Diversity Headlines

Ebola-Themed Halloween Outfits Expected to Go ‘Viral’

New America Media - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 12:09
 Cultural appropriation and various forms of blackface are usually what's dredged up from the place of all things offensive and tacky for Halloween, but this year's Ebola outbreak seems to be attracting the attention of trick-or-treaters looking to up their... The Root http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Dispatch from Ferguson: Convenience Store Owners Talk Race

New America Media - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 12:06
 In the days after white police officer Darren Wilson killed black 18-year-old Michael Brown, the Ferguson Police Department released a security video taken from Ferguson Market & Liquor that allegedly shows Brown participating in an unrelated theft. Many South Asians... Colorlines http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Karen Lewis Pulls Out of Chicago Mayoral Race

Colorlines - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 11:58
Karen Lewis Pulls Out of Chicago Mayoral Race

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is putting aside her mayoral ambitions while she battles a brain tumor, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday. The charismatic firebrand was set for a hotly anticipated standoff with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel in his bid for re-election. 

Her mayoral bid was an outgrowth of the political momentum Lewis, a former chemistry teacher, gained when she and the Chicago Teachers Union took on Emanuel in an historic 2012 citywide teachers strike. In that fight, Lewis and the union refocused a mainstream education reform conversation typically depicted as one between self-interested teachers unions and everyone else into a conversation about equity and children's educational rights in a constrained, anti-labor climate. 

It's little coincidence that their showdown happened in Chicago, President Obama's hometown and a testing ground for the school-reform policies championed by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and now executed by Rahm Emanuel. Among the most controversial of those policies has been school closures, which advocates argue disproportionately impact black and Latino students. Last year Emanuel shuttered 49 schools. Polls conducted by the Chicago Tribune in August show that voters have been siding with unions instead of Emanuel when it comes to handling schools.

Without Lewis in the race, Emanuel's lost his most formidable opponent, the Chicago Tribune reported this morning.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Actress Khandi Alexander Discovers Racial Violence Victim in Her Family Tree

Colorlines - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:16

Tonight on PBS' "Finding your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.," actress Khandi Alexander learns that her grandfather may've been killed by white coworkers in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1935. Neither her mother nor grandmother ever talked about her grandfather's, Joshua Masters,' death at age 25 while working at a rosin factory. "Maybe it was too painful," Alexander says, at first in a questioning voice. Then she's sure: "Maybe it was too painful."

Masters had worked as a factory distiller. It was a job normally reserved for white men whom Gates, after some investigation says, may have resented having a black boss.

Watch Alexander's reaction in the clip above and her full story during tonight's episode of "Finding your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Facing Race Spotlight: Organizer Alicia Garza on Why Black Lives Matter

Colorlines - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 08:48
 Organizer Alicia Garza on Why Black Lives Matter

Alicia Garza calls Oakland home but is one of the many black organizers who've flocked to Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of the police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. For Garza, who serves as special projects director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance, her presence in Ferguson gave her the opportunity to support local activists as they worked to build sustainable leadership. It was also a chance to put into action a saying that's become somewhat of a movement slogan in recent months: "Black Lives Matter."

The phrase, which began as a hashtag and grew into a national organizing project, started on Facebook. Garza was incensed in July of 2013 when George Zimmerman was acquitted of Trayvon Martin's murder and she started adding the hashtag #blacklivesmatter to her Facebook posts. Within days, she'd teamed up with other organizers, including Patrisse Cullors, executive director of the Coalition to End Police Violence in L.A. Jails, and Opal Tometi, who runs the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. They were determined to take their message offline and into the streets. On July 18, 2013, Collors posted the following message describing the early stages of the project:

#blacklivesmatter is a movement attempting to visiblize what it means to be black in this country. Provide hope and inspiration for collective action to build collective power to achieve collective transformation. rooted in grief and rage but pointed towards vision and dreams. 

Since there has been more police and extrajudicial violence against black people--and more collective action to address it. By this summer, there had been enough dialogue and infrastructure-building to take the call for justice to Ferguson. In late August, hundreds of black organizers and activists from different fields traveled to the small city just outside of St. Louis as part of the Black Lives Matter Bus Tour. (Akiba Solomon, Colorlines' editorial director, attended and wrote about it.) 

On November 15, in Dallas, you can catch Alicia Garza at Facing Race, the biennial conference held by Colorlines' publisher, Race Forward. In this interview with Colorlines, Garza talks about why she think it's crucial to centralize black people in her work.

Tell me about #blacklivesmatter. You're often credited with having started the hashtag, correct?

That's true.

What prompted you start it and how has it grown?

What prompted me to have launched that project was really...we launched it right after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin-- 

--When you say "we," who are you talking about?

