Diversity Headlines

How Latino Candidates Fared in Tuesday's Election

New America Media - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 16:48
There were 28 Latino/as running for reelection to the U.S. Congress. Of those, four lost their seats: Jim Costa (D) CA-20, Pete Gallego (D) TX-23, Joe Garcia (D) FL-26 and Raul Ruiz (D) CA-36.On the bright side, there were 10... News Taco http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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So How Much Did Obama's Immigration Delay Hurt Latino Turnout?

Colorlines - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 15:17
So How Much Did Obama's Immigration Delay Hurt Latino Turnout?

At long last, a first take at a concrete answer to what has, up until now, been a mostly speculative conversation. Would President Obama's decision to delay executive action on immigration reform put a dent in Latinos' turnout?

The answer: It likely did.

Today, Latino Decisions, in partnership with National Council of La Raza, the Eva Longoria-sponsored Latino Victory Project, and immigration reform advocacy group America's Voice, released the final installment of its bilingual, landline and cell-phone poll. Latino Decisions, in addition to polling those who intended to vote, talked to those who were registered but were not interested in participating in the 2014 elections. Among the reasons voters gave for not voting this year were a lack of time in their day (25 percent); a lack of knowledge about their polling place (24 percent); frustration with "bad candidates" (19 percent) and a lack of photo ID required to vote (14 percent). 

Twenty-three percent of non-voting Latinos who responded to the poll said that Obama's decision to delay executive action made them more enthusiastic about the president and the Democratic Party, while 60 percent of non-voting Latinos said the delay made them less enthusiastic. This is notable because Latinos have historically backed Democrats by wide margins. In every state that Latino Decisions polled save for Florida--Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina, Nevada and Texas--respondents said that immigration was the most important issue to them.

And, as what will widely be interpreted as a kick in the pants to Obama, 68 percent of non-voters said that they could be brought back to the polls in 2016 with executive action on immigration reform "before the end of this year," according to Latino Decisions. 

"In 2012 the thing that drove Latino turnout was [the deportation deferral program for young undocumented immigrants] DACA," said Latino Decisions' Matt Barreto. "It's extremely clear that what drove Latino voter turnout [in 2012] and the record share of the Latino vote Obama got was the enthusiasm he got from enacting DACA." Obama ought to take pointers from his past wins to help both Latinos and his party, Barreto said.

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Facing Race Spotlight: Trans Latina Activist Isa Noyola

Colorlines - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 14:09
 Trans Latina Activist Isa Noyola

For Isa Noyola, intersectionality isn't an academic abstraction that she has the luxury to invoke and discard at will. A program manager at the Transgender Law Center and a national advocate with San Francisco-based El/La Para TransLatinas, Noyola works with trans women, women of color and monolingual immigrants. The political outlook is "a matter of life and death," she says. 

An intersectional approach has also been central to El/La Para Trans Latinas' success. Last year the grassroots leadership development organization won a $200,000 grant from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission for violence-prevention work. Noyola says it marked the first time that trans Latinas received funding to develop community leaders in this way.

On Friday, November 14, Noyola will return to her native Texas for Facing Race, a national biannual conference hosted by Colorlines' publisher Race Forward. She spoke with Colorlines about the urgent mandate for racial justice work that also puts gender at the center of the conversation.

Can you give a concrete example of what intersectionality looks like in action?

At El/La [Para TransLatinas], when we opened in 2006, we were primarily funded to do HIV-prevention work. So the city funded the program to pass out condoms in the streets, do outreach and present a handful of workshops about HIV prevention. But from the very beginning we have said that that's only a part of what the community needs. So even though we're being funded to do HIV prevention, we need to think about how we do this more holistically and really create an environment where our women and folks feel a sense of dignity and sisterhood.

What are some of the other aspects of your work?

We've had to go to City Hall, be part of the budgeting process, engage with partners at the Department on the Status of Women and the Domestic Violence consortium, and all these cis women's agencies and collective organizing bodies that have existed in San Francisco for many years. For us, it's been the first time that trans folks and trans Latinas in particular are at the table asking for resources. There's been a consciousness-raising component to it too ... to expand their definition to include more than cis women.

