Things That Matter

Black Harvard Law Students Are Saying That They Are In Fear Of Their Lives After Menacing Racist Emails Were Sent To Them

This past spring the world of academia proved just how little it cares for minority and disadvantaged students when it was revealed that various colleges and universities across the country were involved in a millions of dollars bribing scheme. In short, the scheme gave affluent students “back door” access to elite schools and proved just how important programs like affirmative action are for minority students. Of course, few were surprised when news broke that these students had paid their way into some of the country’s top schools. In fact, for many, it proved once again, that in a lot of ways money really buy you everything even a Harvard degree. Now, a new report from Buzzfeed News is reminding us once again, how little academic centers advocate for its students of color.  

In a new report by the news outlet, four first-year Harvard Law School students complained they have been targeted by racist and sexist emails and text messages from another student. They’re accusing Harvard Law School of not doing enough to deal with the verbal threats and harassment. 

The students are accusing Harvard Law School of upholding racist and sexist views by not doing anything to support them.

According to BuzzfeedNews, the students emailed the dean of the law school, describing the messages as containing “racist taunts about affirmative action and intelligence” and “body-shaming.” 

The email’s and text messages contained “other personal insults.” The emails and text messages were sent from an anonymous source to black and woman students during their first-year between December 2018 and March 2019. 

BuzzFeed News reports that of the 80 students in the section, nine are black and 21 are “other minorities.” The first student that began receiving threatening text messages was one of the black students, Mo Light. The message Light received came from “impeachmo@gmail.com” and the sender stated that the student didn’t “belong here.” 

“You’re just here because of affirmative action, why even try?,” the sender wrote. “Everyone at [Harvard Law School] thinks you’re a joke, but I guess your section is lucky to have a curve boost.” 

(Photo credit: Mo Light, via BuzzFeed News) 

Immediately, Light took action and told a faculty member about the email he had received. He also tells BuzzFeed that he filed a police report with the Harvard University Police Department. 

“My initial reaction, ‘Wow, this is upsetting,’ but it’s not surprising, given that this is just living while black,'” Light told BuzzFeed News. Despite reaching out to faculty and the university police department, the messages would continue and now to other students of their class. 

Chris Volcy, one of the students who was also targeted, told BuzzFeed News the messages made her feel unsafe and uncomfortable going to class. “It was all we could think about… all we could talk about, all we were focusing on, instead of our schoolwork,” said Volcy. 

Another student, Chelsea Rooney, told the publication that the messages deeply disturbed her and she decided to report them to the administration. “In the era of school shootings, in this era of white supremacy, really and the violence and anger that goes along with that, I think it was our duty as students to bring this forward.”

(Photo credit: Chris Volcy via BuzzFeed News) 

“It would have been really irresponsible for us to receive these messages, know that someone is exhibiting really bizarre behavior, and not say anything,” the student said. 

The black students who were targeted said they felt the attacks were racist while the other two women students believed they were targeted due to other personal issues with the supposed sender. They also told BuzzFeed News that they had an idea of who the suspected sender was. 

Ultimately, the students believe the reports were ignored and their concerns weren’t addressed. 

Now, they’re accusing Harvard Law of not doing enough to support them.

In a statement from Harvard Law School to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for the school said that none of the messages the students received “threaten[ed] any type of violence.” The spokesperson also said they couldn’t “publicly disclose” the details of the investigation in order to “protect the respective rights of all parties.” 

However, we can’t help but wonder, where was this “respect” when the worried students reached out to school administration addressing their concerns?

The other students who received abusive, sexist and racist text messages were told to “no one likes you gtfo.” Chelsea Rooney was also called a “horse face from Texas” by the anonymous sender. Another woman student, who asked to remain anonymous, was called a “fat overweight pig.”

One would think that given the political climate in the country, Harvard Law School would act appropriately and try harder to find the culprit. Given the institutions elite status, one would also think that after the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, universities and colleges across the country would think twice before letting something like this escalate.

Twitter users also rallied behind the students who are accusing another student of targetting them with racist and sexist emails and text messages.

One woman said Harvard Law school must “identify and excise” the person that’s responsible for harassing the students. 