Myself, working with Patrisse Cullers who's an organizer in Los Angeles and executive director of the Coalition to End Violence in L.A. County Jails. They've built an incredible network called Dignity and Power Now. And then the other person [who] really helped to build the project was Opal Tometi, the executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. So essentially, the hashtag was the result of both the anger and the frustration that not just black folks, but largely black people, were feeling around yet another person being acquitted of the murder of another person in our family.

#Blacklivesmatter was also inspired by the need to keep working for transformation. A lot of what we were seeing on Facebook and in our conversations was, "I knew they would never convict [Zimmerman]. He would never go to jail." For us, it wasn't actually about using the criminal justice system to solve our issues. For us, it's really about asking, "Do black lives matter in our society?" and what do we need to do to make that happen. We know that someone going to jail is not going to make black lives matter. What's going to make those lives matter is working hard for an end to state violence in black communities, knowing that that's going to benefit all communities.

Why did you decide to take it offline?

It started off as a hashtag that really picked up, and the three of us are organizers, fundamentally. We believe in the power of social media, but we also believe in connections between people that are face-to-face and in real time. It's important to take that hashtag off of social media and into the streets and transform that into organizing. What that looks like is us being able to name the impact that state violence has on our communities and broaden the conversation from "jail or not jail" to exploring the impact of state neglect on black communities. For example, the fact that we have half-a-million black immigrants living in this country, living in the shadows, who are undocumented, is a product of state violence. The fact that black queer and trans folks, folks along the gender spectrum, are being targeted for various forms of harassment, violence, and in some cases, elimination, is state violence. 

What that's meant in terms of taking [#blacklivesmatter] from social media and into the streets was hosting national conversations around police and vigilante violence. We held a national dialogue around Ted Wafer, who was convicted of killing Renisha McBride. And we asked our folks to engage in a dialogue about what justice looks like in that situation. Does Ted Wafer going to a jail that is probably going to transform him in ways that are not human restore our communities when someone is taken by state or vigilante violence?

How did the bus tour happen?

We built connections between different people in different places. There's lots of black folks out there who do care and who do want to be involved. It's necessary to build real-time and tangible bonds between us. The fruit of that was the culmination of the Black Lives Matter ride to St. Louis to support our family here in Ferguson. What we were able to do, through the leadership of Patrisse, Darnell Moore, who's out of New York, and a whole team of other people, was organize in a [really] short time 600 black folks from all over the country who wanted to lend their skills, services and their love to black folks here in St. Louis.

We organized that in about 10 days. Patrisse took on a lot of leadership in terms of making sure that people had a way to get here and making sure that we were responding to the calls that were coming from Ferguson for medics, attorneys, healers, organizers and journalists. We were lucky enough to be able to come here once all the [national] media had left and be here with folks who were grappling with some big questions about what it means to build a sustainable organization and movement. We were able to do that with a crew of primarily black queer, trans and gender non-conforming folks, which was really, really powerful.

We're really excited to keep building, so part of what came out of that ride was making sure that we stay connected. One of the things that we're up to next is organizing a National Week of Resistance against state violence to coincide with the National Day Against Police Brutality on October 22.

There have been conversations that have been difficult but productive around other groups and communities adopting the language of "Black lives matter."Why is it important to centralize black people in your work? 

It is really important that if we're going to achieve transformation in this country that we pay a lot of attention to the conditions of black people. Black folks here and across the world [are] canaries in the coal mine. Our conditions really speak to what the future can look like if we allow politics to continue as usual. It's also important to acknowledge that when we say "Black Lives Matter," we're not saying that all life doesn't matter. We're not saying that the lives of other communities of color and immigrants are unimportant. We're not interested in a narrow nationalist politic, and we're certainly not interested in an oppression Olympics.

We know that our struggles are intricately connected and we need each other to get free. The argument that we're making, however, is that black lives are central to everybody's freedom. Fighting for black liberation is also fighting for your liberation. One's not better than the other. But black lives are critical, so we need to pay attention to that, stand in solidarity with that and not change the conversation. One of the things that can happen when we lump all people together is that we really lose the complexity of the experiences that we have in this country. If we lose that complexity, we lose out on building sharp strategies that can include everybody.


Bonus: Read Garza's "Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement" at The Feminist Wire.


Categories: Diversity Headlines

For the Supreme Court, New Term Means Renewed Attacks on Civil Rights Legislation

Colorlines - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 08:34
For the Supreme Court, New Term Means Renewed Attacks on Civil Rights Legislation

For people who've watched the Roberts Court whittle away civil rights legislation over the last decade, the new Supreme Court term brings with it the likely possibility of more of the same. The High Court is set to consider Alabama's so-called "racial gerrymandering" and Texas' low-income housing practices this term. In the former, it has the opportunity to take further swipes at the Voting Rights Act, and in the latter, eviscerate the cornerstone enforcement provision of the Fair Housing Act. Civil rights watchers and fair housing advocates in particular are bracing for the worst.

