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Arkansas’ ‘Hidden Figure’ Raye Montague Dies at 83

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Arkansas’ own “hidden figure” who worked as an engineer for the U.S. Navy and was seen as a leader for women of color in the engineering field has died at age 83.

Raye Montague passed away on Wednesday at Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, according to Pulaski County Coroner Gerone Hobbs, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

She had suffered from congestive heart failure, but no official cause of death has been released.

Montague developed a computer program that created rough drafts of Navy ship specifications, ultimately changing the way ships were designed.

She had spoken openly of discrimination she had faced based on her race and sex and said  a supervisor told her that she had the “right name but wrong sex” while they were discussing an opportunity for a promotion.


Her story was often compared to those of Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, three African-American female mathematicians who were pioneers in America’s space program in the 1960s, and whose story was depicted in the 2016 film Hidden Figures. 

“I had to run circles around people, but when they found out I really knew what I was talking about they came to respect me,” Montague told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 2012. “I worked long hours and traveled for the job because I couldn’t say I wanted the same wages as the guys if I couldn’t. I had to do all the same things, within reason, that they did.”

Check out an interview Montague and Janelle Monáe had with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America in 2017.

 
 

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Body found in Scioto River identified as missing community activist Amber Evans

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A body recovered Saturday from the Scioto River has been identified as community activist Amber Evans, who had been missing since Jan. 28.

Evans, 28, reportedly had a dispute with her boyfriend the afternoon of her disappearance, and her vehicle was found in the Scioto Mile area Downtown. Police found her phone in another part of the Scioto Mile.

Police have said since the beginning of the investigation that there were no known domestic violence issues in Evans’ relationship and there was no reason to suspect foul play.

The Columbus Police Special Victim’s Unit and Dive Team found the body Saturday morning near the Whittier Peninsula and the Brewery District, police said.

Evans had been active in community justice organizations for several years. She was a key organizer of protests at Columbus City Hall, was heavily involved with the People’s Justice Project and recently had become executive director of the Juvenile Justice Coalition.


The night she disappeared, a search was conducted along the river by canine units and patrol officers as well as a sheriff’s office drone using infrared technology, said Commander Alex Behnen of the police Special Victims Bureau.

The next day, the dive team went out in boats and made a search of the river. Additional searches were conducted by the dive team, but the weather and water levels and current were not cooperative through much of the winter, he said.

Evans earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a master’s in Library and Information Sciences from Kent State University.

According to a biography on the Juvenile Justice Coalition website, she began student organizing in 2011 with Occupy OSU, a group inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Tonya Fischer, Evans’ mother, posted a message on her Facebook page on Sunday, asking reporters to “give her a moment.”

“I just lost my first born child,” Fischer said.

Fischer said the family plans to have a memorial vigil at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Scioto Mile. Other arrangements are pending.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch 

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Subway riders do nothing as man repeatedly kicks elderly woman in face

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NEW YORK – Stunning video shows subway passengers stand idly by while a man repeatedly kicks an elderly woman in the face.

The incident occurred on March 10 on a northbound train and was posted to Twitter by @BKLYNRELL1, the New York Post reports.

As the 78-year-old woman attempts to defend herself from the man’s attack, those with her on the train did not intervene. Even after the attack, no one called 911 or alerted police until the subway arrived at the next stop.

Before the attacker left the train, he shouted about WorldStar, a media outlet that often contains violent videos.

The woman reportedly was bleeding as she was being treated by EMS workers, but refused further treatment. The suspect is still at large.


WARNING: Video contains violence and graphic language

Source Local 10

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Researchers studied nearly 100 million traffic stops and found black motorists are more likely to be pulled over

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(CNN)A study of nearly 100 million traffic stops from around the country has concluded that, on average, black drivers are 20% more likely to get pulled over than white drivers.

The Stanford University study analyzed 93 million traffic stops from 21 state patrol agencies and 29 municipal police departments between the years of 2001 and 2017.
 
Researchers then analyzed the traffic-stop data in relation to the number of people of driving age within each jurisdiction and controlled for demographics, gender, reasons for traffic stops and other factors to try to create the most standardized set of data possible.
 
The results, which reflect experiences that have long been shared by people of color, revealed an observable racial bias in both traffic stops and subsequent decisions to conduct vehicle searches.
 
“Relative to their share of the residential population, we find that black drivers are, on average, stopped more often than whites,” reads the study, released by the Stanford Computational Policy Lab and featuring data organized by the Stanford Open Policing Project.
 

The study’s authors acknowledged that basing this disparity on bias is hard to do in a statistically significant way, so they also analyzed the data using what they called the “veil of darkness” test. Essentially, they looked at the racial breakdown of only the traffic stops made after dark, when the race of a motorist is harder to discern.

Even when applied to different subsets of data, the results “[showed] a marked drop in the proportion of drivers stopped after dusk who are black, suggestive of discrimination in stop decisions.”

The study also looked at data related to police searches of stopped cars, and found searches on black and Hispanic motorists seemed to have a “lower bar” than searches on white motorists.

CNN has reached out to the National Association of Chiefs of Police for comment on the study’s findings but has not heard back.


The data goes beyond issues of black and white

On its surface, the results lend quantifiable significance to what has long been said by activists and ethnic minorities in America: Motorists of color are often subjected to disproportionate levels of traffic stops and police searches.
 
However, that isn’t the only purpose of the study, or the data that fueled it.
 
“Our work doesn’t necessarily reveal anything new; activists and individuals of color have long presented anecdotal evidence of this kind of bias,” Stanford data scientist Amy Shoemaker, who worked on the project, tells CNN. “The new part is being able to understand it in quantifiable terms.”
 
This kind of standardization can help inform policy change on state and municipal levels.
 
“In addition to the national picture, what we are also offering is clean public data to journalists, analysts and policy makers so they can use local context for their policies,” Shoemaker says.
 
“A lot of policy makers feel the need to have data-driven decisions, and so this is a data-driven approach to racial profiling,”
 
Although the national picture the data presents makes for a captivating headline, Shoemaker says the research is especially valuable on a local and municipal level, where individual departments and policy makers can use it to spot trends specific to their area and make finely tuned changes.
 
“It’s good to have a general understanding, but each place has its caveats, and each jurisdiction has its own limitations or ways of doing things,” Shoemaker says.
 
For instance, in Nashville, she says, the data for the area was so specific that a local police department was able to see that there was a preponderance of stops in mostly poor, black areas for things like taillights and license plates.
 
“The department (there) was understaffed, and when they realized those stops don’t actually reduce crime at all, they were much more amenable to redirecting their resources,” Shoemaker says.

But there’s no standardized way of reporting traffic stops

Shoemaker says one of the researchers’ biggest challenges in doing the study was making sure the data they got was standardized in a way that made sense, so that, for instance, one state or jurisdiction’s definition of race or type of traffic violation wasn’t different than another.
 
“There were different ways of recording race by department,” she says. “Michigan for example, recorded unknown race for 50% of the stops, which isn’t usable data for us.”
 
Another hurdle was the fact that states and municipalities don’t have one standardized way of collecting and publishing information about traffic stops. Some states, like Florida and Illinois, keep extensive records while other states have very few requirements for law enforcement to document and record their stops.
 
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