Another Twitter user called Harvard Law School a “scam” and “shameful.”

“They do not support or protect their students of color or their women students,” the Twitter user said.

A Harvard Law School student also chimed in and said that when “elite institutions permit racist and sexist abuse their students” and don’t do anything about it, it speaks volumes.

“It endorses the racists’ message: You don’t belong here,” he writes. 

The law student also urged other Twitter users to sign the students’ petition to Harvard Law School, demanding a serious response to this racism and sexism.

“The school’s response was disheartening, but your action and emails helped us get our first response from the school.  We cannot thank you enough,” Chris Volcy, Chelsea Rooney, and Mo Light write in the petition. “But trust us when we say that there is evidence to make a determination on the identity of the sender, and we want to see why the school decided to let us attend classes with an individual capable of sending the attached messages from anonymous emails and unknown phone numbers. If you think that the school should at least release the investigation report to the members of Section 7 so that we can understand their decision, please sign this petition.” 

Bernie Sanders Faces Backlash For Saying That Not ‘Everything Is Bad’ In Castro’s Cuba

Things That Matter

Bernie Sanders Faces Backlash For Saying That Not ‘Everything Is Bad’ In Castro’s Cuba

berniesanders / Instagram

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is once again touting what he sees as the benefits of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. The Vermont senator first made comments praising parts of Castro’s Cuba in a 1985 interview. Now, 15 years later, Sen. Sanders is standing behind his idea that not everything is bad in Cuba in a 60 Minutes interview.

Senator Bernie Sanders is facing backlash from critics after his 60 Minutes interview because of his comments on Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

In the 1980s, Sen. Sanders was caught on camera more than once praising parts of the Castro regime in Cuba. He points to the health care and education systems as parts of the government that works for Cuban people. The comments resurfaced in 2019 and caused a backlash against the senator in the Cuban diaspora, whose pains are still fresh from the overthrow of the government.

Now, in a “60 Minutes” interview, the Vermont senator has doubled down on his comments that some of the Cuban government is good.

Anderson Cooper – “What is Democratic Socialism?”

Bernie Sanders – “When Donald Trump was a private businessman in New York, he got $800 million in tax breaks and subsidies to build luxury housing. That’s called Socialism. What Democratic Socialism is about is saying, ‘Let’s use the federal government to protect the interest of working families.’”

BS – “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba. But, you know, it’s simply unfair to say that everything is bad. You know, when Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing, even though Fidel Castro did it?”

AC – “There were a lot of dissidents imprisoned in Cuba.”

BS – “That’s right and we condemn that. Unlike Donald Trump, let’s be clear. I do not think that Kim Jung Un is a good friend. I don’t trade love letters with a murdering dictator. Vladimir Putin, not a great friend of mine.”

The comments have sparked some backlash on social media from Cubans and Cuban-Americans.

Credit: @marcorubio / Twitter

Senator Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American, has been a vocal opponent of Socialism. He has used the crisis in Venezuela to solidify his point about the dangers of the government system he believes Sen. Sanders wants to start in the U.S. Yet, Sen. Sanders’s point is not that the Castro regime is good. In the “60 Minutes” interview, the senator made it clear that he does not support the Castro regime and the brutality it caused for the Cuban people. However, he does believe there are things we can learn from the Caribbean island about offering health care and education to the population.

One point of contention with the senator’s comments is that the Cuban people didn’t fight back because of the new programs.

Credit: @DebbieforFL / Twitter

The Castro regime is known to have oppressed dissidents and political opponents. Speaking out against the authoritarian regime was not safe. People were jailed, killed, and exiled for standing up to Castro’s rise to power. Families fled the island and settled around the world to escape what they saw as a justifiable threat to their lives and sovereignty.

Some people are sharing personal stories of their families’ treatment under the Castro regime.

Credit: @GiancarloSopo / Twitter

The generational trauma created by the Castro regime is still felt today. Some people used Sen. Sanders’s comments as a chance to tell a fuller story of the government some have praised for their social services.

A clip of President Barack Obama speaking on the same social issues in Cuba is also circulating.

