TELFAR’S rise to prominence

MIA CONCEPCION – STAFF WRITER

Living in a time of crisis and social isolation has paved the way for a resurgence of creativity and innovation amongst Black businesses. More Black entrepreneurs are pushing their products and gaining support for them. This type of success within such unprecedented times has proven the importance of helping our Black businesses to thrive and shine. TELFAR, a major Black-owned company, which started in the streets of New York City, is leaving a global imprint in the fashion industry.

TELFAR, a unisex clothing line best known for its top tier handbags, is located in Queens, New York. Established in 2005, the company has been making international sales that have since skyrocketed. Although the bag has become popularized in both main- stream media and the world of fashion, the road to success had some unforeseen trials and tribulations.

Telfar Clemens, the fashion mogul responsible for the well-renowned bag, initially introduced his luxurious purses in 2014 during the Autumn/Winter runway show. The TELFAR handbag was fresh and new, but still needed improvements to increase revenue. Utilizing funds of $400,000 collected from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Award, Clemens revisited his original design to see what adjustments could be made for profitability and variability. The TELFAR bag was then relaunched and made available in multiple colors and sizes in 2018.

Some may wonder how this particular item became popularized so quickly. First, it started with superstars representing the brand. From singer Solange, to A$AP Rocky, and Kelsey Lu, big names began to publicly support TELFAR through their own outfits. Fans have also seen these fashionable bags appear at grandiose events like the Met Gala, thus showing that it is a legitimate product worth the buy and the wear. Not only is it worth the buy, but many fans also deem it to be affordable compared to other fashion companies demanding way more in money. These bags range in prices from $150 to $275, whereas others exceed the $500 mark. These prices do not make the item exclusive to only a particular bracket of individuals, but all who wish to live life in style. TELFAR’s top-of-the-line bag also became popular due to its circulation on social media. The company further branded itself by making memes of people’s reactions to its latest drop of the shopping bags. Memes circulated on various social media platforms, including the infamous Twitter and Instagram.

Aside from branding, Telfar has ensured that customers will be able to safely purchase products. Due to the unexpected website crash on July 23rd, TELFAR had to find a way to compensate its supporters who lost their money and the items they anticipated purchasing. As a result, the Telfar Bag Security Program allowed customers a full day to purchase any bag they desired. Pre-ordered items are expected to arrive between December 15 and January 15, 2021. Items are always high in demand and tend to run out quickly. However, the company always ensures to restock as soon as possible.

Despite its fashionable look, TELFAR has more to offer than just style. TELFAR offers inclusivity and a community for Black boys and girls to immerse themselves in. Not only is this company representative of African Americans, but also Black queers who do not receive the recognition they are deserving of. TELFAR has proven that it is anti-exclusive and wants all to be a part of their journey and their story.

Vitamin D: The essential vitamin

TIGIST ASHAKA- STAFF WRITER

Unsplash User Jonathan Borba

Vitamin D this, and vitamin D that. Because early research has linked vitamin D deficiency with the probability of more severe COVID-19 symptoms, vitamin D seems to be all the news talks about.

Unfortunately, the National Institutes of Health concludes that “there are in- sufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of vitamin D for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.”However, NIH does acknowledge a correlation between overrepresented populations of COVID-19 and vitamin D-deficient groups, such as Hispanics and African Americans. Indeed, the AARP reported in 2016
that “41.6 percent of Americans overall were vitamin D deficient, but the deficiency rate was 82.1 percent for African Americans.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that African Americans are more likely to develop health problems such as stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes at a young age due to a lack of vitamin D. With that in mind, if COVID attacks the immune system, and people already have a pre-existing condition, it could potentially result in more severe symptoms or even death. This is one of the many reasons why taking a vitamin D supplement is necessary to protect a person’s health.

Furthermore, African Americans should take vitamin D seriously not only because it builds up people’s immune systems but because it also helps with mood stabilization. Maintaining one’s mental health is crucial during a pandemic, but for many our access to the outdoors—and, thus, an outlet for the natural production of vitamin D—is now often limited.

