Sunday, February 25, 2018

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Her Name is Zakiyah, she’s four feet and five inches, she is small for her age, weighing approximately 55-pounds.  She is an 11-year-old 5th grader at Chester Community Charter School in Philadelphia; and she was arrested, handcuffed, and taken into police custody, seven days after getting counseling for emotional issues that her family says was giving her nightmares.

Though details haven’t been released by police, Zakiyah was on a school bus where she explained she was being bullied; and on that day, she decided to defend herself. After a short police investigation, the officer determined that he had probable cause to make an arrest.  Meanwhile, the mother of Zakiyah was not notified of her daughter’s arrest and had to search for her.  In the interview below, Zakiyah explained she thought that she would never see her family again.


Darby Borough police put her in handcuffs, placed her in a police van, and took her down to Juvenile hall inside of a holding area that they claim, was not a cell. In a statement, the police don’t seem to think that this arrest was a big deal. Chief Robert Smythe said,

“I understand that it sounds harsh. She was in custody for an assault of which we were processing her. There were wounds to the other child. I understand how it sounds, but that’s the policy. She was being processed because she committed an aggressive assault against another person. We had her in custody for 57 minutes. It’s not like we put her in a cell and held her for hours. There are police policies that we try to follow. If you are in custody, you are in handcuffs. That’s the policy.”

In the photos below, there appears to be wounds to Zakiyah’s face as well, but the other student (who Zakiyah’s mom claims is bigger than her daughter) was not arrested.

Zakiyah, 11, was arrested Tuesday by Darby Police and put into handcuffs after a fight on a bus with another student.
Photo credit: JAWANIA BROWNE
Zakiyah, 11, was arrested Tuesday by Darby Police and put into handcuffs after a fight on a bus with another student.

The questions remain as two elementary school-aged girls got into a fight on a school bus, at what point do we understand that the arrest of an 11-year-old is taking things too far? What is going through an adult male’s mind as he places handcuffs onto the arms of a 55-pound little girl? At what point in our society is it ok to treat a terrorist like Dylann Roof to Burger King after he’s massacred 9 people in a church, but treat a 5th grade girl like a terrorist because she got into a fight on a bus? At what point do we realize that these things are not OK?

After scaring 11-year-old Zakiyah, the police decided to issue a citation that reads,
“defendant did, with the intent to cause public inconvenience or alarm, create a physically hazardous or offensive condition by actions which served no legitimate purpose to the actor.”

Zakiyah’s mom, who said Zakiyah was already having sleep issues, has decided to keep the 5th grader home for now, away from her current school. Zakiyah still has nightmares, and her mother is considering private school options. Zakiyah’s mom told “The Philly Inquirer”,

“I never thought that I had to give my 11-year-old ‘the police talk. I was thinking more so my son, and he’s only 1. But as he grows up, I was thinking that I’ve got to really drill it into my son – but not my daughter. But I guess none of us are exempt. “I would never have thought that they would have locked up an 11-year-old child and treated her like that.”

Source: Philly Inquirer, Philly NBC News 10

Syllabus Magazine, the Carolina's source for Music, Culture and Fashion

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Black Panther was just too good to want to pick it apart and create “think pieces” or draft symbolic blog posts and mumbo jumbo on the film.  This film gave the culture so much joy, you just want to sit and savor it, without giving yourself a headache about whether Killmonger was a Hotep or if Wakanda and Zamunda are neighboring countries (laughs).  At this point I simply want to appreciate the film’s beauty, its storyline, and its use of varying/real-life African culture portrayed throughout the film.   Thanks to Twitter user, Waris we got just that! In case you missed it, Waris also known as @diasporicblues gave us a Twitter lesson in a thread that summarized the African tribes and cultures featured in the ground-breaking Marvel Comics movie.   We’ve seen the images before, but because of this thread, we have a new-found appreciation for the fashion, languages and adornments seen in the film.

Check out some of Waris’ tweets, and follow Waris on Twitter for more info on Africa and its culture.

Syllabus Magazine, the Carolina's source for Music, Culture and Fashion

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This week, wake and funeral arrangements have been finalized following the tragic murder of one of our beloved national and local heroes, Muhiyidin Elamin Moye.  While many are still trying to come to grips with how someone so peaceful and kind could have fallen victim to this type of violence, others are now coming forward questioning the circumstances of Moye’s death.  Earlier today, former United States Senator, Robert Ford drafted a passionate plea on his Facebook page, as a call to action that more needs to be done to investigate the murder of Muhiyidin Elamin Moye. In his post, Ford points out that Moye was called down to New Orleans to assist with the Black Lives Matter movement in the city, he stated:

“As you are aware, one of our most successful activist in the Black Lives Matter Movement, Muhiyidin Elamin Moye, has been killed. He was shot at night in New Orleans, Louisiana on Tuesday, February 6, 2018. This MUST be a call to arms as Moye was contacted to help organize the Black Lives Movement in New Orleans and this seems to be a Civil Rights Action that should be further investigated by the United States Justice Department.”

