Colorlines - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 17:55
On June 6, Netflix will unleash the second season of its wildly popular series "Orange is the New Black." Here's a sneak peek that features lead character Piper in solitary and Crazy Eyes doing electrical work:
Colorlines - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 17:34
Muslim students at New York City's public schools are calling for the district to recognize Islamic holidays. Estimates of the city's Muslim population range from 600,000 to 1 million, according to The New York Times. A Columbia University study found that about 10 percent of students in the city's public schools are Muslim and that 95 percent of Muslim children in the city attend public school.
From The New York Times:
The issue might seem of modest importance alongside deeper concerns among many Muslims in the city, including the Police Department's monitoring of their community since the Sept. 11 attacks. But the rally, held recently in a public school auditorium in Queens and organized in barely a week's time, was a testament to how the city's Muslim community is gaining a measure of political confidence.
Debbie Almontaser, who was forced out of her job as principal of the city's first Arabic language school, in Brooklyn, in 2007 after The New York Post inaccurately portrayed her as sympathizing with Muslim extremists, now works at the Benjamin Banneker Academy, another public high school in Brooklyn. She sees many of her Muslim students grappling with how to express their identity.
"There is so much negativity out there, and including the Muslim holidays is simply a stamp of saying, We accept and embrace you, and this is your city as it is my city," she said.
The group behind the most recet protests is the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays, which describes itself on Facebook as a collection of "faith-based, civil rights, community, labor and grassroots" organizers. More from the group:
Every year, on their most sacred high holidays, 1 out of every 8 public school children is forced to make an unfair choice between their education and their faith (that's about 12 percent of the public school population!) The Coalition for Muslim School Holidays is dedicated to organizing to incorporate Eid Ul Fitr and Eid Ul Adha in the NYC public school calendar.
Mayor Bill De Blasio has previously voiced his support for the effort. "It is complicated in terms of logistics and school calendar and budget," he told WNYC host Brian Lehrer last February. "But it's something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame."
Colorlines - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 17:15
Still reeling from Thursday night's "Scandal" Season 3 finale? Watch creator Shonda Rhimes explain on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
Outtakes from the Hollywood Reporter:
1. The pace: Rhimes said the rapid pace of the show is intentional, and she wants the show to feel "like you can't do other things." It's basically the anti-multitasking show (though live tweeting is likely OK).
2. On Olivia leaving: "There's possibilities," Rhimes said when asked if Olivia (Kerry Washington) was certain she wanted to leave D.C. with Jake (Scott Foley). The showrunner confessed that the look on Olivia's face made it clear that "she's not so sure" about the decision to quit OPA and leave to stand in the sun with Jake.
3. The biggest debate in the writers' room: The midseason finale when Jake was selected as B613 Command. They shot scenes with both Jake being named Fitz's running mate and what aired. Rhimes ultimately watched both and said, "Vice president feels stupid," and Jake was crowned head of B613.
The highly anticipated finale has already been called the show's "best episode yet."
Colorlines - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 16:54
- At least 12 Sherpa are dead following a massive avalanche on Mount Everest; the rich foreigners who make the Sherpa carry all their stuff are all accounted for.
- The sunken South Korean ferry capsizes; 271 remain missing, vice principal survivor found hanged, and arrest warrent is issued for captain.
- Guns don't kill people; 6-year-olds do.
- Wal-Mart will soon offer money transfers.
- Facebook's "Nearby Friends" allows you the option to stalk people IRL, too.
- Turns out people been fixing wrestling matches for about 2,000 years.
- The negative consequences of childhood bullying, including poor mental health and unemployment, can last a lifetime.
- NASA crashes its moon-orbiting explorer into the moon's darkside, claiming no debris is left behind.
New America Media - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:40
Photo: LGBT seniors ward off feelings of isolation at Openhouse's games day in San Francisco. (Jane Philomen Cleland/Bay Area Reporter)Part 3 of series. Click to see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 4.SAN FRANCISCO--A walk through Manhattan's gay Chelsea district... Matthew S. Bajko http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
New America Media - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:10
Miami is about six feet above sea level and smack up against the ocean. It’s one of the cities most economically vulnerable to sea level rise in the world. So when there’s talk of sea level rise in Miami,... Patricia Sagastume http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:54
Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez has passed away, the Associated Press reports. Best known for the magical realism of his expansive novels like "Love in the Time of Cholera" and "One Hundred Years of Solitude," García Márquez was a literary icon in Latin America and beyond. He was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. He was 87 years old.
