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OP-ED: An important First Amendment legal battle here in Texas is continuing to weave its way up through the courts

HOUSTON FORWARD TIMES — An important legal battle here in Texas is continuing to weave its way up through the courts and could eventually land a significant national blow to public access that has been historically secured by the First Amendment. The case, which also has major implications for American intellectual property law, was heard April 29 by a panel of three judges from the Texas Fourth Court of Appeals.

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By The Houston Forward Times

An important legal battle here in Texas is continuing to weave its way up through the courts and could eventually land a significant national blow to public access that has been historically secured by the First Amendment. The case, which also has major implications for American intellectual property law, was heard April 29 by a panel of three judges from the Texas Fourth Court of Appeals.

After a Bexar County jury reached a $706.2 million verdict last year in the trade secret case regarding real estate valuation data and modeling, the recipient of that award, HouseCanary, began pursuing unprecedented efforts to seal public trial exhibits which would provide valuable insight into this historic case.

The larger case and verdict will be appealed at a later date. But the recent hearing raised the important question of whether such public trial exhibits can or should be sealed.

In full disclosure, we at the Houston Forward Times (HFT) took a stand editorially as well as in court filings to maintain the public’s right to see into developments that could be industry-shaping. Our position is that open records are always best – with few exceptions.

HFT became a party to the case to help preserve the fundamental rights the First Amendment offers, such as transparency into our government. This includes access to public trial documents, something the courts have repeatedly reaffirmed for years.

In this case, the exhibits in question have already been publicly revealed in court.  At the time, HouseCanary did not object to this.  But now, HouseCanary is oddly trying to prevent the public from seeing this information.  If allowing the public to see it now violates HouseCanary’s trade secrets, why didn’t HouseCanary object in the first instance to this material being distributed in open court?

The principles involved in this case are crucial to civil rights cases. One reason is that historically, sealed records have not played to the advantage of victims of discrimination and the truly disadvantaged. Imagine if the exhibits in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education anti-segregation case had been sealed. The general public would never know the extent of the historic doll study by private psychologists, Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark, that served as a key exhibit in the case and is now a public testament to the psychological impact of race discrimination.

Like a roller coaster, the Housecanary case has taken a number of turns weaving back and forth between adhering to the protections of the public’s right to know and arguments to conceal the exhibit. Ultimately, the court granted public access Nov. 30. Now HouseCanary is fighting vehemently to shut the public out in the case that will no doubt end up in the Texas Supreme Court.

If these public trial documents are allowed to become forever sealed, a disturbing legal precedent will have been established that reduces accountability into our government system, restricts people’s freedom to information, and impedes the press’s ability to carry out its essential function.

Therefore, we reassert our conviction that the attempts to seal public information challenges these elements of a free society. The court should uphold longstanding commitments to transparency and treat these trial exhibits as they are – public information.

This article originally appeared in the Houston Forward Times

Forward Times Staff

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#NNPA BlackPress

Same Spirit. Same Mission. New Vision.

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Karen is a native Houstonian and is the CEO and Publisher of Houston Forward Times, the South’s largest independently-owned and published newspaper. Her parents always stressed the importance of the Black Press to her, and the value of sustaining its consistent voice.

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Karen expressed her excitement about the future of the NNPA, stating her eagerness to work with her fellow colleagues to move the organization forward, and make sure the organization is in a better position to strengthen all of its member publishers and their respective newspapers.

Karen Carter Richards, Newly Elected Chair of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, Shares Her Vision for the “Original Black Press” of America

By Jeffrey L. Boney, NNPA Newswire Contributor

“You down with O.B.P.? Yeah, you know me!”

That was the chant being sang by many people, as they attended the recent Annual Meeting of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), in support of the newly-elected chair of the NNPA, Ms. Karen Carter Richards, publisher of the Houston Forward Times.

Carter Richards was overwhelmingly elected as the new chair of the NNPA in a landslide victory, garnering 78 percent of the vote from her peers.

