Diversity Headlines

Putting the Central American Children’s Migration In Context

New America Media - 6 hours 41 min ago
  The dramatic surge in the number of Central American children and teenagers entering the US has created considerable concern among many in the United States. Already this year, 52,000 children have been apprehended. The latest estimates indicate that almost... Beatriz Manz http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Call for Immigrant Rights Advocates to Boycott White House Meetings

Colorlines - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 14:51
Call for Immigrant Rights Advocates to Boycott White House Meetings

President Obama met with three Central American presidents at the White House Friday afternoon to address the influx of unaccompanied child migrants. According to The Hill, Obama claims to have come to agreement with El Salvador's Salvador Sánchez Cerén, Honduras' Juan Orlando Hernández, and Guatemala's Otto Pérez Molina to "address poverty and violence" in order to stem the immigration tide. Meanwhile, the administration is still attempting to get Congress to approve a nearly $4 billion to increase detention facilities and to hire additional immigration judges to hasten the deportation of children, which seems unlikely to happen before lawmakers take off for vacation at the end of next week.

The White House has hosted several conversations and events about immigration--not just recently about child migrants, but also about the 11 million people who remain undocumented in Obama's second term. But critics charge that the people most affected by the immigration system, the undocumented themselves, aren't truly represented in Washington. In a sharp essay over at Latino Rebels, California Immigration Youth Justice Alliance member Hairo Cortes, addresses the issue, and calls for major non-profit immigrant rights advocates to boycott meetings at the White House until Obama discusses the issue with undocumented people. 

With this clear history of unwillingness to lead by taking politically risky positions, and of siding with the political interests over working class immigrant communities, I call on America's Voice, the National Council of la Raza, the National Immigration Forum, the Center for American Progress, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and all those other advocates who were unwilling to take a stand against deportations when it was most critical for them to do so, to step aside and boycott all further White House meetings until President Obama sits down with and negotiates with the undocumented immigrant day laborers, trans and queer organizers, parents, and youth who brought the proposal of Administrative Relief to the public consciousness when everyone said we should be quiet.

Mainstream advocates have long suggested that grassroots activists should quiet down about the administration's record-setting deportation numbers and concentrate instead on putting pressure on the Republican Party to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Yet it's been politically clear that the GOP won't be moving on such a bill in an election year. In response to partisan blame, Cortes makes clear that his allegiance isn't with the Democrats, but with his community.

You can read the essay, titled "Undocumented People Must Be at Negotiation Table to Achieve Substantive Relief," in its entirety over at Latino Rebels

Categories: Diversity Headlines

'Hogtying' of Inmates Raises Alarm About Nevada Juvenile Detention Conditions

Colorlines - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 12:25
'Hogtying' of Inmates Raises Alarm About Nevada Juvenile Detention Conditions

A Las Vegas family court judge said this week that he would like to expand an inquiry into another juvenile detention facility after ordering that inmates at a juvenile detention center in Elko, Nevada be cleared out, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

"If a parent did that, it would be child abuse -- probably charged criminally," Judge William Voy told the Las Vegas Review-Journal

"When you treat a kid like an animal, you're going to get an animal," Voy said. "There's other ways of dealing with it, without resorting to something that would otherwise be child abuse if it wasn't in an institution."

Staff at the Elko facility reportedly restrained juvenile inmates at the Nevada Youth Training Center by linking handcuffs and ankle shackles. Reports of the technique, known as "hobbling" or "hogtying," spurred Judge Voy to recall 12 youth from Las Vegas who'd been held at the facility. In 2002 the Department of Justice investigated the Nevada Youth Training Center staff after receiving complaints of detainee abuse, AP reported. Five employees were eventually fired.

It's not just Elko. More than one in four youth held in juvenile detention told researchers with the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (PDF) that they'd been restrained in some way before in 2010. Those physical restraints include: "handcuffs, wristlets, a security belt, chains, or a restraint chair."

h/t The Crime Report

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Dept. of Ed Probes Complaint That Newark School Closures Racially Discriminate

Colorlines - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 10:20
Dept. of Ed Probes Complaint That Newark School Closures Racially Discriminate

On Wednesday the U.S. Department of Education confirmed that it has opened an investigation into whether Newark, New Jersey's school reform plans violate the civil rights of the city's black students, Reuters reported. Civil rights groups, including the Journey for Justice Alliance and the Advancement Project, filed a complaint in May with the Department of Education alleging that school closures in Newark, New Orleans and Chicago have a unique and disparate impact on black and Latino students, who are vastly overrepresented among those who attend schools targeted with school closures plans in all three cities. Black students were 52.8 percent of Newark public school enrollment but 73.4 percent of those affected by school closures in the 2011 to 2012 school year. White students, meanwhile, were 7.9 percent of the district but just 1.1 percent of those whose schools were shuttered.

