depressed. I remember sitting in class the next day, looking at the bruises on my wrists and replaying the events of that night,” said Butler. “Now whenever I see a police officer, I don’t feel safe—I feel scared and anxious.”

“What happened to Jaylan is an example of the harmful police interactions that people of color experience far too often, but which receive much less attention. These officers forcibly arrested and searched Jaylan without reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or any other lawful justification. They never told Jaylan why he was being arrested, even after they realized their mistake. Instead, it’s clear they based their decision to arrest and harm Jaylan on the fact that he was a young Black man,” said Rachel Murphy, staff attorney, ACLU of Illinois in a written statement.

 

 

Michael Bloomberg Allegedly Told New Mom To Find ‘Some Black’ For A Nanny

The female employee had been struggling to secure child care, according to legal documents unearthed by The Washington Post.

Oscar Winning-Director Brings Teen Who Refused to Cut his Locs to the Oscars

The team behind Academy Award-winning film “Hair Love” invited a high school senior from Mont Belvieu, Texas, to the Oscars on Sunday. The teen made headlines last month after he was told that, unless he cut his dreadlocks, he wouldn’t be allowed to walk at his upcoming graduation.

The high school senior, DeAndre Arnold, and his mother were invited to the ceremony by former football player and filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry, actress Gabrielle Union and her husband, retired basketball player Dwyane Wade. After hearing about the situation through the media, Union, Wade, and Cherry reached out and invited Arnold and his mother to attend the Academy Awards via social media.

“We love the way that you carry yourself and we wanted to do something special for you,” Wade tells Arnold in a video clip sent via Twitter. “You and your mother Sandy are the official guests of the Oscar-nominated team behind ‘Hair Love’ at the 2020 Academy Awards.”

“We’ve all been so inspired by your story and this is the very least we can do to thank you for standing up for yourself and for your right to wear your natural hair at school,” Cherry also added.

The animated short film is about a black father who learns to style his daughter’s hair and ended up winning an Oscar for Best Short Film (Animated).

Beauty company Dove ended up sponsoring Arnold’s tickets to the Oscars and also paid for his wardrobe, and hair and makeup for his family. Union and Wade paid for the family’s travel and hotel.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Team #HairLove + Deandre & Sandy Arnold #Oscars

A post shared by matthewacherry (@matthewacherry) on

Arnold has been receiving support from many people including Alicia Keys, who gave him a $20,000 check from Shutterfly when he appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

“Just hearing his story, it really just represented everything we were trying to do with the short film, ‘Hair Love.’ We really wanted to just normalize black hair, normalize us,” Cherry said to CBS This Morning.

He also stated that the CROWN Act, which has passed in California, New York, and New Jersey, should be nationwide. “If this law was in Texas, this situation with DeAndre wouldn’t happen,” he said.

Dwayne Johnson Shares Video Of Touching Eulogy He Delivered At His Father’s Funeral

The actor said his father, a Black man who broke into an overwhelmingly white wrestling industry, “fought for racial equality at a time when it was needed.”