Connect with us


Opal Lee, “Juneteenth’s Grandma,” will receive her eighth honorary doctorate for her unwavering commitment to civil rights



Opal Lee will soon receive her eighth honorary doctorate in recognition of her legacy of activism and unwavering commitment to civil rights.

According to People MagazineSouthern Methodist University will present the 97-year-old “Grandma of Juneteenth” with an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree at a commencement ceremony on May 11.

“For Ms. Lee to join us at the commencement and share her work during the symposium is a signal of honor for our university” – SMU President R. Gerald Turner – wrote within the statement. “Her life’s work is most deserving of this recognition, and our students will be inspired by her.”

Opal Lee (left) claps throughout the ceremony before constructing the primary wall of her latest home on land her family purchased in Fort Worth, Texas, last month. (Photo by Amanda McCoy/Star-Telegram via AP)

In 2016, Lee, 89, made a symbolic 2,500-kilometer walk from her home in Fort Worth, Texas, to Washington, D.C., to urge Congress and then-President Barack Obama’s administration to declare June 11 a federal holiday honoring the tip of slavery. after the civil war. She stood nearby when President Joe Biden formally signed the bill into law five years in a while June 17, 2021.

“I must tell you that I have only been president for a few months, but I think this will go down as one of the greatest honors that I will experience as president – not because I did it, but because you did it, Democrats and Republicans.” Biden told her on the time, People magazine reported. “It’s a huge, huge honor.”

Lee’s dream of rebuilding her childhood home, destroyed by a racist mob in 1939, got here true in December when she purchased the land where the home once stood. After years of trying to buy the land, Lee discovered that Trinity Habitat for Humanity had purchased it. The organization’s CEO, Gage Yager, informed her that a plot of land in Fort Worth was available, Washington Post. she got here forward, sold it to her for just $10, and offered to construct her a house. Last month, she helped construct its first wall.

Featured Stories

According to SMU, Lee will achieve one other of her goals with the planned opening of the $70 million, 50,000-square-foot National Juneteenth Museum on south Fort Worth, where she operated her own modest Juneteenth museum.

The latest constructing will function a museum, cultural center and business incubator, and will be home to a mixed-income housing community. Lee is the museum’s honorary chairwoman and, together with her granddaughter, is a current board member.

Among the notable nods, as well as to seven other Ph.D.s, the Dallas Morning News editorial board named Lee its 2021 Texan of the Year, and he or she is nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2022. In 2023, she became the second African-American woman, after the late Republican Barbara Jordan, to be honored with a portrait in chamber of the Texas State Senate, SMU reports.

This article was originally published on :
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Juneteenth Unity Fest returns to Brooklyn




party, event, planning, marketing, Juneteenth, Unify fest

The Robert Randolph Foundation is pleased to announce the fourth edition of the edition JUNE UNITY FESTIVAL, a national, multicultural experience uniting diverse voices and communities to commemorate and rejoice Juneteenth and Black culture. Streaming live from Brooklyn, New York, UNITYFEST 2024 will feature quite a lot of entertainment, education and community activation events, including the JUNETEENTH UNITYFEST concert happening at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! on the Lena Horne Bandshell in Prospect Park.

“June 11 is a day when we remember America’s past, recognize the resilience and strength of Black people, and celebrate the progress we have made,” commented Robert Randolph, founding father of the Robert Randolph Foundation.

UNITYFEST will rejoice the breadth and depth of black culture and Juneteenth as a uniquely American experience, while providing a platform to unite coalitions of grassroots charities.

The festivities will kick off with the JUNETEENTH UNITYFEST block party at Under the K Bridge Park, an old-school neighborhood party featuring DJ Spinna. Anchored by the official JUNETEENTH UNITYFEST concert at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! on the Lena Horne Bandshell in Prospect Park, led by the award-winning gospel singer and keyboardist Ty TribbettUNITYFEST may even include a late after party on the Brooklyn Bowl. Full details will probably be announced in the approaching weeks.