President Obama worked tirelessly to reopen relations between the U.S. and Cuba. He was the first sitting president to visit the island when it was announced that diplomatic ties were reopened between the two countries. Part of being able to open those relations was eliminating the “wet foot, dry foot” policy that allowed Cuban nationals to stay in the U.S. after migrating. This allowed Cubans to be deported back to Cuba, something that hadn’t happened since Cubans first started to flee their homeland. In response, Cubans illegally in the U.S. have been subjected to ICE raids and detention for the first time because of President Donald Trump’s increasing escalation against the immigrant community.

There is a lot of concern from Democratic supporters that the comment could cost the party Florida in the general election if Sen. Sanders is nominated.

Credit: @IvanBrandon / Twitter

The Cuban and Cuban-American population in Florida is a key demographic to win the state in general elections. His comments cherry-picking what is and is not good about the Cuban government is having a resonating effect in Florida. Cuban Democrats and Republicans in the state are untied in rebuking the senator’s comments as glossing over the true victimization and terror millions faced.

READ: Bernie Sanders Praises Fidel Castro And His Revolution In Cuba During Resurfaced Interview From 1985

You Can Still Watch Kobe And Gianna Bryant’s Tearful Memorial Service

Entertainment

You Can Still Watch Kobe And Gianna Bryant’s Tearful Memorial Service

CNN / Twitter

It was a sad and reflective day at the Staples Center today as fans and friends of the late basketball player Kobe Bryant gathered to celebrate his life as well as that of his daughter Gianna Bryant. The memorial held in their honor saw guests speak about their lives, passion for the game of basketball and love for the people they left behind.

Here’s a look at the top most emotional moments from the memorial today.

Christina Aguilera’s “Ave Maria” performance

The six-time Grammy Award-winning singer Christina Aguilera took the stage at Staples to perform “Ave Maria” for Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial service.

Shaq reflected on his rivalry with Kobe.

Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant’s long time competitor, opened up about life as his teammate.

“We fought and we bantered back and forth with offhanded remarks, but make no mistakes, and you folks thought we were on bad terms, and when the cameras were turned off we would wink at each other and said, ‘let’s go whip some ass.'”

O’Neil also shared a sweet anecdote about their relationship as teammates. “Kobe and I always maintained a deep respect and love with one another. The day Kobe gained my respect was when the guys were complaining, and they said, Kobe’s not passing the ball. I said I will talk to him. I said, Kobe, there’s no “I” in team, and he said, I know, but there’s a “Me” in that m**********r.” Shaq recalled he returned back to his other teammates and said “Just get the rebound, he’s not passing.”26 min ago

Michael Jordan described Kobe’s death saying “a piece of me died.”

Michael Jordan had long been attributed to being Kobe Bryant’s inspiration for his successful basketball careers. Speaking about learning about Bryant’s death, Jordan said “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died.”

Kobe’s wife Vanessa brought the stadium to tears with her speech.

Though Kobe’s wife Vanessa gave her speech early on during the memorial, her’s was by far the most sentimental and emotional. Speaking about her daughter Giana, Vanessa recalled how she was “very thoughtful and always kissed me good night and kissed me good morning. There were a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianka and Capri, and i thought she had left to school without saying goodbye. I text and say, ‘No kiss?’ And Gianna would reply with, ‘Mama, I kissed you. You were asleep and I didn’t want to wake you.’ She knew how much her morning and evening kisses meant to me, and she was so thoughtful to remember to kiss me every day. She was daddy’s girl, but I know she loved her mama, and she would always show me and tell me that she loved me. She was one of my very best friends.”

Speaking about her husband Kobe, Vanessa recalled how “A couple weeks before they passed Kobe sent me a sweet text and mentioned how he wanted to spend time together, just the two of us, without our kids, because I am his best friend first. We never got the chance to do it. We were busy taking care of our girls and just doing our regular everyday responsibilities. But I’m thankful I have that recent text. It means so much to me. Kobe wanted us to renew our vows. He wanted Natalia to take over his company and he wanted to travel the world together. We talked about how we would be the fun grandparents to our daughters’ children. He would have been the coolest grandpa..”