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KeKe Palmer Hosted 1st Youth Inauguration Program for Biden

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Before the Presidential Inauguration, Keke Palmer and Dr. Jill Biden hosted the first-ever Youth Inauguration Program for American families.

What We Know:

  • On Wednesday, actress Keke Palmer hosted an inaugural first: a curated live stream for youth titled “Our White House: An Inaugural Celebration for Young Americans” which took place before and during the inauguration ceremony which began at 10 a.m. EST. The event featured a message from Jill Biden, who holds a doctorate in education. “Inaugurations are one of the most important American traditions,” First Lady Dr. Jill Biden said in a video posted to the Biden Inaugural Instagram account.

  • During the live stream of “Our White House,” a special message from Dr. Jill Biden was heard. “I’m excited to take you on this journey with me. Together we will experience how Democracy works and what makes Inauguration Day, so special” Dr. Biden said. There was even a Presidential Pets Pop Quiz sponsored by Nickelodeon. Statements from Doug Emhoff, Michelle Krowl, and David Kennedy are among those involved in the “Our White House” presentation.
  • There was a segment on the presidential pets, who are the first pets in the White House after four years. The United States has been without presidential dogs since 2016, when President Donald Trump became the first president without a dog in decades. According to Today, “Our White House” featured commentary from historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Erica Armstrong Dunbar, as well as excerpts of student voices from PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs’ “We the Young People” programming. All programs streamed live on the PIC social media channels YouTube,  Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch.
  • The first lady made an appearance during Tuesday’s Discovery Education program “I Do Solemnly Swear: The U.S. Presidential Inauguration” at 12 p.m. EST. That program aims to teach students about the history of the inauguration.
  • Most of the events surrounding the swearing-in were virtually focused, in part due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, as well as fresh security concerns following a pro-Trump mob breaching the Capitol last week in a riot that left five dead. On the other hand, those who watched the inauguration from home were entertained by the star-studded lineup. Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Jon Bon Jovi, Ant Clemons, and Tom Hanks appeared during Joe Biden’s inauguration festivities.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were inaugurated today, January 20, becoming the 46th President and Vice-president of the United States. You can watch a replay here and make sure to catch special Black New Alerts coverage here.

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White House Backs Police Reform Bill Named After George Floyd

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The White House confirms that it is in favor of a police reform bill that has been proposed.

What We Know:

  • On Monday, the Biden Administration voiced its support of a bill, H.R 1280, that is currently pending in the house. A previous bill was proposed by Democrats last year that passed in the house but was denied in the majority republican ran senate.
  • The bill is named after George Floyd, a resident of Minnesota, who was killed as a result of Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for an excessive amount of time despite his cries for help. Chauvin is expected to serve trial on Monday and is facing charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
  • The George Floyd Policing Act will save lives, said Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House. The George Floyd Policing act will work at addressing things like systematic racism and stop no-knock warrants. The legislation presented is not only just tackling causes that led to the death of Breonna Taylor, Alton Sterling, George Floyd but working at ending some of the prejudices people of color face in the United States. Nancy Pelosi made the following statement about the bill last week, “The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will address systemic racism, curb police brutality and save lives.”

“This legislation includes bold reforms, which ban chokeholds, stop no knocks warrants, end the court-created qualified immunity doctrine, combat racial profiling, and establish strong new standards and protection to prevent and combat police misconduct,” she continued.

  • Unlike last year, the bill will be going through a Democratic ran senate. It is still possible for the bill to have a hard time making it through the senate because at least 10 republican votes are required for it to pass. According to a press release on Pelosi’s website, she is very confident about this bill and is optimistic that her work with the Biden administration and the American people will push this bill past the Senate and into action.

The George Floyd Policing Act is maybe what America needs to step in the direction of ending police brutality or at least a first significant step.

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Chicago Comedian Erica Watson Dies at 48 Due to COVID-19

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Eric Faye Watson, writer, and actress, known for Precious, Top Five, and Chi-raq, has passed away due to complications relating to coronavirus. She was 48.

What We Know:

  • Watson was born and raised in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Born in February 1973, she attended Apostle Elementary School, Kenwood high school, and earned her BA and MA at Columbia College Chicago. As a child, she was also a member of the Chicago Children’s Choir and The Merit School of Music. Watson was an actress, stand-up comedian, public relations representative, writer, activist, and director.
  • The news of Watson’s passing broke through on Facebook when her brother posted an update. “We are not taking this easy. Please respect our privacy right now…”, her brother exclaims. After she celebrated her birthday a few days prior, Watson passed away in Montego Bay, Jamaica. According to Chicago Tribune, she was also working remotely from Jamaica due to concerns she had regarding COVID-19 in the United States. There currently isn’t any confirmation on how long Watson had the virus or whether it was recently contracted.
  • Watson was known for being a multi-faceted individual. In 2017, Erica hosted a “Feminist Comedy Marathon” at The Brooklyn Museum, which featured 50 of NYC’s best female comics. Southside business owner Qiana Allen expressed interest in Watson after she attended “Fat Bitch!”, Watson’s one-woman show, in 2014. The two women became friends, and Watson became Allen’s publicist.

When news of Watson’s passing broke, Allen expressed, “Erica would share all of her knowledge with everybody, especially if she sees something in them.”

  • She had so many dreams and aspirations that she wanted to complete, and that bothers me the most – she’ll never get the chance to fulfill those things,” she continued. Before her death, Watson expressed that she wanted to write and direct her own movies one day in a column by Plus Model Magazine.
  • In 2018, Watson created a cosmetic collection entitled “fierce.” in a brand partnership with Nena Cosmetics and also modeled as one of the cover girls for their advertisements. Watson leaves behind many projects and loved ones in the wake of her passing.

According to her family, the funeral for Erica Faye Watson will be held in Chicago, but there isn’t a confirmed date as of late.

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Fort Worth Police Officer Fired Over Racially Insensitive Social Media Post

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In Fort Worth, Texas, a police officer has been fired after making a racially insensitive post on social media.

What We Know:

  • On Monday, officials from the Fort Worth Police Department announced their decision to fire Officer Kelly Kujawski just one month after the department’s internal affairs was notified about Kujawski’s online activity. Kujawski was reported by another officer and placed on restricted duty on February 5th while the incident remained under investigation.
  • Although the department has not shared the details of the social media post, the WFAA reported that Kujawski was fired for violating the department’s General Orders on social media use.
  • In a press release from the department, officials wrote, “The Fort Worth Police Department holds every officer to a very high standard and any comment, post, or any communication which is racially insensitive and unprofessional will not be condoned in any manner.”

  • Kujawski is the fourth officer from the Fort Worth Police Department to be fired in the past month and the second officer to be fired for making a racially insensitive post on social media. The three other officers that were let go acted in isolated incidents.
  • On February 9th, Officer Chadwick Hughes was also fired by the department after he made racially insensitive social media posts. Police lieutenant Gary Hawley was fired in early February after being arrested off-duty under the suspicion of driving drunk in December. Officer Scott Smith was fired after being charged with a theft that occurred on Dec. 14th.

Fort Worth Chief of Police Neil Noakes agreed with the decision to terminate Kujawski, describing her actions as “conduct [that] brought unfavorable criticism upon the department.”

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