Diversity Headlines

Obama's Cybertech Executive Order, The Fitbit Rash, Drake's Mixtape, NASA's Jedis

Colorlines - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 07:27
Obama's Cybertech Executive Order, The Fitbit Rash, Drake's Mixtape, NASA's Jedis

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

*Post has been updated to reflect that Drake's new releaseis a mixtape rather than a full studio album.
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Police Shooting of Hispanic Man in Wash. State Incites Protests, Is Compared to Ferguson

New America Media - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 16:33
Angry residents in an agricultural area of southeastern Washington are planning protests after police shot and killed an orchard worker who allegedly threw rocks at officers.According to media outlets, police in Pasco, about 215 miles southeast of Seattle, reportedly shot... Fox News Latino http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Report: Nearly 4,000 African Americans Were Lynched in Acts of Terror by Whites

New America Media - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 09:46
Above: A crowd stands around and smiles after a black man has been lynched.Nearly 4,000 black men, black women and black children were lynched between 1877 and 1950 in 12 Southern states, and their violent murders were celebrated, attracting huge crowds... Frederick Lowe http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Spotting and Avoiding Scams in Ethnic Communities

New America Media - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 01:15
Español LOS ANGELES – To Lang Zhao, the business she expected to ship her valuable package to in China appeared to be legitimate. After all, the clerk at the shipping store in the Los Angeles suburb of Monterey Park... George White http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Ai-jen Poo: Elders and Their Caregivers Deserve Dignity

Colorlines - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 19:40
 Elders and Their Caregivers Deserve Dignity

Ai-jen Poo--the labor organizer, MacArthur "Genius" Fellow and woman of color who rocks--just released her first book: The Age of Dignity." Co-authored by "book doula" Ariane Conrad, it provides an accessible and heartfelt look at a major problem looming for the United States--how we will care for baby boomer generation as it rapidly ages. "The Age of Dignity" also sheds light on the quickly growing, low-paid home-care industry, which is dominated by women of color.

Along with stories from the workers she has organized with as director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), Poo shares her own family's elder-care experiences, both good and bad. She calls the death of her paternal grandfather in an institution "one of the biggest regrets of my life and my family," but her maternal grandmother is still living independently with the help of a home-care worker.

Poo ends "The Age of Dignity" with concrete policy recommendations, and even a really inspiring vision of what she hopes could be her own home-care setup at age 80. Here, an edited and condensed interview with the first-time author via e-mail.

You mention in the book that of the approximately 2 million in-home caregivers who exist, most are women. What do we know about the racial makeup of this group?

When you look at home care workers who are hired through agencies, in addition to workers who are hired directly by their employers, you'll see that it's a workforce that is predominantly black women and other women of color--many of whom are immigrants.

According to the NDWA report "Home Economics," two-thirds of nannies, housekeepers and caregivers for the elderly are foreign-born, and about half of them are undocumented. Caregiving is not only a women's issue--it's absolutely a racial justice issue and an issue that is intricately linked to immigration reform.

Does race impact professional caregiver relationships with those receiving care?

That's a really interesting question, because we're talking about a mostly women-of-color, immigrant workforce whose clients are often aging white Americans. I hear stories about challenging moments, but I also hear stories about the beautiful relationships that can develop. Through my work I've learned that caregiving relationships can be and often are wonderfully transformational, for both sides.

Can you say more about the links you make between the devaluation of home care workers and the legacy of slavery?

It's been clear from the beginning that part of the reason why home-care and domestic workers have been excluded from basic labor protections for so long is the legacy of slavery. In fact, when the Fair Labor Standards Act and the National Labor Relations Act were passed in the late 1930s, they specifically excluded domestic workers and agricultural workers in order to secure the votes of Southerners in Congress who didn't want these mostly Black workers to gain economic or political power. One of the key demands of the March on Washington in the '60s was to reverse this. This exclusion meant that home-care workers weren't covered under basic federal minimum wage and overtime protections, leaving people incredibly vulnerable.

In the book you seem pretty against institutions as the answer for elder care. Do you think it's possible to transform them into more nurturing and cost-effective places?

There's a reason why 90 percent of people don't want to go to a nursing home -- they're often dehumanizing places that rob people of their dignity. I don't think institutions need to be this way, though. There are several models that point the way towards institutions that are life-affirming and maintain a good quality of life. The Green House model is one. Ultimately though, I think we need to shift from the institutional model to a home-based model, and this means we need a strong, well-paid, well-trained home-care workforce.

How do we get there?

