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Pres. Obama and Trump let their guards down at White House

buzzz worthy. . . By Mona Austin President Obama and Donald Trump met for the first time on Thursday to begin talks about the official...

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

An Official Statement from Bishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr.

buzzz worthy. . .
During times of turmoil society turns to religious leadership for guidance.  Archbishop Alfred C. Owens, International Prelate of the Greater Mt. Calvary Church has responded to the recent rash of police involved shootings in a letter the organizations body of members. "As the church, prayer should not be a replacement for action," Owens said. He urged his followers to seek social justice without resorting to retaliation.

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Democratic Party Sets ‘High Standard’ for Trade Making TPP Unachievable

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Statement by the Communications Workers of America on today’s vote by the Democratic Platform Committee: 

Washington, D.C. -- The Democratic Party has repeatedly rejected requests that it support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — and has done so again in the party platform adopted today.  

CWA and allies – Public Citizen, Citizens Trade Campaign, Sierra Club, Food and Water Watch and many others – stand together in our opposition to the TPP and welcome the Democratic Party’s platform language that reinforces the failure of the TPP to meet the “high standard” approved today. 
The party strengthened language initially proposed by the platform drafting committee, eliminating the reference to some Democrats supporting the TPP and clarifying a vision for international trade that puts working families ahead of corporate profits — the polar opposite of what the TPP represents.   

We are especially glad to see the platform so firmly reject the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system which has been used time and again by transnational corporations in attempts to undermine important environmental, labor and public health laws and regulations around the globe in the pursuit of greater corporate profits. 

Secretary Clinton was right to cite ISDS special rights for corporations as a reason to oppose the TPP, and the Democratic Party’s statement against it is a positive one.  The inclusion of the language opposing the ISDS system in the platform text going to the convention floor spotlights just how clearly the  TPP fails the ‘high standard’ set forth in the platform language.
We would have preferred to see even stronger language explicitly rejecting the TPP. However, the approved platform is a clear indication of just how much of a non-starter the TPP is within the Democratic Party and the country as a whole.  
The White House furiously lobbied platform committee members but failed in its intensive efforts to maintain some language in the platform suggesting that some Democrats support the TPP.
The TPP’s prospects of ever being enacted, already very slim, today got even slimmer.  All of us will continue fighting together to ensure that the TPP has no future. 
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FACT SHEET: U.S. and NATO Efforts in Support of NATO Partners, including Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova

buzzz worthy. . .

The United States strongly supports NATO’s cooperation with partners as a means to more effectively share burdens and further our common security goals.  This aligns with wider U.S. strategy of driving global cooperation on security challenges through networks of alliances and building local nation partnerships across the globe.  The Partnership for Peace (PfP), established in 1994, includes 22 European partners; the Mediterranean Dialogue (Med-D), also established in 1994, includes Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia; and the Istanbul Cooperative Initiative (ICI), established in 2004, includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and UAE.  NATO’s Partners Across the Globe (PAG) initiative includes Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, and Pakistan.  Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan, and Sweden have been designated Enhanced Opportunities Partners in recognition of their exceptional interoperability and contributions to NATO operations.

At their inception, NATO’s partnership programs sought to reform defense sectors in the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe, and prepare them for NATO membership.  NATO partnerships have more recently focused on interoperability and facilitating contributions to NATO operations, although political engagement and mentorship in security sector reforms continue to feature prominently.  NATO tailors its approach to the individual goals of its partner nations.

From a defense standpoint, U.S. bilateral support to NATO Partners typically falls into three categories: (1) direct security assistance; (2) training and exercises; and (3) long-term reform of defense and security institutions.  We have actively engaged in each of these areas for Ukraine, and we are intensifying support for Georgia and Moldova.


U.S. Assistance:

The U.S.-Ukraine defense relationship is transitioning from “crisis-response” to an enduring partnership aimed at developing more capable, NATO-interoperable Ukrainian Armed Forces.  This partnership will help Ukraine effectively preserve and enforce its territorial integrity, deepen defense institutional reforms, and improve processes for developing defense requirements and managing resources.

The United States announced a comprehensive $335 million FY16 bilateral security assistance package for Ukraine, bringing total committed U.S. security assistance to more than $600 million since 2014.  The FY16 package includes bilateral support in three main areas:

  • Training:  350 U.S. personnel training up to five battalions of Ukrainian conventional forces and one battalion of special operations forces, while developing a long-term institutional training capacity.
  • Equipment including counter-artillery and counter-mortar radars, secure communications, training aids, logistics infrastructure and IT systems, tactical UAVs, and medical equipment.
  • Advisors:  advancing implementation of key defense reforms, such as promoting civilian oversight, greater efficiency and transparency, and combatting corruption.

