African-American women are breaking barriers in the realm of ballet. Earlier this year, Misty Copeland became the first Black woman to serve as the principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre. Now, Ontario-bred ballerina Katlyn Addison hit another milestone, becoming the third Black dancer to play the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in Ballet West’s Nutcracker production. “When I was really little, seeing the Nutcracker and seeing the Sugar Plum Fairy come on stage, I told my mom … I wanted to do that when I grow up,” said Addison. “I feel a little bit of pressure but, honestly, I just hope that I relax and enjoy it because I feel like it’s an opportunity to dance the role I’ve always wanted to do.” Ballet West’s artistic director, Adam Sklute, said he believed it was time to bring diversity to the performance. “Ballet is an art form for everyone, and it is up to us as artistic directors to create the world on the stage that mirrors the world around us,” he said. Read more.


Study: Police Killings Outnumbered Deaths Caused by Pneumonia, Influenza, and Measles

A new study released by researchers at Harvard University shows that 2015 police killings outnumbered deaths related to pneumonia, influenza, and measles; prompting them to believe the murders should be treated as a public health epidemic. The study, Police Killings and Police Deaths Are Public Health Data and Can Be Counted, was featured in PLOS Medicine. According to the research, as of September 19th, 842 people were killed at the hands of police, surpassing the number of people who died from pneumonia and influenza, which was 585, and measles, which was 188. The researchers believe the police killings should be recognized as a public health issue because they affect the victim’s loved ones and the local communities they lived in. “We propose that law-enforcement–related deaths be treated as a notifiable condition, which would allow public health departments to report these data in real-time, at the local as well as national level, thereby providing data needed to understand and prevent the problem,” read the study. The report, which is the first of its kind, illustrates a link between institutionalized racism and public health. Read more.


San Bernardino Shooter Was Pregnant When She Got U.S. Visa

One of the suspects linked to the mass shooting that took place in San Bernardino, claimed that she was pregnant when she attempted to get her U.S. green card last fall. Tashfeen Malik, who was killed in a shootout along with her husband earlier this month, had a note on her application that read “applicant is pregnant due on 05-21-15.” The child, who was 6 months old at the time of the attack, was left with a relative. According to the Department of Homeland Security, all of the procedures to decide whether she should be a permanent resident were followed. “Tashfeen Malik was subjected to numerous background checks at all stages of the review process,” they said in a statement. “Those background checks did not reveal any derogatory information about Malik.” While going through the application process, she denied having any involvement with radical organizations or having plans to overthrow the government. Her child was born on May 21, 2015. Read more.


Chicago Little League Leader Resigns Amid Cheating Scandal

Bill Haley, the leader of the Jackie Robinson West Little League in Chicago, has resigned amid a cheating scandal. According to officials, Haley was involved in scheme that involved changing league boundaries and putting together a team of ringers who went on to win the 2014 Little League World Series U.S. Championship. Little League officials took the title from Jackie Robinson West and put them on probation until Haley, who was the league’s treasurer, and his mother Anne, who served as the league’s president, were removed from the board. Yesterday, officials confirmed they both stepped down. “Little League International is pleased that Jackie Robinson West Little League has taken this necessary first step in order to come into compliance with all Little League regulations,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League CEO. “We look forward to working with the new league leadership to help re-establish the Little League program with the hopes of providing the children of the Jackie Robinson West Little League a meaningful Little League experience this season.” Jackie Robinson West was founded by Bill Haley’s late father. Read more.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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