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Midwest Millennial Entrepreneur Launches “The Love Project” Helping Others Escape Depression, Bringing Incentive to Southern California

By Naomi K. Bonman

If you’ve been following the movement for a while, then you probably remember Gerald D. Thomas, a young, successful millennial who is making an impact in his community. For those that are unfamiliar with Mr. Thomas, he is the founder of the marketing and public relations agency, The GDT Agency. He recently launched a new campaign entitled, “The Love Project,” and I recently caught up with him again where he chatted about his inspiration behind starting the project and where he plans on taking it. 

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What It Do With the LUE: Tasha Rene

TashaBy Lue Dowdy

BBW Model Tasha Rene is WHAT IT DO! I love working in entertainment and meeting new talent. It gave me the opportunity to meet the beautiful Tasha Rene. I fell in love with her spirit, energy, and passion.

From San Bernardino, California this Diva has been modeling off and on since 2000. This beauty is making a name for herself in the Plus Size world of fashion. Tasha has rocked runways all over Southern California. She competed in Miss Plus Top Model and modeled for Baby Doll Couture and Belo Noir Diamond Couture by Tanya Marie. Ensuring that she stays relevant, this model auditions and competes all over.

Tapping into her acting skills, Tasha landed herself a gig on BET’s My Black is Beautiful and a modeling gig for Fashion Bug.

I’m currently working with Tash on the set of a new reality show called “Entertainment At A Glance” where she plays a main character. I’ve seen this Queen in action and yes she slays. Make sure you support Tasha Renee the BBW Model/Actress. Until next week L’z!

In the words of Tash Rene, “I’m me 100 percent of the time. What you see is what you get. I live life to the fullest. I want no regrets.”

Vigil for Shaylene “Light Blue” Graves Held at Women’s Prison Thursday Night

CHINO-CORONA, CA- On Thursday, June 1 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., advocates and families will convene a vigil and rally at the prison, California Institution for Women (CIW) in Chino, marking one year since the devastating death of 27-year-old African American, Shaylene “Light Blue” Graves. Graves was imprisoned at CIW at the time of her death and was only six weeks away from release.  For days, Graves begged guards to move her to a different cell when she felt endangered, but CIW staff ignored her.  Since 2013, at least 15 women have died at CIW due to multiple forms of abusive practices which amount to psychological torture.  These practices include ignoring desperate pleas for help by imprisoned people in mental health and medical crisis.  Despite changes in CIW’s top administration in 2016, reports of ongoing psychological torture at CIW continue.

Sheri Graves, mother of Shaylene, has been working with advocates at the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) to bring more attention to the human rights crisis at CIW.  “CIW staff failed to protect my daughter’s life,” she stated.  “The fact that Shaylene’s death is part of an ongoing pattern of disregard for human life at CIW makes this loss [even] more devastating. Shaylene was an exceptional person with a big heart and so much promise. She was looking forward to her release and was working on her vision to begin a non-profit organization called Out of the Blue to support people coming out of prison. In memory of Shaylene and all the people who have lost their lives at CIW, we demand full transparency, full accountability, and an end to these torture practices.”

CIW’s suicide rate is more than 8 times the national rate for people in women’s prisons, and more than 5 times the rate for all California prisons.  “Shaylene’s death is part of a pattern of neglect and psychological torture at CIW,” said Colby Lenz, an advocate at CCWP.  “CIW uses “suicide watch” confinement as another form of solitary confinement, which has been identified as a form of psychological torture by incarcerated people, human rights experts, and legal advocates.  As part of this torture, CIW punishes people in “suicide watch” confinement with intensive isolation that blocks them from visits and calls from families and friends.  CIW also regularly fails to notify families about the status of their endangered loved ones, including blocking access to their legal and medical files even after death.  Currently, “suicide watch” is overcrowded and CCWP continues to receive weekly reports of suicide attempts at CIW.”

Shaylene Graves died shortly after 35-year-old Erika Rocha hung herself at CIW in April 2016 after being forced in “suicide watch” solitary confinement. “I don’t want any other family to go through what my family has gone through,” stated Rocha’s sister, Freida Rocha.  Advocates and families demand the end of all forms of psychological torture within CIW, including the end of “suicide watch” confinement practices.  As part of fulfilling the demand for transparency and accountability, the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) should make available public reports on compliance with the August 2016 Coleman settlement court order regarding mental health services and suicide prevention protocols.  They also demand that those in confinement have full access to visits and calls from families and friends, and the immediate transfer of all medical and legal information to family members if their imprisoned loved ones are in life-threatening situations or have died while incarcerated at CIW.