September 17, 2020
By Tanu Henry
California Black Media
The California Democratic Party African American Caucus (CDPAAC) is calling on all elected officials in California at the local, state and national levels to take a firm stand against racism.
By signing the Emmett Till Anti-Racism Pledge, the CDPAAC says politicians, who are the most important decision makers in California, can demonstrate in a public and symbolic way that they denounce racism and support a society for all Californians that is fair, just and safe.
“The Democratic party and the people of California must never forget about the murder of Emmett Till. It ignited the first civil rights movement.
He was that generation's George Floyd and Breonna Taylor,” said Taisha Brown, chair of the CDPAAC.
Brown, who lives in San Diego and was elected last year to lead the statewide group that represents Black registered Democrats across California, said standing up against Racism in all of its forms is one of the top priorities of the caucus.
“The Black Caucus continues to serve in its historic role as the conscious of the California Democratic Party,” Brown told California Black Media. “Many in this country and around the state of California are trying to find out what they can do to contribute to this historic time in our nation's history. The caucus wanted to assist individuals and elected officials in doing their part to fight against racism. It is a public health crisis.”
In California, about 73% of all likely Black Voters are registered Democrats, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.
Named for the 14-year-old African American boy who was brutally lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of offending a White woman, the Emmitt Till Pledge calls on elected officials to direct their “energies to combat bigotry and hate in our great state.”
“We are committed to standing up for equality, safety, and justice for ALL of the citizens of California,” the pledge continues, before asking the politicos to sign. “We pledge to take the bold and aggressive steps to combat bigotry and racism throughout our state to ensure that every individual is able to claim their ‘unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness’ as our Declaration of Independence states.”
“The cruelness, barbarism, and brutality of his murder were heartbreaking,” a statement the CDPAAC released said of Till’s murder.
In 2017, Till’s accuser, Carolyn Bryant Donham, told Timothy B. Tyson, an author and Duke University professor, that she lied when she reported that Till of assaulted her 65 years ago.
After a five-day trial, a jury in Sumner, Miss., acquitted Till’s killers.
The CDPAAC pledge asks elected officials to make seven affirmations, which include not allowing racist conversation in their presence; protecting all people who face discrimination; contracting with Black-owned businesses and vendors for campaign and government-related events; enacting policies that promote all Californians; among other positive actions.
“The Black Caucus will work with the Democratic party to email the petition to elected officials and encourage our members to request that their elected representatives at all levels sign it,” said Brown.
September 17, 2020
Levi H. Thornhill passed away at the Community Living Center, Veterans Hospital, Wilshire campus Wednesday, September 9, 2020, just short of his 98th birthday. He was the first child born to parents, Levi M. and Arrie M. Thornhill. His grandparents were Richard and Mattie Trent, who lived on a farm in Appomattox County, Virginia where Levi was born.
His father was a Buffalo Soldier, stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 1927, they moved back to Virginia where a new world opened. His Mom was the first of her ten siblings, five brothers and four sisters, to graduate from college. She got a job teaching at a one room school. The great part of it all was the fact that he got to go with her every day.
They moved to Lynchburg the summer of 1931. His elementary school years were very boring because he had already had all of what was being taught. High school was much better. He played football, position center at six feet 140 pounds, basketball, and played saxophone with a group he and his buddies put together.
The experience made him realize this was not going to be his vocation. Short order cook was not his favorite either. At the end of summer, he got notice from Uncle Sam, so he volunteered. His dad informed him that volunteering would give him a better chance of getting to where he wanted to go. This was the Air Corp at Tuskegee, Alabama. The next stop was aircraft mechanic school in Lincoln, Nebraska and specialty school at Chanute Field in Illinois. The next stop was Selfridge, Michigan. His group learned that if they stayed in 302nd Squadron, they could all become crew chiefs. All 13 guys stayed.
His assignments were aircraft mechanic school, Chanute Field, IL, Selfridge, MI; 332FG, Toronto, Italy, Monti Corvino, Naples, Ramitelli, Italy: 447th Composite Group’s 617t Squadron, Lockbourne, OH; Pilot Training, Randolph AFB, TX; 85th FTR Group, 526 fighter Squadron, Dover, DE, Pilot P-47s; 1737 Ferry Squadron, Dover, DE, Ferry single engine aircraft; Squadron Officers School, Luke AFB, AZ, Instructor Pilot/Safety Officer; Nellis, AFB, NV, Squadron Maintenance officer, field Maintenance officer, flight test pilot. Levi retired from the Air Force in 1965.
Civilian Occupations included Bonanza Airlines as a factory representative and assistant to the VP of maintenance engineering. Hughes Air West/Republic as an aircraft engineer. Retired November 1981.