“I feel sad and unmotivated when it is gloomy outside compared to when it is a sunny day out,” said HU student Imani Porter.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a seasonal depreciation meaning the less sun there is outside, the more they go into this depression state. Researches Partonen, Vakkuri, Lamberg-Allardt, and Lonnqvist (1996) studied the importance of people exposing themselves to the sun. They found that the people with “one hour of light therapy significantly decreased depressive symptoms more so in the group with SAD than the control group” (Penckofer, Kouba, Byrn, Ferrans). If people think an hour is a not long time compared to the amount of time people spend on their social media. Think again!

If people have not learned any- thing from 2020, it is crucial to slow down and take care of themselves. If a person cannot spend an hour outside, take a supplement so that they won’t be a victim, they can also eat food such as salmon, liver, and oatmeal, since they all contain the vitamin D nutrient. Lastly, vitamin D is essential for bone strength and skeletal integrity. The best way to get vitamin D is from the sun, but now that people are spending so much time in their homes, it might be challenging. If people have the time, they should wear their mask and go outside (six feet apart, of course) to get fresh air. 2020 has been hard for everyone but the big takeaway is the importance of taking care of themselves. Doing what is necessary to be the best person an individual can be and taking vitamin D supplements can help them to become as healthy as possible and live a long life.

Crocs: The transition from past to present

SHIRMARIE STARKS STAFF WRITER

Unsplash User Mihaly Koles

What is your go-to shoe for comfortability? Nike slides? Converse? Those fluffy Ugg slippers? Socks and Birkenstocks? Or do you own a pair of Crocs?

Crocs, Inc. is seen as the go-to brand to find comfy shoes, but the company’s journey to worldwide fame in the shoe industry was not as comfort- able a fit.

Crocs were originally developed as a boating shoe by three avid boaters: Scott Seamans, George Boedecker, Jr., and Lyndon Hanson. Scott Seamans wanted a comfortable, floatable, ventilated and slip-resistant shoe. In particular, Seamans wanted to create an odor-resistant shoe, a feature that other boating shoes lacked. With these re- quirements in mind, Seamans produced a lightweight, thirteen-holed, unique clog to fit his desires.

In an interview with Edison Nation, Hanson recalls the origins
of Crocs, Inc. During a boating trip with Hanson and Boedecker, Seamans decided to bring the design for his colleagues to test out. Like most people today, Lyndon and George quickly told Scott that the shoes were ugly. However, Boedecker and Hanson ultimately agreed with Seamans: although the shoes were ugly, their functionality outweighed the looks. As a like-minded trio, these men quickly shifted their focus to the mass production, investor relations and financial operations of the shoe.

Under the leadership of Ronald R. Snyder, a newly appointed CEO in 2005, the brand went public on February 13, 2006. In 2006, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Initial Public Offering (IPO) plan of Crocs, Inc. consisted of 9.9 million shares with an asking price between $13 and $15. Business was going so well that the brand expanded to other countries including Austria, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. But like Sir Isaac Newton once said, “What goes up must come down,” and Crocs had started to reach the end of their era.

A report done by Money Insider in 2008 shows when the recession hit the economy, much of Croc’s business faded. Many consumers did not need to buy more pairs as they were able to reuse their current pair during the recession and a result, Crocs’s stock dropped more than 68%. For the next few years, the Crocs brand worked behind the scenes as they attempted to reimagine and revamp the brand. Between March 2009 and April 2014, the company went through two CEOs and they both experienced constant fluctuations in sales and net income.

In January 2014, the brand started to gain some serious attention from investors again. Money insider reported that The Blackstone Group, a private equity investment management firm, made a $200 million investment into the Crocs, Inc. company. Alongside this investment, Greg Ribatt, a seasoned shoe vet, was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer in January 2015. The changes seen within Ribatt’s tenure served as a turning point in the Crocs, Inc. brand and helped shape the brand as we know it today.

During the early stages of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Crocs, Inc. decided to donate 10,000 pairs of Crocs per day to healthcare workers until the stock ran out and donated an extra 100,000 pairs of shoes to numerous healthcare facilities.

