When Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983 opened at London’s Tate Modern, legendary L.A. artist Betye Saar told the New York Times, “I think the [exhibition] definitely tells us something still relevant about race in America today. The thing in our country is that people haven’t accepted that racism affects all lives.”
The exhibit debuted in July 2017, almost a month before white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, to rally in the name of far-right extremism, killing one counterprotester and injuring many more. In an era when it was already necessary to loudly and constantly assert that black lives matter, a show of decades-old art by black artists including Saar, Faith Ringgold, Noah Purifoy, Charles White, William T. Williams, and Alma Thomas went from being timely to essential.
After traveling to both the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Benton, Arkansas, and the Brooklyn Museum in New York City, Soul of a Nation makes its first and only West Coast stop at the Broad from March 23 through September 1. And the Broad announced today that tickets for the exhibit’s entire run ($18 for adults, $12 for students, free for 17 and younger) are being released at noon February 1 at thebroad.org.
The exhibit looks back at how the civil rights and black power movements affected the black artists of the era, and L.A. artists figure prominently in that narrative. Soul of a Nation foregrounds, press materials say, “the significant role of Los Angeles in the art and history of the civil rights movement and the subsequent activist era, and the critical influence and sustained originality of the city’s artists, many of whom have lacked wider recognition.”
One gallery will feature a partial re-creation of Saar’s first survey exhibition, which took place in 1973 at California State University, Los Angeles. Another will examine a groundbreaking 1971 show at LACMA, Three Graphic Artists, a product of the activism of the Black Arts Council featuring work by White, David Hammons, and Timothy Washington. A third gallery will explore the aftermath of the Watts Rebellion and its impact on the assemblage movement.
It’s a big start to 2019 for an institution that had a big 2018. According to the museum’s own numbers, attendance was at a record high last year, with 815,000 total visitors, an 11 percent increase from 2017. The attendees were also younger and more diverse than the average national art museum’s audience: 68 percent of visitors identified as nonwhite, and 65 percent were 35 or younger.
The institution’s keeping Soul of a Nation accessible, too: Admission will be free every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. during the exhibit’s run.
Tate, 37, was a fixture on the cafeteria’s “hot line,” where she worked behind a steaming grill. She knew the names of many workers and their kids, always sharing smiles and small talk.
With a teenager and 8-month-old at home, recent months had been an exhausting blitz for Tate. That morning, she told some of the other kitchen workers she had a headache and felt weak. She figured it was because of a new medication for her back pain.
Shortly after 8 a.m., as Tate and a group of workers came off a break, she felt worse. Tate asked for a piece of bread with honey. A co-worker hustled to get it. She returned to find Tate leaning against a counter, supporting herself with one hand. The left side of Tate’s face drooped; she was slurring her words.
A customer walked up. Both could see what was happening and said the same thing, almost in unison:
“She’s having a stroke.”
At its most basic level, a stroke is an attack on the brain. Typically, it’s the result of a clot becoming lodged in an artery, choking off vital blood flow. Every minute blood flow is interrupted, it can cause irreversible damage to millions of brain cells.
A stroke can rob a victim’s ability to speak or to see and cause brain damage and paralysis. More than 140,000 people die each year in the United States from strokes, making it the fifth leading cause of death. It is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability.
The latest research says sending patients directly to top-level stroke centers — hospitals that can administer clot-busting drugs or go in through arteries to physically remove clots — offers the best chance at survival. The ideal window for care is within the first three hours.
On that morning four years ago, Tate was having a stroke on the grounds of the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, and 350 yards from Froedtert Hospital, the area’s most advanced, experienced stroke care center.
It would be a quick ambulance ride.
If only the ambulance had taken her there.
Little-known practice of diversion
Every day as thousands of ambulances zig-zag through city streets, along congested highways and rural roads across the nation, it’s easy to imagine they’re headed to the nearest hospital or to the emergency room best suited to care for the sick or injured person on board.
Turns out, that’s not always so.
Emergency departments in hospitals nationwide have been quietly deploying a controversial tactic, turning would-be patients away.
Officially, it’s called ambulance diversion.
Hospital officials decide they are too busy and essentially hang a “temporarily closed” sign on the emergency room door, telling ambulances to go elsewhere.
In some cases, the crowding is due to a surge of patients. In others, the problem is a poor system for moving patients through the hospital, creating bottlenecks elsewhere that hamper the ER. In other words, hospitals sometimes create their own problem.
The ambulance carrying Tiffany Tate was sent to a hospital three miles away that offered only limited stroke care.
Law doesn’t apply
Federal law requires hospitals to treat patients who arrive in their emergency room and make sure they are stable before releasing or transferring them. That applies to everyone who walks in the door of any of the nation’s 5,500 hospitals.
But if you’re in an ambulance that’s ordered not to come, the law is irrelevant.
Maria Raven, an emergency room doctor and professor at the University of California at San Francisco who has studied hospital diversion, said Tate should have been taken to Froedtert because it was the top stroke center in the area.
“To my mind, they shouldn’t be a Comprehensive Stroke Center if they can close,” Raven said. “Either you can be one or can’t be. People can’t control when they have their stroke.”
Milwaukee County officially ended diversion in 2016. Yet the practice continues elsewhere in Wisconsin and across the nation.
A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel review of the 25 largest cities found 16 of them — including nine of the 10 largest — allow ambulance diversion of some kind, though rules governing when patients can be diverted vary widely.
They include cities such as New York, Phoenix, Chicago, Los Angeles and Knoxville, Tenn.
No uniform set of rules governs how or when ambulance diversion is used by America’s hospitals.
No single agency tracks the practice, or measures how frequently hospital doors are closed. No one tracks what happens to the patients who have their treatment delayed.
In some places where diversion is allowed, officials require hospitals to accept stroke patients even during periods of diversion.
All the while, study after study has concluded that ambulance diversion poses serious dangers for patients and doesn’t actually solve overcrowding.
The practice emerged in the 1980s, at a time when many hospitals began to find themselves so jammed that patients might lie on beds in emergency room hallways after initial treatment for hours, even days, before they could be discharged or admitted.
The problem was compounded by another common occurrence that had nothing to do with emergency rooms, and which continues today at some hospitals.
Surgeons schedule operations and procedures earlier in the week, allowing for weekday healing time and discharge before the weekend when many hospitals have skeleton crews.
That meant intensive care units were often crowded early and mid-week. Patients treated in the emergency room who needed to be admitted to the ICU would have no place to go.
At the same time, ERs were forced to deal with an influx of psychiatric patients, the result of a federal court-ordered shift from institutional care to community placement.
In the years that followed, emergency rooms became the first-stop for many kinds of care, often minor ailments — fever, dizziness, sprained ankles. Over the past 15 years, emergency room visits have jumped 20 percent, to 137 million last year alone, from 114 million in 2003.
The crowding problems can be especially acute in urban areas, where many hospitals nationwide have closed, putting extra pressure on the ones that remain.
A 2001 report from the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform found diversions were so widespread they represented a threat to emergency medical readiness, including in the event of a terrorist attack.
A 2017 study found that African-American patients had an increased chance of dying from heart attacks and strokes as hospitals in largely minority neighborhoods were going on diversion more often than others.
“Diversion has been aggressively abused,” said Corey Slovis, chair of emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University and the medical director for the Nashville Fire Department.
Hospitals might turn away ambulances if equipment breaks down or if there is an unexpected problem, such as flooding or electricity being out.
