Diversity Headlines

Germanwings Murder-Suicide, Rihanna's New Single, NASA to Make a Moon for the Moon

Colorlines - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 07:10
Germanwings Murder-Suicide, Rihanna's New Single, NASA to Make a Moon for the Moon

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

  • Jesse Jackson Jr. leaves prison and heads to a D.C.-area halfway house. 
  • NASA will apparently launch a rocket to an asteroid, where robotic arms will rip a large boulder off of said asteroid, which will then be put into orbit on the moon. 
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Nearly a Decade After Katrina, 81% of Homes are Rebuilt

New America Media - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 01:05
 Nearly 10 years after Hurricane Katrina and subsequent levee breaks flooded 80 percent of the Crescent City, a study by the University of New Orleans Department of Geography found that 81 percent of homes damaged in Orleans and St. Bernard... Staff http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Khmerican - Connecting the Cambodian Diaspora

New America Media - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 00:05
 Editor's Note: As two important Cambodian dates approach, Khmer New Year on April 13 and the Day of Remembrance on May 20, Phatry Derek Pan, founder of Khmerican.com, discusses the importance of connecting Cambodian Americans with their homeland.LONG BEACH, Calif. --... Kallayan Thuch and Adalhi Montes http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

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New America Media - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 17:39
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Categories: Diversity Headlines

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New America Media - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 17:31
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Categories: Diversity Headlines

A Reprieve for Dharun Ravi?: Sliver of Hope in N.J. Court Ruling on Bias Crime Law

New America Media - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 11:30
 In a startling new development, the 2012 invasion of privacy conviction of an Indian American student that roiled the nation on hate crimes against gays and drew a strong reaction from President Obama, may be thrown out.On March 17, the... Ela Dutt http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Deadline TV Editor Thinks There’s Too Much Diversity in the New Pilot Season

New America Media - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 10:50
 Here’s a quick question. Over the last year, how many shows on network television prominently featured nonwhite actors or actresses? I’m pretty sure you can count on two hands with fingers left over. This pilot season promises to be one... The Root http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Two Start-up Founders Talk Diversity in Tech

Colorlines - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 10:32
Two Start-up Founders Talk Diversity in Tech

Despite President Obama's announcement on Monday that more than $240 million in new private-sector commitments will be going toward preparing youth to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers, there still exists a very clear lack of diversity in the tech field.

According to Change the Equation, a Fortune 500 collective focused on increasing STEM education, the number of African-Americans and Latinos in the U.S. in STEM jobs has been about the same since 2001.

Rodney Williams, 31, founder of a mobile tech company called Lisnr based in Cincinnati and André Walters, 35, who founded a social commerce company called Yuno out of Charlotte, North Carolina, have been vocal about the need for diversification within their industry. They recently expressed the state of the tech world with Huffington Post.

Rodney Williams: There's absolutely no diversity in technology -- there just isn't -- in the technology that we're doing. We're creating a technology startup, which we hope to be a technology company that will create high value and high growth. That's a very different aspect. I think diversity hasn't touched that market.

There are groups like "Blacks In Tech" and black professionals at technology companies -- but there is a complete lack of diverse tech founders. Technology leaders that are taking on an industry, taking on a vertical, building a product, launching it, gaining interest from investors and being on the forefront of technology. That's where the current lack of diversity is.

I've been in the Valley, I've been in a couple other different markets. Our company is three years old, and I probably can mention all the other top technology companies that are led by a minority. It's a small number.

André Walters: You look around and you don't see a lot of diversity in tech. I think, as far as how it's affected my journey, for me it's really motivating. I look at it and I say, here's a chance to break down some walls and open the tech game up just like other areas of our world and country have been opened up, whether we're talking about sports or another arena.

Read the full interview here.

 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

If John Cho Were Your Boyfriend

Hyphen Blog - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 10:07

We've all thought about it.

read more

Categories: Diversity Headlines

North Carolina Bill Criminalizes Drug-Addicted New Moms

Colorlines - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 09:23
North Carolina Bill Criminalizes Drug-Addicted New Moms

Following a path charted by Tennessee, Republicans in the North Carolina Senate have introduced a bill that would jail pregnant women who are addicted to drugs. The "Prenatal Narcotic Drug Use" bill also applies to mothers of newborns addicted to or harmed by illegal drug use. If passed, advocates are concerned that the law would disproportionately affect women of color and those who are poor. 

