New American Media - Sun, 05/19/2013 - 13:00
On Mother's Day, someone decided to shoot into a crowd of parading New Orleanians, injuring 19 people. Video footage of the event indicates that I was just feet away from the shooter. My family and friends think I should stop... Laura Murphy http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
New American Media - Sat, 05/18/2013 - 12:25
This was the question posed to me by a curious TV news reporter on May 7, just three days after a stretch limousine, carrying nine Filipino nurses to a bridal party across the San Mateo Bridge, suddenly burst into flames... Rodel Rodis http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
New American Media - Sat, 05/18/2013 - 11:50
Pelenise Faataui, a native of San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, recently began teaching Polynesian dance to friends and neighbors in the area. The daughter of one of the first Samoans to settle in the largely African American community,... Jean Melesaine http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
New American Media - Sat, 05/18/2013 - 02:46
The beating death of 33-year-old father David Silva in the central California city of Bakersfield last week has garnered national attention. Univision reports the incident highlights the Latino community’s ongoing fear of law enforcement.Univision Los Angeles reminds viewers “the death... Elena Shore http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=7
New American Media - Sat, 05/18/2013 - 01:15
Despite recent headlines trumpeting a return of America’s real estate market to its boom-time highs, a report released today by the Alliance for a Just Society shows how little of that has trickled into communities of color. The document, entitled... Colorlines http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Sat, 05/18/2013 - 00:24
On this day in 1954, in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation of schools was unconstitutional. In Brown v. Board of Education, which was litigated by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a unanimous Court declared segregated education systems unconstitutional.
"Although the Supreme Court's decision in Brown was ultimately unanimous, it occurred only after a hard-fought, multi-year campaign to persuade all nine justices to overturn the "separate but equal" doctrine that their predecessors had endorsed in the Court's infamous 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision," explains the NAACP's Legal Defense profile of the historic ruling that redefined the history of the United States. "This campaign was conceived in the 1930s by Charles Hamilton Houston, then Dean of Howard Law School, and brilliantly executed in a series of cases over the next two decades by his star pupil, Thurgood Marshall, who became LDF's first Director-Counsel."
(One of the first schools to implement desegregation is Barnard Elementary in Washington, DC. This photo shows black and white children in the same classroom. [Source: Library of Congress])
(A year after the Supreme Court?s Brown vs. Board of Education ruling ended school segregation, first-graders recite the Pledge of Allegiance in 1955 at Gwynns Falls Elementary School.) [Source:Richard Stacks, Baltimore Sun]
(African-American and white school children ride a school bus from the suburbs to an inner city school in Charlotte in 1973.) [Source: Warren K. Leffler/ Library of Congress U.S. News & World Report Collection]
(Jimmy Dugar on his first day in 1978 at a mostly white elementary school in Cincinnati.)
You can read more about the Brown vs. Board of Education at the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund website.
As we mark the fifty-ninth anniversary of the Brown vs. Board decision it's important to note some schools still remain "intensely segregated."
A report released last month found fifty-four percent of black students in Maryland were enrolled in schools where at least 90 percent of students were members of racial and ethnic minorities in 2010, up from about a third in 1989. The Civil Rights Project at UCLA referred to some of the schools as "intensely segregated."
There are also a number of cases challenging higher education affirmative action programs.
"The closing doors of opportunity in states that have banned affirmative action programs have made the stakes clear. After Proposition 209 in California banned race-conscious admissions, the selective institutions with the University of California system became more segregated," writes Damon Hewitt, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's director of the Education Practice Group.
"Texas' own history provides another reminder. During the most recent years when UT-Austin did not consider race in admissions and instead used only race-neutral efforts, the percentage of African-American students never comprised more than 4.5% of enrollment, despite making up 12-13% of high school graduates in Texas and over 10% of the state's workforce," Hewitt went on to write on the NAACP's Legal Defense website.
