South Carolina

Someone Hanged A Stuffed Monkey From A Tree Near The U. Of South Carolina

According to mulitple eye witnesses on social media, someone hanged a plush monkey from a tree from a student off campus housing development in Columbia, SC.

The stuffed animal was found with a belt around its neck hanging from a small tree in a parking lot at The Village at Columbia development.

The Village at Columbia is an apartment complex designed for use by University of South Carolina student according to the complex’s website. 

The incident comes on the heels of another similar situation at Clemson University last week where two students there admitted to hanging bananas from a pole next to a banner honoring African-Americans.

Those two students claimed that their actions were not racially motivated

This is a developing story. Stay with RISE NEWS. 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: @IStandAlone_0/ Twitter

Bakari Sellers: From Political Wunderkind To CNN Star

By Courtney Anderson

When South Carolina native Bakari Sellers was elected to the state’s General Assembly in 2006, he made history.

He was the one of the youngest people and the youngest black person to ever be elected to the position.

Sellers was 22, only a year or so out of Morehouse College.

Sellers was in elected office from 2006-2014.

And during those years, Sellers worked with the Obama campaign in 2008 and earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina.

Impressive, huh?

It is a career path many politicians would hope to reach by the time they hit their 40s and 50s, and it is one that got Sellers a spot in TIME’s “40 under 40” a few years back.

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Now Sellers is no longer in the South Carolina General Assembly. In 2014, he ran for the Lieutenant Governor office, a race he alluded to in that same TIME article.

“I do love our lieutenant governor’s office. That would be a good window to look out of,” Sellers said in 2010. “And the governor has a nice house. But we’ll see.”


Then State Rep. Bakari Sellers speaking in 2010. Photo Credit: Bakari Sellers/ Facebook.

Sellers lost the race for lieutenant governor, a rare setback for one of the leading progressive voices in South Carolina.

Sellers again demonstrates how he’s different than many politicians: a loss like this would throw a wrench in most political plans.

But not for Sellers.

“I lost up, actually,” Sellers said in an interview with RISE NEWS.

Sellers still doesn’t have a particularly strict five-year or 10-year career path. He is all about using his career and positions to stand up for people he feels aren’t being heard.

“I think I have options,” Sellers said. “Right now, I’ve been able to give a voice to the voiceless.”

Standing up for the voiceless is in Sellers’s blood. His father, Cleveland Sellers, was a civil rights activist who is still dedicated to social justice. He is the younger Sellers’s inspiration.

“My father would say ‘History isn’t changed unless you push it,’” Sellers said. “And I rely on those life lessons every day.”


Photo Credit: Bakari Sellers/ Facebook.

Family, Sellers said, is the one thing that has managed to stay consistent throughout his changing career.

His wife, Ellen Rucker Sellers, and their 11-year-old daughter, Kai Michelle, are always by his side.

Sellers and Rucker got married in the summer of 2015.

“They’ve always given me the courage to keep going,” Sellers said.

And Sellers has to keep going. He doesn’t have any time to waste.

He is an attorney at Strom Law Firm, and a member of the Democratic National Convention rules committee.

He recently argued for equal protection for unmarried same-sex couples under South Carolina’s criminal domestic violence laws. Sellers is also urging people to pay attention to criminal justice reform and issues of wealth distribution of black families in America.

When he is not dealing with all of the responsibilities of being an attorney, he is trying to keep up with the rapid twists and turns of the 2016 election.

“I have to keep up with the 24/7 news cycle because I’m a part of it now,” Sellers said.

Sellers is a commentator on CNN, which he is said is one of his most fun jobs. It has also put him in the national spotlight, next to luminaries like David Axelrod and Donna Brazile.

“That’s my family,” Sellers said. “That’s my daily.”

CNN isn’t the only place Sellers has visited. He has also appeared on the Steve Harvey Show and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

Photo Credit: Bakari Sellers/ Twitter

Photo Credit: Bakari Sellers/ Twitter

He has even given an interview on The Breakfast Club national radio program, paying his good friend Charlamagne Tha God a visit. Not exactly the most common place to find a CNN contributor.

“We’re both trying to change the world in different veins,” Sellers said of Charlamagne. “We’re hoping to inspire someone to dream big, with their eyes open.”

So far so good for the 31 year old Sellers on that front.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

The Strange But True Story Behind How The Internet Discovered The Identity Of “Grateful Doe” 20 Years After His Death

By Erika Hills 

After over twenty years, a South Carolina family is able to have closure thanks to the help of some resourceful Internet sleuths.

Known only as “Grateful Doe” for two decades, Jason Patrick Callahan was involved in a fatal Emporia, VA car accident in June 1995 while following The Grateful Dead’s 1995 tour.