New America Media - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:38
Nobel laureate Gabriel García Marquez, considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, died in Mexico City at the age of 87. Born in Colombia, Garcia Marquez was a journalist, novelist, screenwriter, playwright and memoirist best known for... El Nuevo Herald http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:12
NBC has set a date to run the pilot for "The Maya Rudolph Show:" May 19 at 10pm EST. The variety show will feature a guest performance by Janelle Monáe, and Raphael Saadiq will serve as bandleader.
Rudolph, the daughter of late soul singer Minnie Ripperton, was one of the most popular cast members of "Saturday Night Live" of the past decade thanks to her memorable impersonations of Beyoncé, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston and Barbra Streisand.
If you're not already excited about the show, here's classic Maya Rudolph during a 2011 appearance on "The Ellen Show:"
Colorlines - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:08
The beautifully written and shot documentary "Time is Illmatic" made its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival this week. The film, written by Erik Parker and directed by One9, chronicles the making of Nas's historic debut album just in time for its 20th anniversary, and we'll have more on the film soon. For now, take a look at this live performance and listen to a streaming version of the album in its entirety.
New America Media - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:05
Image: Rene C. Davidson Courthouse photo by Wally Gobetz/Flickr. Illustration by Oakland Police Beat.In the last 20 years, few Oakland Police Department officers have been charged with criminal misconduct, even when unarmed citizens are shot and killed.“Criminal charges in Oakland... Laura McCamy http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:12
Remember Jorge Narvaez and his young daughter, Alexa? Their 2010 videotaped cover of Edward Sharpe's "Home" eventually garnered 27 million view on YouTube and led to appearances on "Ellen" and "America's Got Talent." But, as Jorge Rivas writes at Fusion, the occasion wasn't exactly a family affair:
In March, Narvaez's mother [Esther Alvarado] was one of 78 adult individuals who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to turn themselves over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and seek asylum from the countries where they were born.
In March, Narvaez released an updated version of the video to bring attention to his mother's case.
Colorlines - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 19:13
Labor unions in the U.S. are at a crossroads and workers of color--particularly women, and immigrants-- figure prominently in how well they move forward. Big labor, now down to representing only about one in every 10 American workers, knows this. But incorporating immigrants and non-union and unemployed workers will also mean addressing their community issues, too--like mass incarceration and immigration reform. And for many young workers facing a bleaker present and future than many current pensioners, advancing non-workplace issues affecting low-income and working class people of color makes the difference between joining up or observing from a distance. Some unions get that. And that's all some young workers are demanding.
The support Constance Malcolm, 40, received from her union exemplifies this trend, which is known as social justice unionism. Malcolm belongs to an unenviable club of black moms. On an early February afternoon in 2012, about two weeks before George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, the NYPD kicked in the door of her Bronx apartment and in the bathroom, an officer shot her 18-year-old son, Ramarley Graham in the chest. He was unarmed. A bag of marijuana floated in the toilet bowl.
Questions about how officers came to follow Graham in the first place as he left a nearby bodega found a growing community space for protest. Civil disobediences to end racial profiling and stop-and-frisk were then beginning to be seen more frequently due to a handful of dedicated activists. But the death of an unarmed teen helped magnify the call.
What had previously been small street corner rallies of 10 to 20 people mushroomed within four months into a march of tens of thousands down Fifth Avenue to then-mayor Michael Bloomberg's mansion. Part of the reason was Graham's mom. Ten years ago Malcolm, a certified nursing assistant, joined Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the fastest growing labor unions in the country. Identified by their purple and yellow T-shirts, her local, 1199SEIU East, along with Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, organized the 2012 Father's Day march. It showed New York City for the first time just how many people, and not just black and Latino males, were against the NYPD's practice of stop-and-frisk.
"Eleven ninety nine got thousands of people to come out to march and see the injustice being done to black and brown people," Malcolm says one early afternoon by phone. Her shift as a certified nursing assistant at a Bronx home has not too long ended. "So much had been going on with our youth, especially around stop-and-frisk, and people seemed not to pay attention. But 1199 got people out in the street."
"They're not just here for members but for all people," Malcolm says. "I think they would support anyone in an unjust situation."