Here's a racial justice primer on what to expect this term in these two key cases.

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project concerns "disparate impact," a legal concept that's been wielded since the 1970s to fight housing and other kinds of institutionalized racial discrimination. The legal concept says that plaintiffs alleging housing discrimination do not need to know the motivations and intent of decision makers and institutions--like banks, housing authorities and municipalities--as long as they can show that their actions have a racially disparate impact that discriminates against people of color. In other words, it's a civil rights legislation for a post-Civil Rights Era, when blatant redlining no longer occurs, but banks still saw fit to steer wealthy blacks and Latinos toward subprime loans at more than double the rate they did similarly situated wealthy whites.

You won't actually find the words "disparate impact" anywhere in the text of the Fair Housing Act, but the concept, borrowed from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, has been recognized with "unanimity" by the courts, says Rigel Oliveri, a professor at the University of Missouri School of Law. The Department of Justice used disparate impact to win its historic settlements against subprime lenders Wells Fargo and the now-defunct Countrywide in the wake of the housing crisis. Disparate impact is, unsurprisingly, not popular with banks and other business interests.

"Disparate impact doesn't mean you win your case," Oliveri says. "It just means you get your foot in the door and the burden of proof shifts to the other side to explain why they needed to pass a facially neutral law that ended up having a disparate, discriminatory impact on a group of people." And that reason better be non-racial and justifiable.

The particular case is the Supreme Court's third attempt in three years to hear such a challenge to disparate impact. Texas was approving developer tax credits for subsidized low-income housing in Dallas, low-income housing advocates allege, but predominantly in low-income neighborhoods concentrated with people of color while denying those tax credits for projects in whiter, more affluent neighborhoods. This kind of practice has aggravated racial segregation in the city, plaintiffs argued. Lower courts ruled that The Inclusive Communities Project, the low-income housing group, was able to prove discrimination via disparate impact. In its appeal, Texas isn't interested in rehashing the facts of the case and instead is seeking to cut off the disparate impact standard altogether.

The Supreme Court, which has seen fit to strike down school integration efforts in Seattle in 2007, gut the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, and clear the way for state affirmative action bans in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action in 2013, is particularly hostile to the consideration of race, even if the policy in question is meant to protect people of color from disenfranchisement and discrimination. In Chief Justice John Roberts' famous words, "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." It's that positioning that has many civil rights and fair housing watchers anxious, says Oliveri.

On November 13, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case challenging Alabama's redistricting efforts in a pair of linked cases, Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama and Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama. State Democrats and black lawmakers say that in 2012, the Republican-controlled state legislature redrew legislative maps to consolidate black voters into just a few districts, creating districts of super-majorities while diluting their voting power elsewhere. One newly redrawn House district went from 67 percent black to 76.8 percent black. Senate District 26 went from 72.75 percent black to 75.22 percent black, resulting in a "strangely shaped configuration that resembles a downward-facing sand fiddler crab," plaintiffs wrote in their brief.

Plaintiffs called the practice "racial gerrymandering," or in other words, an unconstitutional and unjustified use of race in redistricting that violates the Equal Protection Clause and the Voting Rights Act. Indeed, says Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt, "The Voting Rights Act, as courts have interpreted it in the past, [with] the [now-invalidated] Section 5 and other sections, have required a lot more nuance." The question before the court is: Was the state "appropriately nuanced or inappropriately blunt in how it used race in the process?" says Levitt.

In 2012, a three-judge panel of Federal District Court judges ruled the plan did not deny black voters their right to participate in the political process, and was neither unconstitutional nor a violation of the Voting Rights Act--but with one key dissent. Judge Myron H. Thompson, who is African-American, pointed out "a cruel irony" to these cases. "Even as it was asking the Supreme Court to strike down" Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act "for failure to speak to current conditions," Thompson wrote in his dissent, "the State of Alabama was relying on racial quotas with absolutely no evidence that they had anything to do with current conditions, and seeking to justify those quotas with the very provision it was helping to render inert."

Consider this year's Alabama redistricting case "Shelby County, number two," says Victor Goode, a professor at the CUNY School of Law. Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court's landmark ruling that invalidated the Voting Rights Act's pre-clearance formula, paved the way for voter suppression efforts and "has given rise to all these voter ID laws bouncing around the courts now," Goode says.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia in particular "have been arguing all along that the Voting Rights Act is an anachronism of history," says Goode. "If they continue that same approach, they just might take another few bites out of the Voting Rights Act."

