The Daily Moth 6-6-2018

June 7, 2018

President Trump Commutes Alice Johnson Sentence after Kim Kardashian West Visit to the White House; California Judge in Brock Turner Rape Case Recalled by Voters; Nine Children Killed By Being Left in Hot Cars This Year; Interview with Melissa Elmira Yingst of “MELMIRA” Show

Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, June 6. Ready for news?




President Trump Commutes Alice Johnson Sentence after Kim Kardashian West Visit to the White House  


President Trump has commuted the life imprisonment sentence of Alice Johnson, who Kim Kardashain West advocated for in a visit to the White House last week.


Johnson was a first-time offender who was convicted in 1996 for leading a multi-million dollar drug ring that dealt in tons of cocaine from 1991 to 1994.


She has already served 21 years in prison, and with Trump’s action, she should be released shortly.


Kim tweeted that when she called Alice to tell her, she screamed and the two cried together. She said she would never forget that moment.


The White House said while it will always be tough on crime, it believes that those who have paid their debt to society and worked hard to better themselves while in prison deserve a second chance.


In separate news, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich filed paperwork to ask Trump to commute his 14-year prison sentence. He is supposed to be imprisoned until May 2024. Trump said last week that he was considering doing this, and the White House said yesterday it was still under consideration.


Rod was on Trump’s TV show “Celebrity Apprentice.”




California Judge in Brock Turner Rape Case Recalled by Voters


A California judge who made many people angry in 2016 for giving a lenient sentence to a Stanford student Brock Turner in his rape case, Judge Persky, has been recalled from office by voters during the statewide elections yesterday.


The assault was in January 2015 on campus behind a dumpster, when the victim was unconscious (blacked out). Two graduate students from Sweden who were riding on bicycles saw it and held Brock until police arrived.


Brock was charged and convicted of three counts of sexual assault and faced up to 14 years in prison.


During the sentencing, Judge Persky said Brock was young and drunk and was concerned that prison time would have a severe impact on his life. He gave him a six-month sentence with him getting out after three months because of good behavior.


The victim, known as “Emily Doe,” gained national attention because of her powerful impact statement that described how she felt when she woke up in a hospital to find that she was assaulted, how much Brock made her suffer, and frustration with the justice system for not severely punishing him. That shifted public opinion against the judge.


A Stanford law professor, Michelle Dauber, led a movement for voters in Santa Clara County to recall the judge, and now he is the first California judge to be recalled since 1932.


Dauber said this election shows that sexual assault, sexual violence is serious and that elected officials have to be serious about it.


The judge was appointed by former Governor Gray Davis (D).


He previously said he followed the rule of law, not public opinion and that Brock was a first-time offender.


His supporters said this process of recalling him was dangerous to the democratic process and would cause judges to impose lengthier prison sentences.




Nine Children Killed By Being Left in Hot Cars This Year


At least 9 children in the U.S. have died this year from being left in hot cars, and people fear that number could increase with the upcoming summer season.


The National Safety Council issued a report about this today, saying our children are our most vulnerable passengers and we cannot leave them alone in vehicles, not even for a minute. Their advice — we should look before we lock.


The most recent incident is on Monday — a 9-month old baby died after being left in a hot vehicle near Houston, Texas. The parents has two other kids and thought the other parent took the baby out of the car. It was 91 degrees outside.


Last month, a 1-year old baby girl died in Nashville, Tennessee when her father mistakenly left her in a car seat in his truck all day as he flew out of town for a business trip, thinking he had already dropped her off at a day care. The temperature that day was 89 degrees. When the mother went to pick her up at the day care that afternoon, she was told the girl was never at the day care. She found the girl in the truck, did CPR on her, but she was pronounced dead at the hospital


In both cases, there were no charges.  


The NSC said children’s bodies heat up faster than adults do, and said on average, 37 children die each year from being left in hot cars.




