Sasha Menu Courey

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By David Morrison
Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:00 pm Comments (8)

Shortly before Sasha Menu Courey’s suicide in June 2011, the former Missouri swimmer started talking about wanting to write a memoir of her experiences with borderline personality disorder.

At that point, Menu Courey was showing improvement while undergoing treatment at a Massachusetts hospital, bouncing back from an alleged sexual assault and a stream of emotional stressors that followed.

She wanted to be an example for others going through the same issues, her parents, Lynn Courey and Mike Menu, said. They’re hoping she still can be.

“We’re hoping that this is Sasha’s legacy,” Courey said. “That she will have driven that change.”

University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe in a statement yesterday called for an independent review of how Missouri handled Menu Courey’s case and for all four campuses within the system to review their processes for dealing with sexual assaults and mental health services for their students.

MU’s News Bureau also issued a statement yesterday saying the university had turned Menu Courey’s case over to the Columbia Police Department because the alleged incident appears to have happened off campus.

The case will be handled by the special victims unit of the criminal investigation division of CPD, police spokesman Sgt. Joe Bernhard said. This morning, Bernhard said he didn’t think detectives had reviewed the file.

Investigating the case is a challenge because the alleged incident took place almost four years ago, there’s no clear knowledge about where the crime happened and there is no physical evidence or a victim, Bernhard said. “It’s difficult, but it’s possible,” Bernhard said.

Wolfe’s statement came two days after an ESPN story first raised potential issues with the way MU handled Menu Courey’s alleged sexual assault in February 2010, both before she died and after more details on the incident became available through public-records requests made by ESPN and Menu Courey’s parents in 2012.

Menu said Wolfe’s message fit very closely with the family’s objectives.

“We’re very pleased by the developments that have happened until now,” Menu said. “We’re not done. We really look forward to some changes there. It’s not claiming victory, but it certainly looks like things are moving in the right direction. They’re looking at this very closely.”

MU athletic department spokesman Chad Moller said athletic department officials first became aware of the incident in fall 2012 and that the school wrote a letter to Menu Courey’s parents last January asking whether they would like MU to turn the case over to law enforcement.

Courey said the school had not been in contact with the family since the ESPN story broke, other than through publicly available statements on MU’s website.

“Sexual assault and rape are unacceptable. We have to stop this, and we have to change that culture. Something has to be done promptly,” Courey said. “Those are the two big messages we hope to come out of this, and that the college will embrace this and implement proper process, and they’ll be really leading this cause.”

Courey and Menu said Sasha’s 21-year-old sister, Kayla, wrote them a note from school to keep them mindful of their mission as they deal with the fallout of their family’s pain becoming a national story.

It’s not about blame, she reminded them. It’s about progress.

“We’re all doing the best we can, and we can all do better,” Menu said. “There are a whole bunch of situations and forces at play that make people make mistakes. That is the best they can do at that time. It doesn’t mean that it’s justifiable. It just means that it is what it is. And things can change.”

Ashley Jost contributed to this report.

This article was published in the Monday, January 27, 2014 edition of the Columbia Daily Tribune with the headline “Parents hope story leads to change.”

© 2014 Columbia Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Posted in Local, Mu on Monday, January 27, 2014 2:00 pm.

Langton Hughes

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Let America Be America Again
by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

Homeschool Mother Murdered

Anisa Patton Taylor of Lithonia, who died this week, was a poet and a cook who wrote and published books on both subjects, Patch has learned.

Taylor, 34, was found in her car Tuesday at Salem Park by some passing children and her husband, Valance Devon Taylor, 42, has been charged in her death.

An online fund has been started by Taylor’s friends Lisa Washington and Cindy Pitts Gilbert to help with memorial service costs and to support her four children.

“We hope to get as many donations as possible by Monday for a celebration of life on Thursday,” another friend, Aasiya Muslim, told Patch Saturday. (A previous donation account set up with Wells Fargo Bank “has been compromised,” Muslim said, and is no longer in use.)

Taylor published a book of poetry in 2006 called ‘Mental Metamorphosis’ and another one on cooking last October titled ‘Inspire Your Desires With Cooking’ which was illustrated by her daughter Naja.

Proceeds from the books’ sales will now also go to support the family. “Anisa left behind four beautiful children and her mother is struggling to fund the memorial,” Muslim said. “We need the word spread so that she can receive the proper burial that she deserves.” Lithonia, who died this week, was a poet and a cook who wrote and published books on both subjects, Patch has learned.