New American Media - Fri, 05/17/2013 - 23:51
Image: Los Angeles voters will choose Tuesday between mayoral candidates Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti.Latino voters will be an influential group in the upcoming election for mayor of Los Angeles. They deserve more respect from the candidates and their people, who... La Opinion http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Fri, 05/17/2013 - 23:22
Asians are a driving force behind migration to the U.S. and the demographic shifts; 40 percent of all migrants to the U.S. hail from Asia, and 40 percent of Asian Americans were not born in the U.S. What's more, 1.2 million of the country's 18 million Asian Americans are undocumented, according to the Asian American Justice Center.
So who are the country's undocumented Asian American youth? They're students and granddaughters and big brothers. They're all over the country. Sitting next to you in class. Riding the bus alongside you. Probably dating your cousins. And if the latest social media campaign from the undocumented youth contingent of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund is any indication, they're a seriously hip crowd committed to social justice.
Raise Our Story, organized by the Asian-American undocumented youth group RAISE and launched this week, will collect and highlight stories of undocumented Asian-American youth to highlight the many faces of immigration. As the immigration reform bill heats up, RAISE youth organized the initiative to make sure that the immigration reform debate includes the stories and voices of Asian immigrants, "who are often overlooked in the narrative surrounding immigration reform," they said in a statement. But organizers also hope the project empowers the Asian American immigrant community to speak their stories aloud.
Colorlines - Fri, 05/17/2013 - 23:01
Muslims in the U.S. are a sorely misunderstood group--diverse in myriad ways and yet quickly stereotyped, especially since Sept. 11. But a brand new study of Muslims in California's Bay Area sheds light on one pocket of American Muslims, and shows that the community is extremely diverse and defies easy generalizations.
So what do you need to know? According to The Bay Area Muslim Study: Establishing Community and Identity, the first-ever benchmark study of the community:
Muslims in the Bay Area have diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. The Bay Area Muslim community is large, with nearly 250,000 members. More than a third of Muslims in the Bay Area--which includes San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Marin Counties--are of South Asian descent, 23 percent are Arab, 17 percent are Afghani, 9 percent are African-American, 7 percent are Asian-American, six percent are white, and 2 percent are Iranian. (But, it's important to note that ethnicity is not automatically synonymous with religious affiliation; not all South Asians, Arabs and Middle Easterners are Muslim.) And 34 percent of Muslims were born in the U.S.
Bay Area Muslims occupy both very high and very low economic tiers. While some Muslims in the Bay Area do very well economically--nearly half of all South Asian Muslims make more than $100,000 annually--in the aggregate, Bay Area Muslims' median household income is 11 percent lower than the average Bay Area household income. And more than a third of Muslims in the Bay Area have a combined household income of less than $40,000 a year.
Bay Area Muslims are enthusiastic community volunteers. The study's findings also squash plenty of stereotypes about Muslims, such as the notion that deeper Muslim religiosity is correlated with greater isolation from the broader community. Researchers found, in fact, that 62 percent of Bay Area Muslims did some kind of volunteering in the previous year, compared with 27 percent of all Americans. And actually, Muslims who attended religious services were more likely than Muslims who rarely attended a mosque to volunteer in the community.
Bay Area Muslims are linguistic pros. While over a third of Muslims in the Bay Area speak one language, nearly 70 percent of Muslim immigrants in the Bay Area speak at least three languages.
Sept. 11 still has a profound impact on Muslims' everyday lives. Despite this kind of variance within the Bay Area Muslim community, one challenge almost all Muslims in the Bay Area deal with is continued discrimination and Islamophobic harassment in the wake of Sept. 11. "More than a decade after 9/11, we see that Muslims of all ethnicities and backgrounds are still dealing with a lot of anxiety, a lot of fear, a lot of bias," Hatem Bazian, UC Berkeley professor and one of the study's principal researchers, said in a statement.
Colorlines - Fri, 05/17/2013 - 22:01
Eric V. Dunn is a business major at Florida Atlantic University, according to his Twitter profile.