Running on a theme of “Same Spirit. Same Mission. New Vision.”, Carter Richards emphasized throughout her campaign the importance of the NNPA being fully recognized and identified as the “Original Black Press” of America. Her focus was to build on the foundational and historical standards that have helped the NNPA and its members make a significant impact in this country since its inception, while also strengthening every NNPA member publication to make even more of an impact during the challenging social and political climate in this country.

“I’m a second-generation publisher and my family has been a part of the NNPA for over 50 years,” said Carter Richards during her acceptance speech at the NNPA Annual Convention that was held in Cincinnati, Ohio this past week. “It’s time for a NEW VISION and leadership that goes beyond where we used to be.  We are the Black Press of America, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, so when I ask are you down with O.B.P., I am talking about letting people know that we are the ORIGINAL BLACK PRESS, and we aren’t going anywhere!”

The NNPA, a trade organization which represents over 200 Black-owned media companies across the United States, is celebrating 79 years of existence this year, while the Black Press of America is celebrating 192 years since Freedom’s Journal was published as the first Black newspaper in this country in 1827.

Karen is a native Houstonian and is the CEO and Publisher of Houston Forward Times, the South’s largest independently-owned and published newspaper. Her parents always stressed the importance of the Black Press to her, and the value of sustaining its consistent voice.

At the age of seven, Karen’s father, Houston Forward Times founder Julius Carter, put a basket on her bicycle and had her delivering the newspaper in her neighborhood.

As part of her father’s foresight, Karen was exposed to a world of politics, culture and business, which had a lasting impact on her emotional growth and professional development, allowing her to develop a strong work ethic and a sense of timeliness at an early age.

Karen was often told by her mother, and eventual Houston Forward Times publisher Lenora “Doll” Carter, that her father would often say to her that if he died on a Monday, be sure to bury him on that Tuesday and get the paper out.

For Karen, those prophetic words from her father came true, and impacted her family and business on two separate occasions. In 1971, the Houston Forward Times reported a story that subsequently led to their building being bombed. From all of the pressure, Julius Carter died of a massive heart attack four days later. In honoring her husband’s wishes, “Doll” Carter did not miss the next issue and immediately took over the reins of the Houston Forward Times in 1971.

Karen states that her mother was like a drill sergeant, making her arrive early and stay late. She had to learn everything from the front door to the back door, and at the time, she did not realize that “Doll” Carter was preparing her and grooming her for one of the most devastating events in her life.  As a result of a massive heart attack on April 10, 2010, “Doll” Carter unexpectedly passed away and just like her mother, Karen had to take over the daily operations of the Houston Forward Times without a traditional transition of power.

Upon taking the mantle, Karen immediately turned the Houston Forward Times into a multi-media powerhouse that continues to remain one of the strongest and most trusted voices for African Americans in the Greater Houston area.

Karen believes the challenges and the adversity she faced as a newly minted publisher, coupled with the things she has learned from being around her fellow NNPA Publishers, have prepared her for her new role as the newly elected chair of the NNPA.

“I’m a Publisher,” said Carter Richards.  “After my mother unexpectedly passed away in 2010 and our Editor of 40 years passed away two (2) months after her, I was faced with the responsibility of taking a challenging situation and making it work. I knew it would be hard, but I was up for the challenge. Ten (10) years later, the Forward Times still stands strong and I stand even stronger because of what my parents taught me and because of what I learned from the NNPA publishers. The publishers are my first priority. We must educate, equip and empower all of our NNPA Publishers so they can make an even greater impact in their respective markets.”

Karen will be working with an all-women Executive Board to begin her tenure as NNPA Chair, with Janis Ware (The Atlanta Voice) being elected as First Vice-Chair, Fran Farrer (The County News) as Second Vice-Chair, Brenda H. Edwards (New Journal and Guide) as Treasurer and Jackie Hampton (The Mississippi Link) as Secretary.

Karen expressed her excitement about the future of the NNPA, stating her eagerness to work with her fellow colleagues to move the organization forward, and make sure the organization is in a better position to strengthen all of its member publishers and their respective newspapers.

