Diversity Headlines

César Chávez Film Has Lukewarm Opening Weekend

Colorlines - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 22:26
César Chávez Film Has Lukewarm Opening Weekend

Despite positive reviews and targeted screenings in Mexican-American markets, opening weekend for Diego Luna's César Chávez biopic was important, but spectacular. From Deadline:

Lionsgate/Pantelion's Cesar Chavez bowed in a fairly large number of theaters with disparate results. The film about the farm workers champion lured a strong following in areas he was active, grossing $3 million overall for a $4,518 average. The film also boasted an A Cinemascore, though the film starring Michael Peña as the civil rights activist/labor organizer as well as America Ferrera and Rosario Dawson fared comparatively slow in New York. Abramorama, meanwhile opened Mistaken For Strangers in 9 theaters with an OK start. It grossed $81,800, averaging $9,089.


Categories: Diversity Headlines

People in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones

Colorlines - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 21:42
People in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones

Around this time last year, the Republican Party was finally coming to terms with why they lost the presidential election in 2012. They first claimed voter fraud was the culprit for Mitt Romney's loss. But after some soul-searching they came to the realization that they were just really bad at connecting with voters of color. The party released an "autopsy report" of what went wrong in 2012 candidate and listed failed "minority outreach" as a primary cause of death. 

This year is supposed to be the time when they show America that they've learned from their mistakes. With an important mid-term congressional election season on our hands, 2014 is the year where the Republican Party is expected to show and prove how much they've evolved on race. The Democratic Party has already seized upon the one-year anniversary of the Republican autopsy by declaring the Republican rebranding a failure. 

Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida wrote in The Huffington Post that the GOP "is a year older and not a bit wiser." That might be true, but things aren't looking so bright for the Democratic Party either, a year-and-change after their big 2012 win. After all, Wasserman wrote this just a couple of weeks after her party experienced a crushing defeat in a congressional special election held in her own Florida backyard.

With that in mind, her op-ed read like a kid making fun of a student who got left back a grade, but only as coverup for the fact that she flunked her first major exam. The real issue Wasserman might want to concern herself with is whether the Democratic Party has evolved at all on its own outreach to people of color.   

Both parties are worth sizing up on this matter, but first, let's see if Democrats had a point in their autopsy of the GOP autopsy. The case, as laid out by Wasserman, isn't that convincing. Wrote the DNC chair: 

In the past year, we've heard Republican leaders and operatives call a female candidate an "empty dress," talk about women's "libidos," and -- once again -- try to downplay abuse. We've heard them use derogatory terms to describe Latino immigrants, use insulting stereotypes for African-Americans and our president, and support outright discrimination against LGBT Americans.

Probably the most blatant and recent example of this was when Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's pick for vice president in 2012, sent a racial dog whistle out about "inner-city" men being too lazy to work. That was pretty bad. Can Obama's party claim the high ground here, though? MSNBC news show host Melissa Harris-Perry has already called them out this, writing last week in The Nation, "After all, [Ryan's] comments have been the mainstream view of the Democratic Party for decades."

It was the Democratic President Bill Clinton, and a whole lot of Dems in Congress, who created the laws that pushed millions of people of color off of welfare rolls in the 1990s -- #facts.

Also this:

"{E]specially in this high-growth environment, where are you going to get people to work to clean our hotel rooms or do our landscaping? ... we don't need to put those employers in the position of hiring undocumented and illegal workers." 

That was the Democratic candidate Alex Sink talking about Latinos, not a Republican.

The Democrats are correct about Republicans obstructing legislative progress on immigration reform and raising the middle wage. Republicans also keep shooting themselves through serial votes to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act -- enough times that Obamacare could file a restraining order on them at this point. 

But, the Democrats have been holding up progress on a few items themselves. It wasn't just Republicans that voted to block the much-respected attorney Debo Adegbile for head of the Justice Department's civil rights division. Democrats helped make that happen. And while the GOP is definitely responsible for shutting the government down last fall, quite a few Democrats in the House joined that melee. 

One way that Republicans claimed that their minority outreach would be serious was by getting behind more candidates of color. I interviewed a few of those candidates in December. Two of them, Katrina Pierson of Texas and David Williams III of Illinois, were defeated in Republican primaries this month. Another black Republican candidate, Erika Harold, also lost in Illinois. (Williams was been calling me almost every week with stories about how he thought his fellow Republicans were purposely trying to sabotage his campaign.) 

To the Democrats credit, they helped get Cory Booker elected to the Senate last fall. But that will not make us forget that when Senate Republicans proposed legislation to kick people with past felony convictions off of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) last summer, Democrats went along with it in the first instance.

