Diversity Headlines

EPA Administrator: Enviro Groups Must ‘Reflect Communities They Serve’

New America Media - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:37
WASHINGTON, D.C. — EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Tuesday that the nation's leading environmental institutions would be more effective at protecting public health if they were more diverse. “We know that as we look at issues like clean water, clean... Anthony Advincula http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=63
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Thurgood Marshall Condemned Chokeholds in 1983

Colorlines - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:07
Thurgood Marshall Condemned Chokeholds in 1983

More than three decades ago, the Supreme Court confronted whether the police violate a person's constitutional rights when they use chokeholds in routine encounters with the public--precisely the dynamic we recently witnessed in the killing of Eric Garner. A lower court had banned their casual use, but in Los Angeles v. Lyons (1983) a five-four majority of the Court overturned that ruling. In effect, they allowed the police to continue using life-threatening chokeholds even against persons who pose no threat of violence.

A blistering dissent came from Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to sit on the nation's highest court. Marshall aimed much of his ire at the majority's tortured legal reasoning, which held that even if the commonplace application of chokeholds raised constitutional issues, plaintiff Adolph Lyons--choked unconscious seemingly for driving while black--was not the right person to sue, since he couldn't be sure he would be choked again.

Before wading into the arcane legal fight, however, Marshall emphasized the human dimension of what happened:

When Lyons regained consciousness, he was lying face down on the ground, choking, gasping for air, and spitting up blood and dirt. He had urinated and defecated. He was issued a traffic citation and released.

Lyons' extreme physical reaction to being choked--loss of consciousness and bowel control--were not exceptional, Marshall carefully showed, but typical of the harrowing physiological consequences that come with choking persons into submission.

The majority ignored this human reality. Likewise, still today most of us don't understand fully what chokeholds do. Listen as Marshall condemns this lethal violence--in a way that, because of what the Supreme Court decided that day, foreshadowed Eric Garner's needless killing:

Although the City instructs its officers that use of a chokehold does not constitute deadly force, since 1975 no less than 16 persons have died following the use of a chokehold by an LAPD police officer. Twelve have been Negro males. 


It is undisputed that chokeholds pose a high and unpredictable risk of serious injury or death. Chokeholds are intended to bring a subject under control by causing pain and rendering him unconscious. Depending on the position of the officer's arm and the force applied, the victim's voluntary or involuntary reaction, and his state of health, an officer may inadvertently crush the victim's larynx, trachea, or thyroid. The result may be death caused by either cardiac arrest or asphyxiation. An LAPD officer described the reaction of a person to being choked as "do[ing] the chicken," in reference apparently to the reactions of a chicken when its neck is wrung. The victim experiences extreme pain. His face turns blue as he is deprived of oxygen, he goes into spasmodic convulsions, his eyes roll back, his body wriggles, his feet kick up and down, and his arms move about wildly.

The LAPD does not distinguish between felony and misdemeanor suspects. Moreover, the officers are taught to maintain the chokehold until the suspect goes limp, despite substantial evidence that the application of a chokehold invariably induces a "flight or flee" syndrome, producing an involuntary struggle by the victim which can easily be misinterpreted by the officer as willful resistance that must be overcome by prolonging the chokehold and increasing the force applied. In addition, officers are instructed that the chokeholds can be safely deployed for up to three or four minutes. Robert Jarvis, the City's expert who has taught at the Los Angeles Police Academy for the past [12] years, admitted that officers are never told that the bar-arm control can cause death if applied for just two seconds. 

More than three decades before the New York police choked Eric Garner to death after confronting him, supposedly for peddling loose cigarettes, Justice Marshall tried to leverage his place on the Supreme Court to educate the whole country about the violent, life-wasting reality of routine chokeholds. How much longer and how many more deaths until the nation listens?

Ian Haney Lopez teaches constitutional law at UC Berkeley. Follow him at @ianhaneylopez and ianhaneylopez.com

Categories: Diversity Headlines

House Avoids Shutdown, Fed Approves Pot on Reservations, Mumps Spreads Through NHL

Colorlines - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 07:28
House Avoids Shutdown, Fed Approves Pot on Reservations, Mumps Spreads Through NHL

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

  • The federal government is "allowing" tribal nations (which already have tribal sovereignty) to grow and sell marijuana on reservations, regardless of what the state the reservation is in thinks about it. Not sure if this means medical marijuana would be reimbursed by flexible spending accounts when purchased on the rez. 
  • Like us on Facebook? Cool. Dislike us on Facebook? Not so much
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Former Supermodel Beverly Johnson Accuses Bill Cosby of Drugging Her