Still, the vast majority of diversions, experts say, are because of overcrowding.
Defenders describe diversion policies as “a necessary evil” intended to protect patients from long, dangerous waits at a crowded hospital. The key, they acknowledge, is to get the ambulance patient to another less-crowded hospital that has the same capabilities.
The problem: When one hospital closes its doors, it simply spills more water — and sends extra ambulances — onto the next hospital, which may then have to close its doors. Indeed, sometimes hospitals close simply in anticipation of getting more patients.
“You really don’t want to be brought to a hospital that doesn’t think they can do the job properly,” said Lewis Nelson, a doctor and chair of emergency medicine at Rutgers Medical School in New Jersey.
A tragic sequence of events
It is less than four football fields from the cafeteria where Tate suffered her stroke to the emergency room at Froedtert. A skywalk connects them.
Had Tate been wheeled into the emergency room, doctors would have been required under federal law to care for her, even while ambulances were being turned away. Instead, she was taken to Aurora West Allis Medical Center, about three miles away.
The paramedic commander on the call with Tate said he probably drove right past the entrance to Froedtert’s emergency room, “close enough to spit on the driveway.”
Aurora West Allis could not handle the case. They decided to transfer Tate to Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center. She arrived about three-a-half-hours after she first started showing signs of stroke.
David Tate talks about his sister, Tiffany, who died after suffering a stroke Bill Schulz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Using a catheter, doctors tried to reach the clot lodged in Tate’s neck through an artery in her leg, medical records show. The procedure didn’t work.
By now, Tate’s family had gathered. Their biggest question: Why wasn’t she cared for at Froedtert.
“It didn’t make any sense to me,” her brother, David Tate said in an interview. “Damn, she was at Froedtert. She works there. She was right there.”
Several health experts had the same question.
“To me, if someone is on the grounds of your hospital, they are yours,” said Raven, the San Francisco ER doctor. “It is really sad. There were so many failures.”
Michael Carome, a former top official in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and now medical director of Public Citizen, a public policy group, said the delay in getting Tate to a top-level stroke center diminished her chances of survival.
“I would think there is a very high probability that the (delay) reasonably contributed to her adverse outcome given what we know about the golden window to quickly treat an ischemic stroke,” Carome said.
The experts said it is impossible to know whether Tate would have survived if she had gone straight to Froedtert.
But they were unified in this: She would have had a better chance.
Diversions still a problem
Diversion is still a problem around the country including in Los Angeles County where hospitals can — and do — divert ambulances regularly.
Cathy Chidester, director of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency, said surrounding counties have “banned” diversion but have not changed their operations. That has resulted in chaos, she said, with patients having long waits or swamping Los Angeles County hospitals.
Chidester said hospitals and officials have discussed making improvements, but nothing concrete has happened.
It might be different if there were a case similar to what happened with Tiffany Tate in Milwaukee County, she said.
“Efficiency is talked about all the time here,” Chidester said. “But without something horrifying happening, like what you had up there, it just reverts to the way it was.”
Contributing: Kevin Crowe and Cary Spivak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Follow John Diedrich on Twitter: @john_diedrich
Tell us your story
If you are a patient, paramedic or other health care provider and have a story to share about ambulance diversion, we want to hear from you. To share your story, contact the reporter, or go to bit.ly/AmbulanceDiversion
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Diana (Zosia Mamet) moves back to New York City after a few years abroad and finds the perfect Brooklyn apartment for a fresh start. Yet on the first night in her new home, she discovers that her ex-boyfriend, Ben (Matthew Shear), lives in the apartment below hers. After an awkward reunion, Diana proclaims her intentions for a genuine friendship. But as old wounds are opened, both Diana and Ben are forced to confront the true nature of their feelings. This is most people’s worst nightmare — not only running into an ex after a bad breakup, but being irrevocably trapped in the same building day-in-and-day-out. Unresolved feelings are a lot harder to ignore when you see each other every day. As impractical as the situation is, especially considering Ben’s current girlfriend, their interactions are surprisingly genuine even if the timeline is a bit compressed. With a little distance, it’s easy to see what they used to like about each other but even easier to see why they may not have worked out. Diana is a much better developed character than Ben, which really lets Mamet shine in this awkward romcom that’s more enjoyable than you’d expect. Special features include: behind-the-scenes photo gallery; and theatrical trailer. (MVD Visual) Bright Lights, Big City (Blu-ray)
MVD Rewind Collection
Jamie Conway (http://www.digitaljournal.com/topic/Michael+J+Fox t=_blank]Michael J. Fox) is an aspiring writer who abandons the wheat fields of Kansas for the skyline of Manhattan — and the city’s seductive party subculture. Hitting the clubs night after night, Jamie soon spins out of control, and he risks losing everything and everyone he loves. Fox was the sweet, boy next door for so long, it’s weird to see him doing drugs and picking up women with ‘80s bad boy http://www.digitaljournal.com/topic/Kiefer+Sutherland t=_blank]Kiefer Sutherland. Jamie’s bad habits are attributed to both the women in his life leaving within a year: his ill mother and his model wife. However, when the small-town guy isn’t hitting the clubs, he’s working at the stuffiest magazine possible and barely keeping it together with the help of another mother figure. The bonus features reveal much of the script is based on writer Jay McInerney’s actual experiences in New York, which was the place to be at the time. There’s nothing decisive about the ending, which isn’t exactly satisfactory, but it doesn’t take anything away from the film either. Special features include: commentary by author/screenwriter Jay McInerney; commentary with cinematographer Gordon Willis; “Jay McInerney’s The Light Within”; “’Big City Lights”; photo gallery; and theatrical trailer. (MVD Rewind Collection) Death House (DVD)
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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Forty years after the events of 1978’s Halloween, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) now lives in a heavily guarded home on the edge of Haddonfield, where she’s spent decades preparing for Michael’s potential return. After being locked up in an institution, Myers manages to escape when a bus transfer goes terribly wrong, leading to chaos in the same town he preyed on decades earlier. Laurie now faces a terrifying showdown when the deranged killer returns for her and her family — but this time, she’s ready for him. The first thing viewers will quickly notice is this movie is a sequel to the original film and ignores all the pictures that occurred between then and now. Laurie’s essentially become the Sarah Connor of horror, preparing for an imminent battle and raising her kid in expectation of the same. The film carries forward a lot of similarities with its predecessor, including the off-camera violence, slow but deliberate pursuits, unsettling head tilts and a John Carpenter soundtrack. There are also some great kills that rely on the lead-up even more than the murder to captivate viewers. David Gordon Green directs what is probably the best entry into the franchise since the original film as it builds on and draws from its predecessor to create a chilling, contemporary follow-up that feels like a natural extension that fans could approve continuing. Special features include: deleted and extended scenes; making-of featurette; “The Original Scream Queen”; “The Sound of Fear”; “Journey of the Mask”; and “The Legacy of Halloween.” (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) Howling III (Blu-ray)
