Diversity Headlines

Southeast Asian Activists Urge 'Solidarity With Black People' Post Garner Non-Indictment

Colorlines - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 07:53
Southeast Asian Activists Urge 'Solidarity With Black People' Post Garner Non-Indictment In response to a grand jury's failure indict Daniel Pantaleo, the white Staten Island police officer who was captured on video choking unarmed, black Eric Garner to death, a collective of Southeast Asian activists have issued an
open letter encouraging solidarity with black people. The letter--unedited:   OPEN LETTER TO OUR SOUTHEAST ASIAN COMMUNITY ON BLACK SOLIDARITY: PLEASE SHARE

To our loved Southeast Asian people,

WE HAVE BEEN WITNESS TO SEVERE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AGAINST THE BLACK COMMUNITY, AND WE HAVE HEALING AND ORGANIZING TO DO: On Monday November 24th, a St. Louis County prosecutor announced that Mike Brown's killer will not be indicted. We are heartbroken with rage and sadness that another Black child was murdered in the street and no one will be held accountable. And again today, justice has been denied as the system chooses to hold no one accountable in the murder of Eric Garner by the NYPD. We cry for the families of Mike Brown and Eric Garner as they are forced to find peace through their own means and struggle. We are pained to our core that the community's truth is so violently and publicly stripped away through legal system processes that weren't built to honor our truth.

WE NEED TO DO OUR WORK OF CONNECTING OUR STRUGGLES TO THOSE OF OUR BLACK SISTERS, BROTHERS, AND KINFOLK: On Monday, our world stopped. But for many in our community, it didn't. We know what it means for our lives to be taken by armed bodies of US government while no one pays attention, here and in our homelands. We know what it means to be forced to find peace with our trauma, and find justice on our own without solidarity from the outside world. We know what it means for the truth of our experience to be stripped from us by the system, and then have to live with our truth in the shadows and be invisible in our intergenerational trauma and pain. As Black communities charge genocide, war and state violence on their lives and futures by the forces that are meant to protect them, we know deeply the meaning of these very words and experiences as we carry the weight and history of mass human rights violations against our people from one side of the world to the other.

AS A SOUTHEAST ASIAN COMMUNITY, LET US REMEMBER OUR DEEP RESILIENCE AND COLLECTIVE HEALING THROUGH OUR OWN STRUGGLES, AND OFFER OURSELVES, OUR LOVE, AND OUR SOLIDARITY TO THE BLACK COMMUNITY: Our solidarity work must begin with organizing and transforming ourselves, our families, and our loved ones by understanding how anti-black racism has impacted our own community. Let us feel the division and injustice that systemic colorism and anti-blackness has done to our community, as we are taught to value those of us who are light-skinned over those of us who are dark-skinned. Let us see that the struggle of Black communities against police and state violence directly impacts our community's survival as we face that violence as well. Let us be clear through this understanding that while our oppressions are connected, our oppression is not the same. Black bodies are systemically and historically dehumanized in this country in ways we will never face. We must now also own our failure as a Southeast Asian community to be in solidarity with the Black community in times of crisis and movement. And we must do better, right now.

WE MUST READY OUR MINDS AND HEARTS FOR A BLACK LIBERATION MOVEMENT THAT ALL OF OUR LIVES DEPEND ON, BECAUSE OUR LIBERATION AS SOUTHEAST ASIANS MUST DEMAND THAT PEOPLE AND THE SYSTEM TRULY BELIEVE THAT BLACK LIVES MATTER: Now is the time for us to show up and unveil the raw truth of our beings as Southeast Asian survivors and warriors, and bring it with our Black family. We will not remain calm. We will not believe that property is more valuable than life. We will not turn our heads as Black people are shot every 28 hours by police or vigilantes in this country. We will respect and follow the leadership of those most marginalized on the ground - Black youth, Black queer folk, Black trans folk, Black mothers, and Black sisters. We will be guided by those who have been in the streets for over 100 days using their voices and bodies to demand justice and dignity. It is no longer enough to watch. We will roll up our sleeves, hit the streets, and do our part to make the world stop.