In 2020, Crocs. Inc reported that there are now over 600 million pairs of Crocs sold in over 90 countries due to the successful continuation of the plan implemented by Ribatt and Rees. Crocs are still considered ugly to some just as they were to co-founders Lyndon Hanson and George Boedecker, Jr. However, with the founders’ vision, “We work hard to make you comfortable in your own shoes,” in mind, Crocs still serve their comfortable, floatable, ventilated, odor-resistant, slip-resistant and unique purpose in 2020.

Today, Crocs come in an array of styles such as the classic clog, boots, flats, sneakers and wedges. They also come in a wide assortment of colors.To top it off, you can customize your shoes with Jibbitz to really make them your own and express your personality. Crocs, Inc. has truly shifted into one company for all shoe needs. If you are looking for a sign to get a pair of Crocs, this is that sign!

Why you need to set boundaries

KAILAH LEE- STAFF WRITER

Ever wonder why every relation- ship you had has just gone south? Or that it has violated the dream that you had for it? Well, this time, maybe it is on you. You see, many people make the mistake of lowering their standards or expectations because they do not want to seem “too difficult,” but you are not actually asking for that much. You are just asking for appropriate respect. Trust me, in the end, being difficult is the least of your worries.

Let’s take this issue back a few steps; the core reason for your possible lack of self-respect may have begun in the home. The way your parents set or did not set boundaries profoundly affects your ability to respect and main- tain them yourself. In some families, parents teach that you have no say in advocating for healthy individualism because it is disrespectful. While this parenting method may have worked in many households, it stems from a place of mental manipulation.

A parent should respectfully keep a child in their place. However, parents should not restrict a child from commu- nicating things that make them uncom- fortable. “Talking back” to your parents is rude if you’re doing it “rudely,” but standing up for something that is just is not. Which is why “talking back” is highly misconstrued. Unfortunately, in homes–especially in black families–we learn that standing up for ourselves is harmful. But this issue goes both ways. Parents should also practice setting appropriate boundaries with their children. A lack of maintained limits in children can lead to them failing to set their own boundaries and struggling with relationships because of not prac- ticing boundary setting.

Well, you are grown now, and you must reverse this way of thinking because it trickles down into friend- ships, romantic relationships and even professional relationships. You do not want people crossing the line, but other people will not know they are crossing the line if it is not established.

There is a way to set a boundary without coming across as rude. You just need to be straightforward, but not harsh. Express the things that make

you uncomfortable in the most genuine manner and be consistent. People will try to test you and, in doing so, estab- lish their ability to infiltrate your peace. Once you fail your own test, it becomes a slippery slope of making exceptions for things you are not OK with. “I was always a ‘yes’ person, but that mess drives people crazy, I just wanted to

do what I wanted to do,” said Richelle Gregory, a working mother from Rich- mond, Virginia.

The idea of setting a boundary might seem rude, but believe me, it is not–it is actually hot! “I used to think that setting boundaries made me a crab, but girl, I’ve been manifesting real men ever since I started catering to my needs,” said Michele Parks from Chesterfield, Virginia. If you are in a relationship, giving yourself the respect to set standards attracts the right people into your life. And if you find that you are losing people you hoped would be around after a boundary building— well, you have just saved yourself some stress, trust me. Setting boundaries can also be a road sign of healthy self-es- teem. Nothing is more attractive than a person who is wholly content with themselves (within reason), “You weed out the bull when you set some rules,” said Darrell Lee from Richmond, Virginia.

Think about this: Say you have a welcome mat which reads “Welcome.” This is inviting but maybe too inviting. Anyone could just step all over it and wipe their nasty shoes all over it. How- ever, if there was a welcome mat that read, “Watch your step,” people would proceed with caution. Granted, some might step on it anyway, but that is on them.

This same rhetoric applies to life and how you get treated with respect when you stand up for yourself.

So set boundaries, voice discom- fort and value yourself enough to know you deserve respect.

Coronavirus impacts NFL games

JESSICA COLEMAN- STAFF WRITER

The National Football League is dealing with the repercussions of its inability to implement an effective plan to combat the spread of the coronavirus among players and staff throughout the league.

