Diversity Headlines

M.I.A. Faces $15.1 Million Fine Over Superbowl Shenanigans

New America Media - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 23:46
 Sri Lankan-origin hip hop star M.I.A.’s raised middle finger during a Super Bowl XLVI performance raised eyebrows two years ago, and led the NFL and its broadcast partner, NBC, to issue apologies. Now, she is facing a huge, new additional... India West http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Vietnam Continues to Suppress Religion: US Congressional Testimony

New America Media - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 23:40
 Religious leaders and activists, testifying before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress on March 26, told of numerous attempts by the Vietnamese government to persecute the communities of faith that do not accept government controls.The hearing,... Vietnam Right Now http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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LSU Gymnast Absolutely Kills Hip-Hop Floor Routine

Colorlines - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 21:03

Louisiana State University gymnast Lloimincia Hall is, as Dodai Stewart writes over at Jezebel, literally a 10. Here's why:

As seen above, in a January competition vs. Alabama, Hall is amazingly strong, incredibly quick, and makes complicated tumbling passes look like a cinch. Her dancing is energetic, her enthusiasm contagious. So cool. She scored a perfect 10 with that floor exercise, and the LSU gymnastics team beat Alabama 197.650-196.825. It was her 3rd perfect 10, at the time.

Head on over to Jezebel to see more video of Hall's spectacular performances. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Good Health Is Good for the Economy

Colorlines - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 19:40
Good Health Is Good for the Economy

As the enrollment date for Obamacare came to an end this week, one overlooked fact is that the law could have a dramatic impact on the job security and earnings of the working poor. More than one out three people who've signed up for coverage earn below the poverty threshold qualifying them for Medicaid, with the incomes of millions more eligible for subsidies to help pay insurance premiums.

Disproportionately, people of color are clustered in jobs that pay by the hour and these individuals are more vulnerable to income loss due to their own illness or that of a family member. That's why the long-term effect of the law, with its potential to increase wellness and decrease illness among Americans on the economic margins, could be genuinely a big deal for the economic well-being of America's working poor.

Each year the United States loses between $200 to $260 billion in economic output due to the illness of its workers. To put these massive numbers in context, if worker illness could be cut in half, the nation's economy would grow up to 50 percent faster than it has for the last three years.

A 2005 report (PDF) by the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation focused on improving the nation's healthcare system, found that Americans lose up 407 days every year to their own sickness or that of a family member. Together these sick days mean up to $48 billion in lost wages; money that comes right out of the pocket of workers.

The problem is that for the working poor time is money. Americans who work in lower-wage service jobs at the nation's malls, restaurants, call centers and repair shops get paid by the hour. Unlike higher-paid salaried workers who receive income regardless of how many hours spent on the job, when hourly-employees don't work they don't earn.

Analysis (PDF) by the Economic Policy Institute shows just how stark these realities for working poor families can be. A single parent with children earning $10 an hour--that's $15,000 a year--who misses up to three days of work could push an entire family into poverty. "Just three and half days of missed work because of illness is equivalent to an entire month's groceries for the average family," the EPI goes on to add.

Moreover, hourly-wage jobs are less likely than salaried work to have sick days. Up to nine out of 10 of higher-wage salaried workers have access to time off for getting sick while only two out of 10 lower-wage workers do. This means that hourly workers are more vulnerable to losing their jobs from getting sick and having to miss work. That's why a five-day illness can translate into months of lost income.

A personal care assistant Marianne Bullock told NPR just how devastating the toll on working families can be. Upon realizing that her sick child needed to be taken to the hospital, Bullock spoke to her manager about the need to care for her daughter. "You might as well not come back," the supervisor said.

Bullock's story is not an isolated one. In fact one out six workers says that they have either lost or could lose their jobs if forced to take days for sickness. The 40 million Americans working without sick days live in fear of just what their illness or that of a loved one could mean for their family's bottom line.

As Kai Wright recently wrote, "three out of four uninsured people had jobs in 2013" and make less than $25,000 a year. Nearly 6 out of ten were people of color. If access to healthcare reduces time off from sickness by just two days a year for America's lowest-wage workers, it will help keep millions of families from experiencing real economic hardship or even job loss.

