Phyllis Smith Asinyanbi

Chicago 266
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Joined April 2010

Phyllis is a writer and an educator. After a long hiatus, she recently returned to school, pursuing studies in TESOL. In 1995, she moved from Cleveland to Chicago. Soon after arriving, she fell in love with Chi-town, heard it calling her to remain, and answered the call. 

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Police charged with misdemeanor for shooting unarmed black grandfather

The story of Ernest Satterwhite’s death which recently came to light is disturbing. Justin Craven, a white police officer followed the black grandfather home after a slow-speed chase in North Augusta, South Carolina.  The Associated Press described Satterwhite, 68, as “a laid-back former mechanic with some habits, including ignoring police officers who tried to pull him over.” Seeing that driving while black is a capitol offense in many cities, perhaps Satterwhite was afraid to stop.  People who are not harassed by law enforcement because of their skin color have no concept of how frightening it is. However, AP reporter Jeffrey Collins referred to Satterwhite’s actions as “an act of defiance that got him killed.” This is not objective reporting, blames the victim and does not place the guilt where it lies—with a trigger-happy police officer.  Unfortunately, Satterwhite’s side of the stor...
By on Oct 01, 2014

Parents of Jordan Davis still seeking justice

Michael Dunn, suspected of first-degree in what has become known as the “loud music” trial, took the stand October 1. He is accused of first-degree murder in the shooting of Jordan Davis, an unarmed black teenager after an argument ensued over loud music, in Jacksonville, Florida. This is a retrial, and the first one ended in a deadlocked jury. Dunn, a 47-year-old white man, was previously convicted on four other charges, including three for attempted second-degree murder and one for firing 10 shots at a vehicle with four teens inside. Three of the bullets fatally wounded Davis. The case has drawn comparisons to the shooting of unarmed Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, in Sanford, another Florida city. Today Dunn wiped at a tear as he retold the story of fearing for his life as the impetus which caused him to shoot Davis. His testimony reiterated that he began shooting when he saw Davi...
By on Oct 01, 2014

Cornell University names Elizabeth Garrett first female president 

Cornell University named Elizabeth Garrett as the 13th and first female president Sept. 30. Garrett, 51, now serves as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Southern California, the school’s second-ranking officer. She will assume the presidency on July 1, 2015, after current Cornell president David Skorton leaves for a position as the next secretary of the Smithsonian Institutution. Garrett graduated from the University of Oklahoma with special distinction, majoring in history. She then obtained a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to her tenure at USC, she served as a law professor at the University of Chicago, and earlier in her career, she clerked for former US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Rounding out her curriculum vita from the world of academia, she served as tax counsel and legislative director for former O...
By on Sep 30, 2014

Mother of Oklahoma beheading suspect apologizes and defends son

Joyce Nolen, the mother of beheading suspect, apologized for her son. Alton Nolen allegedly beheaded a woman and seriously wounded another at a Moore, Oklahoma food processing plant. Shortly after he attacked the women, he was shot by the company CEO, Mark Vaughn, who is also a deputy. Nolen, 30, a recent Islamic convert, survived and is in stable condition. He will be charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and assault with a deadly woman. Allegedly, he severed the head of Colleen Huford, 54, with a produce knife and stabbed 43-year-old Traci Johnson, who sustained injuries and is hospitalized. Just before the attack, Alton Nolen was fired. He then drove from the Human Resources building to the main distribution center’s administrative offices where he attacked the women. His problems at work were getting in trouble for poor performance and trying to convert others to Islam. Joyce Nole...
By on Sep 30, 2014

White House security breaches force Julia Pierson into line of fire

Opinion It’s inconceivable that anyone could hop over a fence and enter the White House, but that’s exactly what happened. And not only did Omar Gonzales jump the fence, but he also made his way inside the executive suite, overpowered a guard and wasn’t stopped before entering the East Room. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson had to answer to Congress Tuesday about the breaches. In 2013, Pierson was hired by Obama to change the culture of the Secret Service, and seemingly, under her watch the situation worsened. The hearing revealed: 1. The front door of the White House did not have a door that automatically locked in an emergency prior to the last breach. 2. An agent tried to manually lock the door but couldn’t before Gonzalez forced his way in. 3. Gonzalez briefly entered the East room before being subdued by two agents. 4. Before entry, officials spotted Gonzalez outside the White ...
By on Sep 30, 2014

