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The Leading Voice of St. Louis’ Black Community

Volume 1 | Issue 1

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JULY 2016 | FREE

stlnews Tishaura Jones Headed to Democratic Convention

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national

Maria ChappelleNadal

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis NNPA calls for action

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in the spotlight

The Fiery Senator’s Softer Side PAGE 6

Recent Police Shootings PAGE 9 Show Our Nation’s Hypocrisy On July 5, 2016, Alton Sterling was killed by White police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in an encounter that was blessedly videotaped. The footage showed a man being shot, even as he was down on the ground. A day later, on July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was shot four times

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Pat Contreras Seeks Treasurers Office

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sports Jayson Tatum Wins Gatorade Athlete of the Year

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STL SPOTLIGHT | JULY 2016

Stlnews

Harris-Stowe State University Welcomes High School Students For Federal Trio Program State University (HSSU) for the 21st consecutive Hyeararris-Stowe welcomes area students to its

campus for a five-week intensive educational experience to increase the academic pipeline from middle school into post-baccalaureate programs. Twenty-three students from Jennings

and Riverview Gardens High Schools are participating in the 2016 program. These students are part of the Educational Talent Search, a TRIO Program hosted by the University. This summer the emphasis is on various engineering disciplines. TRIO is a federal program that

Treasurer Jones at the Democratic National Convention T ishaura O. Jones, Treasurer of the City of St. Louis, will participate on two panels at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Treasurer Jones was invited by 20/20 Leaders of America to participate in their Justice Forum panel on July 26. The 20/20 Leaders of America is a diverse, bipartisan group of black politicians, prosecutors, defense attorneys, political strategists, police chiefs and other law enforcement from across the nation. The forum will focus on public perception and media coverage of criminal justice reform efforts, and how best to push the next president to develop a plan of action that will result in measurable positive outcomes by the year 2020. In addition, Business Forward has asked Treasurer Jones to lead their panel discussion on Diversity and Women in Leadership on July 27. Business Forward works to identify, recruit and brief small business owners, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to participate in policy debates. Panel participants will share their perspectives on current policy proposals and what business leaders can do to help create more leadership opportunities for women and minorities. Treasurer Jones was selected to lead this panel

because of her leadership on economic empowerment for women and her efforts to encourage women to take leadership roles. “I am thrilled to be participating in these panels,” said Treasurer Jones. “I look forward to sharing my thoughts on how we can reform our criminal justice system, provide better leadership and create more opportunities for women and minorities. These panels are great places to start much needed discussions on what needs to be done to make our country a better place to live for everyone, not just a select few.” n

Treasurer Jones to Appear at Democratic National Convention

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Students to Enter College-Prep Pipeline includes eight initiatives that assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and persons with disabilities in matriculating through college. TRIO programs, including Upward Bound, Student Support Services and the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Scholars, are funded by the U.S. Department of Education and designed to support disadvantaged students through their educational tenure at host institutions of higher education. This year, students will enjoy visits from a local meteorologist and representatives from the St. Louis Science Center, an environmental engineer from Republic Waste Management and the Army Corp. of Engineers. Congressman Joshua Peters, D-St. Louis (76th District) will speak to the students on the impact engineers have within the state and region’s economy and infrastructure. Student participants attend the Jennings and Riverview Gardens High Schools. Several engineering companies will

highlight apprenticeship opportunities, including Murphy Company, Local 562, Kaskaskia Engineering, ABNA, Ambitech, Alpha Packaging and Millepore Sigma. Students will also have the opportunity to tour the Physics and Astronomy department at University of Missouri-St. Louis and learn about biomedical research currently underway. Other tours and visits include, Saint Louis University’s Department of Engineering and Dr. Nicholas Gardner, Chief Engineer for St. Louis County will enlighten students on the engineering objectives for St. Louis County. HSSU believes that TRIO programs provide an additional educational outreach for the community. TRIO Programs are more than federal programs; they are a philosophy of educational opportunity and equality for all. For more information on TRIO at Harris-Stowe, contact Linda Todoroff, director of Educational Talent Search at (314) 340-5796 or via email at TodorofL@hssu.edu.everyone, not just a select few.”