Long ago, the now-extinct marsupial wolf, a.k.a. Tasmanian Tiger, roamed the Australian Outback. Today, a werewolf colony descended from these marsupials has taken over the land. This race of human-like creatures roams the outback, feeding its need. The race for survival is on as the humans struggle to contain these out of control creatures. This is one of those strange franchises in which none of the films’ plots have anything to do with the others. Where the second picture unfolded in Russia, this one takes place in Australia. It creates a folklore, a new species of werewolf and a strange government decree that deems all members of the species a threat requiring elimination. The federal scientists are excited by the discovery, capturing the lycanthropes and using hypnosis to learn about their origins. However, this movie feels like it was pieced together from a group of people sitting around a table saying, “What if they…” then piecing their suggestions together in a script. They then skip large chunks of time at the end to get to their desired conclusion, even though it feels illogical and sloppy. Special features include: commentary by writer/director Philippe Mora, moderated by filmmaker Jamie Blanks; “A Conversation with Philippe Mora”; vintage interviews; and theatrical trailer. (Scream Factory) Learning to See: The World of Insects (Blu-ray)
A vibrant journey of discovery for both father and son as director Jake Oelman documents the work of his father, nature photographer Robert Oelman. Struggling with a midlife crisis, Robert leaves his established psychology career in the early 1990s to pursue his real passion of photography. Moving from the U.S. to the rainforests of Colombia, he records and connects with more than 15,000 previously undiscovered species of bugs, magnifying the tiniest of creatures in the most spectacular fashion. Even though there are some cool images of unusual, exotic insects, the documentary’s focus is unquestionably the director’s father. The story of a man who decided to switch careers at 50 from an office-bound psychiatrist to a nature photographer based in Columbia is intriguing… except that it turns out to be rather uneventful. His dodgiest experiences in the country revolved around theft, but it’s otherwise been a pretty positive change. Some of the more interesting aspects record how he goes about documenting the insects, from impossibly spying them in the wild to bringing them to a studio for a controlled shoot. In the end, Robert’s story is overshadowed by the splendour of his own tiny subjects. Special features include: extra scenes; making-of featurette; panoramics; “All of It” music video; and theatrical trailer. (MVD Visual) Obsession (Blu-ray)
A tenth wedding anniversary celebration ends tragically when Michael Courtland (Cliff Robertson) discovers that his wife (Geneviève Bujold) and nine-year-old daughter have been kidnapped. When an attempt to thwart the captors goes awry, Courtland’s wife and daughter are never recovered. Several years later while vacationing in Florence, Courtland falls in love with a young woman who is an exact double of his dead wife. On the eve of their wedding, the woman disappears and Courtland finds a ransom note … a duplicate of the one found several years earlier. It’s not long after Michael meets his wife’s doppelganger that viewers can start to find similarities to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The kidnapping in the opening act is quite intense, though at least one part of the scheme is not difficult to guess. On the other hand, the decision at the crux of the second-half of the narrative doesn’t make much sense at all. Director Brian De Palma works with a lot of parallels in this picture to emphasize the resemblance between Michael’s wife and his new love interest. What seems like a tragedy followed by a second chance is revealed to have an underlying dark side. The bonus features discusses De Palma’s admiration of Hitchcock’s work, as well as the ingenuity of Bujold’s double acting duties. Special features include: commentary by author Douglas Keesey, “Brian De Palma’s Split-Screen: A Life in Film”; “Producing Obsession,” an interview with producer George Litto; “Editing Obsession,” an interview with editor Paul Hirsh; “Obsession Revised”; still gallery; radio spots; theatrical trailer. (Scream Factory) Once Upon a Deadpool (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)
Fox Home Entertainment
Everyone’s favorite disreputable superhero returns with a twist on Deadpool 2 that the whole gang can enjoy. Watch Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) as he teams up with Domino (Zazie Beet), Cable (Josh Brolin) and the rest of X-Force to prove that family is not an F-word. The movie starts with a fantastic throwback to 1987’s The Princess Bride. Now, Deadpool occupies the bedside chair and an adult Fred Savage has been kidnapped to recreate the beloved movie moment. As promised, there are no F-bombs in the movie — though there is a lot of (sometimes unnecessary) bleeping. But that’s not to say all the cursing has been removed as subjectively less egregious language remains. Moreover, the blood quotient is way down as various scenes have been cut (including most of the opening worldly assassin montage) and many others have been shrewdly edited or cleaned up to minimize the splatter. That said, this isn’t just a sanitized version of the rated-R film. There are countless scenes in which the original jokes have been replaced with new ones, and the mid- and post-credits sequences have been updated to align with the new storytelling structure. There are no special features. (Fox Home Entertainment) The Plague of the Zombies (Blu-ray)
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During a 12-hour period when all crime — including murder — is legal, a group of seemingly unrelated characters cross paths in a city in an altered America. While the clock winds down, some will fight, some will hide, others will embrace what it means to Purge to its fullest extent — whether for revenge, personal gain, protection, or unadulterated glee. As each character is forced to reckon with their past and plot how to better their futures, they soon discover how far they will go on Purge Night. This is a compelling franchise that keeps finding effective ways to tell its story. First the subsequent movies, then the prequel and now a TV series that demonstrates an even better understanding of the narrative. Told over 10 episodes, the show follows the experiences of a handful of characters on Purge Night from 90 minutes before Commencement to just after it ends. It’s gratifyingly unpredictable as character arcs take unexpected turns, new threats appear even when everyone is already a threat, and different perspectives of morality and justice are revealed. In some ways, the series shifts focus from the recently dominant theme of lower-income targets, but the politics still play a role. Fans will certainly welcome another season with hopefully a new cast of potential victims. Special features include: deleted scenes; “A Conversation with Cast & Crew”; “Anatomy of Scene”; “Costumes & Props”; and table read. (USA Networks) Zombie [3-disc Limited Edition] (Blu-ray)
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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
This image released by ABC shows Marsai Martin, left, and Tracee Ellis Ross in a scene from “black-ish.” (Ron Tom/ABC via AP)
The breakthrough representation of minorities in Hollywood blockbusters has ignited a frequently overlooked discussion about whether prejudice isn’t just about the color of a person’s skin, but the shade.
“Colorism,” the idea that light-skinned minorities are given more privilege than their darker-skinned peers, is a centuries-old concept that many insiders say remains pervasive in the entertainment industry. The instant reckoning of social media has brought prominence to the issue and on Tuesday the ABC sitcom “black-ish,” known for not shying from heavier topics, confronted it.
In the episode “Black Like Us,” parents Dre and Bow (played by Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross) are appalled when they see that daughter Diane (Marsai Martin) appears darker in her poorly lit classroom photo. Their outrage sparks a tense conversation within the family.
“We felt that this was the year to just put it on our shoulders and see what we can do and hope at the very least we can get people to talk about it openly,” said co-showrunner Kenny Smith.
Executive producer Peter Saji wrote the episode. A light-skinned, mixed-race man, Saji drew from his own experiences as well as research.
“There is a light-skinned privilege that I never really wanted to admit I felt or experienced. I sort of grew up ‘Oh, we’re all black. We all experience the same struggle,'” he said.
More often when movies and television shows ignite conversations about colorism, it’s unintentional.
In 2016, a furor erupted over a trailer showing actress Zoe Saldana portraying singer and activist Nina Simone. Saldana’s skin was darkened and she wore a prosthetic nose.
When images from “Ralph Breaks the Internet” came out last year, it appeared Princess Tiana, Disney’s first black princess, had a lighter complexion and sharper features. Anika Noni Rose, who voices Tiana, met with animators and spoke about how important it was that dark-skinned girls see themselves represented. The studio also consulted the civil rights group Color of Change.
“They had to spend some real money to actually fix this. They recognized the problem, they listened and they worked to change it,” said Color of Change executive director Rashad Robinson.
The issue isn’t unique to black people. In India’s Bollywood film industry, the starring roles tend to go to lighter-skinned actors, many of whom endorse products promoting fairer skin.
