Steph Curry Rallies for Women’s Equality

NBA superstar Steph Curry has been surrounded by “incredible and fiercely principled” women his whole life. Now, that he is the father to two daughters, Riley and Ryan, he fit it high time to speak out about women’s equality and closing the gender pay gap. On Sunday, The Players’ Tribune published “This Is Personal,” an essay written by the two-time MVP about wanting his daughters to grow up in a world that treats them fairly.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the idea of women’s equality has become a little more personal for me, lately, and a little more real,” Curry wrote. “I want our girls to grow up knowing that there are no boundaries that can be placed on their futures, period. I want them to grow up in a world where their gender does not feel like a rulebook for what they should think, or be, or do. And I want them to grow up believing that they can dream big, and strive for careers where they’ll be treated fairly.

Curry’s essay comes on the heels of many prominent figures in the WNBA and NBA speaking about the growing gender pay gap between the two leagues. Former NBA star Jalen Rose spoke up about WNBA players being treated as “second-class citizens,” and Skylar Diggins-Smith blasted the low earnings female players receive for the same amount of work as NBA players.

The three-time NBA champion called for all people, “not just fathers of daughters,” to fight for equality. “I’m feeling more driven than ever — to help out women who are working toward progress, in any way that I can,” Curry wrote.

He continued, “Let’s work to close the opportunity gap. Let’s work to close the pay gap… I mean, ‘women deserve equality’ — that’s not politics, right?”

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Last week, Curry hosted his first all-girls basketball camp and vowed to help make a change for women across all platforms.

 

 

 

Taraji P. Henson Wants To Change How We View Black Mental Health

Taraji P. Henson has revealed that she has launched a new foundation specifically geared to the minds of the black community.

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, named after her late father, will specifically fight to change the stigma of mental health within the black community. Her foundation—her best friend Tracie Jenkins will serve as the Executive Director—will offer scholarships to black students majoring in mental health, as well as provide mental health services for youth in urban schools.

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Her father was the inspiration for this undertaking. According to People, her father, a former veteran battling mental health issues, fought liver cancer up until his passing in 2006 at the age of 58. “I named the organization after my father because of his complete and unconditional love for me; his unabashed, unashamed ability to tell the truth, even if it hurt; and his strength to push through his own battles with mental health issues,” she said. “My dad fought in the Vietnam War for our country, returned broken, and received little to no physical and emotional support. I stand now in his absence, committed to offering support to African Americans who face trauma daily, simply because they are black.”

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation officially launches on Sept. 22 in Los Angeles at her event, Taraji’s Boutique of Hope. Continue doing the work, Ms. Henson.

 

 

 

LeBron James Opens School in Akron

Today a new elementary school in Akron opened with the help of the LeBron James Family Foundation. Here’s what you need to know:

1. It’s part of Akron Public Schools, with some big private money backing its launch

The school was the idea of James, an Akron native and NBA All-Star reports the Akron Beacon Journal. The school is getting the same public funding per pupil as the other schools in the district, but it is also backed by large donations from organizations including James’ foundation and others who are covering the extras not paid for by the school district.

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2. The students will be children considered academically at risk.

There will be smaller class sizes, a curriculum with STEM and social-emotional learning priorities, and a resource center to support students, according to Akron Beacon Journal. The students starting Monday are 240 third- and fourth-graders. More grades will be added and by the 2022 to 2023 school year, there will be first through eighth grade students at the school.

3. The proposal was first unveiled April 2017

James’ foundation already funded the I Promise Network, which at the time was supporting 1,100 students in grade schools in the Akron area. The idea for the school was first introduced last year as a way to take what works in the I Promise Network to build a curriculum and bring it under one roof.

I am so for this! Congrats to King James on truly making a difference and good luck to the students this coming school year!

 

 

Beychella. That’s All.

If you missed Beyonces’s two-hour set at Coachella this past weekend, shame on you. The Queen Bee made history.

She is the first African American woman to headline the festival (and made a comment on that point). She was accompanied by 150-plus performers, most if not all of whom were people of color; many of those performers were part of a marching band, majorettes and drumline styled on those from black colleges and universities, and she and her performers often wore collegiate-type outfits bearing the Greek letters beta delta and kappa, her initials with the delta referencing her favored number, four; and the set was loaded with references and quotes from the likes of Malcolm X and Nina Simone.

Today, she took it one step further.

