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Tory Lanez Has Issued A ‘Not Guilty’ Plea To Shooting Megan Thee Stallion

Updated November 10, 2020.

Ever since making headlines at the start of 2020 for her hitmaker “Savage” rapper, Megan Thee Stallion has used her voice to call out injustice and celebrate women of color. In July her voice in these realms became even more loud and vital when she became a victim of an act of violence by a man. Now, the 25-year-old rapper is working vigorously to educate others about the importance of protecting Black women through her music, charity, and writing. This is, of course, all while slowly coming out with the details related to the incident in July shooting in which rapper Tory Lanez allegedly shot her in the foot after they had a disagreement.

In a recent interview with GQ, Megan claimed that Lanez begged her not to say anything about the incident that ended with her foot being shot.

the shooting incident, which took place in July, occured after Megan, Lanez, and two others who have yet to be identified left a party at Kylie Jenner’s home. Police were soon called after reports of gunfire occured outside of a separate home and pulled over the car that Megan, Lanez and the others were driving. All three involved were forced by police to get out of the car and lay spread-eagled on the ground. At the time, footage showed Megan limping out of the car and leaving bloody footprints on the ground. Lanez was arrested for being in posession of a concealed weapon.

Soon after the incident, Megan claimed that Lanez offered to pay her and an unidentified friend, who had been present for the incident, to stay quiet.

“[At this point] I’m really scared,” Megan explained, “because this is like right in the middle of all the protesting. Police are just killing everybody for no reason, and I’m thinking, ‘I can’t believe you even think I want to take some money. Like, you just shot me.’ ”

Lanez has repeatedly denied Megan’s account of the incident while also never directly stating that he did not shoot her. A lawyer for Lanez also denied Megan’s allegations to GQ that he ever offered to pay Megan and her friend money.

Now, according to officials, Lanez is pleading not guilty to shooting Megan.

After a Wednesday arraignment in Los Angeles, the 28-year-old rapper entered the “not guilty” plea. He has been charged with one felony count including assault with a semiautomatic firearm, personal use of a firearm. He is also being accused of carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle in an incident that took place on July 12 in the Hollywood Hills.

In October, Megan penned a New York op-ed about the fight to protect Black women and educate the world about their struggle.

In the opinion piece titled “Megan Thee Stallion: Why I Speak Up for Black Women,” the rapper tackles everything from her own recent experiences with gun violence to the legacy of Black women officials, including Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

At the start of her piece, the rapper commented on how “Black women are expected once again to deliver victory for Democratic candidates. We have gone from being unable to vote legally to a highly courted voting bloc — all in little more than a century.” She notes that “despite this and despite the way so many have embraced messages about racial justice this year, Black women are still constantly disrespected and disregarded in so many areas of life.”

She went onto point out that her recent performance on “Saturday Night Live” and how her recent experience of being allegedly shot by singer Tory Lanez led her to initially remain quiet. “My initial silence about what happened was out of fear for myself and my friends. Even as a victim, I have been met with skepticism and judgment,” she explained. “The way people have publicly questioned and debated whether I played a role in my own violent assault proves that my fears about discussing what happened were, unfortunately, warranted.”

“I recently used the stage at ‘Saturday Night Live’ to harshly rebuke Kentucky’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, for his appalling conduct in denying Breonna Taylor and her family justice,” she noted. “I anticipated some backlash: Anyone who follows the lead of Congressman John Lewis, the late civil rights giant, and makes ‘good trouble, necessary trouble,’ runs the risk of being attacked by those comfortable with the status quo. But you know what? I’m not afraid of criticism. We live in a country where we have the freedom to criticize elected officials. And it’s ridiculous that some people think the simple phrase ‘Protect Black women’ is controversial. We deserve to be protected as human beings. And we are entitled to our anger about a laundry list of mistreatment and neglect that we suffer.”

Megan went onto share her own experiences as seeing herself through the eyes of others as a Black woman.

