Diversity Headlines

Obama’s Arctic Decisions May be the Climate’s Turning Point

New America Media - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 10:10
ANCHORAGE, Alas. -- This is the Climate Moment. A possible turning point.Consider the massive storm that resulted in a state of emergency throughout much of New England with temperatures in the teens, gusty winds, and snow measured by the foot... Mark Trahant http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Marissa Alexander Released; Now on House Arrest

Colorlines - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 08:47

After serving three years in jail, 34-year-old Marissa Alexander went home yesterday and is now on house arrest. A judge denied the prosecutor's request for an additional two-year sentence in the case of the Florida mother who in 2010, and nine days after giving birth, fired a gun near her abusive husband and allegedly his children. Alexander subsequently used Florida's "stand your ground" law as her defense. No one was injured but a jury, MSNBC reports, convicted her in 12 minutes. Alexander was initially sentenced to Florida's minimum, 20 years, and could've faced 60 years in prison. The outcome for Alexander, an African-American woman, provided a stark contrast to that of George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic male, who in a 2013 trial also used the "stand your ground" law in, ultimately, a successful defense in the killing of unarmed 17-year-old African-American, Trayvon Martin. Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, passed in 2005, has been widely criticized for excusing vigilantiism and uneven application but it remains on the books.

Alexander read a prepared statement as she left the Duval County courthouse yesterday. It said in part:

"Today, after the sentence given by Judge Daniel, my family and I will be able to move on with our lives. Although the journey has been long and there's been many difficult moments, I could not have arrived here, where I am today, without the thoughts, many thoughts and many prayers of so many people who voiced their support and encouragement. Words can never express my gratitude for those who stood beside me, including my children and family. I am also grateful that Judge Daniel approached this case with such care and diligence."

Alexander's estranged husband, Rico Gray, according to First Coast News, "said he is happy that the case is over and that everyone can move forward -- especially the children. [He] is happy that she has finally accepted responsibility [but] has concerns about whether she is really remorseful."

For the next two years Alexander will be monitored by ankle bracelet. Supporters, according to News4Jax, have raised money to cover the associated fees and local pastors are offering a job in one of their ministries.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Denver Residents Protest Police Killing of Queer Latina Teen

Colorlines - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 08:26
Denver Residents Protest Police Killing of Queer Latina Teen

Residents in Denver are protesting the police killing of 17-year-old Jessie Hernandez, who was killed Monday after a confrontation with police. BuzzFeed's Adolfo Flores breaks down what happened:

Jessica "Jessie" Hernandez was killed Monday in a confrontation with police who were responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle. Two officers approached the car on foot after they determined it was reported stolen, the Denver Police Department said in a statement.

Authorities said Hernandez drove the car, which had four other teens inside it, into one of the officers and struck him on the leg. Both officers then fired and shot Hernandez multiple times, she was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Both officers who were involved with the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure of offers involved in fatal altercations.


Watch video of a recent vigil for Hernandez below:

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Jordan-IS Prisoner Swap, Marissa Alexander Leaves Prison, Measles Outbreak

Colorlines - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 07:22
Jordan-IS Prisoner Swap, Marissa Alexander Leaves Prison, Measles Outbreak

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

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Marshawn Lynch's Quiet Riot

Colorlines - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 07:17
Marshawn Lynch's Quiet Riot

Marshawn Lynch is a man of few words. In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, the star running back for the Seattle Seahawks is making more news for his hostility toward the NFL press corps than for what he's put on the record. His refusal to play ball with sports media (and a few epic crotch-grabs) has earned him $120,000 in fines and a stern warning from the league's headquarters. But it's also made him one of the most enigmatic players in the NFL.