JULY 2016 | STL SPOTLIGHT

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NNPA Calls for Special Federal Prosecutor for RaciallyMotivated Police Killings Benjamin Chavis, NNPA President ational Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) issued an urgent call and demand that NPresident Barack H. Obama and U.S Attorney Gen-

eral Loretta Lynch appoint a Special Federal Prosecutor in the wake of the police killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. The NNPA also expresses sincere condolences to the families of the police officers who were unjustly killed in Dallas, Texas. “The killings of African Americans in Louisiana and Minnesota during the past week represent an escalating national pattern of fatal police killings that appear to be racially motivated. These incidents are not isolated local tragedies, but are the terrible growing manifestations of a deadly national system of racism in the criminal justice system that needs to be effectively

challenged and changed,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA. “There are, today, too many African American families and communities that continue to endure police brutality and violence across the United States. This is a national crisis that demands immediate federal intervention to both investigate and to prosecute police officers, who continue to commit these wanton racially motivated killings.” Chavis continued: “We, therefore, demand that a Special Federal Prosecutor be immediately appointed by the United States Department of Justice. To date, unfortunately, local investigations and prosecutions have been ineffective and have not insured equal justice. The Special Federal Prosecutor has to be independent and impartial. We have heard from many of our NNPA member publishers throughout the nation

who all expressed profound disgust and moral outrage about these brutalities. We will not be silent in the face of these continued injustices. We demand action by the federal government now.” The reform of the criminal justice system in America requires more intellectual honesty in the national dialogue about race, inequality and injustice. The NNPA will engage and participate in this dialogue as the movement for reform and social change unfolds. The NNPA represents 209 African American owned newspapers based in 32 states and known as the “Voice of Black America” that reaches 20.l million readers per week with national offices located in Washington, D.C. - See more at: http://thestlspotlight.com/news/ national/nnpa-calls-for-special-federal-prosecutor-for-racially-motiv/#sthash.Xe2NVKXd.dpuf n

Democratic Platform Committee Calls for End to Mass Incarceration By Frederick H. Lowe

he Democratic Platform Drafting Committee has approved a plank, calling for the end of mass Tincarceration, which occurred under President Bill

Clinton and then First Lady Hillary Clinton, who is expected to become the party’s nominee for President when Democrats convene July 25th to July 28th in Philadelphia. “The current draft calls for ending the era of mass incarceration, shutting down private prisons, ending racial profiling, reforming the grand jury process, investing in the re-entry programs, banning the box to help give people a second chance and prioritizing

treatment over incarceration for individuals suffering with addiction,” the Drafting Committee announced on June 25. Clinton’s 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, a tough-on-crime bill led to mass incarceration of black men and significant increases in the imprisonment of black women. This a was a major issue at the sparsely attended National Black Political Convention last month in Gary, Ind. Attendees said they wanted to influence the Democratic Party’s platform. Most, if not all members of the Congressional Black Caucus, voted for the legislation, but now some are saying they regretted their vote. Drafting Committee members also voted to support

states that choose to decriminalize marijuana because police are arresting blacks who possess marijuana at much higher rates than they arrest Whites. The committee also called for increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, expanding Social Security and launching an aggressive jobs plan that would include historic investments in the nation’s infrastructure, a commitment to small businesses and a robust technology agenda. The platform draft covers a number of other issues, including universal health care and the environment. The draft will be put before the full 187-member Platform Committee for final approval during a meeting in Orlando, Fla., on July 8th and 9th. n

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STL SPOTLIGHT | JULY 2016

entertainment

Tika Sumpter On Being Dark-Skinned In Hollywood:

“I Was Truly Unprepared” Tika Sumpter is one of those actresses who has taken Hollywood by storm on her terms. She’s Abeenctress a star on Tyler Perry’s “Have And The Have

Nots”, Ice Cube’s “Ride Along” and “Ride Along 2”, as well as playing the First Lady Michelle Obama in an upcoming feature film, “Southside.” But Sumpter believes that her success is very rare. You don’t always see dark skinned Black actresses in lead roles in Hollywood that much. In her own words, she describes the ups and downs of her skin tone within her own people and outside of her race. “It’s important to understand that I was born into a family with seven children, each of us equipped with varying personalities, dispositions, and, yes, skin tones as well,” explains Sumpter. “My mom has the most beautiful café au lait complexion, which she shares with my two older sisters and older brother. My three younger siblings have skin tones that range from caramel to a golden bronze.” My mother says that when my father, a striking man with kind eyes, broad shoulders, and deep ebony-brown skin, first saw me in the hospital that day, his eyes lit up brightly as he promptly proclaimed, “’She has my color. She looks like me!’” “Though I obviously have no recollection of that day at all, I’m quite certain that hearing that story heavily influenced the ways in which I’ve been able to navigate my journey as a woman, an African-American woman, and a woman of a darker hue.” Both of my parents, and particularly my mother, worked very hard every day to make sure all their children had exactly what we needed to grow up with minds of our own, confidence to spare, and strength to endure. Even after my parents separated and later divorced, I always felt worthy, supported, and loved. “I was recently reminded of my childhood as I watched the amazing documentary Dark Girls (OWN documentary),” explains Sumpter. “My heart broke just listening to the stories of so many young

girls with brown skin traumatized by the cruel and hurtful views of those around them. I experienced that same emotion when I began my role as Raina Thorpe on the popular CW show Gossip Girl a few years back. I was truly unprepared for the tremendous impact I’d have while on that show. Each week I’d get the tons of letters from mothers, grandmothers, and young girls literally thanking me for simply existing. They wrote me saying they’d never seen a woman that

