Lightning Moments: NFL Adds Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman To Super Bowl LV Lineup

Amanda Gorman’s gift of poetry has made room from her at Capitol Hill as the first Black National Youth Poet Laurete. Her reach seems to be further expanding as she has joined the ranks of best selling authors and has currently teamed up with the NFL for a Super Bowl LV benediction.

“Before the Honorary Captains are recognized on-field, Presidential Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman will recite an original poem about these three individuals in recognition of their tremendous impact during an unprecedented year. The recitation of the poem will air nationally on CBS and be featured in stadium” according to the NFL’s communication dept.

The NFL’s website also noted the changemakers bio saying “Amanda Gorman is the youngest Presidential Inaugural Poet in U.S. history. She is a committed advocate for the environment, racial equality and gender justice. Amanda’s activism and poetry have been featured on the Today Show, PBS Kids and CBS This Morning and in the New York. Times, Vogue, Essence and O magazine. In 2017 UrbanWord named her the first ever National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States. After graduating from Harvard University, she now lives in her hometown of Los Angeles. The special edition of her inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb will be published in Spring 2021.”

Are your palms slamming together?


Sisters In Law: Two Siblings Make History In Montgomery

Judge Samarria Dunson was sworn into Montgomery’s Municipal Court in Alabama and is in good company joining her sister Judge Lloria James who was recently elected to the circuit court. The sisters in law are only 18 months apart in age and simultaneously attended The University of Alabama for Law. James spoke on her elder sibling saying” Everything in my path was much easier because she was right in front of me, all the clubs student judiciary, it was a lot easier for me to follow her.”

Left to Right-Samarria Dunson serves as a municipal court judge in Montgomery while her sister Lloria James was newly elected to the circuit court bench. Source: Mickey Welsh/Advertiser

“I also was in the position to support her and warn her that she probably wouldn’t make all A’s in law school, and that was OK” Dunson replied. Both sisters decided to return to Montgomery to launch their careers after passing the Alabama Bar exam. “We wanted to actively contribute to making Montgomery a place where our children and their children would want to come back and live their adult lives James stated. While James was nurturing her career in the public spotlight Dunson took more of a behind the scenes approach choosing to support her husband who was an attorney and her sister and brother -in- law to solidify their careers first according to U.S. News & Reports.

Source: Facebook

James credited her sister saying ” For me she pretty much raised my kids while I was on the campaign trail, she was helping with homework and also setting up websites and pretty much managing my campaign.” So she was thrilled when the cities Mayor Steven Reed suggested Dunson occupy a vacant seat in the Municipal Court.

Samarria Dunson being sworn in as Montgomery’s municipal court judge. Source: Mickey Welsh/ Advertiser

“I was really insistent and excited about her having her time, because she really deserves it, she’s brilliant in her own right. She spends a lot of time in the shadows and not stepping out and taking credit where it’s due so I was really excited for her.” Both women cited their father Sam Munnerlyn as their inspiration sharing that he had the “best work ethic. He’d go to work tired, go to work sick, always be on time, tell the truth.” They also described their mother as a person who was “filled with compassion.” Besides being the first Black sisters to assume judicial seats in Montgomery the sisters have plans to stand up for black youth.

Source: Facebook

“I don’t think a lot of children even know what to dream to be because people like us don’t spend enough time with them. It’s our job as leaders in Montgomery to be in those places, in those spaces where kids, who may not have exposure to different careers, can get that exposure. It doesn’t just help us. It helps Montgomery, Dunson explained if we’re helping to raise the new generation of professionals then that’s what it’s about for us.”

Are you proud of the lack of of rivalry and abundance of sisterly love from these trailblazers?


Walter Forbes Served Nearly 40 Years In Prison But Is Now Free After Witness Recants Story

In 1982 Walter Forbes was a young Black college student who tried to intervene between two groups fighting outside of a bar in Michigan. One of the men involved namely Dennis Hall didn’t appreciate the peaceful gesture and retaliated the next day by shooting Forbes four times. Shortly after that shooting the gunman died in a “arson fire” which resulted in Walter Forbes, receiving a life long sentence to prison without parole. The deceased fiance’ and child were both present during the fire but were able to escape. Investigators recovered evidence that included a “blue gasoline container” and other materials from the buildings first floor. Forbes was unaware of the incident and said he learned that Dennis had died via a morning radio show and was concerned about being accused of the incident and thought “some way they’re going to try to frame this on me, that thought went through my mind.” An assumption that devastatingly came to fruition after the surviving mother (Annice Kennebrew) came forward three months later and stated that she’d witnessed Forbes and a duo of accomplices carrying/pouring red gasoline canisters around their building. The container located at the scene was blue and not red. Forbes was the only man convicted of the death. The jury only listened to part of the presented evidence which was about someone who had a positive stake in the fire. Someone called police (anonymously) four days later to inform them that the landlord (David Jones) who’d recently insured the property was responsible for the blaze. Jones (landlord) ended up dying before the “Michigan Innocence Clinic” could take up the case in 2010. The clinic was comprised of lawyers and students who were perplexed by Forbes being convicted based on a single witness. A witness who later confessed to lying claiming she was coerced by “two men” who had “threatened to kill my children, parents, siblings, and me if I did not report to the police and testify at that trial that I saw Walter and the other two men set the fire” according to a 2017 Kennebrew county affidavit. She went on to say “Everything I told police, and everything I testified to at trial were relating to my witnessing of the fire was a fabrication. As far as I know, Walter had nothing to do with it. Forbes was released on November 20, after serving almost 4 decades behind bars and said he plans to partner with prison reform agencies while describing his newfound freedom as a “vision unfold” @CNN. He also expressed forgiveness saying “I don’t hold any bitterness against her and I forgive her because she was a victim also. Is he resilient or what?

Source: Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press