New America Media - Sun, 02/23/2014 - 10:09
A national organization Friday indefinitely suspended a fraternity chapter at the University of Mississippi and expelled three of its freshman members because of their suspected involvement in hanging a noose on a statue of the first black student to enroll in... The Root http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
New America Media - Sat, 02/22/2014 - 12:05
Fernando Santos’ life these days doesn’t exactly fit his old nickname:“Drifter.” Instead of wandering the land, the former U.S. resident takes care of others who answer the call of the road at the budget hotel he manages in Puerto Vallarta,... Kent Paterson http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
New America Media - Sat, 02/22/2014 - 11:25
Ed. Note: Louisiana and 44 other states this year are beginning to implement the new Common Core States Standards for instruction of English-language arts and math. The new standards are designed to revamp the way schools instruct and assess... George White http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Sat, 02/22/2014 - 01:21
Don't have any plans this weekend? Then it's a great time to watch "Pay It No Mind," a new documentary about the life and work of Marsha P. Johnson, a trans activist who played an important role in the Stonewall Rebellion and also worked as an Andy Warhol model, drag queen, sex worker and actress. It's available for free online. Watch above.
From Shadow and Act:
With her final interview from 1992, Pay It No Mind captures the legendary gay/human rights activist as she recounts her life at the forefront of The Stonewall Riots in the 1960s, the creation of S.T.A.R. (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) with Sylvia Rivera in the '70s, and a New York City activist throughout the '80s and early '90s.
The film features interviews with Marsha, as well as in-depth interviews with gay activist Randy Wicker, former Cockettes performer Agosto Machado, author Michael Musto, Hot Peaches founder/performer, Jimmy Camicia, and Stonewall activists Bob Kohler, Danny Garvin, Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt, and Martin Boyce.
Read more at Shadow and Act.
New America Media - Sat, 02/22/2014 - 01:00
About 150 expats from the East African communities converged upon the East African Community and Cultural Center in San Diego Feb. 14 to the “Love Your Heart” event so they can take charge of their health.The countywide event was organized... Viji Sundaram http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Sat, 02/22/2014 - 00:37
President Obama will award the highest military commendation, the Medal of Honor, next month to 19 Jewish, Latino, and African-American Army veterans who were robbed of the designation due to racial discrimination.
The awards are the outcome of a 12-year review and reassessment of Medal of Honor recipients by the Pentagon as ordered by Congress to investigate historical racism among military ranks.
The list of those who'll receive the distinguished honor includes 17 Latino soldiers and one African-American veteran, although according to The Washington Post, Congress' order did not initially include a review of black soliders.
More from WaPo:
Defense Department officials said there was specific evidence to suggest such discrimination may have existed in the ranks, including instances when Hispanic and Jewish soldiers apparently changed their names to hide their ethnicity. The Congressional order spanned the period from December 1941 through September 2001.
The project was an enormous undertaking that sent military personnel officials searching for lost records and battlefield histories amid the complicated politics surrounding the military's highest honor.
The review was further complicated by a 1973 fire that destroyed millions of military files at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.
Of the new Medal of Honor recipients, only three are still living.
Colorlines - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 23:53
Girl Scout Danielle Lei, 13, knew exactly what her customers wanted when she set up her cookie table outside of the Green Cross, a medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco's Excelsior neighborhood. And that's how she sold 147 boxes of cookies in mere minutes, according to Mashable.
"It's no secret that cannabis is a powerful appetite stimulant, so we knew this would be a very beneficial endeavor for the girls," Holli Bert, a staff member at The Green Cross, told Mashable in an email. "It's all about location, and what better place to sell Girl Scout cookies than outside a medical cannabis collective?"
Hyphen Blog - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 22:07
Yellow Peril is alive and well -- and in a bookstore near you. Authors John Kuo Wei Tchen & Dylan Yeats present the historical cycle of anti-Asian sentiment in their new book, Yellow Peril!!: An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear.
Colorlines - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 21:18
CNN’s Alina Machado spoke with 21-year-old Creshuna Miles—one of two black women who served on the Michael Dunn murder trial jury. Miles, who was one of nine jurors who voted to convict Dunn, says she believes he’s guilty of second-degree murder—and that, for her, the case was about justice, not race.