The movie “Crazy Rich Asians” left some Asian-Americans disappointed by a lack of brown or dark-skinned actors.
Meanwhile, “Roma” director Alfonso Cuaron received praise for casting Yalitza Aparicio in the lead role of an indigenous maid. The character is more at the forefront than her lighter-skinned Mexican employer.
For African-Americans, bias toward lighter-skinned people dates back to slavery. Skin complexion sometimes determined what type of jobs slaves were assigned or if, post-slavery, they were worthy of receiving an education. In later decades, universities, fraternities and other institutions were known for using the “brown paper bag” test: Those with skin lighter than the bag were in.
“It’s part of white supremacy, or holding up whiteness over other backgrounds,” Robinson said. “It has deep implications, historical implications in the black community from beauty standards to professional opportunities to how families have treated one another.”
The problem also exists within the music industry. Mathew Knowles, who managed daughters Beyonce and Solange and Destiny’s Child, said it’s no accident that most of the recent top-selling black artists are lighter-skinned like Mariah Carey and Rihanna. He said Beyonce often got opportunities that darker-skinned artists probably wouldn’t.
“There’s another 400 that are of a darker complexion … that didn’t get a chance at Top 40 radio,” Knowles said. “They got pigeonholed that they were black and in the ‘black division,’ and they got pigeonholed in just R&B, black radio stations.”
Knowles, himself darker skinned, said his own mother instilled in him that darker skinned women were less desirable. It’s a perception that he thinks is starting to shift.
“We have to have social courage to speak up about this stuff and stop being quiet about it,” Knowles said. “The only way we change is to be uncomfortable and truthful about our feelings and beliefs.”
That is a strategy that “black-ish” co-showrunner Smith also agrees with.
“With anything it’s always best to have a truthful conversation,” Smith said.
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
What are you going to do when they ask for time off to go to protests?
For the past 15 or so years, all of the young hires at your office have had one thing in common: They’re millennials. Members of that generation have flooded Washington in the post-9/11 era, transforming the city’s workplace culture with their demands for high-end perks (cold brew in the office fridge, please) and impatience with traditional office hierarchies.
But this year, that’s finally going to start changing. According to the Pew Research Center, 2019’s graduating class will mark the first wave of a new group entering the workforce. Millennials will soon be in the unfamiliar position of being . . . not quite so young.
As the energetic upstarts—known as Generation Z—invade the halls of area office buildings, these new recruits will likely be disrupting things in ways that are different from previous generations. “The shifts will feel gradual,” says Stef Woods, a lecturer in American University’s American Studies program, “but there will be a need to have creative solutions and increased communication if there’s a desire to retain younger workers.”
That means local employers need to start catering to Gen Z, and soon. But what should they actually do?
Let’s just stipulate here that these kinds of generalizations are of limited use; people are different in all kinds of ways that have nothing to do with the year in which they happen to have been born. That said, Gen Z does seem to have some distinguishing characteristics worth pondering.
Almost half of them are non-white, for one thing, making them the most diverse generation in American history. They came of age during a time of great optimism (the first African-American President) and historic uncertainty (the Great Recession). They aren’t merely digital natives, as millennials are, but also mobile-phone and social-media natives, making them natural—some would say obsessive—communicators.
Gen Z also has grown up during a time of marked financial anxiety, and as a result, security is a major concern. “There’s a real appetite for certainty,” says Rob Cacace, director of career strategy at Georgetown Law Center. “ ‘How do I get to the next thing? I don’t want to do anything wrong—tell me the right way to do it.’ ”
Young people’s communication style is another major change, and consequently the recruiting process is being transformed. There’s more of an emphasis on connecting via text message, social media, and digital tools. “A job description by itself is not going to be sufficient,” says Dan Binstock, a legal recruiter at Garrison & Sisson. “Instead of posting a job, we’re posting a video about the job. It’s multisensory.”
Recruiters also have to be more accessible and personal for a generation accustomed to constant, informal communication. “I’ve seen a lot more recruiters putting their information out there,” says Jozanne Douglas, associate director of employer relations at Howard University’s career center. “In the past, they would say, ‘Send it to the generic e-mail.’ Now it’s like, ‘Here’s my contact information—I’m more than happy to communicate.’ ”
Perhaps the most significant characteristic of the next wave could be their eagerness to work at places that are making some kind of positive impact. No matter how big the paycheck or generous the benefits, jobs increasingly need to offer real opportunities to effect social change. “For Gen Z, there’s going to be an element of ‘we want to do good, and we also want to do well,’ ” says Woods. “They’re seeking security professionally and financially, but they want to make sure the company cares about social justice.”
That means businesses need to emphasize their good works but at the same time be accommodating of young employees’ extracurricular activities. “Is there going to be the understanding that workers can make up time if they’re at a march?” says Woods.
Will that change-the-world attitude be good for DC, which during the Obama years was a major destination for idealistic young people? The answer could depend on what happens in the 2020 election. But Washington also offers lots of non-government gigs that fit the bill, whether in our expanding technology industry or growing local sectors such as health care and biotech.
Of course, luring new grads is just the first step. “It will continue to be relatively easy to recruit people right out of college to work in DC,” says Dawn Leijon, lead author of the AU Kogod School of Business’s Greater Washington Millennial Index. “But it will be an ongoing challenge to keep them happy staying here.”
This article appears in the January 2019 issue of Washingtonian.
Rosa joined Washingtonian as an editorial fellow in fall 2016. She likes to write about race, culture, music, and politics. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in International Relations and French with a minor in Journalism. When she can, she performs with her family’s Puerto Rican folkloric music ensemble based in Jersey City. She lives in Adams Morgan.
Faith is what sustained our ancestors’ belief in freedom and justice. Faith is the marrow of the African soul. It is what keeps us rooted when, all around us, “things,” as writer Chinua Achebe says, “fall apart.”
Remember our girls
I have been thinking a lot recently about restorative justice practices and violence – physical, psychological and emotional violence and the harm to persons, immediate and long term, as well as the harm to their associate families and communities. Not much attention is paid to the survivors of violence unless the violence is by the state, yet every day people are making choices which harm innocent people.
Why is the activist community silent when it comes to advocacy for these silenced survivors? Where is the outcry when someone is harmed by an attacker that looks like the attacked? Where are the annual vigils, cumulative lists for these persons? If prison is obsolete, then what replaces the jail or prison when harm is done and community is silent – the victims and their families allowed to suffer in silence?
Immediately when a situation occurs where someone is harmed, all the resources and sympathy often go to the person who harmed another, not to the person harmed. There are fundraising campaigns and protest rallies. People show up at the courthouse too.
The decision to commit the violent act, the conscious choice is taken out of the hands of the person who did the act. He or she is an unwilling marionette manipulated by social forces beyond his or her control. My argument here is everyone has a choice and the person who does harm should be held accountable. What that looks like is up for debate.
We are all affected by the value given to Black life. We know that in this society, Black life is not valued the same as others. Look at the adoption rolls and foster care homes to see how much our babies are worth. Nonetheless, we can and should begin to consciously change the narrative that lets everyone – state and citizen – get away with mistreating Black people, especially Black girls and Black women.
The injury suffered by this population is underreported and under scrutinized. If it were not, more adults would participate and, where absent, create systems that keep our girls and women safe. It is not enough to talk a good talk. Black women and girls are not safe in their homes, schools or neighborhoods. And this is not a Black American phenomenon – Black girls and Black women are abused internationally. Headmasters in rural schools are raping little girls. Uncles and Mamas’ boyfriends are raping little girls here and there.