“Heal America is honored to partner with the Robert Randolph Foundation for the second annual JUNETEENTH UNITYFEST,” he said Branden Polkdirector of Strategic Partnerships of Heal America, a movement to fight racial injustice with love and redemption.

“Last year, we witnessed this festival bring together a diverse group of people celebrating black culture and educating audiences about black history. The time has come for us to unite and overcome long-standing racial divisions together. As a pastor and supporter of the Heal America movement, I am inspired to work to heal and honor Juneteenth.”

“We are very excited and honored to partner with Robert and UNITYFEST on this inaugural Juneteenth event,” he said Diana Eber, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! executive producer.

“This celebration of black artistry and resilience is central to what we do at Bandshell throughout the summer. Thank you Robert for making this amazing vision a reality!”

JUNETEENTH UNITYFEST is the brainchild of Grammy-nominated African-American artist Robert Randolph, whose goal is to create a multicultural experience that unites people from all walks of life while amplifying the multiple narratives of the Black experience in America. Randolph, the Robert Randolph Foundation and the JUNETEENTH UNITYFEST team also recognize the importance of raising awareness of Juneteenth as a vacation and helping people understand its importance in American history. When the country’s last enslaved inhabitants learned of the Emancipation Proclamation on June 19, 1865, it signaled a change within the situation. Today now we have the chance to change the tide once more with this national event that may function a reflective and celebratory catalyst to further fuel inclusive cultures that strengthen America’s social fabric.

“While Juneteenth marks the symbolic end of slavery in America, our goal is for JUNETEENTH UNITYFEST to represent the achievements of Black people in the United States,” adds Randolph.

“Through this observance, our mission is to make Juneteenth an opportunity to remember the past, recognize our progress, and take collective action to create a ‘more perfect union’ for all Americans.”

JUNETEENTH UNITYFEST is made possible by phenomenal sponsors and partners including Amazon, Levitt Foundation and OWN. The event also worked with incredible community partners, including Heal America, to ensure historical accuracy and authenticity. A full list of sponsors and partner organizations might be found view on their website.

For more information in regards to the Robert Randolph Foundation’s JUNETEENTH UNITYFEST, visit,

This article was originally published on :
Continue Reading


A black candidate claims false advertising hurt his election possibilities. Here’s how AI could shape state and local races




Adrian Perkins was running for re-election as mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, when he was surprised by a pointy campaign hit.

A satirical television ad, paid for by a rival political motion committee, used artificial intelligence to portray Perkins as a highschool student summoned to the principal’s office. Instead of whipping him for cheating on a test or moving into a fight, the principal criticized Perkins for failing to maintain the community protected and create jobs.

The film superimposed Perkins’ face onto the body of the actor playing him. Although the ad was labeled as having been created using “deep learning computer technology,” Perkins said it was compelling and resonated with voters. He didn’t manage to pay for or campaign staff to counter this, and he believes it was one among many reasons he lost the 2022 race. A representative for the group behind the ad didn’t reply to a request for comment.

“This false advertising 100 percent impacted our campaign because we were a low-vote place with fewer resources,” said Perkins, a Democrat. “You had to choose where to direct your efforts.”

While such attacks are a staple of adverse political campaigns, the ad targeting Perkins was notable: It is believed to be one among the primary examples of an AI deepfake utilized in a US political race. It also foreshadowed the dilemma facing candidates in lots of state and local races this yr as generative artificial intelligence becomes more common and easier to make use of.

The technology — which may do all the things from streamline mundane campaign tasks to create fake images, video and audio — has already been deployed in some state races across the country and has spread far more widely in elections world wide. Despite being a misleading tool, efforts to control it have been piecemeal or delayed, and the loophole could have the largest impact in lesser-known races within the election.

