Diversity Headlines

“Work Till You Drop” in Retirement Years? Experts Say Not Always Bad

New America Media - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 00:15
Photo: Shown are successful graduates of the federal jobs program for low-income seniors—a program cut in half since 2011. (Photos: Senior Service America) WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Four thousand scientists from more than 30 countries will share the latest studies in medical, care taking,... Rong Xiaoqing http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Black Lives Matter on International Migrants Day, Too

New America Media - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 16:52
Today is International Migrants Day. It takes place each year on December 18th and is promoted by the United Nations as a day to recognize the millions of people who migrate across the globe – many of whom are forced... Opal Tometi http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

The Queer Women of Color Video Streaming Service That's Cheaper Than Netflix

Colorlines - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 16:22
The Queer Women of Color Video Streaming Service That's Cheaper Than Netflix

Tired of searching and searching for more queer women of color representation on Neflix? Well, stop looking there. There's a new indie effort called Sistah Sinema underway that will offer a wide selection of films by and about queer women of color.

From Elixher:

Sistah Sinema decided to team up with IndieFlix after exploring other platforms. IndieFlix - like Sistah Sinema - focused on indie filmmakers and creating a conversation about cinema. According to Scilla Andreen - IndieFlix's CEO and one of the few women CEOs in tech - niche marketing and community-brand marketing is key to IndieFlix's future growth. Partnering with Sistah Sinema is part of a larger effort to showcase cinema that highlights global diversity.

The films include selections like Cheryl Dunye's important 1997 film "The Watermelon Woman" and Kourtney Ryan Ziegler's look at black transmen, "Still Black." Take a look at the films and learn more here. Memberships are only $5 a month.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Study: Black LGBT People More Likely to Live in States Without Anti-Discrimination Job Protection

Colorlines - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 16:17
 Black LGBT People More Likely to Live in States Without Anti-Discrimination Job Protection

Black LGBT people in the U.S. are more likely to live in states that don't prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, according to a new report (PDF) from the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA School of Law. That difference puts some 890,000 black LGBT people at risk of being discriminated against with no legal protection, researchers found.

Those findings come from a new report that examines the disparities in life experiences for LGBT people who live in states that don't prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of a person's sexual orientation. The Williams Institute compared Washington, D.C, and the 21 states that have laws on their books prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation with the 29 states--primarily Midwestern, Southern, and Mountain States--that don't. They found that states that offer employment protections are more likely to have an LGBT-friendly social climate than states that don't. That line translates to differences in income, health outcomes and access, and food insecurity. 

Unsurprisingly, LGBT people in the U.S. have widely different experiences depending on their race and geographic location. By one estimate, more than one in six LGBT people who live in those 29 states without state anti-discrimination laws is black, even though black people are estimated to be roughly 15 percent of the LGBT population in the U.S. 

Check out the rest of the report at the Williams Institute.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Showing Up for Black Lives Matter

Hyphen Blog - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 12:17

Photos from Bay Area Solidarity

On December 15, Asian, white and Chicano allies answered the call from the organizers of Black Lives Matter for non-black allies to step up to challenge police violence and institutionalized racism against black people by shutting down the Oakland Police Department #ShutdownOPD.

read more

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Hundreds of Los Angeles Lawyers Die-In for Black Lives

Colorlines - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 11:15
Hundreds of Los Angeles Lawyers Die-In for Black Lives

Los Angeles-area lawyers, law students, legal aids and allies gathered on the steps of the Los Angeles County Superior Court for a die-in Tuesday to protest police brutality that disproportionately targets black people. The participants, clad in business suits with briefcases, weathered rain for about 15 minutes that morning.

Law professor Priscilla Ocen, who is also the spokesperson for the event, told Colorlines that about 275 people attended the die-in. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

U.S. Sues New York City Over Rikers Island's Treatment of Teen Inmates

Colorlines - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 10:50
U.S. Sues New York City Over Rikers Island's Treatment of Teen Inmates

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is making good on warnings he issued earlier this year over New York City's handling of the city jail Rikers Island. Today, federal prosecutors announced that they will sue the city for violating the civil rights of its juvenile inmates, the New York Times reported. 

