Diversity Headlines

Yank Sing Workers Win $4 Million in Backpay and Benefits

New America Media - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 13:06
Yank Sing, a high-end dim sum restaurant operating in two locations in San Francisco’s Financial District, announced Wednesday that it has reached a $4 million backpay and benefits settlement for 280 affected current and former employees, according to Chinese-language newspaper... Ngoc Nguyen http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=70
Categories: Diversity Headlines

The Obama Years, in Two Budget Charts

Colorlines - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 12:32
The Obama Years, in Two Budget Charts

You wouldn't know it by the tenor of the recent gubernatorial elections, but states' pockets have grown fat under President Obama. That's because his two signature economic initiatives--the 2009 Recovery Act and the 2010 Affordable Care Act--pumped tens of billions of dollars into state coffers, giving state leaders the chance to bolster services without raising revenue. At least at the local level, you'd think fiscal conservatives would love the guy. 

The National Association of State Budget Officers published a report today outlining spending trends. To my eye, here's the takehome: States have largely stopped making new investments in services, so what their residents do and don't get from government has been driven primarily by federal choices. First, take a look at this graph from the report, which shows federal and state spending trends over the past three fiscal years.


So overall state spending fell in fiscal year 2012--marking the first decline in total state spending in the 27-year history of this annual report. That was a big, historic change. It corresponed with the gradual sunsetting of the 2009 Recovery Act. Remember that? The reviled stimulus spending that eked out of Congress at a level much lower than economists of all stripes recommended? Well, the initial surge of stimulus spending ran out, federal funding to states plummeted by nearly 10 percent and overall state spending fell for the first time in a generation. The White House and others have argued that the stimulus averted a full-on depression. But imagine if it had been funded at the levels economists recommended? 

Anyway, that didn't happen. But in fiscal year 2014, total state spending shoots back up. This coincides with the onset of Obamacare--or specifically, the expansion of Medicaid, which has put an additional $41.8 billion into state budgets this fiscal year. Here's what that looks like for Medicaid programs themselves, again in a graph from the state budget directors' report.


This is important not only because it has allowed more than 8 million poor people to get health insurance. That's happened while barely affecting state spending on the program. Understand that Medicaid has been and remains the biggest ticket item in any state's budget. It accounts consistently for roughly a quarter of overall state spending; K-12 education comes in second, at about 20 percent. Every dollar the states don't spend on Medicaid, is money they can invest elsewhere--in higher education, transportation, tax breaks. 

So the Obama years have been very good to state budgets. The feds have financed massive public investment in local services that have staved off collapse for both the overall economy and for residents in the greatest need. But they have done so over the kicking and screaming objections of a great many local elected officials. Funny, that.

Categories: Diversity Headlines


New America Media - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 11:22
???-???Wolfgang Gordillo???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????“??????????????????” ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????U.S. Dept. of Transportation?????????????????????????????????????1994??2013?????????????????????3?7?????????139????445??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????15??????????????????????????????????????????????????2007?????????“811”??????????????????????????????????????????????????????811?????????????????????“??????????Yerba Buena Engineering and Construction, Inc?”?????Miguel Galarza??“????????????????811???????????811?????????????????”?????????PG&E? ??“??????”????Richard Taylor?????????????811???????????????????????811???811???????????????811?????????????????????????????????????????????48??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????811????????????????????811?????? “?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????”?????????????1994?2013?????91??????????9?9??2?2???????????????????????811???????????????????????????811???????????????????????811?????????????????????811??????????????????????????San Francisco Day Labor Center?????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????Galindo???????????????? ????????????811????“??????????????????????????????811????????????811???????????????”????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ????????????????811?“???????????????????????????????811???????? ?”???????????????811???????????????????????????????????????????????????????811?????????????????·????????????·?????????????????????????????????Sempra Energy???“????????Contractors State License Board?”??????????????811??????????????????????????Aaron Rezendez?? “??????????????811??????”?????????????????????30?????????2000?????????“??811???????????”... Ngoc Nguyen; ???Summer Chiang http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

FSU Shooting, Buffalo Braces for More Snow, Jobless Claims Continue to Drop

Colorlines - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 07:56
FSU Shooting, Buffalo Braces for More Snow, Jobless Claims Continue to Drop

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

  • Republicans are pretty livid over Obama's expected announcement on immigration this evening. 
  • NASA publishes a rather gorgeous video that simulates how carbon dioxide spreads in the atmosphere. It almost makes something so deadly look a little too beautiful. 