In love,

Your family of the Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN)

Mekong NYC
Freedom, Inc.
Providence Youth Student Movement
1Love Movement
ManForward
SOY-Shades of Yellow
VAYLA New Orleans

Categories: Diversity Headlines

83 Arrested in NYC, Jobless Claims Decline, New Drug May Heal Spinal Cord Injuries

Colorlines - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 07:22
83 Arrested in NYC, Jobless Claims Decline, New Drug May Heal Spinal Cord Injuries

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

  • Jobless claims continue to decline--although that doesn't help a slow holiday shopping season. 
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch: Spike Lee Predicts Eric Garner Decision and NYC Protests

Colorlines - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 07:20

Before joining protests in Manhattan on Wednesday night, filmmaker Spike Lee sat down for an interview with Complex to talk about the police killings of Mike Brown and Eric Garner. Lee inserted himself into the conversation around police brutality shortly after Garner's death last summer when he released a video that edited together the videotaped footage of Garner's fatal encounter with NYPD officers with a Radio Raheem's chokehold death in Lee's 1989 film "Do the Right Thing."

(h/t Complex)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Financial Elder Abuse a Growing--But Preventable--Problem

New America Media - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 03:35
 WASHINGTON, D.C.--It’s a commonly seen phenomenon: An aging relative or friend becomes slower at processing bills and calculating tips, or finds it increasingly difficult to decipher a medical bill. And arithmetic errors in the checkbook register make it all the... Sandra Larson http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Police Relations -- Not Just a Black, Urban Issue

New America Media - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 03:05
Above: Residents of Bakersfield protested last May on the one-year anniversary of the death of David Silva. The 33 year-old father of four died while being beaten by nine Kern County sheriff's deputies. (photo: Alfredo Camacho)Editor’s Note: When President Obama... Various Authors http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Activists Fight to Stop New Youth Jail in Seattle

New America Media - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 01:35
SEATTLE -- Across the country from Ferguson, youth of color in Seattle recently held a unique form of protest that featured poetry, dance and painting to spark community resistance to the reconstruction of a new youth jail in King County.“We... Asha DuMonthier http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Black St. Louis Cops Issue Statement, Stand by Rams

Colorlines - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 14:06
Black St. Louis Cops Issue Statement, Stand by Rams

A group representing St. Louis' black police officers issued a statement this Monday* standing by five Rams players who entered Sunday's NFL football game doing "hands up, don't shoot," widely perceived as a gesture of support for Ferguson protesters. The African-American group's support directly contradicts that of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, which issued its own public statement against the Rams and has raised significant financial support for former officer Darren Wilson. The statement appears on the Facebook page of the Ethical Society of Police, which describes itself as "the primary voice of African American Police Officers in St. Louis City," and according to its Web site, dates its founding to at least 1968. Their statement reads in full: 

ST. LOUIS CITY AFRICAN AMERICAN POLICE OFFICERS SUPPORT THE RAMS PLAYERS ACTIONS 

The Statements of the St. Louis Police Officers Association does not represent the opinion of a majority of African American Officers. 

General Counsel, Attorney Gloria McCollum, on behalf of THE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF POLICE- St. Louis, STATES: 

"THE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF POLICE, is the primary voice of African
American Police Officers in St. Louis City, and as such it COMPLETELY SUPPORTS THE ACTIONS OF THE ST. LOUIS RAMS FOOTBALL PLAYERS IN WHICH THEY SHOWED SUPPORT FOR THE FAMILY OF MICHAEL BROWN BY ENTERING THE STADIUM WITH THEIR HANDS UP.

We think that their actions were commendable and that they should not be ridiculed, disciplined or punished for taking a stand on this very important issue which is of great concern around the world and especially in the community where these players work. 

