The U.S. is slated to declare that the “War on Drugs” has come to an end, according to new reports. The country plans on altering drug laws. “We will call for pragmatic and concrete criminal justice reform, areas such as alternatives to incarceration or drug courts, or sentencing reform,” said William Brownfield, assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. “In other words, as President Obama has said many times publicly, to decriminalize much of the basic behavior in drug consumption in order to focus scarce law enforcement resources on the greater challenge of the large transnational criminal organizations.” The drug reforms are slated to be presented to the United Nations in April. Read more.
Gladys Knight, Amandla Stenberg, Shonda Rhimes, and More to Be Honored at BLACK GIRLS ROCK!
In April, hundreds of people will gather at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey to pay homage to Black women who have broken barriers and made strides in their careers during the 2016 BLACK GIRLS ROCK! awards ceremony. Among those being honored include actress Amandla Stenberg, legendary songstress Gladys Knight, television producer and writer Shonda Rhimes, and Black Lives Matter founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi. “Over the last ten years, ‘BLACK GIRLS ROCK!’ has reaffirmed the spectrum of brilliance that Black women possess and has helped forge a cultural paradigm shift regarding the ways that Black women and girls are depicted in media,” said Beverly Bond, founder and CEO of BLACK GIRLS ROCK!. “Powerhouses Debra Lee, CEO and Chairman of BET Networks and Beverly Bond, CEO of ‘Black Girls Rock!’ are true examples of Black Girls who Rock. I’ve proudly hosted this show since before it was televised, and it’s been an honor to be connected to this show for so long. In its 10th year, this show is of utmost importance in today’s times as it highlights positive reinforcement and representation for young black women.” Actress Tracee Ellis Ross is slated to host the show. The ceremony will be taped on April 1 and broadcasted on April 5 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on BET. Read more.
President Obama Calls on the Tech Industry to Upgrade Legacy Systems
Barack Obama made history on Friday, becoming the first sitting president to be a keynote speaker at the SXSW festival. President Obama had a sit-down with Evan Smith, Editor-in-Chief of The Texas Tribune, before 2,000 festival attendees. The two discussed “civic engagement in the 21st century.” During the conversation, President Obama focused on the need for the tech industry to utilize their skills to upgrade several systems the country has in place. “The reason I’m here is to recruit all of you. We can start up coming up with new platforms, new ideas across disciplines and across skill sets to solve some of the big problems we’re facing today,” he said. He shared how dated systems affect major things like voting. “It is much easier to order a pizza [online] than it is for you to exercise your single most important task in a Democracy. If we make it easier, if it’s being done online, you have the capacity to interact with government in a way that gives you feedback about how your tax dollars are being spent and how this is important. It’s a two-way exchange, instead of something that feels distant that you have no control over.” Read more.
Study: Economic Disparities Cause Low-Income Youth to Drop Out of High School
According to a new study, economic disparities have a huge impact on the trajectory of youth living in low-income communities. A report, titled “Income Inequality, Social Mobility, and the Decision to Drop out of High School,” shows that youngsters who live in low-income communities where there is a large income gap are more likely to drop out of high school. Authors Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip B. Levine discovered that one-fourth of students who begin high school in states with a large income gap, which include Washington, D.C., Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana, don’t end up graduating in four years. “Income inequality can negatively affect the perceived returns to investment in education from the perspective of an economically disadvantaged adolescent,” wrote Kearney and Wellesley. “Perceptions beget perceptions. Specifically, we posit that greater levels of income inequality could lead low-income youth to perceive a lower return to investment in their own human capital. Such an effect would offset any potential ‘aspirational’ effect coming from higher educational wage premiums.” Read more.
SNL Spoofs Violent Trump Rally
NBC’s Saturday Night Live is known for poking fun at serious issues. One of their latest parodies tackled the violence at Donald Trump’s rallies. Actor Darrell Hammond played Trump and Jay Pharaoh took on the role of Ben Carson. During the skit, Carson shared that he was endorsing Trump and was attacked because he was mistaken for a protester. Carson stood on stage beside Trump holding a steak over his eye. “Guys what did I say? Not this one. This is one of the good ones,” said Trump. The two then shared a list of Trump’s “Black friends,” which included Mike Tyson, Dennis Rodman, and Omarosa. The skit wasn’t the only politically inspired segment; SNL also mocked Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Read more.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO SOURCE: Inform