*Post has been updated since publication to indicate that TV Land, not NBC, will stop running reruns of "The Cosby Show." 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Dave Chappelle and Michael Sam Do GQ

Colorlines - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 07:14
Dave Chappelle and Michael Sam Do GQ

Dave Chappelle and Michael Sam grace two of the six covers of GQ's December 2014 "Men (and Women) of the Year" issue. In an upbeat Q+A available online, Chappelle talks about binge-watching "The Wire," living off the grid and returning to the stage. Here's the comedian on his "show business bucket list":

There's just certain things that every entertainer always dreamed of doing. When I was 19, I used to walk up Sixth Avenue and look at the marquee of Radio City. I'd see the lines outside. I'd be like, "Man, I just want to... Radio City!" So then, last year, when I started going on the road, it was just because I wanted to be on the road, at first. There's something cathartic about touring--it feels good to just engage people that way. 

Check out Sam's interview in GQ.




Categories: Diversity Headlines

The Untold Story of Black Fatherhood

Colorlines - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 07:03
The Untold Story of Black Fatherhood

Thirty-five-year-old Tyrone Hopkins is like any number of black men I've known growing up in Baltimore. Sit down with him for a few minutes and he'll talk to you like he's known you forever. Everyone who lives in Baltimore says it's like a big town, rather than a major urban city. "Smalltimore," residents sometimes call it, because you can't go far without finding a link to someone you've never met--a shared acquaintance, a common experience or a neighborhood connection. It's like that with Hopkins, too. Ask him something personal and, if he's cool with you, he'll be candid, funny and cordial--even if it's a difficult topic to discuss, like the ups and downs of life as a single black father.

Hopkins is one of four men I spoke to about being an unmarried working-class dad in Baltimore City. We met in late October during one of the weekly parenting classes he attends at the Center for Urban Families, along with a couple dozen other black fathers. The class is part of the Baltimore Responsible Fatherhood Project, a four-month program that provides low-income black fathers with the help they need to show up for their families--stuff like job training, counseling and the support of other men like themselves.

Life Cycles of Inequity 
A Series on Black Men 

About This Series

WATCH: A Concise History of Divestment in Black Men

[Ch. 4] The Hip-Hop Hustle, Then and Now

[Ch. 3] Criminals, Victims and the Black Men Left Behind

[Ch. 2] Why Young, Black Men Can't Work

[Ch. 1] Race, Disability and the School-to-Prison Pipeline


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Hopkins tells me he has two daughters, a 14-year-old and a 2-year-old. I ask about the intervening years between the two. Was there a difference in how he felt when he found out he'd be a father each time?

"Honestly? I was 20, 21," he says of his first daughter's birth. He admits he discouraged his daughter's mom from keeping their child. "It was more like an, 'All right. So what we gon' do about that?' I mean, I didn't want any kids. That was just my mindset at that time."

"What we gon' do about that?" is a code that a good number of unmarried pregnant women understand. It ranks right up there with "Take care of that" in the Hoping for a Pregnancy Termination Handbook. It's the kind of reaction that might cause the uninitiated to recoil. Many people believe expectant fathers should stick to a script that reads, Whatever you decide, future mother-of-my-child, I'll support you. A man who expresses that he doesn't want kids after he and his partner have conceived one tends to be considered a flight risk. We are conditioned to greet him with disdain, to quickly slot him into a familiar box: deadbeat.

But I just nod and let Hopkins finish. My own pregnancy wasn't greeted with instant joy by my child's father, either, and I get it. Through Beyond Baby Mamas, a community of single moms I founded in 2012, I've heard enough iterations of Tyrone's first response to know it's not always the final one. Initial reactions to the news of unplanned pregnancies don't necessarily predict post-birth attitudes.

"It wasn't as bad as I thought it was, after she came," Hopkins explains.

He met the mother of his first daughter in high school. He says they're best friends and their daughter together has always been a "daddy's girl." With Tyrone's second co-parent, however, the road has been rockier. "I had missed [my second daughter's] first birthday by maybe three weeks when I found out about her." The news came through a child support notice. "It just threw me right into the mix. I didn't even have a chance to feel anything about it."