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Yonce revealed that the set’s collegiate theme was pointing to a scholarship program: Through her BeyGOOD initiative, the singer announced the four schools to receive the newly established Homecoming Scholars Award Program for the 2018-2019 academic year. The Universities, Xavier, Wilberforce, Tuskegee and Bethune-Cookman, are all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

One winner from each school will receive $25K for the 2018-2019 academic year for study in various fields. This is the second year for a scholars program created by the singer: The Formation Scholars Awards Program, a merit scholarship program was established in April 2017 in celebration of the one-year anniversary of Beyonce’s 2016 album “Lemonade.” The awards encouraged and supported “young women who are bold, creative, conscious, confident and unafraid to think outside of the box.”

The Homecoming Scholars Award Program for 2018-2019 will expand to all qualifying students at the four universities, regardless of gender. The disciplines will include literature, creative arts, African-American studies, science, education, business, communications, social sciences, computer science and engineering. All applicants must maintain a 3.5 GPA or above. All finalists and winners will be selected by the universities. Winners will be announced in the summer.

 

 

Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and First Round Capital Invest $3 million in Bail Reform Startup

Nationwide, 62 percent of the jail population accounts for people who can’t afford bail, according to the Vera Institute of Justice. A lot of these incarcerated individuals are behind bars because they allegedly committed crimes at the misdemeanor level or lower. This is a significant statistic from a human rights perspective, as well as an economic one. It costs about $38 million a day to keep these largely nonviolent people behind bars, according to the Pretrial Justice Institute.

This is where Promise, a de-carceration startup that just raised over $3 million in a round led by First Round Capital with participation from Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, 8VC and Kapor Capital, comes in. Last Father’s Day, Jay-Z penned an op-ed about the bail industry and pre-trial incarceration. He noted how every year, $9 billion is wasted incarcerating people who have not been convicted of crimes.

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Promise, which is part of Y Combinator’s  current batch of startups, offers counties and local governments an alternative to holding low-risk people behind bars simply because they can’t afford bail.

For each participant, Promise provides counties with a comprehensive intake procedure and then sets up each participant with a care plan specific to them. Promise will then monitor and support participants by helping them ensure they know when they’re supposed to appear in court, and remind them of obligations like drug testing or substance abuse treatment needed. The app also helps participants access job training, housing, counseling and referrals.

Instead of a county paying to incarcerate someone simply because they can’t afford to post bail, they can use Promise to monitor compliance with court orders and better keep tabs on people via the app and, if needed, GPS monitoring devices. Counties, courts, case managers and other stakeholders can also access progress reports of individuals to monitor compliance.

Already, Promise is onboarding one county this week and is in talks with another three counties. Instead of a county jail paying $190 per day per person, Promise charges some counties just $17 per person per day. In some cases, Promise charges even less per person.

 

Lacoste adopts temporary logo to help endangered species

Lacoste temporarily replaced its polo shirts’ crocodile logo with the images of 10 endangered species to help counter the threat of extinction.

The shirts, which are part of a limited run supporting the “Save Our Species” campaign that launched during Paris Fashion Week on March 1, have sold out.
Replacing the crocodile above the left breast of the shirt are the Gulf of California porpoise, the Burmese roofed turtle, Sumatran tiger, the Anegada ground iguana and the northern sportive lemur, among others.
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The French clothing company calibrated the number of shirts produced for each series to the population of the remaining animals in the wild. Of the 1,775 shirts available, the Gulf of California porpoise had the smallest print run, with just 30 shirts available.
The Anegada iguana, by contrast, was the most available, with 450 editions. Proceeds went to International Union for Conservation of Nature, an international advocacy organization working to protect nature that sponsored the campaign.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service has placed 1,459 animals on its threatened and endangered list. Lacoste’s crocodile logo was introduced in 1936, and the company has never before sold shirts featuring other animals.

Bill Gates is Paying Off Nigeria’s Debt

Billionaire philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates will pay off $76 million of Nigeria’s debt through their namesake foundation. The payments, which will be made over the course of 20 years, are due to begin this year.

In 2014, Nigeria borrowed the money from Japan to fund its fight against the preventable disease. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has “agreed to repay the loan after Nigeria met the condition of achieving more than 80% vaccination coverage in at least one round each year in very high-risk areas across 80% of the country’s local government areas.”

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No new cases of polio were reported in the country in 2017. That’s a drastic change from 2012, when Nigeria had over half of all polio cases worldwide, according to the publication.

 In a recent blog post, Gates acknowledges the significant strides made towards wiping out the disease globally — 30 years ago, there were 350,000 cases of polio per year worldwide, while last year, that number dropped to just 21.
Among those paralyzed, two to 10 percent die. The Gates Foundation spent $3 billion in 2017 to help stop the spread of the disease, and names polio eradication one of its “top priorities.” In 1988, the virus was present in over 125 countries, paralyzing about 1,000 children per day. Since then, cases of polio have decreased by over 99 percent.