(h/t The Root)
Colorlines - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 20:58
A scandal of monumental proportions is unfolding in the NFL right now and it involves former player and television analyst Darren Sharper, who's currently being investigated in an eighth rape allegation. If he's found guilty, it wouldn't be the first time that a former professional football player was unmasked as a serial rapist; former All-Pro running back David Meggett is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence in South Carolina after being named in at least three different sexual assault investigations. In both cases, if you get past the downright racist comments on message boards, a troubling excuse has bubbled to the surface: these strong, powerful and good-looking men don't need to rape anyone to have sex.
Erin Gloria Ryan takes that to task over at Jezebel. "Rapists do not want to fuck," Ryan writes. "They want to rape."
Despite the mounting evidence against him, some people seem to believe that a good looking man couldn't possibly be a monster. If moral people aren't always usually exceptionally good looking, then has Disney been leading me astray all these years? Sick garbage-people come in all colors, shapes, sizes, and, yeah, sometimes they're handsome and maybe they once dated Gabrielle Union and maybe they do charity work. Maybe they have money and look really good in suits. None of this means they're incapable of rape. Allowing an alleged rapist's attractiveness and money to cast doubt on his innocence or guilt displays a profound lack of understanding of what rape is, what it's about, and who does it. It also gives people yet another excuse to doubt rape victims. These hoes are lying, obviously. Because of course they wanted to fuck him. Because everybody wanted to fuck him.
Colorlines - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 20:52
Once again, Jimmy Fallon is killin' it on "The Tonight Show." This clip appeared on the show earlier this week.
Colorlines - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 19:28
More than one in five of black residents of voting age in Kentucky cannot vote. The state ranks among the harshest in the country for felony disenfranchisement but according to Stateline, that could change this election year. With a compromise assist from Republican Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky could join states like Delaware and more than two dozen others in easing voting restrictions. But the battle is far from over. Some states like South Dakota have actually tightened restrictions in recent years. Nearly six million people, according to The Sentencing Project, cannot vote due to felony disenfranchisement laws. More than seven percent are African-American.
Check out Stateline's map to see where your state stands compared to the rest of the country on felony disenfranchisement and policies by state. Is your state's record better or worse than you expected?
New America Media - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 12:45
KOLKATA - Rebellion has never been easier. It's just a click away.My social media feed is filled with agitated people posting links to sites from where one can download Wendy Doniger's The Hindus: An Alternative History. Soon we might see people's... Sandip Roy http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=54
New America Media - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 12:00
Pictured above: Newly naturalized citizen Barbara Kochanek and Wojciech Zolnowski, executive director of International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, show the documents she needed to become a U.S. citizen. They spoke Wednesday at a Detroit media roundtable. FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich.... Elena Shore http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 00:47
When President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) in 2013, he enacted legislation that allows Native American tribes to use their own courts to prosecute non-Natives accused of committing dating and domestic violence against Natives on tribal land. The jurisdictional changes take effect in March 2015 but a pilot program, coordinated by the Department of Justice (DOJ), has authorized three tribes to exercise the prosecutions starting this week.
Tribal authority over non-Natives is not new but was completely halted in 1978. Five years previously, a non-Native named Mark David Oliphant was arrested for assaulting a Suquamish tribal policeman on the Port Madison Indian Reservation in Washington state. Oliphant argued that the tribe didn't hold criminal jurisdiction in the matter. The Suquamish tribe held that its inherent tribal sovereignty allowed it to maintain law and order on its land, up to and including arresting and prosecuting non-Native suspects.
The Supreme Court sided with Oliphant, however, gutting tribal jurisdiction over non-Natives for crimes committed on tribal land. It did so not just for the Suquamish, but for all federally recognized tribes. And because local and state agencies don't hold criminal jurisdiction on tribal lands, all non-Natives suspected of committing crimes on those lands for the last 40 years or so have been held accountable only by federal prosecutors. U.S. Attorneys are few in comparison to the number of cases that pile up so only the most serious of charges are ever investigated and prosecuted.
