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Obama ‘Alumni’ Create Scholarship Program to Boost Young Latinos in Public Service Internships

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Two former White House staffers from the Obama administration have created a scholarship opportunity for Latino students in Washington DC.

What We Know:

  • The founders of the Latinx44 Scholarship Program are two lawyers, Antoinette Rangel, and Alexa Kissinger. This nonprofit program is designed to award Latino students with scholarships that will help fund internships that promote public service.
  • The program is being funded by Latinos44, which is made up of hundreds of Latino officials who worked at the White House during Obama’s administration. It has already raised more than $10,000 and will provide $1,500 scholarships to Latino students in DC.
  • The scholarship is open to college or graduate students who identify with the Latinx community as long as they have secured a public service internship in D.C. for the summer. The program will provide students with professional development opportunities and mentors that will help them within their specific career paths.
  • Rangel began her career as an intern for the Office of Political Affairs in the White House. “I knew White House interns who had to take out personal loans or work multiple jobs or really live on a frugal budget,” she told NBC News. “For students coming from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, it could mean them not taking an opportunity.”
  • Last year, The National Association of Colleges and Employers found that Hispanic students were the demographic who had never had an internship among college seniors. If they did, it was likely unpaid. Additionally, Latino students only make up 5 percent of congressional interns despite the demographic representing 20 percent of undergraduate students in the nation, according to the nonprofit Pay Our Interns.
  • Rangel hopes that the program will support the next “generation of Latinx leaders.” “We just want to make sure Latinx students have the same opportunities as their peers from other backgrounds, so they get these experiences of a lifetime,” she said.

The deadline to apply for the scholarship is April 1st.

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Education

George Clooney And Other Stars Launch Public LA Film School

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George Clooney is one of many stars co-founding a public high school in the Los Angeles United School District to provide underserved communities an opportunity to break into the film industry.

What We Know:

  • Clooney, Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle, Mindy Kaling, and Eva Longoria are just a few listed as the founding members of the Roybal School of Film and Television Production. Housed in the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center in the Westlake District area of LA, the magnet program will provide curriculum, practical training, and internships.
  • In a statement, Clooney said, “Our aim is to better reflect the diversity in our country. That means starting early. It means creating high school programs that teach young people about cameras, and editing and visual effects and sound and all the career opportunities this industry has to offer.” LAUSD teachers will be given access to industry professionals in order to achieve these goals.
  • Under the direction of principal Blanca Crus, the school’s curriculum will be developed to meet the standards of the State of California. Austin Beutner, LAUSD Superintendent, expressed his approval, “Physics is involved in the choice of lens by a cinematographer, math is part of the foundation for a musical score…critical thinking skills are needed to design a set, screenwriters need a foundation in literacy, and a make-up artist needs to know chemistry of the different materials they might use — all of this will be tied into the curriculum at the school.”
  • The Roybal School of Film and Television is expected to launch in the fall of 2022. The plan is to enroll underclassmen to begin and expand to upperclassmen in the following two years. There will then be an opportunity to expand the pilot program to more schools in LA.

Initiatives like these spearheaded by actors in the industry show the desire for the film world to better capture the American experience in all capacities.

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Education

Michael Jordan Donates $1 Million to Morehouse College, Allocated to Enrich the School’s Journalism and Sports Program

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Michael Jordan and Nike’s Jordan Brand’s donation will enrich Morehouse College’s Journalism and Sports Program founded by actor and director Spike Lee and late sports columnist Ralph Wiley.

What We Know:

  • The contribution comes from Jordan and Jordan Brand’s Black Community Commitment, which grants monetary gifts to associations that preserve Black culture. Previously, the Black Community Commitment assisted the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Ida B. Wells Society.

 “We want to help people understand the truth of our past and help tell the stories that will shape our future,” said Jordan about the endowment.

  • Morehouse College wrote in a news release that the donation would make scholarships, technology, and educational programming more available to students. Monique Dozier, Morehouse’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement, expressed gratitude for the charity. Dozier declared the funds would ensure “equity, balance, and truth in the way sports stories are framed and the way the Black experience is contextualized within American history.”
  • The program, which Morehouse provides as a minor, focuses on the absence of Black leadership in sports journalism and athletics. So far, more than 80 students have added Journalism and Sports to their undergraduate studies.
  • Lee and Wiley came up with the idea after discussing the fact that sports journalism lacks minority reporters, despite many athletes being people of color. This motivated the two friends to find a way to fix this disparity. Eventually, officials from Lee’s alma mater entered the discussion, and they added a Journalism and Sports concentration to Morehouse’s curriculum in 2007. After some time, the university upgraded it to a minor.
  • Morehouse prepares their pupils with four core courses on reporting, interviewing, ethical fundamentals, online writing, social media, and sports coverage while using photography and videography as storytelling tools. Undergraduates may also partake in internships and register in elective courses that teach them topics such as African-American politics, history, psychology, and economics.

Moreover, Lee has stated that Jordan’s donation will create “a rich legacy of storytellers” to influence the representation of Black people on television and Hollywood. “We’ve got to tell our story,” Lee declared.

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Crime

The Bodies of 215 Children Discovered at Former Canadian School for Indigenous People

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Canadian Press/Rex/Shutterstock

Using ground-penetrating radar, officials were able to identify a mass gravesite with 215 bodies at the former Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia, Canada.

What We Know:

  • The Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia, was established by the Roman Catholic Church in 1890 and closed in 1978. Residential schools were a part of a nationwide Canadian initiative to assimilate indigenous children forcibly. Children between the ages of 4 and 15 were taken from their families and prohibited to practice any aspect of native culture.
  • The Tk’emlups te Secwépemc people announced the discovery. Chief Rosanne Casimir says some of the victims were as young as three years old. The causes and timing of their deaths are unknown.
  • Kamloops was one of the largest Residential Schools in Canada. In total, 150,000 children attended the institution. Former students recall unsanitary conditions and exposure to numerous contagious diseases.
  • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calculates a minimum of 3,201 residential school deaths. This number is uncertain because of unaccounted deaths and destroyed files. In the case of Kamloops, a local museum archivist is working with the Royal British Columbia Museum to find a paper trail documenting the victims.

Mass graves at residential schools have long been an urban legend in indigenous communities across Canada. This discovery at Kamloops proves these suspicions to be true. “This is the reality of the genocide that was, and is, inflicted upon us as Indigenous peoples by the colonial state. Today we honor the lives of those children and hold prayers that they, and their families, may finally be at peace,” said Grand Chief Stewart Philip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.

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