“Beyond threats to our health and lives, we confront so much judgment and so many conflicting messages on a daily basis. If we dress in fitted clothing, our curves become a topic of conversation not only on social media, but also in the workplace. The fact that Serena Williams, the greatest athlete in any sport ever, had to defend herself for wearing a bodysuit at the 2018 French Open is proof positive of how misguided the obsession with Black women’s bodies is,” she went onto write. “I would know. I’ve received quite a bit of attention for appearance as well as my talent. I choose my own clothing. Let me repeat: I choose what I wear, not because I am trying to appeal to men, but because I am showing pride in my appearance, and a positive body image is central to who I am as a woman and a performer. I value compliments from women far more than from men. But the remarks about how I choose to present myself have often been judgmental and cruel, with many assuming that I’m dressing and performing for the male gaze. When women choose to capitalize on our sexuality, to reclaim our own power, like I have, we are vilified and disrespected.”

The rapper’s op-ed came on the heels of an announcement that she will be giving out two scholarships to women of color pursuing higher education.

Megan announced earlier last week that she wants to celebrate other women of color who “Don’t Stop” pursuing their higher education by giving out scholarships.

As part of a partnership with Rap Rotation, Amazon Music’s flagship global hip-hop brand, the rapper launched her Don’t Stop Scholarship Fund on Oct. 8. The scholarship fund is named after her newest single which features Young Thug and will go out to two female students pursuing an associate, bachelor or postgraduate degree in any field.

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Miami Student Becomes First Latino DACA Recipient To Become A Rhodes Scholar And He Says He Owes It All To Elementary School Teacher

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Miami Student Becomes First Latino DACA Recipient To Become A Rhodes Scholar And He Says He Owes It All To Elementary School Teacher

Esta Pratt-Kielley / AFP / Getty

When we look back at our time in elementary or middle school, how many of us distinctly remember a special teacher or school official who went out of their way to help us?

Sure, for many of us school wasn’t always the best place. From teasing and bullying to stress over grades and homework, school can be a stressful place. But it’s also a place often filled with caring, compassionate teachers hoping to build our next generation of Americans.

One of those Americans is Santiago Potes, a DACA recipient originally from Colombia who has just been named a 2021 Rhodes Scholar – the first Latino DACA recipient to earn such a distinction.

Santiago Potes has become the first Latino DACA recipient to become a Rhodes Scholar.

Over the weekend, the Rhodes Trust announced its lineup of Rhodes Scholars and among them is the first ever Latino DACA recipient – Santiago Potes, a 2020 graduate of Columbia University.

In their announcement, the Rhodes Trust wrote, “Santiago has been a teaching or research assistant for leading professors in physics, philosophy, social psychology and neuroscience, and won numerous college prizes for leadership as well as academic performance. He is widely published on legal issues relating to DACA status, was one of the DACA recipients featured in a brief filed with the Supreme Court to preserve DACA.”

Today, Potes works as a full-time paralegal for a Wall Street law firm and is the head teaching assistant for a physics class at Columbia. He’s also a foreign policy expert who speaks nine languages and plans to study international relations during his two-year program in England.

“I really just want to protect  the United States because it really is the only country that I know, and I think that my skills and languages and history and political science could be best used in such a career,” added Potes.

Potes traces his success back to an elementary school teacher, herself an immigrant.

In an interview with CNN, Potes says that he owes all of his success and determination to an elementary school teacher that he saw twice a week from second to fifth grade. “She was one of the biggest blessings that I’ve had in my entire life so far,” he said.

“My parents didn’t go to college. My parents had me when they were 16 years old. So, she really became kind of like my first mother figure actually. She went out of her way to teach me a rigorous education,” he added.

He said he would not have reached this level of success if Esteva had not told him from an early age that she believed he could do great things. For her part, Esteva said she just spotted what was already innately in Potes as a child. “I planted a seed in fertile soil. You took care of a plant. You are the one who made it possible.”