Tyrone, who works as a truck driver, has been participating in the Baltimore Responsible Fatherhood Program since July 2014. He credits the program with helping him acclimate to second-time fatherhood and manage his relationship with his second child's mom productively. "Only because of me coming here to the Center, we speak more and actually interact now. It got a lot better."

Tyrone's story isn't one we often hear in national discourse about unmarried black fathers. Though neither of his partners' pregnancies were planned and the circumstances surrounding them were not ideal, he didn't shirk his co-parenting responsibilities. In this, Tyrone is just one of many black unmarried dads whose story of consistent, if complicated involvement with his children is overshadowed by sensationalized media coverage about an "epidemic of fatherlessness" in the black community. (Photo below: Tyrone Hopkins)

lifecycles_fatherhood_hopkins.jpgIn 2011, Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of black children were born to unwed parents. A 2013 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report corroborated that the percentage held more or less steady in 2012. The studies prompted a chorus of worried commentary. Everyone from CNN anchor Don Lemon to Oprah Winfrey and Iyanla Vanzant have engaged in public handwringing over the report. There's even a documentary called "72 Percent," which refers to black single parenthood as "catastrophic" and a "crisis," while focusing primarily on households in which a biological father is entirely absent.

But there's a problem with all of this worry about that 72 percent statistic: It's rooted in the assumption that all black children born to unmarried mothers are fatherless. This assumption ignores a centuries-old tradition of communal parenting in black families. But more to the point, it erases the involvement of non-custodial black fathers--fathers like Tyrone Hopkins and his peers at the Baltimore Responsible Fatherhood Project.

I ask Tyrone if he's ever felt stereotyped or misrepresented as an unwed dad. "They think we all just jump in and then jump out, that we don't take care of anything, that we just knock 'em up and roll out. And that's not the truth," he says, pointing to the men with whom he spent the past four months. "We were 30 guys deep and I was amazed there were so many dudes from outside that came in here, because we wanted to make a difference in our children's lives. I thought it was just me."

It isn't. Another, less publicized CDC report in 2013 found that black fathers spend more time with their children than white and Latino fathers, even in cases where they live in separate residences. Of the 1,298 non-coresidential fathers surveyed, black dads consistently reported higher involvement with tasks like bathing and feeding their children, as well as helping them with their homework.

"One misconception that people have about black fathers is that they don't want to be involved or that they're deadbeat," says Vernon Wallace, who manages the Baltimore Responsible Fatherhood Project. "More so, they're just dead broke."

Wallace, a 35-year-old husband and father, takes pride in his post and in the men he serves. Clad in a suit and tie, on both occasions that I spoke with him, Wallace also insists on referring to the fathers in his program and everyone he encounters on the job by formal titles like Mr. and Ms. It's part of an intentional demonstration of respect--for everyone's unique stories, challenges and backgrounds--that he espouses.

He directs me to 26-year-old Warren Hill, father to a 5-year-old daughter, for proof that living in a separate residence does not an absentee father make. Warren volunteers at his daughter's school, attending PTA meetings and helping his daughter with her school work. "Fatherhood goes far beyond being responsible," Warren tells me. "My definition now is consistency and persistency. I want my daughter to have more than I had."

Hill is completing an art project displayed as a work-in-progress at the Center for Urban Families, where the fatherhood program is based. The work features three murals, one on each side of a triangle display. One side, already completed, is titled, "I Was..." It depicts a man climbing up from a morass full of labels: drugs, the 'hood, finances and stereotypes. The second side is a sketch of man in a shirt and tie. It's titled, "I Am..." He hadn't begun work on the third side, "I Will Be..."

The odyssey between "I Was..." and "I Will Be..." is not often celebrated for single black fathers. Charles Mitchell, 26, grew up as a ward of the state, shuffled through the foster care system. When we sat down to talk about his experience as a father, he told me about his three children, aged 6 and under, and his three jobs at Marriott, Burger King and Popeye's.

"At the time [I started attending parenting classes], I wasn't even thinking about being a father. I was just going to run." It took two separate fatherhood support programs to get Mitchell accustomed to navigating the challenges of parenting. He credits the programs with providing him structure. "I'm not angry or mad [anymore]."(Photo below: Charles Mitchell)

lifecycles_fatherhood_mitchell.jpgBut Mitchell's biggest challenge isn't emotional; it's one that is practically synonymous with the phrase "unmarried dads": child support.

Two days before my visit, a representative from the offices of Baltimore City Child Support had led the class through an informational workshop. I watch the class review what they learned. "What is child support?" one of the instructors asks the dads in attendance. "It's taking care of your responsibility," one answers. "It's a law," says another.