Can you explain how you approach violence-prevention work geared toward trans communities? It's easy to think that it ought to be directed toward the people who are antagonizing trans Latinas.

For us, violence prevention means community power. As opposed to working with the perpetrator or offender, we're asking, "How are we building the skills in our community so people who are facing harm can feel empowered to stand up for themselves?"

We understand that most of the violence goes unreported. Most is never unearthed because there's shame informing the process. Women may feel like they've just got to take it in their partnerships and from who they love and who they live next door to. They may feel like it's OK for people to make transphobic comments and add physical harm to that. 

Part of the program also involves training trans Latinas who will be known as luchadoras in the community and will empower other women. Can you say more about the sort of ambassadors they will be?

These luchadoras are going to go into the community and do healing and cultural work. They're going to facilitate conversations, think about different ways to do outreach, run a support group and think about how to speak at City Hall. All those pieces are behind-the-scenes work to build leadership. We all have to see ourselves as representatives of our community and that takes an incredible amount of capacity to do that.

Can you talk for about the overlapping struggles of those who are undocumented, those who are trans and those, like immigrant rights activist Zoraida Reyes who was murdered this year, who happened to be both?

It means that [undocumented trans people] are facing multiple barriers so that society invisibilizes and deems you unworthy. Trans folks already have high rates of unemployment and already can't access certain health services. To add another layer of documentation is a harsh reality.

Because people are facing these conditions they're having to make choices about how to survive in a world that sees them as unworthy. Undocumented youth have energized the immigrant rights movement and said: "We're not ashamed, and we're not afraid." And that's the same sentiment that trans folks [are expressing]. We deserve dignity.

This work seems urgent.

We have for many years waited for people to get it together and develop a language and consciousness around trans communities, and we no longer can wait. We no longer can wait for other people to get it together. We are demanding an acknowledgement. We want total liberation.

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Alabama Bans Sharia Law and Other 2014 Ballot Measures

Colorlines - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 14:02
Alabama Bans Sharia Law and Other 2014 Ballot Measures

More than 140 ballot measures to amend state laws were in play yesterday. Here’s a sampling of the results that matter:

Sentencing reform passes in “three strikes” California.

Nearly 60 percent of California voters passed Prop. 47, which reduces sentences for simple drug possession and certain theft from a felony to a misdemeanor. It’s projected to reduce sentences for tens of thousands of men and women annually. Following California’s 2008 Marsy’s Law, Illinois voters approved an amendment giving crime victims more rights during criminal prosecutions. And bail reform, which the ACLU predicts will end imprisonment for those who can’t afford bail, passed in New Jersey.

Red state voters want higher minimum wage, too.

Four Republican-majority states—Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota-voted to increase their minimum wage. Nearly 70 percent of Illinois voters also approved a wage hike in a non-binding ballot. San Francisco joined Seattle in raising its minimum wage to $15-an-hour, the highest anywhere in the nation. In other news about the quality of life of low-wage-workers, Massachusetts becomes the third state to mandate paid sick leave, along with municipalities Montclair and Trenton in New Jersey and Oakland’s new law will expand on California’s.

Alabama bans Sharia law.

Seventy-two percent of voters approved the “American and Alabama Laws and Alabama Courts Amendment,” which prevents state courts and other legal authorities from applying foreign laws that violate the rights of Alabama citizens. The amendment has been described as an attack on Muslims. Defenders say it has wider application but that it will prevent Sharia from being argued in custody cases, for example. Six states have similar “foreign laws” bans. And according to Governing, a federal appeals court this year struck down Oklahoma’s, which explicitly mentioned Sharia, for being discriminatory.

Weed is legal in the nation’s capital.

Marijuana arrests are a major driver in the mass incarceration of black and brown people. Tuesday’s elections mean that weed is now legal in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C, joining Colorado and Washington state. Read the fine print on each state and district amendment before lighting up in public, however. 

