Lunch Break (10/26/16): Local man a finalist for CNN Heroes of 2016; Urban League holds 'State of Black America' event

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A local man was recognized this morning on Anderson Cooper's "New Day" program as one of CNN's Top 10 Heroes of 2016. For 10 years now, CNN has been recognizing "ordinary" people who have dedicated their lives to changing the world. Harry Swimmer, who runs a horse farm for young people with disabilities in Weddington, just south of Charlotte, is one of 10 finalists who could be named CNN's Hero of the Year. 

Swimmer will receive a $10,000 cash prize as one of the finalists and his efforts will be highlighted during the global broadcast of "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" on December 11. Until then, online voting will decide who becomes the Hero of the Year. The winner will receive an extra $100,000 toward their cause. 

In 1994, Swimmer turned his for-profit horse farm into Mitey Riders, dedicating it to providing free, certified equine-assisted therapy to young people with a range of disabilities, including muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome and autism. 

Visit here to vote or to find out how to also cast votes through Twitter or Facebook Messenger. 

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This morning, a group calling itself Allied Progress sent a letter to North Carolina State Board of Elections Chairman A. Grant Whitney, Jr. calling on state election officials "to root out those motivated by partisanship and/or racial animus in the administration of state elections," according to a release. 

The letter comes on the heels of a report titled “Something’s Rotten: North Carolina’s Shameful Record of Voter Suppression and the Partisan and Sometimes Racially Charged Motivations of Those Administering Its Elections," released after a months-long investigation into North Carolina's election administration. 

“The partisan efforts by some North Carolina politicians to reduce the participation of minority, senior citizen, disabled, and low-income voters in our democratic process should worry us all," Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress, wrote in a release. "This report shows in chilling detail how so many of those responsible for administering North Carolina’s elections are motivated by partisanship and in too many cases, make disturbing racially charged and conspiratorial comments on social media.”

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The Urban League of Central Carolinas is hosting a "State of Black America 40th Anniversary" event throughout the day today at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on Beatties Ford Road. The event will coincide with the annual event of the same name held in Washington D.C., with this year marking the first time simultaneous events will be held in other markets in order to have more localized solution-based discussions about social mobility. 

Speakers at today's event include CNN analyst Bakari Sellers and Donald Cravins, Jr., executive director of the Policy Institute for the National Urban League. There will also be a press conference at 12:30 held by The Patriotic Millionaires, a group of high-net worth Americans who are committed to building a more prosperous, stable and inclusive nation. The group originally formed in 2010 to call for an end to tax cuts for millionaires. Below is an itinerary of panels to be held throughout the day, according to a press release about the event.  

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