Lynch has made his share of missteps: he's been arrested for driving with a concealed gun and for driving under the influence. Because he skips press events, refuses to answer the media's questions or he responds to them with some variation of "I'm here so I won't get fined, boss," Lynch has been wide open to some of the most outrageously racist criticism the sports world has seen in recent years. Take this column by CBS New York's Jason Keidel wrote last winter. He paints Lynch as both an uppity prima donna and an "ornery" ghetto brute who is only out to collect a check. He even uses Newark, where the press conference is taking place, to define the running back. A sample:

[He] did little on Media Day to change the perception of him. His testy, truncated responses -- all ending with a caustic "Boss!" -- was the story out of the Prudential Center, which, ironically, is in downtown Newark, as violent a city as any in America.

...If anyone can relate to a city that has surrendered to the violence and galling poverty of the ghetto, it's Lynch.

Lynch comes from an appalling part of Oakland, flanked by drugs, gangs and guns, the template commerce of the ghetto. A major network recently ran a special on Lynch, and lifted the curtain on the reticent star's life. ... He's been arrested several times since entering the public domain, and he's vowed to rebuild his image as someone who left the 'hood, but the 'hood never quite left him.

Perhaps his biggest mistake is being unapologetically black and rebellious in a league business that depends on military-like obedience. That's the subtext that runs through a lot of the criticism aimed at Lynch. Even ESPN's Stephen A. Smith insinuated as much when he said that Lynch's actions "sadden and disappoint me." "Marshawn Lynch seems to me to be a very authentic brother," Smith said. "He is a brother that could have some things to say that could have a profound impact on a lot of young minds out there because he is serious about his business, he is hardcore, and he is real." The point? Lynch is a role model for many young black football fans, and he should leverage that reality to do more.

But if you look past the non-interviews, it's not too hard to find reasons to admire Lynch, both on and off the field. On it, he's a dominant running back, arguably one of the most powerful runners the league has ever seen. Off it, he's a goofball who's fiercely protective of his hometown -- Oakland-- and still deeply involved in it. Here are a few facts about the man behind the myth.

He loves "The Town." Lynch was born and raised in predominantly black North Oakland and he was a legend at Oakland Tech High School, which he graduated from in 2004. Tech is where he earned his nickname, "Beast Mode." ("You find out what's in you and it just comes out," he said by way of describing how to go into "beast mode.") The city is also enmeshed in his style of play: "Growing up, being from where I'm from, a lot of people don't see the light," Lynch said of his spectacular run against the New Orleans Saints during the 2012 NFL playoffs in an ESPN E:60 segment. "I didn't see the light on that play. I guess you could say it's symbolic of where I'm from." 


He's still an Oakland school kid. Lynch is notoriously media shy, but that didn't stop him from making a cameo in a video for the Oakland Unified School District ahead of the 2013-2014 school year to promote school attendance. Check him out dancing with kids to a remix of Rihanna's "Please Don't Stop the Music."


He gives back to his commnity. "I'll be damned if somebody from Oakland say that Marshawn don't come back and be in his community," Lynch told ESPN. Through his Fam 1st Family Foundation, Lynch has helped raise funds to build a youth development center in Oakland that also hosts an annual four-day event for young people in The Town that includes a bowling night. "Oakland, it done taught me a lot," Lynch told reporters. "I mean, Oakland has really just taught me about life, and I feel that I'm proud of my city and I feel like [without it] I wouldn't have been the man who I am today. I'd had ups and downs and I've been able to overcome 'em, just because I feel like being from Oakland I had to overcome so much. The reason I feel I've been able to bounce back from that is because of the strong backbone that I have, and that I represent Oakland."

He's embraced his sweet tooth. Lynch is an avid Skittles fan, and one of few players to receive an endorsement from a candy company. Skittles have become a staple of touchdown celebrations at Seattle's CenturyLink Field. Lynch even staged a mock Skittles press conference to poke fun at the media's frustration with him.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Following Ferguson: Did Your News Media Do A Good Job?

Colorlines - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 06:03
 Did Your News Media Do A Good Job?