Dunn has a simple introduction for his Vine video: "I like running through white people neighborhoods with my shirt off."
The rest you'll have to watch for yourself.
The video above was made from video originally posted to Vine, which you can watch in a loop below.
New American Media - Fri, 05/17/2013 - 22:00
English Translation Nota del editor: En agosto, el presidente de la Universidad de California Mark Yudof se retirará después de un mandato de cinco años, que coincidió con una de las peores crisis económicas en la memoria reciente y... Entrevista por Peter Schurmann // Video por Josue Rojas // Traducido por Jonah Harris http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Fri, 05/17/2013 - 18:58
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice released a video message today in honor of International Day Against Homophobia.
"At the United Nations, the United States is standing up for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and fighting to ensure that their voices are heard and protected," Rice says in the video. "The United States was proud to co-sponsor and adopt an historic resolution at the UN Human Rights Council condemning human rights abuses and violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity."
"We will continue to work in every possible arena to protect communities and promote societies in which everyone - especially LGBT youth - can live safely and without fear regardless of who they are or whom they love. We call on all nations and all peoples to join us in ensuring that human rights are universally protected everywhere every day," Rice went on to say.
Ambassador Rice is the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama's Cabinet. She is likely to be tapped as the next National Security Advisor, according to a report in Foreign Policy.
Colorlines - Fri, 05/17/2013 - 18:57
From Fruitvale to France, Ryan Coogler's new film about the murder of Oscar Grant continues to impress audiences around the world. The film, "Fruitvale Station", got a rousing two minute standing ovation after its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The film is set for release in the United States this summer. (Watch the film's trailer here.)
"This is a little movie with a big, big heart," Octavia Spencer, one of the film's stars told USA Today. "This is our debut to the whole world."
The film captured the hearts of viewers earlier this year at Sundance, where it won the coveted Grand Jury Prize. For Coogler, who's an Oakland native, that was an incredible turning point. "To speak on the national stage, which is Sundance, was really something," he told USA Today. "And to (now) be on the international stage, that means everything to me."
Coogler has taken time off of his job as a counselor at a San Francisco juvenile justice center to help promote the film. He told reporters what it was like to work with Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer. ""I felt that Octavia was out of reach, she had just won an Oscar. But she agreed," says Coogler. "The question was, could she take direction from a first-time director? She did. She's a dream, a shining light as a human being. She lifted everyone's game."
(L-R) Ahna O'Reilly, Octavia Spencer and Melonie attend the 'Fruitvale Station' Premiere during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 16, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
Ryan Coogler (L)attends the 'Fruitvale Station' Premiere during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 16, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Below is video upload to YouTube of the standing ovation after the "Fruitvale" premiere at Cannes.
The New York State attorney general is investigating widespread practices of wage theft and other pay violations by fast food companies in the New York City. The investigation was announced as a new report released today reveals that the vast majority of New York City fast food workers say they work for below the minimum wage, don't get paid for overtime hours or go unreimbursed for work expenses like gas for deliveries.
The investigation comes amid a wave of fast food strikes in five cities around the country. Workers in these cities are demanding raises to $15 an hour and the right to unionize.
According to the report commissioned by the group Fast Food Forward, which organized two strikes in New York since November, 84 percent of the 500 McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and Papa John's workers in the poll report wage theft of some kind. Nearly half of workers interviewed in the poll said they experienced at least three instances of wage theft. The report, which was conducted by the polling firm Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, found that 100 percent of fast food bike and car delivery workers were subjected to wage violations, including not being reimbursed for delivery costs.
Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General, issued subpoenas to several fast food franchises in New York and at least one parent company, for precisely these violations. A spokesperson for the attorney general, Damien LaVera, would not say which companies were under investigation.
In a statement LaVera said, "The findings in this report are deeply troubling and shed light on potentially broad labor violations by the fast food industry which employs thousands of New Yorkers."