Our task is to call on our elected officials [to] improve the quality of institutional care for those who truly need it, and create the new infrastructure that would increase access to affordable, high quality home care while ensuring that these jobs are good jobs. We [should] create what I call the Care Grid -- a system that, just like we brought water and electricity to every home in America, would bring quality care to every home in America.

Professional home care for the elderly seems like a luxury of the wealthy. How do we transform this to a standard practice for people of all classes?

There's a reason that home care is the fastest-growing workforce in the country -- our country is aging rapidly, with 10,000 people turning 65 every day. But these workers that we count on...are paid so little that they often can't support their own families. The average wage is still around $9 an hour.

On the flip side, all but the wealthiest of us are finding it hard to afford the care we need. And you're right, it shouldn't be a luxury. But when the average cost of a private room in a nursing home is $87,000 a year, and when home care isn't included as part of programs ... like Medicare, most forms of care are out of reach for the vast majority of us. And the programs that do exist through Medicaid are underfunded and still overwhelmingly tilt towards putting people in institutions. ... We desperately need [a] cultural shift in how we value aging and caregiving.

Female family members are so much more likely to take on the burden of elder and family care. Why?

Caregiving is and always has been associated with women, like many other kinds of unpaid work in the home. It's just been assumed and expected that women will be the caregivers in our families--from caring for children to our elderly parents. And so we've done it, whether as unpaid and unacknowledged family caregivers or as low-paid professional caregivers like home care workers and domestic workers. Because it's seen as "women's work," that's one of the main reasons caregiving has been devalued for so long. But with more and more women entering the workforce, this is becoming increasingly unsustainable. Working women of all walks of life face impossible choices right now, and these days are often juggling a full-time job, raising young children, and caring for an aging parent.

Your optimism about a really harrowing situation permeates so heavily throughout the book. How do you maintain such a hopeful outlook?

My hope is grounded in the work that so many of us around the country are already engaged in. Home-care workers and domestic workers are organizing, hand-in-hand with people with disabilities, aging Americans and their families to create solutions that guarantee dignity for workers and those they care for. ... [This] will become an issue no one--including our elected officials--can ignore any longer.

And I know that this will happen. Because this movement is rooted in love and the belief in the dignity of all people, the love we feel for our families and the importance we place on caring for one another. We can win.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

West Coast Port Employers Expect Shutdown Due to Congestion

New America Media - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 14:54
  WEST Coast seaports could shut down as soon as next week if dockworkers and their employers cannot reach a new contract, according to Pacific Maritime Association officials intending to pressure an agreement between the unionized naval industry workers, after... Asian Journal http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

One Image Captures Loss in the Muslim Student Killings

Colorlines - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 13:14
One Image Captures Loss in the Muslim Student Killings

Mohammad Alsalti is a student at the University of Cincinnati's design school, but his family lives in Raleigh, N.C., close to where three Muslim students were shot and killed by a white gunman Tuesday evening. When he heard about what happened in Chapel Hill, Alsalti says he instinctively created a design that's popping up all over social media today:

A photo posted by Mohammad Alsalti (@teddycreates) on Feb 11, 2015 at 8:15am PST

"First off, being a Muslim-American myself, this really hit home," wrote Alsalti in an e-mail to Colorlines. "And with [their] ages being so close to mine, 21, it could have easily been me."

You can check out more of Alsalti's work on his site, teddycreates.com, and on his Instagram page

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Indian Grandfather Nearly Paralyzed After Police Encounter in Alabama

Colorlines - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 12:40

Police in Madison, Alabama--a growing town just west of Huntsville--say they were responding to a call about a "suspicious person" walking around looking in home garages. That's when they found Sureshbhai Patel, a 57-year-old grandfather with permanent residence status in the U.S. who was visiting from India. What happened next left him nearly paralyzed.

Patel, who doesn't speak much English, was being questioned by officers who wanted to search him when, apparently, he tried to walk away. He was then thrown to the ground and eventually taken to the hospital where he's being treated for fused vertebrae.

The incident isn't necessarily isolated. South Asian Americans Leading Together, or SAALT, says that what happened to Patel illustrates the inequities communities of color face when dealing with the police.

"This incident is part of a pattern of racial profiling, surveillance, and violence that South Asians often face at the hands of law enforcement and part of the broader reality of police brutality in this country directed against Black and Brown communities," says SAALT's Suman Raghunathan via e-mail. The group says it's echoing the demands of the Black Lives Matter movement to change the way that policing is done.