THE STATEMENTS OF THE ST. LOUIS POLICE OFFICERS 
ASSOCIATION DO NOT REFLECT THE OPINIONS OF THE MAJORITY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN POLICE OFFICERS IN THE DEPARTMENT BECAUSE THERE ARE NO AFRICAN AMERICAN OFFICERS ON THEIR GOVERNING BOARD AND THEY HAVE A MINIMAL AMOUNT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MEMBERS. 

The Ethical Society of Police has been the primary bridge between African American community and the police department for many years. The Ethical Society will use its best efforts to continue to work with the community leaders and the Department of Justice to address issues that affect our community such as racial profiling, police brutality and disparities in hiring and disciplining practices of African American Officers. 

GLORIA J. MCCOLLUM, General Counsel for the Ethical Society of Police, - St. Louis, Misouri

 

*Post has been updated since publication to correct that the statement issue date was Monday, December 1, not Tuesday, December 2.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

What Obama Says He'll Do About Police Brutality

Colorlines - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 13:47
What Obama Says He'll Do About Police Brutality

After his Monday meeting with law enforcement officials, politicians and community leaders, President Obama announced a White House plan to build trust between civilians and police in light of events in Ferguson. The plan will:

1. Establish a task force on police accountability
Obama has assigned Philadelphia Police Department Chief Chuck Ramsey and George Mason University professor and former assistant attorney general Laurie Robinson as co-chairs of the task force charged with reaching out to "law enforcement and community activists and other stakeholders" to hear their ideas. In three months they will report back to the president with best practices to create police accountability, transparency and trust. They will also propose how the federal government can work with state and local communities to institutionalize these best practices.

Chief Ramsey has long led a department with a spotted record on police brutality. In an article posted on AlterNet Tuesday, Steven Rosenfeld outlines troubling tactics, including overseeing the false arrests of more than 700 people in 2000, targeting videographers and using undercover officers to provoke confrontations.

2. Demilitarize the police
The federal government's 1033 program is responsible for getting military-grade equipment into the hands of domestic law enforcement. Following a massive show of force in Ferguson in August, President Obama ordered a review of the Pentagon's weapons program. With that review in now, Obama is planning to sign an executive order that specifies how we are going to make sure that that program can help, how we're going to make sure that that program is transparent, and how are we going to make sure that we're not building a militarized culture inside our local law enforcement."

The 1033 program is pretty mismanaged as it is. As Jorge Rivas and Daniel Rivero uncovered in their investigation for Fusion, 184 local police departments have been dropped from the program, either because equipment went missing or because they violated the program rules. And we're talking pretty serious equipment such as missing M16 assault rifles and even two Humvee vehicles. As it stands, police departments that are booted from the program can't get new military-grade equipment--but they get to keep the equipment they've already recieved. 

For some, the president's overture comes a little too late.

"It's unbelievable that we haven't established checks and balances for the 1033 program," said Millennial Activists United's Ashley Yates of the president's plan. Yates was one of eight community activists who attended a meeting with the president at the White House on Monday. "We put military weapons in cities to combat terrorism, but they produce terrorism. I am terrified when I see a Humvee parked on the corner in my neighborhood."

3. Fund body cams for cops
Obama wants to invest in funding and training for police officers. This includes introducing community policing measures and 50,000 body-worn cameras. He's going to need Congress to sign off on a $263 million spending package to make it happen--$75 million will be slated for body cams alone. The president hopes that "the training and the technology [...] can enhance trust between communities and police."

Body cameras won't necessarily put an end to police brutality--and the beatings and/or killings of Rodney King, Oscar King, John Crawford and many more have been caught on camera with little to no consequences for the officers who caused the harm. That leaves some activists doubting the outcome of this initiative.

"All across Ohio people are calling for front facing body cameras for police," said the Ohio Students Association's James Hayes during a press call on Tuesday. "But the truth of matter is that body cameras aren't a sure thing. Will police be able to turn them off? Will the public have access to [footage] or get justice after an incident?"