The Supreme Court's decision in Oliphant v. Suquamish Tribe, however, did rule that Congress could authorize criminal jurisdiction for Native tribes. It would take Congress 35 years to pass such legislation, through VAWA. By 2015 all 566 federally recognized Native tribes and nations will be eligible to exercise criminal jurisdiction over non-Natives for dating and domestic violence.
But the Department of Justice designed a pilot project to allow some tribes to begin exercising non-Native criminal jurisdiction this month. Three tribes have been approved so far: The Pascua Yaqui in Arizona, the Umatilla in Oregon, and the Tulalip in Washington. Many more are expected to apply for approval on a rolling basis until 2015.
But it's unlikely that all 566 tribes will participate by 2015, because under VAWA, specific protections for defendants' rights must be in place. "[The law] requires that tribes that are exercising that jurisdiction to have safeguards in place," says DOJ spokesperson Wyn Hornbuckle. Those requirements include the right to due process as well as free and effective representation for defendants who cannot otherwise afford counsel--essentially the same rights that are afforded to defendants outside of Indian Country in the United States. Not all tribes have the money to afford police forces or venues to try suspects.
Nevertheless, the pilot project is providing a unique option to deal with the prevalent problem of dating and domestic abuse for those tribes that are equipped to try non-Native defendants. One of those is the Pascua Yaqui, whose tribal land is just about two square miles near Tucson, Arizona. Because the territory is so small, and because it is so close to an urban center, Native and non-Native relationships are common--but when they lead to abuse, there are few legal possibilities for dealing with the perpetrator. Pascua Yaqui Attorney General Amanda Lomayesva says that up until now, the tribe has had few options for dealing with abusers.
"If it's a domestic violence call, the [tribal] police go out there, and if they identify the offender as non-Indian, and there's really nothing they can do," says Lomayesva. "They can remove them from the house and take them off the reservation." But once the offender is removed, nothing stops them from returning the site of the crime. Under the pilot project, the Pascua Yaqui will be able to arrest, prosecute and sentence non-Natives for these crimes.
The list of offenses eligible for prosecution under VAWA is limited to criminal violations of protection orders, as well as dating violence and domestic violence that occurs on tribal land. Child and elder abuse aren't covered; neither are sexual assaults that happen between two strangers. Those and other offenses are still only prosecutable by the federal government.
The pilot project, and subsequently criminal jurisdiction by all tribes under VAWA also opens up questions about the criminal justice system and the private prison industry. While the Pascua Yaqui Tribe has its own short-term detention facility, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) will coordinate prison time with a federal or private facility. Once VAWA is in place by 2015, those tribes that do sentence non-Natives but do not have their own prison facilities will hand people over to the BIA.
But the pilot project--and VAWA itself--is a big acknowledgement of tribal sovereignty. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe, which Attorney General Lomayesva says regularly prosecuted non-Natives before 1978, is now reacquainting its police officers and its court with prosecuting non-Natives once again. And, because non-Native attacks on Natives on the reservation are so prevalent, it's expected that its first case under the pilot project will emerge soon.
Colorlines - Thu, 02/20/2014 - 22:46
New York will end the practice of solitary confinement for certain classes of inmates, including youth, pregnant and developmentally disabled inmates, as part of an agreement announced Wednesday, the New York Times reported. The landmark agreement stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union challenging the state's confinement practices. Some 3,800 prisoners are held in solitary confinement every day for between 22 and 24 hours as punishment for violating prison rules, according to the NYCLU. And now, New York will be the largest correctional system in the country which prohibits solitary confinement for youth inmates.
Solitary confinement is an ineffective and inhumane form of punishment, advocates have long argued. It exacerbates or even causes mental illness, and can increase rates of recidivism, the NYCLU argued. New York has been confining inmates to solitary confinement for months and even decades, when experts have argued that the maximum "tolerable span" one can spend in solitary confinement is closer to 15 to 30 days.
"This agreement is an important step toward dignity and decency," Leroy Peoples, a lead plaintiff in the lawsuit who served 780 consecutive days in solitary confinement as punishment for filing false legal documents, said via the NYCLU.
If the reform moves as scheduled, the lawsuit should be resolved in two years, the New York Times reported.
