Saturday, August 29, 2015

In Memoriam: Darius L. Vinson, Community Activist and Role Model

 Aspiring Pro-Boxer/Lawyer Dies in Swimming Accident

Darius Lord Vinson, the only son of Denise L. Greig and Damon L. Vinson, was born on October 1, 1988 in Forest Hills, New York. He passed away on August 19, 2015, at the age of 26.

From a young age, Darius showed potential for a life full of achievement and success. He attended P.S 105, where many of his teachers took notice of and praised his intellect. He then attended P.S/M.S. 43, where he served as editor of the school newspaper. He was the focus of a full editorial in The Wave newspaper, based in Rockaway, New York, in recognition of his community service.

A Great Kid Named Darius

He also received the Governor George Pataki Committee on Scholastic Achievement Award and the New York City Council Speaker’s Gifford Miller Achievement Award.

He was the recipient of two New York State Assembly Citizenship awards granted by New York State Assemblywoman Michele Titus and former Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer. Other honors included the Rockaway Rotary Club Award and The School and Community Working Together Award. He was also the recipient of the Rosemary Marchong Memorial Scholarship and winner of the Fun District 27’s Science and Social Studies Exit Project Fair Award.

During his tenure at George Westinghouse Information Technology High School, he received his Regents Diploma with Advanced Placement Honors and obtained his certification in AutoCAD Architectural Design. He was a member of the George Westinghouse Varsity Indoor/Outdoor Track Team and was involved with several civic programs: the Anti-Bullying Committee, iMentor, Quality Steering Committee, and the George Westinghouse Philanthropic Association. He was the only student to be nominated to the Westinghouse Leadership Team four years in a row.

In his senior year of high school, he developed a profound love for boxing and dedicated his life to the sport. One of his greatest achievements was becoming the first amateur fighter from Irish Ropes Golden Gloves, which lead to a victory in 2006.

Darius attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice and obtained two Bachelors’ degrees. He received his first Bachelors of Science in Police Studies in 2012 and obtained a second Bachelors of Arts in 2015 for Law and Society with certification in Dispute Resolution.

While attending John Jay, he was a USA Certified Athlete in the John Jay Boxing Program and USA Boxing Commission. He was the recipient of the Kenneth C. Hall Jr. Memorial Foundation Scholarship Fund. He completed his peer-reviewed thesis on Institutional Discrimination in Education. He assisted with the Annual Kay Pranis Restorative Justice Special Presentation. He was accepted into the Pre-Law Institute and was a Pre-Law Boot Camp Graduate. While there, he was awarded “Best Speaker” in the debates.

Darius devoted a great deal of his time as a volunteer by serving as a tutor for the John Jay writing workshops. He also volunteered at God’s Battalion Loving Care Center, where he helped with City Harvest. He was the co-founder of the Rockaway Ropes Boxing Facility, where he wrote grants to provide a safe home for at-risk youth in Rockaway. He also volunteered at the Parsons Beacon Junior High After-School Program. Most recently, he was a Peacemaker with the Red Hook Community Justice Center, where he served as a role model and mentor to at-risk youth.

Darius had specific goals that he wanted to achieve and he was determined and persistent in accomplishing them: becoming a criminal defense lawyer and a professional boxer. He faced many challenges in his life, which delayed efforts to achieve his objectives. The obstacles were due, for the most part, to failures within the educational and legal system, but he never lost sight of his dreams. He was a determined man who strived to reach all of his goals regardless of his circumstances. In doing so, he touched the hearts of many people that gave him the confidence to follow his amazing journey in life. Despite his constant hard work to achieve his goals, he also took part in many leisure activities such as skateboarding, surfing, writing and swimming.

Darius always loved spending time with his friends and family, whom he held very close to his heart. His charming, outgoing and friendly personality always made people smile. He had a special gift for motivating others to do the right thing and served as a role model to all. His kind heart made sure everyone around him was always happy. He consistently went out of his way to make others feel included. Most importantly he gave advice to all and always saw the best in people and pushed them to reach their full potential. Darius always wanted to keep his family together as one unit and reached above and beyond to build strong connections with them. He had a big heart and never let anyone go unrecognized. He will truly be missed in every aspect of his loved ones lives.

