Tag Archives: Honors

New York City honors COVID pandemic essential workers at ‘Hometown Heroes’ ticker-tape parade

NEW YORK — A pandemic would seem like the worst time to start working as a nurse in a Manhattan hospital, but there Justin Davis was last spring, trying desperately to help patients stricken with the coronavirus while worried for his own health.

The 43-year-old Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, resident was among those who stepped up to come to New York City when it was a pandemic epicenter, a choice that required leaving behind his wife and three young children for a situation filled with uncertainty and risk.

“I came because I wanted to do something to make my family proud,” the military veteran said.

His family will get a chance to express their pride on Wednesday, along with a whole bunch of New Yorkers, at a parade honoring essential workers for their efforts in getting New York City through the pandemic.

“This is a huge thing,” said his wife, Jennifer Davis. “This is awesome. We just had to come up here and be here for him, to support him and celebrate him.”

MORE: Why ticker tape? History of NYC’s iconic parades as city honors essential workers

Davis will be in the parade on a float sponsored by AMN Healthcare, the staffing company he works for that sent him to New York City and then other places around the country in the last year to work in COVID-swamped hospitals.

“I think it’s just going to be real cool,” Davis said. “And hopefully it can just bring closure.”

The parade is slated to kick off at Battery Park and travel up Broadway in lower Manhattan, the iconic stretch known as the Canyon of Heroes, which has hosted parades honoring world leaders, celebrities and winning sports teams. The last parade before the pandemic honored the U.S. women’s soccer team after their 2019 World Cup win.

City officials said the parade’s grand marshal would be Sandra Lindsay, a health care worker who was the first person in the country to get a COVID vaccine shot.

Other workers being honored include transportation workers, first responders, education and child care providers, and utility workers.

“We’ve got a lot to appreciate, because we’re well underway in our recovery. We’ve got a lot to celebrate and we’ve got a lot of people to celebrate,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

“They deserve a march down the Canyon of Heroes, because it’s something that is reserved for the greatest folks in history. Well, here are some of the folks who made history in New York City’s toughest hour,” he said.

The high temperatures of the week have cut into the celebration plans somewhat. Originally, the parade had been scheduled to be followed by a ceremony at City Hall.

Instead, the mayor and his wife will applaud the participants at the end of the parade route. Water will be available through the route and cooling stations for participants will be located at the beginning and end.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Author: By Deepti Hajela, Associated Press
Read more here >>> usnews

Two Black Students Won School Honors. Then Came the Calls for a Recount.

The parents of the just-named valedictorian and salutatorian left the ceremony, aware that Emma and her father were upset, but thinking nothing of it. Over the next day, however, the parents of Emma and Dominic did their own homework.

“We found the 2020-2021 handbook,” Mr. Berry said. “It all came down to the handbook.”

At issue was just how to calculate who the top two students were. Ikeria and Layla won based on a calculation of quality point average or Q.P.A., a system of calculating grades that gave extra weight to advanced placement and dual credit courses. But, it turned out, Dominic and Emma were the top two finishers based on unweighted grade point average.

The parents of the two white students held discussions with Burnell McDonald, the superintendent of West Point schools. They complained that based on the West Point High School Student Handbook, the school had not followed its own rules in calculating class rank.

After talking with the white parents, Mr. McDonald, who is Black, concluded that the handbook and tradition backed them up: In the school system, class rank has been calculated by unweighted grade point average, not Q.P.A., which would have made the two white students the honorees.

The evening before graduation, Mr. McDonald informed the parents of Dominic and Emma: He was adding the two white students as co-honorees — Dominic was now co-valedictorian and Emma co-salutatorian.

Mr. McDonald also permitted two missing grades — which a teacher had failed to record in the system — to be added to the final grade in one of Emma’s classes, past a deadline and after senior awards night.

Mr. Berry said the grades added for Emma did not change the outcome.

Once the decision was made, race was not the only issue that was raised.

Author: Stephanie Saul
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Sophie Turner Honors Daughter Willa, 8 Months, With Special Necklace In Gorgeous New Selfie

Sophie Turner officially confirmed daughter Willa’s name with a gorgeous necklace spelling it out in gold and diamond letters.

Joe Jonas[1], 31, and wife Sophie Turner[2], 25m have been very private when it comes to their eight-month-old daughter Willa. While her name was reported[3] around the time of her July 22, 2020 birth, Sophie confirmed the moniker the most stylish way via her Instagram stories on Apr. 7, 2021. The actress shared a glam selfie wearing several gold necklaces, one of which was a delicate chain that had the letters “W” “L” and “A” visible in fine diamonds and gold, while the “I” and the first “L” of Willa’s name were cut off at the bottom of the photograph.