According to AL.com, the Madison Police Department has issued a statement that the case is under investigation and "the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave until the investigation is complete." 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Indian Man Left Partially Paralyzed After Ala. Police Stop Him for Walking

New America Media - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 10:38
 Madison, Ala., police are accused of injuring an Indian man who was taking a walk outside the home of his son, whom he was visiting from his small town in India, AL.com reports. Sureshbhai Patel was reportedly rendered partly paralyzed... The Root http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

If a Muslim Dies in the Forest Does Anybody Hear?

New America Media - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 10:27
 Social media is fast becoming my main source of information, a fact that speaks volumes in itself. This morning I checked my Twitter feed and found myself filled with horror and sadness. Three young Muslims were killed at the University... Tikkun http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

#muslimlivesmatter: Chapel Hill Shooting and the Mainstream Media

New America Media - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 09:20
 It took the mainstream media an entire day to report on a possible hate crime that claimed the lives of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, of Chapel Hill; his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21,... Staff http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Interview With Director Jennifer Phang on "Advantageous"

Hyphen Blog - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 09:20

Advantageous is a sci-fi feature film directed by Jennifer Phang, and written by Phang as well as Jacqueline Kim which premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at 2015 Sundance. It also won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Collaborative Vision at the festival.

read more

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Fox's 'Empire', a Pulitzer Prize Winning Author and Kendrick Lamar

Colorlines - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 08:46
Fox's 'Empire', a Pulitzer Prize Winning Author and Kendrick Lamar

First off: Kendrick Lamar doesn't seem to need a lot of help. At this point, he's at the top of his game, and his highly anticipated follow up to 2012's "Good Kid, m.A.A.d city" is already one of the most talked about album in years -- and it still doesn't have an official release date.

But when the rapper dropped his latest track, the searingly political "The Blacker the Berry," he created another wave of excitement, the ripples of which are being felt by one of the year's biggest TV dramas and one of America's favorite authors. 

Lamar didn't just drop his latest gem anonymously. He let Taraji P. Henson, star of Fox's enormously popular hip-hop drama "Empire," listen to the album and choose which single he should release. Henson chose "The Blacker the Berry," which she tweeted out to her three million followers:

Here is a working link for my fav song on @kendricklamar new joint he has coming!!!! https://t.co/4N43lrWJYv ????????????

-- Taraji P. Henson (@TherealTaraji) February 9, 2015

The song caught fire, gaining more than one million plays in less than 12 hours. The day after it was released, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon took up the task of annotating it for the the website Genius, which has tasked itself trying to give context for society's big cultural products. While Lamar rapped, "So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street?/ When gang banging make me kill a nigga blacker than me?/ Hypocrite!," Chabon wrote:

In this final couplet, Kendrick Lamar employs a rhetorical move akin to--and in its way even more devastating than--Common's move in the last line of "I Used to Love H.E.R.": snapping an entire lyric into place with a surprise revelation of something hitherto left unspoken. In "H.E.R.", Common reveals the identity of the song's "her"--hip hop itself--forcing the listener to re-evaluate the entire meaning and intent of the song. Here, Kendrick Lamar reveals the nature of the enigmatic hypocrisy that the speaker has previously confessed to three times in the song without elaborating: that he grieved over the murder of Trayvon Martin when he himself has been responsible for the death of a young black man. Common's "her" is not a woman but hip hop itself; Lamar's "I" is not (or not only) Kendrick Lamar but his community as a whole. This revelation forces the listener to a deeper and broader understanding of the song's "you", and to consider the possibility that "hypocrisy" is, in certain situations, a much more complicated moral position than is generally allowed, and perhaps an inevitable one.

Complex offers up more detail in this video:

It's already been one helluva week for Lamar. He won two Grammys, dropped a classic song, and has already helped shift the cultural conversation around policing and racism in America. And it's only Wednesday.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

New York City Cop Indicted in Akai Gurley Stairwell Shooting

Colorlines - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 08:09
New York City Cop Indicted in Akai Gurley Stairwell Shooting

A grand jury has indicted officer Peter Liang for manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Akai Gurley, 28, in the unlit stairwell of a Brooklyn public housing project last November. Gurley, the father of a 2-year-old, had just entered the stairwell landing after 11 p.m. with his girlfriend when Liang, a rookie officer on a routine-but-controversial stairwell patrol, fired his gun. The New York Times reported that Liang fired his gun as he was also turning the door knob to enter the stairwell; drawing weapons during stairwell patrols in public housing is "longtime police practice."