"It's going to discourage women from seeking out prenatal care," Lynn Shoemaker of Women AdvaNCe tells Public News Service. "If women are actually criminalized for this and they're sitting in jail, how is that helpful? How are they going to provide for their families, for their children?" The new bill, S297, doesn't address Shoemaker's questions.

Taking a criminal rather than public health approach to drug-addicted pregnant women or new moms is nothing new, as Colorlines gender columnist Miriam Zoila Pérez pointed out last July. Punitive responses go back to the since-debunked "crack baby epidemic" of the late 80s-early 90s.

What's different, today, however is that with bipartisan consensus that the War on Drugs is a failure, statehouse bills like S297 appear out of step with reform conversations happening, now, at the federal level. For example, conservatives Newt Gingrich and Pat Nolan have partnered with liberals, Van Jones and Donna Brazile on #Cut50, an initiative to halve the prison population over the next decade.

Oklahoma, which leads the country in female incarceration, is weighing similar punitive legislation to North Carolina's.

(h/t Public News Service)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Black Women Sweep the NCAA D1 Swimming Championship

Colorlines - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 09:21
Black Women Sweep the NCAA D1 Swimming Championship

History was made at the NCAA Women's Division 1 Swimming and Diving Championship when the gold, silver and bronze medals were taken home by three black women: Simone Manuel, Lia Neal, and Natalie Hinds, respectively. At Saturday's competition Manuel and Neal of Stanford University, and Hinds of University of Florida became the first black women to sweep the D1 swimming championship.

USA Swimming tweeted out a congratulations to the ladies following the win:

Follow History @NCAA Swim Championships 100 free as @simone_manuel @LiaNeal @nathindss became first African-Americans to earn 1-2-3 #sportforall.

In a Tuesday interview with USA Swimming, Simone Manuel talked about her post-win moment of clarity:

When I was on the podium I was still in competition mode, thinking, "I have another race, it's not over yet." But then when I got on the plane I saw Rowdy [Gaines] had tweeted "history" and a couple of other people had said something about it. I realized how important it was, and the impact that race might have on the sport.

Read Manuel's full interview here.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Chris Tucker Gets His Own Netflix Special

Colorlines - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 08:58
Chris Tucker Gets His Own Netflix Special

Chris Tucker's first ever stand-up comedy special, "Chris Tucker Live," is set to premiere on Netflix, according to Deadline. The actor and comedian who played Smokey in the cult favorite "Friday" (and Detective James Carter in the racist "Rush Hour" trilogy), released a statement about the premiere:

Before people started seeing me in movies, I was doing [stand-up]. It's always been a part of me, and now I'm excited to share it with my fans around the world.

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos notes Tucker as "one of the funniest comedians of our time."

"Chris Tucker Live" was taped at Fox Theatre in Tucker's hometown, Atlanta, and will air on July 10, 2015.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Growing Calls for Police Reform in Philadelphia and Chicago

Colorlines - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 07:12
Growing Calls for Police Reform in Philadelphia and Chicago

Two reports this week are kindling local calls for police accountability in Chicago and Philadelphia. The Chicago report focuses on stop-and-frisk and finds that residents were "stopped more than four times as often as New Yorkers at the height of New York City's [stop-and-frisk] practice" and that black Chicago communities bear the brunt of these encounters. Calling them overused and unlawful, the ACLU report finds that last summer more than 250,000 stops did not lead to arrest.

In Philadelphia meanwhile, a federal team out of the Department of Justice's COPs office has just released an advisory report on the police department's use of deadly force. Between 2007 and 2013, officers opened fire nearly 400 times, shooting 59 unarmed people. Because there is no reliable national data on police shootings, however, it's difficult to say whether those numbers are high or low. The report does conclude that officers, particularly those assigned to patrol, are poorly trained. About 80 percent of those shot were black; their average age was 20. Among officers involved in shootings--the vast majority of whom are men--59 percent were white and 34 percent, African-American.

Recommendations accompany both research reports, which can be read here and here. Police departments in both cities are under heavy scrutiny. In Chicago, which is in the middle of a mayoral race, a senior police commander recently resigned following a Guardian investigation into allegations of detention and abuse at the Homan Square warehouse.

