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Meet Lilian Seenoi-Barr, the former Kenyan refugee who just made history as the first black mayor of Northern Ireland

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Liam McBurney – PA Images / Contributor / Getty Images

Lilian Seenoi-Barr made history this week when she became the first black mayor of Northern Ireland. She was appointed Mayor of Derry City and Strabane at a special council meeting on Monday evening.

Ms Seenoi-Barr, who arrived there 14 years ago as a refugee from Kenya, said it was an honor to change into its first citizen. Once installed, Seenoi-Top addressed the council chamber, thanking everyone who traveled from Kenya for “a historic moment for Derry”, confirming that their presence “signifies unity and shared pride between our communities”, According to BBC News.

“Many of you know that I am deeply proud of my Maasai heritage, rich in culture and tradition,” he said Seenoi-Top. “Growing up as one of 14 siblings in a Maasai village, I was raised in a home full of love, unity, hard work and a commitment to justice and freedom – values ​​that I carry forward in my service.”

“But my story of being a Maasai and a Derry girl began in 2010, when I came to this city in search of safety and a better life,” she added Seenoi-Top. “If you had told me then that I can be sitting here today as the mayor of the second city in the north, I do not think I or anyone in my family would have believed it… Since I arrived, Derry has embraced me, it has truly given me family, community and now the honor of serving first citizen”.

The 42-year-old is not any stranger to breaking barriers – just last 12 months she made headlines for the extraordinary achievement of becoming the first black woman to be elected to “public office in Northern Ireland” as a councilor.

However, not everyone was completely happy with this development and unfortunately since the mayor’s announcement, Seenoi-Barr admitted that she had been subjected to “racist abuse and death threats.” However, she said that while the threats were hurtful, she also had tremendous support across the island from community organizations and politicians who showed solidarity,” RTE, Irish national public media reports.

“Of course, in recent weeks, some have viewed this historic moment as a threat, and it is no secret that it has sparked anti-immigrant sentiment,” he countered. Seenoi-Top. “It reminded us of the issues we face as a community, but I know these feelings have no place in Derry and have not been reflected among the majority of people in our city and borough.”

“Instead, since my appointment, I even have witnessed the warmth and kindness of Derry, which I do know and love with all my heart. The Ireland I do know and the Derry where I even have made my house is a friendly and generous place where everyone, regardless of background, can thrive,” he said. Seenoi-Top. “My nomination is a celebration of difference, of a changing Northern Ireland where the binaries of the past are breaking down. We are not any longer just green and orange, we’ve got a likelihood to make recent decisions and construct a brand new, united community.

“I won’t hold back from working as hard as I can for my entire community. I can be a mayor for everybody, accessible and leading with hope… The significance of this moment is just not lost on me. This role is a possibility of a lifetime and I’ll approach it with the utmost seriousness and commitment,” he added mayor he stated.

During her tenure as MayorSeenoi-Barr said it could work to eradicate “poverty, attract investment and support young people to reach their full potential, create jobs and promote high-quality, affordable housing.”

This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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Politics and Current

Watch: Advocacy group raises alarm over police reform and artificial intelligence racial bias

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Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, sits before the Grio’s “Hill with April Ryan.”

In this week’s edition of The Grio Journal, “The Hill with April Ryan,” we tackle the difficulty of police accountability, a top concern for a lot of Black Americans who proceed to call for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, is amongst those calling for federal laws within the wake of the fatal police shooting of U.S. Airman Roger Fortson on May 3 in Florida.

Hewitt tells Grio that any “chance” of passing George Floyd laws would have occurred throughout the last Congress. Republicans, who currently control the U.S. House of Representatives, oppose working with Democrats to pass any bill that may tighten accountability measures for law enforcement officers. Meanwhile, the White House continues to induce Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which was thwarted by Republican Sen. Tim Scott, who led negotiations on behalf of the GOP. Hewitt also spoke with theGrio about one other essential issue regarding racial justice: racial bias in artificial intelligence.

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This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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NOLA residents unhappy with Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s efforts

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LaToya Cantrell, New Orleans Mayor


A recent survey conducted for the New Orleans Crime Coalition shows continued public dissatisfaction with Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s leadership.

For the second 12 months in a row, a majority of city residents expressed their disapproval of the mayor’s actions: only 31% expressed their support. According to the study, last 12 months only 30 percent approved her administrationwhile a staggering 60% were opposed.

Cantrell’s current disapproval rating of 59% comes as she has been embroiled in quite a few controversies, including her personal use of a city-owned apartment in Upper Pontalba and frequent taxpayer-funded out-of-town travel.