Considering how hypersexualized our society has become, I don’t know how parents can keep their girls safe. Perhaps girls should always travel in twos and never be alone in a room with a man or boy, no matter the relationship. Even in medical settings, mothers and guardians cannot trust their girls to technicians or physicians – do not leave your girl child with a man or woman (for that matter) while getting x-rays or other tests. Girls have been molested by technicians, men in white coats.
Yes, it is that serious. There are too many examples and with so many examples and so many girls and women being abused and staying silent and self-medicating, acting out, threatening and committing suicide, we should be alarmed. This is why Ms. Tarana Burke started the #MeToo Movement in 1998, this is why Ms. Anita Hill, JD (in 1991) did not let now Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas get away with anything. However, remember how Dr. Hill was greeted by the state. Bill Cosby might be in prison, but Harvey Weinstein is not and indicted Catholic priests are still presiding over congregations. So what else is new? Different ethical standards preside.
Until Black women and girls are seen as a priority in our community, the way we are viewed and treated as a people will not change. I believe the Hon. Elijah Muhammad spoke about this; however, it is more than patriarchy and paternalism, power and privilege. Black women and girls are valued and should be protected because Black women and girls are equal to men and boys – who should also be protected and kept safe. One sex is not more valuable than another; one sex is not more powerful than another; one sex is not endowed with certain rights over the other.
We were both created whole.
It would be good if strategies are devised in community by representative of those most affected – women and girls. It is their call. Through such team building others can then support their work with education and leadership trainings, workshops, forums – effectiveness monitored across all levels of interaction.
Ms. Tarana Burke says in her TED Women Talk, “Trauma stops possibility, that healing is not rooted in ‘performative pain.’” She says she encourages survivors to “lean into joy. Movement activates possibility.”
But back to the role of socially conscious leadership – folks with an audience and a constituency, speak up and recognize that bad things happen to innocent people and our concern should be for the innocent one first as we look to help the community recover from harm. This includes the one who made this choice to hurt another person with his or her hands or words. Prisons and jails are full of broken people, people who have harmed another person almost by reflex. What can we do out here to interrupt that critical, sometimes irreversible choice while keeping the more vulnerable in our community safe?
29th Annual Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry
Calling all African Diaspora poets to contribute and participate in the annual celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry at West Oakland Library, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, 1-4 p.m., in the West Auditorium, 1801 Adeline St., 510-238-7352. If anyone would like to be a part of the featured program, please send the poem(s) you would like considered and/or bring the work to the rehearsal Jan. 19, 10-12 a.m. at the WOBL. The theme this year is Black Migrations; however, all themes are welcome. Send work to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to the WOBL.
Community Panel on Voter Rights
A special conversation on “How to Restore Our Rights” is Thursday, Jan. 17, 7-9 p.m., in Booth Auditorium, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, 2778 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. Featured panelists are Desmond Meade, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition; Taina Vargas-Edmond, Initiate Justice; Norris Henderson, Voice of the Experienced, New Orleans; and Dauras Cyprian, All of Us or None. For more info, contact AOUON Senior Organizer Dauras Cyprian at email@example.com or 415-625-7051.
Forty-six thousand people are on parole in California – and can’t vote! There are millions throughout the United States who are similarly disenfranchised. Join us in the East Bay Area for a discussion and strategy session – building on recent victories in Florida and Louisiana – on felony disenfranchisement, jury service, running for political office and other rights we need restored in California.
Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert
In the Name of Love: The 17th Annual Musical Tribute honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. presents “Rhythm and Blues and the Civil Rights Movement” Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, 7 p.m., at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center. Tickets range from $25-$60 for advance purchases – $30-$65 at the door. Discounted tickets for children 12 & under. All seating is assigned. Doors open at 6 p.m. Limited wheelchair accessible seating on ground floor is available online or by calling 510-858-5313. Visit https://www.livingjazz.org/mlk-tix.
The tribute features vocalists Jeanie Tracy, Kev Choice, Ms. Faye Carol, Terrie Odabi and Alvon Johnson with Kev Choice, piano; Scott Thompson, bass; Daria Johnson, drums; and Alvon Johnson, guitar. The mistress of ceremonies is Konda Mason, co-founder and founding CEO of Impact Hub Oakland. The Oakland Citizen Humanitarian Award awardee this year is Tomika Perkins, Operation Dignity. All proceeds benefit the Living Jazz Children’s Project.
On the fly
Pickin on Hate benefit for Trans Lifeline at Ashkanez Music and Dance Center, 1317 San Pablo Ave., in Berkeley. Visit http://www.ashkenaz.com/. Trans Lifeline is a grassroots hotline and microgrants organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis – for the trans community, by the trans community. Also at Ashkanez: Dwight “Black Cat” Carrier and the Zydeco Ro Doggs plus Dance Lesson with Ted Sherrod, Tues., Jan. 8, 8-11 p.m.; Adama Bilorou Dembele, Friday, Jan. 11, 9-11:59 p.m., Fresh Festival. Oakland Symphony presents “To Belong Here: Notes from the African Diaspora,” Friday, Jan. 25, 8 p.m., at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland.
Auction of African-American artifacts
“The John Silverstein Collection of African American Social History,” according to Dr. Cheryl Finley, Cornell University, “is the most comprehensive and voluminous collection of photographs and related materials of its kind ever to be offered for sale at public auction in North America. Amassed over a 10-year period, beginning in 2008, the year that the charismatic Illinois senator, Barack Obama, was elected the first African American president of the United States, the Silverstein Collection is distinguished by its historical breadth – spanning the 19th century daguerreotype to the early 21st century digital print – and its attention to the trials and triumphs of Black life in America, through the lens of social and political activism, especially of the 1960s and 1970s.
A life-long collector and self-styled hunter-gatherer, Toronto-based John Silverstein paired his deep interest in history with his passion for social justice as he painstakingly assembled this collection over the internet, through auction and private sale, using extensive research and meticulous documentation. The result is a treasure trove ripe with rare and iconic photographs, albums, posters, books and documents that tell the story of why African American social and cultural history is so vital, especially today.”
The 23rd Art of Living Black at the Richmond Art Center Jan. 15-March 8
Co-founded by the late Jan Hart-Schuyers and the late Rae Louise Hayward, The Art of Living Black is a non-juried group exhibition featuring work by artists of African descent. The exhibition is held at the Richmond Art Center, 2540 Barrett Ave., Richmond, 510-620-6772, and is accompanied by a self-guided open studios tour and satellite exhibitions. The 23rd Annual Art of Living Black is organized by TAOLB Steering Committee in partnership with the Richmond Art Center.
August Wilson’s Last Play Creates a Multi-City collaboration with Marin Theatre Company, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Ubuntu Theatre Company
From the late August Wilson, one of America’s greatest playwrights and creator of award-winning titles like “Fences” and “Jitney,” comes this autobiographical tour de force. In his one-man show, Wilson takes us on a journey through his days as a young poet: his first few jobs, a stint in jail, the support of his lifelong friends, and his encounters with racism, music and love as a struggling writer in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Originally performed by Wilson himself, “How I Learned What I Learned” is a heartfelt theatrical memoir – charting one man’s journey of self-discovery through adversity, and what it means to be a Black artist in America.