Colorlines - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 11:27
Former Supermodel Beverly Johnson Accuses Bill Cosby of Drugging Her

Beverly Johnson is the latest and highest profile woman, along with fellow model and friend Janice Dickinson, to publicly accuse Bill Cosby of drugging her. (Dickinson also accuses Cosby of rape.) Johnson, a former supermodel and businesswoman writes in Vanity Fair:

I struggled with how to reveal my big secret, and more importantly, what would people think when and if I did? Would they dismiss me as an angry black woman intent on ruining the image of one of the most revered men in the African American community over the last 40 years? Or would they see my open and honest account of being betrayed by one of the country's most powerful, influential, and beloved entertainers?

As I wrestled with the idea of telling my story of the day Bill Cosby drugged me with the intention of doing God knows what, the faces of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and countless other brown and black men took residence in my mind.

Read the rest in Vanity Fair, which reports, Cosby's attorneys declined to comment.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Meet the 24-Year-Old Filipina-American Who Raised $650K on Kickstarter

Colorlines - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 10:39
Meet the 24-Year-Old Filipina-American Who Raised $650K on Kickstarter

The next few weeks will be busy for Angelia Trinidad. After raising more than $650,000, she closed out her second Kickstarter campaign last week. That sum is a whopping 6,584 percent of her modest $10,000 goal. This isn't chump change. According to Kickstarter's statistics, only 1,619 successfully funded projects have raised more than $100,000--less than 2 percent of all projects. So what is Trinidad's illustrious product that 23,000 people backed?

An old-school paper planner.

I can't say for sure why so many people have shelled out between $25 to $30 for what Trinidad has named the "Passion Planner." But I can tell you why I did. I arrived at the Passion Planner Kickstarter page via a Facebook share. As someone who has experimented with many types of calendars--including a very DIY system that I map out on plain graph paper--it didn't take much to get me to follow the link. A few minutes after watching Trinidad's video, I was putting in my credit card information and pressing "send."

I talked to Trinidad late last Friday as she was riding to her home in her parent's garage in the San Diego suburbs. I wasn't surprised when she told me she's listened to over 150 self-help books at three times the normal speed while driving the two-hour stretch between her San Diego home and Los Angeles where she often conducts business.

It's these little life hacks that Trinidad uses and shares across her social media platforms. Her posts  make her sound like a young, female Filipina-American version of the two authors who have inspired her the most--Tim Ferris and Don Miguel Ruiz.

The speed at which Trinidad absorbs audiobooks is akin to the pace of her everyday life--on overdrive.

She says the source of her drive comes from her parents' immigration story. Her mom and dad migrated from the Philippines to San Diego when her dad was in the Navy. Her family lived the Navy way of life for 21 years. "A big part of [my drive] was my parents and thinking about everything they had to go through to get me to this situation. I'd be working really late, and I'd think this was nothing compared to what my parents had to go through to get me to where I am."

Trinidad's experience fits in with an immigrant narrative we hear over and over again. It's a story about young people motivated to gain success by their parents' sacrifices. What sets her apart is her journey and her hustle: halfway through college she changed her major from pre-med to art. But she still eschewed the traditional art world and gallery scene. "I didn't want a life where my livelihood is based on one person's opinion," says Trinidad who stresses that she's not "the typical entrepreneur." 

"I have some things going against me. The cards are stacked against me:  I'm young, a woman and a minority who is a first-generation American." she explains.

Still Trinidad, who points out that she comes from a middle class family, is quick to acknowledge where she has privilege: "I am well educated beyond traditional education through personal reading and I have a ironclad set of values and an amazing support system," she says. "I am blessed, oh so blessed, and I'm going to make the most out of every opportunity given to me."

Exceptionalism is, no doubt, a part of Trinidad's story. For example, while she was at UCLA she was the only Filipino art major despite a campus that is 33 percent Asian Pacific Islander. But the self-help devotee chooses to focus on what motivates her. "My reality is someone else's dream," she often says.

Trinidad's reality is a big selling point for a simple concept: "A paper planner designed with your passions and personal goals in mind," as she describes it. Clearly she's tapped into a market that, despite all our technological advances, is still strong for old school, low-tech tools to help us organize and focus our busy lives.