In Newark, the school reform plan One Newark is set to close 13 more public K-12 schools. 

"Closing the doors of public schools is not the way to improve public schools," Sharon Smith, founder of Parents United for Local School Education said at a Wednesday press conference, the Star-Ledger reported.

The civil rights complaint was filed on the same week as the 60th anniversary of the landmark school desegregation Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.

Read the civil rights complaint in full (PDF). Catch up on Colorlines' coverage of the civil rights complaint.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Palestinian Artist's Show Opens Without Him in New York

Colorlines - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 10:13

Palestinian Artist Khaled Jarrar was all set to travel to New York for two recent art openings featuring his work--The New Museum's "Here and Elsewhere," and a solo show at the Whitebox Art Center. The artist may be best known for his work at the Berlin Biennale, where he offered "State of Palestine" passport stamps.

But there was a problem. As curator Myriam Vanneschi writes in Hyperallergic, Israel wouldn't allow Jarrar, who lives in the West Bank, to travel to New York:

Israeli soldiers kept him waiting for hours on end before transporting him, together with a group of others who were denied exit, to a spot further away from the Jordanian border crossing. When they were released, they had no other option but to travel back to Ramallah. It was two o'clock in the morning at that point and he had missed his flight. He had tried to reason with them to no avail. "There is no reasoning," he said to me. "This is retribution on their part, it is revenge and you can't reason with that."

In a letter to Vanneschi included in the curator's post, Jarrar explains how he was the target of racism and humiliation by Israeli border police.

But that didn't stop Jarrar and Vanneschi from moving forward. "No Exit," described as new work "that deals with his status as well as the current situation in Gaza," opened Thursday evening in New York City. The show, hosted by Whitebox and Undercurrent Projects, runs through August 7.  

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Most Unaccompanied Children Could Qualify for Relief

New America Media - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 09:28
More than half of the unaccompanied Central American children who are in U.S. custody after crossing the U.S. border could be found eligible for relief by a U.S. immigration judge, according to an assessment by Refugee and Immigrant Center for... Immigration Impact http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Subprime Loans Are Back With a Vengeance

Colorlines - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 08:08
Subprime Loans Are Back With a Vengeance

Just when you thought that the subprime mess might be winding down, the truth is that it's coming back with a vengeance. Even though Citibank recently received the largest penalty ever issued against a financial institution for subprime mortgage loans, toxic loans are showing up for another product: cars. As the New YorkTimes reports,banks are bilking working poor communities of color to the tune of billions. Sadly, they are the latest reason why America should have brought the banks to heel when it had the chance at the height of the financial crisis. Instead the nation propped up the banks and millions are back in a lurch.

As the Times reports, subprime auto products "have risen 130 percent in the five years since the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis." If loans continue to be issued at the same rate as this year's, they will reach $600 billion in 2014 alone.

Just what's brought subprime loans back to life? The answer lies in the origins of the first crisis and the many parallels that this new one has to the old.

The problem is that families haven't had the opportunity to heal from the last subprime mess. With more than 13 million foreclosures impacting nearly 40 million individuals, personal balance sheets are still recovering. That's because foreclosed debt weighs down credit scores for nearly a decade. Low credit scores lock out borrowers in need from traditional, non-predatory loans. The legacy of the original subprime crisis is to make once creditworthy people vulnerable to the latest subprime push.

And those most at risk are black and brown. Since people of color with excellent credit before the financial crisis were up to 70 percent more likely to be steered into subprime mortgages--and then foreclosed upon--than white borrowers with similar credit scores, the original subprime mess wrecked both the wealth and credit of black and Latino communities. Not only has the loss of millions of homes sent the level of black and brown wealth to the lowest on record, it's tanked the credit profile of these borrowers. We've arrived at the point now where three out of out four African-Americans have subprime credit scores of 620 and less. Not surprisingly, lenders are pushing the latest predatory loans on anyone with a credit score of 640 and under.

