Diversity Headlines

For Black Elders, Improving Miss. Care Homes Involves Hopes and Prayers

New America Media - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 00:20
 Photo: Willora “Peaches” Ephram, left, age 90, listens as a local official reads a proclamation honoring the 50th Anniversary of her Peaches Restaurant. (Alice Tisdale/Jackson Advocate)First of two articles. Read Part 2 here.JACKSON, Miss.--A nursing home stay can be temporary.... Alice Thomas-Tisdale http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Mother Sues U.S. Border Patrol in Slain Son's Death

Colorlines - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 14:13
Mother Sues U.S. Border Patrol in Slain Son's Death

In October 2012 U.S. Border Patrol officers shot and killed 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez with 10 bullets as he walked down a street in the border city of Nogales, Mexico. Today, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on his mother Araceli Rodriguez's behalf against the agency which it says operates with impunity.

"The U.S. Border Patrol agents who killed my son in a senseless act of violence are still out there and they need to be brought to justice," said Araceli Rodriguez in a statement. "The U.S. government has not held the agents who shot my son accountable and that is why I am bringing this lawsuit."

Border Patrol officers have killed dozens of migrants in recent years, and advocates say that those deaths have highlighted the agency's lax use of force guidelines. Since 2005, Border Patrol officers have been involved in the deaths of at least 42 people, according to the ACLU. Fifteen of those deaths occurred in between 2011 and 2012. This spring, the agency "tightened" its rules of engagement for its officers, The Arizona Republic reported. 

Still, said ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project attorney Lee Gelernt in a statement, "Jose Antonio's death is unfortunately not unique. Border Patrol is using excessive and unnecessary force against people on both sides of the border. Agents continue to violate the Constitution with impunity."

Categories: Diversity Headlines

New Children's Book Series Highlights Queer Families of Color

Colorlines - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 14:09
 New Children's Book Series Highlights Queer Families of Color

"We take a chunk of time before bed to lay together and have a snuggle and read," says S. Bear Bergman, describing his nightly routine with his 4-year-old son, Stanley. On one particular evening, they were pouring through a new stack of picture books that had arrived. Bergman's husband and Stanley's father, j wallace (who spells his name in lowercase letters), works for the Toronto school district. He is somewhat of an expert on children's books--particularly those featuring LGBTQ2S (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Two Spirit) kids and families. This most recent stack was of that variety. "We were powering through them, diligently,"  Bergman recounted, "and a couple of pages into the fourth book [Stanley] just went: 'I don't want this anymore. I don't want anymore bully stories.' I just started thinking--what are we sending our children to bed with?"

If you're white, straight, middle-class and able-bodied, you may never have to ask yourself these questions about the literature available to your young children, because your lives are portrayed in a multitude of ways--many of them happy, explorative, inquisitive, joyful. There are literally thousands of books featuring families that approximate yours. If you're queer or a person of color, the options available to you in the children's book aisle severely shrink, especially if you're looking for a story that includes a representation of you or your family. If you're both queer and a person of color, there literally may only be one or two books that even get close to telling the story of your family.

Bergman, a well-known queer and trans author, is setting out to change that, along with a group of authors and illustrators behind a new book series called the Flamingo Rampant Book Club. It's currently looking to receive funding through Kickstarter, and the crew is 42 percent of the way to their ambitious $49,000 goal. The series will feature six books, delivered over a year, that feature stories about LGBTQ2S families, kids and characters. There will be a strong emphasis on including characters of color. A number of the authors and illustrators are people of color. (Bergman is white.) 

Catherine Hernandez, one of the authors signed up to write a picture book called "M is for Moustache" for the series, talks to me while frying chicken for her daughter's dinner one evening. Hernandez lives in Toronto, and is a queer Filipina single mom and the artistic director of Sulong Theatre Company. She decided to write a children's book when her daughter, then 4 years old, came home from school devastated because someone had told her that her face was fat. They immediately rushed out to the local bookstore and brought home a number of titles about self-esteem. "We had a stack of them and we read them every day, three times a day, for a month," Hernandez recalls. Finally, her daughter said, "Mom I love myself now. Can we read something else?'"