Proceeding Darius in death are his grandfathers Cleveland Vinson and Benjamin Greig.Darius; leaves to morn and cherish his memory his mother Denise Greig and his father Damon L.Vinson, girlfriend Raveenga Perera, Grandmothers -Jacqueline Vinson and Lorna Greig, Great-grandmothers- Mamie Curry, Clarissa Waiters, Uncles – Anthony Vinson, Che Vinson and Gregory Greig, Aunts- Sharon, Angela and Dawn, Great-Aunts – Charlene Green, RosettaMorris, Betty Ann Fludd, Yvonne Jackson and Venita Simmons, God Brother- Aaron Rivera and a host of cousins, nephews and nieces, other loving family members and friends.

  Darius Vinson and longtime girlfriend Raveenga Perera

Committal took place at The Greenwood Crematory, on August 27, which is located at 500 25th Street in Brooklyn, New York. 

I love you, Darius, and I’ll miss you. Rest in peace, young warrior. 
                                                                                                    "The G-Man"


National Security Advisor Rice Meets with Senior Chinese Officials in Beijing

National Security Advisor Susan Rice met with senior Chinese officials in Beijing, China on August 28-29 to prepare for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the United States next month and to discuss bilateral, regional, and global issues of mutual concern. Ambassador Rice held candid, fruitful and wide-ranging consultations with State Councilor Yang Jiechi in Beijing. Ambassador Rice and State Councilor Yang agreed on the importance of expanding cooperation on a range of issues, including Iran, North Korea, climate change, and global public health. In addition to discussing preparations for President Xi's visit, Ambassador Rice emphasized the need to confront differences constructively, including on issues of concern such as cyber, Chinese currency, maritime issues, and human rights.

Ambassador Rice also had productive in-depth exchanges with National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chair Liu He on economic issues, Central Military Commission Vice Chair Fan Changlong on military-military relations, Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng on trade and development issues, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on bilateral, regional, and global issues. In her meeting with President Xi, Ambassador Rice reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to develop and deepen practical cooperation in areas of overlapping interest and to address disagreements forthrightly and effectively.
Source: Ned Price, National Security Council spokesperson

Weekly Address: Meeting the Global Threat of Climate Change

In this week's address, the President spoke about his upcoming trip to Alaska, during which he will view the effects of climate change firsthand. Alaskans are already living with the impact of climate change, with glaciers melting faster, and temperatures projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century.

Green Party Presidential Contender Dr. Jill Stein: 'Independents Don’t Take Orders From Big Industry'

Friday, August 28, 2015

White House Press Briefing

ISIS Publishes ‘Death Lists’ for Families to Read

By Khales Joumah

DOHUK, Iraq — His heart began beating rapidly and he was short of breath. He’d just seen something on Facebook, a page specializing in news and information from Mosul, his hometown until the so-called Islamic State conquered it in June last year.

The young man, whom we’ll call Hassan to protect the anonymity of his family, spent two days in one of Mosul's prisons soon after the city fell to ISIS, as the extremist group commonly is known.  Hassan’s father was jailed as well, and after they were released Hassan fled the city. But his father stayed. For the past 13 months, Hassan has been desperately hoping for news of his parent.

Now, on Facebook, he learned that ISIS has published a list of over 2,000 names identifying people it has executed.

Click here for article. 

Source: The Daily Beast

'Veep Talk': Biden and Poroshenko Discuss Situations in Ukraine

Vice President Joe Biden spoke today with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko about the situation in the Donbas, Ukrainian political and economic reforms, and implementation of the Minsk agreements.  The Vice President congratulated President Poroshenko on reaching agreement with Ukraine’s commercial creditors on debt restructuring, and welcomed news of an agreement among several pro-reform political forces to run a common slate of candidates in Ukraine’s local elections this October.  The Vice President also emphasized the United States’ strong support for constitutional amendments proposed by President Poroshenko and Ukraine’s Constitutional Commission that will allow for meaningful decentralization of power in keeping with the relevant provisions of the Minsk agreements while preserving Ukraine’s unitary state structure.  The two leaders discussed the situation in the eastern part of the country and condemned the escalation of attacks by combined Russian-separatist forces, to include attacks on OSCE monitors.  The Vice President also strongly criticized statements by separatist leaders indicating their intention to take additional territory and hold local elections outside of the Ukrainian legal framework in direct contravention of the Minsk agreements of September 2014 and February 2015.