Rikers Island's adolescent inmates were "subjected to unconstitutional conditions and confinement," Bharara and Attorney General Eric Holder wrote in their filing, the Los Angeles Times reported. Until September of this year when city officials moved to phase out the practice, solitary confinement has been the primary form of punishment used against 16 and 17-year-old inmates at Rikers.

That wasn't enough change for federal prosecutors, who wrote in their filing that among other violations, "Staff have frequently insulted, humiliated, and antagonized [inmates], often using obscenities and abusive language without fear of any reprimand from supervisors. Such unprofessional conduct provokes physical altercations, and leads to unnecessary violence." In a searing federal report published this summer, Bharara also noted that in the last two years, adolescent inmates sustained more than a thousand injuries--nearly half of which required emergency care, the Los Angeles Times reported.

If you're looking for devastating, deep reads into Rikers Island, The New York Times' Michael Winerip and Michael Schwirtz have been filing reports on the jail this year on the culture of abuse and violence which ruled Rikers, focusing on guards' brutal treatment of inmates, especially those with mental illness.

In their latest installment, Winerip and Schwirtz examine labor's role in blocking reform of the jail system. It's an especially pertinent issue as the rest of the nation grapples with police accountability and criminal justice reform. It's not just corrections officer unions who are stymieing accountability efforts.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

When It Comes to Sports Protests, Are T-Shirts Enough?

Colorlines - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 10:37
When It Comes to Sports Protests, Are T-Shirts Enough?

Political protests by elite athletes have returned to playing fields and basketball courts.

In the two weeks since a grand jury failed to indict Daniel Pantaleo, a white New York City cop who was videotaped using a fatal chokehold on an unarmed, black father, Eric Garner, elite athletes have worn pre-game T-shirts adorned with protest slogans. The specifics of the messages are different -- #blacklivesmatter, "I Can't Breathe" -- but the intent is the same: to call attention to the police and vigilante violence against black men such as Garner and Michael Brown, and children including Tamir Rice.

Last weekend, several high-profile college teams got in on the action, including the women's basketball teams from Notre Dame and Cal.

RT @WTSP10News: Notre Dame women wear 'I Can't Breathe' shirts: http://t.co/cfZtE8aYWw pic.twitter.com/R4oaO3R45t

-- jamalbryant (@jamalhbryant) December 14, 2014

Cal Women's BBall Team Wears #BlackLivesMatter On Shirts (Photos) http://t.co/WYjvk7zpAM pic.twitter.com/8Az9IA9ILV

-- Robert Littal (@BSO) December 14, 2014

With that action, the players followed Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose:

Derrick Rose, "I can't Breathe" pic.twitter.com/OV1rhR2eLD

-- Sports Pics (@AmazingSprtsPic) December 8, 2014

And most of the Lakers:

Lakers players wear 'I Can't Breathe' shirts before game against Kings (Photo via @Lakershttp://t.co/ilIRXtUa2z pic.twitter.com/jeFmAsh05p

-- Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 10, 2014

And Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James:

LeBron, KG and others warm up in "I Can't Breathe" shirts before Nets-Cavs game http://t.co/PWDUlLwtv0 pic.twitter.com/Xn8ovcshqN

-- NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) December 9, 2014

And Brooklyn Nets players:

JAY Z hand delivered #I Can't Breathe t shirts to the Brooklyn Nets players worn during pre-game warm up and... http://t.co/4KwkoTxfoa

-- BLAZIN' 92.3 MACON (@BLAZIN923MACON) December 9, 2014

These elite athletes certainly have the political cover: The country is swept up in massive protests, the likes of which it hasn't seen in years. Last weekend, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in New York City's Washington Square Park. In Oakland, protesters shut down freeways and barricaded themselves in front of that city's police headquarters. Celebrities including Jesse Williams and Ava DuVernay have founded an activist network of their own and called for economic boycotts.