looked like me on television before.” “Which really meant they’d never seen anyone that looked like them before. And it got much deeper than that. Some fans even remarked that they’d never witnessed any woman with my skin color speak the way I spoke, have a successful career the way I had on that show, or carry themselves in such a ladylike manner. Translation: in the very make-believe land of television and movies, women with darker skin aren’t smart enough to speak proper English or capable enough to be employed with a six-figure salary. And we most certainly can’t be ladylike. What complete nonsense! Of course, I did experienced my share of hurtful reactions to my skin color, but thankfully only after I was an adult. Who hasn’t heard the obligatory, ‘You’re pretty for a dark-skin girl’? Or my personal favorite, ‘I usually don’t date dark-skin women, but you’re so beautiful.’ That one really warms the heart. But in reality, the most disturbing aspect of all of this is that those comments were most often made by men with exactly the same skin tone as my own.” Still, I always knew there were far too many other people who saw my beauty and embraced every part of me with open arms to think twice about what was said. It hurts me to know that so many young girls today are growing up without that same realization and reassurance. I also regret that so many are forced to seek their self-worth between the pages of mainstream magazines or in the background of a rap music video.” “I’d like to think that seeing someone like me on their televisions every week gives them some hope that things are changing slowly but surely. Finally, every day I’m thankful that I didn’t have to endure the pain that I know so many women do on a regular basis as a result of the color of their skin. My heart goes out to them all. And every day I’m even more thankful for a mother who was always there for me and a father (now deceased) whose first reaction to me on the day I was born paved my path to real self-love. n

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FEBRUARY 2016 | STL SPOTLIGHT

Nba Stars Speak Out About Recent Shootings To Start Espys nthony starts this off by saying “Tonight is a celebration of sports, Acelebrating our accomplishments and

our victories, but in this moment of celebration, we asked to start the show tonight this way. The four of us talking to our fellow athletes with the country watching, because we can not ignore the realities of the current state of America. The events of the past week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust and anger that plagues so many of us. The system is broken. The problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new. But, the urgency to create change is at an all-time high.” Paul then goes “We stand here tonight accepting our role in uniting communities to be the change we need to see. We stand before you as fathers,

gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough! Enough is enough! Now as athletes, it’s on us to challenge each other to do even more than we already do in our own communities. And the conversation cannot, it cannot stop as our schedules get busy again. It won’t always be convenient, it won’t. It sons, husbands, brothers, uncles, and in won’t always be comfortable. But it is my case, as an African-American man necessary.” and the nephew of a police officer, who James finishes “We all feel helpless is one of the hundreds of thousands of and frustrated by the violence, we do, great officers serving this country. But. but that’s not acceptable. It’s time to Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir look in the mirror and ask ourselves Rice, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, “What are we doing to create change?” Alton Sterling, Philando Castile. This It’s not about being a role model, it’s is also our reality. Generations ago, leg- not our responsibilities to the tradiends like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, tion of activism. I know tonight, we’re Muhammad Ali, John Carlos and Tom- honoring Muhammad Ali, the GOAT, mie Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim but to do his legacy any justice, let’s use Brown, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe this moment as a call to action for all and countless others, they set a model professional athletes to educate ourfor what athletes should stand for. So selves, explore these issues, speak up, we choose to follow in their footsteps.” use our influence and renounce all viWade adds “The racial profiling has olence, and most importantly, go back to stop. The shoot-to-kill mentality has to our communities, invest our time, to stop. Not seeing the value of black our resources, help rebuild them, help and brown bodies has to stop. But also, strengthen them, help change them. the retaliation has to stop. The endless We all have to do better. Thank you.”

The Game and Snoop Dogg marching together Game and Snoop Dogg came and marched for change last Tweekhetogether in Los Angeles, and now the West Coast rap stars want to take things a step further and invite L.A. gangs to come together. Game announced today ( July 14) on Instagram that he and Snoop are calling for a town hall meeting called “Time To Unite: United Hoods + Gangs Nation,” which is scheduled to take place at this Sunday ( July 17) at 11 a.m. PST on Vermont Street in Los Angeles. “On behalf of myself @SnoopDogg, & the honorable @louisfarrakhan I want to extend the invitation to all CRIPS, BLOODS, ESE’s & all other gang members, major figures & GANG LEADERS from every hood in our city as well as the surrounding cities to our meeting,” The Game captioned in the post. “Because the sad truth that no one wants to face is, before we can get OUR LIVES TO MATTER to anyone else… We have to show that OUR LIVES MATTER to US !!!!” he also wrote. “WE have been responsible for more of the KILLING of ourselves than anyone else by a long shot & the percentages in which BLACK on BLACK, BLACK on BROWN, BROWN on BLACK, BROWN on BROWN murders are so fucking high verses any other killing of us that it is disgusting & this needs to be addressed & laid to rest !!!!!” On June 8, Game and Snoop led a