Gurley's shooting occurred in the tense days leading up to grand jury decisions in the police killings of two other unarmed black men--Michael Brown in St. Louis and Eric Garner in Staten Island--and helped spark local and national protests. Commissioner William Bratton had described the shooting as, "an unfortunate accident." 

Liang reportedly faces multiple criminal charges and up to 15 years in prison. Grand juries rarely indict police officers. When they do, as FiveThirtyEight reports, police officers typically are not convicted, nor do they serve time.

(h/t NY Daily News)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

The Executive Action Learning Curve

Colorlines - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 07:26
The Executive Action Learning Curve

Although opponents are still fighting President Obama’s immigration executive order, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCI) will begin accepting applications for his more lenient version of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) on February 18. 

The original DACA plan, which has enrolled more than a half-million young people since it went into effect in June 2013, provided a two-year work permit and two years of relief from deportation. 

To qualify, applicants had to have arrived in the U.S. by July 15, 2007; been 15 or younger at the time of arrival; been under age of 31 on June 15, 2012; have no serious crimes on their record; and have enrolled in or completed high school or a G.E.D. program or been honorably discharged from the armed forces.

Under expanded DACA, there is no age cap; the arrival date is up to January 1, 2010; and the protection lasts for three years instead of two. An estimated 330,000 more people will be eligible for deportation relief under expanded DACA. 

The Department of Homeland Security indicated that it would take 90 days for DACA to begin taking applications, some thought it would take much longer. That’s why a USCIS flyer that began floating around the Internet in late January caught many by (pleasant) surprise.

“I thought I was going to have to wait until May,” says Lupe González, a 35-year-old living in Queens, New York, who couldn’t apply for the old DACA program because she was over 31. “Now that it’s in February, it’s just a rush to get the money and papers together.” 

González, who works as a nanny in Brooklyn, she says she’s currently enrolled in a G.E.D. program because, by poking around online, she figured out that simply signing up for one would fulfill DACA’s education requirement. She says that the processing fee may be her biggest obstacle. “I’m about halfway there but will figure it out,” says González, who hopes to apply next week. 

Expanded DACA still has some of the old program’s more onerous provisions such as the $465 processing fee. (Processing includes background checks and biometrics.)

There’s also the burden to prove one’s presence in the country before the age of 16—which is sometimes a challenge for immigrants who didn’t attend school right away and therefore lack school records, which is a common form of proving one was in the country as a minor. 

To navigate the sometimes-confusing application process, some community organizations are holding workshops for undocumented people and giving them hands-on, in-person help. 

Take Make the Road New York, a grassroots group that organizes and advocates for working-class youth, immigrants and LGBTQ people. At 3 p.m., on a cold New York City weekday this month, a handful of people are already gathered at Make the Road’s office for a 4 o’clock workshop that is free and in Spanish. The early birds say they’re there an hour ahead of time because they think the meeting will get packed. They’re right.

By 4:15, all 20 chairs are taken and stragglers are standing. The participants are Latino with varying fluency in Spanish and they appear to be in their 30s and 40s.

Make the Road’s DACA advocate, Yenny Quispe, begins the workshop by asking people what they know about expanded DACA. Participants know some of the basics—that it removesthe age cap and changes the date of entry. Then she builds on the group’s existing knowledge, explaining the other changes in deportation relief and challenging myths and uncertainties people have about who may be eligible for it. Quispe also helps settle participants’ concerns about the four- to six-month wait they will likely have before they hear if they’ve been approved.

At 4:45, participants receive a pile of paperwork that includes authorization and privacy statements—and a crucial questionnaire that will help Make the Road’s lawyers determine if an applicant is eligible for expanded DACA. They also assess whether undocumented people are eligible for forms of relief that can create a path to permanent residency and citizenship such as U-Visas and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJ). 

“Workshops like the ones Make the Road does are incredibly important,” says the group’s staff attorney Nick Katz. “Combating unscrupulous attorneys and getting folks into reliable organizations helps make folks aware that there are other forms of immigration relief that they may be eligible for.” 

Later this week, nearly 3,000 miles away in Santa Clarita, Calif., 35-year-old homemaker Erica Álvarez will attend a free workshop offered by the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). Álvarez’s mother is a longtime member of the group; she decided to join, along with her husband, soon after Obama announced his executive action. 

Since Álvarez graduated high school in Santa Clarita, Calif., she’s eligible for expanded DACA. Because both of her children were born in California, Álvarez can also apply for a new program created by Obama’s executive order—Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA for short. 