The New Orleans City Council voted to remove Cantrell this 12 months if she didn’t vacate the Upper Pontalba premises and take away her personal belongings by a certain date. Council Vice President JP Morrell, who sponsored the eviction petition, accused the mayor of “circumventing the law.”

Cantrell was also accused of upgrading her airline tickets to first-class using taxpayer funds. The Louisiana Ethics Commission found that 13 domestic and two international flights underwent upgrades at a price of nearly $30,000 over a two-year period.

Fox 8 also noted the federal investigation into Mayor Cantrell’s relationship with former security officer Jeffrey Vappie. As Dr. Robert Collins, a policy analyst at Dillard University, stated: “Society takes all these issues into account… In addition, they are dissatisfied with the fact that their city services are not provided effectively.”

While a brand new 2024 survey shows Cantrell’s approval rating for dealing with crime increasing from 24% to 29%, her disapproval rating is 62%. Additionally, its approval rating for solving infrastructure problems is just 24%, down one percentage point from the previous 12 months.

The annual survey, conducted May 29-June 4, 2024, is predicated on a representative sample of 800 accomplished interviews with adults (18 years and older) living in New Orleans. The racial composition of the sample is 58% African American, 35% Caucasian, and seven% other.


This article was originally published on : www.blackenterprise.com
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Politics and Current

Florida police officers twice kicked down an innocent black woman’s door and forced her naked out of her home in front of multiple officers and her children

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Florida Deputies Bust Down Innocent Black Woman

The same Florida sheriff’s department that got here under fire last month for shooting and killing a black U.S. Air Force senior airman has been sued for twice breaking right into a black woman’s home and dragging her outside naked, where she was handcuffed and left standing in front of his house, in front of his two children.

LaTanya Griffin wasn’t even named on the warrant issued by Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputies after they broke into her home twice in the predawn hours in 2019 and 2020, waking her from sleep and ordering him to depart, in response to the federal lawsuit Griffin filed last month.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office can be the identical law enforcement agency whose deputy in November 2023 repeatedly shot at a police automobile containing an unarmed black man in handcuffs after he was startled by an acorn falling from a tree and hitting the police automobile. Deputy Jesse Hernandez resigned.

Florida police officers twice kicked down an innocent black woman's door and forced her naked out of her home in front of multiple officers and her children
Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Eden (Photo: YouTube screenshot/WKRG)

Griffin’s lawsuit is one other black eye for law enforcement in the Florida Panhandle, which oversees a population of 212,000 people. The family of Airman Roger Fortson, who died last month in a questionable accident, can be prone to file a lawsuit following the arrest of attorney Benjamin Crump. The deputy on the case, Eddie Duran, was fired.

According to the Northwest Florida Daily News, in Griffin’s case, deputies were in search of a person named Tony Streeter, who was wanted on drug trafficking, firearms and arson charges. According to the Department of Justice, Streeter has already been convicted and is serving a 30-year prison sentence US Department of Justice.

It’s not clear from the lawsuit or Justice Department press releases what Streeter’s connection was to Griffin’s residence, however the only charges she ever faced in reference to the 2 raids were two misdemeanors stemming from the second incident: possession of lower than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia drug-related. But those charges were dismissed. Court records available online show Griffin’s only other run-ins with the law in the past were for traffic violations and evictions, but they were mostly civil matters.

In the lawsuit, Griffin names Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden and retired Deputy Grady Carpenter, who oversaw each raids. Spokesman for the sheriff’s office he told McClatchy News that Aden was not sheriff during these two incidents and subsequently cannot comment on the matter.

However, Kevin R. Anderson, an attorney representing Griffin, told McClatchy News that he was being sued “in an official capacity,” not a “personal capacity.”

“Knowing that a person is naked or completely naked, not once, but twice, and then just being taken out of their apartment and into a public place for people to have access to what they look like… it’s just indescribable,” Anderson said . McClatchy News.

According to the lawsuit, the primary incident occurred on Aug. 29, 2019, and the second occurred on May 28, 2020. In each incidents, officers used battering rams to wake her from sleep and ordered her to go outside naked, where she was forced to face in front of multiple officers, including local, state and federal officers, for a “significant amount of time” in front of his 14-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter.

“Okaloosa sheriff’s deputies ultimately placed a sleeveless shirt over plaintiff’s head, providing partial coverage but not coverage of her genitalia,” the lawsuit says.

Griffin is searching for greater than $1 million in damages.

This article was originally published on : atlantablackstar.com
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