Public funds for private preschool fails.  

Hawaii voters rejected the use of public funds for private preschool programs. About half of the state’s school children according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, enter kindergarten without a preschool education.

Abortion and reproductive health battles continue.

Amendments extending rights to the unborn fetus failed in Colorado and North Dakota. But, Tennessee voters passed an amendment explicitly stating that nothing in it, ”secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.” 

Don’t drive while undocumented in Oregon.

Nearly 70 percent of Oregon voters defeated a measure that would have issued “driver’s cards” to people without proof of legal residence in the U.S.

Louisiana says no to 9th Ward redevelopment plan in New Orleans.

Nearly 60 percent of voters rejected a constitutional amendment allowing the governing body of New Orleans to sell Lower 9th Ward properties to private individuals at prices as low as $100 per abandoned parcel. Modeled after similar programs in Harlem, Baltimore and Detroit, according to The Times-Picayune, the defeated amendment aimed to jumpstart the redevelopment process in the Lower 9th Ward.

(h/t Ballotpedia)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Latino, Immigration Groups Demand Reform After GOP's Sweeping Wins

Colorlines - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 13:19
Latino, Immigration Groups Demand Reform After GOP's Sweeping Wins

After a triumphant midterm election for the Republican Party, national Latino and immigration reform advocates got back to the message they've been pushing for the last two years: calling on President Obama for immediate immigration reform. 

"For most immigrant families struggling to make ends meet, who are living in fear of having their family ripped apart...the elections won't change much," Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said in a statement. "It is time for President Obama to step up to the plate and lead boldly by using his authority to restore some sanity to our dysfunctional immigration system."

Latino voters polled by Latino Decisions (PDF) put immigration at the top of their personal policy agendas. According to a Pew Research Center poll, Latinos ranked the issue fourth--after education, the economy and healthcare. Latinos backed Democrats by wide but smaller margins than they did in prior elections. For example, according to Latino Decisions, in the closely watched Colorado Senate race, 71 percent of Latinos backed Democratic candidate Mark Udall yesterday. However, 87 percent of Colorado Latinos voted for President Obama in 2012.

"After last night, Democrats should re-learn the lesson that leaning into immigration is a winner - especially in the runup to the 2016 election where the changing American electorate is likely to show up in full force," Frank Sharry, executive director of immigration reform group America's Voice, said in a statement. Sharry has partnered with Latino Decisions to release its polling data. "Moreover, executive action is the right thing to do," Sharry added.

At a press conference in Chicago today, Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez was far more pointed when, with an eye toward 2016, he told his party: "They're going to be a fight for the heart and soul of the Latino community...and if you're not doing it don't expect the resounding support you've received in the past."

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Prop 47: As California Goes, So Goes the Nation?

New America Media - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 12:45
An earlier version of this column first appeared in The Conversation. Last night, Californians resoundingly approved a ballot initiative—Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act—that will not only have a major impact on California’s prison population, but have significant resonance... Barry Krisberg http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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G.O.P. Takes the Senate--and a Lot More

Colorlines - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 12:33
G.O.P. Takes the Senate--and a Lot More

Republicans only needed six seats to take control of the Senate, but they garnered many more in Tuesday's midterm election. This could signal major changes on Capitol Hill in the next two years.

In Senate races in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado and North Carolina, Democratic incumbents were vanquished. In other closely-watched Senate elections--those in Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and South Carolina--Republicans were also elected or re-elected. Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat who assumed office nearly two decades ago, will now face a runoff against Republican Bill Cassidy. And it's too soon to tell who will take Virginia in the contest between Democrat Mark Warner, the sitting senator, and Republican Ed Gillespie. At press time, they are nearly tied at a 0.6 percent margin. Even if Landrieu and Warner hold on to their seats, Republicans will still control the Senate. The G.O.P. also maintains its majority in the House.