A Pan Am team of eight mostly retired airline engineers started work in 1982, at Rockwell International plant in Downey, CA. This entailed an independent analysis to determine the adequacy or inadequacy of the space shuttle systems checkout program. Levi was a key member of the team. His extensive knowledge of aircraft hydraulic, air conditioning, cabin pressurization and landing gear systems made him the ideal person to analyze those systems on the Orbiter.
In 1987, Levi married Dottie, and this 33-year marriage remained until his death. They loved each other so much and consumed their lives with travel to many places outside the United States as well as in the states. They bowled, played golf, danced, attended plays, they were season ticket holders to the Raiders and Lakers. Levi loved movies, so movie dates were a must. They especially enjoyed music and the Playboy Jazz Festival. When there was time, they played games and Dottie was the winner most of the time. They spent time at their time-share properties with many friends. They looked forward to meetings with the Tuskegee Airmen of Los Angeles and going to the conventions each year. This gave us a chance to see and enjoy old friends from all over the country. The Travel Club which started with 20 members was great fun. They attended church together at West Angeles Church of God in Christ.
He was honored to be presented the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bush in 2007, and thrilled to attend the inauguration of President Barrack Obama on January 18, 2009.
Levi volunteered at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum (TAM), founded by Robin Petgrave, mentoring young boys and girls interested in aviation. At the age of 86, Levi flew in the seat behind fifteen-year-old Kimberly Anyadike in a Cessna 172 from Compton, CA to Virginia in tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen. They made several stops going and returning, Tuskegee being one of the stops.
Levi has visited many schools including elementary, middle, high schools, and colleges to speak about his experiences as a Tuskegee Airman.
He was one of the airmen who interviewed with George Lucas on the movie “Red Tails” about the Tuskegee Airmen.
Roger and Margaret Starner of Miami, Florida, deserve special recognition. They have named a scholarship in Levi H. Thornhill’s name to The State University of Iowa Foundation. It is the Donor’s desire that preference be given to a student who is of African American descent. First preference will be given to students majoring in biomedical engineering and second preference given to students majoring in environmental engineering. I received an email from Roger and his words touched me deeply. “Somewhere in the past five years, I began to realize that Levi was very special to me. He is the only guy I have ever thought of as a dear friend.”
Levi Leaves to cherish his memory his loving wife, Dorothy (Dottie), son, Bruce, daughter, Lisa (Scott) brother, Albert Brown (Janice), sister, Talma (Pat) Sullivan, sister, Gladys Cobb, niece, Jeanie Rose (James), surrogate grand kids, Nolan and Nia Marshall, and many relatives and friends.
September 17, 2020
By City News Service
A man who claims a former Olympian and Southland track coach molested him as a high-schooler, using his relationships with UCLA athletic department employees to woo the alleged victim, sued the coach and the University of California today.
According to ESPN, which conducted a yearlong investigation into abuse allegations against Conrad Mainwaring, the lawsuit claims that the private coach would brag about his contacts at UCLA and gave him UCLA gear provided to him by a university employee in an effort to woo the then-teen.
A representative for UCLA told City News Service the university “has no comment on this active litigation.” Officials with the University of California could not be reached late Wednesday for comment. Mainwaring also could not be reached.
Mainwaring, 68, was arrested last year and charged with a single felony count of sexual battery by fraud, to which he has pleaded not guilty. He is awaiting trial. Prosecutors allege in that case that Mainwaring sexually assaulted a then-20-year-old man on June 25, 2016, under the guise of providing physical therapy.
ESPN, as a result of its yearlong investigation, reported last year that more than 40 men have alleged misconduct by Mainwaring dating back to the 1970s, with the number topping 50 since the report was published.
Mainwaring, who competed in the 1976 Olympics as a hurdler for Antigua, worked as a private track coach, and while he would often train runner's at UCLA's track, he never worked for the university.
According to ESPN, the unnamed plaintiff who filed Wednesday's lawsuit alleges that Mainwaring sexually abused him in 2011 while he was in Los Angeles for a week of training, under the guise of a physical therapy session. The suit claims Mainwaring lured the plaintiff with insinuations that he worked for UCLA and assisted the university with recruiting student athletes. The plaintiff claims at least one UCLA athletic department employee knew Mainwaring
was making such claims, but did nothing to correct them.
The plaintiff, now 26, claims in the lawsuit that Mainwaring convinced him to visit Los Angeles from his home in Georgia when he was a junior in high school, with the coach framing the visit like a recruiting trip, including a chance to tour the UCLA campus and meet with recruiters, ESPN reported.
September 10, 2020
LAWT News Service
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors warned residents that a massive undercount in the U.S. Census will result in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars for critical services and a loss of political representation in Washington for the next 10 years. With only four weeks until the census deadline, only 62.2% of households in L.A. County have self-responded to the census (as of Aug. 27, 2020).