In Philadelphia, a police officer was recently cleared in the shooting death of Brandon Tate-Brown, 26, and separately, an officer was shot and killed earlier this month during a robbery at a video game store. Police commissioner Charles Ramsey, a member of President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, reportedly requested the federal review of police shootings in his department.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Germanwings Black Box, Amanda Knox Murder Case, Facebook Alert on Teleportation

Colorlines - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 07:09
Germanwings Black Box, Amanda Knox Murder Case, Facebook Alert on Teleportation

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

  • Kraft and Heinz are merging to create the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world. 
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Sotheby's Collabs With Drake on Black Art Exhibition

Colorlines - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 10:32
Sotheby's Collabs With Drake on Black Art Exhibition

Sotheby's is set to host an exhibition of contemporary works by black American artists. The auction house is teaming up with someone who they have referred to as one of today's "foremost cultural tastemakers"-- Drake.

While the rapper is not an art collector himself, he has said that he finds inspiration in visual arts. He will curate music to accompany approximately 20 works by artists including Rashid Johnson, Nick Cave, Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, Wangechi Mutu and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His tracklist will be available at listening stations in the Sotheby's gallery.

The art pieces will be on sale at Sotheby's New York headquarters from April 28 to June 12.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Brandy Norwood Set To Star In Broadway's Chicago

Colorlines - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 10:29
Brandy Norwood Set To Star In Broadway's Chicago

According to Broadwayblack.com, Brandy Norwood, the Grammy-winning singer turned actress, is set to join the cast of the Broadway musical "Chicago" in the role of the sultry Roxie Hart. The songstress has been posting tedious workouts on her Instagram and shared the announcement with her fans today. She will perform for an eight-week stint at the Ambassador Theatre from April 28th to June 21st. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Jay Smooth's Taking Some 'Racial Me Time'

Colorlines - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 09:31

After having to assert his racial identity to a black woman in front of a national TV audience last week--"I'm actually black, but you assumed otherwise."--hip-hop DJ and well-known vlogger, Jay Smooth is taking some much-deserved "racial me time." The 30 seconds of awkward happened during an "All in With Chris Hayes" segment about Starbucks' now slightly modified #RaceTogether campaign. After trending on Facebook, Smooth says, "I'm glad you all thought that was so hilarious but for me that was the longest 30 seconds of my life."

Check out his re-cap above. Smooth is also a video producer for Race Forward, which publishes Colorlines.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

'Ackee & Saltfish' Web Series Brings Fresh Look at Black Women

Colorlines - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 09:29

Issa Rae's web series "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl," which led to book and HBO deals, has opened the door a bit wider for online sitcoms by people of color.

British filmmaker Cecile Emeke provides a hilarious look at two best friends from England with her new web series "Ackee & Saltfish." The new show (named after a well-known Caribbean dish) follows the lives of main characters Rachel and Olivia. With plots built around everyday struggles such as scoring Lauryn Hill tickets and playing tennis with dignity, Emeke writes Rachel and Olivia in a way that allows them to be themselves, free of typecasting and stereotypes. The series stemmed from a short film by Emeke of the same name. 

Check out the show and film at ackeeandsaltfish.co.uk. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Milwaukee Panel Upholds Firing of Officer in Dontre Hamilton Shooting

Colorlines - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 08:43
Milwaukee Panel Upholds Firing of Officer in Dontre Hamilton Shooting

The police officer who last April shot and killed an unarmed and mentally ill African-American man--an incident that sparked months of protests--escaped criminal charges, but he will not regain his job. Last night, a three-member panel upheld the October decision amidst police union pushback and denied officer Christopher Manney's appeal after hearing five days of testimony. Manney is likely the first Milwaukee officer fired in 45 years as a result of a fatal on-duty shooting, the Journal-Sentinel has reported.

Reacting to Monday night's decision by Milwaukee Fire and Commission members, Hamilton's brother, Nate said:

Dontre has no voice no more, but today he spoke. Dontre spoke. He continues to speak through us, through the community, through change. The police officers, we're not saying that all of them are bad, but you have to remove those that are. You have to hold those accountable that aren't doing and following the procedures of the Milwaukee Police Department.

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn had fired Manney in October for not following department rules of engagement and creating, he said, "circumstances that place [officers] at a situation where they have no choice." 

Hamilton, family members say, had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

(h/t Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Meet the Latina Owner of the First LGBTQ Gym in the U.S.

Colorlines - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 07:06
Meet the Latina Owner of the First LGBTQ Gym in the U.S.

At this point it's likely that someone in your world--maybe that high school classmate you haven't spoken to in 10 years who friended you on Facebook--is taking part in the latest fitness craze. You know the person I'm referring to: Their selfies suddenly take a turn for the sweaty and they begin making references to "the box," hashtagging the mysterious "WOD" all over their Instagram updates and describing the kind of "sweat angel" they leave on the floor after pushups.