Some of her top priorities as chair of the NNPA include:

  • Educate, Equip and Empower the publishers with the tools to make it easier for them and their sales teams to talk with advertisers and make their newspapers more attractive, not only nationally, but in local markets as well
  • Developing a nationwide marketing campaign to highlight every NNPA member newspaper in their respective markets
  • Create an Editorial Committee to collectively take on issues that are affecting the Black community across the country

Carter Richards states that there are many more initiatives that she hopes to work with her colleagues to implement, but really wants to focus on doing some immediate things that will help all NNPA member publishers – short and long term.

Jeffrey Boney is a political analyst and frequent contributor for the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com and the associate editor for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is an award-winning journalist, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur and business development strategist. Follow Jeffrey on Twitter @realtalkjunkies.

Jeffrey L. Boney NNPA Newswire contributor

Jeffrey Boney is a political analyst for the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com and the associate editor for the Houston Forward Times newspaper.
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#NNPA BlackPress

Black Press of America Announces Election of New National Officers

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The voting took place during the NNPA national convention in Cincinnati on Friday, June 28, 2019. In an overwhelming mandate from the publishers who voted at the convention, Houston Forward Times Publisher Karen Carter Richards easily won election as the organization’s new Chair.

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“We are the Black Press of America, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, so when I ask are you down with O.B.P., I am talking about letting people know that we are the Original Black Press, and we aren’t going anywhere,” said newly Elected NNPA Chair, Karen Cater Richards, publisher of the Houston Forward Times.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Contributor

July 1, 2019, Cincinnati, Ohio – The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), the national trade organization that represents African American newspapers and media companies, known as the Black Press of America, has elected new officers and a Board of Directors to guide the storied 79-year-old organization for the next two years.

The voting took place during the NNPA national convention in Cincinnati on Friday, June 28, 2019. In an overwhelming mandate from the publishers who voted at the convention, Houston Forward Times Publisher Karen Carter Richards easily won election as the organization’s new Chair.

Newly elected NNPA Board Members following the ceremonial swearing in of new officers. (Pictured left to right: Treasurer Brenda Andrews, Publisher of the New Journal and Guide; 1st Vice Chair Janis Ware, Publisher of The Atlanta Voice; Judge Tyrone K. Yates, who officiated the swearing in of officers; 2nd Vice Chair, Fran Farrer, Publisher of The County News; Chair of the NNPA, Karen Carter Richards, Publisher of the Houston Forward Times; Secretary: Jackie Hampton, Publisher of The Mississippi Link

Newly elected NNPA Board Members following the ceremonial swearing in of new officers. (Pictured left to right: Treasurer Brenda Andrews, Publisher of the New Journal and Guide; 1st Vice Chair Janis Ware, Publisher of The Atlanta Voice; Judge Tyrone K. Yates, who officiated the swearing in of officers; 2nd Vice Chair, Fran Farrer, Publisher of The County News; Chair of the NNPA, Karen Carter Richards, Publisher of the Houston Forward Times; Secretary: Jackie Hampton, Publisher of The Mississippi Link

The mandate extended to include the other newly elected officers:

  • 1st Vice Chair: Janis L. Ware, Publisher of Atlanta Voice
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Fran Farrer, Publisher of The County News
  • Secretary: Jackie Hampton, Publisher of The Mississippi Link
  • Treasurer: Brenda Andrews, Publisher of New Journal & Guide
  • Directors At-Large: Sonceria (Sonny) Messiah, Publisher of the Houston Defender and James Washington, Publisher of the Dallas Weekly

“It’s time for a new vision and leadership that goes beyond where we used to be,” Carter Richards said.

“We are the Black Press of America, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, so when I ask are you down with O.B.P., I am talking about letting people know that we are the Original Black Press, and we aren’t going anywhere,” she said.

“I was pleased that we as members of the Black Press could move forward with renewed energy and I am thankful that the membership selected me to serve, and as a member of the new executive team and I will not let them down,” said Secretary Jackie Hampton.

Since its founding, NNPA has consistently been the voice of the Black community and an incubator for news that makes history and impacts the nation.

