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Pope Francis Appoints D.C. Bishop as First Ever African American Cardinal (Watch)

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Wilton Gregory: Pope Francis names first African-American cardinal

*With Pope Francis elevating Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory as one of 13 new cardinals, he will make history as the first Black American prelate ever.

In a surprise announcement Sunday to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square, Francis promotes Gregory as he is trying to rebuild trust in an archdiocese rocked by sexual abuse cases. Although the move was widely anticipated, as D.C. archbishops are typically elevated to cardinal after their appointments, it’s nonetheless symbolically significant in the U.S. Catholic Church, where Black people have been underrepresented among the leadership, according to The Washington Post.

Gregory, 72, was appointed archbishop of Washington last year to take over for Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who had been accused of mishandling clerical abuse cases. Archbishop Gregory has also been critical of President Donald Trump over his use of rhetoric and visits to religious sites.

The archbishop rebuked Trump’s visit to a shrine to St John Paul II in Washington, calling it “baffling and reprehensible.” The visit came in June, a day after the president had ordered the dispersal of peaceful protesters near the White House.

As a cardinal, Gregory will be eligible to vote in any papal election until he reaches the cutoff age of 80.

Watch Pope Francis announce Gregory below:

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Business

27 More Black Ex-Franchisees Join Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against McDonald’s

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McDonald's Franchisees Darryl Byrd & James F. Byrd
McDonald's Franchisees Darryl Byrd & James F

McDonald’s Franchisees Darryl Byrd & James F. Byrd

*MIAMI – Twenty-seven new plaintiffs, all former Black McDonald’s franchisees, joined an ongoing federal lawsuit against the fast-food chain claiming the company engaged in systemic discrimination and denied them the same opportunities as White franchisees.

The new amended complaint now has 77 named plaintiffs in the lawsuit originally filed by 52 Black former franchisees on Sept. 1, 2020.

The claims now include nearly 300 stores with compensatory damages that average between

$4 million and $5 million per store, exclusive of punitive damages.

The plaintiffs allege McDonald’s sold itself as a recruiter and developer of Black talent, profited from its Black consumer base and maintained a two-tier system that pigeonholed unsuspecting Black owners and assigned them horrible locations guaranteed to fail.

This suit comes on the heels of a federal class action lawsuit filed October 29 by current Black franchisees.

“McDonald’s is now fighting a four-front legal war. They are being sued by current and former Black operators, Black employees and senior executives,” said James L. Ferraro, the lead attorney for both the current and former franchisee lawsuits. “As the pool of plaintiffs grow, there will be more pressure on the company to dispense with the public relations ploys and focus on how it can help its Black employees and franchisees.”

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McDonald's

At the same time there are calls for state pension funds to drop McDonald’s stock. States like New York, California, Ohio and Florida have massive investments in McDonald’s. In Tennessee, Rep. Joe Towns has requested Treasurer David H. Lillard to divest the state’s holdings and reallocate the money toward companies “practicing good corporate citizenship.”

Ferraro said all these challenges are coming together because the company has turned a blind eye to obvious racial problems while promoting its public image.

McDonald’s once boasted a high of 377 Black franchisees in 1998. That number now stands at 186 even though McDonald’s has increased its stores from 15,086 to 36,059. The cash flow gap for Black franchisees more than tripled from 2010 to 2019, per National Black McDonald’s

Operators Association (“NBMOA”) data.

Plaintiffs’ average annual sales of $2 million was more than $700,000 under McDonald’s national average of $2.7 million between 2011 and 2016 and $900,000 under the national average of $2.9 million in 2019.

The lawsuit claims McDonald’s was ruthless in steering Black operators toward the oldest, most decrepit stores in the toughest neighborhoods routinely rejected by Whites franchisees. This severely limited opportunities for expansion and growth, and far too often set in place a chain of events – low cash flow, decreased equity, debt and bankruptcy – that led to financial ruin.

The plaintiffs argue McDonald’s violated federal civil rights laws by:

  • Excluding Black franchisees from the same growth opportunities found at safer, higher- volume, lower-cost stores offered to Whites.
  • Retaliating against Black franchisees for rejecting strong-arm offers to continue operations in crime-ridden
  • Denying Black franchisees meaningful assistance during financial hardships while White franchisees were routinely given such
  • Failing to provide any legitimate business reasons for repeated denials of franchise opportunities over many
  • Unfairly grading the operations of Black restaurants, which resulted in poor internal reviews, effectively pushing Black franchisees out of the McDonald’s system by denying them the eligibility for growth and favorable franchise
  • Providing misleading projections which induced Black franchisees to purchase undesirable franchises.