Marin Theatre Company: Jan. 10-Feb. 3; 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, CA 94941, 415-388-5208
Lorraine Hansberry Theatre: Feb. 14 – Feb. 24; 762 Fulton St., San Francisco, CA 94102, 415-474-8800
San Francisco’s 10th annual festival of experimental dance, music and performance is Friday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 11, at 8 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m.; and Friday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. at Joe Goode Annex, 401 Alabama St., No. 150, San Francisco, CA 94110. PERFORMANCE tickets are available at http://joegoode.org/box-office/ or 415-561-6565. Learn more at www.freshfestival.org.
Celebration of Life for Raphael ‘Ray’ Taliaferro at the Commonwealth Club Jan. 12
The Commonwealth Club will host a celebration of the life of former San Francisco Arts Commission President and KGO Radio talk show host Ray Taliaferro, a long-time member of the Club’s Board and Advisory Board. It will be held on Jan. 12 at 11 a.m., at the Club’s headquarters at 110 The Embarcadero in San Francisco. The memorial is open to the public and does not require reservations.
Dr. Gloria Duffy, president and CEO of the Club, noted, “We look forward to a joyful celebration for the late radio host, Club Board member and community leader.”
The emcee will be former KGO radio news anchor Rosie Allen. Speakers will be friends and colleagues who knew the legendary broadcaster in his numerous capacities and from organizations with which he was affiliated during his 60-year career. Those invited or confirmed to speak include fellow KGO talk show host Ronn Owens, former Mayor Willie Brown, former Mayor Frank Jordan, former Supervisor Angela Alioto, former KPIX TV news anchor Barbara Rodgers and former KGO General Manager Mickey Luckoff. Taliaferro’s sons will also speak about their highly accomplished father.
Taliaferro’s nephew, Rev. Fred Settle, will offer the benediction, and a reception will be held upon the conclusion of the speakers’ remarks. The event is free and open to the public. The family is requesting donations in Ray’s memory to the Dementia Society of America: https://www.dementiasociety.org.
In addition to his decades as a talk show host, Taliaferro had a long and prominent role in community leadership and the civil rights movement. He was chair of the San Francisco Arts Commission for 16 years, president of the San Francisco NAACP, president of the Northern California Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, trustee of the San Francisco War Memorial, master of ceremonies of the Monterey Blues Festival and a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists.
Taliaferro was the first Black talk show host on a major American radio station. He was hired by KGO Radio in 1977, where he worked in several posts, both as an anchor and talk show host. He became famous for “The Early Show,” which was launched in 1986 and continued until 2011. Prior to KGO Radio, Taliaferro was a news anchor at San Francisco’s KRON TV and hosted a television show in Los Angeles at KHJ TV, now known as KCAL. His first position was at San Francisco’s KNEW Radio.
Taliaferro received numerous accolades throughout his life. He was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2011 and the association’s Ray Taliaferro NABJ Entrepreneurial Spirit Award recognizing journalistic entrepreneurship is named in his honor. In 1994 the San Francisco Black Chamber of Commerce presented him with the Black Chamber Life Award. He received the 2007 Keeping the Blues Alive award from the Monterey Blues Festival for his work supporting the festival over the years.
Taliaferro also became renowned for his public service and his support for a host of causes and nonprofits. From 1992 to 2000 he served as a Trustee of the City’s War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, appointed by Mayor Frank Jordan. He served as president of the San Francisco Arts Commission for 16 years. He was the board president of the Northern California Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America from 1995 until 2000, co-hosting the annual Cure-A-Thon fundraiser for the Society on KGO. He served as the president of the San Francisco chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) between 1968 and 1971, and was an early member of the National Association of Black Journalists.
Taliaferro was an accomplished musician and pianist, and an early San Francisco civil rights leader. While still in his teens, he was appointed music minister at San Francisco’s Third Baptist Church. He played the songs requested by Dr. Martin Luther King when King preached at Third Baptist, and Taliaferro led a mass choir performance for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at the Cow Palace Arena. He conducted the First Baptist Choir in a performance of Handel’s Messiah, with the San Francisco Symphony. As public relations chair for the San Francisco NAACP, Taliaferro was a leader of the successful effort to integrate jobs on Van Ness Avenue’s Auto Row.
Taliaferro was reported missing by his wife on Nov. 10, 2018, during a visit to Southern Illinois. He was found dead on Dec. 2, a mile from where he was last seen, at 5 p.m. on Nov. 10, when he stopped in to visit the West End Baptist Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, and then disappeared.
As 2018 concludes, Oakland remains in a state of crisis around housing for its residents. There are too many people unhoused and underhoused in the Bay Area despite the promising skyline dotted with luxury apartments or condominiums and houses. Long time residents are being pushed out by city officials who are intent on clearing public spaces of people.
The forced removal of citizens occupying vacant lots doesn’t make sense when said land is not slated for development. When Councilmember Desley Brooks mentioned to her constituents over three years ago next month to allow sanctioned encampments on city owned land, she was not supported.
The sanctioned encampment experiment on Peralta and 35th Street was a success; 50 or so people were moved into transitional housing, perhaps permanent now, but the increasing development in that area and the growing population of underhoused persons is bigger now than before.
The housing crisis, which is larger than the Bay Area and the state, remains unaddressed in any real sustainable way, especially when local, state and federal agencies are not acting as a team with those affected at the same dinner table.
Oakland has a Tuff Shed solution – sounds like “tough love” – as well as more beds in its Winter Shelters, but what about people with pets. I meet many people who own pets who are working animals – dogs provide a level of protection for women alone and for men too. The pet also serves as a companion. The solution is not sheds or tents; it is permanent housing.
I met one man at the press conference who lost his job at AAA when it moved to Oklahoma 10 years ago. He did not want to relocate. I didn’t know that the California Automobile Association has been out of state for a decade. He applied for jobs and then after nothing came through, he lost his housing and has been on the street since.
The last time the Auset Movement was at the Wood Street Encampment was on Father’s Day. That day not that many people joined us for a meal. We like to stay in closer touch. This particular strip of land near 26th Street has been in the news recently. Purchased by a family to open a brewery quite a while back, it is just a matter of time before the folks living there will be forcibly removed, as folks have been told to leave. First, 48-72 hour signs go up and then the police come.
The Bay Area Landless People’s Alliance’s third goal includes an “end to evictions of informal settlements of poor people.” Other goals are:
All criminalization of homelessness must end.
To live in dignity, landless people in “safe havens” will be allowed to self-govern.
All confiscation of landless people’s property will end, all property must be returned and the people need to be compensated.
Resolve that all landless people have the human right to assert self-defense against prosecution for activities necessary for survival.
All new housing shall prioritize housing for homeless and poor people.
Gaza is also in Oakland. Border walls and policing checkpoints. Instead of bulldozers, there are police who confiscate people’s belongings, smash their homes and scatter their lives into the street. Crushed underfoot. If people do not accept shelter referrals, they cannot return.
This happened recently to a clean and sober village in East Oakland, home to women and children. Housing and Dignity Village was a service hub at South Elmhurst Avenue and Edes Avenue. “Over 20 Oakland police officers led residents away in handcuffs, as Public Works employees worked overtime to destroy everything on site.”
West Oakland site on Wood Street
The Auset Movement wanted to pop through Wood Street before Martin King Day in January to greet our friends and let them know that we have not forgotten them.
There are lots of luxury homes going up within view of the encampment, plus the old 16th Street Train Station is used for programs, along with a playing field. The city has paved the street and it will not be long before development marches up to the doors of folks living in cars, trucks, campers and tents.