Some spectators, players and staff earlier this year thought the NFL would construct a bubble-like environment, similar to the one brilliantly cultivated by the National Basketball Association. The success of the NBA bubble was astonishing. Following the arrival of 22 teams to Orlando, Florida, only two players tested positive for COVID-19. The NBA implemented a 100-page safety plan to ensure the health and wellbeing of players and staff throughout their stay at the bubble. Unfortunately, the NFL is not experiencing the same success.

The NFL administers COVID-19 tests to players and other essential employees daily except on game day. Since players do not receive tests on game day, they are not permitted access to team facilities on the day after the game. The only two exceptions include the need for medical attention or if the team is operating on a short week.

With daily testing and strict guidelines, many were optimistic that the 2020 NFL season would go uninterrupted. However, the fact is, daily testing does not prevent the spread of the virus before detection. No players tested positive for the coronavirus within the first two weeks of play. However, in Week 4 things took a turn for the worse, beginning with the Tennessee Titans.

A total of 23 players and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since September 24. The Titans and Steelers game that was scheduled for October 4 was postponed until October 24. Also, the Titans’ game scheduled for October against the Buffa- lo Bills was moved to October 13.

Several players and staff members across the league are frustrated with the Titans’ decision to not follow protocols. Ultimately, the postponement of games is not just affecting the Titans but their opponents as well.

“Of course, we got the short end of the stick,” Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said in a news conference.

The positive COVID-19 tests are causing shifts throughout the league. The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs matchup was postponed from Sunday to Monday in Week 4 as a result of positive COVID-19 tests from both teams. The rescheduling created a rarity of two matchups for “Monday Night Football.”

In efforts to control and deescalate the current predicament the league faces, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 clubs last Monday regarding COVID-19 protocol compliance. The memo introduced new measures for increased safety and repercussions if they are not followed.

“Protocol violations that result in the virus spread requiring adjustments to the schedule or otherwise impacting other teams will result in additional financial and competitive discipline, including the adjustment or loss of draft choices or even the forfeit of a game,” Goodell said in the memo, obtained by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

In the environment in which the NFL is operating, it is unrealistic to expect the league to eliminate positive tests. Yet if teams do not follow protocols and guidelines, the number of positive tests could increase, and more teams could have their seasons affected.

Is Daniel Cameron a sellout?

MILES RICHARDSON- STAFF WRITER

Tamika Mallory spoke at a press conference in order to address Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who recently announced his decision to charge only one officer involved in the Breonna Taylor case. During the conference, Mallory had this to say: “Daniel Cameron is no different than the sellout Negroes that sold our people into slavery. We have no respect for your black skin.” This is an opinion that many African Ameri- cans hold. According to senior Theatre major Kayla Harrison, “The attorney general should be ashamed of himself.” While I do not agree with these women, I can respect their opinions. With that being said, I hope you can give me the same courtesy, even after I tell you that I believe the decision in the Breonna Taylor case was ultimately the right one.

The New York Times reported that on the night of March 13, 2020, Louisville police officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove broke down the door of Taylor’s apartment, attempting to serve a “no-knock” search warrant. The officers, as corroborated by Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, stated that they knocked several times anyway. However, Walker says he never heard the officers identify themselves. Once the officers entered the apartment, Walker picked up his legally owned pistol and shot at the officers. Once Mattingly was hit by Walker’s bullet, the three officers responded by firingseveral rounds, hitting Taylor six times, and killing her.

Now, according to a report given to The Courier Journal by the Jefferson County coroner, the only fatal shot came from detective Cosgrove, who was in the doorway and could clearly see Walker’s gun being aimed at him. Detective Brett Hankison, who fired 10 rounds blindly into the apartment from outside, was the only officer charged. It is also important to add that none of Hankinson’s bullets were found to have struck Breonna Taylor. While these facts could be used to highlight this incident as simply an- other example of a Black person being victimized by a racially unjust police force, I choose to see a much more complicated narrative.

Kentucky is a stand your ground state, meaning citizens have the right to use deadly force to protect them- selves if they feel their life is being threatened. So when Walker had his door kicked open at 12:40 a.m., with no way of knowing the intruders were police officers, he most likely saw this as a legitimate threat to his well-being, and therefore, was within his rights to respond with force.

However, let’s put ourselves in the officers’ shoes for a moment. They have arrived at the address of an alleged drug dealer to serve a no-knock warrant, according to The Courier Journal, although they are well aware of the violent nature of the drug business, they have decided to knock anyway, knowing that they could be giving possible drug dealers inside time to arm themselves and wait for them to make their entry. After knocking and identi- fying themselves several times (as they claim they did), they broke down the door and were immediately met with gunfire, and responded by returning fire.

Some may see the 10 rounds unloaded during the shooting as excessive. I would challenge anyone of this opinion to seriously consider how many shots they would’ve liked to be fired if it was their life on the line.

But beyond this, there seems to be another elephant in the room here. Isn’t it reasonable to presume the officers could’ve identified themselves, but Walker simply couldn’t hear them from his bedroom? I don’t know how big Walker’s apartment is, but I do know there were at least two doors and an en- tire living room between them. Given this insight, I think that it’s safe to say that there is a strong possibility that this could have simply been a misunder- standing.

As I examine the facts of this case, I cannot help but come to the conclu- sion that Breonna Taylor, God rest her soul, was not a victim of systemic op- pression, but of unlucky circumstances. But then again, maybe I’m just another sellout Negro.

A look into the shooting of Breonna Taylor and the aftermath

SYDNEY MCCALL- STAFF WRITER

Maria Oswolt | Associated Press

Louisville Metro Police Department released the 4,470 page investigation file on the shooting of Breonna Taylor Oct. 7. Additionally, Daniel Cameron, Kentucky’s Attorney General, released 15 hours of recordings of the case that explain what led to the controversial verdict.

In the officers’ body camera footage from the night of Taylor’s death, you can hear Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, distressingly talking to a dispatcher after Taylor was shot.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot and killed in her apartment on March 13, 2020. Police officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankinson and Myles Cosgrove were serving a no- knock warrant when they forced entry into her home.

Believing the officers were intruders, Walker fired a warning shot which struck Officer Mattingly, resulting in the officers firing 32 shots in return. Taylor was hit by six of those bullets and passed away.

Taylor received no medical attention until 20 minutes after she was shot, The Courier Journal reported.

Affectionately called “Breewayy” by her loved ones, Taylor worked as a full time emergency room technician for the University of Louisville Hospital and was working as an essential worker throughout the pandemic.

“She was a better version of me. Full of life. Easy to love,” said Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mom, to the New York Times.

Taylor’s shooting quickly fueled outrage in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, and eventually gained attention worldwide. The news of her death broke around the same time as the unfortunate death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for nine minutes. Chauvin was fired the day after Floyd’s death.

Protestors gathered in masses around the world, chanting phrases such as “Say her name,” “Justice for Breonna” and “Black Lives Matter.”

Many Black women saw themselves in her and felt it their duty to fight for the officers who shot her to be arrested and charged.

“I look at Breonna Taylor and see me,’’ said Jade Ford, a first year kinesiology major at HU. It scares me to live in a place where I am not seen as human or equal. Her death was a huge disappointment for black women.”

Taylor’s family received a settlement of $12 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Louisville Sept. 15. The settlement is the largest in history for the death of a Black woman by cops, according to lawyer Ben Crump. In addition to the payment, the settlement included changes in policy with respect to police conduct in Louisville.

Despite the settlement, none of the police officers involved were charged until Sept. 23, when a grand jury indicted Officer Brent Hankinson with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for endangering Taylor’s neighbors the night she was shot.

Mattingly and Cosgrove, the other two officers involved, faced no charges, but all three officers involved in the shooting have all been terminated, according to the Louisville police.

Cameron has received backlash for the way he handled the case. In a press conference, Cameron stated that John Mattingly and Miles Cosgrove were justified in returning shots to Taylor’s boyfriend. Because of this, he decided not to recommend homicide charges against any of the officers involved.

Activists demand more serious counts of charges for the officers as demonstrators have come together in Louisville to protest.

“We’re going to keep marching, keep stepping, but we’re going to do it together as one,” said Chris Wells, a local activist in Louisville.

The 2020 NFL Season Protests and Fight for Change

 Aliyu Saadu- Staff Writer

New York Times

National Football League (NFL) players have been protesting during the National Anthem since the beginning of the 2020-21 season to use their platform to fight for equality in the U.S.

“We’re going to stand behind our players, we respect our players and they have done a great job of bringing attention to these issues,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in an interview on Squawk Alley. “Our focus now is, ‘How do we support them making the changes?”

The start of the NFL season has been historic due football playing during a pandemic, having no fans in the stadiums, and players protesting during the National Anthem. Through the league players have been protesting and outspoken for change to ensure that their voices are heard.

During Week 1 of NFL games, teams played the National Negro Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, and the National Anthem, Star Spangled Banner, before the start of their games. In the season game opener between the Houston Texans vs. Kansas Chiefs, the Texans chose to remain in the locker room during the playing of the anthems. Teams across the league locked arms in unity, kneeled, or remained in the locker room during the anthem just as the Texans.

“It is not about the flag,” Goodell said. “The message here [is] that what our players are doing is being mischaracterized. These are not people who are unpatriotic. They’re not disloyal, They’re not against our military,” said Goodell in Emmanuel Acho’s Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man YouTube series. “What they were trying to do is exercise their right to bring attention to something that needs to get fixed.”

These NFL players have made it known that they are not here just to entertain, but having their voices heard. The deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky earlier this year fueled players to be active in the fight for social justice through their season.

This has led the NFL launched the NFL Votes Initiative in August to promote fans to vote and get more people in at voting polls. The NFL has partnered with the Rock the Vote, RISE to Vote and I am a Voter to promote educational seminars and help with registrations for all NFL personnel. There have been 14 teams that will use their stadiums as a voting poll in November. The NFL is reaching out to their employees and fans to help out on election day to replace the older workers that are at high risk for COVID-19. Lastly, the NFL has committed $250 million to combat systemic racism in the next ten years.

“The days of ‘sports and social issues aren’t going to mix,’ that’s the old world, these issues are top of mind, and the players are going to use their platforms,” said social justice activist and the Executive Chairman of Fanatics Michael Rubin in an interview with New York Times. “I don’t see any chance of this reversing course.”

It has been over four years since NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick became the first player to kneeled to protest racism and police brutality. This may have led to the end of his career as a player, but it has been the spark that has led to the protests and social justice fight in the NFL. As the season goes on, NFL Players look to continue to use their national platform this year to keep the momentum and fight for equality in the United States.

The NBA Bubble Success

Colangelo Parker- Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of Complex (Complex https://www.complex.com/sports/nba-bubble-orlando-predictions)

The 2020 NBA postseason is in its final chapter with the beginning of the NBA Finals series between the L.A. Lakers and Miami Heat on September 29 in the Orlando bubble.

It has been nearly four months since NBA players began to arrive to Orlando, Florida on July 7th to finish the remainder of its abnormal season. For the past four months, the NBA has quarantined itself in a bubble. The NBA bubble was created to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to its players while they complete the 2020 season in the midst of the pandemic.

“My ultimate conclusion is that we can’t outrun the virus, and that this is what we’re got to be living with for the foreseeable future which is why we designed the campus the way we did,” said Adam Silver in an interview with ESPN. “And so it’s a closed network; and while it’s not impermeable, we are in essence protected from cases around us. At least, that’s the model.”

On June 4, 2020, the NBA’s Board of Governors voted and approved a plan for the return of play for the 2019-20 NBA season. Instead of teams returning to play in their home arenas, the NBA decided that all games would be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Since the arrival of players to the bubble, the NBA has had zero positive tests of 341 players tested for COVID-19.The Disney campus was set up to house players and staff for the remaining games of the season. The NBA prioritized players and staff safety above

all for the restart after players such as Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Russell Westbrook, and others contracted the COVID-19 during the season’s hiatus. The NBA set up rigorous rules, regulations,and safety protocols for all in the bubble to prevent and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 on the campus.

