On November 2nd, official documents were released which stated Wu Tang Clan founders RZA and Raekwon (Real names Robert Fitzgerald and Corey Woods) were investigated by the FBI in 1999 for a revenge plot.
There is speculation the band members paid a powerful New York drug dealing dynasty run by brothers Anthony and Harvey Christian, to reportedly kill 17-year-old Boo Boo Estella and for robbing the band members’ families.
The other link to the Wu Tang Clan came from the Christian brother’s lawyer, Michael Gold, who speculated as such in an interview with the Staten Island Advance.
“These reports seem to suggest someone else was liable for those murders. I’m not suggesting that Wu-Tang committed these crimes. The FBI did,” Gold told the Staten Island Advance. “What I’m trying to ascertain is their stated belief in an official file that Wu-Tang ordered this homicide.”
The Christian Brothers were sentenced last October for their 20-year drug dealing empire in Staten Island’s, Clifton neighborhood. Their lawyer is demanding that any and all relevant police files be turned in immediately so that his clients may be exonerated before their trial.
Gold stated the reports will hopefully prove that Estrella was murdered “at the instruction of members of the Wu-Tang Clan, a rap group, as revenge for robberies” so his clients names will be cleared of any wrong doing.
A former member of the Bloods gang, informant, Brian Humphreys has mentioned in numerous interviews that Estrella robbed RZA’s little brother, which led to the Christian brothers being hired to murder him.
In an interesting turn of events, according to the New York Post, prosecutors believe that any possible Wu-Tang connection has no effect on whether or not the Christian brother are guilty and their trial is pending.
What will happen if RZA and Raekwon are tied to the murder? Well, that has yet to be seen.
READ: Wu-Tang Clan Court Filling (Uploaded by Staten Island Advance)
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About the AuthorKinsey recently graduated from the University of Alabama. She enjoys music as an art form and a way of life. She can be found at a concert taking pictures or interviewing bands. She also indulges in coffee, soap operas, 90's cartoons.
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Campbell Erickson is a connector of young people.
Campbell Erickson is resourceful.
Campbell Erickson embodies entrepreneurialism.
Campbell Erickson is 16 years old.
Last summer, Erickson sent out a call to action to fellow Austin, TX teenagers who follow him on his Instagram account. The call was for people who wanted to make an impact and to change a particular narrative around the nascent nation of South Sudan.
But this isn’t just about Erickson. In response to his call, six Austin based teenagers, attending different high schools and varying in age have come together to start a project they call “A Youth Mind.”
“‘A Youth Mind’ comes from the idea that literally the minds of youth, I feel personally, aren’t recognized as much as they should be this day and age, especially when it comes to documentation and recognition of places, people and culture,” Erickson said. “The mind of a kid who is growing up is so open and so creative.”
But that’s just the name. It was the end goal of changing the conversation around different parts of the world that attracted the others to the project.
“Ignorance, to me, is my greatest fear. If you have resources and have things available to you, you have to choose to be ignorant. If you can choose to understand people and choose just to know things, why would you choose not too? Team member, Sophia Alami-Nassif, 17, said.
“People think you’re doing this cute little project. It made me want to work harder to make people understand. To almost prove to people we are not that little kid project.”
The goal of A Youth Mind is to combat ignorance through education. Through an Indiegogo campaign that raised $1,700, the A Youth Mind team is set to purchase disposable cameras that they will send through their NGO Austin-based partner, Lone Star-Africa Works, to South Sudan.
Once the cameras make it to the young people in South Sudan communities, they will use the cameras to shoot raw footage of their homes, their schools, their families and their friends.
Then they will send the photos back to Austin to the A Youth Mind team. The goal will be to distribute the photos as print books made through a platform called Weeva that will be sold to buy more cameras. The photos will also be distributed to various traditional and social media channels for maximum exposure.
After South Sudan, the team’s hope is to expand to other countries.
“We want to increase awareness using the raw image of a country like South Sudan instead of the Western media taking the photo.” Erickson said. “The final goal is to create an exchange between communities because we want young people all over the world to grow up with this awareness of other young people, this awareness of other cultures, of other places.”
As young people trying to combat ignorance in other young people, the A Youth Mind team is receiving a different kind of education outside of traditional schooling.
This project is not a school project. It is not a charity. It is a global humanitarian partnership started by young people who are passionate and want to remain engaged with the world.