All goes to show that instead of dancing on the Republican's supposed grave, perhaps Democrats might want to make sure they're not digging themselves a hole in the process. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Captain Sikh America Responds to Joe Budden's 'Terrorist' Pic

Colorlines - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 20:45
Captain Sikh America Responds to Joe Budden's 'Terrorist' Pic

Vishavjit Singh, the cartoonist who brought us Captain Sikh America, is back with a new cartoon that takes aim at Joe Budden, who posted a picture of a Sikh elderly man on Instagram and stereotyped him as a "terrorist." Singh wrote a rap (above) and posted it on his Tumblr page that calls out Budden's prejudice. 

Budden has since apologized

(h/t Sikhtoons)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Climate Change, Obamacare Deadline and Final Four

Colorlines - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 16:53
Climate Change, Obamacare Deadline and Final Four

Here's what I've been reading this morning:

  • Those aren't missing flight MH370 plane parts in the Indian Ocean; they're junk
  • It's back up now, but the Obamacare site was down earlier today, which is the last day for open enrollment for 2014. 
  • Must-read on Suey Park and #CancelColbert. 
  • Apple wants to make walking while texting safer by making your phone's text background a live feed of whatever's in front of you. 
  • It was snowing here in New York when I woke up this morning, but spring is supposedly coming soon--along with allergies
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Largest IRS Phone Scam Ever Targets Indian Americans

New America Media - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 11:00
 Indian Americans and other South Asian Americans are being predominantly targeted by scam artists pretending to be Internal Revenue Service officials who threaten to send out an arrest warrant if money is not paid to them immediately over the phone,... Sunita Sohrabji http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

A Fresh Food Oasis in San Francisco's Tenderloin

New America Media - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 11:00
photo: Fadhl Radman with business advisor Scott Schaffer. (Melanie Young/KALW)In San Francisco’s Tenderloin, getting healthy fare often isn’t an option. Without a full service grocery store in the neighborhood, residents rely on corner stores, and the district has the city’s... Melanie Young http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Aging Alaska Faced Looming Shortage of Care Providers

New America Media - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 10:30
 Photo: Tlingit Indian and retired fisherman Henry Porter’s arthritis forced him into assisted living. (Joaqlin Estus/KNBA)Part 2. Read Part 1. ANKORAGE, Alaska.--Good physical and mental functioning is considered a sign of successful aging, along with an engaging social life and financial... Joaqlin Estus http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

New CA Program to Streamline Health Care for ‘Dual-Eligibles’

New America Media - Sat, 03/29/2014 - 12:35
 SAN BERNARDINO – When Effie George’s electric wheelchair stopped working, her ability to leave home without assistance also came to a halt.“I couldn’t go to adult day care three times week, someone had to be at the house to help... Brenda Rincon http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

NYPD (Finally) Gets Independent Oversight

Colorlines - Sat, 03/29/2014 - 01:29
NYPD (Finally) Gets Independent Oversight

An inspector general with subpoena power over the NYPD was named today. After much opposition during the Bloomberg years, the City Council created the post in response to surveillance of Muslim communities and stop-and-frisk tactics towards black and Latino young men. Philip K. Eure (pronounced yore), a Boston native, is tasked with investigating police practices on the street as well as department policies. 

Eure officially takes office this May. In addition to impacting how stop-and-frisk is conducted on city streets, it remains to be seen how this appointment will affect the efforts of Muslims in New Jersey to stop NYPD surveillance of their communities. A judge last month dismissed their claim that NYPD spying was unconstitutional because it focused on religion. There are plans to appeal.

"It's now time for the mayor to turn his attention to the NYPD's mistreatment of another minority community: Muslims who have borne the brunt of the post-9/11 police surveillance," the Brennan Center's Faiza Patel wrote this week. Since taking office Mayor de Blasio has abandoned the city's appeal of a landmark stop-and-frisk ruling and he has dropped the city's challenge of a law making it easier to sue police for racial and religious profiling.

(h/t New York Times)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Fil-Ams Cry Foul Over Lack of Pinoy Labor Leaders in Cesar Chavez Film

New America Media - Sat, 03/29/2014 - 00:00
  HOLLYWOOD – Filipino activists took to the streets of Hollywood, this time to protest the premiere of “Cesar Chavez”, a biographical film about the Mexican leader’s revolutionary work in the farm labor movement of the 1960s. But protesters say,... Steve Angeles http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Poll: Many Americans Unaware of Health Care Law Deadline

New America Media - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 23:48
With a Monday deadline looming for uninsured Americans to sign up for health care coverage, the Obama administration yesterday announced it would give more time to those who had tried to enroll in a plan through the federal insurance marketplace,... Pew Research Center http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

More Trouble for Dan Snyder's Foundation

Colorlines - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 22:29
More Trouble for Dan Snyder's Foundation

When Dan Snyder, who owns the Washington, D.C. NFL team, announced his “Original Americans Foundation” this week, some Natives weren’t too happy. Now, there’s more information that throws Synder’s effort into more suspicion.