Flamingo Rampant Book Club announcement from Legs Hernandez on Vimeo.

The books may have gotten their point across, but when I ask Catherine whether girls of color were featured in them, she says the numbers were limited. For example, she bought two books that featured non-white characters; both were written by white authors. Less than a third of the characters in another were, in Hernandez's words, "ambiguously of color." One book featured a relatively common tactic in children's literature: characters that are all different colors, none of them realistic, such as green, red, purple and yellow. "Showing people who are different colors is a step," j wallace reflects. "But it doesn't allow people reading this book to say, 'There's someone who looks like me, or a group of people I can see in the world.'" It's often considered a safe way to try and depict a world that isn't exclusively white. Another tactic often used in children's books is depicting animals. "We can sidestep racism altogether if we can just have animals," says wallace. "I recognize it sounds ridiculous, and I wish the people who put these books together realize it sounds ridiculous [also]. Many of those books with ducks, dogs, penguins and hamsters are okay, but how many books feature animals, and how many are there that feature South Asian people? Why do we have a market for all these books about animals but not giant groups of people?"

One major factor is how the publishing industry perceives marketability. The shaky business model makes it less likely for mainstream publishers to take on projects that seem risky--and books that don't feature white male protagonists are seen as risks, according to Bergman and wallace. "There is a conventional wisdom in publishing that parents of white children won't buy books that feature children or families of color, but children or families of color will buy books like feature white children," says Bergman. The same goes for girls reading stories featuring boys, but not the other way around.

If we look for even more specific stories featuring LGBTQ families of color, of the few that exist, the narratives themselves often leave much to be desired. Wallace explains that most of the books that feature kids of color in non-heterosexual families are actually transracial and transnational adoption narratives. "The books aren't centering on the lives of people of color and they are never written by people of color," he explains. "They are written by white adults about their family narrative." He goes on to describe one of these books, "King and King and Family," that tells the story of two married white gay men. "They travel to an unnamed jungle kingdom," recounts wallace. "[It's the story of] these two white guys on their honeymoon, but they come back from their trip with a very heavy suitcase [and] oh my! It's a little girl from the jungle! They fill out paperwork to adopt her." The child, who wallace says is of color, is "never portrayed as coming from anywhere and never portrayed as having any family other than King and King." "My Princess Boy" is one notable exception to these limited narratives, featuring a young black child experimenting with gender identity.

When we look for stories that include LGBTQ families or families of color (rather than both), more options abound, but the narratives are still often dominated by stories of struggle, oppression and bullying. So for the new series, Bergman asked that the authors focus on "joyous, celebratory representations." Venues like Kickstarter and Etsy, as well as print-on-demand technology, are making it easier to sidestep publishing gatekeepers and get these stories into the world. And Bergman is using these options to his advantage, having already successfully funded the publication of two children's books about trans or gender independent (a term Bergman prefers to "gender non-conforming" or "gender variant," which he says sound clinical and stigmatized) kids: "The Adventures of Tulip, Birthday Wish Fairy" and Backwards Day. The first features a black main character, and the second utilizes characters who are primary colors. But rather than simply self-publish one or two more books, Bergman and his collaborators decided a series would be the best way to offer a truly diverse set of stories.

While it may be conventional wisdom that white kids won't read books featuring people of color, and that boys won't read books featuring girls, there isn't much research actually supporting it--meaning we may be able to turn the tide by introducing kids to a wider range of stories at a young age. Wallace says of his experience reading with young children: "My experience is that children like good stories. One of my favorite books to share with young children is "Spork" by Kyo Maclear. Spork is a little like a spoon, and a little like a fork and has trouble fitting in and being accepted. Kyo wrote it as a story about her own experience of being mixed race, and when I start conversations with children I ask 'In what other ways are you a bit of one thing, and a bit of another?' And children always want to talk about gender--many of them feel they are a bit of a boy, and a bit of a girl. I think that much of both of these beliefs is about adult teaching children their biases, and less about the actual desires of children."