Where I start to lose Trinidad is her "if I can do this, anyone can" mantra. it's a prominent part of  her overall message that fails to acknowledge how exceptional her drive really is, and how, despite micro-funding platforms, it's still not an even playing field. Trinidad says she "actually made money from college  by spending two to three hours each day applying for scholarships" She continues, "[The American Dream is] like you have a nice house, a big nice car and you work for yourself, which I do. But, I don't think I'm ever going to drive a really expensive car; I still drive the car my parents got me when I was in high school and I still live with my parents ... A lot of people don't follow their dreams because they're scared of not having enough money. I wanted to erase that fear." 

For now, Trinidad is focused on the practical steps ahead of her such as finding a warehouse space in San Diego so she that she can move her planner's distribution from her parent's garage. She's also establishing the legal and financial systems necessary for a business at this scale. (it's important to note that on top of her Kickstarter haul, Trinidad has sold  a great number of planners through her website.) And Trinidad plans to create a planner based on an academic calendar, an undated version--and ways she can continue offering her popular tool for free for folks who can't afford to buy one. 

In the end what's so compelling about Trinidad is that she has an incredible level of focus on what really matters, a quality that flies in the face of much of the brouhahah we hear about millennials' apathy. "I think my version of the American Dream is just having enough and having lots of people that I feel close to," says Trinidad. "I value friendships and my family way more than money. I remind myself over and over again what my values are and what I want out of my life. What the Passion Planner does is helps you find out what matters, on paper."

Categories: Diversity Headlines

[Video] How Police Are Using Social Media to Lock Up Harlem Teens

Colorlines - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 09:52

Teens living in high-crime areas have a new concern: cops tracking them through their Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and other social media posts. A new Verge investigation uses Harlem as a case study to look at how police have been using social media's strength--cataloguing friends and friends of friends--to catch violent perpetrators and their innocent friends and siblings, too. As noted here and here, high crime neighborhoods are already highly surveilled, i.e. foot patrols, cameras (street corners, public housing, shops, laundromats), eye-in-the-sky surveillance towers, helicopters overhead and perhaps more. For teens in these neighborhoods, the Internet is no reprieve. From Verge:

Over the last five years, the New York City police department and Manhattan prosecutors office have ramped up their efforts to understand, oversee, and infiltrate the digital lives of teenagers from crime-prone neighborhoods like Harlem. They track the activity of kids through services like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, going so far as to create fake accounts and spark online friendships to sidestep privacy settings. A recent indictment discusses activity of crew members as young as 10, and arrested several 15-year-olds following a four and half year investigation.

Read (and watch above) journalist Ben Popper's story of brothers, Jelani and Asheem Henry on Verge.com. And the watchers may not be the NSA, but digital surveillance and online privacy also impact poor and working class communities of color. Learn more here and here.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch J. Cole Perform 'Be Free' on Letterman

Colorlines - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 09:50
Watch J. Cole Perform 'Be Free' on Letterman

J. Cole, fresh off of the release of his third album "2014 Forest Hills Drive," paid a visit to "The Late Show With David Letterman" last night. He treated the audience to a live performance of his song "Be Free," the track he recorded and dedicated to Mike Brown. The song doesn't appear on the new album, but it was timely nonetheless given all the recent protests for Brown and Eric Garner. Watch.

(h/t Okayplayer)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

A Visual Guide to Global Outrage Over Mike Brown and Eric Garner

Colorlines - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 07:38
A Visual Guide to Global Outrage Over Mike Brown and Eric Garner

Twitter recently released this geotagged map that showed the where, and how often, people across the globe tweeted #BlackLivesMatter, #ICantBreathe and #HandsUpDontShoot. Those phrases became the rallying cries for millions of people who went online -- and took to the streets -- in anger after the failures to indict police officers in the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner.

See more at HuffPo.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

First Black Woman Nominated for Best Director Golden Globe: Ava DuVernay

Colorlines - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 07:26
 Ava DuVernay

The accolades just keep coming in for Ava DuVernay and the cast of "Selma." The director was just nominated for a best director Golden Globe. "We're very, very thrilled that the film was recognized," she told ABC in an interview after learning of the nod. "What a morning!"

And, as Tambay Obensen pointed out at Shadow and Act, she's making history:

I should note that, with her nomination, Ava DuVernay makes history, becoming the first black woman director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director in the Motion Picture category. She's on her way to doing the same, when the Oscar nominees are announced next month. Previous nominees of African descent in this category include Steve McQueen for "12 Years a Slave," and Spike Lee for "Do the Right Thing." It's painfully incredible that between the years of 1990 to 2014 (24 looooongyears), there wasn't a single black director (male or female) nominated for Best Director in the Motion Picture category! 