Synder’s been working with Gary Edwards (Cherokee), who heads the foundation. Edwards also runs an organization called the National Native American Law Enforcement Association (NNALEA). Sounds legit, right? It turns out it probably isn’t.

According to a 2012 federal investigation by the Office of the Inspector General, Edwards received nearly $1 million in federal funds for his Native cops association. In return, Edwards supposedly recruited 748 people to apply for law enforcement position in Indian Country. More than 100 of those applicants didn’t even meet standard age requirements. 492 of them aren’t even Native. And not one was even qualified for a hire:

Upon delivery, [Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Justice] officials reviewed the first batch of applications, finding them to be generally unacceptable because they were incomplete and/or applicants exceeded age requirements, did not have Indian preference, and/or had criminal records. Specifically, we reviewed 514 applications for age, felony records, citizenship, driver’s license, educational requirements, required documentation, and position applied. We found 244 applications (47 percent) to be unacceptable because applicants were not qualified for the position applied for or applications were incomplete. For example, one applicant was born in 1929, which is clearly too old at 80 years of age. Other examples include the following:

•          3 applicants were not U.S. citizens;

•          104 applicants were either too old or too young;

•          3 applicants did not have a driver’s license;

•          26 applications were missing critical documents required by the contract;

•          47 applicants lacked a 4-year degree for the criminal investigator position;


•          119 applicants did not specify the position they were applying for, which is an Office of Personnel Management requirement (see appendix 4 for additional details).

According to BIA’s Human Resources deputy director, NNALEA’s CEO stated that he would focus his recruitment efforts in Indian Country. We found that recruitment in Indian Country was ineffective, with only 22 of 514 applicants (or about 4 percent) having Indian preference.

The Oneida Nation, which leads Change the Mascot, thinks the revelations illustrate Snyder’s flawed approach. Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation representative, says that while the information is disturbing, he’s not surprised. “[Synder] then hired a former associate of notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who helped bilk Native Americans, and selected a person who financially harmed Native Americans to run a foundation to defend his team’s name,” says Halbritter. “These aren’t accidents, but part of a systematic campaign to denigrate Native Americans by a team owner who will stop at nothing to keep the team’s offensive name.”

You can read the damning federal investigation in full

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Comedian Hari Kondabolu Talks About Racism on Letterman

Colorlines - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 22:26

Comedian Hari Kondabolu performed a snippet of his debut comedy album "Waiting for 2042" on the "Late Show With David Letterman" this week. The album title is a reference to the year when it's estimated that white people will become racial minorities in the United States, so it's great to see Kondabolu takes his smart and witty humor to late night TV. Enjoy.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Naturalize Now - Citizenship Application to Double in Length

New America Media - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 22:25
LOS ANGELES – Two days after being sworn in as a U.S. citizen, 71-year-old Tongan American Sione Vanisi smiled broadly, holding a miniature American flag and proudly showing off his citizenship certificate as reporters snapped his photo. “I was here... Elena Shore http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=7
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Dolores Huerta Clarifies César Chávez's Views of Undocumented Immigrants

Colorlines - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 22:23

A 1972 video clip of César Chávez recently resurfaced, in which the iconic civil rights activist called undocumented strikebreakers "wetbacks," causing some to question the inclusivity of his farmworker activism.

Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the organization that later became known as the United Farm Workers (UFW), recently attempted to set the record straight about Chávez's attitude toward undocumented immigrants in an interview on Fusion's Open Source With Leon Krauze."A lot of the people in our organization were undocumented," Huerta tells Krauze. 

(h/t Fusion)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

United Students Against Sweatshops Want Teach for America Off College Campuses

Colorlines - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 19:48
United Students Against Sweatshops Want Teach for America Off College Campuses

United Students Against Sweatshops, a national college student organizing group, wants Teach for America off college campuses. In a "TFA Truth Tour" launched this week, student activists, Teach For America alumni and local teachers are visiting college campuses and speaking up about the politics of Teach for America, and education reform. The tour is slated to hit over a dozen college campuses over the next two weeks to target the undergrads who are the backbone of the Teach for America teaching corps. TFA focuses its recruitment operations on college campuses and often partners with local universities to offer provisional teaching licenses to fresh college graduates who are brought in for two-year teaching stints in poor communities, says Jan Van Tol, a national organizer with USAS.

"TFA recruits based on a social justice and community service message," says Van Tol. "We think that's deceptive and doesn't get at what TFA is really about," which is about dismantling democratic institutions of public education with market-driven education reform.