Categories: Diversity Headlines

Environmental Groups Lag Nation in Diversity

New America Media - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 13:19
Mainstream environmental groups are not mirroring the increasing racial diversity in the United States, according to a new report.While minorities make up 36 percent of the population, they account for no more than 16 percent of the staff of environmental... Ngoc Nguyen http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=70
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch Beyonce Cover Lauryn Hill's 'Ex-Factor'

Colorlines - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 13:04

Beyonce's in the middle of her "On the Run" tour with husband Jay Z and at a recent stop in New Orleans the reigning pop diva covered Lauryn Hill's ex-factor. Watch the video above.

(h/t Okayplayer)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Immigration Reform: Renewing the Promise of America for All Families

New America Media - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:13
 Above: Paul Song’s father Won Ryul Song, wife Lisa Ling, mother Grace Eun Hyung Kim and sister Ann Song, on Paul and Lisa’s wedding day in 2007.As a Korean American boy growing up in New Jersey in the 1970s, I... Paul Y. Song M.D. http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

New Children’s Book Series Highlights Queer Families of Color

New America Media - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 10:29
 “We take a chunk of time before bed to lay together and have a snuggle and read,” says S. Bear Bergman, describing his nightly routine with his 4-year-old son, Stanley. On one particular evening, they were pouring through a new... Colorlines http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Why Public Housing is Falling Apart in NYC

Colorlines - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 09:13
Why Public Housing is Falling Apart in NYC

A new report looks at how more than a decade of defunding at every level of government has led to the decline of New York City's public housing, the largest system in North America. The report's call for affordable housing funding akin to the Marshall Plan comes on the heels of outrage in the city over luxury building "poor doors"--separate entrances, wings and amenities for market-rate and affordable housing residents.

(h/t WNYC Radio)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Hari Kondabolu is Really Excited About His New NYU Artist Residency

Colorlines - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 08:49
Hari Kondabolu is Really Excited About His New NYU Artist Residency

Brooklyn-based comedian Hari Kondabolu is the 2014-2015 artist-in-residence at New York University's Asian/Pacific/American Institute and he's excited about his new gig. From his official statement:

During my years performing in New York City, I have found myself constantly looking for performance opportunities to experiment with new ideas and create longer, fuller pieces. While there are, of course, many open mic nights across the city, they have time limits and do not always have people in the audience. Occasionally, I may slip in a few new jokes during longer headlining sets around the country, but this is not always the most conducive way to present material in-progress and safely fail. In addition, some of the things I want to work on are more long-form (like stories) and are not always best told in a stand-up context. As a result, I often end up flying back to Seattle (where I began my stand-up career) to develop new work in a theater I rent out every few months. This is obviously not ideal since I live in New York City, my hometown.

This residency at the A/P/A Institute at NYU will give me just the space and time I need to publicly workshop ideas I've had for years, but have not had the opportunity to explore. These ideas include material for my stand-up act; essays and stories for publications, radio, or live performances; live and video sketches; and short films.

In many ways, it's coming full circle for the comedian, who was rejected from NYU back in 2000 after missing the application deadline in order to prep for his first stand-up gig. The kickoff event for his new residency will take place at NYU on October 15.

