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10-year-old black girl dies from online TikTok challenge, family warns others.

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Nyla Anderson, a 10-year old girl from Chester, Pennsylvania, has sadly died after reportedly trying the “blackout challenge” that tells participants to hold their breath until they faint. Her grieving family wants to alert others about its dangers.

Nyla was found unconscious in her bedroom of their home on December 7. She was rushed to the hospital where she was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit for days before she died on December 12.

“She happened to be in her own bedroom of her house, with her family at home,” Elizabeth Wood, a licensed clinical social worker at the local hospital, told ABC 7. “But no one was in the bedroom with her when this happened, so there was no one there to save her.”

Her family describes her as a happy and bright child who spoke 3 languages. They are still in a state of shock after Nylah’s tragic death.

“I’m so hurt,” said her mother Tawainna Anderson. “This is a pain that won’t go away. It’s at the top of my throat. I am so hurt.”

Moreover, Nylah’s family wanted her story to be known, warning other parents to keep a close eye on their children to prevent it from happening.

“Make sure you check your kids’ phones,” Tawainna said. “You never know what you might find on their phones. You wouldn’t think 10-year-olds would try this. They’re trying because they’re kids and they don’t know better.”

The trend, which reportedly traces back to the 1990s, had been recently resurfacing on social media where it spreads faster. A TikTok spokesperson said it is taking measures to stop users from sharing any content that promotes dangerous behavior.

“This disturbing ‘challenge,’ which people seem to learn about from sources other than TikTok, long predates our platform and has never been a TikTok trend,” the spokesperson said, according to Today. “We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss.”

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Crime

Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Honored with National Monuments

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The legacies of Emmett Till, along with his mother Mamie Till-Mobley, will be honored with national monuments. This commemoration comes on what would have been Emmett’s 82nd birthday, according to Ebony Entertainment.

Following his brutal murder, EBONY’s sister publication JET published photos of Till’s mutilated body, which shook the nation and brought much-needed attention to the plight of Black Americans in the United States. Last year, legislation was passed by Congress to award Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley with posthumous Congressional Gold Medals. 

On July 25, President Joe Biden plans to sign a proclamation establishing the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument in both Illinois and Mississippi across three separate sites. 

As shared with EBONY, the sites will include Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Bronzeville, Chicago, Mississippi’s Graball Landing and the Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi. Each of these locations hold deep significance in the understanding of Emmett Till’s story. 

Thousands mourned Emmett’s murder in 1955 in Bronzeville, the historically Black neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Till’s mutilated body was pulled from Graball Landing’s Tallahatchie River. Lastly, the Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi is the site where his murderers were tried and acquitted by an all-white jury.

A White House Official shared that the designation of these monuments “reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to advance civil rights and commitment to protecting places that help tell a more complete story of our nation’s history.”

PBS’s Special: Murder of Emmett Till (April 2023)

Watch the PBS Special here.

In August 1955, a 14-year-old Black boy allegedly flirted with a white woman in a grocery store in Money, Mississippi. Emmett Till, a teen from Chicago, didn’t understand that he had broken the unwritten laws of the Jim Crow South until three days later, when two white men dragged him from his bed in the dead of night, beat him brutally and then shot him in the head.

Although his killers were arrested and charged with murder, they were both acquitted quickly by an all-white, all-male jury. Shortly afterwards, the defendants sold their story, including their tale of how they murdered Till, to a journalist. The murder and the trial horrified the nation and the world. Till’s death was a spark that helped mobilize the civil rights movement. Three months after his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, the Montgomery bus boycott began.

Watch the PBS Special here.

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Black Life Texas

The Truth about Jordan Neely

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By Caleb Alexander

America killed Jordan Neely. There, I said the quiet part out loud. And not only is America responsible for Jordan Neely’s death, but so is Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Rand Paul, Ron Desantis, Gregg Abbott, and everyone else who has led the assault on Critical Race Theory or tried to suppress the truth about America’s ugly past. America has never dealt with its ugly racist history; it has instead chosen to go the way of the ostrich and stick its head in the sand. History tells us how American plantation owners would take the drums away from their slaves and bury them to keep the slaves from communicating from plantation to plantation. The drums were a means of communication, a way to keep traditions and cultural connections alive. America has chosen to bury its own drums. It wants to bury its connection to its historical and cultural ties to the abhorrently brutal practice of race-based chattel slavery.

Jordan Neely died because of the color of his skin. After Emancipation, to be clothed in Black skin not only had no value to the white power structure, it became a symbol of sin. Sin for losing a war they based their entire being on, a war about whiteness, what it was, what it meant, and what losing meant for their place in the world and society. Black skin served as a reminder of the inhumane of their humanness. The idea was that they were no better and that they would have to live in a world where they would have to survive and compete on merit and not some fallacy of a God-ordained race-based hierarchy.

