San Bernardino Shootings
The San Bernadino terrorist attack took many in Southern California as well as the nation by surprise on Dec. 2. It has been reported that three gunmen possibly wearing military-style gear opened fired at a Southern California social services center. Fourteen people were confirmed killed and 17 or more wounded in the mass shooting. Law enforcement believes the two alleged shooters to be a county employee and a woman with whom he was in a relationship. A law enforcement official identified Syed Farook as one of the suspects. The woman killed in the gun battle was identified by police Wednesday night as 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik. Media outlets have also reported witnesses stating that three white men dressed in military gear left the scene in an SUV. Arrests have been made that are allegedly related to the attack and President Obama has met with the families of the slain victims
Cosby, 78, was accused by about 50 women of sexual misconduct, including allegations by many that he drugged and raped them in incidents dating back more than four decades, two of them being notable celebs, models Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson. Cosby has never been criminally charged, and most of the accusations are barred by statutes of limitations. Cosby admitted in 2005 that he got quaaludes with the intent of giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with, and that he gave the sedative to at least one woman and “other people,” according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. Recently, Cosby launched a countersuit against several women accusing him of defamation, including Johnson. His lawsuit accuses Johnson of lying about an incident in which she says Cosby drugged her with a cappuccino in his New York home before letting her go after she angrily rebuked his advances.
Taste of Soul
Sentinel File Photo
What started in 2005 was a vision of a community united in love, peace and brotherhood—it was Taste of Soul. This year will marked the 10th anniversary of Taste of Soul upholding that vision and establishing itself as the largest family festival in Los Angeles. The festival was attended by over 350,000 SoCal residents who came out to have a great time with friends, neighbors and family. This was, by far, the most successful Brenda Marsh Mitchell Gospel Stage in its 10 year history. At least 400 hundred people kept the area directly in front of the stage filled all day. This year saw the addition of the Taste of Beauty Pavilion with an all-star cast of celebrity hairstylists and educators. The KJLH, 94.7 The WAVE and Starquest Stage wow with world-class and new talent. Taste of Soul continues to celebrate food, family and fun along the historic Crenshaw Blvd.
On June 17, nine people were killed in Charleston’s historically Black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Emmanuel A.M.E.) by 21 year-old Dylann Roof, who prayed with worshipers for an hour before killing them. President Barack Obama held a press conference to address the shooting and give his condolences to the victims. The church massacre caused racial tension in the city to resurface; and Roof’s murders were charged as a hate crime. The shooting would segue into a debate over the Confederate flag and its institutionalized glory of racist roots. Eventually, the South Carolina Senate voted to remove the Confederate flag from display outside the South Carolina State House.
Eleven members of the Sistahs On The Reading Edge book club were booted off the train in an incident they feel was racially motivated. The group was thrown off a Napa Valley Wine Train for allegedly laughing too loudly. The book club included four non-drinkers and a senior, who recently had knee surgery and was walking with the assistance of a cane. The group received a corporate apology but still filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against Napa Valley Wine Train Inc., stating it was humiliating to be thrown off a rail car when loud and inebriated white passengers were allowed to stay. Their removal led to discussion online under the hashtag #laughingwhileblack.
AP file photo
Two schools of thought on the subject of minimum wage hikes in the country sparked a lengthy debate about whether it was good for the economy to give workers more income to contribute or bad for the economy to force employers to pay out more than they deemed feasible. In the end, 13 states, including California chose to raise the minimum wage. More specifically, Los Angeles will raise the wage to $10.50 an hour effective July 1, 2016 and is shooting for $15.00 an hour by 2020.
In March of this year, the country remembered the 1965 March on Washington for voters’ rights 50 years later. President and First Lady Obama joined thousands of Americans at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, to honor the sacrifice and bravery of the men and women who bled there, on its pavement 50 years earlier. Many of the original “foot soldiers” joined him during the commemoration including Congressman John Lewis, who helped to organize the first march over the bridge in 1965. Lewis had endured a tragic beating on that “Bloody Sunday,” but was able to stride arm in arm with the President of the United States.
The seemingly endless shootings of unarmed Black men in the streets of various cities across the United States sparked the now widely known Black Lives Matter movement. As the shooting s and killings increase, so did the amount of violence in the subsequent uprisings and protests. Most significant this year was Baltimore, where 25 year old Freddie Gray died “mysteriously” in police custody.
Spontaneous protests started after Gray’s funeral service. Civil unrest continued with at least twenty police officers injured, at least 250 people arrested, 285 to 350 businesses damaged, 150 vehicle fires, 60 structure fires, 27 drugstores looted, thousands of police and Maryland Army National Guard troops deployed, and with a state of emergency declared in the city limits of Baltimore.
Gray’s death was ruled a homicide.
Straight Outta Compton
AP file photo
In August, audiences were finally privy to the biographical Straight Outta Compton, about original gansta rap group NWA. The movie portrayed the rise and fall of the group against the backdrop of 1980s and 90s violent street culture, police brutality and debilitating poverty. The movie starred O’Shea Jackson, Jr. as Ice Cube (in his feature film debut), Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, and Paul Giamatti as N.W.A’s manager Jerry Heller. Among the film’s producers are Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E’s widow, Tomica Woods-Wright, with MC Ren and DJ Yella as creative consultants.
Upon opening it received positive reviews from critics, and has grossed over $200 million worldwide.
On July 7, the 131 bed Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital opened in the Willowbrook neighborhood of southern Los Angeles County, California. It was planned and designed to especially serve the surrounding South Los Angeles communities’ needs, including those of underinsured or uninsured patients. The hospital was built on the site of the former Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center, originally named the Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, known as King/Drew, which closed down amidst accusations of incompetency and negligence in 2007.