New America Media - Thu, 02/20/2014 - 22:19
Above photo: Rev. Dwight Montgomery, Memphis branch president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, led workers and supporters in prayer on Wednesday night. (photo credit: Tyrone P. Easley)"...This is not your grandfather's Kellogg's. The old administration was compassionate and caring... Dr. Sybil C. Mitchell http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Colorlines - Thu, 02/20/2014 - 20:31
According to a new study by University of California at Berkeley researcher Christopher Petrella, people of color who are sentenced to prison are more likely than their white counterparts to serve their time in private institutions. Katie Rose Quandt points out at Mother Jones that those private prisons have higher levels of violence and recidivism (PDF) and provide less sufficient health care and educational programming than equivalent public facilities.
In Petrella's study, age and race work in a very specific way when it comes to private prisons. From Bill Moyers:
Why would African American and Latino prisoners be cheaper to incarcerate than whites? Because older prisoners are significantly more expensive than younger ones. "Based on historical sentencing patterns, if you are a prisoner today, and you are over 50 years old, there is a greater likelihood that you are white," Petrella explained to BillMoyers.com. "If you are under 50 years old -- particularly if you're closer to 30 years old -- you're more likely to be a person of color." He cited a 2012 report by the ACLU which found that it costs $34,135 per year to house a non-geriatric prisoner, compared with $68,270 for a prisoner age 50 or older.
Here's what that looks like:
Quandt takes a deeper dive into how this data helps bolster the argument that the prison industry cares more about profit than rehabilitation. Read more at Mother Jones.
Colorlines - Thu, 02/20/2014 - 20:29
On January 7, dozens of Nigerians were arrested after the country passed a draconian anti-gay law that punishes homosexuality with a life sentence in prison. Similar legislation appears to be headed for Uganda. Global gay rights watchdogs have noted that such bills are often the work of U.S. Evangelicals, who they say must take repsonsibility for their actions. Now, a prominent Nigerian voice has spoken out against the law. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie takes on the common arguments posed by supporters of the bill, including that being gay is "un-African."
The new law that criminalizes homosexuality is popular among Nigerians. But it shows a failure of our democracy, because the mark of a true democracy is not in the rule of its majority but in the protection of its minority - otherwise mob justice would be considered democratic. The law is also unconstitutional, ambiguous, and a strange priority in a country with so many real problems. Above all else, however, it is unjust. Even if this was not a country of abysmal electricity supply where university graduates are barely literate and people die of easily-treatable causes and Boko Haram commits casual mass murders, this law would still be unjust. We cannot be a just society unless we are able to accommodate benign difference, accept benign difference, live and let live. We may not understand homosexuality, we may find it personally abhorrent but our response cannot be to criminalize it.
A crime is a crime for a reason. A crime has victims. A crime harms society. On what basis is homosexuality a crime? Adults do no harm to society in how they love and whom they love. This is a law that will not prevent crime, but will, instead, lead to crimes of violence: there are already, in different parts of Nigeria, attacks on people 'suspected' of being gay. Ours is a society where men are openly affectionate with one another. Men hold hands. Men hug each other. Shall we now arrest friends who share a hotel room, or who walk side by side? How do we determine the clunky expressions in the law - 'mutually beneficial,' 'directly or indirectly?'
Colorlines - Thu, 02/20/2014 - 20:24
This year's annual Tribeca Film Festival starts on April 16 and it's opening with a documentary "Time is Illmatic" on rapper Nas' seminal 1994 album "Illmatic." The film's debut will be followed by a live performance of the entire album from Nas.
The rapper issued a statement on the film's official release:
"I want to thank the Tribeca Film Festival for supporting the film with the incredible platform they've built over the years," Nas said in the announcement. "It's an honor to premiere this film in my hometown. I also want to thank One9 and Erik Parker for their persistence and hard work. Those guys and I come from the same place and era, which gives the doc an authenticity that is important to me. We wanted this film to represent the real, from the storyline all the way down to the directors and producers."
Jane Rosenthal, CEO and co-founder of Tribeca Film Festival, praised the film. "Like the festival itself, 'Time is Illmatic' and the groundbreaking body of work it recognizes has roots grounded in New York City, but represents and reaches communities far beyond."
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