Sophie looked absolutely stunning in the photo showing her jewelry tribute to Willa. She showed off her flawless complexion and perfect skin in the tight selfie, where she only wore a hint of eye liner and mascara, as well as a soft-pink lip that is ideal for springtime. The former Game of Thrones star had her blonde locks pulled back in a tight bun, and Sophie lifted her arm to hold on to it. In the process, she showed off her tattoo tribute to Willa.

Sophie already had a “J” tattoo on her left wrist in honor of husband Joe. But in Nov. 2020, she debuted new ink showing a “W” tattooed[4] right below the “J,” seemingly in tribute to the new member of their family.  She also sported a tiny gold pendant with Willa’s apparent birthdate, as it read “22.07.20″ Her birthdate had previously been reported as July 27.

The gold necklace was a jump up in price from the simple “W” inking. “We believe this piece has approximately 0.5 carats of diamonds, which are beautifully set to spell out her daughter’s name[7] on a 14K cable chain,” Tonia Zehrer Senior Vice President from Signet, tells Us. She estimates the price of the necklace as between $ 1,500 and $ 2,000.

Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas
Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas take baby daughter Willa for a walk through their Encino, CA neighborhood in Oct. 2020. Photo credit: Backgrid.

This proves that the couple did not name their daughter “Hannah” as Miley Cyrus[8] jokingly claimed[9]. On the 15th anniversary of her Disney show’s Hannah Montana[10]‘s premiere on Mar. 24, 2021, the 28-year-old singer sent a massive pink and purple flower arrangement in the shape of a star to Joe and Sophie, as the DNCE singer shared a video of the blooms and the accompanying note to Instagram.

“To: Joe & Sophie! It was so sweet of you to name your daughter after me! Sending all my love to little Miss Hannah Montana! Love, Hannah Montana,” it read. While Miley caused some confusion over Baby Jonas’ name, Sophie has cleared things up nicely that their daughter is indeed named Willa. So far, the couple has yet to share any photos of their little girl, choosing to keep her life as private as possible.


  1. ^ Joe Jonas (hollywoodlife.com)
  2. ^ Sophie Turner (hollywoodlife.com)
  3. ^ her name was reported (hollywoodlife.com)
  4. ^ showing a “W” tattooed (hollywoodlife.com)
  5. ^ pic.twitter.com/at6UljQeDb (t.co)
  6. ^ November 19, 2020 (twitter.com)
  7. ^ her daughter’s name (hollywoodlife.com)
  8. ^ Miley Cyrus (hollywoodlife.com)
  9. ^ jokingly claimed (hollywoodlife.com)
  10. ^ Hannah Montana (hollywoodlife.com)


'Trial of the Chicago 7' takes top honors at SAG Awards

The win for “The Trial of the Chicago 7” marked the first time a film from any streaming service won the guild’s ensemble award.