Source: The White House Press Office

Former Klansman on Emmett Till's Murder: 'Carolyn Bryant Flirted with Black Boys'


Close Friend of the Bryant Family Makes Shocking Allegation About the Circumstances That Led to Emmett Till's Murder


In a previous episode, actor and director Michael Green discussed his acclaimed play Whistle in Mississippi: The Lynching of Emmett Till, the circumstances surrounding the brutal murder, and the men who were acquitted in case: Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam. Mr. Green also proclaimed that he believed something "positive" took place in the store between Emmett Till and Carolyn Bryant, the woman that Till whistled at ...and a woman that has remained silent and in seclusion for the last several decades. According to my special guest, Mr. Green is absolutely correct in his assessment.

Scott Shepherd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and served as Imperial Wizard, Grand Wizard, and national leader of the Omerta Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. His other affiliations included the National Association for the Advancement of White People and The European-American Unity Rights Organization. Shepherd created The National White Rights Association and The White Rights Organization.

The Mississippi native, who frequently appears in my ongoing series "Racism and Rage in America", has known and interacted with members of the Bryant family since he was a child.

Over the last 30 years, Shepherd, his father, extended family members, and members of the Indianola community have privately discussed the Till murder and the role Carolyn Bryant may have played. Now, nearly 60 years after the murder, trial and acquittal, Scott Shepherd is going to reveal what he describes as a crucial element that should've been considered when the federal government attempted to file charges against Carolyn Bryant. According to the former Klansman and members of his family, it was something that was common knowledge throughout the Indianola community.

The interview was conducted via Skype on June 18, 2014.

Additional information pertaining to this episode is available through the following links:

Scott Shepherd's blogs:

Justice Delayed, But Not Denied ('60 Minutes' Segment)

Civil Rights Hero Caught in Corruption Probe

The President on the 10-year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

President Obama delivers remarks in New Orleans on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The President is Briefed on Resilience and Preparedness Efforts in New Orleans

Former President George W. Bush Remarks on 10th Anniversary of Katrina

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina former President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush return to Warren Easton Charter School in New Orleans, the same school he visited on the first Katrina anniversary.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Washington Journal: Rebuilding New Orleans Post-Katrina

Karen Durham-Aguilera of the Army Corps of Engineers' Task Force Hope joins from New Orleans to talk about the city post-Katrina and efforts to rebuild the area after the hurricane slammed into the Gulf coast.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Governor Scott Walker Remarks on Foreign Policy

Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) delivers remarks on his foreign policy priorities at an event in Charleston, South Carolina. Topics include the Iran nuclear agreement and the U.S.-led military effort against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Senator Marco Rubio on U.S. Policy Toward China

2016 Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) outlines his policy toward China if he is elected president during a campaign stop in Charleston, South Carolina. He also fields questions from the audience.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

'Veep Talk': Biden Speaks with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman


The Vice President spoke with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman yesterday.  The Vice President thanked the Sultan for his continued leadership in trying to defuse regional tensions and end the bloodshed in Yemen. Both the Vice President and the Sultan reiterated their commitment to pursuing a negotiated political solution to the conflict.

Source: The White House Press Office

President of Germany to Visit White House


President Obama will host President Joachim Gauck of Germany for a meeting in the Oval Office on Wednesday, October 7.  President Gauck’s visit will mark the 25th anniversary of German reunification and underscore the abiding friendship and partnership between the United States and Germany. The President looks forward to discussing ways to build on this partnership in the pursuit of common values and shared strategic and economic goals.

Source: The White House Press Office