As the largest and most influential Black-owned media resource in the world, the Black Press of America delivers news, information, and commentary to the more than 47 million African Americans and others from all backgrounds each week. Now in its 49th year, NNPA member resources, including newspapers, websites, digital assets and evolving social media presence are trusted information resources both domestically and internationally.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., civil rights icon and President and CEO of the NNPA emphasized, “Karen Carter Richards is a strong, gifted, freedom-fighting publisher. We are all blessed to have her as our Chair as we respond to the challenges and opportunities facing Black America and all people of African descent throughout the Diaspora.”

“We are the Black Press of America, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, so when I ask are you down with O.B.P., I am talking about letting people know that we are the Original Black Press, and we aren’t going anywhere,” said newly Elected NNPA Chair, Karen Cater Richards, publisher of the Houston Forward Times. (pictured left to right: Judge Tyrone K.Yates, who officiated the swearing in of officers; Karen Carter Richards, NNPA Chair and publisher of the Houston Forward Times; and Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., NNPA President and CEO)

“We are the Black Press of America, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, so when I ask are you down with O.B.P., I am talking about letting people know that we are the Original Black Press, and we aren’t going anywhere,” said newly Elected NNPA Chair, Karen Cater Richards, publisher of the Houston Forward Times. (pictured left to right: Judge Tyrone K.Yates, who officiated the swearing in of officers; Karen Carter Richards, NNPA Chair and publisher of the Houston Forward Times; and Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., NNPA President and CEO)

Stacy M. Brown

A Little About Me: I'm the co-author of Blind Faith: The Miraculous Journey of Lula Hardaway and her son, Stevie Wonder (Simon & Schuster) and Michael Jackson: The Man Behind The Mask, An Insider's Account of the King of Pop (Select Books Publishing, Inc.)

My work can often be found in the Washington Informer, Baltimore Times, Philadelphia Tribune, Pocono Record, the New York Post, and Black Press USA.
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#NNPA BlackPress

Karen Carter Richards, Publisher of the Houston Forward Times, Elected as New NNPA National Chair

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Karen Carter Richards, the publisher of the Houston Forward Times, has been elected to serve as the chair of the National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA), the trade organization that represents African American-owned newspapers and media companies throughout the country.

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Newly-elected NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards (pictured right) is joined by NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. (Photo: Mark Mahoney / Dream in Color Photography / NNPA)

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Karen Carter Richards, the publisher of the Houston Forward Times, has been elected to serve as the chair of the National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA), the trade organization that represents African American-owned newspapers and media companies throughout the country.

Richards, who in 2018 won the NNPA’s Publisher of the Year Award, succeeds Dorothy Leavell, publisher of the Chicago and Gary Crusader Newspapers.

“We did it!” Richards exclaimed during an NNPA Legacy Awards presentation at the Cincinnati Westin Hotel on Friday, June 28.

The organization also selected a new first- and second- vice chair, secretary, treasurer and at-large board members.

The NNPA, which is celebrating its 79th year and 192 years of the Black Press in America, held its annual convention in the Queen City with Cincinnati Herald and Dayton Defender Publisher Jan Michele Kearney and Walter L. White, Vice President of Sesh Communications hosting the weeklong event.

“I just want to thank my family for all of their support,” said Richards, a second-generation publisher who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in journalism.

Her father, Julius P. Carter, founded the Houston Forward Times in 1960 after recognizing a need for a newspaper that was committed to covering issues and personalities routinely ignored by mainstream media.

After Julius Carter’s death, the legendary Lenora “Doll” Carter assumed responsibility for the Forward Times with Karen Carter Richards working alongside her.

Richards said she understands that being the chair comes with a lot of responsibilities and work.

After a fierce campaign, Richards said she will work to move the storied association forward, help to continue to provide Black America with critical news and information, and bridge any divides that might exist between members.

“I will win your trust,” Richards said.

“This is a new vision and I’m excited about serving. We are the Black Press, the Original Black Press and I’m so happy to serve and be the new chair of the NNPA.”

The Houston native said the importance of the Black Press should never be lost on anyone.

“We are the voice, the true voice of our people. We have recorded our history for 192 years like no other media could ever do,” she said.

“We have recorded many stories…our celebrations, our injustices and those hidden, treasured stories that came from our communities that we have always found value in. Let’s do this.”