“I actually believe in this. We are receiving validation from the feedback we are getting, and I don’t necessarily feel like you always get that in school,” Alami-Nassif said. “I feel like you are just expected to show up and do a task. The thing about this project is that it focuses on humanity, and I think school is really lacking that.”
The experience in entrepreneurial leadership and global awareness that the team is gaining cannot be quantified in a grade.
Nor can the ‘real world’ aspect be quantified, which was apparent when the team found themselves representing A Youth Mind at a booth at SXSW Eco in October in Austin, TX.
“It was humbling. It was a step into reality,” Ori Green, 16, said. “It wasn’t necessarily condescending, but you could see how being a kid and trying to start something like this, you get those natural ‘arts and crafts’ kind of feels to it. People think you’re doing this cute little project. It made me want to work harder to make people understand. To almost prove to people we are not that little kid project.”
Some SXSW Eco conference-goers did understand. Using a whiteboard, dry erase markers and a goal to spark conversation, the A Youth Mind team engaged conference participants by asking them to write the first word that came to mind when they think of Africa.
“We were going for stereotypes and things you think of when don’t really think of Africa. But we got so many amazing ideas and people’s thoughts,” Joshua Tsang, 16, said.
SXSW Eco was a pivotal reality check for the team.
“Afterward, I had to take a step back and think, ‘Woah, this is kind of actually going somewhere big.’ It was the first real deep breath of actuality for this,” Green said.
While the future looks bright for A Youth Mind, the project is not without its challenges. But with true entrepreneurial resourcefulness and dogged determination, the A Youth Mind team is accepting challenges in stride.
“One challenge is how do we get cameras through customs in South Sudan? We have a solution and this is working with churches over there to help get the cameras through.” Erickson said.
Flexibility, determination and a collaborative team will get the first round of photos back from South Sudan in the early part of 2016.
The goal is for the first book to be published by the summer of 2016.
“Our plan is to execute this first project and see what went good and what went bad and how we can make it better,” Green said. “How can we do it cheaper, more efficiently. Then after we do that we have a world of options. Literally.”
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–Palm Beach Post reporter Lulu Ramadan was denied entry to a polling place in Boca Raton after she tried to access it to talk to voters leaving the site.
–According to a series of Tweets, Ramadan was asked to show ID when she attempted to reach the polling place located inside the Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton.
I’m at Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton where there’s a polling place for inside the gated community (for a precinct with 2,217 registered voters). I was denied access to the polls as a journalist looking to check in on potential issues/talk to voters. #ElectionDay pic.twitter.com/SF4Bz3XTtm
— Lulu Ramadan (@luluramadan) November 6, 2018
–The gate is closed and not open to the public. When she showed her press badge, she was turned away because she is not a voter at the precinct.
–This seems to be a violation of election law as Sun-Sentinel reporter Dan Sweeney pointed out:
Lulu, it’s state law, section 101.71. “There shall be in each precinct in each county one polling place which shall be accessible to the public on election day and is managed by a board of inspectors and clerk of election.” They are violating state election law. Period.
— Dan Sweeney (@Daniel_Sweeney) November 6, 2018
–RISE NEWS called the Homeowners Association at Woodfield Country Club (the entity overseeing the polling place) and was told by the property manager that they had made a “mistake” in denying Ramadan.
–”We just got a call from the Supervisor of Elections telling us we made a faux pas,” Joan Burres, the property manager said. “Sorry that happened.”
–Burres said that the HOA had been traditionally informed that media was not allowed on the grounds of the country club. She also said that they didn’t realize that the site became “public” when it was being used as a polling location.
–Ramadan reports that the site is one of the biggest precincts in Palm Beach County with 2,217 registered voters.
—Here’s Something Completely Different: —
RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital TV news network. Sign up for our awesome email newsletter to make sure you never miss a story!
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Originally published on Everyday Feminism.
This election was triggering for a lot of abuse survivors. Calls to RAINN’s sexual assault hotlinesurged after Trump’s Access Hollywood tape leaked, and many have pointed out that he used verbally abusive tactics in the debates.
As a survivor of emotional abuse, one tactic of Trump’s in particular reminded me of my manipulative ex partner: gaslighting. This is when someone tells you that your thoughts aren’t based in reality, to the point that you start to distrust your perceptions.
