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TULSA Inc Launching Social Supportive Service Mobile App for Beta-Test

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On March 1st, The Urban League of Scholars Agency Inc., will be launching Social Support Service (SSS) mobile app for beta-testing nationwide, with a focus on Englewood & Greater Chicago. The SSS App,  is a digital directory that enables the public to access free social supportive service at the convenience of one’s fingertips. The purpose of the app is to promote social equity, individual quality of life, crime reduction (particularly, crime related to social needs), and access to resources, before bad decision-making, crime or crisis.

SSS app, end-user’s can access support service in the following categories: (1) food (soup kitchen, food pantry), (2) housing (rental assistance, emergency housing), (3) clothing, (4) education & job-readiness (GED, junior colleges, vocational training), (5) professional services (legal services, financial literacy, entrepreneurial training), (6) mental health & wellness (therapy and health clinics) and (7) crisis intervention (crime, suicide prevention, domestic violence, safe haven for kids, rape & sexual assault). SSS, was developed by Kimone Smith, Founder & CEO of TULSA Inc after completing her Masters in Public administration at Metropolitan College of NY. The concept is partially based on her masters thesis “Enhancing Consequential Decision-making in Non-violent Teenage Offenders with Short-term Intensive Psychosocial Cognitive Group-therapy.”

Research suggests, “poverty yields a set of socioeconomic stressors that threatens familial health and well-being, such as scarce resources, community violence, vandalism, crime, unstable housing, unemployment, even, food insecurity” (Slopen, Fitzmaurice, Williams & Gilman, 2010).  According to the Brookings Institute, men who grew up in the poorest 10 percent of American families are 20 times as likely to be imprisoned by their early 30s than men from the richest 10 percent of families (2018). Eighty-two percent of the prison population represents 50% of America’s poorest families (Looney & Turner, 1986). Believe it or not, income (or access to resources) is a strong indicator for future incarceration. Being poor in America is a gateway to crime or negative encounters with the criminal justice system. Today, ninety-five percent of Americans have cell phones and over 30 million Americans live in poverty. SSS, leverages data and technology to help people overcome the social barriers they may be facing, to lead better quality lives.

SSS, will be available on Google Play, Apple, and on the world wide web. TULSA is currently seeking Social Service Providers across the U.S. metropolitan regions to help us impact, empower, and transform lives. To learn more about the SSS App, visit https://tulsainc.us/civic-technology

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Hold up! If You Use FaceApp, Russians Own Your Pics

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FaceApp users have signed up for more than they initially thought! After digging into the policy of the app, critics have found that users are agreeing to share their content and personal information with businesses, along with opening themselves up for other security concerns.

Growing in popularity, the FaceApp, which ages users by 50 years, is facing scrutiny for their lax security precautions. Parties that have chosen to read the user agreement have discovered the app “cannot ensure the security of any info you transmit.” In addition to the concerns of what FaceApp could be capturing, the policy also states they cannot “guarantee that information on the service may not be accessed, disclosed, altered or destroyed.” Most unsettling is that businesses that are legally a part of the same group of companies have access to your information. And since those entities are Russian owned, users have given access to all those corporations.

According to ABC News chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, the 80 million FaceApp users are providing access to their contacts and all their pictures. In a statement, Jarvis said, “Once you allow that you are giving away everything.” She continued, “That’s how they’re paying for it, free isn’t actually free, they’re giving away your information.”

The FaceApp was developed in St. Petersburg, Russia. Despite the app’s popularity, the privacy policy has remained untouched since 2017. As far as what risks current users are facing, Security expert Ariel Hochstadt says by giving someone access to your phone you risk being “secretly recorded”. This leaves people open to targeting, especially if they are members of prosecuted communities, such as “a young gay person.”

The Russian government has been known to exploit the personal information of many through the use of a large database created through Facebook. According to Hochstadt, “The data they have on that person is both private and accurate to the name, city, and other details found on Facebook.” She continued, “With so many breaches, they can get information and hack cameras that are out there, and be able to create a database of people all over the world, with information these people didn’t imagine is collected on them.” Terrifying!

If you’re a current user of FaceApp, will you be deleting the app? Knowing how dangerous Facebook is and what data is collected from the platform, will you continue to use it?