With the millions of new subprime borrowers that the 2008 meltdown created, it's no surprise that the finance industry is off to the races. As Mother Jones put it, banks "are pooling bad loans just as subprime mortgage lenders did, and then slicing them up and selling them to investors including hedge funds and pension funds."

As with subprime mortgages, lenders are squeezing borrowers of subprime auto loans in almost every way imaginable. The interest rate on these loans can be up to five times higher than standard-rate loans. Not only can interest rates hover at 20 percent, but subprime loans are often twice or even three times what the car is worth. Financial institutions are profiting from the vulnerable by charging them an exorbitant interest rate on a sky-high principal.

Fraud is likely at work. Loan representatives at dealerships mislead consumers to believe that the high payments will diminish over time. They also help juice the credit applications of potential borrowers and create income for borrowers out of thin air. The New York Times reported that the paperwork of one applicant, Social Security recipient Rodney Dunham, said that he made $35,000 a year--from a job that he'd held 30 years ago. "I'm not sure how I got the loan," he told the Times.

And just like the last subprime go-round, independent agencies like Standard & Poor's that are supposed to rate the soundness of these products impartially have given some institutions the green light. Their stamp of approval has provided the necessary cover for some of the worst subprime mortgage offenders like Wells Fargo to get in on the subprime auto game with no looking back.

The reason why borrowers apply and accept these loans is not a surprise. Having been victims of the original meltdown, subprime auto loans are often the only option for getting a car. Automobiles remain the No. 1 transportation method in America, so having access to a car is essential. Applicants for low-wage hourly work are often asked in interviews whether they have reliable transportation to and from work. The choice is often stark: Take the loan or fall further behind. The sad part is that these financial products ultimately create a no-win situation for the nation's working poor.

But why do banks and other financial institutions underwrite and invest in them? The answer is because they are wildly profitable. The high interest rates and principals provide double-digit returns in the short term. Because banks report profits every three months, what might happen next year is a distant thought. The business community calls it the "tyranny of the quarter" where companies do whatever is necessary to juice profits in three-month chunks.

The broader point here is that traditional banking is a slow growth business. Low interest rates and less borrowing mean lower profits. At a time when average Americans are worse off than they've been in nearly four decades, banks are seeking creative--and in this case deceptive-- ways to amp up the bottom line.

The only problem is that profits, yet again, are coming at the expense of those who can least afford them. Given the regulatory power that exists in Washington, preying on the working poor can be stopped. But that would mean taking on the banks--something that those with real power refuse to do.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Summer Fun in the City [Photos]

Colorlines - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 08:05
Summer Fun in the City [Photos]

After a week of grisly headlines, sometimes we need to just bask in the beauty of everyday people. Few things conjure up more joy than summer. Whether it's going to the beach (when it's allowed), cooling off at the pool or dancing at a block party, we've always found ways to celebrate while the sun is shining. Join us as we take a trip down memory lane and revisit the smiles, ice cream cones and swimsuits of yesteryear. 

  New York City


Three young girls pose on Bond Street in 1974. (Danny Lyon/National Archives)


Kids beat the heat at Koscuisko Pool on July 4, 1974. (Danny Lyon/National Archives) 


Another scene at Koscuisko Pool in summer 1974.  (Danny Lyons/ National Archives)


Three boys clown for the camera in Lynch Park in 1974. (Danny Lyons/National Archives) 


Two Lynch Park-goers in 1974. (Danny Lyons/National Archives) 


Kids play at Jacob Riis beach in 1974. (Danny Lyons/National Archives)

Chicago chicagosummer1_071414.jpg

Girls cool off with the fire hydrant in the Woodlawn section of Chicago in June 1973. (John H. White/NARA via The Atlantic)


Participants in the Bud Billiken Day Parade along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in August of 1973.  (John H. White/NARA)


Hundreds turn out for the annual Bud Billiken Day Parade along MLK Drive. (John H. White/NARA)


Swimmers beat the heat on Lake Michigan in August 1973. (John H. White/NARA)


A family enjoys a picnic at 12 Street Beach on Lake Michigan, August 1973. (John H. White/NARA)

 Los Angeles


Verna Williams and partner at Santa Monica Beach in 1931. (Courtesy of Shades of L.A.)


