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For The Culture

Johnson and Johnson Knew Baby Powder Problems All Along

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Johnson and Johnson were unmasked for deceiving millions of consumers for decades. After a $4.69 billion lawsuit, Reuters says the corporation knew its dangers all along.

Toxic Talc

An investigation by Reuters produced documents proving J&J knew their baby powder contained asbestos. Going as far back as 1957, documents show the Italian sourced talc was sent to an Ohio lab for study. Under the guise of improving the physical properties of the talc, a one-kilogram sample was submitted for testing. Comprised of weekly collections taken from the conveyor of a New Jersey processing plant, amphiboles, a type of asbestos, were found in its contents.

In its naturally occurring form, asbestos is described as fibrous and “acicular” or needle-like. With no mention of asbestos in the report, the study states J&J was only seeking to reduce the coarseness of their product. Still, testing of the company’s popular baby powder continued.

Results from 1972 to 1975 showed the company was aware of “rather high” levels of asbestos in the product. According to Reuters, J&J told an FDA regulator that no asbestos was “detected in any sample” produced between December 1972 to October 1973. Johnson and Johnson willingly omitted that at least three tests by three different labs reported asbestos was found.

Backlash

Amidst 11,700 plaintiffs now holding the corporation responsible for their misrepresentation of the safety of baby powder, J&J stock is tumbling. Hoping to please their stockholders, Johnson and Johnson released a lengthy statement in their defense. Calling the piece “one-sided, false and inflammatory,” they protest baby powder is safe and asbestos free. Still, they lost nearly $40 billion of their stock’s market value upon Friday’s close.

With diseases like ovarian cancer and mesothelioma among the personal injury lawsuits, J&J may never recover. Right now, the corporation is embroiled in the opioid epidemic and has been battling lawsuits over baby powder since 2015. While J&J are attempting to repair their image, many do not believe they can trust the parent company. Their products spanning from baby to adult, many are now skeptical of what hides in their other offerings.

Will you be ditching Johnson and Johnson?

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For The Culture

High School Students Stage Sit-In Protest Against Racism

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Students Protest

In response to how school faculty have handled a racist video, students of Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx have staged an overnight-sit-in protest. Dissatisfied with faculty’s response to demands to address racism on the school’s campus, students have rallied and locked staff out of the administration building until they reached an agreement.

Outrage Lead to Action

More than 200 high school students of the K-12 academy occupied the building to demand action. They were outraged by the response to a video which featured White students counting down before blurting racist, homophobic, and misogynistic slurs. The video gained attention after circulating Twitter and eventually being reported on by The New York Times. However, school administrative officials did the bare minimum by only condemning the video without stating a plan for disciplinary action. Knowing only one of the students involved had withdrawn from the exclusive academy, students developed a plan to hold staff accountable. Thus, Students of Color Matter was born.

The standoff between students and staff lasted for 72 hours before an agreement was met. Each day the students, who developed a Twitter, Instagram, and petition, posted demands to their accounts. March 11th, the students began with a statement on Instagram:

“We are here today in light of recent events imploring those who desire to see out institution more forward to stand in solidarity with the students of color and white allies of the Ethical Culture Fieldston Community. Today a lockout will take place in the administration building (the 200s) as a means to force our administration to acknowledge the concerns we’ve been bringing to their attention over the past several years”

After outlining the reason for their cause, Students of Color Matter organizers detailed updates as well as their demands.

All or Nothing

The administration was sent an email by students which resulted in the head of the school, Jessica Bagby, alerting parents and students that “Fieldston campus will operate on a normal schedule.” The students also integrated a hashtag, which added pressure due to its discovery by major media sources. Despite the non-violent protest, there were two physical altercations which involved a history teacher and a parent attempting to enter the closed facility. Jessica Bagby’s inadequate response to the students’ demands and inability to commit to change is what ultimately caused the 72-hour standoff.

As of March13th, the students had roughly 3,000 signatures on their petition. Housed on their Students of Color Matter website, the organization calls for the following:

The use of racist and bigoted language are symptoms of systemic and institutional racism that plague educational institutions across the country. For this reason, we command the implementation of structural reform, such as long term curriculum changes, the admittance of more students and faculty of color, and racial sensitivity training for all community members.”

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Jaden Smith Brings Mobile Water Filtration System to Flint

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Jaden Smith Water Box

Flint, Michigan has been ravaged by a bad city-wide deal that resulted in tainted water for nearly five years. Now, Jaden Smith’s startup may provide a solution to the city’s needs water needs.

Called “The Water Box”, Jaden’s mobile water filtration device was unveiled in Flint at First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church. Able to produce 10 gallons of clean drinking water per minute, the actor-rapper turned philanthropist hopes the invention will help the community. Housed within the church, which previously distributed over 5 million bottles of water to the community, residents will be able to fill any container of their choice with clean water. However, they are required to do so during distribution times.

After Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder ended the free bottled water program initiated by the state, Jaden and crew stepped up through JUST Water. JUST Water is a company that Jaden Smith became a partner of at just 12 years old. The company, which “combines for-profit energy and non-profit motives,” began from a desire to develop a filtration system to benefit poorer areas and nations. Making clean water more accessible, the company first launched in August 2018 in the UK.

Speaking about his community effort, Jaded remarked, “This has been one of the most rewarding and educational experiences for me personally. He added,” Working together with people in the community experiencing the problems and designing something to help them has been a journey I will never forget.” Jaden Smith plans to continue deploying more filtration systems across the city to benefit those in need and looks forward to aiding more places experiencing similar issues.

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Jussie Smollett | In The Middle

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