The Multinational Joint Commission on Defense Reform and Security Cooperation with Ukraine (MJC), led by the United States in partnership with Canada, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom, assesses Ukrainian requirements and prioritizes training, equipment, and advisory initiatives.

The United States and Ukraine also host two exercises each year in Ukraine – a ground forces peacekeeping exercise (RAPID TRIDENT) and a naval exercise (SEA BREEZE) in the Black Sea. These exercises seek to enhance interoperability and strengthen regional security through realistic training, while also sending an important signal of reassurance to Ukraine and other regional partners.  Ukraine also participates in other U.S.-hosted exercises elsewhere in Europe. 

NATO Assistance:

Comprehensive Assistance Package:  Allies will endorse a Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP) at the Warsaw Summit that will streamline and enhance NATO’s ongoing support for Ukraine in the following areas:
·       Advisory support:  Resident and non-resident NATO and allied advisors are assisting Ukraine in a broad range of defense issues, including logistics and strategic-level reform.

·       Defense reform:  Key assistance includes capacity and institution building, professional development of civilian employees, and strategic communications.

·       Defense education:  Allied experts are cooperating with eight defense education institutions, three training centers, and the Diplomatic Academy in Ukraine to improve staff skills and develop curricula that meet Western standards.

·       Countering Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and demining:  NATO is conducting humanitarian demining operations and will implement a project to increase Ukraine’s capabilities to counter IEDs.

·       Explosive ordnance disposal:  Allies are supporting Ukraine in disposing of obsolete small arms/light weapons, ammunition, and anti-personnel mines.

Trust Funds:  As a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, allied leaders at the 2014 Wales Summit established five Trust Funds to support Ukraine. 

·       Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4)
·       Logistics and Standardization
·       Cyber Defense
·       Military Career Transition
·       Medical Rehabilitation
·       Counter-IED (established subsequent to the Wales Summit)


U.S. Assistance:

The United States has enhanced bilateral security assistance to Georgia to increase the defense capacity and NATO interoperability of its forces.  In FY15, the United States committed an additional $20 million in Foreign Military Financing through the European Reassurance Initiative, bringing Georgia’s security assistance up to $30 million.  Security assistance to Georgia remains high in FY16, and is projected to remain so in FY17.

This assistance will further Georgia’s goals of professionalizing and modernizing the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces, promote NATO interoperability, enable Georgia to continue to deploy its forces to Afghanistan, and support the development and enhancement of training and education facilities.  Georgia participates in nine U.S.-sponsored exercises annually. Notably, the United States and other allies have conducted Exercise NOBLE PARTNER in Georgia over the last two years in an effort to confirm the interoperability and readiness of Georgian land forces contributing to the NATO Response Force.   The United States continues to support the Georgian Ministry of Defense in its efforts to develop a modern, effective and transparent force.  We have active defense institution building programs focused on human resources management, acquisition and procurement, and program budgeting.  The United States also has an embedded Ministry of Defense Advisor focused on military medical support.

NATO Assistance:

Substantial NATO-Georgia Package:  Allies endorsed the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP) at the Wales Summit in September 2014 with to strengthen Georgia’s defense capabilities and help Georgia advance its preparation for membership in the Alliance.  The SNGP built upon NATO’s already extensive cooperation through the Defense Education Enhancement Program (DEEP), Building Integrity Program (BI), and Professional Development Program (PDP) by initiating new lines of effort that include:

·       NATO Core Team and NATO Liaison Office (NLO):  The United States provides seconded personnel in support of both of these institutions, which offer strategic level advice on defense issues.  Americans fill the position of Deputy Core Team Lead and lead officer for the NLO. 

·       Advisory support:  Both resident and non-resident NATO experts provide advice across a range of defense issues to advance the capacity and interoperability of Georgia’s Armed Forces.  Areas of support include acquisition, strategic and operational planning, military police, and strategic communications.

·       Periodic exercises:  Allies support and contribute to NATO exercises open to partners and held in Georgia on a regular basis. The United States linked exercise AGILE SPIRIT 2015 to NATO, and NATO will conduct a computer assisted exercise in Georgia in November 2016.