At a TFA Truth Tour event at the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday night, half the room was filled with UPenn undergrads who had already applied or were considering applying for TFA, says Van Tol. "I can't tell you how many stories I've heard of students at schools being told, 'If you get a job offer from Goldman Sachs you can defer that offer and still do Teach for America and then carry on with your real career,'" says Van Tol. "That runs counter to what we believe, which is that teachers should be well-trained, well-educated professionals. Teaching is not a hobby you just do for two years."

TFA is indeed a lightning rod in the education reform debate. Long supported by corporate-reform-minded foundations and school superintendents like the Broad Foundation and TFA alumni Michelle Rhee, TFA is often blamed for being part of the larger political effort to hollow out public education, villify school teachers and their unions, and ultimately destabilize poor comunities and communities of color.

USAS's goal is to use the tour as a launching pad for a longterm campaign to kick TFA recruiters off college campuses and question universities' current role in sustaining TFA. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

A Brief Tale of Two Working Moms of Color and the Social Safety Net

Colorlines - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 19:48
A Brief Tale of Two Working Moms of Color and the Social Safety Net

In Houston, a 43-year-old mother of six used a little known federal program to obtain a nursing degree, move her family above the federal poverty line and save to buy a home—all while living in public housing. This is unusual. Most welfare recipients lose benefits, including housing assistance, as they earn more income. But the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, according to the Houston Chronicle, maintains stable rental assistance for a five-year-period. It thereby allowed Monica Johnson, starting over after leaving a drug-addicted husband, to save and improve her family’s livelihood.

Problem is, the FSS program is poorly funded. In Houston, federal funds only allow 540 (.03%) of 18,000 eligible households to enroll in the program. The average family doubles their income from $14,000 to $28,000. And while not every family completes the program, it’s difficult not to wonder what a similarly meaningful social safety net, one that accounted for transition periods,* might mean for a family like Shanesha Taylor’s.

The 35-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz. mother faces child abuse charges after leaving her 2-year-old and 6-month-old sons in a parked car while she went for a job interview. Taylor, gone for 45 minutes, told officers she did not have anyone to take care of her children, according to the police report. The FSS makes a difference in that it accounts for how vulnerable housing is, when transitioning from living below to above the poverty line. Could a similar “transition-aware” safety net program, which accounts for childcare when job-seeking*, have made a difference for Taylor?

Those interested in the FSS program should check availability through local public housing authorities. A list of past funding recipients, current through 2012, is available on the HUD site.

(h/t Asset Building Program)

*Post has been updated.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

César Chávez and the Forgotten Filipino Farmworkers

Colorlines - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 18:53
César Chávez and the Forgotten Filipino Farmworkers

Here's the trailer from "The Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the UFW," an hour-long documentary about the Filipino farmworkers who played an instrumental role in creating the United Farm Workers (UFW) union.

That important history is once again coming to light this week in connection with the release of Diego Luna's biopic "Cesar Chávez: An American Hero," which chronicles Chávez's rise as one of the leading Chicano activists of the 20th century. 

In a widely shared blog on the Huffington Post, poet and activist Bino A. Realuyo wrote about what he calls the "Filipino farmworkers erased by the Cesar Chávez movement."

We immigrants mark our historical presence in America by the names of heroes who gave us a voice, an anodyne to invisibility in a country where documented history keeps some and discards others. 


I didn't know about you when I started organizing in the '90s. I had role models, but no Filipino-Americans. In the community organizing world, no one ever mentioned Filipinos next to the apotheosized Cesar Chavez. No Larry Itliong. No Philip Vera Cruz. None of these Filipino men and their Agricultural Worker Organizing Committee that spearheaded the very strike that catapulted Cesar Chavez into American memory and left you in the shadows.

You can read more over at the Huffington Post.

It's important to remember that Chávez did try to build alliances with Filipino farmworkers, as he became the international face of the movement, even though some of those actions may seem ill advised in retrospect. In 1977, Chavez met with then-President Ferdinand Marcos, a move that ultimately led to the resignation of longtime Filipino labor leader Phillip Vera Cruz.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Texas Abortion Law, #CancelColbert and Combat Dolphins

Colorlines - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:01
Texas Abortion Law, #CancelColbert and Combat Dolphins

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

  • Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova. Again
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Sen. Leland Yee’s Arrest Sets Off ‘Earthquake’ in Chinese Community

New America Media - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 11:05
SAN FRANCISCO -- The reverberations of the arrest of California State Sen. Leland Yee can be felt from San Francisco to Southern California, where Chinese-language newspaper World Journal reports that it set off an “earthquake” in the Chinese community.Chinese media... Summer Chiang http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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