In the past week, many who have had a connection to Muhiyiddin have had similar sentiments questioning the possibility of this being a random shooting, or was it something more sinister? There are many questions that are continuously being raised, but in the mean time the advice from former Senator Robert Ford gives us an actionable step of something we can do to help find answers. We stand with former Senator Ford and we also encourage you to call your Senators and Congressmen, write letters and take some sort of meaningful action as a means of urging authorities to launch an intensive investigation into the murder of our teacher and leader, Muhiyiddin Elamin Moye.

Write letters to:
The Honorable Jeff Sessions, Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Syllabus Magazine, the Carolina's source for Music, Culture and Fashion

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Jacksonville, Florida should be very proud of their future astronaut who has spent most of her young life promoting STEM, and making headlines about her future of endeavors of wanting to be travel into outer space.  Fourteen year old Taylor Richardson not only has big dreams, but she has set out to use her passion to help other young women and expose them to STEM.  In her most recent passion project, she created a GoFundMe to raise funds in order to take girls to go see the movie, “A Wrinkle in Time”; a film produced by Ava Duvernay and Oprah Winfrey.  Richardson explained why this was so important to her:

“This campaign is so very important to me because it will give me the opportunity to change not only girls perception of STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] and space exploration but boys as well,” 

The movie, set to be released in March, is a story about a young girl who is transported through time and space, to rescue the girl’s dad who is a scientist and is being held prisoner on another planet.  In order to meet her goal, Taylor Richardson’s wanted to raise $15,000; as of today, she’s surpassed that goal raising over $17,000.

Taylor is no stranger to the spotlight.  In 2017, she was named a member of Teen Vogue’s Class of 2017, 21 under 21 for girls who are changing the world.  She cleverly calls herself a “STEMinist” and she previously raised money for girls to go see “Hidden Figures”.

“This campaign [“Send 1,000 Girls To Wrinkle In Time”] means a lot to me because it shows a female protagonist in a science fiction film. Girls will know that the possibility of going into space, exploring other planets, being rocket scientists, engineers, mathematicians and astronauts for them is not that it is limited but limitless!”

Good for Taylor for being a young role model, and being so passionate about giving back to her peers.

Syllabus Magazine, the Carolina's source for Music, Culture and Fashion

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We’ve been watching the horrific news of how difficult it has been to get relief to many of our neighbors in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.  Companies who have been granted millions in funding from the U.S. government to provide necessary supplies, have under-performed and simply, dropped the ball, when it came to restoring and supplying power, food, and resources to those in need.  It’s been three months, and the process of getting Puerto Rico back to normal has been slow and painful, especially for those who live out in the rural areas of the country.  Newsweek has reported that the pains of Hurricane Maria have been negatively affecting the mental state of many residents; suicides have increased drastically since Hurricane Maria, at least one person each day has taken their own life.

A recent report from the Commission for Suicide Prevention stated that 227 people committed suicide on the island in 2017; a 16 percent increase from the year before.  85 percent of the suicides were committed by men, and 15 percent were committed by women; researchers state that the spike is directly related to the effects of Hurricane Maria.

Recent report released by The Commission for the Prevention of Suicide.

“If someone is in a position where they do not have any electricity, water or a roof over their head, you’re going to either break and sometimes break to the point of committing suicide. You can only live so much without the simple necessities of having a roof over your head,” said Alicia Schwartz from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

Psychologists in Puerto Rico said that residents have been suffering from severe mental health issues since the storm, and a major factor hindering them from getting the help they need, has to do with something that many communities of color deal with; people who do not believe in seeking help. According to Dr. Scwartz:

“One of the problems we have is that Hispanic individuals don’t believe in mental health, but the other issue we have is access to mental health. Those who don’t live in populated cities are unreachable to this day, and they don’t have people to go to them for mental health help.”

Dr Schwartz recalled an incident of being in the home of one of her patients, not long after the storm and the patient explaining to her that, he “sometimes feels like grabbing a rope” to kill himself.

In some very unfortunate news, as I was preparing this blog post, The Associated Press just announced that, “A blackout hit northern Puerto Rico after an explosion sets off a big fire at a main power substation.”  This means that many of the areas that have had power restored have now been hit, and there are no reports when this disaster will be fixed.

Let’s continue to pray for Puerto Rico, but in correlation with your prayers, demand your state representatives and President do something in the wake of people who are continuing to suffer.

Source: Newsweek

Syllabus Magazine, the Carolina's source for Music, Culture and Fashion



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Her Name is Zakiyah, she's four feet and five inches, she is small for her age, weighing approximately 55-pounds.  She is an 11-year-old 5th...