Bay Area Landless People’s Alliance and allies
I went to a press conference last week at the Alameda County Administrative Building, Oakland and 12th, for a meeting of a Bay Area-wide coalition: Bay Area Landless People’s Alliance. Just a week earlier, Free Brown’s Hope Task Force hosted a Multi-service Day, Dec. 15, for our under-housed and houseless community members at the West Oakland Youth Center.
Saturday, Dec. 22, Phyllis Magee, founder and CEO of Luxe Laundromat, hosted “A Wash Houze Christmas.” It was a fun day filled with music and door prizes at Poppy’s Bubble Wash in East Oakland, 7851 MacArthur Blvd. To support, visit https://www.facebook.com/Luxelaundromat/.
A week before that, Candice Elder’s East Oakland Collective hosted Feed Da Hood where hundreds of volunteers passed out thousands of lunches and socks and toiletry bags across multiple counties, Alameda and Contra Costa.
There are folks like those already mentioned along with The Auset Movement putting band-aids on this larger-than-any-one-municipality-can-address issue – housing, employment, mental health services, trauma informed care, education, family reunification, addiction, violence, in its many iterations.
Broadcast interviews with supporters
Listen to these two radio shows with allies who are standing with the under- and un-housed people who are demanding their human right to shelter, food, employment, education, safety.
2) Wanda’s Picks Radio Show, Wednesday, Dec. 19, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wandas-picks/2018/12/19/wandas-picks-radio-show: Phyllis Magee, founder & CEO, Luxe Laundromat: A Wash Houze Christmas. Dec. 22, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Poppy’s Bubble Wash, 7851 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. Visit https://www.facebook.com/Luxelaundromat. To learn more about The Bay Area Landless People’s Alliance, contact Anita De Asis, Housing and Dignity Village organizer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-355-7010; Dayton Andrews, United Front Against Displacement organizer, email@example.com or 626-826-9426; and Yesica Prado, Berkeley Friends on Wheels organizer and UC Berkeley alum, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-751-9522.
With almost all eyes of the nation focused on the final four football playoffs between the Patriots-Chiefs and Rams-Saints, in the run-up to Super Bowl 53, President Trump’s Twitter posts will probably echo the enthusiasm he has for the game and the admiration he has for the players. What you might also hear from him is the shocking story of how the NFL is treating retired players suffering from degenerative brain diseases from their playing days in the league. This is the biggest scandal surrounding the NFL in the wake of the biggest profits in their history. This is a scandal worthy of a presidential tweet.
In January 2017, the NFL agreed to an uncapped settlement to compensate retired players for their traumatic brain injuries from repetitive hits to the head incurred while playing in the NFL. The NFL Concussion Class Action Lawsuit was finally settled and went into effect. The NFL’s liability is estimated to be between $1.5 and $2 billion.
Although the NFL did not admit guilt it is widely known they used tobacco industry tactics to deny links between football and degenerative brain disease, going so far as stacking medical panels with NFL friendly members and publishing, now debunked, scientific papers, to mislead players and the public. Just the same, once this case was settled class members held out hope that the league would keep its word and follow through on its promises. It was not to be.
As of Sept. 10, the total eligible class members was 12,816. Of the 1999 claims that have been submitted, after a year and a half, only 394 have been paid. That’s less than 20 percent. The retired players are predominately African-American. Their injuries caused illnesses such as Dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS and death.
A particularly staggering statistic is how the dementia claims, the bulk of submitted claims, are being handled. To date; 1286 dementia claims have been filed and only 86 have been paid. 6.7 percent. Yes that’s right, 93.3 percent of dementia claims remain unpaid.
Today, with less than 20 percent of injured players having been paid, the NFL stalls hoping injured players will die and they will have to pay their survivors nothing.
Players who do file claims certified by a neurologist see their claims sent to a “audit ” process meant to run out the clock. By failing to process and pay these legitimate claims the NFL is essentially accusing the sick and dying players of fraud and stalling for time.
One example of this is 63 year old Cornell Webster. He played four years as a defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks. He now has Alzheimer’s disease and filed a claim in the NFL Concussion Settlement. His claim was filed June 29, 2017. That November, he was informed his claim was put into audit. Months passed as the audit was allegedly processed.
In March 2018, he received notification his claim had been cleared from audit with no adverse finding, and would now be processed on its merits. More months passed by, and on August 10, 2018 Cornell’s family received a notice of monetary award. It was great news. However, under the settlement, the NFL has 30 days to appeal a monetary award determination.
On Aug. 29, the Webster family was shocked to learn Cornell’s claim had been placed back in audit. This, after more than a year of scrutiny, is unconscionable. And the news could not have come at a worse time. Cornell wandered off from his home, and a silver alert had to be issued to locate him. He was found but unfortunately had fallen, suffered a head injury and was hospitalized. Cornell has been in a hospital since Sept. 5. He is restrained at all times because he wanders off and allegedly yells out like he is still playing football. She is worried about bills piling up. He has an approved monetary award but the NFL put his claim back in audit for the second time. This prolongs claim process indefinitely while the audit is being conducted — with no time limits. Doctors are considering sending him to hospice.
Sadly, the handling of Cornell’s claim is the NFL Concussion Settlement seems less the exception and more the rule.
Reports of endless delay and deny tactics through audits, appeals, and request for more paper work are the typical treatment by most players who have submitted claims is the case. So much so that a phrase has been coined by those seeking benefits to describe the NFL’s behavior. “Delay. Deny. Wait until they die.” One has to wonder if Cornell’s accident could have been avoided had he received his benefits timely and been able to obtain the care he needed and deserved.
The NFL is infamous for setting up benefit programs for injured players, then systematically denying those benefits when they are sought. When that happens we pick up the NFL’s tab.
The Washington Post reported in 2013, “The cost will fall on taxpayers, according to a 2008 congressional research report on NFL disability. There are approximately 18,000 NFL alumni, and when they can’t pay for their health care it has an impact on “society as a whole,” the report said.”
What drives the NFL to behave like this? Is it greed or something even more sinister?
The racial demographics of these retired players are no secret; they are approximately 80 percent African-American. The NFL has a history of treating these human beings as livestock. Tex Schramm, a former owner of the Dallas Cowboys, reportedly described the situation as such: “The players are like cattle, and the owners are ranchers and the owners can always get more cattle.”
There’s evidence this attitude is pervasive. Current Cowboys owner Jerry Jones described fallout from NFL head injuries as “a pimple on a baby’s ass.”
Who is looking out for the football players?
A 2016 New York Times report describes how conflicted the NFL is, even within their own committees staff. “In fact, most of the dozen committee members were associated with N.F.L. teams, as a physician, neurosurgeon or athletic trainer, which meant they made decisions about player care and then studied whether those decisions were proper.” Another 2016 New York Times report said, “It is the latest in a long history of instances in which the N.F.L. has been found to mismanage concussion research, dating to the league’s first exploration of the crisis when it used deeply flawed data to produce a series of studies.”
But one might ask, how could this happen in our American Justice System?
Some have wondered if the chief architect of the NFL contusion settlement, attorney Chris Seeger, who represented the football players, isn’t too cozy with the NFL to the point that he is compromised. After all, the case was settled even before the discovery phase, with Seeger’s law firm pocketing over $52 million dollars. He also petitioned the court to cap individual plaintiffs attorneys’ fees, discouraging attorneys from taking players cases. And it worked. Due to fees being slashed by more than 40 percent in some cases, many firms stopped taking the cases. It appears the fix is in.