The U.S. Census Bureau has started sending census takers door-to-door in L.A. County, following up with households that haven’t yet responded to the census. The goal of door-to-door visits is to make sure 100 percent of households are counted.
“Census takers are visiting our neighborhoods to assist residents who still need to complete their census form,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. “When we count each member of our community, more crucial funding goes to emergency services, health care and schools. The Board of Supervisors urges everyone in L.A. County to respond to the census today to ensure your community has the resources they need.”
African American communities are among those most at-risk for being undercounted. In census tracts in L.A. County with an African American population of 33.3% or higher, an average of 59.6% of households have self-responded to the census as of Aug. 27, 2020. Officials have reason to be concerned as this number is trending lower than the final response rate for the last census. In 2010, 66.2% of households in these same neighborhoods responded to the census.
“This isn’t abstract. An undercount directly results in being underrepresented as well as underfunded for critical programs including health care, food assistance, housing vouchers and so many other safety net programs that our vulnerable residents are counting on – especially now, during the COVID-19 pandemic and likely once it’s over,” Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said. “Too much is at stake. I urge all County residents, including our immigrant communities, to continue responding to the 2020 Census. The 2020 Census is secure, quick, and easy and can be completed online, by phone, or mail.”
The Nonresponse Follow-Up (NRFU) operation began in August, the same week it was announced that the new census deadline was cut short by a month to Sept. 30. The shortened deadline is raising concerns that the 2020 Census might not have time to count all communities. Those most at risk of not being counted are predominately in African American, Latinx and Asian Pacific American communities.
“One of the most important rights we have is our hard-won right to vote, a right integral to our democracy and directly related to the results of the census,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who filed an urgency motion expressing concern about the Census Bureau cutting the count a month earlier than expected. “We must all stand up and be counted because to be undercounted is to be underrepresented, and to be underrepresented is to be underfunded. We cannot lose sight of what this means for L.A. County.”
The census can be completed online at my2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020, or by mail if you receive a paper form. For non-English speaking residents, the U.S. 2020 Census website offers general information in 59 languages at https://2020census.gov/.
“Counts are unfathomably low across L.A. County. With only four weeks left to complete the census count, we are deeply concerned that L.A. County will lose both political representation in the House and funding for desperately needed services,” Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said. “Our message is simple. Fill out your census today. Time is running out and you need to be counted and to be heard.”
Census takers are hired from local communities and speak English. Many are bilingual, but if they do not speak the householder’s language, the household can request another visit from a census taker who does. The Census Bureau and census takers will never ask for residents for a Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers, or citizenship status. They will never ask for money or donations.
Safety precautions have been put in place for residents’ protection. Census takers are required to wear face coverings while conducting their work. They will follow CDC and local public health guidelines when they visit. Census takers have completed a virtual COVID-19 training on social distancing and safety protocols.
“Please answer the door and be counted in the census. If someone visits your home to collect information for the 2020 Census, you can ask to see a valid ID badge with their photograph and name. The badge will have a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date. They also might carry a U.S. Census Bureau bag and other equipment with the Census Bureau logo,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said. “If you want to avoid a visit, you can fill out your census form today at my2020census.gov or by phone at 844-330-2020.”
If no one is at home, census takers will leave a notice of their visit with information about how to respond online, by phone or by mail. They also might deliver a paper questionnaire and hang it on the front door in a plastic bag. Census takers’ identities can also be confirmed by contacting the regional census center at (213) 314-6500 and speaking with a U.S. Census Bureau representative.
To minimize the need to send census takers to households in person, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that it is training census representatives to follow up with households by phone. Phone calls will be used on an as-needed basis and when in-person contact attempts have not resulted in an interview. The Bureau will also continue its Mobile Questionnaire Assistance (MQA) program through Sept. 30. MQA representatives are in open, public places in the lowest-responding areas of the nation to encourage people to respond to the 2020 Census. These locations are where people naturally visit when leaving home and can be used to help increase self-response rates.
The 2020 Census officially kicked off March 12, with the U.S. Census Bureau sending letters to all households in the country, inviting residents to participate in the census by mail, online or by phone. The invitation included a Census ID that links the participant to a physical address, but residents can respond to the census online or by phone without a Census ID.
Completing the census is private. Responses are protected by federal law, specifically Title 13 of the United States Code. They cannot be shared with any other government agencies or other entities, including your landlord.
“Some members of the Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities and other communities of color may feel that participating in the census doesn’t matter, that it doesn’t make a difference,” said June Lim, demographic research project director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Los Angeles. “Nothing can be further from the truth. Federal funding for important resources and services – and having a voice in politics – depends on being counted. Every single person in our community matters and must be counted in the census, regardless of age, race or immigration status. We encourage you to fill out the census if you have not already.”