This is the Black Christian News Network One podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Disc jockey ASAP, a.k.a. Marlon Moore, welcomed members to a Zoom call by saying, “You received an invite here because someone loves you. Say thank you in the chat.” The meeting was for Blessings In No Time, a Black-only community started last year by Marlon and his wife, LaShonda Moore, out of their home in Prosper. The Zoom greeting is documented on a members watchdog site. Members were told that if they’d put in $1,400 (later upped to $1,425) and recruited two members, they would receive a “blessing” eight times their initial contribution — $11,200 (later upped to $11,400) — when they wanted to “bless out,” or leave. For new members, two recruits could be provided for them to ease the process. If they ever wanted out earlier, they could request a refund. But the too-good-to-be-true plan fell apart in January after some BINT members said they not only didn’t get the $11,200 payout but also weren’t able to get a refund. The Texas attorney general’s office said it received nearly 200 consumer complaints about BINT, alleging over $700,000 in losses since the beginning of the year. Attorney General Ken Paxton announced a lawsuit this week against BINT LLC, alleging that it was a pyramid scheme to scam “tens of millions of dollars from the African American community in Texas and nationwide.” On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission and Arkansas also sued BINT, filing a joint complaint alleging that some members paid as much as $62,700 to participate. “This is despicable behavior, and BINT will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Paxton said in a statement. Paxton noted it was “curious” that the $1,400 payment to join the program that started in June was in the range of stimulus checks sent to Americans in May by the federal government to help them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Texas wants BINT’s assets frozen and a temporary restraining order. Paxton’s lawsuit also seeks civil penalties in excess of $1 million, consumer redress, and attorney fees and costs. The state didn’t contact the Moores before going to court, fearing they would conceal assets and destroy records. The Dallas Morning News was unable to contact the Moores through social media or multiple phone numbers available in public records. Former BINT members say the Moores went into hiding in January, taking down their website and halting communication with them. The type of scam they are accused of is described by investigators as a gifting circle, a blessing loom or an illegal take on a sou-sou, or informal savings club. In Texas, those who operate pyramid schemes can face up to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
According to The Washington Post, In 2016, civil rights leader Opal Lee, then 89, laced up her sneakers for the 1,400-mile trek from her home in Fort Worth to Washington, D.C., hoping to ask President Barack Obama to make Juneteenth a national holiday. But she wasn’t sure she would be let into the White House. “You could save me a lot of shoe leather and a lot of wear and tear on an old body by saying how soon you can see me,” she wrote to Obama. Despite the uncertainty, Lee began her march to the capital, gaining national attention in the effort to recognize June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Tex. — 2½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved people in the Southern states. She made national headlines, earned a credit in the film “Miss Juneteenth” and gained more than 1.6 million signatures on a petition to mark the holiday. However, it wasn’t until this week that Lee, called the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” finally witnessed the moment she had worked and walked to achieve. On Thursday, President Biden signed legislation establishing a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery, with Lee, now 94, beside him. “You’re an incredible woman, Ms. Opal,” Biden told her at a ceremony in the White House. Along with Vice President Harris, Biden praised Lee’s efforts, kneeling next to her before joking she was 49. Biden spoke about Juneteenth 1939, when a mob of 500 white supremacists set fire to Lee’s childhood home. Lee, just 12, and her family fled. “Such hate never stopped her,” Biden said. “Over the course of decades, she’s made it her mission to see that this day came,” he continued. “It was almost a singular mission. She’s walked miles and miles, literally and figuratively, to bring attention to Juneteenth.”