The amended complaint was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. To download the complaint, click here.

Direct media inquiries to [email protected] / www.ferrarolaw.com

 

 

 

 

source:
Florence Anthony
[email protected]

 

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Entertainment

‘What Have You Done for Black People?’ Obama Sits Down in Person With The Breakfast Club (Watch)

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obama breakfast club
obama breakfast club

Barack Obama on The Breakfast Club – Nov. 25, 2020

*President Obama’s jam-packed book tour for “A Promised Land” stopped by The Breakfast Club Wednesday morning for a wide-ranging interview, including the ongoing question by that one Black person in your orbit who keeps asking, “What has Obama done for Black people?”

DJ Envy asked Obama how he takes it when people question what he’s done for people of color, or say that he hasn’t done enough.

“I understand it because when I got elected, there was so much excitement and hope… And I also think we generally viewed the presidency as almost like a monarchy.In the sense of, ‘once the President is there he can just do whatever he needs to get done and if he’s not doing it then it must be because he didn’t want to do,’” Obama said.

He then pointed out that the current president appears to be able to “do what he wants” because he “breaks the law.”  But Obama said he was very confident in what he had done for “Black folks” during his time in office “because I had the statistics to prove it.”

He said that among his accomplishments for African Americans, 3 million more Black people had health insurance who didn’t have it before, the number of Black folks in prison dropped for the first time in years, 30 percent fewer people were in the juvenile correction system, Black poverty dropped to its lowest level since 1968, Black businesses and income rose, and data shows that “millions of Black folks were better off by the time I left office.”

After Charlamagne Tha God pressed him to be more specific about his policies that aided Black people, rather than the “rising tide lifts all boats” answer, Obama conceded, “There is no way in eight years to make up for 200 years.”

Here’s Obama’s full interview with DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God.

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Arts

Former MLBer Micah Johnson Wants His Paintings to Inspire Black Kids (Watch)

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Micah Johnson (MLB.com)

*Micah Johnson, a former second baseman and outfielder for the White Sox, Dodgers, Braves and Rays, has indulged in his longtime passion and is now a professional artist of critically acclaimed and highly sought-after fine art paintings.

His latest work, which opened at Art Angels over the summer, was inspired by an overheard question posed by his nephew: “Mom, can astronauts be Black?”

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Per MLB.com’s Michael Clair:

Many of his paintings feature real subjects wearing an astronaut’s helmet, while they paint or draw or learn the cello or simply play hopscotch. The helmet represents the dreams Black kids have and the opportunities that are hopefully open to them. He uses colors and images that children can relate to. He wants Black children to see themselves in a fine art world that is historically dominated by white artists and subjects.

“My whole mission is to inspire children,” Johnson told MLB.com. “But I try to have that looseness to it. And that’s just how I am. I work a lot with just my hands. Sometimes I don’t even have a paintbrush in my studio. I try to do these really bold lines and have that perfect blend of whitespace and also color. That’s how I’d define my style now.”

“If I try to really, really focus on the eyes, make the viewer feel this connection — and if they feel that connection — then maybe it will change their perspective on something,” Johnson said.

“In the beginning, it was all inspired by my nephews because I just wanted to inspire them. And that’s how my approach is — I tried to focus on inspiring one person,” Johnson said. “So, a lot of my subjects are real subjects. And I think that’s a message for everybody else — just focus on impacting one person and you’ll really impact the world. So, for me, it’s my nephews, and they’re young, and maybe when they grow up, and they start looking at this, maybe they’ll feel inspired.”

The theme is present in his most recent work, “sä-v(ə-)rən-tē” (pronounced sovereignty), but the presentation is drastically different from anything Johnson has done before.

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Micah Johnson piece “sä-v(ə-)rən-tē”

This piece is a digital artwork available to view on Apple TV or on a billboard at 901 W. Olympic Blvd. in Los Angeles from Dec. 7 through Jan. 10. It features two young children (Jacque, 8, and Rayden, 7), who have experienced tragedy in their lives staring at a closed door in a field, with an astronaut standing on the other side.

Unlike a painting, viewers can watch “sä-v(ə-)rən-tē” change in real time. The light shifts from day to night and with each passing year, the door will swing open a little wider, giving Jacque and Rayden a wider glimpse at the astronaut who awaits them on the other side of the door. A QR code connected to a bitcoin wallet also appears on the children’s birthdays, allowing viewers to donate directly to them.

Watch a trailer for sä-v(ə-)rən-tē below:

Watch a July 2020, CBS Los Angeles report on Johnson below:

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