Court documents have shed some light on the extent to which Seeger profited from his clients while working as the lead co-council defending the football players in their class-action court case against the NFL.
In an even more brazen breech of his duty to the players, Seeger allegedly steered many disabled NFL players to get loans from a financing firm without disclosing that he was a board member of the bank.
Seeger was successful in persuading Judge Anita Brody of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that “predatory” investors were “taking advantage of players” by offering them pre-settlement loans in advance of their possible payouts, with interest rates approaching 40 percent, and he requested that the courts prevent a list of 15 companies from doing any business with the ex-NFL players.
Two of those settlement companies sent a memo to the judge arguing that Seeger was their competitor and did not disclose his conflict of interest in the case. They pointed out he sits on the board of directors of Esquire Financial Holdings, a bank that provides high-interest cash advance loans to players who are waiting for a possible settlement from the NFL. Seeger helped Esquire develop its concussion settlement funding program and also recommended the bank to attorneys for former NFL players.
The federal judge overseeing the case seems to be out to lunch. She is effectively semi-retired but is still riding the bench — with a lifetime appointment — at the ripe old age of 83.
In audio recordings of proceedings two years into the case, she can be heard asking the football players attorney, Chris Seeger, “What is TBI?”
The answer: Only what the entire case is about: traumatic brain injury.
We cannot stand idly by and allow this to continue while a multi-billion dollar taxpayer subsidized enterprise — the NFL — exploits these men and their families, waiting for them to die.
Roger Stone is a legendary Republican political consultant and a veteran of many national Republican presidential campaigns. He’s also the men’s fashion correspondent for The Daily Caller and editor of Stonezone.com. A. Howard Brown is a writer and Black Lives Matter activist who was born in Kingston, Jamaica. He resides in Philadelphia and works in the health-care industry.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.
Cast: Benedict Wong (“Doctor Strange” “The Martian”), Benjamin Wadsworth (“Dad vs. Lad,” “Teen Wolf”), Lana Condor (“X-Men Apocalypse”), Maria Gabriela de Faria (“Crossing Point”), Luke Tennie (“Shock and Awe”), Liam James (“The Killing”), Jack Gillett (“Legends of Tomorrow”)
Airs: The first season premieres on Syfy on Wednesday, Jan. 16
The premise: “Deadly Class,” set in San Francisco in the 1980s, follows the life of Marcus (Benjamin Wadsworth), a homeless teen recruited into King’s Dominion, a private school for the children of mob bosses and criminal degenerates. The school has strict rules and a ruthless curriculum, which Marcus has trouble navigating.
The show is based on the comic book series of the same name by Rick Remender and Wes Craig. Among the executive producers are Joe and Anthony Russo, better known as the Russo brothers. The duo directed the last two Captain America films, “Avengers: Infinity War” and the upcoming “Avengers: Endgame.”
Highs: King’s Dominion is like Hogwarts, but for assassins instead of wizards. New students are given a backpack and school supplies, including the film “Faces of Death.” Students also take classes. But instead of Transfiguration and flying lessons, they take Poison Lab and AP Black Arts.
King’s Dominion even has its own version of Dumbledore. His name is Master Lin (Benedict Wong). Much like good old Albus, Master Lin is incredibly wise. Unlike his wizard counterpart, however, Lin encourages his students to uphold a ruthless moral code. He also won’t hesitate to endanger his students’ lives to get his lessons across.
What the heck kind of school is this? An absolutely dangerous one that your children should never attend. But as television series go, it’s also the most unusual take on the coming-of-age genre that I’ve seen in a while. At first glance, this series might appear to be another “Riverdale” or “13 Reasons Why.” It’s not even close. “Deadly Class” would beat those series up and take their lunch money. This is a violent, gritty look at the lives of teenagers who’ve suffered pain and loss. It doesn’t mess around, which makes the series feel incredibly honest, even though it’s tone is highly assertive.
“Deadly Class” has a unique approach, a bit of danger mixed with relatability, and what makes it work so well is its fantastic roster of characters. Maria (Maria Gabriela de Faria) is a street-smart young woman who thinks she has everything under control but doesn’t. Saya (Lana Condor), the deadly daughter of a Yakuza member, is more than what she seems. And Willie (Luke Tennie) is the biggest, baddest guy at King’s Dominion, or so it would seem. I’m most drawn to Master Lin, who is as mysterious as he is powerful.
The story of “Deadly Class” is firmly centered on Marcus, and deservedly so. This street orphan has had a life so rough, he makes Oliver Twist look like Richie Rich. Full of anger, heartache and disappointment, Marcus feels powerless to change anything. King’s Dominion gives him a chance to turn his life around, but at a cost he might not be willing to pay.
Lows: The audience for “Deadly Class” is going to be pretty niche. There’s plenty of cursing, adult situations and violence. Throw in a number of ‘80s references, a heavy reliance on alternative music and a harsher look at teen themes than many are used to, and you have a program that might appeal only to a certain type of viewer. This series happens to fall right into my wheelhouse, however. So though the show’s tone can fluctuate from light to dark without warning, it never hampered my enjoyment.
Grade: (B+): While watching the first four episodes, I kept getting an ‘80s movie vibe. Films such as “Breakfast Club” and “Heathers” kept popping into my mind. Like those movies, “Deadly Class” takes a beloved genre and offers a new take. With touches of humor, layered characters and creativity to spare, this is a series that resonates.
Gazette TV critic Terry Terrones is a member of the Television Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @terryterrones.
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment
Megan Rochon, an actress and producer is all too familiar with one of Baltimore’s essential rules; if you didn’t graduate from high school here there are certain customary “restrictions” placed on claims of Baltimore citizenship. Although she didn’t graduate from a Baltimore high school, she is fully invested in the city.
“I’m born in Baltimore, my family is from West Baltimore, I live in Baltimore,” said Rochon who is also a graduate of Morgan State University. Baltimore is also the backdrop for Rochon’s new play “The Show,” which opens at the Motorhouse next month (Feb. 10).
“It’s a feel good musical…centered around a festival, The Show (modeled along the lines of AFRAM) that occurs once a year…Where Black artists have been coming since the 1960’s,” said Rochon. “It’s about a girl who is having relationship issues and decides to go to The Show to cheer herself up and release stress.” Rochon plays the lead role of Lekeisha Jones, whose character is comforted by her mother and grandmother in her time of distress in the wake of a broken relationship, before she makes her way to The Show. “She goes and while she’s there she runs into her boyfriend,” added Rochon who wrote, directed and is executive producer of The Show. In addition to being entertaining, the multi-talented performer hopes her new play and her professional example will inspire others in Baltimore who are pursuing a career in the dramatic arts.
“I wanted to showcase the talent here,” Rochon said. “People have such a negative and distasteful look on the city. But, there’s so much talent in the city…fashion, hip hop and theatre.”
Ultimately, Rochon is determined to be an integral part of Baltimore’s burgeoning cultural scene and to make it more viable for herself and others. “I’m a star; I’m an actress. I don’t want to just do community theatre and small TV stuff, I want to eat as an actress…I want to be able to eat and take care of my family with the acting,” Rochon said.
“I’m at a place where I don’t feel like I have to leave Baltimore. All you need is the right people to see the potential that is here,” she added. “I want to be a part of the renaissance period of Baltimore.”
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment