Category Archives: Local & World

Republican lawmakers wave the white flag yet again on health care

Zoe Griffin | Contributing Writer

The GOP’s latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has not fared well with Republican lawmakers.

The goal of Republican lawmakers was to meet the Oct. 1 deadline of passing the American Health Care Act before the current fiscal year ended, but they were unsuccessful yet again.

Now that the deadline passed, the bill can’t be passed with a simple majority.

It now requires the cooperation of the Democratic Party.

On Jan. 10, just days before President Trump’s inauguration, he told The New York Times that Republicans would have Obamacare repealed “probably sometime next week.”

Now, as October starts, Obamacare is still the law of the land, and Republicans are no closer to overhauling their health care law than they were when Trump took office.

“I try to look at both sides and kind of create a parallel between Obamacare and the GOP plan,” Hampton University sophomore journalism major Jordyn Brown said. “It’s important to be aware of the extreme differences and goals of each health care plan. These plans are both targeted to affect specific groups of people. Watching the attempts at altering health care is scary but necessary.”

Approximately 18 million Americans would be without health care coverage in the first year if the GOP Healthcare bill passed, replacing the Affordable Care Act. By the year of 2026, approximately 32 million Americans would lose health care coverage.

“We haven’t given up on changing the American health care system. We are not going to be able to do that this week, but it still lies ahead of us, and we haven’t given up on that,” Senator McConnell told CNN reporters Tuesday.

Democrats and Republicans that voted against the GOP healthcare bill can exhale and wait for the next attempts at repealing Obama Care.

“Republicans are ignoring the problems that Congress found within the bill,” second-year political science major Corei Flowers said. “The best thing for us is for both sides to throw away their pride and come up with a compromise. Republicans are never going to agree with Obamacare, and Democrats are never going to agree with the GOP bill.”

One Hampton University student was relieved when news reports revealed that the GOP bill failed.

“I feel like people don’t really understand how important Obamacare is for some people,” sophomore journalism major Brandi Hutchinson said. “There are people of all ethnicities and backgrounds [who] are only alive and well because of Obamacare. How is taking this away humane at all? I don’t understand how someone’s life and well-being can mean absolutely nothing to certain individuals.”

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NSU President set to retire

Odyssey Fields | Staff Writer

Moore_E Portrait

Courtesy of Norfolk State University

After serving as Norfolk State University president for a year, Eddie N. Moore Jr. is retiring.

The university’s sixth president fulfilled the promise he made when he first took office: to clean up Norfolk State’s academic slate.

NSU had been on academic probation. Its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, cited administrative shortcomings and shoddy bookkeeping when it put Norfolk State on warning in 2013 and probation a year later.

After two years of patient work by Moore and others in the administration, SACS restored Norfolk State to good standing.

Moore released his retirement statement to faculty, staff and students Sept. 25.

He previously served NSU as an interim president for three years. After signing his two-year contract, President Moore swiftly tackled the issues the university faced.

With more than 40 years of experience, Moore has conquered a variety of challenges that stood in the path of his journey at NSU.

After gaining back its accreditation, Moore worked on Norfolk’s “institutional integrity.” His three goals were improving graduation rates, increasing the amount of enrollment for students and flourishing the culture of accountability at NSU.

“NSU is a great institution that will come back greater. Whomever takes over for Mr. Moore will hopefully fulfill the legacy of NSU,” said Victoria Balogun, an NSU sophomore mass communications major.

Since 2013, the university’s rankings have greatly increased, leaving NSU ranked at No. 27 for HBCU listings. In the 2016-2017 enrollment year, admitted students increased to almost 5,000 students.

Moore also has increased funding for the Cybersecurity Workforce. On Jan. 16, 2015, Norfolk State University received a $25 million grant from U.S National Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

The grant allows students majoring in cybersecurity to be properly trained and help develop the university’s cybersecurity workforce. The $25 million grant was only the start to strengthening NSU’s financial support.

In July 2016, NSU received $5 million in grant money for renewable research. Leading into March of 2017, Norfolk raises an additional $1 million from the National Science Department, toward the STEM program.

A portion of the money went toward upgrading the laboratory and experiment equipment used throughout the science department. The grant also helped to support tuition for four undergraduate students attending NSU. In addition to the grant, the number of students within the STEM program increased.

“NSU will continue to prosper as a university,” NSU freshman marketing major Tatyanna Taylor said, “but President Moore will be missed.”

Hampton student’s family survives close call in Las Vegas

Zoe Griffin | Contributing Writer

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The Peterson Family | Courtesy of Carrington Peterson

Las Vegas native Carrington Peterson was awakened Mon- day by 59 messages and notifications from family members.

“My parents decided to go on a ‘staycation’ [Sunday] night and got a hotel room,” Peterson said.

They stayed at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where a gunman on the 32nd oor that night would kill 59 people, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, was identified as the

sniper suspect by police. His room contained 16 ri es, one handgun, 18 rearms, explosives and thousands of rounds of bullets, according to law enforcement personnel.

Shots red Sunday night from the Mandalay Bay down to the Route 91 Harvest country music festival sent thousands frantically scrambling for cover. As of Wednesday, the injured total was 527 people.

Not only were Peterson’s parents in the hotel Sunday night, her sibling was in the vicinity.

“It was also my brother’s birthday, so he was out celebrating on the strip,” she said.

Peterson was one of thousands of concerned family members unsure Monday about the whereabouts of their loved ones in Vegas. Her racing thoughts worsened as she worried about the well-being of her family.

 

“I cried, and I’m not one to show emotion immediately or at all, honestly,” Peterson said. “But waking up to those notifications was nerve-racking.”

Peterson’s parents, fortunately, were safe.

“By the grace of God, they checked out of the Mandalay room an hour before the shoot-

ing occurred,” she said. Peterson was relieved when she discovered her brother also had not been harmed.

However, despite her family members not being physically affected by the tragedy, the massacre has taken a toll on them mentally.

Peterson had always been aware of terrible tragedies that occur in America, but this tragedy in particular affected her in a different way because the area was all too familiar.

“Things have been happening so much in this country lately, and it has gotten to be the norm,” Peterson said. “But to have something happen in your town, where you come from, is an entirely different feeling.”

The motive behind the shooting remains unknown. Paddock reportedly committed suicide moments before police entered his hotel room.

Peterson is among those who suspected mental illness played a big role. She thinks this disaster should bring awareness to the issue.

“I hope that this tragedy raises awareness of mental illness because it does not get enough recognition,” Peterson said. “It is a life-challenging disease that isn’t taken seriously.”

City of Hampton’s 5K race helps West African Orphans

Ya-Marie Essay | Campus Editor

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Courtesy of Ya-Marie Essay

Share Heart Africa raises awareness of West African orphans and widows in the Hampton Roads area during their 5K Race for Hope.

The organization hosted their 5 th annual 5k Race for Hope at the end of September near Warwick High School in Newport News, Virginia. The race is dedicated to raising funds for Sierra Leonean children in need, proceeds will directly impact the education of Sierra Leonean children and microfinancing for caregivers to assist their financial need.

The race began with an 8 a.m. 1-mile run followed by a 5K and 8K race at 8:30 a.m. The cost of participation began at $18 for one mile, $30 for 5K and $45 for 8K.

Saffiatu Harper, founder of Share Heart Africa, also a Sierra Leonean native said she was
inspired to host a 5k run to raise proceeds for Sierra Leonean girls that suffer to get access to an education. Last year the race took place during the August heat and had a greater turn-out than this year. With it being the 5th year the Share Heart Africa’s team had a stress-free planning process.

“It was really good to get a late September date this year, the early morning Autumn breeze felt good especially to our runners,” said Harper. “The event was a success but we definitely need more participants to make a major impact in children’s lives in Sierra Leone.”

Rapheal Kamanga came in first place during the 5K race. The Kenyan native was extremely excited to give back to Africa. He hopes to encourage people to participate in fundraising races to not only live a healthy lifestyle, but to also impact the lives of others through a great cause.

“When you’re doing something for Africa, I feel like you’re doing it for me and doing it for my people,” said Kamanga.

Share Heart in Africa focuses on families in the village of Sierra Leone, and main cities like Freetown, Makeni, Kenema, Gloucester, Waterloo and Grafton.

“Our hope is that each child will fully grow up, take what they have learned, and become an agent of change in their community,” said Harper.

Harper believes the Lord called on her to give back to her country. “My heart’s desire is to fulfill the calling God has placed in my heart by promoting the welfare of children in Africa,” said Harper on Share Heart in Africa website.

The organization was founded in and focuses on seven core values that include family and community, accountability, faith, quality, stewardship, integrity and individualized care. The organization also ensures that each child has basic holistic care through their physical, mental social and spiritual needs for a healthy and well-rounded life.

In mid-August Sierra Leone faced a drastic mudslide killing over 300 people, and destroying many homes leaving over 2,000 people homeless. Many organizations including Share Heart in Africa are currently accepting donations to provide medical, sanitary and food supplies for those affected.

“We look forward to impacting more lives in Sierra Leone, West Africa with other future
events,” said Harper.

Share Heart in Africa is currently looking for hardworking and dedicated volunteers. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.shareheartafrica.org

TRUMP’S DECISION ON DACA RATTLES THE COUNTRY

Kyra Robinson | Contributing Writer

Americans were reminded of the President’s zealous opposition to illegal immigration when President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals, also known as DACA.

Immigration reform was a major focus during Trump’s campaign as he introduced various plans to prohibit non-Americans from migrating to the country including the wall on the Mexican border and defunding sanctuary cities.

In 2012, DACA was executively created by the former president Barack Obama to protect undocumented children who immigrated to this country with their parents.

To be eligible, the immigrants had to be under the age of 16 and had to have lived in the country since 2007. Those who applied had to have no criminal history and attend school.

Currently, there are about 800,000 dreamers in this country.

According to the Trump administration, the program is unconstitutional because it allowed non-citizens to live with the same rights and responsibilities as Americans without proper naturalization.

Trump has received much criticism from impactful figures including minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Pope Francis.

He has also received backlash from prominent universities who have a significant amount of enrolled dreamers. Representatives from Columbia University, University of California and University of Texas have spoken in favor of DACA.

The end of the program also had impact at Hampton University.

Political science professor, Dr. Joy Hendrickson a New York ntive who raised her kids in Nigeria with her husband, deemed Trump’s actions an injustice.

“It is breaking more promises, just as America has done so many times to so many people.”

Hendrickson sympathized with immigrant mothers who brought their kids from bad countries because, despite being an American citizen, she found it difficult to relocate from Nigeria for safety purposes because it felt like her home.

“People do not leave unless the situation is really difficult. They would rather stay in their own country, speak their own language, be with their family.”

Sophomore Emajja Bowen was also impassioned by Trump’s decision, for she has a friend who is a dreamer.

Her friend had not known she was undocumented until she applied for college.

“She has been here all her life and knows nothing but America,” Bowen explained, “He makes decisions off fear rather than logic.”

Reportedly, Trump has been negotiating with democrats in Congress to make a deal on the program. However, the future of DACA is still unknown.

NASA Langley dedicates new building to former “Human Computer”

Ya’marie Sesay | Campus Editor

Katherine Johnson at Hamptonhamptonu.edu

The legacy of Katherine Johnson, whose historical work was celebrated in the book-turned-movie “Hidden Figures,” continues at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton as the new Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility (CRF) opens Sept. 22.

“It was kind of a perfect storm that led to naming the building after Katherine. The book came out, then the movie, and suddenly it was everywhere,” NASA Langley spokesman Michael Finneran said. “It seemed like the right thing to do given her background and the significance of her work here.”
The Katherine G. Johnson CRF will be a lab dedicated to innovative research and development focused on NASA’s air mobility and space exploration missions. This will be the third new building under NASA Langley Research Center’s 20-year revitalization plan.
The 20-year revitalization plan is focused on building six new energy efficient research and development facilities due to their average 45 years of aging structures.

“Its success is critical to being able to modernize the buildings and infrastructure at Langley and bringing the operations and maintenance budgets into balance,” Cathy Mangum, director of Langley’s Center Operations Directorate, said in a news release.

The $23 million building will include energy-saving features, five Langley data centers and more than 30 server rooms. Funding for construction was provided by the Norfolk District of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. The 37,000-square foot facility includes a data center and an office area for the chief information officer, the Atmospheric Flight Entry System Branch of the Engineering Directorate, and the Computational AeroSciences Branch of the Research Directorate. The building also will increase the advancement of modeling and simulation capabilities.

“Much of the work now performed in wind tunnels will one day be handled by powerful computers such as those in this new facility,” Finneran said.
The book “Hidden Figures” written by Margot Lee Shetterly, and subsequent movie showcased Johnson’s dedication and time as a “human computer” at NASA Langley Research Center from 1953 until 1986. In 1957 the West Virginia native calculated by hand the trajectories for America’s first space flights of Alan Shepard.

The Project Apollo’s Lunar Lander with the moon-orbiting Command and Service Module calculations were one of the greatest contributions to space exploration. Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The opening ceremony is expected to be attended by Johnson, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Mark Warner, Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck, and Shetterly, the featured speaker.

“It’s very important that the legacy of not only Katherine Johnson lives on, but that of her colleagues as well,” Finneran said. “People from all ages and backgrounds have been inspired and encouraged by the story, particularly because it is real.”

 

Nu2u Fashion announces closure; leaves HU students wondering

Chelsea Harrison | Contributing Writer

Nu2u Fashion, the go-to convenience store for Hampton University students for more than five years will be closed by the end of March, according to co-owner Leilo Jones.

Students say they are heartbroken to lose their beloved “corner store” at The Harbour Shops with its trendy fashions and quick snacks, right next to The Hampton Harbours Apartments, and an easy walk from the main campus.

“Nu2u is like a Hampton heirloom. No replacement will ever be able to fill its shoes,” said Eric Dockery, a sophomore HU student who visits the store at least once every day.

Jones said the store would close after its lease was not renewed.

The Jones’ created a petition to highlight the large amount of support from HU students and Hampton residents. So far, it has accumulated over 700 signatures.

Store owners are encouraging all supporters to come sign it and help spread the word.   

The store is known for the informal warm counseling provided by founder Regina Jones, Leilo’s mother, she said.

“This is a “home away from home for all who comes through its doors,” Regina Jones said. “Everybody knows they can come in and talk to me about everything whether it’s school, work, relationships, anything.”

Jones opened Nu2u in 2011 as a small and affordable boutique.

“But once I began to hear about the things students said they needed, I started taking notes and slowly started to add those things to my store,” she said. “Now, almost everything in here, the students asked for.”

Jones offers everything from formal attire to honeybuns.

“What other place do you know that provides food, drinks, hair supplies, blouses, and a warm atmosphere? Nu2u is truly one of a kind,” said Serena Rudisel, an HU senior and frequent Nu2u customer.

Many students credit the quick shop for helping them get through their freshman year with ease, especially those without  a car like sophomore Janae January, who needed her “cram-session” snack..

“There were time when Mrs. Jones would leave the store open a little bit longer just so that I could grab a bite to eat,” January said.

The hashtag #RIPNu2u immediately spread through social media sites like Twitter and Instagram as students expressed deep sadness and disbelief at the store’s closing.

Andrew Williams, a senior pharmacy student tweeted, “I had a feeling Nu2u was [going to] close. Just didn’t think so soon. #RIPNu2u.”

 

National Council of Negro Women returns to HU

Daijiah Steele | Contributing Writer

Marking its return to campus after a four year absence, the first call to action of Hampton University’s new National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) is a feminine hygiene products drive for underprivileged women. The drive, which runs from March 20 to April 3,  aims to collect pads, tampons, and other feminine products for Menchville House Ministries in Newport News.

“Being able to give to women that need feminine products but don’t have the means to get it themselves inspired me to start this drive,” said junior psychology major Arie’yana Easterling who is a local vice president who helped spearhead the effort to bring the historic organization back to campus.

Menchville House, at 13658 Warwick Blvd., is a 46-bed emergency housing facility that helps homeless these families in their journey to self-sufficiency with temporary housing and supportive services.

“Without the donations, the women here would have to use their own money to buy the feminine products they need and a lot of people that come here don’t have that money,” said Menchville House case manager April McKinney. “With the donations we receive, the feminine products are already in their rooms by the time these women get here.”

At Hampton’s NCNW’s first meeting the executive board told their sisters to start collecting items from their dorms and people they knew to donate to Menchville House Ministries. At the second meeting, so many products were donated, the organization had to arrange for extra storage space. Organization officers said the newly formed group was already living up to the legacy of assisting women in the community, the original mission of the NCNW, founded in 1935.

 Its mission is to lead, develop and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities. Founded by educator, philanthropist and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune, the organization historically pushed for jobs, voting rights, and anti-lynching legislation.

Bethune envisioned NCNW as a clearinghouse for other organizations with similar goals, facilitating networking and coalition-building, and advocating the use of collective power on issues affecting women, their families and communities, according to the NCNW website. Local president of Hampton University’s NCNW Olivia Okeke made a promise to herself and to HU women that she would try to bring this sisterhood back to Hampton University. “The reactivation of this organization means everything to me,” Okeke said. “Words can’t explain how elated I am.”

Initially, Okeke was unsure whether the women on campus would be familiar with NCNW. She feared that they would categorize the organization with other campus programs for women and not be interested. Her fears were unfounded.

“Students were  excited for the reactivation of this organization and I cannot thank them enough for their support,” Okeke said.

By keeping in contact with the National Headquarters as well as the chapter president from her hometown Staten Island, New York, Okeke avoided the time-consuming process of re-activating Hampton’s NCNW. She sees the National Council of Negro Women as the epitome of excellence and wants Hampton’s NCNW to maintain that image.

The feminine hygiene drive is just the beginning of the legacy of service that Hampton’s NCNW plans to uphold. The group is planning an empowerment event for homeless women in efforts to ensure that these women understand their value and that they have sisters in the local NCNW that genuinely care.

 “NCNW is a new concept to the younger generations of Hamptonians,” said Okeke, who believes NCNW will be  a force to be reckoned with on HU’s campus. She hopes students will attend events, donate to NCNW drives, and consider joining the sisterhood.

“We need our Hampton family more than ever,” she said. “So please look out for us and support our efforts.”

What a Trump presidency means for LGBT community

Leondra Head | Local & World Editor

The election of Donald Trump and running mate Mike Pence set off panic in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities across the country, as people worried which of their divisive campaign promises would come true.

Despite being regarded by some as one of the most “pro-LGBT” Republican presidential nominees ever, who expressed sympathy for the LGBT community after the Orlando nightclub shooting, critics say his conservative advisers, Pence included and the Republican party’s anti-LGBT platform are a threat to the progress made during the Obama administration’s legacy.

“As a gay man, I felt safe under Obama’s presidency. However, I feel the complete opposite under Trump’s presidency,” Matthew Gates said, a senior journalism major from Bowie, Maryland. I was reading an article on the HRC about how LGBT harassment has increased since elections. Regardless of how the next four years go, I can validate that our nation’s LGBT community will always remain prideful and never stop fighting for liberation and equality.”

In the waning days of President Barack Obama’s administration, supporters of LGBT rights hailed the first federal hate crime conviction for the killing of a transgender woman in Mississippi. With President Donald Trump now in office, they worry about the future of such prosecutions.

Trump’s new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, opposed the 2009 hate crime law when he was a U.S. senator, saying it was overly broad and he thought it was unnecessary to include further protections for gay and transgender people. During his January confirmation hearing, Sessions told fellow senators they “can be sure I will enforce” the law, but some observers wonder about his commitment.

Sentencing in the Mississippi case is May 15. With a plea agreement in place, it’s unlikely Sessions could change the strategy in this prosecution.

Joshua Vallum, an ex-convict and top-ranking gang member, faces life in prison without parole for killing 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson, who was born male but transitioned to a female. Prosecutors say Vallum, 29, and Williamson dated and that he killed his transgender girlfriend because he worried fellow gang members would discover their relationship and kill both of them because gay sex was strictly forbidden by the Latin Kings gang.

Hate crimes have historically been a priority for the FBI and Justice Department. Investigations are typically initiated by the FBI and the attorney general doesn’t need to sign off on each prosecution.

Six Democrats in Congress wrote to Sessions on March 10 to ask the Justice Department to investigate as hate crimes the deaths of seven transgender women this year, including another one in Mississippi.

Crimes motivated by a loathing of sexual orientation or race will often be prosecuted under state hate crime charges, but those vary. Mississippi, for example, doesn’t include crimes against transgender people.

 

MSNBC: Trump’s 2005 tax returns released

(Slate)

Amanda Jones | Staff Writer

On Tuesday March 14, MSNBC released a portion of President Trump’s 2005 tax returns immediately following a leak of the two page documents to Pulitzer-prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston.

Upon receiving the documents, MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow revealed the documents to the public as well as contacted the White House to confirm their validity in which the White House responded, “Before being elected President, Mr. Trump was one of the most successful businessman in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required .That being said Mr. Trump paid $38 million dollars even after taking into account large scale depreciation from construction, on an income of more than $150 million dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that.”

The White House expressed their frustration regarding the illegal exposure of the returns. Johnston remarks that he received the documents anonymously through the mail, admitting a possibility for the source to be the President himself, stating in a CNN interview that, “Donald has a long history of leaking things about himself and doing it indirectly or directly.”

“The Rachel Maddow Show” saw its ratings plummet 36 percent on Wednesday, compared to the prior night. That drop was even sharper in the key demographic of 25 to 54-year-olds, the viewership fell to 54 percent. Maddow received criticism from all sides after she and journalist David Cay Johnston revealed Trump’s tax forms on national television.

“If by law it is illegal, then they should not have been released. Donald Trump consistently bragged about how little he had to pay in taxes while working class individuals pay theirs with no issue. If it was legal, MSNBC was fact checking for the American people,” Te’Asia Buckner, a 2nd year 5-year MBA major from Rochester, New York said while stating her concerns for the legality of the release.

The 1040 documents reveal a total income of $150 million dollars received in 2005 along with a payment of $38 million dollars in taxes to the IRS. The documents also reveals a $103 million claim in losses for 2005. In response to the release of documents, President Trump tweeted at NBC News on the March 15 saying, “Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, “went to his mailbox” and found my tax returns? FAKE NEWS!”

The President remains incessant about not releasing his tax returns while under financial audit with the IRS stating, as reported by NPR, “I will absolutely give my return, but I’m being audited now for two or three years, so I can’t do it until the audit is finished, obviously.”

In a FOX News exclusive interview, Eric Trump slammed leakers broadly for releasing part of Trump’s tax returns, which he has withheld from the public. The president’s son described the tax return leak as “just amazing.”

“The release was definitely illegal, however the true issue at hand is that President Trump has been adamant about not willingly releasing the tax returns. The fact that he is not following a precedent set in place by all earlier leaders is alarming. The public has always been entitled to viewing the tax returns of our president, so the release is controversial because yes it was illegal, but it was also necessary,” Kenya Cummins, a freshman political science major from Maryland said.