(h/t Angry Asian Man)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Israel Intensifies Gaza Attacks, High Debt and Va. Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Colorlines - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 06:34
Israel Intensifies Gaza Attacks, High Debt and Va. Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

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

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Mental Health Issues in California Kids Go Largely Untreated

New America Media - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 01:10
???More than 300,000 California children, or 8.5 percent, between the ages of 4 and 11 have mental health needs, yet only a quarter of them receive mental health treatment in a timely fashion, according to a new study by UCLA... Viji Sundaram http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=68
Categories: Diversity Headlines

SF Supe Avalos Affair Prompts City Hall to Change Workplace Romance Rules

New America Media - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 13:20
San Francisco City Hall is now revising its policy on romantic relationships in the workplace, after an affair was revealed last week between a San Francisco Supervisor and his Filipina legislative aide, according to a report by Filipino-American daily newscast... Staff http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

China and UC Davis Sign Global Food Safety Agreement

New America Media - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 12:58
??Officials from China’s Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University in Shaanxi province, and the University of California, Davis, signed a memorandum of agreement last week that lays the groundwork for establishing the Sino-U.S. Joint Research Center for Food Safety in China.The... Pat Bailey http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

A Monk During Peacetime

Hyphen Blog - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 12:18

How studying kung-fu helped Ari Laurel think about her activism and identity, and ultimately helped her move on to the next chapter of her life.

read more

Categories: Diversity Headlines

500 ‘Young African Leaders’ to Meet With Obama

New America Media - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 12:06
 With 60 percent of Africa's population under the age of 35, young people stand to play as important a role in their respective nations' success on the continent as anywhere else in the world.On Monday, 500 such young people, who... The Root http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Hilton Als Speaks of 'Ghosts in Sunlight' to Graduating Class

Colorlines - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 11:38
Hilton Als Speaks of 'Ghosts in Sunlight' to Graduating Class

Hilton Als, essayist and longtime theater critic at The New Yorker, gave the commencement speech to this year's graduates at Columbia's School of the Arts. He manages to perfectly capture hope and loss as he experienced it as a student there during the dawn of the AIDS pandemic:

I wonder if you, like me, feel, just now, like a ghost in the sunlight, awash in memories as your life shifts from student to professional, and your professors become your colleagues. I'll pull rank now--but just for a moment--and say that my ghosts are probably older than yours. I mean almost Madonna old, and her 1980s music is there in my reminiscences along with so much more as I recall that the majority of my ghosts became just that during the AIDS crisis, which I first read about while I was a student at Columbia--in 1981 or so. I met those now gone boys at Columbia some time before I met you. In memory they wear what they wore then: Oxford button-downs, and they smoke and gossip in the sun that always makes the steps of Low Library--the very steps you've sat on yourself--look like a sketch in a dream. Tomorrow was faraway then. And then it wasn't.

Read more at the New York Review of Books

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Human Rights Commission Calls for Seattle to Divest from Corporations that Profit on Immmigrant Detention

New America Media - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 10:49
 Earlier this month, the Seattle Human Rights Commission passed a resolution calling on the city to divest from corporations that profit from immigrant detention.The commission said that at least two of the city’s three fund accounts have assets that are... International Examiner http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Maxine Hong Kingston to Receive the National Medal of Arts at the White House

New America Media - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 10:42
 WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 22, 2014) — On Monday afternoon, July 28, 2014, President Obama will award the 2013 National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal to distinguished recipients in the East Room. The First Lady will also attend.Maxine... AA Press http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

PBS Explores Gender, Fashion and 'the Right to be Handsome'

Colorlines - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 09:52

A new segment by PBS' Ivette Feliciano explores how and why clothing for gender non-conforming people is on the rise.

(h/t PBS)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

ICE Detains Pregnant Women Against Its Own Policy

Colorlines - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 08:19

According to its own policy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, only detains pregnant women if they pose a public safety threat--but new evidence illustrates the practice is quite common.

Over at Fusion, Cristina Costantini found that at 559 pregnant women have been detained by ICE in just six facilities since 2012, and there's no reason to believe they meet ICE's own policy for holding expecting mothers. At least 14 women suffered miscarriages while in detention in 2012. According to Fusion's estimate, up to 57 pregnant immigrant women are being detained per day.

Read more over at Fusion

Categories: Diversity Headlines
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