Even the president weighed in: "I think LeBron did the right thing. We forget the role that Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe, and Bill Russell played in raising consciousness," Obama reportedly told People magazine. "I'd like to see more athletes do that -- not just around this issue, but around a range of issues."

According to Lakers star Kobe Bryant, the issue of police and vigilante killings of black men has hit "the mainstream"

"You're kind of seeing a tipping point right now, in terms of social issues. It's become at the forefront right now as opposed to being a local issue," he told reporters post-game. "It's really something that has carried over and spilled into the mainstream, so when you turn on the TV and you watch the news or you follow things on social media, you don't just see African-Americans out there protesting."

Bryant continued: "I think it's us supporting that movement and supporting each other. The beauty of our country lies in its democracy. I think if we ever lose the courage to be able to speak up for the things that we believe in, I think we really lose the value that our country stands for."

In his weekly Edge of Sports column, Dave Zirin expanded on the movement's significance in the world of sports. "Seeing the movement impinge upon the highly sanitized, deeply authoritarian world of sports is not only a reflection of just how widespread the outpouring of anger has been," Zirin wrote. "These athletic protests also shape the movement, giving more people the confidence to get in the streets and puncturing the self-imposed bubbles of those who want to pretend that all is well in the world. It is politicizing sports fans and educating those who think that sports in general--and athletes in particular--have nothing to offer the struggle for a better world."

That struggle isn't lost on people who've lived through other major political moments.

Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he supported his star running back, Reggie Bush, who wrote "I can't breathe" on his warm-ups before a recent game. "I grew up in the '60s, where everybody was socially conscious," he later told reporters. "I believe in it. I'd be a hypocrite if I stood up here and told you any differently, because more than likely, some of those protests that Dr. [Martin Luther] King and some of the others that took a part in non-violent protests, is the reason why I'm standing here in front of you today."

Of course there's a long and storied history of political demonstrations by athletes. Most notably, in 1967, Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the army and was convicted of draft evasion. Though he avoided prison, he was banned from boxing for three years. In 1968 U.S. track stars John Carlos and Tommie Smith famously raised their leather-clad fists for black power at the Olympics in Mexico City.

But this isn't the '60s. Sports leagues are much more powerful now than they were back then. Back in 1969, a whether professional football was sustainable. Today, the NFL is worth an estimated $1.43 billion and most of that money comes from broadcast and sponsorship deals. When NFL games appear on the three big networks, they average more than 20 million viewers per contest, easily making them the most watched live programs in the country.

While political actions have become less, they haven't disappeared completely. When he played for the Denver Nuggets, point guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to stand for "The Star Spangled Banner" before games. The practicing Muslim argued that, in addition to the song conflicting with his religious beliefs, the American flag was a symbol of tyranny. In 1996, Abdul-Rauf was suspended for one game before brokering a compromise with the league in which he stood for the song, but looked downward and silently mouthed an Islamic prayer. Years later, when Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall broke league protocol and wore green socks to bring attention to mental health awareness month, he was fined $15,000.

But even when athletes don't face fines, they do face plenty of public ridicule. Derrick Rose learned that the hard way recently Chicago sports editor Cody Westerlund lambasted his t-shirt tribute to Garner and questioned whether Rose was smart enough to articulate his position. 

I just wish @drose could talk, or really understands what he's doing. I don't think he does, but he deserves to be treated as if so.

-- Dan Bernstein (@dan_bernstein) December 7, 2014

It's this: If @drose felt strongly and deeply enough to make that statement, He should be able to say why. We can only hope, but I doubt.

— Dan Bernstein (@dan_bernstein) December 7, 2014

So far in the protests for Eric Garner, Mike Brown and Tamir Rice, there haven't been any fines. That's probably emboldened many athletes. But are we seeing a revolution on the field?

Not quite, especially if you take into account a damning report in the Washington Post noting that some of the shirts are made in sweatshops by workers who make as little as $6 each day.