·       Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC):  Established in 2015, the JTEC will provide training, evaluation, and certification opportunities to enhance interoperability and operational readiness.

·       Logistics facility:  NATO is assisting in establishing a Georgian logistics capability that will facilitate participation of allied and partner nations in exercises and disaster relief operations, and will provide support for cargo and personnel engaged in NATO-led operations.  We lead this portion of the SNGP. 

·       Defense Institution Building School:  Building upon its experience through DEEP, BI, and PDP, allies are working with Georgia to establish a center that will provide classroom and on-the-job training for Georgian government personnel.

Further Practical Cooperation under the SNGP:  At the Warsaw Summit, allies will agree to enhance and deepen cooperation with Georgia across a range of efforts, and to increase high-level political dialogue with Georgia.


U.S. Assistance:

The United States has increased security assistance to Moldova to promote stability, professionalize and modernize its forces to promote NATO interoperability, reform its defense institutions, and facilitate Moldova’s participation in NATO operations such as in Kosovo. This assistance also provides Moldova with training and equipment for secure communications, mobility, and medical support.  In FY15, the United States increased Foreign Military Financing funds through the European Reassurance Initiative by nearly $10 million to a total of $11.25 million.  The United States will continue to prioritize security assistance support for Moldova in FY16 and FY17. 

NATO Assistance:

Allies agreed to develop a phased Defense and Related Security Capacity Building (DCB) package for Moldova in June 2015.  The United States leads Phase I, which is offering advice and assistance by a team of NATO defense reform experts to develop a new National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, and National Military Strategy.  Moldova completed its new National Security Strategy in June, and intends to complete its National Defense Strategy by the end of 2016, and the National Military Strategy in 2017.  Phase II will provide assistance and advice in developing Moldova’s land and air forces, command and control, training doctrine and infrastructure, cyber defenses, and military education, and will also assist in fighting corruption.

Efforts to assist other partners:

In addition to robust support to Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, allies provide support to a number of Middle East and North African countries, including but not limited to Iraq, Jordan, and Tunisia.  In July 2015, NATO approved a DCB package for Iraq to enhance its defense capacities, reform its security sector, and increase its ability to contribute to regional security.  Training in C-IED, military medicine, and civilian-military planning is occurring in Amman, Jordan.  NATO is exploring how it can re-locate some of this training into Iraq, and broaden the activities, which may include logistics, border security, and police training.  The United States currently works on defense institution building to support the long-term development of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and its forces.  Areas of support include strategy, policy and planning, and human resources management.  The United States is also providing subject matter experts to NATO to support their line of effort focused on force structure analysis. 

NATO’s cooperation with Jordan is substantial, and the Planning and Review Process is the primary instrument for practical military cooperation.  Jordan has earned Enhanced Opportunities Partner status and participates in the Operational Capability Concept Evaluation and Feedback program with two battalions.  Allies agreed a DCB package in November 2014 to provide Jordan with focused assistance in seven areas drawn from its consultations with NATO.  Jordan continues to host, with the United States, the annual EAGLE LION exercise aimed at promoting cooperation and interoperability, building functional capacity, practicing crisis management and enhancing readiness.  In 2015, Jordan also participated in: the EAGLE RESOLVE multilateral exercise in Kuwait; the Joint Forces Command Naples Regional Exercise (REGEX 15) in Greece; the TRIDENT JOUST command post and computer-assisted exercise; the Naples Journey battle staff training; and the TRIDENT JUNCTURE command post and live exercise. In 2016, Jordan will participate in the TRIDENT JUNCTURE and REGEX 16, and has agreed to host the JFC Naples REGEX 17 on its territory.  We are also committed to institutional level support for the Jordan Armed Forces (JAF).  Following a defense institution building (DIB) scoping trip in February, the United States and the JAF identified additional areas for U.S. support to include assistance in the JAF Strategic Defense Review (SDR) process, support to personnel issues such as recruiting and human resources planning, and logistics.   