How unions use (or, don't use) their organizing power was a key theme among young workers of color and young whites, too, at a recent Chicago labor conference attended by 3,000 rank-and-file members from around the country. In an era of cutbacks in jobs, public services, wages and, until recently, healthcare, a union's willingness to represent the hard issues facing their generation and all working communities appears to matter even more. It is not enough to work for members' on-the-job concerns, only.
"Unions want more members in order to be more powerful--but in order to do what?" asks 25-year-old Michelle Crentsil, an African-American union member who advocates on behalf of medical residents and doctors in New York City. "We can be more powerful to get good contracts and we should. But we need to be more powerful to address police brutality and mass incarceration, too."
In some ways, unions organizing for all workers, not just dues-paying members on the job is a practical matter. Compared to 30 percent of the workforce in the early 1960s, only one out of every 10 American workers is a union member today.
"They're going to die," Cornell University labor professor Kate Bronfenbrenner matter-of-factly says, of unions that don't look beyond workplaces to engage non-union workers in social justice unionism.
For Crentsil, appealing to new membership matters. She points out that research consistently shows that people of color, particularly women of color, are the workers most likely to unionize today. So supporting a living wage for non-union fast food workers, or advocating for local ordinances around paid sick leave or affordable childcare makes sense. More than that though, Crentsil, a Harvard grad from a working class family with union ties in Kentucky*, cares about strategy and wants unions to be clear-eyed about the attacks they've faced over the last few decades.
"When unions talk about inequality we have to name the implications that has for people of color and the intentionality behind that," she says. "When [this country] thinks of a public worker, for example, they think of a lazy black woman in a post office. They're saying these workers don't deserve protections or higher pay because they have racist, sexist notions of who these workers are."
Crentsil sees a clear bright line connecting increasingly difficult on-the-job fights for all workers, and the dominant racist framing of workers as undeserving.
"Every contract fight is dealing with basically the micro-manifestation of a larger problem of how we view workers in America," she says. Those biases, which debase one group of workers, justify continued lowering of protections and job security for all workers, union or no, Crentsil suggests.
It was difficult initially for 34-year-old Ramsés Teón-Nichols to connect his struggles as a young Latino on the job, with struggles he faced as a young Latino in the world. A case manager at a nonprofit providing housing to the homeless in San Francisco, Teón-Nichols is also vice president of organizing for an SEIU local. A decade ago however, he was a recent college grad with a deep student activist background who saw big labor as bureaucratic and unresponsive or unaccountable to "the community."
"I'd see hotel workers go on strike where I grew up in Las Vegas but it felt like, well, they look out for their own. What about the great majority of us who don't have a union?" Teón-Nichols says.
What he didn't realize then, he says, was that those hotel workers were bringing hard-won income as well as a sense of stability that derived from job contracts, back home to their neighborhoods.
"Without those on-the-job protections, things would be that much more difficult in their neighborhoods," says Teón-Nichols who describes as a formative and enriching moment, helping to form a union of nonprofit workers in his 20s with other low-income men of color.
"Forming a union gave us a space to figure a way out of unfair work conditions and managers that we thought were racist," he says. "And in a way, as men of color, we felt like by fighting back against racist bosses we were also fighting this larger system that in our daily lives was keeping us down."
Dina Yarmus, 29, a waitress in a hotel restaurant and an organizer in her Unite Here local in Philadelphia says she wouldn't stand for a union that only supported members.
"If I found myself in a union that only advocated for dues-paying members, I'd organize to change that," she says. "There are union members in that struggle now. You need to figure out how to do both."
Yarmus, who is white, is aware of how race plays in her workplace, throughout the hotel industry and in her city. White workers typically fill front-of-house positions. Lower-paid and back-of-the-house positions: Native and immigrant men and women of color. And because of Philadelphia's history, she says, it takes longer and is harder to build trust. But after a decade of fighting in her workplace and in Philadelphia communities for immigrant rights, against gentrification and for quality public schools, Yarmus says that what bridges the gap between all workers is a desire to have more control over their lives when so much--like unemployment, food stamps--is being taken away.
"People are being pushed and pushed to see their problems as individual with individual solutions," Yarmus says. "But our power comes from the ability to act collectively. A union is about fighting for democracy in the workplace but a union movement has to be about fighting for democracy in society."
While broad union membership has been on the decline, labor professor and researcher Bronfenbrenner says certain sectors are growing--especially if they are organizing women of color.
"The corporate-state alliance is so tight and workers rights are increasingly being dismantled so for unions to have power they're going to have to build community coalitions and fight over much bigger issues," she says.