The Game and Snoop Dogg are working to end violence in Los Angeles peaceful H.U.N.T (HATE US NOT TODAY & HUNT US NOT TODAY) march in downtown Los Angeles to draw attention to police violence against black citizens. He explained the goal of the march a few days prior. “Objective: to make the Californian government & it’s law branches aware that from today forward, we will be UNIFIED as minorities & we will no longer allow them to hunt us or be hunted by us!!!” he wrote. “Let’s erase the fear of one another on both sides & start something new here in the city of Los Angeles.” n

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This will certainly get plenty of blowback from those who don’t like athletes speaking out on anything unrelated to sports, and it could cause some blowback for ABC and ESPN too, especially from those who tuned in expecting a non-serious sports award show. However, there is a long tradition of successful and important athlete activism from the names Paul mentioned and others, and this certainly seems to fall within that. Whether the ESPYs were the appropriate place for this speech certainly will be debated by many, but it definitely adds to their relevance. n

Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James started the broadcast of Wednesday night’s ESPYs by standing on stage together and speaking about racial tension and recent shootings.


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STL SPOTLIGHT | JULY 2016

co

Maria ChappelleNadal:

The Fiery Senator’s Softer Side Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal considers herself to be a “champion” for constituents; someone willing to fearlessly stand up for all residents, especially the disadvantaged and voiceless. By LeShea Agnew

enator Maria Chappelle-Nadal considers herself to be a “champion” for constituents; someone willing Sto fearlessly stand up for all residents, especially the

disadvantaged and voiceless. The outspoken Senator’s political track record dates back more than a decade; she currently represents District 14 (which includes parts of North County) in the Missouri Senate. Born in St. Louis, Chappelle-Nadal was raised by a single mother who worked multiple jobs to support the family. As a child, she struggled with a speech disability and refused to talk for much of her early life. A speech pathologist helped Chappelle-Nadal find her confidence and voice, and says she’s been using her emboldened voice to stand up for others ever since. The young Senator received a dual degree in Political Science and Sociology from Georgia State University before diving into the deep end of political waters. She has introduced several bills on varying issues including sex education; election protection policies, women’s rights, Ferguson focused policies, accountability, gun safety and radioactive waste recovery. Chappelle-Nadal is well-known for her no-nonsense approach, creative and oftentimes controversial methods of pushing the needs of her constituents to the forefront. In 2014, The Democrat from U-City made national headlines while standing arm-in-arm with activists on the front lines of Ferguson. She documented 38 con-

secutive days of protests and civil unrest on her social media pages; speaking out about being tear gassed by members of law enforcement and even calling out local leaders absent from protests and rallies. The Senator says at the encouragement of several residents, she is officially embarking upon her toughest campaign to date. This August, State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal will attempt to upset eight-term incumbent, U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, for Missouri’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House. She says her reason for running is simple; “The people of Missouri deserve someone who understands their issues in a personal way.”

Senator Chappelle-Nadal and I met a little after sunset at one of her favorite neighborhood restaurants in the Delmar Loop, Cicero’s. After greeting many of the locals socializing or having dinner, she chose a small corner table for us that she quickly covered with campaign materials. Despite a busy Friday evening, she graciously set aside time for The Spotlight…to state the facts and clear the record. LeShea Agnew: Tell us what’s on your plate right now, where is your focus primarily? Maria Chappelle-Nadal: My plate stays full. I’m constantly focused on the issues. Right now, we’re dealing with radioactive waste. It’s one of the biggest liabilities in American history. Because of years of federal government negligence, I have people who are dying of multiple cancers and autoimmune diseases. They were never told the property they are buying has radioactive waste contamination underneath it. I’m concerned about radioactive waste being in our water intake centers. This is Flint, a civil action and Erin Brockovich all put together. It’s that serious. A great example of how bad things are…people who get appendix cancer, the probability is like 1 in a million. Within a population of 120,000 we have over 50 cases. 50. In North County, we’ve got thyroid cancer and kids being born with brain tumors. Brain cancer, autoimmune diseases, lupus, leukemia; it’s all off the charts.

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overstory

JULY 2016 | STL SPOTLIGHT

Chappelle-Nadal: When I first got down there I didn’t even tell people “Senator,” I introduced myself as Maria. I’m here. Me. Who cares what your title is? Just be there. What everyone should understand, there is no script for a human disaster like this. Ferguson didn’t have a shooting for like 10 years. At bare minimum, show up. Just...show...up. Agnew: When you signed up for politics, I bet you didn’t think tear gas would come with the job at some point. Chappelle-Nadal: Nooo, I didn’t. But I’ll tell ya, I’m a better person for it. I lead with love now. (Tearing up) There are sooo many people dealing with so many things. They hit a brick wall at every turn because they don’t have a champion, someone willing to stand up for them. I get emotional about it because I just can’t believe so many people are allowed to get to this point... I briefly met a woman when I first walked in Cicero’s. She was like, “Aren’t you…? Thank you for what you do.” I don’t know who she is but comments like that are so very encouraging. People have no idea how encouraging kind words can be.

