Venture capitalists will pledge concrete measures to bring greater diversity to their predominantly white male profession during a high-profile event at the White House. For its part, the National Venture Capital Association is making a commitment “to advance opportunity for women and underrepresented minorities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” the trade group says in a letter to President Obama that was exclusively shared with USA TODAY. The trade group’s task force, formed in December, to tackle the profession’s lack of diversity “is committed to developing both near and long-term solutions to effect positive change,” the letter reads.
It was signed by 45 venture capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Battery Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners. Among the steps the National Venture Capital Association is promising to take: to conduct and share research that measures diversity at venture capital firms and their portfolio companies, develop model human resources policies to encourage more inclusive work environments and participate in programs to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers as entrepreneurs or venture capitalists. These are just initial steps to address the yawning racial and gender gap, said Silicon Valley venture capitalist Kate Mitchell.
Wesley Lowery: Police Shot And Killed More People In July Than Any Other Month So Far This Year
More people were shot and killed by on-duty police officers in July than in any other month so far in 2015. At least 103 people were shot and killed by police officers last month, according to a Washington Post database tracking all fatal on-duty police shootings this year. That is 13 more fatal police shootings than March, the second most deadly month, during which 90 people were shot and killed by police. As of today, The Post has tracked 570 fatal police shootings.
California restored voting rights Tuesday to tens of thousands of criminals serving sentences under community supervision, reversing a decision by a state official that they could not participate in elections. Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced the settlement between the state and the American Civil Liberties Union of California, which sued on behalf of nearly 60,000 convicts who became ineligible to vote when then Secretary of State Debra Bowen determined in 2014 that community supervision was equivalent to parole. Her decision stemmed from a 2011
realignment of the state’s criminal justice law that aims to reduce overcrowding in state prisons by sending people convicted of less serious crimes to county jails or alternative treatment programs. A judge later overturned Bowen’s policy, stating that community supervision and parole are different. Bowen’s office appealed the decision, but Padilla, a fellow Democrat, decided to let the court ruling stand. Earlier this summer, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, vetoed a bill that would have extended the right to vote to roughly 40,000 convicts on probation or parole.
President Barack Obama’s daughter Sasha hides behind the sofa as she sneaks up on him at the end of the day in the Oval Office, Aug. 5, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Lawrence Jackson
President Barack Obama talks with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice outside the Oval Office upon arrival from the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama participates in a discussion with moderator Takunda Chingonzo at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
First Lady Michelle Obama talks with President Ali Bongo Ondimba of the Gabonese Republic during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit dinner on the South Lawn of the White House, Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough after meeting with senior advisors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 5, 2013. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama greets group and poses for a photo in the Rose Garden of the White House, August 5, 2009. Photo by Lawrence Jackson
President Barack Obama speaks from the Oval Office on the shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, vowing to conduct a prompt and thorough probe of the shooting
President Barack Obama speaks after touring the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma. President Obama is the first sitting US President to visit a federal prison, in a push to reform one of the most expensive and crowded prison systems in the world
As part of a weeklong focus on inequities in the criminal justice system, President Barack Obama will meet separately Thursday with law enforcement officials and nonviolent drug offenders who are paying their debt to society at the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution, a medium-security prison for male offenders near Oklahoma City
I comment today because my heart is broken because of the tragedy at Mother Emmanuel AME.
I grew up in Emmanuel and it’s been a part of my family for generations. I’m so sad for the victims, their families, my Emmanuel family and my family in Charleston.
They are torn up and they all have some connection to the people that were killed. Although I’m on the other side of the country and can’t be there during this tragic time, my heart and soul is in Charleston.
Also, I want to share my story and brief moments with Rev Pinckney and Rev Simmons. I thought people should know how these two kind and thoughtful men helped me during a sorrow time of my life.
My mother passed away and her funeral was held at Emmanuel AME on June 1st. Before she passed, my mother was in & out of the hospital since March. When she first went into the hospital she was diagnosed with kidney failure. At that time the doctors wanted me to decide to either put my mother on dialysis or to place her in hospice. I wasn’t ready and couldn’t make that decision for her …..
Knowing my mother’s health had gotten worst, I became scared, upset and heartbroken. I didn’t know what to do. The next morning, I woke up thinking I should call my mother’s church and speak with the pastor; he would be able to help me.
I don’t know why I had that thought, but something in me said to call. I haven’t communicated with Emmanuel since I left Charleston over thirty years ago.
When I called that morning, I reached the church secretary. I told her that I needed to speak with the pastor about my mother who was a long time member and I gave her little background of why I was calling. She said she knew my mother and she was going to contact the pastor as soon as possible.
…. my phone rang and it was Rev Pinckney. He greeted me with his strong voice and said he was so sorry to hear about my mother. He had just visited her at the hospital the week before. He said that they had a good time talking and she made him laugh. He also went on to say that he understood my dilemma and asked was I ready to make the decision, did I talked to the doctors and family members?
I told him, I had not made a decision and yes I spoke to my family, but they left it up to me. I cried and told him I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want to let my mother die, but I also didn’t want her to be in pain or suffer.
He told me it’s going to be alright and he prayed with me. He said overall, he couldn’t tell me what to do, it’s up to me and the family, but he would be there for me anytime day or night.