A Samoan family in Carson in 1971. (Courtesy of Shades of L.A.)


Students celebrate the last day of school at Hoover Street School in 1976. (Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library)


Teachers on the last day of school in 1967. (Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library)

lasummer3_071414.jpg          Miss Watts 1967 and her court wave to the crowd. (Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library )

San Franciso


Two men hit the San Francisco streets in the 1970s. (Courtesy of Casa Aurora Publications)


Party time in 1970s San Francisco. (Courtesy of Casa Aurora Publications)

sfsummer5_071414.jpgIce cream time in the 1970s. (Photo courtesy of Casa Aurora Publications)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Remembering Jazz Greats in 'Last Stop on the 4 Train'

Colorlines - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 07:29

Where do you end up when you ride New York City's northbound 4 train? Woodlawn cemetery. It's the final resting place for legends: Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Max Roach.

MC John Robinson, radio DJ Thomas Simmons and jazz vocalist T.C. III documented their journey north while exploring the genre's history. Check out the first in a two-part series of "Last Stop on the 4 Train."

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Brooklyn's MoCADA Is Asking Its Community for Help

Colorlines - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 07:24

Brooklyn's Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Arts is facing hard times. James E. Bartlett, the institution's executive director, made the following appeal this week to ask community members for support to help it stay afloat:

We've been lucky to have the support of so many fantastic foundations over the years, and we are very grateful for their ongoing commitment to cultural arts. Our funders are model philanthropists who continue to stand by our growth and innovation. But it is not enough to rely on foundations and government grants to stay afloat. We are in danger because we are a small, Black organization and wealth inequality continues to be a very real challenge in the community we serve. We operate without an endowment or major individual donors, making us vulnerable to funding cuts. If a funder decides they no longer want to support the arts (as often occurs), we have to cut free programming, or even staff. That's why we're asking you to take action now.

The museum, which was founded in 1999, has set up a fundraising page in an effort to raise the funds. 

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Listen: Otis Brown's 'The Thought of You Part 1' Feat. Bilal

Colorlines - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 07:24
 Otis Brown's 'The Thought of You Part 1' Feat. Bilal Otis Brown III often stays in the background. A sideman and drummer for Esperanza Spaulding, he's about to release a solo album "The Thought of You" on August 26. The album features folks like Robert Glasper and Bilal. Here's "The Thought Of You Pt. 1." 

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Palestinian 'Day of Rage,' Central American Presidents at White House and Google Acquiring Twitch

Colorlines - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 07:11
Palestinian 'Day of Rage,' Central American Presidents at White House and Google Acquiring Twitch

Here's what I'm reading up on this morning: 

  • Astronomers find that three exoplanets they hoped would hold water are instead dry
Categories: Diversity Headlines

LA Youth Fast for Central American Youth - 'We Are Just Like Those Kids’

New America Media - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 01:30
Editor’s Note: This week a group of young people in Los Angeles are fasting to call attention to the welfare of Central American children crossing into the United States. They are asking the Obama administration to take executive action to... Michael Lozano http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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How an Island-City Plans to Hold Back Rising Seas

New America Media - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 01:00
photo: East side of Alameda Island (Laura Flynn/KALW) Note: This story originally aired on KALW-FM. To listen to the story, click here. I’m on the east side of Alameda Island, standing in mud in front of a storm drain that... Laura Flynn http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Facing Severe Drought, Californians Support Mandatory Cutbacks

New America Media - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 12:00
SAN FRANCISCO -- Californians rank the drought as their number one environmental concern, according to a new statewide survey. The poll by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) found three out of four residents favor mandatory curbs on water... Ngoc Nguyen http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=70
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It's Finally Here: Watch the Trailer for Aaron McGruder's 'Black Jesus'

Colorlines - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 11:57

Aaron McGruder's highly anticipated new show "Black Jesus" finally has a trailer. The show premieres on Adult Swim on August 7, but for now, here's a taste of what to watch out for, with an appearance from John Witherspoon. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch This Woman Perform a Monologue to Beyonce's 'Single Ladies'

Colorlines - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 11:33

Nina Millin and The Beyoncélogues FTW!