According to the Associated Press, Tropical Depression Claudette claimed 12 lives in Alabama as the storm swept across the southeastern U.S., causing flash flooding and spurring tornadoes that destroyed dozens of homes. Ten people, including nine children, were killed Saturday in a 15-vehicle crash about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Montgomery on Interstate 65, according to Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock. He said the vehicles likely hydroplaned on wet roads, with eight children, ages 4 to 17, killed in a van belonging to a youth ranch operated by the Alabama Sheriffs Association for abused or neglected children. A man and a 9-month-old baby died in a separate vehicle. Multiple people were also injured. Meanwhile, a 24-year-old man and a 3-year-old boy were killed when a tree fell on their house just outside the Tuscaloosa city limits Saturday, Capt. Marty Sellers of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit told The Tuscaloosa News. The deaths occurred as drenching rains pelted northern Alabama and Georgia late Saturday. As much as 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain was reported earlier from Claudette along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
According to the Dallas Morning News, South Dallas residents will soon have a new grocery option when Cornerstone Baptist Church launches its community market this weekend. Southpoint Community Market will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday. Located at 1645 South Boulevard, the 1,400-square-foot store will be launched in collaboration with The Real Estate Council Foundation’s Dallas Catalyst Project to combat food insecurity in the community. The store will sell affordable produce, dairy and essential items, as well as grab-and-go meals. Cornerstone Baptist Church also plans to add a community kitchen attached to the market that will be designated as a shared space for local food entrepreneurs, small businesses and culinary education programs. Southpoint is the church’s latest redevelopment effort in Cornerstone Heights, a sparsely populated neighborhood situated between Al Lipscomb and Martin Luther King boulevards. In 2019, the church opened a laundromat and a bike shop. Last year, the new Cornerstone Community Kitchen began serving free hot meals during the week for neighborhood residents as well as those experiencing homelessness.
According to the Daily Mail, Senator Chuck Schumer and mayoral candidate Eric Adams have joined New Yorkers in a Brooklyn march Saturday while Tulsa residents have come together for community yoga as Juneteenth was celebrated as a federal holiday for the first time in US history. Americans nationwide commemorated the official end of slavery in the US with a series of monumental events Saturday including marches, parades and community events. In New York City, Senate Majority Leader Schumer sported a black t-shirt emblazoned with ‘Juneteenth’ as he addressed crowds at a rally outside the Brooklyn Library. Adams, who is thought to be the front-runner in the race for the city, also attended the rally in Brooklyn, posing for photos and waving at other people who turned out to celebrate the day. His appearance came days after George Floyd’s brother Terrence endorsed the former NYPD officer calling him ‘the racial justice leader we need right now.’ Elsewhere in the city, Terrence attended the unveiling of a George Floyd statue in Flatbush Saturday morning in honor of the black man whose murder by a white cop on Memorial Day 2020 sparked a racial justice movement nationwide. President Joe Biden signed a bill into law Thursday, declaring Saturday the first Juneteenth National Independence Day as he vowed not to ‘rest until the promise of equality if fulfilled for every one of us in every corner of this nation.’ Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the US, with its name stemming from June 19 1865 when the last group of enslaved African Americans learned of their freedom under President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I am sorry I must write you that we are not authorized to consider for admission a member of the Negro race. I regret that we cannot help you.” That was nearly the whole response that a young Marion Hood got from Emory University on August 5, 1959, a week after applying to its medical school. The last of the four sentences was a postscript from admission director L.L. Clegg: “I am returning herewith your $5.00 application fee.” Hood gathered his $5 and went on to graduate studies before attending medical school at Loyola University in Chicago. Then he returned to Atlanta to establish himself as a respected gynecologist and obstetrician. But that letter from Emory hangs in a frame in his home as a reminder. More than six decades later, on Wednesday, as part of its Juneteenth programming, Emory’s School of Medicine apologized for it. Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves acknowledged during the program that Hood was rejected for “no other reason that the fact that he was Black,” and that the letter, “vividly shows the systematic injustice of that time and the legacy that Emory is still reckoning with.” “Throughout American history and Emory history, Dr. Hood and so many other talented students, were denied access to achieve their dreams to realize their potential,” Fenves said.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “This is the only event like this in the world in Black music,” Jermaine Dupri said, standing behind a Lucite podium in the VIP lounge of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. “I feel this will be the most important award ceremony in our business.” Dupri was preparing to induct Otis Redding into the Black Music and Entertainment Walk of Fame, a ceremony that began late Thursday morning on the blistering sidewalk near the stadium — close to the intersection of Northside and Martin Luther King Jr. drives — and continued inside the venue with a formal presentation. The walk of fame is a collaboration between the Georgia Entertainment Caucus and the Black American Music Association. Plans call for at least an annual – if not twice-yearly – ceremony to honor Black entertainment greatness with plaques installed along the sidewalk. The inaugural class also included James Brown, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Shirley Caesar, Missy Elliott, OutKast, Beyonce, Sean Combs, Kirk Franklin and Usher. Some artists, including Elliott, Caesar, Franklin and OutKast’s Big Boi, participated in the event, while others, such as Jones, sent thanks via video and some posthumous honorees were represented by family.
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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!