"I remember August 9th like it was 10 seconds ago," St. Louis reporter Kenya Vaughn said to a Washington, D.C., audience yesterday. "I was going about my everyday business of social media-watching...and I saw a man holding a sign on Instagram that said, 'The Ferguson police department just murdered my unarmed son.' And I was like, 'Ferguson, Ferguson!? Down the street, Ferguson!? Is this real?'" With that Vaughn sets the frame (11:00) for a truly excellent two-hour panel filmed at the National Press Club by C-Span on how news media covers race following the killings of Mike Brown and Eric Garner. The accounting comes at a time when #blacklivesmatter protests make race and racism a topical, mainstream conversation even as newsrooms have long been criticized for not hiring nor depicting diverse sources and talk-show guests. "Media can not cover race when it is unwilling to look at its own shops," panelist Roland Martin says (32:26).

In addition to Kenya Vaughn, web editor at The St. Louis American and Roland Martin, host of NewsOne Now, panelists include: Paul Farhi, media reporter, The Washington Post; April Ryan, White House correspondent, Urban Radio Networks; Jeff Johnson, journalist, formerly* BET News; Athena Jones, general assignment reporter, CNN; and Gilbert Bailon, editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The panel is wide-ranging and worth the listen. How well does news media cover race or racism in your town?

(h/t Journal-isms)


* Post has been updated since publication to reflect Johnson's affiliation.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

The Workers United! Multi-Ethnic Solidarity in L.A.'s Koreatown

Hyphen Blog - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 03:20

KIWA is unifying voices in the call for labor rights and dignity.

read more

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Indigenous Leaders Call for Driving Test in Their Own Language

New America Media - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 00:05
Lea en españolLeaders of the Mixtec community of Oxnard, Calif. are asking the Department of Motor Vehicles to offer the written driving test in indigenous languages so they can get licenses under California’s AB60. The law, which went into effect... Araceli Martínez Ortega, Translated by Elena Shore http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

The GOP's Border Bill Would Be a Disaster

New America Media - Tue, 01/27/2015 - 13:52
Congress has been pushing to pass bill that turns border security into a matter of zero tolerance: by 2020, every single person entering the US from Mexico illegally must be apprehended. Every. Single. One.If even a single unauthorized immigrant gets... Dara Lind http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

In Albuquerque, a DA Faces Intimidation for Charging Cops Who've Killed

Colorlines - Tue, 01/27/2015 - 13:09
In Albuquerque, a DA Faces Intimidation for Charging Cops Who've Killed

In the last four years, Albuquerque police have pulled their guns on people at least 37 times, and killed at least 23 people among them. The shootings added up: Albuquerque has a fatal police shootings rate that's eight times that of New York City's. Until two weeks ago, when Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg filed murder charges over a March 2014 fatal police shooting, no police officer had ever been criminally charged.

A new New Yorker article by Rachel Aviv examines the faceless web of power which protects police officers who kill people while on the job, and intimidates and possibly retaliates against those who seek justice or accountability. Aviv also reports on recruitment pressures in Albuquerque which forced the police department to ease up on their hiring standards, and accept those who, Aviv implies, otherwise would not belong on the police force. In the wake of Tamir Rice's death at the hands of a Cleveland police officer who was rejected from another police department, Aviv's reporting underscores the point that unleashing questionably qualified police officers into the community can be fatal.

Tucked deep in the story is Aviv's account of the personal and professional price DA Brandenburg is paying for going after those police officers:

Last October, Kari Brandenburg told a police-union attorney that she was leaning toward filing murder charges against the officers who shot Boyd. Within weeks, Brandenburg found herself the target of an investigation by the Albuquerque Police Department. Her twenty-six-year-old son, who was addicted to heroin, had stolen thousands of dollars of his friends' belongings, and Brandenburg had offered to reimburse them. In late November, an Albuquerque detective gave the state attorney general an investigative file that he said showed that Brandenburg had bribed and intimidated witnesses. In a recording of a conversation between officers working on the case, a detective with the Criminal Intelligence Unit acknowledged that the evidence against Brandenburg appeared insubstantial. He said, "There might be charges--they're super-weak--it's probably not gonna go anywhere, but it's gonna destroy a career."