Since it joined the Mediterranean Dialogue (Med D) in 1994, Tunisia has participated actively in Ministerial meetings, political consultations, and meetings of the North Atlantic Council as well as in the training activities, conferences, and fora organized by the Alliance.  In 2010, Tunisia took its first steps to define areas for cooperation with NATO, and in 2014 it first signed an Individual Partnership Cooperation Program (IPCP), reflecting new areas for practical cooperation including intelligence exchange, counter-terrorism, cyber defense, and border control.  In 2016, Tunisia begins its first round of participation in its own Planning and Review Process, which is intended to assist in modernizing its national defense system, develop its operational capabilities and NATO interoperability, and promote defense transparency.  Since the “Jasmine Revolution” in 2011, the United States has committed over $225 million in bilateral security sector assistance focused on enhancing Tunisia’s capacity to counter internal and regional threats from terrorism through the provision of equipment and training, to include surveillance aircraft, ground relay systems, and critical support to their rotary wing assets.  Additionally, the United States is collaborating with Tunisia on a program that will better enable it to secure its borders. 

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PHOTOS: Serena Williams wins Wimbledon again

buzzz worthy. . .

Finishing on day 12 in London, Serena Williams has made history again as the winner of Wimbledon. Williams took down  German Angelique Kerber in the finals in London.  Ending score: 7-5, 6-3. This victory is Williams' second win in a row for a total of 22 Grand Slam titles, placing her on the same level as Steph Graf with the same number of titles.

Beyonce and Jay Z were among the celebs spotted courtside at Wimbledon this year. Ellen Degeneres and Portia Digrassi were also spotted cheering on teh America champ.

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Friday, July 8, 2016



As a mark of respect for the victims of the attack on police officers perpetrated on Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Dallas, Texas, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, July 12, 2016. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.


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Obama holds press conference on Dallas Shooting (TRANSCRIPT)

buzzz worthy. . .

"I spoke this morning with Mayor Rawlings of Dallas to convey the deepest condolences to the American people and that the Federal Government will provide whatever assistance Dallas may need as it deal with this tremendous tragedy.
We still don’t know all the facts. What we do know is that there’s been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement. Police in Dallas were on duty, doing their job, keeping people safe during a peaceful protest. These law enforcement officers were targeted, and nearly a dozen officers were shot, five were killed. Other officers and at least one civilian were wounded. Some are in serious conditions and we are praying for their recovery.
 As I told Mayor Rawlings, and I believe that I speak for every single American when I say, that we are horrified over these events and that we stand united with people and the police department in Dallas.
According to police there are multiple suspects. We will learn more undoubtedly about their twisted motivations, but let’s be clear, there is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks. Grave violence against law enforcement. The FBI is already in touch with the Dallas police; anyone involved in these senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done.
I will have more say about this when the facts become more clear. For now, let me just say that, even as yesterday I spoke about are need to be concerned as all Americans about racial disparities in our criminal justice system. I also said yesterday that our police have an extraordinarily difficult job and the vast majority of them do their job in outstanding fashion. I also indicated the degree in which we need to be supportive of those officers who do their job each and every day. Protecting us and protecting our communities. Today is a wrenching reminder of the sacrifices that they make for us. We also know that when people are armed with powerful weapons, it unfortunately make attacks like these more deadly and more tragic and in the days ahead consider those realities as well.
In the meantime, today, our focus is on the victims and their families. They are heartbroken and the entire city of Dallas is grieving. Police across America, which is a tight-knit family, feels this loss to their core and we’re grieving with them.
I ask Americans to say a prayer for these officers and their families. Keep them in your thoughts, and as a nation, let’s remember to express our profound gratitude to our men and women, not just today but every day."
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Obama orders a 'better future' at work with sick leave for federal contractors

buzzz worthy. . .

On Monday morning, a sign behind the stage where he spoke at the GREATER BOSTON LABOR COUNCIL LABOR DAY BREAKFAST read "Workers and Community, United for a Stronger Future.” sident Obama has just announced a massive gift to federal contractors and subcontractors this Labor Day. He has signed an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their employees sick leave to attend to the most common personal and family affairs. The action will allow one hour of paid time off for every 30 hours worked. Obama's more flexible workforce policies encompass one of the most common concerns of federal workers taking time off, maternity leave.

Obama put his reason for the policy change into global perspective, while showing sensitivity to working mothers, stating: "Right now, we are the only advanced nation on Earth that does not guarantee paid maternity leave. Think about that. (Applause.) You had -- one study found that nearly one in four working moms return to work within two weeks of childbirth. Think about that. Now, for the men in the audience in particular, think about that. We wouldn’t even go to work if we had to carry around somebody for nine months. The human race would evaporate. We couldn’t even take it. (Laughter and applause.) And then the notion that after you had that baby you had to go back to work two weeks later. . ."
The Executive Order specifies the new policy is "effective immediately and shall apply to covered contracts where the solicitation for such contract has been issued, or the contract has been awarded outside the solicitation process, on or after January 1, 2017."


