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Charleston Shooter Dylann Roof Appeals Death Sentence in 2015 Massacre

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Three and a half years ago, Dylann Storm Roof walked into Emanuel AME Church and forever altered the lives of 9 families along with an entire church community. 

On that fateful Wednesday in mid-June, Roof, who was openly welcomed to participate in bible study, opened fire on the unsuspecting congregation. In a matter of minutes, he’d taken the lives of the pastor and South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pinkney, Rev. Sharona Singleton, Rev. Myra Thompson, Rev. Daniel L. Simmons Sr., Rev. DePayne Middletown-Doctor, Cynthia Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Tywanza Sanders, and Ethel Lance.

Motivated by racist ideologies, the admitted white supremacist carried out a plan that had been in the making for close to a year. Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley described it as “the most dastardly act that one could possibly imagine.”

By Thursday morning, Roof was in police custody following a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina. Found competent to stand trial, it would be close to a year and a half before the families of the nine victims would feel even a minute sense of justice. On December 15, 2016, Roof was convicted of 33 counts of murder and hate crimes federally, followed by nine counts of murder at the state level. 

That sense of justice was short-lived. 

According to the New York Daily News, Roof is appealing his death sentence. In a legal brief filed with the 4th US. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, lawyers claim Roof was suffering from mental illness at the time of the shooting. 

Per CNN, the filing states “When Dylann Roof represented himself at his capital trial, he was a 22-year-old, ninth-grade dropout diagnosed with the schizophrenia-spectrum disorder, autism, anxiety, and depression, who believed his sentence didn’t matter because white nationalists would free him from prison after an impending race war.” 

It’s likely Roof’s single regret of June 17, 2015, the night he murdered nine innocent people, was that he didn’t harm more. So in the words of Chris Singleton, son of one of the victims, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, “Forgiveness was granted and justice was served. Let’s keep it that way!”

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TIDAL Livestream: Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant

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TIDAL is honored to bring the Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant to fans across the globe via livestream.

Members and non-members alike will be able to tune-in starting at 1:00 PM ET/10:00 AM PT on Monday, February 24th on TIDAL.com/celebrationoflife

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Harriet Tubman Debit Card Causes Dissension

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Any attempt to highlight historical black figures will always be welcomed by the black community. Especially during Black History Month. However, what is appreciated is the honoring, not some nuanced interpretation.

Perhaps, that’s where the largest black-owned bank, OneUnited, went wrong. 

On Thursday, social media users came across a OneUnited tweet promoting a Harriet Tubman themed debit card. The problem? It shows Tubman’s hands across her chest in what appeared to be the widely famous “Wakanda Forever” sign that was a part of Marvel’s blockbuster movie, Black Panther.

That sparked a huge social media backlash and sent Black Twitter into a frenzy.

Later, OneUnited Bank, clarified that the symbol Tubman is displaying on the debit card is the symbol of love as depicted in the painting “The Conqueror” by Miami-based Black artist Addonis Parker. 

If you recall, a Tubman design of the $20 bill was announced back in 2016 by former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The redesign was postponed. As reported by CNBC, the redesign was to be unveiled this year to “coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.”

The stalled effort to put Tubman on the $20 bill played a role in OneUnited Bank’s decision to honor the Underground Railroad conductor. According to their website, “Harriet Tubman not only escaped slavery, she made nineteen missions to bring 300 others, including family and friends, to freedom. She also served as an armed scout for the Union Army and was an activist in the struggle for women’s voting rights. Given her profound impact on American history, she deserves to be placed on the $20 bill.” They went on to say, “We have the power to place Harriet Tubman on a global payment device in celebration of Black History Month and in tribute to the many others who freed enslaved people. This symbol of Black empowerment in 2020 will pave the way for the Harriet Tubman design on the $20 bill.”

Despite all of the backlash OneUnited has received, they are doubling down on the release via their twitter account. 

Tubman is a real-life freedom fighter who did the selfless work of freeing slaves at the risk of her freedom. We believe what people are offended by is that a black-owned bank felt it necessary to add a fictional or non-historical element to her likeness when who she is, is enough. 

What are your thoughts?

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Vanessa Bryant Shares Heartbreaking Post As She Grapples with The Loss of Her Husband and Daughter

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It’s been over a week since the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna and seven other passengers on board his private helicopter. As the rest of the world has begun to move on, the Bryant’s are faced with an unbearable new normal. 

Today, Vanessa Bryant shared a heartbreaking Instagram post that gives us a little insight into how she’s coping with the deaths of her husband and daughter.

In her post, she expressed her reluctance to put her “feelings into words.” Bryant went on to state how difficult it’s been to process both losses at the same time. 

“It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me,” she writes. She goes on to explain how difficult each day has become. “Why should I be able to wake up another day when my baby girl isn’t being able to have that opportunity?! I’m so mad. She had so much life to live. Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I’m not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I’m here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri.” 

Following her post, several celebrities and fans have commented and expressed their condolences or offered words of encouragement.

Let’s continue to keep Vanessa, the entire Bryant family and all of the families affected by this unimaginable tragedy in our thoughts and prayers.

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