The starry cast of Aaron Sorkin’s 1960s courtroom drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7” took the top prize Sunday at a virtual Screen Actors Guild Awards where actors of color, for the first time, swept the individual film awards.
The 27th SAG Awards, presented by the Hollywood actors’ guild SAG-Aftra, were a muted affair — and not just because the red carpet-less ceremony was condensed to a pre-recorded, Zoom-heavy, one-hour broadcast on TBS and TNT. The perceived Academy Awards frontrunner — Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” — wasn’t nominated for best ensemble, making this year’s postponed SAG Awards less of an Oscar preview than it is most years.
Still, the win for Netflix’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7” marked the first time a film from any streaming service won the guild’s ensemble award. Written and directed by Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” had been set for theatrical release by Paramount Pictures before the pandemic hit, leading to its sale to Netflix. The streamer is still after its first best-picture win at the Oscars.
Frank Langella, who plays the judge who presided over the 1969 prosecution of activists arrested during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, drew parallels between that era’s unrest and today’s while accepting the award on behalf of the cast.
“‘God give us leaders,’ said the Rev. Martin Luther King before he was shot down in cold blood on this very date in 1968 — a profound injustice,” said Langella, citing events leading up to those dramatized in “The Trial of the Chicago 7. “The Rev. King was right. We need leaders to guide us toward hating each other less.”
The win came over two other Netflix releases — “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Da 5 Bloods” — as well as Amazon’s “One Night in Miami” and A24’s “Minari.” Had Lee Isaac Chung’s Korean-American family drama “Minari” won, it would have been the second straight year a film largely not in English won SAG’s top award. Last year, the cast of “Parasite” triumphed, becoming the first cast from a non-English language film to do so.
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The SAG Awards are a closely watched Oscar harbinger. Actors make up the largest branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and SAG winners often line up with Oscar ones. Last year, “Parasite” went on to win best picture at the Academy Awards, and all of the individual SAG winners — Renée Zellweger, Brad Pitt, Laura Dern, Joaquin Phoenix — won at the Oscars, too.
Those awards this year went to a group entirely of actors of color, potentially setting the stage for a historically diverse slate of Oscar winners: Chadwick Boseman, best male actor for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”; Viola Davis, best female actor for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”; Yuh-Jung Youn, best female supporting actor for “Minari”; and Daniel Kaluuya, best male supporting actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah.”
Of those, Davis’ win was the most surprising in a category that has often belonged to Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) or Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”). It’s Davis’ fifth individual SAG award.
“Thank you, August, for leaving a legacy for actors of color that we can relish the rest of our lives,” said Davis, referring to playwright August Wilson.
As it has throughout the awards season, best male actor again belonged to Boseman for his final performance. Boseman, who died last August at age 43, had already set a record for most SAG film nominations — four — in a single year. He was also posthumously nominated for his supporting role in “Da 5 Bloods” and shared in the ensemble nominations for both Spike Lee’s film and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
It was the SAG Awards where Boseman gave one of his most memorable speeches. At the guild’s 2019 awards, Boseman spoke on behalf of the “Black Panther” cast when the film won the top award. “We all know what it’s like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured,” Boseman said then. “Yet you are young, gifted and Black.”
The Academy Awards frontrunner, “Nomadland” missed out on a best-ensemble nomination possibly because its cast is composed of largely non-professional actors. Zhao’s film previously won at the highly predictive Producers Guild Awards, as well as at the Golden Globes. “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” up for best picture at the Oscars and four other awards, could pose a challenge to the frontrunner.
In an interview following the pre-taping of the award for “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Langella called the virtual experience much more civilized. “I’m in my bedroom slippers,” he said from New York’s Hudson Valley. “I have no pants on,” added his co-star Michael Keaton.
Eddie Redmayne, who plays Tom Hayden in the film, credited Sorkin and casting director Francine Maisler for assembling such a disparate group of actors — including Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Rylance, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jeremy Strong — into an ensemble.
“It was like a clash of different types of music, whether it was jazz or rock or classical — but all of that coming together under Aaron. He was the conductor, almost,” said Redmayne. “It was a joy day and day out to watch these great and different and varied actors slugging it out.”
In television categories, the ensembles of “Schitt’s Creek” (for comedy series) and “The Crown” (for drama series) added to their string of awards. Other winners included Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”), Gillian Anderson (“The Crown”), Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”), Jason Bateman (“Ozark”) and Mark Ruffalo (“I Know This Much Is True”).
The awards are typically the highest profile event for the Screen Actors Guild, though the union’s faceoff earlier this year with former President Donald Trump may have drawn more headlines. After the guild prepared to expel Trump (credits include “The Apprentice,” “Home Alone 2”) for his role in the Capitol riot, Trump resigned from SAG-Aftra.

Voice Mail Art Project Honors People of Color Killed by the Police

For her son’s birthday, Gwen Woods left Mario Woods a voice mail message he’ll never hear.

Mr. Woods was fatally shot in 2015[1] by police officers in San Francisco, but to celebrate his birthday last year, on July 22, Ms. Woods called him. She left the message through “1-800 Happy Birthday,” an online audio art project honoring the lives of people of color who were killed by the police.

In her message, Ms. Woods imagined what she and her son would have done for his birthday: visit with Grandma, go shoe-shopping, maybe even buy some music.

“Obviously, we’d be doing something wonderful,” Ms. Woods said in the message, adding that she would have baked him a cake because “what’s a birthday without a birthday cake?”

The project lets people listen to and leave messages for people of color who have died in encounters with law enforcement. It was conceived by Mohammad Gorjestani, who directed a short film in 2016 titled “Happy Birthday Mario Woods,”[2] in which Ms. Woods shares the story of her son’s life and celebrates his birthday with loved ones.