"We take the allegations seriously, which is why our office is investigating fast food franchisees," LaVera added. "New Yorkers expect companies doing business in our state to follow laws set up to protect working families."
The fast food workforce in New York is overwhelmingly people of color. Organizers with the group say nearly every worker who went on strike was black or Latino. Last month, three of these workers from a Brooklyn Wendy's told me their checks regularly bounced. Shalema Simpson, a 24-year-old mother of a three-year-old girl, said, "I've worked at McDonalds, Hale and Hearty, Shake Shack and they are all bad but right now this is the worst establishment. Sometimes our checks bounce."
Two other workers from the same restaurant said their checks also bounced.
A Wendy's spokesperson told CNN that the company was unaware of bounced checks at its franchises.
Fast Food Forward has organized two worker strikes to call attention to abuses by the fast food industry and demand higher wages and union rights. Similar strikes emerged in four other cities since the initial New York walk-out late last year. Earlier this week, fast food and retail workers went on strike in Milwaukee.
A group of researchers from the Floating Sheep project - who also mapped racist tweets surrounding President Barack Obama's re-election - have geotagged racist and homophobic tweets in the United States and plotted them on an interactive map.
Students at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., looked at 150,000 geotagged tweets that contained slurs and were in North America between June 2012 and April 2013. The students read each individual tweet and manually coded the sentiment of each tweet to determine if the given word was used in a positive, negative or neutral way in a project called the "Geography of Hate."
"The prominence of debates around online bullying and the censorship of hate speech prompted us to examine how social media has become an important conduit for hate speech, and how particular terminology used to degrade a given minority group is expressed geographically," wrote Monica Stephens, a geographer at Humboldt State, wrote in an introduction to the map on the blog Floating Sheep. "As we've documented in a variety of cases, the virtual spaces of social media are intensely tied to particular socio-spatial contexts in the offline world, and as this work shows, the geography of online hate speech is no different."
"Ultimately, some of the slurs included in our analysis might not have particularly revealing spatial distributions. But, unfortunately, they show the significant persistence of hatred in the United States and the ways that the open platforms of social media have been adopted and appropriated to allow for these ideas to be propagated," Stephens went on to say.
Homophobia is also rampant.
Visit The Floating Sheep blog for more information on "The Geography of Hate" project.
A traditional Islamic funeral service will be held for Malcolm Shabazz today in Oakland, Calif. The service is scheduled to begin 10am PST at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California and will be followed on Tuesday by a private burial in Hartsdale, New York, where Shabazz's grandparents are buried. Another memorial service is currently being planned to take place in New York City.
Shabazz, the 28-year-old grandson of Malcolm X, was beaten to death in Mexico City eight days ago. After a widely publicized troubled youth, Shabazz had recently gained prominence as an outspoken activist.
Two suspects have been arrested in his slaying.
New American Media - Fri, 05/17/2013 - 18:22
LONG BEACH -- Long Beach Unified might want to hide the report card it got last month. The district received an overall grade of “D+” for its effectiveness at serving low-income Latino and African American students in a study released by... Michael Lovano http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Fri, 05/17/2013 - 17:53
Despite recent headlines trumpeting a return of America's real estate market to its boom-time highs, a report released today by the Alliance for a Just Society shows how little of that has trickled into communities of color. The document, entitled "Wasted Wealth," is a sobering reminder of the gap between top-line economic cheerleading and the reality of what's happening on the ground.
As "Wasted Wealth" lays out, close to 2.5 million families lost homes in just three years. Communities that were majority people of color saw foreclosures take place at almost twice the rate as white communities, with an average loss of wealth 30 percent higher per household.
This foreclosure tidal wave is why wealth for blacks and Latinos is at the lowest level ever recorded. Housing is the leading wealth asset for these two communities.
Although the real estate market overall has regained $16 trillion in wealth lost during the recession, these gains are largely driven by a frenzy for high-end properties at the very top of the market. "Wasted Wealth" contrasts these highs with the fact that more than 13 million homes continue to remain at risk for foreclosure.