According to The Washington Post, authorities were able to quickly identify the driver but not the passenger.

Due to the extent of Callahan’s injuries, it prevented them from accurately sketching or describing him. Callahan was hitch-hiking along the East Coast, WSOC-TV reported, which further increased the difficulty in identification.

On Dec. 9, the Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS) confirmed that Grateful Doe was 19-year-old Callahan from Myrtle Beach.

Volunteers and amateur detectives on the true-crime forum WebSleuths began working on Grateful Doe’s case in July 2005.

Ten years ago users on the site started cross-referencing the case with hundreds of entries in the missing persons’ database, The Washington Post reported.

WMBF-TV reported that following an updated facial reconstruction of Grateful Doe this past year, the case caught fire once more. This time, users on Reddit and Facebook joined the efforts to give him a name and his family closure. On the Grateful Doe subreddit and Facebook page, many people came together to post tips, updates, photos, and even the original newspaper article describing the accident.

Information indicating that Grateful Doe may be Jason Callahan was received on social media a year ago. It led to the Myrtle Beach Police Department working diligently alongside other agencies to link both cases by collecting DNA samples.

As they waited in anticipation, many people following the case expressed their elation in the mere possibility of it being solved after so long.

11 months later, upon the news of Callahan being identified, people from different corners of the Internet united.The relentless support and hard work of countless strangers, in a mission to bring a name to the nameless and closure for a family, has finally paid off.

“Rest in peace, Jason Callahan. I am so thrilled you have your name back,” a Reddit user commented on Dec. 10.

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Cover Photo Credit: Grateful Doe Facebook Group

Aziz Ansari Blasts CBS For Not Being Diverse On Late Show

The Late Show got a little more pointed than some CBS executives probably wanted last night with Aziz Ansari as a guest on Stephen Colbert’s program.

Just after introducing Ansari, Colbert mentioned how both men were originally from South Carolina. But that is where the similarities end.

Ansari took no time to turn to cutting humor while referencing how Colbert is “the bagillith white guy” hosting a late night talk show.

WATCH: Exchange between Ansari and Colbert


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Cover Photo Credit: Fred Benenson/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

H/T: Vulture

Exclusive: Man Claims That South Carolina McDonald’s Served Him With Moldy Cup

In an exclusive interview with Rise News, the man behind a viral Facebook post claiming that a South Carolina McDonald’s served him a moldy tea, stood by his comments even as the fast food giant seemed to reject his claims.

Brandon Benjamin posted to Facebook on September 1 that he had purchased a meal the night before at a McDonald’s located at 2390 Chestnut St in Orangeburg, SC. His message was colorful and quickly went viral:

“STOP eating McDonald’s and getting they’re [sic] tea. I went to McDonald’s last night and got myself a McChicken and peach cream pie with a $1 tea. I left my tea in the fridge thinking it’ll be alright tomorrow. I was ABSOLUTELY DISGUESTED [sic] with what I found in my cup. After taking 2 sips, it didn’t taste right at all. I poured out the tea and found this!!!!!!,” Benjamin wrote describing the photos he posted with the message.


In both a phone interview and in a Facebook message conversation, Benjamin stood by his comments and said that he was shocked by what he said was in his cup.

“Mold, gunk, bacteria was stuck alongside the inside of the cup,” Benjamin said. “I began to feel sick to my stomach after seeing what I took two large sips of.”

Benjamin also said that he was experiencing stomach issues that he believes to be related to the alleged moldy cup.

“There was quite a nasty smell- it was really horrible,” Benjamin said.

He also said that he was a longtime customer of that particular McDonald’s as it is close to his place of employment.

“This is my main location [McDonald’s] and they know who I am there,” Benjamin told Rise News. “I went through the drive-through. I went home and the tea tasted a little bitter on the drive there.”


Benjamin said that he has kept the cup as “evidence” and that he would be willing to take a lie detector test if asked to prove his level of truthfulness.

Rise News‘ request for comment to McDonald’s was forwarded to a public relations firm who provided a statement from the local owner and operator of the Orangeburg location in question.

“Operating a safe and clean restaurant for our customers is a top priority, and we take any complaints very seriously,” store owner Emory Main said. “When the customer returned to the restaurant the day after his purchase and brought it to our attention, our subsequent review of our equipment and operations lent no support to the customer’s allegations. We continually review our comprehensive operations to ensure our customers have the best restaurant and food experience.”

Benjamin said that he had in fact returned to the store to show the on call manager the cup.

“They offered me another tea and a free meal, which disgusted me,” Benjamin said.

“This could happen to anyone else. My family has talked to me about getting a lawyer which I may do,” Benjamin said.

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Photo Credit: Brandon Benjamin/Facebook

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