Taylor, 34, was found in her car Tuesday at Salem Park by some passing children and her husband, Valance Devon Taylor, 42, has been charged in her death.

An online fund has been started by Taylor’s friends Lisa Washington and Cindy Pitts Gilbert to help with memorial service costs and to support her four children.

“We hope to get as many donations as possible by Monday for a celebration of life on Thursday,” another friend, Aasiya Muslim, told Patch Saturday. (A previous donation account set up with Wells Fargo Bank “has been compromised,” Muslim said, and is no longer in use.)

Taylor published a book of poetry in 2006 called ‘Mental Metamorphosis’ and another one on cooking last October titled ‘Inspire Your Desires With Cooking’ which was illustrated by her daughter Naja.

Proceeds from the books’ sales will now also go to support the family. “Anisa left behind four beautiful children and her mother is struggling to fund the memorial,” Muslim said. “We need the word spread so that she can receive the proper burial that she deserves.”

Teen Dating Violence

During the month of February, the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS), a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, is recognizing National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month brings national focus to the issue of teen dating violence, highlights the need to educate youth about healthy relationships, raises awareness among those who care for them and provides communities with a critical opportunity to work together to prevent this devastating cycle of abuse.

The Ohio Family Violence Prevention Center (FVPC), housed at OCJS, serves as an information clearinghouse for public and private organizations as they provide assistance to victims and offers a variety of services such as providing victim advocacy/assistance, organizing workshops, giving presentations and conducting research on family violence and its impact on communities. The Ohio Family Violence Prevention Advisory Council, a part of the Center, is where Ohio’s top experts in domestic and family violence prevention come together to consider and recommend improvements in the state. Most recently, the Council, along with other lead agencies in the state, provided guidance and assistance for HB 19, the Tina Croucher Act, which requires schools to adopt policies to prevent and address abusive relationships.
The Purpose
The repercussions of teen dating violence are impossible to ignore – the issue affects not just youth but their families, schools and communities as well. Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) brings national focus to the issue of teen dating violence, highlights the need to educate our youth about healthy relationships, raises awareness among those who care for them and provides communities with a critical opportunity to work together to prevent this devastating cycle of abuse.
The History of TDVAM
The Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Initiative was spearheaded by teenagers across the nation who chose to take a stand and put a stop to teen dating violence. In 2005, the importance of addressing teen dating violence was highlighted by its inclusion in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Now supported by dozens of national, state and local organizations, the call to end teen dating violence was formally recognized by Congress in 2006. At that time, both Houses of Congress declared the first full week in February “National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week.”

For the third consecutive year, our leaders in Congress are dedicating an entire month to teen dating violence awareness and prevention. To celebrate, we are calling upon government representatives and agencies, public officials, advocates, service providers, schools, parents and youth to take part in programs and activities that promote awareness and prevention of teen dating violence.

There is Safety in God

The Bible is full of many promises from God. There is something about knowing there is great protection staying in His

I can think of a few situations in my life when I was NOT operating in the will of God. The most amazing thing is He still protected me. I want to share a chapter from the Bible with you.

This chapter is fitting for the women I desire to reach. Women dealing with ANY form of dating violence need lots of protection. As know the abuser can be triggered by ANY and EVERY thing.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:1-16 ESV)

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Tamron Hall Takes a Stand

MSNBC’s Tamron Hall Uses Sister’s Murder to Speak Out Against Domestic Violence

By Worshiper on October 14, 2010 | From bvblackspin.com

The details surrounding the death of her sister are haunting.

Renate, the sister of MSNBC “News Nation” host Tamron Hall, was found face down in the pool of her own home. There were signs of a struggle. Her sister’s hair had been pulled from the back of her head, and the nails on each of her sister’s finger were broken.

Hall knew her sister described her relationship with the man she loved as a “love-hate” situation and one where they would “break up to make up.” But the night she died, Hall’s sister had, had enough:

“My mother spoke with my sister that night, and I know she told my mother she wanted out of the relationship and it was time to move. She also spoke with my younger brother that night, and the next morning, my sister was dead,” Hall told Aol. Black Voices in an interview.

And although it’s too late for her sister, Hall is out sharing her personal story in an effort to help younger women. Hall also works with Day One, a New York City organization dedicated to the issue of teen domestic violence. As part of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Hall recently hosted Day One’s fundraiser and did a story on her new show, “News Nation with Tamron Hall,” about the issue of domestic violence

“She has been a wonderful advocate. When people in prominent positions come forward to discuss their individual situation, it can make a big difference on the population,” Stephanie Nilva, executive director for Day One, told Aol. Black Voices in an interview.