The good news contained in the report is that there is an actual way out of the mess. That's because the crisis resulted from acts of policy in Washington and not acts of nature. Regulators allowed dodgy loans to be marketed disproportionately to communities of color, which is why these communities continue to suffer disproportionately. Consequently these same regulators can help turn things around. "Wasted Wealth" proposes a way to do just that.
By allowing at-risk homeowners to write down their over-priced mortgages to present-day market values, families could lower their monthly payments and be able to stay in their homes. The report believes that this can save an additional quarter trillion dollars in potential lost wealth and create 1.5 million new jobs.
Let's hope that someone is listening.
Colorlines - Fri, 05/17/2013 - 16:56
Yesterday, IRS acting director Steven T. Miller resigned at President Obama's request after the agency admitted to targeting the applications of tea party groups applying for tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny. Major investigations in Congress and the Department of Justice are underway as to why this targeting happened. As we pointed out yesterday, such scrutiny may have been deserved for some tea party groups -- especially by some of the loudest complainers.
Peter S. Goodman, executive business editor for The Huffington Post, wrote yesterday that the "IRS was dead right to scrutinize" tea party groups, because of the express political campaign work many of them have engaged in, which is a violation of IRS regulations for some tax-exempt ("non-profit") classifications.
IRS officials were making sure that groups applying for these statuses weren't campaigning and electioneering on the low. So they applied extra review on applications from organizations that had the keywords "tea party" and "patriot" in their names -- both keywords associated with conservative groups, many of which fight against legislation that increases taxes and also sometimes run candidates for public office.
But it's interesting to note how non-profits became forbidden from political campaign activity to begin with. For that, look back to Lyndon B. Johnson, the U.S. President who helped usher in the Voting Rights Act and stronger civil rights legislation. As a congressional Senator representing Texas, he helped change the IRS code so that it prohibited 501c(3) groups from intervening in elections.
A 2001 Boston College Law Review article from Patrick L. O'Daniel, currently a law professor at University of Texas at Austin, tells why LBJ made this change. At the time, 1954, Johnson was up for re-election for U.S. Senate, and wealthy, ultra-conservative forces were tooling up for his defeat. Johnson believed that two non-profit organizations backed by rich conservatives were working to undermine his re-election campaign.
One of those, the Facts Forum, was a "Red Scare" group that thought America was about to become communist. The other, the Committee for Constitutional Government, was regarded then as "the wealthiest and most powerful of the extreme rightwing groups in the United States." It was founded by Frank Gannett, who ran one of the largest newspaper chains in the nation at the time (His Gannett Company Inc. still owns USA Today and dozens of other newspapers and news websites). These organizations had not only McCarthy-ites, but also anti-Semites and strict racial segregationists among their ranks.
Both non-profits claimed to be non-partisan and non-political, but raised millions of dollars and disseminated massive information in support of candidates challenging Johnson in the Senate race.
The CCG brazenly collected huge sums of money from corporations for political campaign work during a pre-Citizens United era when non-profits steered clear of that, mainly because it violated the Corrupt Practices Act. Donating to a non-profit gave contributors the liberty of anonymity while seeking to influence elections. In 1954, CCG was raising millions to support Johnson's opponent Dudley Dougherty in the Senate primary.
Seeing the disadvantage posed by these campaign finance networks disguised as non-profits, Johnson's allies complained to the IRS Commissioner, who did find CCG's finance work sketchy. That summer of 1954 the House had set up a "special committee to investigate tax exempt foundations," which was concerned about corporations using non-profits to finance and steer elections. But they also found that the IRS was poorly equipped to do anything about it.
Johnson fixed that by proposing the legislative amendment that officially shut down campaign activity by non-profits. As O'Daniel wrote in his article, "Johnson saw a cabal of national conservative forces, led by tax-exempt educational entities fueled by corporate donations, arrayed against him and wanted to put a stop to the meddling of these foreign interlopers."
