Things That Matter

The White House’s Halloween Party Had A Station For Kids To ‘Build The Wall’

Just when you thought life at the Trump-occupied White House couldn’t get scarier, the president of the United States decided to hold an actual party for kids there. As reported by Yahoo News, children in attendance at the party which took place on October 25th were encouraged to take part in a build the wall” activity.

For the White House’s big Halloween bash, children were encouraged to take part in Trump’s politics by constructing a wall.

Those who were invited to the event were families of executive-branch employees and VIP guests. Children were instructed to write their names on brick-colored paper cards and then asked to tape their cards to a wall located on the first floor of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. In photos published by Yahoo News, dozens of red card with the names of the children who participated can be seen plastered to the walls of the Eisenhower offering building. 

According to a spokesperson for Vice-President Mike Pence, each office in the Eisenhower building put up decorations. One of the decorations included a construction-themed display that according to Yahoo “had a sign that read ‘Trump’s Crew.’”  The Hill reported that close to the display was a sign that read “America First,” the very slogan Trump has received backlash and criticism for using because of its close associations with the Ku Klux Klan.

Other activities reportedly included paper plane construction workshops, carnival, and candy games as well as activities that prompted the children to explore what they would do when they grew up. 

According to reports, not every parent was impressed by the decorations so much as they were “horrified.” 

Yahoo News reported that an anonymous attendee of the activities said that they were “Horrified. We were horrified.” Yahoo also interviewed others who attended and weren’t bothered at all. One Trump administration worker said that “everyone loses their minds over everything, and nothing can be funny anymore.”

Ben Rohrbaugh, a former Border Security director in the White House National Security Council who served during the President Obama-era described the wall display to Yahoo News as a “gross thing” to have kids do. “To the extent it’s a representation of an actual wall on the southwest border, the kids have made nearly as much progress as the president has since 2017.”

Immigration activists have been quick to slam the wall display underlining its cruelty and crossing of a line. 

 “I don’t think they understand the amount of pain that people are going through at the border for them to make a joke out of it,” Erika Andiola, the chief advocacy officer for RAICES told the Cut in an interview. “We still are dealing with children in cages even if people are not calling it that, so it’s not a joke.”

Though the White House has not commented on the Halloween border wall activity, Vice President Mike Pence that he had not been aware of it.

“I have no idea. I’m not aware of it,” Pence told Yahoo! News.

Erica Castro, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro, slammed the activity on Twitter.

“This is not the example we should be leading for our children,” she tweeted in response to the activity. “During Halloween 2021, we will invite all children and families to the White House with the spirit of unity, joy and celebration.”

Twitter users were quick to respond to the contentious Halloween activity.

Erica Castro, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro, also criticized the activity on Twitter.

In a series of posts to her Twitter account, Castro condemned the event and shared that under a Castro administration, “everyone matters. Everyone is welcome.”

“This is not the example we should be leading for our children,” she tweeted. “During Halloween 2021, we will invite all children and families to the White House with the spirit of unity, joy and celebration.”

A Black Transgender Woman Was Killed On The Last Day Of Pride

Things That Matter

A Black Transgender Woman Was Killed On The Last Day Of Pride

@astoldbymelly/ Twitter

We’re now almost halfway through 2020 and the statistics tallying the number of murders that have occurred this year in the trans community are alarming. Sadly when it came to the sacred month of Pride the trans community did not receive a break in these numbers, unfortunately.

A community in Dallas, Texas is currently coming to terms with the death of 22-year-old Merci Mack a Black transg woman whose body was discovered in Dallas on the final day of Pride.

Mack, whose body was discovered in a parking lot, is at least the 18th trans person to be killed in 2020.

According to reports, Mack’s body was discovered at 6:15 a.m and had sustained gunshot wounds. She was found in a parking lot of the Rosemont Apartments located in South Dallas. After her body was discovered, residents at the apartment claimed to police that they heard shots fired an hour beforehand. According to the Dallas Police Department, they never received a 911 about the incident. By the time an emergency response team came to the scene, Mack was dead.