Mr. Gorjestani, 37, has also directed two similar short films, “Happy Birthday Philando Castile[3]” and “Happy Birthday Oscar Grant[4],” about men who were fatally shot by the police. He decided to expand the idea by using an approach that was more accessible and, he said, nostalgic: voice mail messages.

“One day, it just hit me,” Mr. Gorjestani said. “I wanted people to understand two things: one, the scale of how much of an epidemic this is; and two, to really think about people in a way that transcended just grief and was more about honoring and celebrating.”

When a person of color is killed by the police, Mr. Gorjestani said he is often frustrated that the coverage tends to emphasize the death more than the life that preceded it.

“What gets lost in this,” he said, “is the humanness of each individual — the fact that each of these individuals had their own goals in life, the things they were planning on doing that day, the next day.”

When the idea of using voice mail messages came to Mr. Gorjestani, he began sketching out how it would work. From an artistic perspective, the messages offered a nostalgic feel for the “pre-iPhone era,” he said.

Mr. Gorjestani introduced the 1-800 Happy Birthday project on July 22, which would have been Mr. Woods’s 31st birthday. Visitors to 1800happybirthday.com[5] will find dozens of names of people killed by the police. They can listen to voice mail messages others have left, and leave their own by calling one of the phone numbers assigned to each victim.

Mr. Gorjestani said the concept was not driven by the coronavirus pandemic, but the format was well-suited to an era of social-distancing restrictions. People can engage with the project from their homes, he said.

“When technology works well, it democratizes things,” Mr. Gorjestani said. “I think in this case, we were able to create an experience that the barrier of entry, the barrier of participation, was very low.”

By focusing on birthdays, Mr. Gorjestani said he hoped to bring out a more personal side of the victims and offer their loved ones an opportunity to heal.

Ms. Woods described the project as cathartic. The police said her son Mario had been armed with a knife and had refused to follow police orders to drop it when officers shot him at least 15 times. Video footage of the confrontation circulated widely online, prompting calls for San Francisco’s police chief to resign.

“These individuals, they aren’t just one-dimensional. They’re human beings,” Ms. Woods said. “It’s all this hardness that you’re left with, but what Mohammad came up with is how you make the sharp edges smoother.”

In a message to her son Oscar Grant III, the Rev. Wanda Johnson shared her dream that they would have worked in ministry together. That dream came true, she said — just not the way she imagined.

“I thought it would be back to back, not realizing that I would be here in ministry and you in ministry with me, but not physically being here,” Ms. Johnson said in the message.

Mr. Grant was fatally shot in 2009[11] by a transit officer on a Bay Area Rapid Transit platform in Oakland, Calif. Ms. Johnson left the message on Feb. 27, which would have been her son’s 35th birthday.

“Oh, Oscar, you are so missed,” she said. “Not a day goes by without you being on my mind.”

Mr. Gorjestani said he hoped his work would serve as a call to action, particularly for those who have not felt the pain of losing someone in a violent encounter with law enforcement.

“I think for white people, or people who aren’t from these communities, it’s a way to hold them accountable in a new way,” Mr. Gorjestani said. “If you listen to these voice mails and they don’t move you, that’s on you.”

In a message for George Floyd, whose death in police custody last year touched off nationwide protests against police brutality,[12] one caller hoped for “good change.” Another promised to keep fighting for him.

“You don’t know me, but definitely I know you now,” the caller said. “I’m praying that you get vindicated.”

Mr. Gorjestani described the 1-800 Happy Birthday project as a work in progress, one that he hopes will become a physical art installation at a museum. He said he has also considered playing the recordings outside city halls across the country.

“There’s literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of other families who have had to endure this,” Mr. Gorjestani said. “Just because you haven’t heard of this person doesn’t mean they weren’t equally loved.”


  1. ^ Mr. Woods was fatally shot in 2015 (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ “Happy Birthday Mario Woods,” (vimeo.com)
  3. ^ Philando Castile (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ Oscar Grant (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ 1800happybirthday.com (www.1800happybirthday.com)
  6. ^ George Floyd (www.nytimes.com)
  7. ^ an episode that was captured on video. (www.nytimes.com)
  8. ^ set off a series (www.nytimes.com)
  9. ^ Mr. Chauvin (www.nytimes.com)
  10. ^ Here is what we know (www.nytimes.com)
  11. ^ Mr. Grant was fatally shot in 2009 (www.nytimes.com)
  12. ^ touched off nationwide protests against police brutality, (www.nytimes.com)

Jesus Jiménez