“Since we designed our initial protocol, we are continuing to work with Disney on the testing of at least a subset of their employees that could potentially be in the same room as our players, and anyone else who’s tested daily on our campus,” said Silver told ESPN.

The stage was set for the return of basketball. The NBA officials agreed upon a format approved for the return of 22 of 30 NBA teams, featuring nine Eastern Conference teams and 13 Western Conference teams. All 22 teams invited were still numerically eligible to make the postseason with the target date for resumed play being July 30 and the NBA Finals running no later than October 13.

The NBA bubble not only has kept players in good health from the virus, but has allowed players to voice the injustice happening in the United States. Teams have kneeled during the National Anthem and protested games to make statements to viewers about their devotion to seeing systemic change and racial equality in America. In the bubble, players have been allowed to display different messages on the back of jerseys, such as “Black Live Matter”, “Equality”, “Say Their Name” and more. The NBA added “Black Lives Matter” as a logo onto the court the games take place on.

“The African-American community in this country has been engaged in a conversation internally about what to do, with all of us, not simply the National Basketball Association players, but all of us,” said NBA Executive Director Michele Roberts in an interview with ESPN. “And the conversation … that has happened between our players is exactly that: What do we do? How do we do it? How should we do it?”

The NBA bubble has proven to be a success with keeping players safe from coronavirus and providing players with the platform to voice equality to viewers while in the bubble. Fans have been treated to miraculous comebacks, heartbreaking losses, and spectacular performances through the postseason. Now, the beginning of the NBA Finals is here and is expected to be a stellar series to close the chapter of the NBA Orlando bubble.

A Discussion with Omega Psi Phi: The Importance of the Black Vote

Noa Cadet- Staff Writer

Photo by Robin Jonathan Deutsch on Unsplash

2020 has proven to be quite a year thus far! Not only has COVID-19 completely altered the way the country operates, but it is also the election year for the President of the United States. An election that is quickly shaping up to be one of the most influential ones in American history. In honor of such an important event, as well as to build active participation for the voting season in the Hampton Roads area, the Gamma Epsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., held their Get Owt and Vote Summit on Friday, September 25, via Instagram Live. Hosted by Hampton University Alumnus, Georquel Goodwin, the Gamma Epsilon Chapter worked tirelessly throughout the event to spread awareness on the importance of voting in the upcoming election, with emphasis on the black vote. 

Dozens of Hampton students gathered on the Instagram live to join the discussion of voter registration, led by Omega Psi Phi. Among that number was the event’s special guest speaker, Nupol Kiazolu, a Hampton University Political Science Major, Black Rights Activist and founder of the National Vote2000 campaign. In her discussion with her fellow Hamptonians, she spoke about the importance of not just the presidential election, but local and state. 

“Local and state elections are some of the most important elections, in the fact that it directly influences the area in which you live, and [the elected officials] are the ones who write the policies that impact you every single day,” Kiazolu stated.

Kiazolu also elaborated on Omega Psi Phi’s message of spurring people to vote. She stressed the importance of black representation in the voting process, stating that with the power of the vote, the black community can work to take control of their neighborhoods, and have the government work for them, instead of the other way around. 

“Politics are a part of your life,” said Georquel Goodwin, commenting on the importance of staying connected and up-to-date with your local representatives. 

The night wasn’t purely centered around encouraging young, black people to vote. As the event drifted into its final minutes, the conversation shifted to the state of black civil rights, as well as the ongoing issue of police brutality in America. In response, Omega Psi Phi and Kiazolu both 

pushed home the message to be one’s own advocate and join the struggle to push for change. Kiazolu in particular spoke up to encourage the audience, and anyone else, to be the changemakers that push for a new America. 

As the event drew to a close, the Hampton audience showed their love for the speech made with positive comments and excited encouragement to foster change in their own communities. The Gamma Epsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. not only succeeded in encouraging the public to vote for their local officials but they, along with Nupol Kiazolu, helped fuel a sense of immense black pride that made this event a roaring success.