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R Kelly Slapped With Federal Charges, Press Conference Interrupted by Savage Family

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Arrested Thursday on a 13-count indictment, R Kelly has been brought up on federal charges. For his sexual abuses against women and minors, Kelly is facing 13 new charges including child pornography and enticing a minor. But the singer’s woes don’t end there. According to a five-count indictment from the Eastern District of New York, he is also facing racketeering charges.

While R Kelly was out walking his dog, agents of Homeland Security and New York Police Department detectives apprehended him. On the grounds of two separate indictments, officers began conducting a search of his Trump Tower residence in Chicago. As of now, R Kelly is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Illinois and is expected to appear in court later today.

“Where is my daughter?!”

R Kelly’s publicist, Darrell Johnson, held a press conference today in Atlanta where he discussed the events of the arrest, but he was interrupted by Joycelyn Savage’s family. Timothy Savage along with his wife, two daughters, and publicist Dontaye Carter arrived in Atlanta Friday morning after an unsuccessful wellness check in Chicago. The family says they arranged a visit to Kelly’s Trump Tower residence with the Chicago PD. Unfortunately, the Savages were unable to contact their daughter because the residence had been vacated. The Savages hoped to see their daughter for the first time since December 2016 and hear her voice for the first time since the phone call that followed the explosive interviews from two months ago.

Demanding to know the whereabouts of Joycelyn, the Savages thought their best course of action was to attack the press conference after hearing of Kelly’s arrest. However, Darrell Johnson denies having any knowledge of where Azriel Clary or Joycelyn Savage are. Johnson stated he had only arrived after spending time in New York and was not in Chicago. But Timothy Savage said they were tipped off that the girls were in Atlanta. Addressing previous attempts to reach an agreement, Johnson said he tried negotiating with the Savages but the talks fell through. Since then, there have been no updates provided to her family, which prompted the wellness check.

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Racist Threats and Lapse In Support Cause AfroFuturist Festival to Change Ticket Prices

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An Afrofuturist festival set in Detroit has received immense backlash following the discovery that Non POC patrons were expected to pay higher ticket prices for entry. Organizers at Afrofuture Youth say they’ve been bombarded with threats and suffered a loss of support. Comments on their Instagram and statements from artists set to perform influenced a change in their ticketing model.

Based in Detroit, Afrofuture Youth is an initiative founded on the support of Black lives through Afrofuturism via art, tech, media, and healing. Asserting their “resistance stems from creation,” festival organizers designed a tiered ticket model to prevent the exclusion of marginalized groups. To balance the scales and prevent “those with cultural, monetary, and class privileges” from co-opting the event, AFY listed ticket prices on Eventbrite that favored the audience for which their content is designed.

For Us, By Us

As more Black and Brown people are being excluded from events intended for their communities due to aggressive gentrification, AFY’s decision was well received by many within the POC audience. Those who have grown tired of cultural appropriation expressed their support for the initial ticket model on Twitter. Mimicking the social experiment of Saartj, a pop-up food stall in New Orleans, the pricing model was meant to resolve racial wealth disparity. However, once artists caught wind of the news, they pulled their performance. Once Eventbrite found out about the ten dollar difference in price, they threatened to unpublish the event from the site.

Rapper Tiny Jag, who planned to perform music from her project “Polly”, pulled out of the engagement stating her views didn’t align with AFY’s. A biracial woman, Tiny Jag could not reconcile the ticket price model because the project she intended to perform is named after her white grandmother. Confused by the decision, Tiny Jag wondered “How do you want me to come to a performance and perform these songs off a mixtape that is titled after this white woman that you would have charged double to get in here?” The rapper says she was notified by a Non POC friend and announced her decision to pull out July 2nd.

Comply or Else

In a statement released to CNN, Eventbrite said “events that require attendees to pay different prices based on their protected characteristics such as race or ethnicity” are not permitted. Event coordinators at AFY were then notified that if they hadn’t changed their price model on their own accord, the event would be unpublished from the site. July 7th, Afrofuture Youth made an announcement on Twitter explaining their decision to alter the pricing. Citing threats received by White supremacists, AFY changed to a $20 general admission fee and suggested donation from Non POC.

Do you agree with their decision to alter ticket prices? Did you agree with their initial concept?

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