"That means, for example, women in the workplace are going to have to get men to join with them to fight over rights over access to birth control and reproductive health issues. And workers of color are going to have to get white workers to join with them to make sure they have access to the vote."
For 1199SEIU in New York City, social justice unionism meant organizing around stop-and-frisk and police brutality.
No doubt, Malcolm, a nursing assistant who emigrated as a teen from Jamaica, appreciates the comparative job security offered by belonging to 1199. The Bronx has the highest unemployment in the state, 12 percent, and just a few train stops away from Malcolm's working-class neighborhood is the poorest congressional district in the nation.
But she appreciates, too, that her union president spoke during the recent second anniversary of Ramarley's death.
"He could've been somewhere else but he came," she says. With a grand jury failing last fall to re-indict Richard Haste, the officer who pulled the trigger, Malcolm is now asking the Department of Justice to step in and launch an investigation not only into Haste but the other officers on the scene.
Ramarley would have turned 21 this past Saturday.
*Post has been updated.
Colorlines - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 17:44
Since 1788, the state of New York has taken 2.5 million acres of Onondaga land in violation of a historic treaty as well as in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Six months ago, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling that dismissed a land claim case first filed by the Onondaga Nation in 2005, which means U.S. courts are no longer an option. The Onondaga have long waited for Congress to move forward on a settlement act--but that hasn't happened, either. So an international venue is a logical next step.
The Onondaga Nation, whose home is what most know as Upstate New York, has filed a petition against the United States at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. If they're successful in this autonomous body of the Organization of American States, the commission will find that the United States is violating human rights of the Onondaga.
It's important to keep in mind that the commission broadly interprets human rights in the Americas; it can issue recommendations, but it isn't a court. There is an Inter-American Court of Human Rights, but the U.S. has never ratified its convention, and isn't party to the court.
"The U.S. government doesn't even live up to its own constitution," says Chief Virgil Thomas. "Their courts will never do justice for us."
Here are seven more things to keep in mind about why the Onondaga are taking their petition to an international human rights commission.
The Onondaga are part of an important confederacy of nations that governed well before the United States was even an idea.
The Onondaga, or People of the Hill, are one of six Native nations along with the Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora that make up the Haudenosaunee Confederacy--sometimes referred to as the Iroquois or Six Nations. The confederacy's territory extends over a good part of upstate New York, and into Canada. The Onondaga claim includes land in Syracuse and Binghamton.
The Haudenosaunee have had a government since well before Europeans arrived in the Americas. When Haudenosaunee entered into various treaties, they did so with sovereign counterparts. The Onondaga has always held sovereign authority over its nation, and as part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
The Onondaga birthed democracy in what we know as North America.
According to the Haudenosaunee, a messenger of peace met with warring nations to bring them together around 1,000 A.D. Soon after, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy was formed at the shores of Onondaga Lake. "That's the birth of true democracy," says Tadodaho Sid Hill, an Onondaga chief.
In 1744 and 1753 Benjamin Franklin visited the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and envisioned a settler confederacy influenced by what he saw there. That confederacy eventually became the United States of America. Today the Onondaga Lake is a massive Superfund site full of pollutants in the water and wildlife.
This petition has everything to do honoring treaties.
The Northwest Indian War--which took place for 10 years, largely over what we call the state of Ohio today--proved devastating for the United States just after it had gained independence from Britain. Although it's hardly recognized, the Battle of Wabash in 1791 resulted in the biggest Native defeat of the U.S. Army to date.
Anxious that the Haudenosaunee Confederacy would join the Western Confederacy that was proving victorious against the United States in Ohio, President George Washington sent wampum string to the Haudenosaunee chiefs, and asked Congress to appropriate funds to create a wampum belt to memorialize the treaty. The resulting 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua between the Haudenosaunee and the United States makes clear that the land in question belongs to the Haudenosaunee.
The Onondaga Nation was barred from filing a land claim in federal court, and was then told it waited too long.
The Onondaga Nation--like all Native nations--was barred from even taking land claims to federal court until 1974. Nevertheless, the Onondaga attempted to negotiate an amicable agreement with the state New York to have a say in the Onondaga Lake cleanup effort, and hoped that Congress would pass a land claims settlement act as it prepared the resources and know-how necessary to file a claim. When the Onondaga did so on March 11, 2005, it was legally valid in U.S. courts, but just 18 days later, a Supreme Court ruling for a similar case made the Onondaga claim illegal. In that ruling, Sherrill v. Oneida, the high court essentially came up with a separate set of rules that only applies to Native nations and land rights.