Artificial intelligence is a double-edged sword for candidates running such campaigns. Affordable, user-friendly AI models may help them get monetary savings and time on some on a regular basis tasks. But they often do not have the staff or expertise to combat AI-generated lies, heightening fears that an eleven-hour deepfake could deceive enough voters to swing races decided by slim margins.

“AI-based threats impact close races and lower-profile competitions where small changes matter and there are often fewer resources to correct misleading stories,” said Josh Lawson, director of artificial intelligence and democracy on the Aspen Institute.

No national safeguards

Some local candidates have already faced criticism for deploying artificial intelligence in misleading ways, from a Republican state senate candidate in Tennessee who used a man-made intelligence headshot to look thinner and younger, to a Democratic sheriff in Philadelphia whose campaign re-election campaign promoted fake news generated by ChatGPT.

One challenge in separating fact from fiction is the decline of local news outlets, which in lots of places means much less coverage of candidates running for state and local offices, especially in reporting that digs into the candidates’ backgrounds and how their campaigns operate. Lack of familiarity with the candidates could make voters more prone to believing false information, said U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia.

The Democrat, who worked extensively on AI-related laws as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said AI-generated disinformation is simpler to detect and combat in high-profile races since it is under greater scrutiny. When an AI-generated robocall impersonated President Joe Biden so as to discourage voters from going to the polls within the New Hampshire primary this yr, it was quickly reported to the media and investigated, with serious consequences for the players behind it.

According to the nonprofit group Public Citizen, greater than a 3rd of states have passed laws regulating artificial intelligence in politics, and laws to combat election misinformation has received bipartisan support in every state where it has passed.

However, Congress has not yet acted, regardless that several bipartisan groups of lawmakers have proposed such laws.

“Congress is pathetic,” said Warner, who said he was pessimistic about Congress passing any laws this yr to guard elections from artificial intelligence interference.

Travis Brimm, executive director of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, called the specter of AI misinformation in down-ballot races an evolving problem for which humans are “still working to find the best solution.”

“This is a real challenge, and that’s why the Democratic secretaries addressed it right away and passed real legislation with real penalties for the abuse of artificial intelligence,” Brimm said.

A spokesman for the Republican Committee on Secretaries of State didn’t reply to AP’s request for comment.

Featured Stories

How do you regulate fairness?

While experts and lawmakers worry about how generative AI attacks could skew elections, some candidates for state or local office have said AI tools have proven invaluable of their campaigns. Powerful computer systems, software or processes can mimic features of human work and cognition.

Glenn Cook, a Republican running for a state legislative seat in southeastern Georgia, is less well-known and has significantly fewer campaign funds than the incumbent he’ll face in Tuesday’s runoff elections. So he invested in a digital consultant who creates most of his campaign content using low-cost, publicly available generative artificial intelligence models.

On its website, AI-generated articles are peppered with AI-generated images of smiling and talking community members, none of whom actually exist. The AI-generated podcast episodes used a cloned version of his voice to present his political positions.

Cook said he vets all the things before it goes public. The savings – each in time and money – allowed him to knock on more doors within the district and attend more campaign events.

“My wife and I have done 4,500 doors here,” he said. “You can do a lot with this.”

Cook’s opponent, state Rep. Steven Sainz, said he thought Cook was “hiding behind what appears to be a robot rather than authentically conveying his opinions to voters.”

“I do not rely on artificially generated promises, but on real results,” Sainz said, adding that he doesn’t use artificial intelligence in his own campaign.

Republican voters within the district weren’t sure what to make of the usage of artificial intelligence within the race, but said they cared most concerning the candidates’ values ​​and campaign reach. Patricia Rowell, a retired Cook voter, said she liked that he was in her community three or 4 times through the campaign, while Mike Perry, a self-employed Sainz voter, said he felt a more personal reference to Sainz.

He said greater use of artificial intelligence in politics was inevitable, but wondered how voters would have the opportunity to tell apart between what’s true and what isn’t.