Michael Skolnick, political director for hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, played a pivotal role in helping to secure T-shirts for players to coincide with nationwide protests. The shirts came from a store in Long Island City whose manufacturer is a Canadian company with a poor workers' rights record called Gildan.

Skolnick later apologized for not doing his due diligence. "I think we want to assume sometimes when we're ordering shirts that they're not being made in a sweatshop," he said in an interview with The Post. "We've got to do better."

But doing better means that you're at least doing something. Times have changed since 1990 when Michael Jordan reportedly told a friend that he wouldn't endorse a black, Democratic candidate Harvey Gantt in his North Carolina Senate race against Jesse Helms because, "Republicans wear sneakers, too."

Today, if you want to see the impact of these athletes' actions, look no further than the police unions and conservative commentators who hate to see an anti-establishment message displayed on such a prominent stage. In late November when a Ferguson grand jury declined to charge former officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown's death, St. Louis Rams players took to the field with their hands up. The St. Louis Police Officers' Association demanded an apology-- but didn't get one.

And last weekend, after Cleveland Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins wore a T-shirt that said "Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford," that city's police union also demanded an apology.

Hawkins responded this way: "If I was to run away from what I felt in my soul was the right thing to do, that would make me a coward and I couldn't live with that," Hawkins said, before his fear, as a father, that something similar might happen to his own son, who's 2. "My number one reason for wearing the T-shirt was the thought of what happened to Tamir Rice happening to my little Austin. And that scares the living hell out of me."

Athletes are plugging into movements that are being fueled by ordinary people without national platforms. Though their actions are symbolic, they're important. Now that more and more athletes feel emboldened to speak to their massive audiences, it's up to us to listen.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

S. Korean Youth Weigh in on ‘The Interview’

New America Media - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 09:56
Ed. Note: Sony Pictures’ comedy “The Interview” is about two celebrity American journalists involved in a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Screenings for the film, which was set to be released over the holiday season, have been... New America Media http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Spike Lee Testifies About D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah'

Colorlines - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 08:07
Spike Lee Testifies About D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah'

As part of the Afropunk-led rollout of D'Angelo's surprise album "Black Messiah,"* folks are testifying on Instagram about what the project means to them. Using the hashtag #BLACKMESSIAH, notables like longtime D'Angelo collaborator Questlove and writer Michaela Angela Davis have added their voices to the chorus praising the album's execution and message.

Here's Spike Lee, who said the 14 year wait was well-worth it for fans:

TESTIFY! @sheltonjlee Film your own and upload with hashtag #BLACKMESSIAH

A video posted by AFROPUNK (@afropunk) on Dec 12, 2014 at 3:15pm PST

Music critic Nelson George, who did a live onstage interview with the singer earlier this year in Brooklyn, said:

TESTIFY! @315nelsongeorge Film your own and upload with hashtag #BLACKMESSIAH

A video posted by AFROPUNK (@afropunk) on Dec 12, 2014 at 2:10pm PST

And Questlove, who worked with the singer through some of his toughest private moments and produced parts of the new album:

TESTIFY! @questlove Film your own and upload with hashtag #BLACKMESSIAH

A video posted by AFROPUNK (@afropunk) on Dec 12, 2014 at 2:01pm PST

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch Lauryn Hill Perform 'Ready or Not' Live in Ghana

Colorlines - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 08:03
Watch Lauryn Hill Perform 'Ready or Not' Live in Ghana

Lauryn Hill performed for the first time in Accra, Ghana, recently. Okayafrica stumbled across this six-minute clip from that show, which was shot by the Sierra Leone-based magazine Swit Salone. The show looks pretty incredible. Watch below.

