05 25 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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What can you do to fight racism? Why are people poor?  Why are so many people of color in prison?  
Organizers with the American Friends Service Committee and the Peoples' Institute for Survival and Beyond have answers, and they're holding their annual Freedom School to teach youth about their history and their community power.
The Freedom School is scheduled July 21 through 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Beacon Hill in Seattle.
The goal is to empower young people to learn about racism and organize to undo it.
"The Freedom School is based on the kind of Freedom Schools that took place in the Civil Rights movement and the Freedom Summer of 1964," says Dustin Washington, the director of community justice programs for the AFSC and core trainer for the PINW. "We just felt like young people need to get more of a social consciousness so they could deal with the issues impacting their lives."
The project was started in 2000, when communities around the Seattle area were grappling with race and racism issues in the schools and law enforcement.
Today, Freedom Schools are held around the greater Seattle area that draw kids from as far away as the Tulalip Reservation and the Mukilteo, North Sound area. Every winter, they hold one as well.
"Our Freedom Schools are multiracial with about 85 percent students of color," Washington says. "The participants are ages 15 to 21, kids in universities, kids who have been kicked out of schools — it's pretty diverse."
In 1964, thousands of students attended Freedom Schools in Mississippi. The goal, organizers say, is to teach students information that was excluded from public schools because of institutional racism.
Today's Freedom School students are learning about the history and the philosophy of the Civil Rights Movement, and community organizing skills.
Washington says the same information is left out of schools today — and students have to go elsewhere to learn about their cultural histories.
"One of the things we want to do with the Freedom School concept is expand it so this style, this method we use can be used in the public schools," Washington says.
"And," he adds, "it's not just the young people who've been mis-educated – the adults need anti-racism education as well."
Freedom School students take field trips around the city, learn anti-racist community organizing skills, and listen to community elders.
Organizers say they want to create a fundamental understanding about the nature of the education system, the media, and the criminal justice system, "to create change and share culture."
The group is part of a national network operating Freedom Schools around the country, including Oakland, Calif.; New Orleans, La.; Duluth, Minn.; Philadelphia, and Farrell, Penn.
The weeklong programs evolved from 2-day Undoing Racism workshops, based on a model developed by the Peoples' Institute for Survival and Beyond.
"This year we'll have over 150 who've participated," Washington says. "We've probably had, over the past 8 or 9 years, well over 2000 people – and we've drawn people from Philadelphia and California."
He is eager for the program to grow into other regions. The school is named after one of the most loved and respected community activists in the history of Seattle.
Tyree Scott was a labor organizer, a community leader and a poet. In the late 1960s, Scott – a 29-year-old electrician who worked for his father's company — led a long but ultimately successful drive to break the color barrier in the city's construction industry trades.
In the 1970s, Scott helped start the Northwest Labor and Employment Law Office – where his two Phillipino co-founders were reportedly assassinated in Seattle by Ferdinand Marcos.
Over the years, Scott became increasingly focused on linking the ongoing civil rights movement for Black workers in the United States with the issues affecting workers around the world; he also organized material aid campaigns benefitting Mozambique and South Africa.
In 1999, Scott helped organized the huge public rejection of the World Trade Organization that led to street rioting that shut down the international WTO Conference held that year in Seattle. He died of cancer four years later.
For more info, or to host a Freedom School, contact Washington at dwashington@afsc.org, 206-632-0500, ext. 14.

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