4. Convene community meetings
Attorney General Eric Holder has been tasked with participating in community conversations about police brutality in order to produce more solutions. According to the president, Holder will "begin a process in which we're able to surface honest conversations with law enforcement, community activists, academics, elected officials [and] the faith community." Holder's work will parallel the Ramsey and Robinson task force to tackle what Obama calls "a solvable problem" that needs sustained engagement around the country.

Some folks are already proposing more solutions.

"One tool that will allow us to have healthy conversations is the collection and dissemination of data about [police killings]," said Hayes, who would like to see data from precincts gathered the way data from schools is collected. "Much of the data that exists is incomplete--it's either not being collected at departmental or municipal level and or it's voluntary for them to collect it and send it to the FBI."

During his remarks on Monday, President Obama praised two of the eight activists he met with that day: Brittany Packnett and Rasheen Aldridge. According to USA Today, Aldridge--who once idolized the president--was let down by Obama. "I felt disappointed," Aldridge told the publication.

Obama's press secretary, Josh Earnest, has said that the president is still considering whether to visit Ferguson himself, following a story published on Politico that explains how the president debated a visit to the site where Darren Wilson killed Mike Brown but decided to stay in Washington instead. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

No Indictment for Officer Daniel Pantaleo, Who Choked Eric Garner to Death

Colorlines - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 12:47
No Indictment for Officer Daniel Pantaleo, Who Choked Eric Garner to Death

A Staten Island grand jury has decided not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was captured on camera placing Eric Garner in a chokehold on July 9, resulting in his death. Garner was being questioned for selling loose cigarettes near the Staten Island Ferry stop. 

Garner's killing had been ruled a homicide, but today's decision means he won't face criminal charges for his death. Pantaleo had been stripped of his gun and placed on desk duty. Despite today's decision by the grand jury, Pantaleo may face further discipline

Categories: Diversity Headlines

NYC Police Officer Won't Be Indicted in Chokehold Death

New America Media - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 12:19
 A grand jury in New York City has declined to indict white police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, in July.Jonathon Moore, an attorney for the victim's family, said Wednesday he was... Washington Informer http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Living Secretly With HIV for More Than 25 Years

New America Media - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 11:36
 Imagine going through your entire childhood having to hide your HIV-positive status because your mother wanted to protect you from being shunned, humiliated, bullied or abused like the late Ryan White, the Indiana teenager who contracted AIDS from a blood... The Root http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

What Does it Feel Like to be a Black Mother During Ferguson?

Colorlines - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 10:46
What Does it Feel Like to be a Black Mother During Ferguson?

In a powerful essay over at Bustle, Mikki Kendall breaks down what it feels like to be a mother in the precarious minutes, hours, days and months between the time when Darren Wilson shot and killed Mike Brown and now--after a St. Louis grand jury declined to indict Wilson.

Here's a snippet:

"In other words, you do everything you can to help bring this crisis to public attention because, while you're waiting for justice for one mother's baby, you have to keep your hands busy and that might as well be doing the work of trying to make the world see how violently threatened all of our Black babies are. And that's really what it feels like to be a Black mother at this moment in America: Complete terror at knowing the real vulnerability our kids face simply by existing, pressing urgency to do what we can to illuminate and solve the conditions that create that threat, and desperate outrage when justice isn't doled out fairly."

You can read Kendall's entire essay over at Bustle.  

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Hmong New Year When Grandma Was Alive

Hyphen Blog - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 10:45

My grandma was a medicine woman, a healer, and a shaman. Each Hmong New Year, the entire family came together to uphold our spiritual home, and appease the ancestral spirits. My grandma passed away in 2003.

read more

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Ayotzinapa, Mexico’s Ferguson

New America Media - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 08:50
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- As thousands take to the streets in cities nationwide to express outrage over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, another protest movement is sweeping through Mexican American and immigrant communities. Both are... Alfredo Camacho http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Femmes of Color Sound Off

Colorlines - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 08:46
Femmes of Color Sound Off

As a member of the queer community and someone who needed to figure out my gender identity and presentation before figuring out my sexuality, I've always been interested in queer expressions of gender. For many of us in the queer community, finding unique ways to express our gender is a liberating part of queer experience. Gender, after all, is tied to sexuality and heteronormativity.