The whole story is an infuriating, but not altogether shocking story, of political pressure and unchecked police power. It comes as the Albuquerque police department embarks on sweeping reforms mandated by the Justice Department.

Read the rest of the New Yorker story.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Mexican Army to Guard Schools Threatened by Gangs

New America Media - Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:45
Mexican soldiers will from Tuesday start guarding elementary and other schools in the resort town of Acapulco that have been closed since November because of gangs threatening teachers, officials said.Some 1,000 soldiers will take up positions outside 107 kindergartens, elementary,... VOXXI http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Chipotle Finally Adds Latino Authors to 'Cultivated Thought' Series

Colorlines - Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:39
Chipotle Finally Adds Latino Authors to 'Cultivated Thought' Series

After lots of understandable uproar about the fact that Chipotle's "Cultivated Thought" series didn't include any Latino authors, the Mexican-themed restaurant has added a crop of new writers to the mix, including Julia Alvarez, the Dominican-American poet and novelist, and Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho.

"Cultivated Thought" authors write short, two-minute stories that appear on the backs of Chipotle bags and cups. Other authors who are participating in the series are Chinese-American author Amy Tan and Indian-American comedian Aziz Ansari.

In addition to reading the work at Chipotle, people can also read the stories online. Here's the full list of new additions:*

Julia Alvarez, Aziz Ansari, Augusten Burroughs, Paulo Coelho, Jeffrey Eugenides, Neil Gaiman, Walter Issacson, Barbara Kingsolver, Amy Tan and Carlos Ruiz Zafron 

 Authors who have previously participated in the series include Toni Morrison and Malcolm Gladwell.    *Post has been altered since publication for style and brevity.
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Jordan Davis' Parents Talk About Film '3 1/2 Minutes' at Sundance

Colorlines - Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:13
Jordan Davis' Parents Talk About Film '3 1/2 Minutes' at Sundance

Director Mark Silver's new documentary "3 1/2 Minutes" is already causing a buzz at Sundance. The film looks at Michael Dunn's shooting of black teenager Jordan Davis and everything that followed, including his parents' search for justice in a criminal justice system that's notoriously biased against black people in America.

In this segment from "Democracy Now," Davis' parents talk with Amy Goodman about their son's case and the impact of the film. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Ava DuVernay Celebrates News of New Hurricane Katrina Film

Colorlines - Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:00
Ava DuVernay Celebrates News of New Hurricane Katrina Film

Pardon the excessive Ava DuVernay love around these parts, but news dropped on Monday that she's set to write, produce and direct a new film based on Hurricaine Katrina. DuVernay is teaming up yet again with David Oyelowo, the actor who's already starred in two of her production, "Middle of Nowhere" and "Selma," and the two are working with Participant Media on the new project. 

August will mark the 10th anniversary that the devestating storm tore through gulf coast and the U.S. government neglected hundreds of thousands of black residents. Participant Media's Jonathan King, who will serve as executive producer of the film, said that DuVernay is the ideal director to tackle such tragedy. 

"Hurricane Katrina is one of the most important social and environmental stories of our time," said King. "Ava DuVernay has shown herself to be highly skilled at bringing intimacy and contemporary urgency to epic events. We have been looking for the right way to get back in business with Ava, and with David Oyelowo, and are proud to re-team with them on her original idea, which we believe will be a powerful film."