(h/t Okayafrica)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

U.S.-Cuba Relations, Sony Cancels 'The Interview,' New York Bans Fracking

Colorlines - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 07:12
U.S.-Cuba Relations, Sony Cancels 'The Interview,' New York Bans Fracking

Some of the morning's headlines:

  • After 54 years of an embarrassing and utterly ineffective embargo against Cuba, a tiny island nation roughly the size of the state of Tennessee, the U.S. decides to normalize relations
  • Sony cancels the release of "The Interview," a movie created with the help of the U.S. State Department in which North Korea's Kim Jong Un is assassinated, after movie theater bombing threats. 
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Distrust: A Legacy of Media Segregation

New America Media - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 00:30
 Missing among the many reasons given for the enormous and unchanging racial divide regarding the fairness of the American judicial system is the legacy of the long history of media segregation. During America’s Jim Crow years not only did African... James McGrath Morris http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Prayers to 'La Virgen' Are Often Personal, Sometimes Political

New America Media - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 16:00
For millions of Mexicans and Mexican Americans, December 12 marks one of the most important religious and cultural holidays of the year: El Dia de La Virgen de Guadalupe, or in English, The Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Last... Daniel Jimenez and Amber Amaya http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Judge Calls Obama's Immigration Action Unconstitutional

Colorlines - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 13:51
Judge Calls Obama's Immigration Action Unconstitutional

U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab of Pennsylvania ruled this week that President Obama overstepped his authority as president when he announced his recent sweeping immigration executive order, the New York Times reported. Except, the case Judge Schwab had before him didn't exactly require him to weigh in on the constitutionality of Obama's executive action.

Nevertheless, Schwab ruled that Obama's executive action goes "beyond prosecutorial discretion" and should be considered legislation. "President Obama's unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore, is unconstitutional," Schwab wrote.

The Department of Justice fired back, calling the opinion "unfounded," Fox News reported. Neither party asked Judge Schwab to weigh in on the legality of the executive action, the Justice Department noted. 

Talking Points Memo's Sahil Kapur has more on Schwab's background--which includes Schwab's being pulled from cases, and lazy rulings which were reversed by higher courts. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

US Supreme Court: DACA Recipients Can Drive in Arizona

New America Media - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 11:22
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today to put into effect a lower court ruling that will allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in Arizona to receive driver's licenses and state identification. Justice Anthony Kennedy denied Gov. Brewer’s petition... New America Media http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Jeb Bush's Real Challenge Comes from His Own Party

New America Media - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 10:48
Editors of La Opinión write that the real challenge Jeb Bush will face will come from his own party.Jeb Bush's announcement that he would form an exploratory committee for a possible presidential run puts him at the top of what... La Opinión http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Los Angeles Police to Get 7,000 Body Cameras

Colorlines - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 10:20
Los Angeles Police to Get 7,000 Body Cameras

On Tuesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city will purchase 7,000 body cameras for Los Angeles Police Department officers, the Los Angeles Times reported. In the wake of protests in Ferguson and the rest of the country, one tangible cop accountability policy has risen to the top: body cameras for police officers. President Obama requested $263 million to go in part toward equipping police officers with 50,000 body cameras. While Washington, D.C. and New York City are piloting body-mounted cameras for their police forces, Los Angeles is committing itself to the program. 

Body-worn cameras "are not a panacea, but they are a critical part of the formula," Garcetti said Tuesday, the LA Times reported. "The trust between a community and its police department can be eroded in a single moment. Trust is built on transparency."

And yet, for black men whose recent police killings have been recorded, transparency hasn't translated into justice, Saint Louis University School of Law professor Justin Hansford recently wrote for the Washington Post. And that's even when the cameras are on. Earlier this year, LAPD officers in a South L.A. patrol division were found to have tampered with the cameras installed in patrol cars to avoid being recorded, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

14 Women of Color Who Rocked 2014

Colorlines - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 09:49
14 Women of Color Who Rocked 2014

As 2014 comes to an end, I wanted to look back at the accomplishments of women of color who've been doing amazing work in the face of this really challenging and turbulent year. There would be no way to create a truly exhaustive list, so apologies in advance for all of the folks not included below. If you're interested in perusing a much longer list, a post looking for suggestions on my Facebook page generated more than 50 possible women to recognize. Without further ado, 14 women of color who rocked 2014, in no particular order:

Vanita Gupta-large.jpgVanita Gupta (Photo courtesy of the ACLU)

1Civil rights attorney Vanita Gupta is having a big year. As deputy political director with the ACLU, she spearheaded the group's efforts in Ferguson. In October, she was selected to join the Obama administration as the acting assistant attorney general of the new Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. (She'll face congressional approval before she can take the position on permanently.) Both roles are just the most recent steps in a career dedicated to eliminating excessive use of force by police departments, as well as prejudicial policing in communities of color.

janet-mock-tredwell-photo1.jpgJanet Mock (Photo by Aaron Tredwell)

2. You're probably not surprised to see Janet Mock on a list like this--she is one of the most high-profile black trans women the U.S. This year started with the publication of her New York Times bestselling book, "Redefining Realness." She's continued her work in journalism as a contributing editor for Marie Clare, and she'll start hosting her own weekly pop culture television show on MSNBC's Shift network. Mock continues to elevate the issues facing the trans community with her hashtag #girlslikeus, and is bringing these issues to wider audiences all the time.

garza_100914.jpgAlicia Garza addresses tech workers in San Francisco. (Brian Ward/San Francisco Chronicle)

3, 4 & 5: Even if you don't recognize the names of Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, you've no doubt experienced the hashtag-turned-movement these three women* created: #BlackLivesMatter. While they came up with the hashtag in response to George Zimmerman's acquittal, it gained worldwide momentum this year after the police killing of unarmed black teen Michael Brown. Thousands have used #BlackLivesMatter on- and off-line, the result of Garza's, Cullors' and Tometi's organizing. (Garza lays out the origins of the movement over at Feminist Wire.) Outside of #BlackLivesMatter work, Garza is special projects director for National Domestic Workers Alliance; Tometi is the executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration; and Cullors is an artist, organizer and the founder of Dignity and Power Now, a group "dedicated to protecting incarcerated people and their families" in Los Angeles. 

SONG leader 12-16-14.jpg

Paulina Helm-Hernandez (Southernersonnewground.org)

 6. As co-director of Southerners On New Ground (SONG), an LGBT organization at the forefront of queer organizing in the South, Paulina Helm-Hernandez has led incredible work this year. The group has organized to stop deportations through the Not1More campaign, worked to hold police and government accountable for discriminatory profiling in small Southern cities, and continued their annual "Gaycation" event which attracts many folks from across the region looking to build community.

ai-jen_headshot_hires.jpgAi-jen Poo (Photo courtesy of NDWA)

7. Ai-jen Poo recieved lots of media attention this year because she received a so-called "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation. But Poo also made incredible strides in her work as executive director of the National Domestic Worker's Alliance and co-director of the Caring Across Generations campaign: Poo has been part of a successful push to get the Department of Labor to extend basic protections for home-care workers, including minimum wage and overtime pay. 

454681102.jpgMo'Ne Davis (Getty Images Sport/ Jeff Gross)

8. There's no question that 13-year-old Mo'Ne Davis has had a great year. She pitched the first shut-out by a female player at the Little League World Series this past summer, and she boasts a 70-mph fastball. She even landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Her memoir is set to be published by HarperCollins in March of 2015. You can also join the 34,000 people following her on Twitter.

167113394.jpgBamby Salcedo (Getty Images/ Jason Merritt)

9. Bamby Salcedo is the founder and president of the Los Angeles-based TransLatin@ Coalition. As the high murder rate of trans women of color receives more media attention, Salcedo has played an important role in organizing and advocating for the community. This year the trans Latina activist was also recognized in a new film, "TransVisible: Bamby Salcedo's Story." 

Cherisse_Headshot1.jpgCherisse A. Scott (Photo courtesy of Cherisse Scott)

10. Cherisse A. Scott has been part of the reproductive justice movement for more than a decade. As the founder and CEO of SisterReach, the only reproductive justice organization in Tennessee, Scott recieved national attention this year for her work to defeat Amendment 1, a statewide anti-choice measure. SisterReach conducted phone banking and canvassing on two Memphis zip codes with high rates of poverty, sexually transmitted infections, low birth weight and maternal mortality.  It also reached out to voters at historically black universities. The amendment passed, but Scott's continues to argue for a political strategy that engages black communities.