Non-profits have been barred from express politickin' ever since. Except, many of them, 501(c)4s in particular, have flouted these tax-exemption laws in recent years -- Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS stands out as one clear example. But the IRS still seems helpless. Ari Berman over at The Nation says the IRS has done "virtually nothing" to close the political loopholes exploited by wealthy conservatives.
Looking at LBJ's maneuvers, one could argue that the installment of political prohibitions on non-profits was itself a political move, since Johnson used it to quell a rising tide of wealthy conservatives looking to take him out of office. Without that political maneuver, though, Johnson perhaps doesn't get re-elected to the Senate, and then maybe doesn't later get elected President of the U.S. In that case, he never pushes for and signs into law the Voting Rights Act and a stronger Civil Rights Act.
Tea party groups today claim non-partisanship, despite clear evidence otherwise, but it looks like the history of tax exempt status for non-profits wasn't politically neutral to begin with.
Colorlines - Fri, 05/17/2013 - 16:56
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed to amend the immigration reform bill yesterday to limit a set of deportation policies known to put immigrants at risk of violence. The amendment, introduced by Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., would curtail the practice of deporting migrants to dangerous locations along the U.S.-Mexico border, sometimes in the middle of the night. It would also limit removal practices that separate travelling companions and family members.
The amendment targets the Alien Transfer Exit Program. As described by a recent Congressional Research Service report, under the program, "certain Mexicans apprehended near the border are repatriated to border ports hundreds of miles away--typically moving people from Arizona to Texas or California--a process commonly described as "lateral repatriation."
The federal government has long said that the practice reduces second crossing attempts by disorienting deportees. But recent government and non-governmental research suggests that lateral repatriation has little impact on whether people cross again and places migrants at risk of violence and trafficking by organized crime groups.
In the process of moving migrants far away from cities they know, deportees are often separated from family members. According to a recent University of Arizona report, "[w]hile, officially, only men go through ATEP, this leaves women travelling with male relatives or signi?cant others deported alone to unfamiliar border towns" and vulnerable to violence.
On a recent trip to the border, I met a couple, Juan and Susana Peña, who'd been separated as a result of lateral repatriation. They were detained by border patrol as they attempted to return after deportation to reunite with their seven-year-old daughter in Georgia. When Susana and Juan heard their names hollered by a guard in the Arizona detention center, they assumed they'd be bused to the border and deported together. But instead, Susana was routed directly to Nogales, Arizona, while Juan was moved to a different detention center and then deported the next day in Mexicali, a border city in Baja California a day's ride from Nogales.
"We asked the Migra to deport us together, but the guard said 'no, they're going to send him somewhere else'," Susana told me. "When I got here to Nogales, I thought they kept him in jail or maybe he didn't know I was here."
It took days before the couple reunited. While she waited, Susana says she was scared to move around the city, even to find a meal to eat.
The Coons amendment would limit the Department of Homeland Security's use of lateral repatriation as well as deportations after 9pm and to "location[s] where a dangerous lack of public order would threaten the life and safety of the migrant."
In addition, the amendment would require DHS to return property to immigrants before they are deported. Many immigrants detained by Customs and Border Protection or Immigration and Customs Enforcement are deported without the belongings they arrived with. As I've reported previously, this includes their identification documents, without which many migrants find themselves effectively undocumented in Mexico.
The Committee passed a number of other amendments yesterday, in the second long day of work on the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill. And in a display of broad commitment to the bill's basic outlines, 17 of the 18 members rejected an amendment from Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions that would have dramatically reduced the number of immigration visas available to non-citizens. The committee also rejected an amendment from Sen. Sessions to implement a broad-based biometric ID system. The concept has come under attack from civil liberties groups.
The amendment process will last several more weeks, at which point the committee is expected to send the bill to the Senate floor. While the legislation is expected to gain enough support to pass the Senate, it faces a less certain path in the House.
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