Of course these real benefits of a fully-functioning and fully-implemented Affordable Care Act--as Obamacare is formally known--is lost in the broader controversy over the economic impact of the law. That's why Obamacare's early missteps and current administrative twists and turns are so damaging: they prevent the Affordable Care Act from being as effective as the country needs it to be for the working poor and people of color.

But as I have written before, Republican governors such as Rick Perry of Texas claim will look back on Obamacare to see "taxes skyrocket and our economy crushed as our budget crumbled." Yet these doomsday predictions fail to take into account the current economic nightmare caused by the lack of access to healthcare for America's historically marginalized communities.

To the contrary, the evidence suggests that both for America's working poor families and the nation's economy as a whole Obamacare could very well prove an essential economic lifeline.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch Nas and Q-Tip Celebrate 20 Years of 'Illmatic' on Jimmy Fallon

Colorlines - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 19:07
Watch Nas and Q-Tip Celebrate 20 Years of 'Illmatic' on Jimmy Fallon

Take a deep breath. Ready? Okay. It's been 20 years since Nas released his iconic debut album "Illmatic." Crazy, right?

To celebrate that milestone, Nas joined Q-Tip and The Roots on "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon" on Monday to perform some of his hit singles from the album. Here's "The World Is Yours."

Categories: Diversity Headlines

WNBA's Brittney Griner Releases New Book, Mobile App Campign to Tackle Bullying

Colorlines - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 17:53
WNBA's Brittney Griner Releases New Book, Mobile App Campign to Tackle Bullying

grinerbook_040814.jpgWNBA star Brittney Griner has a new book that hit shelves on Tuesday called "In My Skin," which chronicles the bullying she faced as a child and the hardships she encountered while starring at her private Baptist university.

Griner, 23, is entering her second year in the WNBA and burst onto the nation's cultural scene after being drafted first overall by the Phoenix Mercury and quickly telling the world that she was an out and proud lesbian. 

The book's launch coincides with the Griner's new anti-bullying initiative, called "BG: BU." Griner is trying to raise $10,000 for a mobile app with updated resources and tools to help young people cope with bullying.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Northwestern Football Players Face Steep Climb to Union

Colorlines - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 17:48
Northwestern Football Players Face Steep Climb to Union

Northwestern University's football is in a position to make history. The team recently won the right to vote on April 25 whether to form a union, a first in big time college football. But it's clear that the university, and the world of Division 1 college football in general, is definitely not on their side.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Northwestern's football coach Pat Fitzgerald told the media over the weekend that he doesn't believe that his players should unionize.

"I believe it's in their best interests to vote no," Fitzgerald told CNN over the weekend. "With the research that I've done, I'm going to stick to the facts and I'm going to do everything in my power to educate our guys. Our university is going to do that, to give them all the resources that they need to get the facts."

News reports over the weekend said that the team is split 50/50 on the decision to unionize.

Things aren't looking great for the unionizing effort. That led Kevin Trahan over at SB Nation to wonder what would happen if the players don't vote for the union. Would the effort to unionize college football players die if it fails at Northwestern?

Probably not. It might be dead at Northwestern, because the players would have to wait a full year to try to unionize again. However, [Northwestern football player] Ramogi Huma said he has been contacted by players at other schools who are interested in unionizing, and players at schools such as Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Miami have showed support along the way, so it's going to happen somewhere.

The fact that unionizing college football players is being discussed at all is a victory of sorts, but it's worth recognizing the tremendous odds that are stacked up against these players.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

UConn Wins National Championship, Star Player 'Goes To Bed Starving'

Colorlines - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 17:41
UConn Wins National Championship, Star Player 'Goes To Bed Starving'

On Monday night the University of Connecticut men's basketball won the NCAA men's national basketball championship thanks in part to the stellar play of guard Shabazz Napier, a senior who's stuck with the program through lengthy NCAA punishments. He plays for a program that's one of the most celebrated in college basketball and brings in millions of dollars in revenue each year. But Napier apparently still goes to bed hungry.

Napier made his admission on before UConn's big game on Monday when asked about his thoughts on the Northwestern football team's attempts to form a union. From CNN:

In a recent interview with reporters, Napier called the Northwestern union ruling "kind of great" and said that while he appreciates his basketball scholarship, it doesn't cover all of his expenses.