“You know, it’s free speech and I don’t want to discourage free speech, but it comes down to the honesty of the people who promote it,” he said. – And I do not know how you regulate honesty. It’s quite difficult.”

Local campaigns are vulnerable to attacks

Digital firms that sell AI models for political campaigns told the AP that almost all use of AI in local campaigns has to date been minimal and geared toward increasing efficiency for tedious tasks reminiscent of analyzing polling data or creating media copy. social media containing a certain word limit.

According to a brand new report by a team led by scientists from the University of Texas at Austin, political consultants are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence tools to see what works. More than 20 political activists across the ideological spectrum told researchers they were experimenting with generative AI models on this yr’s campaigns, regardless that additionally they nervous that less scrupulous actors might do the identical.

“Local elections will be much more difficult because people will attack,” said Zelly Martin, lead writer of the report and senior research fellow on the university’s Center for Media Engagement. “And what resources do they have to defend themselves, unlike Biden and Trump, who have many more resources to fight back?”

There are huge differences in staff, money and expertise between no-ballot campaigns – for state legislator, mayor, school board or other local office – and races for federal office. Where a local campaign may involve only a handful of staffers, competitive U.S. House and Senate campaigns may involve dozens, and by the top of the campaign the variety of presidential operations may swell into the hundreds.

Biden and former President Donald Trump’s campaigns are experimenting with artificial intelligence to enhance fundraising and voter outreach. Mia Ehrenberg, a spokeswoman for the Biden campaign, said additionally they have a plan to debunk AI-generated disinformation. A Trump campaign spokesman didn’t reply to AP questions on plans to take care of AI-generated disinformation.

Perkins, a former mayor of Shreveport, had a small team that selected to disregard the attack and proceed the campaign when it hit local television. He said that on the time, he viewed the deepfake ad against him as a typical dirty trick, however the rise of artificial intelligence in only two years of his campaign made him realize the technology’s power as a tool to mislead voters.

“In politics, people will always push the envelope a little to be effective,” he said. “We had no idea how significant this event would be.”

This article was originally published on :
Continue Reading


Last minute alcohol brands that want to help dad on Father’s Day




fathers day, spirits brand, liquor

A well-liked joke is that on appropriate days, moms receive more love than fathers. Contrary to popular belief, people donate money on Father’s Day. This is predicted to be $22.4 billion issued for dad– reports the National Retail Federation. Although this is sort of $11 billion lower than Mother’s Day expenses, it’s still a hug. Another joke is that Father’s Day gifts normally fall into the last minute gift category. This could also be questionable, but BLACK ENTERPRISES identified five brands of alcohol that you possibly can buy on your dad when you do not buy him something first.

My closest uncle

If whiskey is your father’s favorite, take a look at the Uncle Nearest rye line. 1856 is a premium whisky, 1886 is a small batch and Rye is a straight rye whisky. The brand has cocktail sets that include mixers and bitters.


If dad likes rum, he’ll love the DonQ range of rums. Reserve 7, Put on Q Crystal i Put on Q Pina. Any of those Puerto Rican rums they’ve a characteristic taste which dad might be delighted with. If you care about your waistline, Don Q Piña is a transparent rum that suits people on a weight reduction weight loss program.

The Brough Brothers

If an enormous poppa is classy, ​​bring him a bottle of Brough Brothers Bourbon. This Black-owned Kentucky Bourbon brand will just do that they create a floral and fruity note to the taste buds. If you are in Kentucky, take a tour of the Brough Brothers Distillery.

Armand De Brignac Ace of spades

If Dad Dukes likes to drink champagne, Ace of Spades is one of the best alternative. The brand was there bought by Jay-Z in 2014. Retailing for $300 each, this sparkling brut is top-notch in style and flavor. Your father will remember this toast perpetually.

This article was originally published on :
Continue Reading


Subscribe Us To Receive Our Latest News Directly In Your Inbox!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.