In my case, when I tried to discuss my partner’s habit of borrowing money from me and not giving it back, he’d tell me I was being too negative. When I got upset with him, he told me that life was too short to get angry. If I felt hurt by a word he used, he’d say that nobody can “make” you feel anything without your consent, so it was my problem.
This led me to feel that I was too unreasonable to trust my feelings. I internalized his arguments and believed that if I was unhappy about anything he’d done, I just needed to put it out of my mind because life was too short, nobody can make you feel anything, and it was all my fault anyway.
Since I’ve learned about gaslighting, I’ve understood that all the things my partner blamed on me weren’t actually my fault. Looking at Trump’s words can also help us understand our own relationships, as well as the ways gaslighting can shape our political climate.
While people in relationships may gaslight to discredit and manipulate their partners, Trump does it to discredit his critics and manipulate public opinion.
Here are some phrases he’s used that either were used by my abusive partner or remind me of him – because they’re clear examples of gaslighting.
1. ‘I Never Said I’m a Perfect Person’
After Trump was caught on tape saying that if you’re famous, you can just do whatever you want with women, including “grabbing them” by their genitals as your heart desires, he released a video attempting to mitigate the seriousness of his comments.
“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not,” he said.
My ex has told me something similar: “Nobody’s perfect. What do you expect?”
If anybody ever responds to your concerns about them by saying that they never claimed to be perfect or that nobody’s perfect, be very, very skeptical.
If “I’m not perfect” were a real defense against criticism, nobody would ever be justified in criticizing anyone’s behavior. But obviously, things don’t work that way. If they did, people could just avert jail time by pleading imperfection.
The “nobody’s perfect” defense isn’t just irrational, though; it’s also malicious. Its goal is to imply that by criticizing someone, you’re being so demanding and unreasonable that you expect perfection, and that if you truly understood that humans are flawed, you would’ve kept your mouth shut.
Of course, people’s issue with Trump isn’t that he’s imperfect; it’s that he’s promoted misogyny, racism, ableism, and a whole lot of other negativity and oppression.
By reducing all these nuanced problems to mere imperfection, he’s distracting people from the real issues and painting people as overly critical if they want to talk about them.
Similarly, if your partner is toxic or abusive, you deserve to be treated better – and that’s not an unreasonable request at all. Asking for better isn’t asking for perfection.
2. ‘This Is Nothing More Than a Distraction From the Important Issues We’re Facing Today’
Trump also said this in the “apology” video regarding his Access Hollywood tape.
Similarly, he said in the second presidential debate that we need to forget about the tape so that “we can get onto much more important things and much bigger things,” like defeating ISIS.
He also tweeted, “I’m not proud of my locker room talk. But this world has serious problems.”
As if sexual assault weren’t serious or important.
These comments aim to convey to Trump’s critics that they’re blowing something out of proportion.
This type of gaslighting comes up a lot in conversations about social justice: “How could you talk about eating disorders when some people can’t even afford food?” “Who cares if queer people can get married when in some places, they’re killed?”
It also came up in my own relationship.
If I was angry with my significant other, he implied I was being myopic for focusing on supposedly small issues. He invoked lofty notions of love and forgiveness for the same reason Trump invoked ISIS: to illustrate the necessity of looking past the problem for a worthier cause.
Beware people who tell you your problems are small. They don’t get to singlehandedly decide what’s important. And if they claim to be the authorities on the topic, it’s often to serve themselves.
More often than not, the “small” problems are the ones they’ve contributed to – and the “small” problems can add up to something much bigger.
This type of gaslighting functions to dismiss people’s very real problems on the grounds that they’re not serious enough. And when it’s used as self-defense, it has another insidious effect: It makes the person who brings up the issue look petty.
When Trump said we need to focus on more important things, he was trying to dismiss people concerned about sexual harassment and assault – many of them survivors themselves – as uncaring, self-centered people who just can’t see the big picture.
That not only detracts from the real problem, but also penalizes people for speaking out about injustice.
3. ‘This Was Locker Room Banter’
Dismissing something that hurt another person as a joke or otherwise not serious is textbook gaslighting.
This defense only worked because “locker room talk” serves a very specific function in our society. Without the connotation of “not serious” or “not a problem,” it wouldn’t even be a defense. It would just mean something unacceptable that’s said in a locker room.
But in our culture, we have phrases designated for the purpose of gaslighting – specifically for men to gaslight women. “Locker room talk” is one. “Boys will be boys” is another.