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#NNPA BlackPress

Miami Times, Philadelphia Tribune, St. Louis American – Big Winners During NNPA’s 2019 Merit Awards

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Brenda Andrews Publisher of the New Journal and Guide newspaper in Norfolk, Va., won the coveted Publisher of the Year Award at the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) annual convention in Cincinnati on Thursday, June 27.

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Brenda Andrews of the New Journal and Guide newspaper in Norfolk, Va., who hosted last year’s convention, was greeted with a standing ovation as she ascended the platform to accept the NNPA Publisher of the Year Award. (Pictured left to right: Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., NNPA President and CEO; Brenda Andrews publisher of the New Journal and Guide; Karl Rodney, NNPAF board member and publisher of the New York Carib News; Amelia Ashley-Ward, NNPAF board chairman and publisher of the San Francisco Sun Reporter; Dorothy Leavell, NNPA board chairman and publisher of the Chicago and Gary Crusader Newspapers. Photo: Mark Mahoney/Dream In Color Photography for NNPA)

New Journal and Guide’s Brenda Andrews Earns Publisher of Year

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Brenda Andrews publisher of the New Journal and Guide newspaper in Norfolk, Va., won the coveted Publisher of the Year Award at the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) annual convention in Cincinnati on Thursday, June 27.

Andrews, who hosted last year’s convention, was greeted with a standing ovation as she ascended the platform to accept the award from NNPA Foundation Chair Amelia Ashley-Ward, the publisher of the San Francisco Sun Reporter.

The Miami Times (10 awards), Philadelphia Tribune (9), and St. Louis American (7) were the biggest winners of the night.

Included in the Miami Times’ awards was the John B. Russwurm Trophy that’s presented to the newspaper that accumulates the most points in NNPAF’s annual journalism competition.

During the ceremony, Ashley-Ward asked for prayers for Miami Times Publisher Rachel Reeves whom Ashley-Ward announced was gravely ill.

Westside Gazette Publisher Bobby Henry accepted the awards on behalf of the Miami Times and pledged to personally deliver them to Reeves and her family.

In 1827, Russwurm co-founded Freedom’s Journal with Samuel E. Cornish, the country’s first African American-owned and operated newspaper with the credo: “We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us.”

The awards were hosted by MillerCoors.

Other NNPA partners and sponsors include: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; General Motors; Pfizer Rare Disease; RAI Services Company; Ford; Macy’s; Wells Fargo; P&G; Volkswagen; American Petroleum Institute; AARP; Ascension; AmeriHealth Caritas; Fifth Third Bank; and the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation (NNPAF).

California Sen. Kamala Harris opened the program via a video message of support and encouragement.

“Thank you for the work that you do … a free and independent Black Press is critical,” Harris said.

The 2020 presidential hopeful who received the 2018 NNPA Newsmaker of the Year Award during a ceremony last year, couldn’t attend the event because she was in Florida participating in the second night of debates for Democratic candidates.

During the ceremony, Ford and General Motors formally announced scholarship awards while Kerri Watkins, the publisher of the New York Daily Challenge, handed out the George Curry Award in honor of the late Black Press editor.

Among the highlights were the award for Best Editorial, which went to the Miami Times.

The St. Louis American and the Los Angeles Sentinel finished second and third respectively in that category.

The St. Louis American earned first place in the Best Column Writing category while the Miami Times finished second and the Michigan Chronicle third.

The Philadelphia Tribune took the top prize in the Community Service Award category while the Michigan Chronicle finished second and the Miami Times third.

The Final Call earned top honors for Best News Story, while the Birmingham Times finished second and Texas Metro News earned the third place prize.

The Birmingham Times earned first place for Best Feature Story while the Atlanta Voice and Houston Defender finished second and third.

In the Best News Picture category, the Richmond Free Press won first place followed by the New Pittsburgh Courier and the Philadelphia Tribune.

The Los Angeles Sentinel won top honors in the Best Editorial Cartoon category while the Washington Afro-American won second and third place.

In the Best Layout Design Category, the Birmingham Times won first place while the Philadelphia Tribune and the New Pittsburgh Courier finished second and third.

The Philadelphia Tribune, St. Louis American and Houston Forward Times won first, second and third place respectively for Best Special Edition.

