5 Things That Happened While You Were Out: Feb. 24

It was a spring-like Monday – a nice change of pace, weather-wise and a great way to start the last week in February. Here are five things you might want to catch up on in order to be sufficiently in the know as the day wraps up…

1) On the national front, another rally was held to oppose the Trump administration and its push to increase the amount of Hmong deportations that Laos will accept.

The Hmong are an ethnic group from Southeast Asia who were American allies over the course of the Vietnam War. Since the 1970s they have fled to America as refugees from a vengeful Communist government.

With an approximate population in the country of 300,000, some Hmong are naturalized citizens but many are green-card holders. It is estimated that around 4,500 of them have current deportation orders, which, if executed, will tear families apart and send people back to a dangerous situation in Laos. There are similar issues faced by Vietnamese and Cambodian green-card holders.

2) Kobe and Gianna Bryant were honored at a “Celebration of Life” memorial service held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles today.

The two perished last month in a helicopter crash that took the lives of all nine people on board. The ceremony was emotionally charged as family and celebrity friends mourned side by side in a venue surrounded by Bryant’s still shell-shocked and loyal fans.

Beyonce opened the ceremony, singing in front of screens that showed highlights of Kobe’s career and life. Gianna’s mother Vanessa Bryant, who had been with Kobe since they were both teenagers, broke down multiple times while giving a sorrowful eulogy for her two loved ones.

Also today: Vanessa Bryant sued the owner of the helicopter that crashed in fog and killed her husband and daughter.

3) Harvey Weinstein was found guilty on two out of five counts today, after a five-day-long deliberation by the jury. Weinstein lost his position as one of the most powerful people in Hollywood back in October 2017 when The New Yorker published the expose by investigative journalist Ronan Farrow.

The expose exposed the stories of thirteen women who had been coerced by Weinstein into performing sexual acts in order to advance their careers in the entertainment business, spurring countless more women to come forward and spawning the #MeToo and eventually the #Time’sUp movements. In the following months, official charges were brought: 1 count Criminal Sex Act in the First Degree (Found Guilty today); 1 count Rape in the Third Degree (Found Guilty today); 1 count Rape in the First Degree (found Not-Guilty today) and 2 counts Predatory Sexual Act (found Not-Guilty today).

4) The Albany Jewish Community Center (JCC) reopened this morning after closing in the wake of bomb threats yesterday.

It was one of approximately 20 JCC’s around the country that closed their doors after a blanket of somewhat vague email threats was sent out. Though the Albany JCC was not specifically named in the threat, the site’s administrators met with representatives from the Albany Police and surrounding law enforcement departments.

The call to close the JCC was agreed upon by all and supported by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who showed up at the scene yesterday to speak with reporters. The complex was swept thoroughly with bomb-sniffing dogs by a joint task force of the Albany Police Department, the Troy Police Department, the Albany Sherriff’s Department, and the New York State Police.

5) Today kicked off the last week of Leap of Kindness at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library (CPHL). Leap of Kindness is held in support of Captain’s Community Human Services and will last until Saturday, Feb. 29.

During this time, you can drop off all donations you may have to the CPHL. Donations collected during Leap of Kindness will go to the following places: Chery’s Lodge Outreach Center in Halfmoon; Links & Wellness Senior Service Programs; Runaway & Homeless Youth Shelter and Street Outreach Project for Homeless Youth.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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