Jordan Neely died because a mediocre white power structure can’t let go. The subjugation and policing of Blackness is embedded in their genetic code. Social media tells them who they are, what they should have, and where they should be in life, yet they are not there. They want to return to a bygone era where whiteness gave them access to women, to status, to privilege not earned. Whiteness made them supervisors; they were the unskilled and unqualified brutes overseeing the labor of the skilled. And now Jordan is dead. And so is Ahmaud Arbery. 

We live in a country where the criminalization of Black skin means to simply exist in a public space is a death sentence. Black skin means that you cannot be a 12-year-old child playing with a water gun in a public park, you cannot wear a jogging hoody and go the local store and buy a pack of Skittles, you cannot bird watch in Central Park, you can’t be a child doing a scientific study on trees, or go jogging in Georgia, play your music at a gas station in Florida. You just can’t. We are born with a death sentence covering us, a birth cloth that white folks see as a hunting license.

Jordan Neely was the perfect example of intersectionality at its worst. He lived in a space where he didn’t exist in society because of his mental illness, but due to his Black skin, he loomed larger than life. In the words of Hillary Clinton, he was a super-predator. To exist alternately at the nexus of the forgotten and the dangerous would cause any human being to cry out, “I’m hungry, and I’m tired of living!” To be Black in America is to be perpetually exhausted. To have your mother murdered, hacked to pieces, stuffed in a suitcase, and then discarded on the side of the highway would traumatize anyone. New York failed Jordan. The people around him failed him. Our mental health system failed him. And America’s legacy finished him off. 

The truth about Jordan Neely is that he should be alive today. He should be alive and in a hospital receiving treatment. The truth is that Jordan Neely’s mother should be alive today because society also failed her. America’s trauma on the Black family, how we’re viewed and treated should all be on trial today. The reality is the tragedy of Jordan Neely happened in 1619. Until America reconciles with its racial past, the tragedy of Jordan Neely will continue to be perpetuated for generations.  

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Black Life Texas

Missing: Lost and Not Found

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Say their names: Marshae Ivey, Selah Davis, Ethel Atwell, Tamika Huston, and Relisha Rudd. Who are they? The FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Person and Unidentified Person database indicates that since 2022, there have been 89,020 Black women and girls of all ages recorded as missing.
While more than 1.5 million people were recorded missing in 2021, there were 93,718 active cases entered into NCIC. At the end of 2021, there were 14,323 active missing cases involving Black females out of the 93,718 open files. And at least 119,519 of the missing were “juvenile” Black girls and boys. So, why are these cases not getting the attention of authorities and media coverage compared to white victims such as Gabby Petito in 2021?

, , , they believed they would receive less jail time for trafficking Black women as opposed to their white counterparts.

To put this into context, Dr. Treva Lindsey, an associate professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Ohio State University, noted that Black females represent 15% of the U.S. female population; however, they are 30% of the women and girls reported missing in the United States. In 2023, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) said that “40% of sex trafficking victims in the U.S. are Black, despite Black people making up only 13.6% of the U.S. population. This significant statistic indicates a disturbing trend of disproportionate racial discrimination in sex trafficking.”

In a study by the Urban Institute, traffickers reported that they believed they would receive less jail time for trafficking Black women as opposed to their white counterparts.” The traffickers’ ideology mimics society’s view of Black women and historical slavery.

If the Black community and the rest of the population are unaware of these missing persons, the resources needed in these cases become limited. In today’s social media world, action does not appear to occur until a story goes viral, which in turn puts pressure on mainstream media and law enforcement to do something. It’s also said there’s a waiting period to report someone as missing, ranging from 24-72 hours. However, the lives of these individuals are at-risk each day they are not found. Many families galvanize their resources, move into action during this “waiting period,” and create grassroots search missions looking for missing loved ones by placing flyers around the community.

Too often, we hear Black girls and boys being described as Black men and women, thereby reducing the narrative on the urgency to address a concern, and their cases go ignored while not being viewed as victims. Often, when a child or young woman goes missing, they are considered to be runaways, thereby receiving no Amber Alert. Bias can also be a factor.

Natalie Wilson, the co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, reported on a case in Fort Worth, Texas, where a mother reported her daughter as missing; however, law enforcement asked: How do you know that your daughter is not laid up with some man?

There are organizations bringing awareness and resources to address this issue. The NAACP created a resolution encouraging “federal funding be allocated to agencies, groups, and organizations to research and locate missing women and children of color.”

The Black and Missing Foundation provides resources, tools, and advice to families with a missing loved one; and offers preventative measures for parents to keep their children safe. Our Black Girls is a website developed to tell the stories of the missing and murdered. HBO has a series called “Black and Missing.” This four-part series was developed to bring awareness to the cases of Black missing persons that have been marginalized by law enforcement and national media.

It is time for us to mobilize and stay alert. It is time to embrace the notion we are our brothers and sisters’ keepers.

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