"Selma" also earned a nomination in the best motion picture drama category. See a full list of all the nominations here.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Torture Report Reactions, USAid Infiltrates Cuban Hip-Hop, TIME's Person of the Year

Colorlines - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 07:24
Torture Report Reactions, USAid Infiltrates Cuban Hip-Hop, TIME's Person of the Year

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

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Special Training Prepares Nurses for Growing Senior Population

New America Media - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 00:20
 Photo: Gina Wirick, an ER nurse at Dupont Hospital, attends Shirley Davis, 79. Wirick recently completed special training as a geriatric resource nurse. (Jennifer L. Boen/News-Sentinel)FORT WAYNE, Ind.--Shirley Davis walks three miles a day to stay fit and active. But... Jennifer L. Boen http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Richmond Police Chief: Why I Joined a Protest Against Police Brutality

New America Media - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 00:05
Editor’s Note: In Richmond, Calif., a city long equated with high rates of crime and poverty, the local police have taken steps in recent years to improve relations with the communities they serve. Highlighting those efforts, Richmond Chief of Police... Malcolm Marshall http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=56
Categories: Diversity Headlines

'Rectal Feeding' the CIA Used on Alleged Terrorists Had Zero Nutritional Value

Colorlines - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 14:28
'Rectal Feeding' the CIA Used on Alleged Terrorists Had Zero Nutritional Value

Among the many "enhanced interrogation methods" (a.k.a physical and psychological acts of torture) that CIA personnel and independent contractors used on the men they designated as Muslim terrorists and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay and "black" sites around the world was "rectal feeding."

The Daily Beast's Russell Saunders points out how this horrific act of violence has no medical or nutritional value: 

Even if one accepts the highly dubious notion that anyone believed "rectal feedings" were a legitimate means of nourishing someone, there was no reason to consider such extreme measures in the first place. The rule of thumb in medicine is "if the guts works, use it," meaning that it's best to use the stomach to hydrate a patient if it's functioning properly. There is no indication that these detainees couldn't have had tubes inserted into their stomachs through their noses for the purposes of feeding them, assuming that respecting their right to refuse food had already been thrown out the window. For hydration, an IV would have been effective, as CIA medical officers conceded.

In other words, it's a sickening, humiliating twist on the already-painful force-feeding of imprisoned people through their noses. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Shonda Rhimes: 'I Haven't Broken Through Any Glass Ceilings'

Colorlines - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 13:06
 'I Haven't Broken Through Any Glass Ceilings'

Shonda Rhimes spoke at The Hollywood Reporter Women in Hollywood Breakfast on Wednesday about being black and female in Hollywood. Her comments were later published on Medium and, in her speech, she declared that she hasn't broken through any glass ceilings to get to where she is:

If I'd broken the glass ceiling, that would mean I would have made it through to the other side. Where the air is rare. I would feel the wind on my face. The view from here?--?way up here where the glass ceiling is broken?--?would be incredible. Right? So how come I don't remember the moment? When me with my woman-ness and my brown skin went running full speed, gravity be damned, into that thick layer of glass and smashed right through it? How come I don't remember that happening?


How many women had to hit that glass before the first crack appeared? How many cuts did they get, how many bruises? How hard did they have to hit the ceiling? How many women had to hit that glass to ripple it, to send out a thousand hairline fractures? How many women had to hit that glass before the pressure of their effort caused it to evolve from a thick pane of glass into just a thin sheet of splintered ice?

So that when it was my turn to run, it didn't even look like a ceiling anymore. I mean, the wind was already whistling through?--?I could always feel it on my face. And there were all these holes giving me a perfect view to other side. I didn't even notice the gravity, I think it had worn itself away. So I didn't have to fight as hard, I had time to study the cracks. I had time to decide where the air felt the rarest, where the wind was the coolest, where the view was the most soaring. I picked my spot in the glass and called it my target. And I ran. And when I hit finally that ceiling, it just exploded into dust.

Read more


Categories: Diversity Headlines

Do Body Cameras Actually Reduce Police Brutality Complaints?

Colorlines - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 12:59
Do Body Cameras Actually Reduce Police Brutality Complaints?

Manufacturers may be the only sure winners in President Obama's new $75 million plan to outfit cops with body cameras. As everyone tries to figure out now what the new "Body Worn Camera Partnership Program" will mean for police-community relations in their neighborhoods, a three-month Fusion investigation finds body cams help cops, not the community. One big issue: officers control the on/off switch. Says Fusion in its review of records from five police departments, "the way body cameras are used usually serve police more than citizens charging misconduct. And in the data from two cities provided to Fusion, there was little evidence police body cameras reduced police involved shootings or use of force incidents."

