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Thousands of passengers express outrage, left stranded at JFK following winter storm

in Lifestyle & Travel by

Yesterday morning, a two plane collision sent an already backlogged John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport into further delays.

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Freezing Baltimore public schools point to many more problems in the distressed school district

in Education & Healthcare by

Days after news spread that children in some of Baltimore, Md. schools sat in unheated, frigid classrooms, a debate ensued to figure out who is to blame

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Ethiopian Orthodox Church celebrates Genna, or Christmas

in Africa & the Diaspora/Arts & Culture by

Two weeks after most Christian churches around the world celebrate the birth of Christ, the divine child, more than half of the population of Ethiopia observes Christmas on January 7.

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Sudan mines over 100 tons of gold, plans to use in foreign currency

in Africa & the Diaspora by

Sudan’s gold rush in 2015 finally produces positive results.

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Student loan debt bubble will pop sooner than later

in Education & Healthcare by

While we continue to hear about the bubble, another bubble,  the student loan crisis emerges. Now, debt reached $1.4 trillion, with many loans being backed by the U.S. federal government. As defaults continue to rise, experts agree it will have an effect on the economy.

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An urban farmer returns back to the land through her patch of sacred soil

in Agriculture & Urban Farming by

Ayanna Diarra pops on her designer sunshine yellow thrift-store rain boots and fetches her favorite second-hand rusty shovel to give a tour of the latest additions in her garden.

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From Truck Driving to Juke Joints: Matito Ki’Abayomi explores Los Angeles with fresh perspective

in Lifestyle & Travel by

Exploring the nooks and crannies of Los Angeles and the metro area is new web series, “Matito Presents ‘Only in LA.'”

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Shake, rattle and roll: Earthquake jolts Bay Area

in Crisis & Natural Disasters by
San Franciso. Photo credit: Rezaul Karim

A 4.4 magnitude earthquake awakened Bay Area residents earlier this morning.

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To heal a people: An intersection of yoga and activism

in Health & Wellness by

Kali Alexander, a yogini who grew up next door to Compton, says she makes the “woo woo” of yoga. For years, Alexander gives a free class in the Crenshaw Baldwin Hills Mall every Saturday. The area of Los Angeles is a yoga desert that also deals with a plethora of fast-food and liquor stores. Bringing health and wellness to one of the last remaining African American pockets in the city is more than a passion for Kali. It is her calling.

 Classes for the Masses

The concept for “classes for the masses” is to hold yoga classes in non-traditional spaces. It is one of the most diverse yoga classes in Los Angeles, and definitely the funkiest. Alexander is hands-on, as she moves through rows of black, paled and brown bodies, realigning positions, encouraging people in their stretches and greeting those who trickle in after the session starts.

Says Kali, “I often tell participants to make sure that they make room for anyone who comes in during class. It is important to me that everyone is welcomed and acknowledged because my classes are about creating community.”

Learning Her Power

The 46-year-old mother of three who grew up in Lynwood — a modest municipality bordering Compton — has been in-and-out of yoga studios since adolescence, but her preferred classroom is the grass, in a park or at a farmer’s market. For her, making yoga accessible and creating spaces where everyone acknowledges each other while actively participating in community is the definition of the perfect yoga practice.

It is not about how well you bend or how many poses you can carry out, for Alexander, it is the intention in the movements of practitioners; and how a person implements into their daily lives, the revelations and lessons that emerge during yoga sessions. But, in sunny Los Angeles, that is not always been the case.

“Fully operational studios are more racialized than southern churches in L.A. There is a sense of propriety that I have not found in any other space in the city. People think that just because they say peace and Namaste that they are elevated. But a lot of these yoga spaces are places where I find that white privilege and entitlement run rampant and unchecked. They think that they can hide behind their yoga, but that is not the case.”

Kali, who teaches and takes between twelve to fifteen classes a week, recites incident after instance where her presence was unwelcomed in both subtle and blatant actions. Her matter-of-factness is sobering, uncomfortable and refreshing because it is true. Los Angeles in general is a highly segregated metropolis divided by race and class lines. The markers are often Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, train tracks, freeways and yoga studios.

When she noticed that the racial hostility played a huge factor in the absence of black people in the LA yoga scene, she began to answer with more clarity, just how she designed her classes. “I teach to black women.” The classes are for everybody, and my students run the gamut of women to men, to all types of race and ethnicities, but I teach to black women.”

To Love Black Women

She explains further, “I read something by Toni Morrison or Alice Walker that said something like ‘when you work to meet the needs of black women, everyone benefits.’ And for me, I think that my class attendees are so diverse because I teach to a population that needs so much love and attention. My students feel my intention is about teaching to a group that deserves this respect and they too inherit that. That is powerful.”

A bold and unapologetic approach, Alexander teaches to black women with mostly white people in her class some days in the week.

But, she is content because she finds her truth in creating spaces that welcome the diversity L.A. represents. “I worked at yoga studios where there would be not one black person for weeks. Then all of a sudden, blacks and Latinos would trickle in and the studio manager would tell me that they noticed a change in participants. I’m like, ‘Hell yes, you can say it. Black people, brown people come here now because they feel like they belong.’

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Back to black: shea moisture co-founder acquires Essence magazine

in Business & Technology by

Hair and body care entrepreneur, Richelieu Dennis announced the acquisition of Essence magazine.

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