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Sybil’s Birthday Shoutouts

Happy Birthday to:

Singer, Songwriter, Percussionist The one and only Phillip Bailey

NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott

NBA Vet Kemba Walker

NFL Coach Lovie Smith

We Remember:

Ahmaud Arbery was killed while jogging in Brunswick, GA neighborhood on February 23, 2020, born May 8, 1994

Poet Phillis Wheatley, the First African American Author of a Published Book of Poetry, born in 1753

Bluesman Robert Johnson, born in 1911

Jazz Pianist, Songwriter, Arranger

Mary Lou Williams (née Scruggs), born in 1910

Heavyweight Champion Boxer Charles “Sonny” Liston, born in 1932



Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

1. President Biden: “Tweeted Thoughts and Prayers Are Not Enough”

Eight Dead After Shooting At Outlet Mall In Texas Source:Getty

What You Need to Know:


According to the Gun Violence Archive, the 199th mass murder in the first 126 days of this year, occurred Saturday at an outlet mall in a North Dallas suburb. A gunman identified as 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia,  drove to the Allen, TX mall, armed with an AR-15 style assault weapon, wearing body armor similar to those in law enforcement, and killed seven people, wounding seven others, ranging in age from 5 to 70. Three of the people injured remain in critical condition.


The initial report of a shooting was made around 3:30 Saturday afternoon. The alleged gunman reportedly walked the property and fired his weapon at will.  An Allen police officer, responding to an unrelated call, ran toward the sound of gunfire. The policeman discovered the gunman, shot and killed him.


For what seemed like hours, the large outlet complex, housing over 120 stores plus eating establishments, was on lockdown with thousands of shoppers seeking shelter, as the public clamored for information. Police were said to be looking for a possible second shooter, eventually able to move shoppers outside.


The FBI and the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) joined local police in the investigation, in search of answers, such as how the shooter obtained his weapon and tactical gear. Officials also visited the Dallas home of the presumed shooter. News reports indicate that during questioning, the parents requested an interpreter. 


In a statement, President Biden Saturday called out Republicans for their lack of actions, beyond their thoughts and prayers: 


“Eight Americans — including children — were killed yesterday in the latest act of gun violence to devastate our nation,” Biden said in a statement. “An assailant in tactical gear armed with an AR-15 style assault weapon gunned down innocent people in a shopping mall, and not for the first time. Such an attack is too shocking to be so familiar…Republican members of Congress cannot continue to meet this epidemic with a shrug. Tweeted thoughts and prayers are not enough.”


Why You Need to Know:


From reactions to Saturday’s shooting, many Texans, especially those directly involved in the mass shooting, or even those a few miles away from the mall, are calling for more to be done by politicians. However, if nothing was done after 19 schoolchildren and two teachers were gunned down in their Uvalde, TX classroom and those same politicians who sent thoughts and prayers and even attended a gun convention days later just miles away, what makes people think something will be done? Many of those state politicians who sent thoughts and prayers were eventually re-elected.


Thoughts and prayers are nice, even kind, but said so often, it loses its effectiveness. The call to action is now on voters. If the American people are sick and tired, there must be an energizing call to register to vote, vote and elect people who hear their cries….and not the “atta boys” coming from those who want more guns on the streets.


This shooting was personal as on any  given day, one or more of my friends

 could make a trip to Allen. On friend was there before a recent trip, while another planned to make an Allen run on the day of the shooting. 


However, it bears reminding or repeating about the lives lost of people who look like us. Sunday marks one year since the horrific mass shooting at the Tops Friendly Supermarket in Buffalo, NY. All those murdered and wounded looked like us or family members. All were targeted by a White teenage who drove hundreds of miles with the express purpose of killing Black people.


We may divide our attention, but we must never take away our attention away or

dilute our passion for the work to correct wrongs…whether our people are shot and killed, or shot and wounded for going to the wrong address or choked because someone couldn’t or wouldn’t understand the demons inside…



2. Debt Ceiling Crisis Comes to a Head

Fractured Republican Party Source:Getty

What You Need to Know:


In less than one month, the United States government could run out of money. In a warning issued this week to Congress, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the first U.S. default could be as early as June 1:


“After reviewing recent federal tax receipts, our best estimate is that we will be unable to continue to satisfy all of the government’s obligations by early June, and potentially as early as June 1, if Congress does not raise or suspend the debt limit before that time.”


Some political observers report this may be the push that Republicans and Democrats need to reach an agreement about extending the country’s debt as soon as possible. For the last several months, President Biden challenged House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to come to an agreement on a package regarding the nation’s debt. McCarthy not only created an answer to funding the debt, but also a seriously trimmed down federal budget, in order to increase the debt ceiling. Last week’s House-approved legislation would raise the debt limit for one year while cutting and erasing major elements of President Biden’s domestic agenda. While the President has already announced he will not sign it, Republicans are said to be hopeful that this will push Democrats to negotiate -which is what Mr. Biden and fellow Democrats said they were pushing for all along. This, according to economists, would be great news for Wall Street investors. 


The president has said all along that he wants a “clean” debt limit bill-or as reported by the Washington Post, “legislation to increase the government’s borrowing authority without preconditions.” This, according to economists, would be great news for the economy, especially amongst Wall Street investors. 


With the financial clock ticking, President Biden issued an invitation to meet next week at the White House, to begin negotiations, May 9. According to a high-ranking White House official, the President’s goal, “will be to stress the importance of averting default and creating a separate negotiation to address other budget issues.”