Categories: Diversity Headlines

New Ebola Patient Identified, Kim Jong Un Returns to Public, Moon Volcanos

Colorlines - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 07:06
New Ebola Patient Identified, Kim Jong Un Returns to Public, Moon Volcanos

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

  • What would marijuana legalization look like in Washington, D.C., where roughly half the population is black?
  • August is a $250 smart lock connected to your phone through an app. Not like hackers would ever want to figure out how to break into your house or anything. 
  • Wow. Volcanos on the moon seem to have erupted much more recently than first thought--maybe within the last 50 million years (estimates were in the billions before that). 
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Palliative Care: How Chinese Americans Find Comfort at Death’s Door

New America Media - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 01:00
Learning to Bring Comfort “I missed two chances. Life is short and I don’t want to see that happening again,” stated Catherine Lan, who became a hospice and palliative care volunteer after feeling helpless when death visited two close friends.... Geoff Chin http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

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New America Media - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 00:05
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Categories: Diversity Headlines

Room For Debate Frees Up But Bloggers Remain Imprisoned In Vietnam

New America Media - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 14:20
 Incarcerated for the past six years in poor prison conditions, Nguyen Van Hai (Nguy?n V?n H?i) has suffered dearly for his critical views on China. First detained on trumped up tax evasion charges in 2008, and subsequently convicted in 2012... Vietnam Right Now http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Steven Yeun On How Korean Parents React To A Career In Acting

New America Media - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 13:42
 Steven Yeun recently went on Ellen as a first-time guest to promote the return of The Walking Dead. During his interview, he talked about his parents as well as the blood poisoning injury he received on set. After Yeun admitted... New America Media http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Young Black Men 21 Times More Likely Than Whites to Be Shot Dead by Police

New America Media - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 13:11
 Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings.The 1,217... Propublica http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Giant Rubber Duck To Visit Seoul Amid Construction

New America Media - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 13:00
 The world-famous, giant rubber duck will visit Seoul in what may be the highest-profile foreign visit to Korea since Pope Francis arrived via Kia Soul in August.Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s 300-kg (~660 lbs), 54-foot tall giant rubber duck will be... Koream Journal http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Misty Upham's Father Fears She May Have Committed Suicide

New America Media - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 12:54
 Charles Upham, father of award-winning actress Misty Upham, who has been missing since last Sunday, says he fears she may have committed suicide.Charles describes his daughter's behavior as "erratic" following a change in medication she was taking. "She told me... Indian Country http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

UC-Backed State Loan Program Will Provide Aid to Undocumented Students

New America Media - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 12:40
Undocumented UC students who qualify for in-state tuition but are ineligible for federal assistance soon will be able to borrow up to $4,000 a year to make up the shortfall, thanks to a new law supported by the University of... Katherine Tam http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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New America Media - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 12:28
English???Ana Maciel????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????AB540? AB540 ?2011????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Adela de la Torre???? ??????????????????? “????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Andrea Gaytan?????????????SPEAK (???????????????????)????????????????????????????????2013???????????·??????Janet Napolitano????????????????????????????????????????????50??????200??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? “?????????Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals?”?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Irapuato?? 1997????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????“????????California Dream Act?”?????????????????????????? 2013?????“????????”????????Salinas????????????????????????????????????????????????????????... Julia Ann Easley http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Indigenous Peoples' Day, New Ebola Case, Evo Wins Again, Nobel in Economics

Colorlines - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 07:11
Indigenous Peoples' Day, New Ebola Case, Evo Wins Again, Nobel in Economics

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

  • A high school in Sayerville, New Jersey, cancels football season after allegations that seven players sexually assaulted four of their teammates. 
  • The Nobel Prize for economics goes to Jean Tirole, probably best known for his work on the ways in which regulators can tame privatized industries.
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Why Candidates Shouldn’t Ignore Asian American Voters

New America Media - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 01:00
Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs) are a fast-growing population and as a voting bloc, their numbers have nearly doubled since 2000, but political candidates continue to ignore them, according to a new study.APIs are the fastest growing population in the... Andrew Lam http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Filmmaker's Debut ‘Purgatorio’ Brings New Look to the Border

New America Media - Sun, 10/12/2014 - 01:00
After screening in more than 40 festivals around the world, Purgatorio will finally be premiered at the Laemmle NoHo in Los Angeles this Friday October 10.“The movie, it’s a journey to the heart of the USA-Mexican border. It’s like you... Eduardo Stanley http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Teen Girls Learn to Create Assisted Living Website at Summer Business Camp

New America Media - Sun, 10/12/2014 - 00:45
 Photo: Teen entrepreneurs, from left, Inés de Lestapis, Molly Leifer, Sofia Remez are shown making their “pitch” to a panel of venture capitalists during last summer’s Entrepreneurs in Training camp. (Courtesy: Barnard College)NEW YORK, N.Y.--This summer, I was introduced to... Elizabeth Isele http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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