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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Police shooting of Philando Castile recorded live on FB

buzzz worthy. . .#philandocastile

By Mona Austin

Philando Castile's death was captured in a live FB video Wednesday night. Diamond "Lavish" Reynolds, his girlfriend recorded the police involved shooting while  her 4-year-old daughter sat in the backseat of the car.

The aftermath of an officer shooting Philando Castile' following a traffic stop on July 6, 2017.

Castile was pulled over in a traffic stop for a busted tail light. When reaching for his identification and registration, he  told the police officer he had a license to carry a weapon, which was in the vehicle. Without hesitation or warning, as he was reaching for the requested documents, four shots were fired into his arm. "Please tell me he is not dead," Reynolds pleads. Castile later died at an area hospital.

Castile was a beloved cafeteria worker at a local school.

In the aftermath of the execution, which happened near the city of St. Paul, the officer

Guns pointed, officers ordered Reynolds to get into the cop car.  She  was detained in a local jail and released in the early morning hours she later stated to press. Her baby girl witnessed the entire ordeal and was transported to jail with her.

Reynolds gave an emotional account of what happened, calling the incident outright "murder."

The 32-year-old Minnesota man is yet another victim of a police encounter gone terribly wrong.. His execution comes a day after Alton Sterling was shot by a Baton Rouge police.  Another day, another bullet, another dead Black person, another hashtag  bemoaning the loss of  Black life created. It is a pathological trend that Black America desperately wants to stop.

In an exclusive interview with CNN Castile's mother stated authorities didnot allow her see her son.
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Updated Military Suicide Rate From VA Shows Treatment Works

buzzz worthy. . .

WASHINGTON - In its most comprehensive study of veteran suicide rates to date, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today the number of veterans who die by suicide is 20 per day. Preliminary data indicate that suicides among veterans utilizing VA care increased by 8.8 percent between 2001 and 2014 while the rate of suicide among those veterans who didn’t access care during the same time jumped 38.6 percent.

The VA will release its final report later this month.

“The VA’s findings confirm that for those receiving it, treatment works,” said Kim Ruocco, TAPS Chief External Relations Officer for Suicide Prevention and Postvention. “However, we want to make sure the successes of treatment are highlighted rather than the number of deaths. When the number of deaths is used constantly, it creates a sense of hoplessness and helplessness about the ability to get care that works. The information released today indicates those in VA care are much less likely to die by suicide.”

Ruocco contributes to suicide prevention efforts in civilian as well as military organizations. She serves as the co-lead on the National Action Alliance Task force for Military and Veterans, is a member of the SPRC steering committee and has testified before the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs.  Ruocco is an International speaker who uses her education, personal experience and information gathered from thousands of service members and bereaved military families to help others more fully understand suicide.

Through her work with TAPS, Ruocco has developed comprehensive, peer-based programs that offer comfort and care to all those grieving the loss of a service member to suicide. She holds a BA in Human Services and Psychology from the University of Massachusetts and a Masters degree in Clinical Social Work from Boston University. She is the surviving widow of Marine Corp Maj. John Ruocco, who died by suicide in 2005.
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buzzz worthy. . .

By Mona Austin
Pres. Barack Obama approached Air Force One to depart Andrews Air Force Base to attend the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland on July 7, 2016.

Yesterday, President Barack Obama was aware of the shooting death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA per Press Sec. Josh Earnest, but did not comment. The Department of Justice (DO) has taken on the investigation. While the POTUS did not make any phone calls, White House officials reached out to government officials in Baton Rouge yesterday prior to the DOJ announcing its involvement. Now that the investigation is underway I would ot aNticipate any extensive conversation abut this matter from the White House and any Louisiana officials out of respect for the independent DOJ investigation."

However, toay the POTUS expressed his thoughts and condolencesin a Facebook messaget
"All Americans should be deeply troubled by the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. We've seen such tragedies far too many times, and our hearts go out to the families and communities who've suffered such a painful loss.

Although I am constrained in commenting on the particular facts of these cases, I am encouraged that the U.S. Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation in Baton Rouge, and I have full confidence in their professionalism and their ability to conduct a thoughtful, thorough, and fair inquiry.