My family and I eventually decided that we couldn’t let my mother suffer any longer so we put her in hospice. When I arrived in Charleston I called Rev Pickney and told him we made a decision and it would be a matter of time. Again, he prayed with me and asked if I needed anything.
A week later she passed.
Rev Pinckney called me and told me Rev Simmons will be contacting me about the service. I met with Rev Simmons at Emmanuel. He greeted me with open arms and told me that he was there for me.
While planning the service, Rev Simmons knew I was too distraught, so he guided me through the process. There were a few times I called Rev Simmons for some reason or another and without hesitation; he took the time to talk.
Last week I received a voicemail from Rev. Simmons checking up on me. I called him back and we talked briefly. He asked will I be coming back to Charleston and I told him not anytime soon, but I was so grateful for his help and thanked him for everything.
The Saturday before my mother’s funeral we met with Rev Pinckney. It was a very busy day for him, he had a wedding to officiate and family events to attend, but he texted me to let me know he would be running late but would come to the church and he’ll meet with my cousin and I shortly.
We waited for only a few minutes. When we finally met face to face, he greeted us with a big smile and hug. He told me it was great to finally meet me and again asked if I needed anything.
We prayed and talked for a while about our decision, his eulogy and my mother.
While in his office, I noticed he had a picture of Rev Pinckney and Vice President Biden, I smiled to myself and realized we had a lot in common. I didn’t ask him about the picture because it wasn’t the place or time, but I assured myself that mom’s eulogy would be in good hands and it was.
He gave a beautiful eulogy and after the services, he greeted the family and I gave him a big hug and thanked him for everything. After the burial, although he was very busy, he stayed, chatted and laughed with us at the repass and that was the last time I saw him.
I will never forget Rev Pinckney and Rev Simmons.
They helped me get through a very difficult time in my life and I deeply appreciate it.
I know it is part of their jobs to be there for families when a church member passes away, but I didn’t perceive it that way.
The time they took with me and my family was genuine, sincere, generous and thoughtful.
God bless them!
Annie Simmons, wife of 24 years of Daniel Simmons Sr., holds a photo of her husband at her home in North Charleston
Endless thanks to TOD ‘lurker’ Gretty for sharing this with us today, the kindness of Rev Pinckney and Rev Simmons shone through in her words.
May they and all the Charleston victims rest in peace.
Colleen Barry: Michelle Obama Meets US Troops In Italy; Recalls Charleston
Michelle Obama’s thoughts turned to those grieving for nine people killed in a U.S. church as she visited Friday with American soldiers and their families stationed in northern Italy. “We have seen too many tragedies like this,” Mrs. Obama said of the attack in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. “There is something particularly horrifying about something that happens so senseless in a house of worship.” She added: “I pray for a community that I know is in pain with the hope that tragedies like these will one day come to an end.” The U.S. first lady was visiting at the U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza, thanking hundreds of the troops and their families for their service.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday had expressed anger and sadness over the slayings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. “As my husband said yesterday, simply saying our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and community of Charleston does not convey the heartache,” Mrs. Obama said. Her time with the troops and their families included reading a book to children, and visiting with about 30 expectant mothers to discuss the challenges faced by military families overseas. The families live in an area that includes housing units and an elementary and middle school. She spent a good half hour giving hugs and shaking hands. Her daughters Malia and Sasha helped her scoop out ice cream. About 500 people were attending a barbecue on the middle school’s athletic fields.
Colleen Barry: Michelle Obama Lights Candles For US Shooting Victims In Milan’s Duomo Cathedral
Michelle Obama and her elder daughter visited Milan’s Duomo cathedral on Thursday, where an official traveling with her said they lit candles in memory of the victims of the shooting in South Carolina. The first lady and her daughter Malia were seen by photographers entering the Gothic-inspired cathedral on the unannounced stop. Mrs. Obama was dressed in black with dark glasses, while Malia wore a white blouse with black trousers. Mrs. Obama made no comment and issued no statement. Nine people, including the pastor, were killed overnight at a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston.
Earlier Thursday, Mrs. Obama visited the Expo 2015 World’s Fair in Milan, which focuses on food and nutrition. She found kindred spirits in her campaign to promote healthy eating during visits to the U.S. and the Italian pavilions. Mrs. Obama was greeted by a video image of her husband, President Barack Obama, as she entered the U.S. pavilion, guided by U.S. student delegates to Expo from universities around the United States. She spent some time discussing the vertical garden covering the length of pavilion, which has rotating panels of herbs and vegetables that are engineered to maximize sunlight exposure. Mrs. Obama said the pavilion was “awe-inspiring.” “The most impactful part of it, obviously, is the vertical farm, the largest of its kind. And I couldn’t help but think about all the issues we face around hunger, around food deserts in our countries and places all over the world. And when you walk around this pavilion, you think the solutions are right in our grasp,” Mrs. Obama told some 60 student delegates during a question-and-answer session at the end of the tour.
Italy’s First Lady Agnese Landini welcomes First Lady Michelle Obama to the 2015 Expo in Rho, near Milan, Italy. First Lady Michelle Obama is leading a presidential delegation to the world’s fair, organized around issues concerning food and nutrition, which dovetails with her “Let’s Move” initiative to fight childhood obesity