"And what happens when you don't pay it?"

The answers come fast and sure. "You go to jail." "They take your license." "They garnish your wages."

I can't help but cringe at these responses. In many states--including Maryland--the consequences each father has called out are true. But it's misguided to think of child support solely in terms of what will happen if you don't pay it. It's also important to understand why child support as we know it was established in the first place. It exists because there's a long historical precedent for its need.

While child support laws date back to 1910, it wasn't until 1950 that federal regulation opened the door for a parent who deserted his family to be prosecuted. Family desertion was effectively criminalized. Over the next 40 years, penalties for family desertion grew to include wage garnishment, driver's license revocation, and the imprisonment of parents in significant child support arrears, among other things.

Today, a majority of custodial parents with child support orders in place are receiving at least some of the money they're owed. A 2011 Census report found that 42 percent of custodial mothers received all of their child support payments and 70.5 percent received some in 2009.

For single mothers, these payments are of critical importance. As the Working Poor Families Project reported back in February, 58 percent of woman-headed households were low-income in 2012--and as many as 65 percent of black woman-headed households. Though more than half of low-income single mothers work full-time, they're often working in low-paying fields without benefits.

But even when low-income noncustodial fathers desperately want to mitigate some of the financial burden the mothers of their children face, they are often incapable of doing so. They share in the emotional strain and social stigma that single mothers living in poverty face--and it's compounded by the threat of potential arrest for child support arrears. As Tonya L. Britto writes in the "Journal of Gender, Race and Justice," parents who live in poverty owe the vast majority of back-due child support and are more likely to be put in jail for failing to pay than are parents who have the means to do so.

"Child support itself isn't the barrier, it's lack of payment of child support that becomes the barrier," says Wallace. Unemployment among black men remains far above the national average. In Baltimore, 42.5 percent of working-age black men were out of the formal workforce in 2010. As Colorlines reported earlier in this series, criminal records are not the only force behind these statistics. One Baltimore-based research project found a massive disparity in both job opportunity and wages between black and white men who hadn't graduated high school and who had criminal records. Wallace argues that child-support enforcement policies too often ignores these harsh economic realities. "Then when reality strikes and the [difficulty] of actually obtaining a job that will just pay you something just to get back in the labor force [becomes clear], it can be tough." (Photo below: Vernon Wallace)

lifecycles_fatherhood_wallace.jpgCharles Mitchell knows all about that. He tells me he's lost his driver's license and has also served jail time as the result of child support arrears. He believes the court system works against many fathers, even as they try to meet their financial obligations. "They don't value you. They just value your money. It shouldn't be that way. They think you should go out and be a robot that makes money and pays them. That's not life."

Corde Cornish Jr., 23, also had money on his mind when I talked to him about his relationship with his 13-month-old son. "I used to think fatherhood was about being there and paying for everything, but now it's more of an experience with him, and about knowing that I'll be able to still pursue my goals and dreams, and help him fulfill his goals and dreams." He chuckles and adds, "By being there and paying for everything."

Wallace says the program's goal is to get men to the place where Cornish has arrived. "Being financially supportive of your child doesn't necessarily constitute you being a good father," he tells me. "You got guys who hustle, been out on the streets, trying to survive and they've got bread to peel off and say, 'Take care of li'l Darren. Here goes money. I'm going back out here to work.' Or some gentlemen are just workaholics. They've got a lot of jobs. But we want to make sure they understand that we want them to support their children not just economically, but emotionally."

I'm able to get each of the fathers I interview to smile simply by asking them what they like to do with their children for fun. I can tell that, after my battery of queries about stereotypes and challenges, it's a question they aren't expecting. Cornish cites watching his son pull up on furniture as he learns to walk as one of the most fun experiences he's having as a new father. Hopkins admits he likes to start food fights with his daughters. Hill considers the recent day he took a trip to Port Discovery, a local children's museum, with his 5-year-old to be one of the best of his life. "Being able to watch her in that setting, and to have her look back at me and know that I was there to see her have her fun and to jump in if anything went wrong, was a special feeling."

