PODCAST: CDC says fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks or physically distance (BCNN1 5.14.21)

This is the Black Christian News Network One podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to the Daily Beast, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or physically distance while in most indoor settings. “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a COVID-19 briefing. “We have all longed for this moment.” Walensky cautioned that passengers on public transport, including buses and airplanes, still need to wear masks. She said that guidance may change as the scientific evidence continues to be reviewed. Updated guidelines posted to the CDC’s website also carve out exceptions for transportation hubs, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters—all places where the CDC says masks should still be worn. Federal and local officials, as well as business owners, can still require mask-wearing, too. Walensky said vaccinated people should still mask up if they develop COVID-19 symptoms that may indicate a rare breakthrough case.

According to the Associated Press, Pervis Staples, whose tenor voice complimented his father’s and sisters’ in the legendary gospel group The Staple Singers, has died, a spokesman announced Wednesday. He was 85. Pervis Staples died May 6 at his home in Dolton, Illinois, according to Adam Ayers, a spokesman for Staples’ sister, Mavis Staples. The cause of death wasn’t given. Pervis Staples sang gospel songs with his father, the guitar-playing Roebuck “Pops” Staples, and sisters Mavis, Yvonne and Cleotha in Chicago churches before gaining a national following when they began recording songs such as “So Soon,” “If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again,” “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” and “Uncloudy Day” for Vee Jay records in the 1950s. The group gained fame in the 1960s by singing music that urged change on a variety of social and religious issues. The Staple Singers gained a huge audience with their first No. 1 hit, “I’ll Take You There” in 1972 and followed with top 40 hits “Respect Yourself,” “Heavy Makes You Happy,” and “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me).” However, Pervis’ last album with The Staple Singers was their first for Stax Records, “Soul Folks in Action” in 1968. The album featured new songs such as “The Ghetto” and their interpretations of tunes like Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” and The Band’s “The Weight.” He went on to manage the girl group The Emotions and operated a popular nightclub, Perv’s House. Pervis Staples was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his family in 1999. The group also received a lifetime achievement award from the Grammys in 2005. Mavis Staples, the lone survivor of the group, said in a statement that her brother’s childhood was filled with wonderful experiences. “He liked to think of this period of his life as setting the stage for all that he wanted to do in life,” she said. “Some of Pervis’ best friends as a youngster included Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls, and Jerry Butler. Pervis and the guys would stand under the lamp posts in the summertime singing doo-wop songs.”

According to the Associated Press, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appreciates what today’s NBA players are doing in their attempts to make the world better, how they’re using their voices and platforms as conduits for change. And going forward, one of those players will be rewarded by a trophy bearing Abdul-Jabbar’s name. The NBA announced Thursday the creation of a new award — the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award — to recognize players who are making strides in the fight for social justice. Each NBA team will nominate one player for consideration; from there, five finalists will be selected and ultimately one winner. “I’m really proud of what the NBA has been doing all along in terms of activism and their efforts for equality and inclusion,” Abdul-Jabbar said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I think they’ve done a great job. I’ve always felt that was something important and teaming up with them to be involved in this award is very meaningful.” The winning player will receive $100,000 for the charity of his choice; the other four finalists will receive $25,000 apiece, also for charity. “In addition to being one of our greatest players, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has devoted much of his life to advocating for equality and social justice,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a release announcing the award’s creation. “With this new award, we are proud to recognize and celebrate NBA players who are using their influence to make an impact on their communities and our broader society.”