To qualify for DAPA, applicants must be the parent of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident child who was born by November 20, 2014—the day Obama announced his executive action. They must also show that they’ve continuously resided in the U.S. since at least January 1, 1990, and they can’t have a deportable crime on their record. USCIS will begin accepting applications in May.

“I haven’t figured out which one to apply for,” says Álvarez. “That’s why I’m going to the CHIRLA workshop that I was invited to.” 

Although undocumented people and their advocates are excited about the opportunities Obama’s executive action provides, it still leaves people out.

Eduardo Samaniego, a Massachusetts college student, is one who will be left behind. The 22-year-old left Mexico for Georgia when he was 16. He learned English quickly, maintained a 3.8 grade point average while taking advanced-placement classes and he even became class president. Samaniego was recruited by one of Georgia’s top colleges, the University of Georgia, but was ineligible to apply because of the state’s ban on undocumented students.

Samaniego decided to attend Freedom University, an Atlanta-based program that offers Georgia students like him free education, help with college applications and scholarships, and movement skill-building. Last year, Hampshire College offered Samaniego a $240,000 scholarship and he’s now a freshman majoring in political science. 

But because he came to the U.S. when he was 16, Samaniego still doesn’t qualify for expanded DACA. He says he feels incredibly lucky to be able to attend Hampshire, but that Obama’s announcement was a letdown for him. “This means I still can’t get a driver’s license or get a job,” explains Samaniego. “Every time I travel from Georgia to Massachusetts, I have to go through the Department of Homeland Security—the same [agency] that deports people.”

Nevertheless, Samaniego seems more concerned for the estimated seven million undocumented immigrants who are also ineligible for any kind of relief under Obama’s executive action. During our two hours of conversation he kept coming back to people who don’t have the educational advantages he does. “There’s a fear and it’s not going away for these seven million people who don’t qualify,” says Samaniego. “And [that fear] is not going away for the 4 million who can apply [for relief] under the executive action because this is just a Band-Aid that can get taken away at any time.”

As Samaniego points out, Obama’s deportation relief programs can get caught up in lawsuits or be completely dismantled by a new administration as early at 2017. But if and until that happens, deferred action applications will be rolling in.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Three Muslim Family Members Murdered in Chapel Hill; Suspect Surrenders [VIDEO]

Colorlines - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 07:24

Three Muslim-American family members, aged 19 through 23, all students, were killed Tuesday evening in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. What's known in this developing story is that a 46-year-old white man, Craig Stephen Hicks, turned himself into police following the triple homicide of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. Police have not released a statement on Hicks' motive and while his religion has not been confirmed, one early WRAL report points to Facebook posts linked to Hicks about atheism. He reportedly lived in the same neighborhood as the three victims.

According to WRAL, Barakat, a dental student at UNC-Chapel Hill, married North Carolina State student, Mohammad in December. Her younger sister Razan also attended NC State and is a graduate of a Raleigh high school. Barakat, seen in the call-for-donations video above, was scheduled to travel to Turkey this year as part of Project Refugee Smiles to provide free dental care to Syrians fleeing civil war.

The hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter appeared over night to protest an apparent lack of media coverage. News of the triple homicide, according to the NY Daily News, did not make national headlines last night.

The story is developing. 

(h/t News & Observer)
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Muslim Students Shot Dead, Jeb Bush Staffer Resigns, 10 Million Passwords Released

Colorlines - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 07:20
Muslim Students Shot Dead, Jeb Bush Staffer Resigns, 10 Million Passwords Released

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

Categories: Diversity Headlines

At Long Last, Romero Named a Martyr by Pope Francis

New America Media - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 16:45
Image: "Mural Oscar Romero UES" by Giobanny Ascencio and Raul Lemus- Grupo Cinteupiltzin CENAR El Salvador - Mural painted in acrylic and oil. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.The people of El Salvador have long held that their... Sabrina Vourvoulias http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Explain It Any Way You Want, but Kanye Acted an Ass After the Grammys

New America Media - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 15:14
 It’s true: Kanye is gonna Kanye.So it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that at Sunday night’s E! post-Grammys afterparty, Kanye West told an interviewer—who just happened to be his sister-in-law Khloe Kardashian—that if the Grammys “want real artists to keep coming... The Root http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Composer and producer Ricky Kej won a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album

New America Media - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 14:02
SAN LEANDRO, Calif. — Composer and producer Ricky Kej won a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album Feb. 8, becoming the first Indian American musician to win in the category. Kej was born in North Carolina but he is... India West http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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