The Miami Times, Houston Forward Times and Washington Informer finished first, second, and third in the Best Youth Section category and the Miami Times, Gary Crusader and the Washington Afro-American finished first, second and third in the Best Use of Photographs category.

“We are all winners tonight,” Ashley-Ward said. “When one of us wins, we all win.”

View the recorded livestream of the ceremony below.

 

Stacy M. Brown

A Little About Me: I'm the co-author of Blind Faith: The Miraculous Journey of Lula Hardaway and her son, Stevie Wonder (Simon & Schuster) and Michael Jackson: The Man Behind The Mask, An Insider's Account of the King of Pop (Select Books Publishing, Inc.)

My work can often be found in the Washington Informer, Baltimore Times, Philadelphia Tribune, Pocono Record, the New York Post, and Black Press USA.
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Art

Dave Chappelle Making His Broadway Debut This Summer

HOUSTON FORWARD TIMES — Comedian and actor Dave Chappelle will make his Broadway debut this summer. Chappelle will perform five shows at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, from July 9 through July 13. The theater has this spring become home for music acts like Morrissey, Yanni and Regina Spektor making their Broadway debuts.

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Dave Chappelle (Photo by: John Bauld | Wiki Commons)
By Chelsea Lenora White

Comedian and actor Dave Chappelle will make his Broadway debut this summer.

Chappelle will perform five shows at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, from July 9 through July 13. The theater has this spring become home for music acts like Morrissey, Yanni and Regina Spektor making their Broadway debuts.

Producers issued an unusually blunt warning about anyone trying to film the performance on their phones: All phones will be put in a locked pouch during the show and anyone smuggling one in will be ejected.

Later this year, the 45-year-old will be honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. He will be the 22nd recipient of the prestigious award. The ceremony will take place at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Oct. 27 and broadcast on PBS on Jan. 6, 2020.

Chappelle also received Grammy Awards for best comedy album in 2018 and 2019. He won his second Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special with “Equanimity” in 2018.

This article originally appeared in the Houston Forward Times.

Chelsea Lenora White

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Black History

Emanuel, Produced by Stephen Curry and Viola Davis, Debuts on the 4th Anniversary of the Charleston, SC, Shooting

HOUSTON FORWARD TIMES — On the evening of June 17, 2015, 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof marched into what was typically thought to be the purest form of sanctuary—a church—and terrorized a group of black worshippers. Nine people, including senior pastor and South Carolina State Senator Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson were murdered that evening. Roof was convicted with 33 federal hate crimes and murder charges and subsequently sentenced to death in 2017.

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By Chelsea Lenora White

On the evening of June 17, 2015, 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof marched into what was typically thought to be the purest form of sanctuary—a church—and terrorized a group of black worshippers. Nine people, including senior pastor and South Carolina State Senator Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson were murdered that evening. Roof was convicted with 33 federal hate crimes and murder charges and subsequently sentenced to death in 2017.

Four years later, the survivors and victims are sharing their respective voices in a new documentary, Emanuel.

From the official press release:

From executive producers Stephen Curry and Viola Davis, co-producer Mariska Hargitay, and director Brian Ivie (The Drop Box), Emanuel is a powerful documentary with a poignant story of justice and faith, love and hate, examining the healing power of forgiveness. Featuring intimate interviews with survivors and family members of the 2015 Charleston Emanuel AME Church shooting, Emanuel will be a Fathom limited event in movie theaters across the country for two nights only: June 17 and 19- the anniversaries of the shooting, and Dylann Roof’s first court appearance when he was forgiven by the survivors of his crime and the family members of his victims.

The film’s producers will be donating their share of profits from the film to the survivors of the shooting and the families of the victims.

“We, along with the country, grieved each family’s loss,” Executive Producers Davis and Julius Tennon of JuVee Productions said via press release. “Yet, miraculously, from this devastation we witnessed tremendous benchmarks of humanity. The survivors found courage to love in the face of hate.”

Emanuel, produced in direct partnership with the City of Charleston, S.C., will be in theaters on June 17 and June 19.

This article originally appeared in the Houston Forward Times

Chelsea Lenora White

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