We have unregulated landfills or I should say, landfills that haven’t been adequately tested with people living on top of them. I actually got into a Twitter battle with the mayor of this area over this. One of the reasons I’m running is because people have known about this for a very long time and they haven’t done (expletive), not even our Congressman. You can’t clean up radioactive waste so that it doesn’t contaminate people anymore. If you have a shifting of the earth or torrential rains-which we do--all of it comes to the top, all of it. Ferguson is every single day…every single day. It’s a tragedy that gave birth to the most beautiful trends and outcomes; our people became conscious, aware and responsible politically. This is beautiful to see. These are people who have not been really engaged in the political process before. I’m trying to get to this point in activism where elected officials are active in Ferguson. I was one of the people out there since day one. Tear gassed for 3 ½ hours on the street with 150 young people. In all that time, our Congressman was on vacation while we were (expletive) gettin’ tear gassed and buildings were being burned. I work my butt off because there are people, particularly our governor, trying to stop our black children from having an opportunity to succeed. In addition, we have crime increasing. It’s devastating in St. Louis County, the whole region really. We have mass poverty, buildings that are vacant. We have huge problems when it comes to employment. In the 1st congressional district, 60% of our children are on free or reduced lunch. We have all these critical issues and people are thinking everything is ok. We are suffering! It’s not ok. Agnew: You became a staple in Ferguson. I too was there, every day, covering the emotional aftermath. I interviewed many people and on several different occasions, your name was mentioned.

ng Voice of St. Louis’ Black Community

Agnew: Share with us the moments and experiences surrounding being tear gassed... Chappelle-Nadal: (Pauses in reflection) That was just ... outright ... scary. I couldn’t breathe. We were told those canisters were like 20 years old and we don’t know what was in them or how they impacted our health. For at least two months I had a twang in my throat. Something wasn’t right with my voice. It took about eight weeks to get back to normal. At the time it happened, no one was doing anything. It was August eleventh. The police were like “Y’all black people better shut up and go home! If you don’t, we’re gonna tear gas you!” And that’s what they did. We weren’t doing anything. When the police tear gassed us, everything turned. I cataloged everything on my social media pages for about 38 days. Getting tear gassed and shot at for 3 ½ hrs does something to you, changes who you are. To make it worse, I was with my intern and a young pastor. And all these little kids were around us. I felt violated in every single way. The next morning, I was in the shower still crying over what happened to us. I was in shock. Before that day, I used to always wear something around my afro. Then, I was like…hell no! August twelfth was the day I started wearing my afro big and out. We had already been tear gassed 4 times in Ferguson by the time Congressman Clay showed up. In 2014, he was quoted in the Post Dispatch saying at the time, he was in his office writing a letter. That’s what staff is for! They can hand deliver it too. You

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have to be with the people who are hurting. In Ferguson I became a translator, teacher, mother, sister… and I would never replace that. I am a better person because of the hell we went through. Agnew: You’re constantly on these streets so let’s talk about the needs of our community. What you see day-to-day. Chappelle-Nadal: Let’s start with RESPECT. Black women are put at the bottom of the totem pole! I’m not saying that to beat up on our black men but they have it better than we do. People are always judging us. Our abilities as women are constantly questioned, second-guessed. We’re not respected for our intelligence or our thoughts or love or care or compassion or diversity. We have so much we bring to the table. Agnew: What do you hope to see for our women? Chappelle-Nadal: Empowerment, better jobs, security, ruling the world. I want every black woman to be a boss, every single one! Growing up, I had a speech impediment. I had a speech pathologist for 8 years of my childhood. I didn’t talk about it but now I want people to know. I didn’t even speak. I was silent as a kid because I couldn’t speak very well and I was really, really shy. I got out of that because of my advocacy. I took Opera lessons to help with my articulation. I did the morning announcements all through school. Even then I had problems, even now I have problems. I know what it’s like to be made fun of and treated differently. As a black woman, we’re already dealing with our gender and race. And you add a disability to that? (Scoffs) I want every kid and mom who has a personal challenge to be able to overcome it while still being the boss and handling things. Have self-respect and respect for other people. Agnew: How would you describe yourself to people who have yet to meet you? Chappelle-Nadal: (Chuckles) Well...I’m very reserved shocking as that sounds. My friends will tell you I’m really an introvert. I paint. I pretend to write poetry, I make jewelry. Most people see the vocal, abrasive person but that’s not who I always am. When I have a cause I’ll do what I have to do, but that’s not who I automatically am. I love gardening, my neighbors. I consider myself a student in the political world, always learning. Sometimes my methods are not popular but if I’m getting the business done, I’m getting the business done. *** A couple of hours and several glasses of water later, Senator Chappelle-Nadal prepared to head downtown for more meetings. As we were wrapping up our interview, the same woman who encouraged Senator Chappelle-Nadal when she first entered the restaurant was now waving from a nearby table. Sharon E. Austin: I’ve been a St. Louis resident all my life. My daughter aspires to be a politician. She has degrees in Public Administration and Political Science. I think the Senator would be an admirable person to mentor my daughter. I saw her a lot on television during Mike Brown. She stood out. She’s very courageous. She spoke up when she could’ve lost some of her constituents. And she’s still standing. I recognized her soon as she walked in. She’s young and full of energy. A lot of people are thinkers, she’s a doer. The primary election for Missouri’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House is August, 2. n