The Onondaga aren't looking for money, evictions or casinos.
The Onondaga Nation has a clear legal claim to its land and waters, which is spelled out in treaties. As such, it's entitled to seek damages and evictions. But, according to chiefs and the attorney filing the petition at the commission, the nation is not doing so, nor does it want to open casinos in the area. Instead, the Onondaga Nation wants a clear say in how to protect the land and the water, especially the Onondaga Lake. The nation has long worked with environmental groups, helping to stop a coal plant in 2007, works against hydrofracking today, and has a legal team that helps locals end their gas leases. The nation isn't seeking anything other than what's already spelled out in treaties and guaranteed in federal law.
Native nations have been already been successful at the commission.
In 2002, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found that the United States violated the human rights of the Western Shoshone--they body's first ruling against the United States. The case concerned violations to due process, property, and equality under the law. The U.S., however, has ignored that finding.
A moral victory would be important.
The Onondaga's petition accuses the United States of violating human rights by stealing land and devastating the environment. If nothing else, the commission's decision to accept the petition means that the Onondaga are being heard. That's an incredibly important step for the Onondaga, who have long been wronged on their own land.
Colorlines - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 17:21
Windy City natives Kanye West and Common are teaming up with the Chicago Urban League for an initiative that they say will create 20,000 jobs for young people in the city.
Chicago's gun violence epidemic has been national news in recent years. Nearly half of the city's 2,389 homicide victims between 2008 and 2012 were younger than 25, and more than 2,300 young people survived shootings last year, as my colleague Carla Murphy noted earlier this week when gun violence began in the city began to increase once again. Illinois also became the latest state to pass a law permitting registered gun owners to carry concealed firearms after a bitter fight that had victims of gun violence at its center.
From the Chicago Defender:
Common recently announced during a press conference that his Common Ground Foundation will be working with Kanye West's Donda's House, Inc. and the Chicago Urban League in an initiative to bring employment opportunities through The Chicago Youth Jobs Collaborative. 92 percent of the Black youth in Chicago are unemployed, which means that many of these kids are on the streets. And we've all read the gruesome headlines about Chicago's cruel streets. But what's worse is Chicago has become the center of the national gun debate, and the city's youth has taken the hardest hit from gun violence.
While the move has been celebrated by local and hip-hop news outlets, it's unclear what these jobs will actually look like and how much they'll pay. The Chicago Youth Jobs Collaborative focuses on finding year-round employment for young people between the ages of 16 and 24, and also provides mentoring and support services. Read more at the Urban League.
Colorlines - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 17:06
Here's what I'm reading about while not eating Cheerios this morning:
- The captain of the South Korean ferry was one of the first to escape; 284 people, mostly teens, are still missing.
- An overnight raid in Ukraine leaves three people dead.
- Edward Snowden questions Putin on television about Russian surveillance.
- Jobless claims are down to levels not seen since 2007.
- 19-year-old Canadian computer science student Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes is arrested for exploiting Heartbleed to hack Canada's Revenue Agency.
- X-Men director Bryan Singer is accused of drugging and raping a teenager.
- Guess who benefits from those free drug samples your doctor's hawking? Big pharma.
- And finally, do you 'like' any General Mills brands on Facebook? Doing so clicks away your right to sue them.
New America Media - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 10:25
LONG BEACH -- Every morning before Evangelina Ramirez leaves for work, she cleans the house in a meticulous manner so that everything is where it belongs. She does this, she says, so she can come home to a clean house... Rabiya Hussein http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 23:48
Oakland-based hip-hop group Los Rakas released a new album this week called, "El Negrito Dun Dun & Ricardo." It's the fifth album for the bilingual duo, and perhaps their most political work yet. This video for the single "Sueño Americano" takes direct aim at America's broken immigration system. The lyrics are in Spanish, but you can read a translation after the jump.
New America Media - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 22:30
Today, Mayor Nutter signed an executive order that ended all collaboration between federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Philadelphia police.The order put an end to torn apart families and ICE holding individuals arrested by Philadelphia police for non-violent crimes.... Al Día http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
New America Media - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 22:01
The largest generation in U.S. history is cruising into their golden years. Over the next twenty years, the number of folks in the U.S. aged 65 and older will double in size and climb to 20% of the population. These... Hyphen Magazine http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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