In the lobby of the Center for Urban Families, there's a mosaic of a man and child on the walls, painstakingly created by fathers and their children. It symbolizes the journey black single fathers face: a slow gathering and arranging of pieces, the careful affixing of out-of-joint elements--finances, relationships, proximity to kids, employment--so that they settle just so. It's also an important reminder to the rest of us that, with time, community support and societal empathy, bonds between black single fathers and their children can be as unconventionally beautiful as broken glass, gently reconfigured.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

A Renter Weighs the Pros and Cons of Earthquake Coverage

New America Media - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 01:00
photo: The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, centered in the Santa Cruz Mountains, caused widespread damage in the San Francisco Bay Area. (courtesy of Wikipedia).Living in California, one never knows when the next big shaker could hit. Although I live in... Summer Chiang http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Study: 1 in 5 Nursing Home Residents Abused

New America Media - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 00:15
 WASHINGTON, D.C.--The horrific possibility that their loved one has been abused in a nursing home can dawn on family members after the appearance of an unexplained cut or bruise.Now, researchers say that such injuries are often inflicted not by overworked... Barbara Peters Smith http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Ferguson's Black, Non-Black Arrest Rate Disparity Isn't the Worst in the U.S.

Colorlines - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:51
Ferguson's Black, Non-Black Arrest Rate Disparity Isn't the Worst in the U.S.

Blacks in Ferguson are arrested at three times the rate of those who aren't black, but according to a USA Today analysis of FBI arrest data, nearly 1,600 police agencies in the U.S. actually have higher arrest rate disparities than the St. Louis suburb. 

Those statistics point to larger systemic social issues and don't provide smoking gun evidence of racial discrimination on the part of police, USA Today reporter Brad Heath writes, but they do beg explanation. 

USA Today's Heath writes of the paper's findings:

• Blacks are more likely than others to be arrested in almost every city for almost every type of crime. Nationwide, black people are arrested at higher rates for crimes as serious as murder and assault, and as minor as loitering and marijuana possession.

• Arrest rates are lopsided almost everywhere. Only 173 of the 3,538 police departments USA TODAY examined arrested black people at a rate equal to or lower than other racial groups.

Read the USA Today story for more.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Obama to Announce Historic Immigration Plans Thursday

New America Media - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 10:34
President Obama will announce a plan on Thursday evening at 8 p.m. Eastern time to use his executive powers to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.Obama will announce an overview of the plan in his 10-minute address to the... Univision News http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Awaiting Obama’s Executive Action, SF Wants to Be ‘Out in Front’

New America Media - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 10:17
SAN FRANCISCO – Just before stepping out of the room to take a call with the White House, Mayor Ed Lee said he wanted San Francisco to be a model city in helping undocumented immigrants access administrative relief. “I would... Elena Shore http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=7
Categories: Diversity Headlines

75 Planned Actions for Darren Wilson Grand Jury Decision

Colorlines - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 08:47
75 Planned Actions for Darren Wilson Grand Jury Decision

There's still no announcement on whether a St. Louis grand jury has decided to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Mike Brown--although the Missouri governor's decision Monday to declare a preemptive state of emergency may signal that an announcement will be made soon.

There are going to be at least 75 planned actions in response to the grand jury's decision, and the Ferguson National Response Network Tumblr is aggregating them. Most actions are taking place in public parks, outside of courthouses and on college campuses; users can click on individual actions for more information.

So far, the site's listing actions in the following states and the District of Columbia:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • D.C.
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois*
  • Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Organizers planning additional actions submit details on a separate document

*Post has beeen updated to include Illinois.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Want to Know When the Wilson Indictment Decision Comes Down?

Colorlines - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 07:57
Want to Know When the Wilson Indictment Decision Comes Down?

An online document created by @nettaaaaaaaa and @deray will tell you how to get a direct text to your phone when the St. Louis grand jury announces its decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson for the killing of Mike Brown.

Framed by an open letter, noindictment.org provides a wealth of resources for activists, including a link to planned protests in the St. Louis area. Here's a quick look at the linked map for just some of what's planned:


Noindictment.org site features a list of safe spaces in the St. Louis area, a link to proposed rules of engagement for police, a list of local hospitals and clinics, and a lot more. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Keystone XL Defeated (For Now), Airbag Recall, Another Accusation Against Cosby

Colorlines - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 07:43
Keystone XL Defeated (For Now), Airbag Recall, Another Accusation Against Cosby

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

  • Six die as frigid temperatures grip the United States.  
Categories: Diversity Headlines

One Chinese Elder Learns that U.S. Citizenship Doesn’t Mean Renouncing Her Homeland