Over the past few weeks I've felt compelled to explore queer expressions of femininity due to a new hashtag that has been popping up on social media: #FemmesOfColorVisibility. Created by a new group, the LA Femmes of Color Collective, and used more than 300 times so far, the hashtag is bringing visual representations of femmes of color to the forefront. I talked with the folks behind the hashtag and to femmes of color who've written about their experiences online to understand how this identity and community is shaped.

How did you come to identify as femme?

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, "queer disabled Sri Lankan cis femme writer, performer, organizer and healer":  "I'm a nerd and I've had my life saved by feminist and queer-of-color writing. I came to identify as femme [after] finding writers who were queer femmes of color--Chrystos, Amber Hollibaugh, Jewel Gomez. [I was] reading people's writing and seeing the way their bodies moved through the world [and saying], 'That's the kind of gender that I want to embody.'"

Mey Rude, "lesbian, Latina, trans woman living in Idaho," and the trans editor for Autostraddle"I started identifying as a femme as soon as I realized that I was in charge of my own gender. Being trans, I felt for most of my life that I had to fit my gender and gender presentation into what was expected of me, and that was pretty much the opposite of femme. I was always taught that it was shameful for me to act or look or even feel feminine. Thinking about gender had always made me feel weak and depressed, but once I found out about being femme, it suddenly was a source of strength, pride and joy."

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson, "black, femme, essayist, zinester and poet": "I absorbed a lot of the femmephobic ideas that I grew up with in the '90s. I had so many messages about needing to be masculine in order to be part of queer community. I didn't understand why. I've always felt like I chose femininity. I have a feminine connection to the divine. I stayed in femme because of the black femme community."

Vanessa Durand, "unapologetically fat, genderqueer femme," social justice activist and member of the LA Femmes of Color Collective: "Seeing strong, outspoken, unafraid and unapologetic women talk about how their queer identities and love for their bodies represented something so powerful, beautiful, subversive, and radically intentional about how they show up in the world. [It] made me feel like I had finally found home--a sense of belonging. Identifying as femme and learning how to practice self-love ultimately saved my life."

Has being a person of color informed your femme identity?

Johnson: "It's about being under more scrutiny than other femmes. [It's about] a rich history and [being] in really good company [of] black femmes who do the motherfucking work and are amazing. The best thing about being a black femme is that you know that you are in good, hardworking, incredibly tough, incredibly talented company."

Piepzna-Samarasinha: "Ableism lifts up a white, able-bodied, traditionally feminine, middle-class body as the 'right' way to be femme. Because of ableism in the movements I'm part of, it took me years to find a disability justice community where I didn't have to closet my disability in order to still be femme. My cane, sexy non-stilleto boots and bed life are femme now because of the labor of disability justice comrades. Many of them, liike Patty Berne of Sins Invalid, are deeply femme."

Rude: "Pretty much all of the femme inspiration and strength I get is from my fellow trans femmes of color [such as] Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Luna Merbruja and Morgan Robyn Collado. One label that I like to use for myself is 'bruja femme,' which is an identity that combines the spiritual power I get from my femme rituals and tools with the spiritual power I get from my faith and beliefs rooted in my Chicana version of semi-lapsed Catholicism.  It helps me stay rooted in my culture of fellow Latina femmes."

What do you think about the idea of femme invisibility and privilege?

Piepzna-Samarasinha: "For a lot of femmes of color--black femmes and indigenous femmes--we're hypervisible. We're not the less oppressed side of the butch/femme continuum; we actually face a lot of violence because we live in an incredibly sexist world. In a world where femininity is universally hated, being femme in a way that's powerful, beloved, tender and valued is revolutionary."

Johnson: "I've been catcalled and questioned on the street since I was a child so I don't know what it's like to be invisible. [I was once] choked in a store* in the middle of the day. I would have paid for invisibility in that moment--it would have paid to be invisible." 

Where do you find femme community?