Interview with Melissa Elmira Yingst of “MELMIRA” Show


There will be a new online show for the Deaf/ASL community — “MELMIRA,” hosted by the talented Melissa Elmíra Yingst.


Here is an interview with her to know more about who she is and what the show will look like.




A: Hello Melissa!


M: Hello Alex!


A: You have named the show “Melmira” after your great-grandma.


Can you tell me more about her and what was her influence on your family and you?


M: Yes, Melmira is my first name, Melissa, and my middle name, Elmira combined. The name Elmira comes from my great-grandmother, who moved from Mexico and began the first generation of my family here in the U.S. When I was born, she was thrilled I was named after her, and we had an instant connection. She passed away when I was thirteen, so I had a good upbringing with her. We had bond through food. What I remember most is her rice pudding. She would make it for me while I watched and I would add in cinnamon. She was a strong woman. She raised a family of six on her own. She really put a lot of family values into my family.


A: Can you describe your journey with a Latinx identity?


M: When my grandmother, who I was extremely close with, as she became older I knew she would pass away soon, I found myself feeling responsible to take on the traditions of my family. I started to cherish and absorb more Mexican culture, food, traditions into my life. I wanted to preserve and continue the influences my grandmother had on me. She was one of my biggest role models in my life. I also started working as a school counselor at Phoenix Day School for the Deaf, where 90% of the student body is Latinx. Interacting with these students triggered a lot and I found myself empathizing with many of them and their lack of a strong sense of identity and pride in themselves. I found myself feeling a social and moral responsibility to foster their health and their self-identity. I joined an organization called Council de Manos and from there my journey progressed even more. I’m still on my journey, and I’m still growing, still evolving.


A: What will the format of the show be like? What are some of the topics you want to cover?


M: Melmira will begin releasing shows every week for now. There will be a wide variety of topics.


Some are personal interviews, some are fun experiences where we try new things, and some are hot topics that are going on in the world that we bring in to the Deaf community to discuss thoughts and perspectives. So those are some examples.  


A: What kind of impact do you hope to make from the show?


M: Of course, I hope people enjoy watching Melmira – we have different experiences for you to watch, but at the same time I hope it brings a much needed conversation to our community. One of my favorite quotes that I abide by is by Darian Burwell, who is a Deaf woman I look up to, goes like this: “If you don’t talk about it, it becomes toxic and unhealthy.” I have seen many issues in our community, with what’s going on in our world, become toxic. It’s unhealthy because as a community we don’t have that space to have that kind of conversation, that kind of discussion. I hope that Melmira will bring that opportunity for people to have an open mind.


A: What influences did you have growing up from “Deaf media” and how did you become involved yourself?    


M: I remember when I was a little girl, I saw Deaf Mosaic, seeing Deaf in media, and I was blown away. When I was a Gallaudet student I had the opportunity to host What’s Up Gallaudet.


I enjoyed it so much. I’ll admit at that time, I didn’t think a career in media in the real world was an option for deaf people. I thought it couldn’t be done and shifted my focus to a career in counseling, social work, and people-related work. Later I had the opportunity to work with DHN. This led to DPAN and TruBiz at DTV.  


That passion came flooding back and I enjoyed it. What I enjoy the most about working in media is the connections I make with people with their stories and their experiences. That is what I look forward to developing and continuing with Melmira.


A: Where do you get your confidence from?


M: I get my confidence and my strength from the community and my experiences and the support I get. All of this comes from just being real. One of my favorite quotes is “Own it”. That’s my life mantra for no matter what I go through, the ups and downs. It’s always important to just own it. Just be open and honest and people will always appreciate that sense of genuine authenticity.



Wow, thank you Melissa for your time. It is a very exciting vision and it is an important work she is doing with Melmira. Congratulations on her success.


The first show will be released tomorrow (June 7) on Facebook @MELMIRA. You can also watch it on DPAN.TV or on YouTube.




That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!


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