New America Media - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 01:00
Photo: At age 70, King Man Lam Ng took an oath and became a U.S. citizen. (Rong Xiaoqing/Sing Tao New York)????King Man Lam Ng clearly remembers the day she passed the naturalization test for her citizenship application. "I was so... Rong Xiaoqing http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Middle Class Struggles to Preserve Retirement Security

New America Media - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 00:20
 WASHINGTON, D.C.--It’s no secret that retirement security is eroding for many Americans.“Half of today’s working-age households are unlikely to have enough resources to maintain their standard of living once they retire,” according to the National Retirement Risk Index, compiled by... Pamela Yip http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Bao Nguyen Wins Race for Garden Grove Mayor

New America Media - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:11
Garden Grove, Calif. – Garden Grove Unified School District Trustee Bao Nguyen has won the election for Mayor of Garden Grove. Nguyen’s final margin of victory over Mayor Bruce Broadwater was 15 votes, making it one of the closest contests... Nguoi Viet http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Cornel West and Questlove Talk About Black Revolution and Blues Music

Colorlines - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:11
Cornel West and Questlove Talk About Black Revolution and Blues Music

Questlove caught up with Cornel West recently for a wide-ranging interview that broadly touched on what the two know best: politics and music. The interview gets right to the point, starting off with a question about collaborative versus individual leadership in the movement for justice:

QUESTLOVE: So you were teaching your class about the difference in social impact between Marcus Garvey and Du Bois. And what I took away was the question of whether we need a messiah figure to lead society, or can it be truly grassroots? I also wonder what good it will do today. Chuck D taught me a long time ago to aim really small. And everyone now has [Michael] Jordan-itis--everyone wants the star position. So where do you fall, on the question of how we can best move forward as a society, between the Moses-messiah figure, like Martin Luther King Jr. or, say, Occupy Wall Street, which really didn't have a leader? 

CORNEL WEST: I take my fundamental cue from John Coltrane that says there must be a priority of integrity, honesty, decency, and mastery of craft. I take my second cue from [organizer and activist] Ella Baker that says, with that integrity, honesty, decency, master of craft, there must be an attempt to find, among everyday people, vision, voice, and modes of organizing and mobilizing that does not result in the messianic model, in the HNIC, the head negro in charge. This is where Martin King comes in, and the distinction we made in class between conspicuous charisma and service-oriented charisma. It's possible to be highly charismatic the way John Coltrane was, and still de-center oneself, as he did, to allow for McCoy, and Elvin, and Reggie, and the others [who played with Coltrane] to lift their voices with tremendous power. Martin, at his best, was able to empower others, galvanize others and, through an integrity and humility, recognize he's just another human being, not a messiah. At his worst, he was the Moses that everybody had to defer to. 

Read more at Interview Magazine

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Ava DuVernay's 'Selma' Earns Standing Ovation in New York City

Colorlines - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:41
Ava DuVernay's 'Selma' Earns Standing Ovation in New York City

New York City played home to a special screening of Ava DuVernay's highly anticipated film "Selma" on Monday night and received a standing ovation. The film stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. and centers on the historic 1965 Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama*.

Here's the trailer:

Roger Friedman of Showbiz 411 was there for the screening and wrote that the film has already made its case for Oscar consideration:

"There's a lump in your throat at the of 'Selma,' a movie that wisely takes a a snapshot of King's life from the moment he wins the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 through the Selma march in 1965...Cinematographer Bradford Young (who also has 'Pawn Sacrifice' and 'A Most Violent Year') gives 'Selma' a convincing feel in muted colors that blossom toward the end of the movie. The version we saw last night also featured the theme song, written and recorded by Jay Z and John Legend. It's a winner."

The film has got plenty of Hollywood heavyweights behind it. Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt are executive producers, and DuVernay picked up the project after director Lee Daniels bowed out in the aftermath of "The Butler." The film is slated to hit theaters this Christmas. 


* Post has been updated since publication to reflect that King's 1965 march was from Selma to Montgomery not, to Selma.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Rosebud Sioux Tribe Calls House Keystone XL Passage an 'Act of War'

New America Media - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:00
photo: Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council President Cyril Scott, in aqua shirt, at the People's Climate March on September 21 in New York City. credit: Steven Fontas. (courtesy of Indian Country Today).Calling the U.S. House of Representatives’ November 14 vote for... Staff http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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