The five participating police departments: Albuquerque, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Oakland and Ft. Worth.

Read more at Fusion. And get digital civil liberties watchdog, Electronic Frontier Foundation's take on Obama's body-cam plan, here.

(h/t Fusion)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Sikh Cartoonist Stars in Facebook Video, Racists Go Wild

Colorlines - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 10:21
Sikh Cartoonist Stars in Facebook Video, Racists Go Wild

Cartoonist Vishavjit Singh, known to many as Captain Sikh America, was recently featured in a Facebook Tips video.

Post by Facebook Tips.

But in just 28 seconds, his brown skin seems to have infuriated some users, who spewed plenty of hate in the comments.


I am being called a 'Terrorist', 'Raghead', 'Not normal', 'ISIS' in response to a 28 sec facebook tip ad! https://t.co/eQzk9iQ2VT

-- Vishavjit Singh (@sikhtoons) December 7, 2014

Singh wrote a thoughtful response at Salon in which he "share[d] with [Facebook users] the brief arc of my life, which might help lay to rest our simplistic judgment of people at first sight." Read more

(h/t Angry Asian Man)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch the Only Live Recording of John Coltrane Playing 'A Love Supreme'

Colorlines - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 10:16
Watch the Only Live Recording of John Coltrane Playing 'A Love Supreme'

From Esquire:

John Coltrane recorded A Love Supreme 50 years ago, December 9, 1964, with Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, and Jimmy Garrison. The album, a four-part suite widely considered to be one of the greatest in jazz history, was released in 1965. As NPR notes, Coltrane presented this record as "a spiritual declaration that his musical devotion was now intertwined with his faith in God." Coltrane performed the album in its entirety but a single time, in Antibes, France, on July 26, 1965. Watch the first 14 minutes of that performance below.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

SAG Surprises? 'Selma' Shut Out of Nominations

Colorlines - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 09:42
SAG Surprises? 'Selma' Shut Out of Nominations

Amid all the praise for "Selma," not one actor from the film was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award. The list of nominees was released on Wednesday, and while no one from Ava DuVernay's latest film is up for a prize, there are several actors of color who've got a chance.

From Shadow and Act:

- Cicely Tyson picked up a nomination for her performance in the Lifetime movie, "The Trip to Bountiful," which was adapted from the play - Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

- Viola Davis is nominated for her performance in "How to get Away With Murder" - Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series 

- Uzo Aduba picked up a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, for "Orange Is the New Black"

- And "Get on Up" is nominated in the Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture category

See the full list of nominees here

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch Kendrick Lamar's Personal Ode to Compton

Colorlines - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 08:00
Watch Kendrick Lamar's Personal Ode to Compton

Kendrick Lamar teamed up with Reebok for a commercial that looks at how the rapper's hometown of Compton inspires his music. It's directed by filmmaker Anthony Mandler.

(h/t Hypetrak)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers Wear 'I Can't Breathe' T-Shirts

Colorlines - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 07:34
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers Wear 'I Can't Breathe' T-Shirts

Kobe Bryant and members of the Los Angeles Lakers added their names to the growing list of pro athletes who've worn "I Can't Breathe" T-shirts during warm-ups in support of Eric Garner.

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers all wear "I Can't Breathe" tees before tonight's game http://t.co/cdkUdCpjVZ pic.twitter.com/r6a3O67eTR

-- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 10, 2014

Jeremy Lin wearing I Can't Breathe tee at tonight's game. #EricGarner pic.twitter.com/xo1GfuPBjH

-- Manish Vij (@manish_vij) December 10, 2014

But in his post-game comments, Bryant said that the issue isn't just about race. "I think it would be a serious disservice to limit this to a race issue," he told the Los Angeles Times. "It's a justice issue."

He continued: "You're kind of seeing a tipping point right now, in terms of social issues. It's become at the forefront right now as opposed to being a local issue," he continued. "It's really something that has carried over and spilled into the mainstream, so when you turn on the TV and you watch the news or you follow things on social media, you don't just see African-Americans out there protesting."

Bryant also put his demonstration in context with the actions taken by several other professional athletes in recent days. "I think it's us supporting that movement and supporting each other," said Bryant after the game. "The beauty of our country lies in its democracy. I think if we ever lose the courage to be able to speak up for the things that we believe in, I think we really lose the value that our country stands for."

Read more.

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