Denzel Washington's star power draws in $35 million for 'The Equalizer'

Denzel Washington is a constant in Hollywood who always delivers. His latest vehicle is The Equalizer, full of blood and gore, but the public, both male and female, loved it. This past weekend it pulled in $35 million from US audiences, twice as much as the second-highest earner, Maze Runner. Washington, 59, is a movie star unlike many of today’s actors. It’s not that others can’t act or lack charisma, but this two-time Oscar-winning actor is an icon in the old Hollywood tradition.  For the film aficionados, recall the actors and actresses who had a great following, merely because of their name, such as Clark Gable, Marlon Brando, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. These were some of the great ones, and it didn’t matter to fans whether their movies were good or mediocre because the fans flocked to see the object of their affection on the big screen—not necessarily because they were handsome ...
By on Sep 29, 2014

Hillary Clinton is now a grandmother; will she run for president?

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton and husband Marc Mezvinsky welcomed baby daughter Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky on Friday, making Bill and Hillary Clinton proud grandparents. In an interview with Glamour magazine last year, Chelsea Clinton, 34, said she and Mezvinsky wanted to make 2014 “the year of the baby.” She announced the pregnancy in April at the end of a female empowerment forum. After the birth, the new mother tweeted, “Marc and I are full of love, awe and gratitude as we celebrate the birth of our daughter, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky.” Hillary Clinton retweeted the sentiments but offered no further details. She had previously stated grandmother would be her “most exciting title yet.” Chelsea Clinton’s pregnancy led to speculation on Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations. Questions arose as to whether the former secretary of state would run for president or focus on he...
By on Sep 27, 2014

'How to Get Away With Murder': Is America ready for a dark-skinned TV heroine?

The long-awaited pilot of How to Get Away With Murder, starring Tony Award-winner and Oscar-nominee Viola Davis, aired Thursday night on ABC. Peter Norwalk is the creator, but Shonda Rhimes, of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal fame, is the executive producer. ABC's Thursday-night lineup includes all three ShondaLand productions. Davis plays Analise Keating, defense attorney and law professor, who teaches first-year law students how to practice—not theorize—law. She is brilliant, manipulative, sexual, vulnerable and complicated, and also happens to be a dark-skinned African American female, which, by the way, is not an issue, but a state of being. (Watch a clip here.) Controversy started before the first show when New York Times columnist Alessandra Stanley referred to Shonda Rhimes as “an angry black woman” and Davis as “less classically beautiful” than other black female TV actors like Halle ...
By on Sep 26, 2014

Disrespect, humiliation and re-victimization of Janay Palmer Rice are shameful

The saga of Ray Rice, the National Football League player who assaulted his then-fiancée, now wife, Janay Palmer Rice, in a casino elevator has flooded the news all week. Since the video that cost Rice his career was released by TMZ Sports, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indefinitely suspended Rice from the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens fired Rice. Meanwhile, the NFL continues damage control, because it was disclosed that the league had the video of the incident in its possession which it had previously denied. In May, prior to the video’s release, Palmer Rice sat next to her husband in a new conference and said she regretted the role she played in the incident, stated she loves him and that both parties will continue working on themselves individually as well as their relationship. Whether these are true sentiments or a well-rehearsed script is difficult to determine, but whose judgment ...
By on Sep 13, 2014

Obama likely to delay immigration executive action until after midterm elections

After the House allowed the Senate immigration bill to die last June, President Obama said using his executive powers would be the means to right wrongs. He promised to confer with his team and share specifics by the end of the summer. But when speaking with news reporters Thursday, it appeared he is stalling until after mid-term elections. Speculations are that Obama’s plans will give protection from deportation to millions of undocumented immigrants and also grant work permits. Hispanics have been loyal supporters who helped the president get elected, not once, but twice. Under the Obama administration, over 2 million illegal immigrants have been deported. Lorella Praeli, advocacy director for United We Dream, a network of young undocumented immigrants said, “This is a moment of leadership for the administrating, for the president. Is he going to succumb to the threats from the Republi...
By on Aug 30, 2014