DuVernay celebrated the news with a simple Instagram post:

New news! xo

A photo posted by Ava DuVernay (@directher) on Jan 26, 2015 at 4:22pm PST

(h/t Variety)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Viola Davis, Jennifer Lopez to Play Grieving Mothers in New Action Flick

Colorlines - Tue, 01/27/2015 - 09:30
Viola Davis, Jennifer Lopez to Play Grieving Mothers in New Action Flick

Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez are teaming up for a new action film that's being produced by Davis' own JuVee Productions. The film is titled "Lila and Eve," and Tambay A. Obensen has the details at Shadow and Act:

The story - described as "'Thelma & Louise' meets 'Fight Club'" - follows 2 distraught mothers who team up to avenge the death of their children, after authorities are unable to find their murderers - a group of drug dealers. It's a vigilante thriller that will show just how far any mother would go for her child. 

Yolonda Ross  and Aml Ameen are also in the cast, playing a member of a "Mothers of Lost Children" support group, which helps women who have lost children to violence, and Viola Davis' son, respectively.

The film is making its debut at Sundance and filmmakers are looking for a theatrical distributor. 

In the video below, both actresses talk about the new project:


Categories: Diversity Headlines

Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets Unveil NBA's First Chinese New Year Uniforms

Colorlines - Tue, 01/27/2015 - 09:18
Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets Unveil NBA's First Chinese New Year Uniforms

The Golden State Warriors have the NBA's best record, and arguably the league's best fans. The team, which is based in Oakland but is set to move across the bay to San Francisco by 2018, offered a symbol of respect to its large contingent of Chinese and Chinese-American fans on Monday by unveiling their first-ever Chinese New Year uniforms. Team forwards Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green showed off the new unis at a press conference in San Francisco alongside that city's mayor, Ed Lee, and the team's chief operating officer, Rick Welts.

The team will debut the new uniforms on the court on Friday, February 20 when they match up against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena to tip off Chinese New Year, which begins on February 19. The team will also wear them again  in February 24 at Washington, on March 2 at Brooklyn and March 4 versus the Milwaukee Bucks.

"We have been working with the NBA for two years now on our Chinese New Year uniforms to recognize the tremendous fan base that our Asian community represents," said Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts. "Connecting with our Asian community is a priority for our organization and we are proud that we are going to be one of two teams in the NBA to debut a Chinese New Year-themed uniform as a way to thank our fans here in the Bay Area and abroad in China."

The Houston Rockets also announced their Chinese New Year uniforms on Monday, making Golden State and Houston the first two NBA teams to debut such uniforms. The Rockets signed the league's first Chinese superstar in Yao Ming, and also signed Chinese-American star guard Jeremy Lin in recent years.


(Photo credit: NBA PR) 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Winter Storm Juno, Cosby Accused Yet Again, Benadryl Linked to Dementia

Colorlines - Tue, 01/27/2015 - 06:45
Winter Storm Juno, Cosby Accused Yet Again, Benadryl Linked to Dementia

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

  • Astronomers say this exoplanet has rings 200 times the size of Saturn. 
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Winter Storm Facts Could Save Motorists

New America Media - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 14:39
 Heavy snowstorms, dangerous ice and some altogether rough driving conditions are a part of the norm, particularly of late in the Washington, D.C., area.And, for the unfortunate motorist, it could also mean unforeseen time stuck inside an automobile.“Nearly two-thirds of... Washington Informer http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Black Cubans: Restoring US Ties Is Cool, but America, Keep Your Hang-Ups About Race at Bay

New America Media - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 14:21
 It doesn’t matter how much Cuba’s culture changes now that the U.S. has restored diplomatic relations; if you’re waiting for black Cubans to set off some sort of racial revolution, don’t hold your breath.That’s according to some black Cubans who... The Root http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Chloe Kim Becomes the Youngest Winter X Games Gold Medalist

New America Media - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 13:57
 Chloe Kim, 14, became the youngest gold medalist in Winter X Games history, edging seven-time X Games gold medalist Kelly Clark to silver in the women’s snowboard superpipe on Saturday night.Kim, who was too young to compete in the Sochi... Koream Journal http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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