In many ways, Renata’s story is similar to what happens to many women.

“The most dangerous time for people is when they are trying to end a relationship. When they go to get a restraining order or they try leaving a person or other ways to put a stop to the violence, the stalking or violence can increase because that person feels a loss of control,” said Nilva.

The numbers regarding domestic violence are staggering. One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime with an estimated 1.3 million physically assaulted by an intimate partner every year. Much of that abuse is never reported to police. One-third of female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner.

For black women, the numbers are even worse. The top cause of death for black women ages 15 to 34 is homicide at the hands of an intimate partner. From 1993 to 1998, black females experienced intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females, and about 22 times the rate of women of other races. Only 17 percent of black women reported the abuse to police.

Hall said part of talking about her sister’s murder has taught her that she was not alone.

“For me, you instantly know that your family is not alone. I know my sister is and was not alone in her struggle to leave the relationship,” said Hall. “A lot of people have this image of a girl with bad self-esteem or her parents were not strong or her family was not close and that’s just a myth. My sister was very close to our family. My dad was a master sergeant in the army and my mom was an educator. We were a very close family and very open. My sister’s self-esteem, as far as I know, she never had weak self-esteem. She was always very confident.”

Hall said she meets many women in the same situation:

“Many of the girls I’ve met at Day One are the same way. They are in college, they have great personalities and are charming, bold and dependable young girls who, like my sister, end up in these relationships that they can’t for whatever reason walk away from, even though in their hearts and minds they know it’s wrong and they need to get out of the relationship. This experience just really just opened my eyes to the fact that my sister was not on some island alone and that what happened to her should be rare but it is not.”

Although Hall says her sister’s male partner was named as a person of interest in the case, there was never enough evidence to charge him. Her family felt the effects of her sister’s murder. Four years after the death, Hall says her normally healthy father, who had exhibited signs of depression since the incident, passed away at the age of 78 after a brief illness.

“My father died without ever seeing the person who police named as the primary and only suspect charged. My father passed away when he was 78. He was in great health. He got around. He was not frail. He got a cold that turned to pneumonia, but my mother and I have had the conversation many times over that part of my father died when my sister died,” Hall said. “When my father did pass away, my mother said she thinks that losing my sister played a great part in his ability to fight back, that some part of him was lost. He was a strong Dad and no Dad wants to see anything happen to any of his children but especially his daughters.”

To help prevent other families from feeling that pain, Hall is working with Day One to advocate for longer periods for restraining orders and tougher penalties for violating those orders.

“We are looking at legislation to protect people to increase the time of orders of protection and put some teeth behind it so these individuals know if they cross the line, they are going to jail,” Hall said. “That’s what I like about Day One. It’s not just a support group; they are actively involved in influencing legislation to show people who choose to abuse that we mean business, that it is not a crime we take lightly.”

Education is also a big part of the process. Hall said she admires Day One for reaching out to young men and teaching them that hitting or abusing women is never right. Young women also need to learn the early signs of abuse, such as a boyfriend who keeps too close tabs or beats up other boys. Too often, Hall said, young girls mistake those warning signs for signs of affection:

“It’s so easy to mistake that as crazy in love…he’s crazy about me. They don’t realize that’s not appropriate behavior,” said Hall.

Nilva said they are pushing for all 50 states to adopt relationship training in to the curriculum, so young people learn how to prevent it starting in elementary school.

“We focus on systemic change, because it gives an opportunity to make changes for broad numbers of people,” said Nilva. “What we hear from survivors we help is that they wish they had someone in high school who had talked to them about this or that they didn’t come forward because they thought it was just their relationship. When you mandate programs that teach about domestic abuse, you can cut down on that.”

Hall said the response to coming out with her sister’s story has been tremendous and that everyone can be active in preventing and helping those who are victims of domestic violence:

“The key is to move the ball forward and do something about the problem. If there’s somebody in your family, don’t stop talking. Listen and encourage them. My mother listened to my sister that night and she encouraged her to leave, but it was too late for us,” said Hall. “But if people are willing to talk, you be willing to listen and help them out of the situation. If they get mad at you because you are being nosy and pushing them, so be it.”

Prentice Powell “The System”

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This is what we should be spreading across the internet and showing in OUR schools!!! I hope you enjoy and share. WE must be the change WE want to see in the community. How will generations to come know we are worth more than a once a month check, food stamps and living in housing based off our income. We are worth more than labels on our back!!! It’s time we take a stand and realize WE are doing it to US….