Investigators finished with FAMU hazing case
Florida A&M University student and band drum major Robert Champion, 26, died November 19.
March 27th, 2012
08:05 PM ET

Investigators finished with FAMU hazing case

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Orange County, Florida, authorities say they have finished the investigation into the suspected hazing-related death of Robert Champion, the 26-year-old Florida A&M University student and drum major who died in November.

The case has now been handed over to prosecutors who will make a decision on possible charges.

"During the course of this investigation, Orange County Sheriff's Office investigators have worked over 1000 man hours and over 40 individuals have been interviewed," Orange County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Monday. "We have worked closely with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and on numerous occasions investigators have traveled to and from Tallahassee to meet with witnesses and gather statements."

The Florida State Attorney's Office said it has received the investigation but could not give a timeline of when a decision will be made in the case that has FAMU and other universities contemplating how to end violent hazing rituals.

Read the full story

March 27th, 2012
02:32 PM ET

Opinion: What the death of Trayvon Martin says about being a black man in 2012

Editor’s note: Rob Smith is a writer, lecturer and openly gay U.S. Army veteran. His work has appeared in USA Today, The Huffington Post, Metro Weekly and Slate.com. He is contributing to "For Colored Boys ...," an anthology to be released this spring. He is also launching the  IamTrayvonMartin project on You Tube.  He can be reached at www.robsmithonline.com and twitter.com/robsmithonline.

By Rob Smith, Special to CNN

(CNN) - In some ways, I suppose it could be considered a good thing that I wasn’t racially profiled until my sophomore year of college.  For some young black men, it happens even sooner. My personal style has always leaned more towards Carlton Banks than 50 Cent, and I’ve never really been a fan of baggy jeans or fitted caps. That night however, I’d taken it upon myself to throw on a hooded sweatshirt as it started to rain. It was early evening and I found myself leaving class and walking in a parking lot behind an older white woman who was heading to her car after what was presumably a long day at work.

Lost in college-kid thoughts of midterms and summer internships, she barely registered to me until she immediately stopped in her tracks, as if I’d shouted her name. She then began to shriek in a near-hysterical tone, admonishing me for having the audacity to walk 10 feet behind her after dark. “Don’t ever do that! Ask your mother! Ask your sister! Don’t do that because it’s scary!” Initially, the episode registered as little more than bizarre to me, but as I finished my walk home, it became more apparent to me that the triple threat of my dark skin, stocky build and dark grey (fraternity!) hoodie was just too much for this woman to bear. Until that point, I’d never really thought of myself as an imposing or physically threatening guy, but to this poor lady I may as well have been the Unabomber.

Being profiled is a black male rite of passage that I was somehow inoculated from until that evening. Although I was vaguely aware of it before, I somehow made the mistake of thinking that my style of dress, “upward mobility,” or college education made me somehow exempt from the social cost of being a black male. It is not a mistake I’ve made since, nor is it one that the New York Police Department or cab drivers in this city will ever allow me to make again. Every black male from the mailroom to the boardroom and everywhere in between seems to have a story about being profiled in this way, and my experiences have been fairly innocuous compared to the horror stories I’ve heard.


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Engage: The accomplishments of 20 black female CEOs
Oprah Winfrey, Ursula Burns and Desiree Rogers are a few black women CEOs featured on the list.
March 27th, 2012
01:06 PM ET

Engage: The accomplishments of 20 black female CEOs

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

20 black women who became CEOs - The Root

In first, Los Angeles police officer found guilty of racial profiling - The Los Angeles Times

Decline in Latino voters spurs registration drive - The Huffington Post

Largest radio ratings service settles lawsuit; vows to improve tracking of minority listeners - The New York Times

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Military families face financial hurdles
Priscilla Schrubb is married to a Marine and has relocated five times.
March 27th, 2012
11:21 AM ET

Military families face financial hurdles

Editor's note: Overseas, they fight for freedom. In America, they fight for jobs. “Voters In America: Vets Wanted?” is the first part of a CNN In America documentary series on American voters. Narrated by J.R. Martinez. Airing May 13th 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET on CNN.

By Jessica Dickler, CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Unemployment, debt and a troubled housing market are plaguing families across the country, but for those in the armed forces, there is an even bigger burden to bear.

Often young and required to move frequently, many military families struggle to maintain a two-income household, find affordable childcare and save for the future.

Service members and their families have a tougher time because the military isn't a high-paying job and most "are very young and without formal financial literacy training," said Robert Joshua, executive vice president at Navy Federal Credit Union, which serves military and civilian personnel and their families.

The average junior enlisted member with less than four years' experience earns just over $40,000 a year, including housing and food allowances, according to the Defense Department. The salary goes up, however, for service members with families. Those who are married with two kids earn $52,000.

Read the full story on CNNMoney

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'Hunger Games' fans tweet displeasure over black actors
"I was pumped about the Hunger Games. Until I learned a black girl was playing Rue," was one tweet posted on Tumblr.
March 27th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

'Hunger Games' fans tweet displeasure over black actors

(CNN) - You can't please everyone when adapting a book for the big screen, especially one as beloved as "The Hunger Games," but director Gary Ross and the casting team likely weren't anticipating this.

According to Jezebel, there appears to be a group of fans who are displeased that black actors were cast to portray Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), Rue (Amandla Stenberg) and Thresh (Dayo Okeniyi). While Cinna's complexion isn't described in the novel, author Suzanne Collins does describe the latter two characters as both having dark skin.

As chronicled on the Tumblr "Hunger Games Tweets," it seems some readers either didn't pick up on the description or didn't read the description as depicting two African-American characters, and as a result have been vocal about their disappointment.

Read the full post on CNN's Marquee blog

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Filed under: Black in America • Pop culture • Race • Who we are