Now, I haven't stepped inside a gym in years but I know a lot more than your average person thanks to a vocal crew of friends across the country. One of these friends led me to Nathalie Huerta, a queer Latina fitness expert and owner of The Perfect Sidekick, which is branded as the first and only LGBTQ gym in the country. 

Huerta's model has a lot of appeal, even to me, someone scared away from gyms after decades of self-hating, diet-driven exercise. It's a space that she says prioritizes relationships between its members, works to remove awkwardness and brings queerness to the front and center. Her mission statement: "To make happy, healthy homos!"

Huerta got into fitness as a young person playing basketball in her hometown of Anaheim, Calif. She found community on the court but also a lot of struggle with homophobia. Her high school basketball coach outed her when she was 16, after she began a relationship with a player from a neighboring team. She describes it as a "super 'Love and Basketball,' dykey coming-out story."

At the college level many of the players she encountered were also gay but she says there was often closetedness among them and resistance from coaches. And, as a Mexican-American, Huerta also had to address stereotypes about her athletic ability. "People, they [looked] at me, and the first assumption was always 'soccer.' I have some really defined legs--and because I'm Mexican it must be soccer."

Huerta became a personal trainer after a post-college summer of working out in a local gym. The Perfect Sidekick idea came out of her discomfort about her own gender presentation: "It wasn't until I started presenting more masculine [that] I realized what a shithole gym spaces were for people who present differently," she says. "If I feel this fucking awkward and I'm a trainer and I work in a gym, I can't be the only one."

That discomfort led her to Google "lesbian personal trainers." All she found was porn and Jillian Michaels, a clear indication that there was a niche that needed to be filled. Five years later and The Perfect Sidekick is a thriving gym that offers branded classes like "Hardcore Homo," asks about customers' preferred gender pronouns and queers the language used in workouts.

"We gender neutralize everything from the bathrooms and the showers to the exercises," says Huerta. "'Superman,' an exercise where you lie on the floor and raise your arms and legs like you are flying has become 'Superpeople.' The 'Indian run,' where a group of people jog in a straight line and the person at the back has to sprint to the front, has also been renamed because of its racism. Huerta calls it the 'Unicorn run.' "When in doubt--name it something gay," she says.

Rose Foronda, a queer person of color who is a member of Huerta's gym, e-mailed with me about what drew her to The Perfect Sidekick: "At TPS you don't have the weird gym culture where people are either sizing you up or uncomfortably checking you out," she explains. "Also, I tried Crossfit and I lasted about six workouts. Their gender politics were horrendous. The misogyny was on overdrive and microaggression-filled language was unbelievable. [During] every single workout I heard the words, 'Men, grab the heavier weight. Women, grab the lighter weight.'"

While The Perfect Sidekick is not explicitly for people of color, both Huerta and Foronda say its customers are multiracial. "We're in Oakland, which is diverse, and we're a queer gym. It's like diversity on crack here sometimes,"Huerta said.

"As a person of color," says Foronda, "I also feel the love in the TPS community. Although, by my estimation, the clientele is still predominantly white, people of color are definitely represented at the gym. I'm not the only one!"

At the end of the day, Huerta says she is interested in expanding her business to other cities "to give more queers throughout the country a safe and healthy space where they can work out." She's currently considering Long Beach, Calif., as well as Portland, Ore. She's also trying to change how health and fitness professionals serve the LGBT community. For example, at a conference this fall for the online scheduling system she uses, Mindbody Online, she responded to the owner's request for suggestions on how to improve the service. "I might be the only one in here that this matters to," she recounts saying, "but your system only allows me two gender options. I'm a queer gym, I need more options than that." This exchange happened in front of 3,000 attendees. At the end, the owner agreed to add a third gender option that owners can customize.

Even with the noise of the gym in the background, Huerta's vibrant personality shines through during our phone interview. The child of immigrants, she learned from her parents. "I was raised in a very business and [entrepreneurial] environment. I remember seeing my mom doing payroll, counting on her fingers with only a third grade education. [She ran] a business for 30 years." When I ask Huerta what her parents think about her current line of work, she laughs and shares, "The first time my mom came to the gym, [she said] 'All that money for college and you work out with lesbians for a living?!' [I responded] 'Yeah mom, only in America!'"

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