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STL SPOTLIGHT | JULY 2016

in thespotlight

Pat Contreras Commits to Diversity and Community

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Democratic candidate Pat Contreras announced to the STL Spotlight his plan for diversity in the Missouri State Treasurer’s office.

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I am declaring my office will be a no-discrimination zone. Any capable Missourian will be expected to serve and welcome all Missourians. In addition, I want my office to resemble the diversity of Missouri. As a Latino, I recognize the negative impact not being represented in government can have. I would make sure that my team around me is a representation of Missouri as a whole, in order to gain perspective from varying worldviews. Additionally, I would want my office to have a bigger say in policy coming from the general assembly. We are better than this. I see the pain in our communities and I want you to know you are not alone. We will come together so we act as one state. Our history of urban verses rural is long. But we are bound to each other by obligation. The treasurer has a responsibility to serve all Missourians and I will do just that,” Contreras said. The announcement follows Republican attempts to discriminate against LGBTQ communities in marriage equality and commercial transactions and their attack on in voting rights of seniors and people of color. Contreras contends Republicans have played divisive politics to the detriment of tax-paying communities throughout Missouri. This impacts our economy and the quality of life of all. Contreras plans to implement policies benefit all Missourians and begin to heal our state. Before filing as a candidate for statewide office, Contreras served as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department. As a frontline diplomat, he helped United States businesses expand into foreign markets. Pat has made expanding the 529 College Savings Account program a central part of his goals in office. Pat Contreras currently leads in endorsements for all down-ballot statewide office candidates. Contreras, 35, was raised by a

single mother in an urban Kansas City neighborhood and understands the needs of those trying to build a better life. Contreras chose to be a public servant, not a career politician. He is running for treasurer because it’s the place where he can make the biggest difference with his experience and passion, not because of political convenience. The state treasurer needs a local and global perspective on economic issues – Contreras has both. He worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, was a Coro Fellow in St. Louis and served as a Foreign Service Officer for two presidents. To learn more about Contreras’ campaign, visit www.patcontreras. com, follow him on Twitter @patcontreras or on Snapchat @contrerp.

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www.thestlspotlight.com • The Leading Voice of St. Louis’ Black Community


JULY 2016 | STL SPOTLIGHT

Recent Police Shootings Show Our Nation’s Hypocrisy

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By Julianne Malveaux (NNPA News Wire Columnist)

ust a day after millions of Americans celebrated the “Fourth of You Lie,” our nation got more evidence of the lie we live when we “celebrate” freedom. On July 5, 2016, Alton Sterling was killed by White police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in an encounter that was blessedly videotaped. The footage showed a man being shot, even as he was down on the ground. A day later, on July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was shot four times as he attempted to comply with a police officer’s request to provide identification. Diamond Reynolds, his fiancé, videotaped the encounter, as her 4 year-old daughter sat in the backseat. If patriotic fireworks make you feel warm and fuzzy about our nation, these two videos ought to be enough to throw ice water on them. I am chilled, disgusted, and angered at yet more senseless killings of Black men by police officers, 136 so far this year (about 25.3 percent of all police killings). You ought to read Frederick Douglass’ speech and understand why those videos leave me with cold antipathy for “my country.” Many things have changed since he delivered this oratorical masterpiece in 1852. Many things have not. Watching Philando Castile’s blood seep from his body reminds me of our nation’s hypocrisy, and of Douglass’ searing words: “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.” Indeed, while there is talk of fighting the terrorism of ISIS, when will we fight the terrorism that too many African Americans experience? If a law-abiding person with a right to carry a gun (Hello, National Rifle Association) can be killed because his taillight