From Jezebel's Hillary Crosley:

The time Millin tackled "Single Ladies" and "Best Thing I Never Had" and while they aren't as scary as "Mine," they are also funny. Very funny. My favorite line? "I up on him, he up on me" which Millin delivers as if it was "Et Tu, Brute?" Enjoy "Single Ladies" above and check out "Best Thing I Never Had" below.



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Study: One in 10 Juvenile Detainees Have Contemplated Suicide

Colorlines - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 11:05
 One in 10 Juvenile Detainees Have Contemplated Suicide

One in 10 youth locked up in juvenile detention has experienced suicidal thoughts in the last six months, according to sobering new findings published by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (PDF). The article is the latest installment in a series from the Northwestern Juvenile Project examining the mental health of youth at Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago.

The findings may shed some light on other troubling trends about young people's experiences in juvenile detention, where the youth commit suicide at two to four times the national rate of youth in the general population.

According to researchers' findings, not only had 10 percent of youth had thoughts of suicide, 11 percent had attempted suicide at least once. The average age of kids' first suicide attempt was 12.7 years. Whites are at a higher risk than youth of color for committing suicide. White males were more than two times more likely as black males and five times more likely than Latino males to tell someone about their suicidal thoughts. But researchers also found that Latino and black males were far more likely than others to have thoughts of "death and dying" in the last six months. 

Write the report authors (PDF):

It is unclear whether and how concern about death among African American and Hispanic males is related to risk for suicide. Some studies suggest that such concern may result from a greater likelihood of having lost siblings and peers to violent death as compared to non-Hispanic white males. These findings also may reflect an awareness of a heightened risk of mortality. Among the Cook County sample, African-American and Hispanic males had a substantially greater risk of an early violent death than non-Hispanic males. 

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Questlove on Black Folks and the Contagious Culture of Hip-Hop

Colorlines - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:13
Questlove on Black Folks and the Contagious Culture of Hip-Hop

In an interview with Time Magazine, Questlove answered Nolan Freeny's question "Are you pro or anti Iggy Azalea?" by defending the Australian rapper's hit "Fancy" as the "song of the summer."

Here's the thing: the song is effective and catchy as hell, and it works. Just the over-enunciation of "hold you down"? [Laughs]It makes me chuckle because all I can see is my assistant holding a brush in the mirror and singing it.

I'm caught in between. And I defend it. I see false Instagram posts like, "She said the N-word! She said the N-word!" I'll call people out -- "Yo, don't troll." I know you're ready to give your 42-page dissertation on theGrio about why this is culture vulture-ism. You know, we as black people have to come to grips that hip-hop is a contagious culture. If you love something, you gotta set it free. I will say that "Fancy," above any song that I've ever heard or dealt with, is a game-changer in that fact that we're truly going to have to come to grips with the fact that hip-hop has spread its wings.

And to tell the truth, I was saying this last year, I don't think it's any mistake that four or five of my favorite singers are from Australia. Like between Hiatus Kaiyote, there's a bunch I can name for you right now, but I don't think it's a mistake that a lot of of my favorite artists are coming from Down Under. A lot of them more soulful than what we're dealing with now. When you think soul music and Aretha Franklin and the Baptist-born singer, that's sort of an idea in the past. As black people, we're really not in the church as we used to be, and that's reflected in the songs now.

I'm not going to lie to you, I'm torn between the opinions on the Internet, but I'mma let Iggy be Iggy. It's not even politically correct dribble. The song is effective. I'm in the middle of the approximation of the enunciation, I'll say. Part of me hopes she grows out of that and says it with her regular dialect -- I think that would be cooler. But, yeah, "Fancy" is the song of the summer.

Read more at Time and Gawker

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Video: The War on Drugs and War on Immigrants Are Intertwined

Colorlines - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 08:59

Here's an all too easily forgotten reality: mass incarceration and the U.S. deportation machine are deeply intertwined. And black immigrants get swept up in both systems. A new video from the Black Alliance for Just Immigration spells it out:

The rate of detention and criminal deportation is soaring. Black immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America are overrepresented in immigration detention and criminal deportatiton proceedings by five times their presence in the undocumented community. And all Latino undocumented immigrants are disproportionately affected by a wide margin. Ultimately all forms of crimnalization keeps people divided. 

The new video is part of a BAJI campaign called #therealcrime. Find out more at BAJI.

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