Both imply that certain misogynistic behaviors are forgivable and even inevitable, so if we take issue with them, we’re just being too demanding.
We’re essentially being told that we’re asking for too much when we say that sexual assault and entitlement should not be acceptable casual conversation.
My ex-partner didn’t use these phrases, but he did, for example, defend using the word “silly” to describe an observation of mine, arguing that “silly” isn’t a serious or hurtful word.
This language serves the same purpose: invalidation and belittling, by claiming someone else’s concerns aren’t serious – which is a huge component of gaslighting.
4. ‘She’s Playing That Woman’s Card’
Accusing someone of playing a card, like the “woman card” or the “race card,” is also an example of gaslighting because it implies that someone’s trying to find a problem because the problem they’re seeing isn’t real.
In Trump’s view, if Hillary Clinton tried to talk about gender, she was just doing it because she wanted to win the election – as if being a woman or speaking out about sexism gave you an advantage.
Similarly, I and many other feminists have been accused of discussing the struggles marginalized people face just so that people will feel bad for us and we’ll gain special treatment.
It wasn’t always in these words with my ex-partner, but I knew what he was getting at. Once, when I pointed out a nudity double standard in a movie, he said I may be interpreting it as sexist because I thought about sexism a lot.
Another partner told me to stop “playing the woman card” after I suggested a hiring decision at his friend’s company could’ve been influenced by sexism.
Both of these instances made me feel like I had to stay silent if I ever had an opinion related to gender again – even if it was my own lived experience.
Once again, this form of gaslighting is more than a defense. The person using it is also on the offense, attacking the other person for supposedly making up injustice for personal gain.
Whether it’s used in politics or in the context of a relationship, “woman card” accuses the other person of being not only wrong, but also dishonest and opportunistic.
5. ‘I Think It’s Pure Political Correctness’
One gaslighting technique used by many politicians and everyday people discussing politics is accusing people of trying to limit free speech through political correctness.
Trump called putting Harriet Tubman on the twenty-follar bill and moving Andrew Jackson to the back “pure political correctness.” His former campaign manager said it was “political correctness run amok” when people criticized an anti-Semitic tweet by Trump.
“We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore,” Trump said in a statement to defend his view of Muslims as terrorists.
When equality and justice become mere “political correctness” and political correctness is portrayed as a threat to free speech, every social movement becomes subject to attack.
And that’s what makes Trump so popular. His supporters have been dying for an outlet for their hateful opinions. They’re sick of being politically correct – so much so that he’s been elected into office.
By deeming efforts to not be oppressive mere “political correctness,” Trump gives people permission to let out all the thoughts they’ve felt pressured to suppress. He’s brought sexism, racism, and classism back in style.
In reality, “political correctness” is just being considerate. And telling people not to be hateful isn’t limiting their free speech. They can still legally say what they want.
Gaslighters like Trump are themselves trying to silence people by painting their standards as unreasonable and oppressive.
That’s the effect my ex had on me. He often accused me of trying to be the PC police if I pointed out a gender stereotype or racist joke he made. I started to feel ashamed and think that maybe I was just being a killjoy.
Trump wants people who care about social justice to feel like killjoys who are just out to rain on everyone’s parade – rather than people with legitimate concerns.
Gaslighting can happen on both macro and micro levels and takes many forms. But its message usually boils down to this: “If you have a problem with something I’ve done, the problem is actually with you.”
The same way this reasoning teaches people to suck it up when their partners hurt them, it teaches them to stay silent about injustice.
If they speak up, they fear they’ll be accused of expecting perfection, ignoring important issues, being unable to take a joke, playing a card, or limiting free speech.
It’s this kind of intimidation that actually does all these things. Trump criticizes people unfairly, discourages them from discussing issues that are in fact important, expresses extreme defensiveness, takes advantage of his privilege, and suppresses people’s opinions.
And no matter what he’d have us believe, we’re not irrational for observing this.
Trump has put gaslighting on a very public stage. Perhaps recognizing this abuse tactic in this context will help more people build the tools to recognize when it’s happening on a personal level, too.
Suzannah Weiss is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. She is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Salon, Seventeen, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, Bustle, and more. She holds degrees in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Modern Culture and Media, and Cognitive Neuroscience from Brown University. You can follow her on Twitter @suzannahweiss.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
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