is busted, that’s terrorism, defined as the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aim. The aim is the maintenance of White supremacy “lite.” It dictates “the talk” all young African American men get from their dads (White men don’t have to have the talk because they aren’t the victims of violence and intimidation). It explains the fear and mistrust between so called law enforcement officers and the African American community. It is a gut-wrenching reminder that, black President or not, it is still important to assert that Black Lives Matter. Diamond Reynolds is a woman of amazing grace and courage. She had the foresight to use Facebook to livestream what happened after her fiancé, Philando Castile, was shot four times in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. She had the composure to respond with civility and respect, and in a level tone of voice, to the hysterical human being masquerading as a police officer who shot Mr. Castile. She had the presence of mind to remind the officer that Castile had indicated that he had a conceal carry permit for a weapon before he reached into his jacket to provide the identification that had been demanded. If you had a heart, the ten-minute video would break it at least a dozen times. I know that when the officer barked at Ms. Reynolds to get out of the car and get on her knees, my stomach lurched and I cried out in outrage. After witnessing an execution, and clearly not armed, why was Diamond Reynolds forced onto her knees and handcuffed? Did that sick White police officer think he

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opinion was a god that had to be knelt to, paid homage to? He already had a license to kill. I guess a badge also gives you a license to humiliate. Diamond Reynolds had done nothing wrong. The police, surely, had a right to detain her as a material witness to Philando Castile’s murder. They also claimed the right to demean her and to deny Philando Castile’s relatives the right to identify his body the morning after his death. I am, oh, so weary of these police killings, and all the more weary of our nation’s hate, hubris, and hypocrisy. I am weary of the attempts, already, to discuss Alton Sterling’s criminal record. And I will be weary of the conversation that will ensue as these murders are investigated and as the so-called police officers are not prosecuted, because there was “reasonable doubt” that they “intended” to kill. In the wake of Michael Brown’s murder, President Obama appointed the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. A year ago, they submitted a report that talked about issues like trust between police officers and communities, and “best practices” for police officers. Nearly fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson appointed a similar commission, the 1967 President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. In their report, “The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society,” one of the major findings stated, “Officials of the criminal justice system . . . must re-examine what they do. They must be honest about the system’s shortcomings with the public and with themselves.” Not much has changed in 50 years. Too many police officers are guided by hate and hubris, and protected by hypocrisy, and too many Black men are the “collateral damage” of our broken system.

www.thestlspotlight.com • The Leading Voice of St. Louis’ Black Community


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STL SPOTLIGHT | JULY 2016

business

By Elizabeth Krasnoff Holzer

Earlier this summer, educators from around the country and within the city discussed issues of race, place and power as a part of a symposium titled “African Americans in the Nineteenth Century West.” Organized by Silvana Siddali, Ph.D., associate professor of history, the symposium featured a keynote address by Quintard Taylor Jr., the Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington, Seattle, who is an author and the foremost authority regarding African Americans in the westward expansion of the 1800s. In addition, conference attendees had the opportunity to hear panel discussions regarding African Americans participation in westward expansion from scholars and graduate students. One panel titled “The International West” was chaired by Jonathan Smith, Ph.D., SLU’s special assistant to the president for Diversity and Community Engagement, and included presentations regarding the 1823 African American emigration from Illinois to Haiti, as well as discussion of “The Black Pacific: The Global Containment of Afro-Orientalism.”

SLU Hosts National, Local Scholars for ‘African Americans in the 19th Century West’ Symposium

Among the other topics covered at the symposium were western political activism, black isolationism, “black towns,” African American women creating community in 19th century Los Angeles and issues related to African-Americans’ struggle for equality on the frontier. To augment the experience for local St. Louis City teachers, Siddali led a teacher workshop that referenced the materials in the conference and offered methods and discussions of methods for educating elementary, middle and secondary school students regarding issues of race. “I felt that the workshop was very useful for me personally,” Siddali said. “It’s extremely important for university faculty to remain in touch with what the front lines are doing. I found the questions and insights extremely valuable for building those bridges.” After the workshop, teachers offered their thoughts about their experiences at the workshop and the entire conference. She said she found “the entire conference invaluable. I feel the more we learn of our past, the more change we can effect going forward as a community, a city, a nation and most importantly as members of the only true race, the human race.” n

UM System announces comprehensive audit of diversity and inclusion policies and practices University of Missouri System Interim President Michael Middleton has officially launched a system-wide audit of diversity and inclusion polices, practices and procedures, continuing the process of building more diverse and inclusive environments throughout the UM System. The audit, part of a series of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives announced in November 2015 by the University of Missouri Board of Curators, is expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year. “Our goal is to conduct a critical and honest assessment so we can strengthen and coordinate our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion across the UM System,” Middleton said. “This assessment will help us understand where we stand in comparison to our peer institutions and best practices in higher education. The start of this audit is the latest illustration of the significant progress we are making on the Board’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that were announced last year.” The audit was one of several initiatives announced by the Board of Curators last November to address diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the UM System. Other initiatives include hiring the first-ever Chief Diversity Officer for the UM System; establishing a system-wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force to develop long- and short-term plans and metrics, and providing support for the hiring and retention of diverse faculty and staff. The audit will include focus groups and individual interviews with students, faculty, staff and leadership at all four campuses and at the system, as well as surveys and a complete review of policies, practices and procedures through the lens of diversity and inclusion. Separate focus groups with students and faculty will be conducted in the fall. n