458017600.jpgLucy Flores (Getty Images/ Ethan Miller)

11. Lucy Flores: While Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis received much attention for telling her abortion story on the floor of the state legislature, she wasn't the only politician to do so this year. As a Nevada state assemblywoman, Lucy Flores took a risk by telling the public she'd had an abortion becuase she wasn't ready for a child. While she lost her bid for lieutenant governor of Nevada this fall, we'll being seeing more of Flores, who many think has a bright future in the Democratic Party.

1926244_10101239325424039_1199621635_o (1).jpgVeronica Arreola (Photo courtesy of Veronica Arreola)

12. Veronica Arreola: A long-time Latina feminist writer and activist, Arreola started a year-long feminist selfie project with one hashtag: #365feministselfie. What began as a Flickr group formed in response to a Jezebel article calling selfies a "call for help," the project has collected more than 1,700 photos and you can find the hashtag across social media. As the first year of radical self-love and representation comes to an end, the project is moving offline and organizing two feminist conferences next year.

_MG_7205.jpgGina Clayton (Photo courtesy of Gina Clayton)

13. An attorney, activist and advocate, Gina Clayton received three prestigious fellowships this year that have allowed her to start the Essie Justice Group, an organization centered on women with incarcerated loved ones. Essie brings these women together, providing them with healing, financial advice and advocacy. The first group is being piloted in the San Francisco Bay Area.

0012.jpgWagatwe Sara Wanjuki (Photo by Morea Steinhauer)

14. Wagatwe Sara Wanjuki became a prominent voice on campus sexual assault after starting the #survivorprivilege hashtag. A sexual assault survivor from Tufts University, Wanjuki created her hashtag in June in response to a Washington Post column that minimized campus rape. Since then, she has continued to speak out--in writing and during media appearances--on the national conversation about campus sexual assault. An example: her recent piece about the Rolling Stone/UVA controversy. 

*Article updated to reflect the fact that only two of the women (Garza and Cullors) identify as queer, not all three as originally stated.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Ferguson Decision Prompted Early Release of D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah'

Colorlines - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 08:06
Ferguson Decision Prompted Early Release of D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah'

D'Angelo surprised the world on Sunday night when he dropped his long-awaited third album without any warning. The album, "Black Messiah,"* has since earned the number-one spot in more than 20 countries. Now, a new story from Joe Coscarelli at the New York Times details just how much the police killings of unarmed black men inspired the often reclusive singer to say something with his music. From the Times:

After a grand jury didn't indict a Ferguson, Mo., police officer last month in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, D'Angelo called his co-manager Kevin Liles. "He said: 'Do you believe this? Do you believe it?' " Mr. Liles said. "And then we just sat there in silence. That is when I knew he wanted to say something." (D'Angelo declined to be interviewed for this article.)

RCA had planned to release "Black Messiah" in early 2015, but its reclusive singer was done waiting. "The one way I do speak out is through music," D'Angelo told his tour manager, Alan Leeds. "I want to speak out."

The story also details how big of a role Afropunk, the creative group that hosts its annual music festival in Brooklyn, played in the album's art and marketing.

Afropunk's work on "Black Messiah" often went until 4 a.m., including time spent deciphering the dense, distorted vocals for a lyric booklet. That was still too late to make the CD, but it will be included in the forthcoming vinyl version.

"We were able to put six months' worth of work into two weeks," said Jocelyn Cooper, Afropunk's co-founder and D'Angelo's music publisher, who signed him as an unknown teenager in 1993. D'Angelo is "a bit of a vampire," she added. "It's easier to get ahold of him at 2 a.m."

It's a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at one of the most important albums in years. Read the whole thing at the Times


*Post has been updated since publication to indicte that the album is named "Black Messiah" not "The Black Messiah."


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