According to the New York Post, A Buffalo State College student missing since last month may have thrown herself from Niagara Falls after her boyfriend broke up with her, authorities said Thursday. Saniyya Dennis, a 19-year-old sophomore from the Bronx, was last seen leaving her college dorm on April 24. “It appears that this poor girl took her own life,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said at a news conference Thursday morning. The day she disappeared, Dennis had an argument with her boyfriend that led to him breaking up with her. Dennis called her boyfriend, who was in New York City at the time, 59 times in the next several hours, but he didn’t pick up. She then sent a text telling him she planned to kill herself. The text read, “I’m so done with my own life, and living it. I’ve finally had enough.” Flynn said Dennis was “troubled by the breakup” and later contacted another male friend in New York City, also telling him she had planned to commit suicide. The teen spent hours on the phone with Dennis and “talked her down” from her plan at one point, but she apparently followed through on her threat after hopping on a bus to the Niagara Falls Visitor Center. Dennis texted her mother at Niagara Falls, telling her she would call her the next day, but also sent a message to a friend indicating she wouldn’t see him this coming summer, Flynn said. Bloodhounds later picked up the teen’s scent during an April 30 search on and around Goat Island, Flynn said, where she was seen on video early April 25. While authorities have not recovered her body, they believe Dennis died by suicide based on the timeline of her last hours. “There is a possibility … that we may never find a body,” Flynn said, adding that Dennis may gotten caught in the “jagged rocks” near Niagara Falls.

According to the Associated Press, Famed actor Phylicia Rashad is returning to her alma mater as the new dean of the Howard University College of Fine Arts. The longtime performer and Tony Award winner, who rose to cultural prominence as Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” graduated magna cum laude from Howard with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1970. Provost Anthony K. Wutoh called the appointment a “full circle moment” and said in a statement that Rashad’s “passion for the arts and student success makes her a perfect fit for this role.” Rashad’s return to campus represents a reemergence of the fine arts college; the College of Fine Arts was merged into the College of Arts and Sciences in the late 90s. Rashad, in a statement, said it was a “privilege” to play a role in “reestablishing the College of Fine Arts.” Howard University President Wayne Frederick said that Rashad “will play an instrumental role in ensuring an auspicious beginning for this reestablished institution.” Howard Fine Arts alumni include actors Taraji P. Henson and the late Chadwick Boseman, as well as Bradford Young, the first Black cinematographer to be nominated for an Oscar for 2017′s “Arrival.” Rashad won the 2004 Tony award for best actress in a play for her role in “A Raisin in the Sun.” Her sister, actor, dancer and choreographer Debbie Allen, is also a Howard alum.

According to the Christian Post, Hollywood stars, including Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington, have rented out movie theaters to show their support for a pastor-led documentary that opened in theatres nationwide Wednesday, “Chicago: America’s Hidden War.” The timely documentary, led by Christian pastor Dimas Salaberrios, landed on this year’s Oscar eligibility list for an Academy Award in the best documentary feature category and has caught the attention of the 66-year-old Washington and his wife, Pauletta, along with other celebrities. The film’s synopsis states, “‘Chicago: America’s Hidden War’ pulls back the curtain to expose the pervasive genocidal-like behavior, explain what birthed and contributed to this war and why so little is done to stop it, and ultimately inspires a clear path toward change.” The film features firsthand testimonies from pastors, gangbangers and children who say they only feel safe “in school and in the church” as violence continues to increase. Stars who joined Washington by renting out theaters to screen the film include Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, Charlamagne tha God, Willie Robertson, Darryl Strawberry, Dexter Darden, JoJo, Curtis Martin, Dean and Scott Winters, Angie Stone, BeBe Winans and Clifton Davis.

According to ABC7 New York, A 10-year-old boy from New York City is America’s youngest Chess Master at age 10. Tani Adewumi and his family fled Nigeria in 2017. That’s where he first saw his dad’s computer with an app that was simply called “Chess.” In America, he played with his brother “on a real board” after he learned at school. Tani quickly rose to fame after winning the state chess title for his age group in 2019 after only learning how to play chess the year before. His chess coach had set up a GoFundMe following the boy’s win, which got his family into an apartment and out of a homeless shelter. Tani said he felt “relieved” when he “finally” achieved the title of Chess Master. “It feels very wonderful, it feels very good. I’ve been trying to get it for some time now, since the pandemic, so it feels very relieving to finally get the title,” he said.
You can read these stories and more at BlackChristianNews.com .

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!

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