Rude: "I find femme community in two interconnected places: my fellow trans women of color and on the Internet. Seeing beautiful, powerful and confident trans women of color gives me all the strength I need as a trans-Latina to fully express my femme self. Since I live in a small city in Idaho with a really small queer community and a really small POC community, the Internet has been a godsend to me."

Durand: "[The L.A. Femme of Color Collective] noticed that there was a lack of accurate and diverse representations of people on social media and in femme-focused blogs. They are so often filled with images of thin, white, cis women. #FemmesOfColorVisibility allows us to document our selfies as a form of resistance and it gives femmes of color the opportunity to combat invisibility, misogyny and the devaluation of femininity perpetuated by masculine-of-center folks within queer communities and spaces. The hashtag allows us to be intentional about creating a sense of community in digital spaces; an that can manifest to community-building in many other settings. This is not just a hashtag. It's a social justice movement that gives people the opportunity to witness the brilliance, beauty and badassery that is femmes of color!"

Where do you hope to see the femme of color movement go in the future?

Laura Luna P, "community builder, cultura curator, chola bon vivant, mama femme and self-identifying fat femme" and member of the LA Femmes of Color Collective: "I think that organizing in this collective has taught me that in our brilliance there is abundance, that there's no need to be scared of scarcity. I'd like for that feeling to spread to all femmes of color regardless of gender, sexuality, race and ability. I'd also really like for femme-of-color identity to be accessible to everyone who wants to identify that way. I'd like for the myth that femme only looks one way to be smashed. Femme doesn't only mean red lips, sky high heels and perfectly manicured nails (although it can most certainly mean that). Femme means whatever you want it to mean for yourself and however you want it to look like if that gender feels like home to you."

Rude: "One thing I hope for is more visibility for fat femmes of color. I want the femme-of-color movement to be the place where Westernized standards of beauty and femmeness are thrown to the side. I'd like us to fully embrace versions of femme that are currently pushed aside so that the white, cis, Western femme ideal can be praised."

Jo De La Torre,"stylishly dreamy writer, mother, caregiver, artist, community builder and brown femme medicine": "My hope is that femmes of color find each other when they want, take care of one another when they need to, and build interconnected movements that fight the systematic violence of all oppressed people."

Piepzna-Samarasinha: "I want all of us to get laid, be happy, live rich lives and mentor the queer femmes coming up. And I want the queer femmes coming up to bloom, lead and take up space with their genius."

*Post has been updated since publication to indicate that Johnson was choked in a store, not on a street corner as previously stated.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

St. Louis Cops Condemn NFL Team's 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' Gesture

Colorlines - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 08:16
St. Louis Cops Condemn NFL Team's 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' Gesture

In their first game since unrest broke out in Ferguson, Mo., after a grand jury failed to indict police officer Darren Wilson in Mike Brown's shooting, the St. Louis Rams made a big national statement. During pre-game introductions, several players ran out onto the field with their hands up, the gesture that's been most associated with civil disobedience since Brown's death in August. The players were Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt.

Hours after the display of solidarity, the St. Louis Police Officers Association issued a statement condemning the team. The statement read in part:

The St. Louis Police Officers Association is profoundly disappointed with the members of the St. Louis Rams football team who chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the St. Louis County Grand Jury this week and engage in a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory.

Watch video of the team's players below. 

It's not the first time this season that the protests from Ferguson have reached the football field. Shortly after Brown's death, members of Washington, D.C.'s NFL team made the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture.

fergusonwashington_113014.jpg

Weeks later, during a Rams home game against the visiting San Francisco 49ers, protestors from the organizing effort Ferguson October made their way into the stadium and unfurled a "Black Lives Matter" on primetime television. 

ramsbanner_113014.jpg

Images from Getty

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Janet Mock Raises Nearly $8K (and Counting) in Books for Trans Prisoners

Colorlines - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 08:14
Janet Mock Raises Nearly $8K (and Counting) in Books for Trans Prisoners

Author and media maker Janet Mock launched her second annual #TransBookDrive this week on Indiegogo and it's already been a smashing success. The project, which raises money to send books to incarcerated transgender inmates in U.S. jails and prisons, has already raised nearly $8,000 in fewer than two days, already surpassing its goal of $5,000 with 28 days left.