Tuesday morning, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) sent a letter to Democratic colleagues in which he presented a plan to “go around” the majority party, the Republicans. Described as a “long shot,” a Discharge Petition would allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling, at the last minute, without being put on the floor by the Republican majority. 


In the Jeffries letter, the New York Times revealed, “House Democrats are working to make sure we have all options at our disposal to avoid a default. The filing of a debt ceiling measure to be brought up on the discharge calendar preserves an important option. It is now time for MAGA Republicans to act in a bipartisan manner to pay America’s bills without extreme conditions.”


Politico reported there is an effort to get Republican leader, a reluctant Senator Mitch McConnell, into the conversation and negotiations. “Everyone seems to want Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the debt ceiling negotiating table — except McConnell.” 


However, Friday night The Hill reported:


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has signed onto a letter stating he and more than 40 members of the Senate GOP conference will not back “any bill that raises the debt ceiling without substantive spending and budget reforms,” according to sources.


Why You Need to Know:


Beyond increasing the debt ceiling, or extending the country’s credit, many are going to keep a close watch on the cuts to the federal government’s budget as determined by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. This is an opportunity for Republicans to stand up to President Biden for what they felt was a maneuver to embarrass them during this year’s State of the Union Address, especially regarding the future of Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare, and other social programs and services. 



3. Prostate Cancer’s Impact on African Americans

male patient sitting and consulting a doctor Prostate cancer problem Std Caucasian Man with his hand holding his crotch prostate inflammation erection problems Source:Getty

What You Need to Know:


The signs of prostate cancer are relatively easy to notice, especially as the disease progresses, and many are urinary symptoms. However, once these symptoms arise, prostate gland cancer may have already progressed. This is why early detection is key. Because Black people have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, they should be vigilant about following up on any of the symptoms below.


Frequent or painful urination

Weak urine stream

Urinary incontinence

Blood in semen or urine

Painful ejaculation

Decrease in the amount of ejaculate

Erectile dysfunction

Pain in the back, hips, or thighs

Unintentional weight loss

The decline in overall health


Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths about risk factors for prostate cancer, including vasectomy, increased sexual activity, alcohol intake, and taking certain supplements like Vitamin E. If you are concerned about high risk for prostate cancer, discuss it with your health care provider and the possibility of early detection screening.



4. New Yorkers Protest: Justice for Jordan!

Protesters in New York demanding justice for Jordan Neely Source:Getty



What You Need to Know:


On May 4th, the “What You Need To Know” newsletter brought our readers the story of 30-year-old Jordan Neely, a Black man with a reported history of mental illness, and the White 24-year-old Marine Veteran veteran who choked him to death in front of passengers on a New York City subway train. 


Neely, who was homeless, allegedly complained about his living conditions when the veteran took Neely to the ground and held him in a chokehold for about 15 minutes. Video taken by a witness captured the fatal encounter and showed Neely flailing his arms and legs to free himself for a few moments before he stopped moving. 


Neely was pronounced dead at a local hospital. There were no reports of Neely trying to physically harm anyone. The veteran, whose identity has not been made public by news outlets or police, was questioned and released without charges. 


Continuing coverage of this story, we have now learned that Neely was a former Michael Jackson impersonator who performed in Times Square. Christie Neely, his mother, was found dead in a suitcase at age 36 on the side of a road in 2007. Neely, who was 14 at the time of his mother’s murder, testified in the murder trial against her lover, Shawn Southerland, who was convicted in 2012 and sentenced to 30 years in jail. According to Neely’s father, Andre Zachery, Neely spiraled into depression after his mother was murdered. Zachery hasn’t seen Neely in four years.


One of Neely’s neighbors said that Neely’s King of Pop impersonation helped him deal with his mental issues. “He used to get tough. He knew how to move. A moonwalk. He was always pleased doing it. He would do it while he was getting ready to go to work. He used to be fantastic.”


Since the fatal incident, about 30 people gathered at a subway platform vigil where a support column had been labeled with “Who killed Jordan Neely?”


The New York Medical Examiner has ruled Neely’s death as a homicide. A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation tells ABC News the probe into the subway chokehold death is continuing. The case is likely to go to a grand jury next week in order for the panel to determine whether criminal charges are warranted and, if so, what they would be. 


Why You Need to Know: 


Where’s the swift justice? ARREST THAT VETERAN, NOW!



5. Salvation

The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula Source:Getty



What You Need to Know:


SALVATION.  You can’t buy it.  You can’t earn it. It’s FREE to all of those who believe that Jesus died for our sins and came back to earth to fix all the wrongs in our lives. SALVATION is God’s greatest gift to us.  It is the gift that ONLY He can give.  Yes, ONLY GOD can save you and salvation was put into motion by Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”


We ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), which means NOBODY is perfect and we ALL need salvation in order to get back into the good grace and mercy of God.  This means that salvation is also about building or rebuilding your relationship with God. Once someone makes the decision to believe in what salvation represents,  ALL of their past, current, and future sins are forgiven and all is right with God.


There are four steps to salvation. 


1.  Acceptance phase.  Accept that you need Salvation. 

2.  Believe in your heart that the blood of Jesus can wash away your sins. 

3.  Confess with your mouth.  Romans 10:10 says that it is with the mouth confessions is made unto salvation. 

4.  Live Christ-Like.  Live by the word of God.  


SALVATION is open to EVERYONE.  The rich, the poor, every age and ethnic group. Come one, come all. He is waiting for you.  Now, that’s the key though. He is waiting for you to come to Him.  God is a God of FREE WILL.  You have to come to Him on your own.  He IS NOT going to beg you.  Your choice, your life.  Just remember that decision may determine where you spend eternity.


With Agape Love, Willie Mae