"I don't feel student-athletes should get hundreds of thousands of dollars, but like I said, there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I'm starving," he said.

His comments come amid news that Northwestern's football players face a steep uphill battle in their efforts to unionize and may, in fact, not have all of the votes they need on April 25, when the team will cast ballots with the National Labor Relations Board. It's widely anticipated that even if Northwestern's players decide against a union, other athletes at different colleges are ready to take up their own battles. 

Napier's comments are also significant given the history of UConn's program. Back in 2009, former Huskies coach Jim Calhoun's $1.6 million annual salary was criticized for making him the highest paid public employee in a state whose economy was still in shock from the Great Recession. Calhoun responded to the criticism by arguing that his program brought in at least $12 million in revenue to the school, very little of which goes to the actual players whose labor put the school on the map. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Following Lumumba's Death, Jackson, Miss. Votes Today

Colorlines - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 17:06
Following Lumumba's Death, Jackson, Miss. Votes Today

All eyes are on Jackson, Miss. today. Six weeks after his untimely passing this February, a special election is being held to replace mayor Chokwe Lumumba, 66, whose brief tenure held the promise of a black progressive renaissance not just for Jackson but similar cities across the South. Among today's seven top candidates is Lumumba's 31-year-old son, attorney Chokwe Antar Lumumba. 

Lumumba has won an endorsement from the Jackson Free Press but earns a cautious review from the Clarion-Ledger

Categories: Diversity Headlines

More Trouble in Ukraine, Sharpton: FBI Informant and UConn's Starved Athlete

Colorlines - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 16:53
 FBI Informant and UConn's Starved Athlete

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

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Marcos Gutierrez -- A Tireless Voice for San Francisco Latinos

New America Media - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:35
SAN FRANCISCO – Anyone who listens to Spanish language radio in the Bay Area knows the name Marcos Gutierrez. And if you’re even slightly connected to the Latino community here then chances are he knows you too. “If people have... Vanessa Serpas http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Disability Advocate Speaks Out on New California Care Program

New America Media - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:20
Photo: Pamela Hoye, left, participated in NAM’s ethnic media briefing in San Diego on the new Cal MediConnect program. Hoye, who has cerebral palsy, is shown with her aide, Pam's assistant, Kimberly Williams.Editor’s note: California and 20 other states have... Pamela Hoye http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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San Francisco Protestors Denounce Obama Deportations

New America Media - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 00:44
Ed. Note: Protestors above joined hundreds in San Francisco Friday as part of a national day of action to encourage President Obama to end deportations. More than 2 million people have been deported since Obama took office in 2008. NAM interns... Stephanie Castillo and Chanelle Ignant http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Pharrell Finally Found His Room Without a Roof, And He's Happy

Colorlines - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 00:21

ABC US News | ABC Business News

Pharrell Williams made an appearance on "Good Morning America" on Monday to perform his hit song, "Happy." It was a gloomy morning in New York City, but leave it to Pharrell to brighten things up.

(h/t Hypetrak)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Poet Saul Williams to Star in Broadway Musical Inspired by 2pac

Colorlines - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 00:16
Poet Saul Williams to Star in Broadway Musical Inspired by 2pac

The late rapper Tupac Shakur is getting a lot of play in theater and film these days. There's a stage biopic in the works and a feature film directed by John Singletary. There's also a musical called "Holler If You Hear Me" that's being directed by Kenny Leon and is inspired by 'Pac's lyrics, which has just cast Saul Williams in the lead.

Williams is a renowed spoken word artist who rose to fame in the 1998 film, "Slam."

The show will begin previews May 29 at the Palace Theater and officially opens on June 19.

(h/t Shadow and Act)

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The Moment a Clueless Cleveland Baseball Fan Met a Native Man

Colorlines - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 23:59
The Moment a Clueless Cleveland Baseball Fan Met a Native Man

Cleveland's professional baseball team is one of the many American sports franchises still hopelessly clinging to a racist team name, the Cleveland Indians. The team's fans sometimes sport head dresses and face paint in an effort to celebrate the team's mascot. Which leads to awkward enounters like the one above.