But regardless of the outcome of such investigations, what's clear is that these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve.
To admit we've got a serious problem in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who put their lives on the line to protect us every single day. It is to say that, as a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement.
That's why, two years ago, I set up a Task Force on 21st Century Policing that convened police officers, community leaders, and activists. Together, they came up with detailed recommendations on how to improve community policing. So even as officials continue to look into this week's tragic shootings, we also need communities to address the underlying fissures that lead to these incidents, and to implement those ideas that can make a difference. That's how we'll keep our communities safe. And that's how we can start restoring confidence that all people in this great nation are equal before the law.
In the meantime, all Americans should recognize the anger, frustration, and grief that so many Americans are feeling -- feelings that are being expressed in peaceful protests and vigils. Michelle and I share those feelings. Rather than fall into a predictable pattern of division and political posturing, let's reflect on what we can do better. Let's come together as a nation, and keep faith with one another, in order to ensure a future where all of our children know that their lives matter."
President Obama departed for Warsaw, Poland today to attend the fifth and final NATO Summit of his career in the White House.  Following NATO he will visit Spain for the first time.
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buzzz worthy. . .


Based on Best Selling Author ReShonda Tate Billingsley's Book About A Family Coping With Mental Illness, Network's Original Movie Starring Kyla Pratt, Gavin Houston, Kellita Smith and Vanessa A. Williams, Premieres Sunday, July 10 at 7 p.m. ET

(SILVER SPRING, MD) - July 7, 2016 - TV One is shedding light on mental health in the Black community during National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month with the premiere of its original movie, The Secret She Keptthis Sunday, July 10 at 7 p.m. ET (encore at 9 p.m. ET). Inspired by the best-selling novel of the same name by NAACP Image Award-winning authorReShonda Tate BillingsleyTV One's original feature film, The Secret She Kept, immerses viewers in the story of a prominent family that lets s hame, confusion and misunderstandings about mental illness send them down a tragic path. 

Kyla Pratt (Recovery RoadOne on OneThe Proud Family, Dr. Doolittle) stars as beautiful, high-powered attorney Tia Jiles, who has just married the man of her dreams, successful magazine executive Lance Kingston (Gavin Houston, The Haves and the Have Nots, Guiding Light), and is on the brink of launching a major political campaign when a pattern of erratic behavior uncovers her secret: she suffers from mental illness. "So often, we trivialize that someone is just 'crazy' and we don't recognize that mental illness is real and relevant. I wanted to show not only was this something that deserved our attention, but that we shouldn't be ashamed to seek help. If our bodies are sick, we get help. I wanted to de-stigmatize the shame that often keeps us from seeking treatment when our minds are sick," said Billingsley. "I am grateful The Secret She Kept has been turned into a movie. While the book did exceptionally well, the platform TV One provides will hopefully get more people talking about what so many people see as a dirty little secret."

The Secret She Kepis an exploration of the impact of mental illness on families, which is far too often closeted in the African-American community and provides a thought- provoking and inspirational story which addresses how far to go to save a loved one when they've kept a dangerous secret for years. It's a question facing Lance (Houston) whose recent marriage to Tia (Pratt) seemed to promise a bright future for both of them. But under the surface, a fierce and frightening storm was brewing. That's because Tia never revealed to Lance what she and her family, especially her mother Virginia Scroggins Jiles played by Kellita Smith (Z NationThe Bernie Mac Show, The First Family), have known since Tia was seventeen: she has an illness that takes over her mind, transforming her into a woman struggling with bi-polar and schizoaffective disorder both privately and publicly. Determined to end the cycle of secrecy, Lance, along with his sister Beverly Kingston (Vanessa A. WilliamsSoul FoodMelrose Place), set out to convince Tia to resume her medication and enter treatment.

The Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (July) was announced in May 2008 by the U.S. House of Representatives to enhance public awareness of mental illness and mental illness among minorities. The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD) and cosponsored by a large bipartisan group, to also improve access to mental health treatment and s ervic es , and pro mo te public awarenes s o f mental illness. More information is available on the National Alliance of Mental Illness website.

To learn more about The Secret She Kept author ReShonda Tate Billingsley, visitwww.reshondatatebillingsley.com, Facebook, Twitter, (@ReShondaT) and Instagram (@ReshondaTateBillingsley). 

In addition, viewers are encouraged to participate in a nationwide Twitter Party with Billingsley during the movie's premiere on Sunday, July 10, 7-9 p.m. ET using the hashtag #SecretSheKept.
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