Despite being an openly trans woman, reports by law enforcement and the local media deadnamed her.

The lack of support in using the deadnames of trans people has earned the ire of The Associated Press Stylebook  GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). AP urges reporters to use “use the name by which a transgender person now lives” and HRC has published trans reporting guidelines for police and members of the media. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for the department has said that their “hearts go out to the grieving family who are trying to cope with the loss of their love one… Our detectives, as with all murders, are working diligently to find the perpetrator to this horrible crime.”

In response to Mack’s tragic death, LGBTQ+ groups have released statements honoring her life and legacy.

“Another Black transgender woman has had her life stolen from her,” Tori Cooper, a director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative stated an interview. “We cannot become numb to the fact that our community has learned of more killings of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the past few weeks than HRC has ever tracked in the past seven years.”

Mack is at least the 11th trans person to die since 2017 in Texas because of violence. Almost all of them have been Black women. Most recently, in May of this year, Helle Jae O’Regan was stabbed to death while at a barbershop in San Antonio.

A Group Of Women Who Sued Harvey Weinstein For Misconduct Have Reached A Nearly $19 Million Settlement

Entertainment

A Group Of Women Who Sued Harvey Weinstein For Misconduct Have Reached A Nearly $19 Million Settlement

Spencer Platt / Getty

Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein might be in prison but his legal woes continue.

The former film producer and convicted sex offender who founded the entertainment company Miramax and was toppled by allegations of sexual assault amid the early days of the #MeToo movement is still paying big time for his depraved acts of sexual assault and harassment. This week, Weinstein was successfully sued for sexual misconduct by a group of women and reached a nearly $19 million tentative settlement.

Late Tuesday evening, New York Attorney General Leticia James announced that the settlement, which is part of a class-action lawsuit against, meant the women would also be released from confidentiality and NDA agreements.

Speaking about the suit which was filed two years ago, Caitlin Dulaney one of the plaintiffs involved described the lead up to the decision as a “long and grueling battle.”

“Harvey avoided accountability for decades, and it was a powerful moment for us to band together and demand justice,” she said in a statement. “Knowing that we will help so many women who are long overdue for relief gives me hope that this settlement will continue to empower others to speak.”

If the lawsuit is approved by bankruptcy and US district courts, the settlement will give Weinstein victims between $7,500 and $750,000 each.

The suit also accuses Harvey Weinstein’s brother Robert Weinstein who co-founded the entertainment company Miramax with him as well as and other administrators of the Weinstein company of failing to prevent predatory sexual misconduct.

According to reports, the suit says Weinstein “created a hostile work environment by repeatedly and persistently sexually harassing female employees, including frequently remarking on female employees’ physical appearances, berating female employees, and requiring female employees to perform work while he was naked or only partially dressed.”

The suit also says Weinstein made employees help him with his erectile dysfunction injection. On top of this, women employees were also often forced to engage in sex to continue working for him or advance their careers. Some were even made to clean up for him after he had sex.

In 2017, The New York Times reported the first allegations of misconduct against Weinstein which ultimately helped spark the #MeToo movement. As a result, dozens upon dozens of women came forward to accuse Weinstein of rape and harassment.

The announcement comes three months after Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for raping Jessica Mann.

He was also charged with engaging in a criminal sexual act against Mimi Haley. Currently, he is being held in prison at the Wende Correctional Facility in Buffalo, New York.

Still, not everyone involved thinks the settlement is enough. Attorneys for six other women who have sued Weinstein for misconduct have called it a “complete sellout.” They also underlined that the settlement does not hold Weinstein accountable.

Speaking about the decision, Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, two lawyers in a case against Weinstein said in a statement that they “are surprised that the Attorney General could somehow boast about a proposal that fails on so many different levels. While we do not begrudge any survivor who truly wants to participate in this deal, as we understand the proposed agreement, it is deeply unfair for many reasons. We are completely astounded that the Attorney General is taking a victory lap for this unfair and inequitable proposal, and on behalf of our clients, we will be vigorously objecting in court.”