Esteva is a Cuban refugee and immigrant to the United States herself. She said it means even more to have teacher and student, both Latino immigrants and refugees, two generations of opportunity and success in the United States.

His story is one that many in the undocumented community can relate to.

Although Potes had to overcome serious struggles to follow his dreams, overcoming homelessness and a difficult home life, he owes his future to his time spent in the classroom.

Like so many in our community, Potes came from parents who both worked to provide for the family. They themselves were young, undocumented parents. His dad washed cars. His mom worked at a major chain supermarket.

“I loved school because it got me out of the house, which wasn’t a good environment, both my parents were really, really young when they had me, and they just didn’t like me” said Potes.  “It was because my teachers became like maternal figures for me.”

It was around Thanksgiving, years ago, when the family was awakened by an early morning banging on the front door to their cramped studio apartment from what he later came to find out were U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

The 12-year-old managed to grab his school bag and the family escaped through a backyard and were later  picked up by one of his father’s Colombian friends, then taken to a residence where he, his younger brother and parents stayed on a couch for more than a year.

Although Potes is the first Latino DACA recipient to win a Rhodes Scholarship, he’s not the first DACA student.

Although many people associate DACA recipients with being undocumented Latino migrants, that’s not the case. In fact, the first DACA recipient to be named a Rhodes Scholar was Harvard University student Jin Park, of South Korea.

Park, 22, arrived in New York City with his parents from South Korea when he was 7 years old and grew up in Queens, N.Y. Park studied at Harvard working toward a degree in molecular and cellular biology with a minor in ethnicity and migration rights.

“I’ve proposed two master’s degrees for my studies at Oxford: one in migration studies, the other in global health science and epidemiology,” Park says. “I want to do those two degrees and come back and hopefully work in the context of public health department … [to] implement evidence-based policies to improve and work on immigrant health.”

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Black Women Proved They Are the Backbone of the Democratic Party This Election

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Black Women Proved They Are the Backbone of the Democratic Party This Election

Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The election is finally over and the people have spoken. Former Vice President Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States.

When Joe Biden took the stage to give his acceptance speech after being announced the project winner of the 2020 election, he thanked his supporters, which he called “the broadest and most diverse coalition in history.” And finally, he said this: “Especially at those moments when this campaign was at its lowest ebb, the The African American community stood up again for me. You’ve always had my back, and I’ll have yours.”

But it was one group in particular that went above and beyond when it came to showing up for Joe Biden: Black women.

Exit polls show that 93% of Black women cast their vote for Joe Biden this year–more than any gender and ethnic subgroup. Because Black women showed up in large numbers and overwhelmingly cast their vote for Joe Biden this election, they may have single-handedly tipped the vote in his favor.

If you’ve followed the news closely, you know that it was key battleground states like Georgia and Pennsylvania decided this election. These states have major metropolitan cities like Atlanta and Philadelphia that have large Black populations. The Black women of these battleground states put in the work of organizing, campaigning, and rallying for the Democratric nominee.

As the news rolled in that Georgia–a state that has reliably gone red since 1992–was projected to flip blue, pundits and online commenters felt the need to give credit to Stacey Abrams. Abrams was the 2018 Democratic candidate for Georgia’s gubernatorial election.

After Abrams lost the election, she founded Fair Fight Action, an organization that aims to promote “fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights.” Since its inception Fair Fight Action has registered an estimated 800,000 new voters.

The promising news is that it appears that Black women will no longer have to carry the Democratic party alone. In Arizona, Latinas also organized en masse, mobilizing their community with the express goal of getting Trump out of office. Latina activists helped to flip Arizona blue [note: as of November 9th, the AP still projects that Arizona will go blue).

The model of grassroots organization goes back to Black female activists like Stacey Abrams who believed in her community enough to fight for it. Abrams knew she was only one of thousands of women like her who wanted a better country, so she set about mobilizing her community of like-minded people. And because of Abrams and Black women activists like her, we have a new president.

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