It's an effort that highlights a significant problem. Nearly one in six transgender people in America has been to prison -- and nearly half of all transgender black people, according to Lambda Legal. Once incarcerated, transgender inmates -- particularly women locked in men's facilities -- face increased risks of physical and sexual assault behind bars. 

Mock timed this year's drive to coincide with the paperback release of her memoir, "Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More." She partnered with biyuti publishing, Black Girl Dangerous and LGBT Books to Prisoners to fulfill book requests from 200 transgender inmates. The books will be delivered in care packages that include a handwritten letter from each author. Those authors and titles include: Mia McKenzie's "Black Girl Dangerous Anthology" and "The Summer We Got Free," "Decolonizing trans/gender" 101 by b. binaohan, "Make Love to Rage" by Morgan Robyn Collado, "Trauma Queen" by Lovemme Corazón and Mock's "Redefining Realness." 

With your continued help, we'll DOUBLE the amount of books per package + more!https://t.co/nvjsRo9TLh #transbookdrive pic.twitter.com/LDifv8ORCc

-- Janet Mock (@janetmock) December 2, 2014

Read more about the book drive at Indiegogo

* This post has been updated. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Actor John Boyega to 'Black Stormtrooper' Critics: 'Get Used To It'

Colorlines - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 08:11
 'Get Used To It'

Some "Star Wars" fans weren't happy to see a black man, John Boyega, featured so prominently in the recently released trailer for "The Force Awakens."

The actor's response? Too bad. He posted the following on Instagram:

With love xxx

A photo posted by @jboyega on Nov 11, 2014 at 1:37pm PST

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Charles Barkley Still Thinks Ferguson Protesters Are 'Scumbags'

Colorlines - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 07:58
Charles Barkley Still Thinks Ferguson Protesters Are 'Scumbags'

NBA Hall of Famer and current TV analyst Charles Barkley never misses an opportunity to beat the black community upside the head with his bootstrap logic. He recently called Ferguson protesters "scumbags," and in a lengthy interview with CNN's Brooke Baldwin on Tuesday he reiterated his point that he doesn't believe white police officers shoot people because of racism. 

Some notable quotes:

  • "We as black people, we have a lot of crooks. We can't just wait until something like (the Brown shooting) happens. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror," he said of people in black communities.
  • "There is a reason that [cops] racially profile us in the way that they do. Sometimes it is wrong, and sometimes it is right."
  • "Anybody who walks out peacefully, who protests peacefully, that's what this country was built on," he said. "But to be burning people's property, burning police cars, looting people's stores, that is 100 percent ridiculous."

Read more

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Chicago Approves New Minimum Wage: $13-an-Hour

Colorlines - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 07:51
 $13-an-Hour

Just in time for the two-year anniversary of the fast-food workers' Fight for $15 campaign, Chicago yesterday adopted a higher minimum wage. The city's new $13-an-hour wage floor is expected to be phased in by 2019 and comes less than a month after nearly 70 percent of Illinois residents voted, in a nonbinding referendum, for a new $10-an-hour state minimum by 2015. Fast-food workers kicked off their fight for a $15-an-hour minimum wage with national strikes in November 2012 and have been at the forefront of calls throughout the country for similar increases from low-wage workers in other industries like healthcare and retail.

The Illinois state minimum remains $8.25-an-hour. Some officials, according to Northern Public Radio, are worried that during this session the statehouse will consider business-backed legislation prohibiting municipalities from raising their minimums above the state's. Franchisee owners are mobilizing nationally to counter the growing union-backed movement for a higher minimum wage, the Wall Street Journal reports.

San Francisco recently became the second U.S. city this year to join Seattle in adopting the highest minimum wage in the country at $15-an-hour.

(h/t NPR)

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