(h/t Cleveland Frowns)

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Quejas por falta de explicación de estándares escolares en LAUSD

New America Media - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 23:02
EnglishPadres latinos opinan que el Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Ángeles (LAUSD), el más grande en California, no ha hecho lo suficiente para explicar los nuevos estándares escolares comunes (Common Core) a la comunidad.A muchos les preocupa que esto les... Esmeralda Fabián?? http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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April Lit: "Projector" by Cathy Linh Che

Hyphen Blog - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 22:54

For April's lit feature, we're happy to feature Cathy Linh Che's "Projector" -- a heartbreaking, tense poem that captures a child's helplessness.

read more

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New York Governor Drops Prison Education Plan

Colorlines - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 22:35
New York Governor Drops Prison Education Plan

Just six weeks after announcing the plan before a gathering of black and Latino lawmakers, New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, last week dropped a plan to publicly fund college classes at 10 prisons. Nationwide, only about a dozen privately funded prison education programs have survived the past two decades. There were 350 up until 1994 when the Clinton administration and Congress cut Pell grants to inmates. 

The prison education setback in New York is significant. It comes amidst a growing bipartisan effort to reform federal and state prisons, as well as president Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative for boys and young men of color. But in this new environment of possibility for prison reform, there still appears to be insufficient political support from directly affected communities of color and their sending-cities for scaling back mass incarceration. Nationwide, nearly a million men and women reenter society annually from federal and state prisons. Education programs like the Bard Prison Initiative have been shown to reduce the rate of recidivism, which in New York, is 40 percent.

New York's prison population, the vast majority of which come from downstate, is 49.2 percent African American, 24 percent Latino and 24.1 percent white. Prisons are located in upstate New York, in largely Republican and majority white counties. Political resistance to Cuomo's plan came from the Republican-controlled state senate. But popular pushback appears to have settled on the unfairness of providing a free education to prison inmates while law-abiding citizens struggle to pay for college.

It's not clear whether the 10 prisons initially selected for the prison education program were minimum or maximum security facilities or a combination of both. New York currently spends $60,000 a year to incarcerate one person. It costs about $5,000 a year for a year of college education for an inmate. 

(h/t The New York Times)

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Gentrification Report: Black and Latino Displacement Is Remaking the Bay Area

Colorlines - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 20:56
 Black and Latino Displacement Is Remaking the Bay Area

A new report from San Francisco-based community advocacy group Causa Justa::Just Cause released today details just how deeply gentrification is reshaping San Francisco and Oakland. In a sweeping report detailing the economic, social and even public health impacts of gentrification, Causa Justa::Just Cause hits back at the narrative of the seeming inevitability about gentrification. Rather, the authors of "Development Without Displacement" argue, gentrification is the outgrowth of public disinvestment in marginalized communities and years of unjust economic development policies.

In 2011 median rental prices in Oakland neighborhoods in late stages of gentrification surpassed rental housing prices in even Oakland's historically affluent neighborhoods like the Oakland Hills. Between 1990 and 2011, median rental housing prices in San Francisco neighborhoods in the late stages of gentrification increased 40 percent. What's more, the rental price increases and housing crisis have fueled the displacement of blacks and Latinos from both cities.

Between 1990 and 2011 the proportion of black residents in all Oakland neighborhoods fell by nearly 40 percent. Perhaps more stunning, black homeowners were about half of north Oakland's homeowners in 1990. By 2011 they were just 25 percent of the neighborhood's homeowners. In San Francisco's Mission district, the historically Latino neighborhood has lost over 1,000 Latino families and seen an influx of 2,900 white households, the report authors write.

"The Mission right now is in chaos with evictions," Causa Justa member Cecilia Alvarado says in the report. "There is also nowhere to go. The units available are for people who earn $6,000 to $7,000 more than I do per month--not for middle-class or working-class families, which had always been the status of the Mission--families with kids." Indeed, to longtime residents of the historically Latino neighborhood in San Francisco, the Mission is a new and strange place these days. 

The report also includes policy recommendations to slow and reverse gentrification, ranging from housing protections to equitable economic development in all communities. The underlying message is that displacement is a choice, not an inevitability. 

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