Harris-Stowe State University Accepts Nominations for First-Ever Athletics Hall of Fame Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) is forming its first Athletics Hall of Fame. Harris-Stowe has competed in intercollegiate athletics for more than 75 years and has been a proud member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) since 1969. The University has a number of team championships, All-Conference and All-American performers, and individuals who have dedicated time and resources to the athletic programs and student-athletes. “We are extremely excited to begin acknowledging all of the achievements of teams, individuals and patrons of the HSSU Department of Athletics,” said Jamaal Mayo, HSSU’s Athletic Director. “The administration and Hall of Fame committee have worked

tirelessly to ensure that our Hall classes are celebrated and recognized for their hard work and dedication to the University.” The inaugural Hall of Fame class will be inducted on Oct. 29, 2016 prior to the University’s Homecoming basketball games, which take place in the Emerson Performance Center on the Harris-Stowe campus. The Department of Athletics is accepting nominations for the 2016 Hall of Fame class. Applications with supporting documentation, such as statistics, records, honors and newspaper articles must be submitted no later than August 1, 2016. The University plans to announce the inaugural class on August 8, 2016. n

www.thestlspotlight.com • The Leading Voice of St. Louis’ Black Community


JULY 2016 | STL SPOTLIGHT

Former Chaminade Basketball Star Honored as Gatorade Athlete of the Year hile playing for Chaminade College Prep in Creve Coeur, Jayson Tatum earned the ESPN W rank of one of the top 3 overall recruits in the

country. Jayson is now gearing up for his first college game in a Blue Devil jersey at Duke University. Before stepping on the court for the official tip-off, Jayson has already reached another sports feat; being chosen as Gatorade’s 2016 Athlete of the Year alongside Olympic hurdler and sprinter, Sydney McLaughlin. Jayson is the second Blue Devil in history to obtain the prestigious award. In 2012, Jabari Parker received the honor. Jayson accepted the silver trophy from top athletes Los Angeles Rams player, Todd Gurley, Carolina Panthers quarterback, Cam Newton, retired soccer star, Landon Donovan and NBA rookie of the year, Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns won the award two years ago. ESPN quoted 18-year-old Jayson at the award ceremony, “Dad, I love you,” Tatum said. “Mom, I’m the biggest momma’s boy in the world and I’m not going to change anytime soon.” Prior to his most recent accomplishment, the All-American 205-lb, 6’8” forward continued to solidify his presence on the basketball court. He won three Gold medals as a member of the USA World

sports

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Championship and scored 14 points, four rebounds to help the U.S. defeat World Select at the 2016 Nike Hoop Summit in Portland. This year he was also named to the Jordan Brand Classic where he scored 18 points and 8 boards. His average stats while a senior at Chaminade are just as impressive; he averaged 29 points, 9 rebounds and posted six 40-point games leading his high school to the Missouri Class 5A state title. Jayson was born Jayson Christopher Tatum in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the son of Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole. Jayson’s father played basketball at St. Louis University and currently coaches at Christian Brothers. He has two siblings, brother, Jaycob and sister, Kayden. Previous Gatorade Athlete of the Year recipients include LeBron James, Kevin Love, Dwight Howard and Allyson Felix. n

Serena ties Graf

erena Williams continued her reign over the world of tennis recently winning her 7th WimSbledon championship by beating Angelique Kerber

7-5, 6-3. The Wimbledon victory gives Williams her 22 Majors title tying her with Steffi Graf for the most major championships in the Open era, which began in 1968. Now Williams stands behind

only Margaret Court’s all-time mark of 24. The Wimbledon attempt was Williams 4th at the elusive 22nd title and she admitted to a degree of anxiety. “Yeah, it’s been incredibly difficult not to think about it. I had a couple of tries this year,” Williams said during the trophy ceremony. “But it makes the

victory even sweeter to know how hard I worked for it.” Despite making the finals in 7 of her last 8 Majors, Serena had to use the power of positive thinking to motivate her as the 22nd major became elusive. “I had to start looking at positives, not focusing on that one loss per tournament which really isn’t bad, and for anyone else on this tour would be completely happy about it,” Williams said. “Once I started focusing more on the positives, I realized that I’m pretty good.” At the advanced age of 34, Serena is still showing that her game has yet to diminish. Chris Everett, an 18 time Majors champ in her own right, commented on Serena’s play, “as good as I’ve seen her play in the last year.” Serena added additional icing on the cake by teaming with big sister Venus to win the Wimbledon doubles crown as well. It was the dynamic duo’s 6th time winning the doubles title. Interestingly every time they win a doubles title either Venus or Serena has also won the singles title. n

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