Republicans fared well in governor races, too--even in blue states like Obama's own Illinois, where Republican Bruce Rauner was elected, and in Massachusetts, where voters elected Charlie Baker, their first Republican governor since Mitt Romney declined to run for reelection in 2006. Obama held a press conference today about an Election Day that's being widely described as a referendum on his presidency.

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) won reelection with a handsome lead over Alison Grimes (D). McConnell will become the Senate majority leader. On Monday, he told TIME that he won't attempt to shut down the government, as Republicans have done in the recent past, and that he's not looking to repeal Obamacare--at least not fully. He does prioritize the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and his party now has filibuster-proof way to see it through. Obama--who's avoided making a clear statement on his position on the pipeline--could, of course, veto such legislation. But that doesn't mean Congress can't find a way to include it a bigger energy bill.

And what about immigration? As my colleague Julianne Hing writes, immigration reform advocates and national Latino groups are calling on Obama to use his executive power to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. The president delayed taking such action until after the election, betraying a promise he'd made earlier this year that he'd do so before the election.

During today's presser, he made a new promise that he'd take executive action before the end of the year. "There's a cost to waiting," said a conciliatory Obama today, citing losses to the economy as well as the separation of families. He added that he still hopes Congress will move forward on a comprehensive immigration bill. 

While undocumented immigrants can't vote themselves, some raised nearly $2,000 in a grassroots effort in North Carolina to buy billboards criticizing Senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat. NC Dream Team placed Spanish-language billboards near popular intersections that read, "She started with licenses. Now she wants to take DACA. What will be next? Sen. Hagan is not a friend of immigrants." The billboard refers to Hagan's vote against undocumented immigrants receiving driver's licenses and her vote against the DREAM Act in 2010, a decision that killed the legislation. On Tuesday Hagan lost her Senate seat to Republican Thom Tillis. 

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California Gains the First Vietnamese American State Senator: Janet Nguyen

New America Media - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 12:13
"Finally, after 40 years, our community made history today," Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen said on Tuesday night at Azteca Mexican Restaurant in Garden Grove. Nguyen's touching statement came as the Orange County Election Authority showed her leading in the... Linh Nguyen & Do Dzung http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Mixed Bag for Korean American Candidates Post Election

New America Media - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 11:16
Tuesday’s general elections brought a mixed bag of joy and disappointment to 23 Korean American candidates across the United States.Young Kim and Michelle Park Steel, both candidates from Southern California, saw victory as numbers rolled in Tuesday night.Kim, a Republican... Korea Times http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Los contaminantes tóxicos en el aire persisten más allá de cuando se despeja el humo de tabaco

New America Media - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 10:44
English¿Alguna vez has entrado a una habitación de hotel que olía a humo de cigarro rancio? A pesar de que hayan pasado horas o incluso días desde que el último fumador haya dejado la habitación, los olores persistentes, que resultan... Julie Chao http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Asian American Voters Show Strong Support for Democratic Candidates in Midterm Elections

New America Media - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 10:40
 Asian American voters in 11 states and Washington DC largely supported Democratic candidates in the 2014 midterm elections, according to preliminary results of an exit poll released today by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). The multilingual... Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Toxic Airborne Pollutants Linger Long After Tobacco Smoke Clears

New America Media - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 10:40
Traduccion al españolEver walked into a hotel room and smelled old cigarette smoke? While the last smoker may have left the room hours or even days ago, the lingering odors — resulting from noxious residue that clings to walls, carpets,... Julie Chao http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Poet Barbara Jane Reyes on the Filipino-Latino Connection

Hyphen Blog - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 10:00

Barbara Jane Reyes breaks down the influences of Latino cultures and writing on her work. 

read more

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La Opinión: Democracy at Risk

New America Media - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 09:57
Lea en españolYesterday’s midterm election marked a new record in the amount of money spent in a political cycle. What’s more worrying, the amount of money in political campaigns from individual donors diminished for the first time, being eclipsed by... La Opinión http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Indian American Governor Nikki Haley Wins in So. Carolina

New America Media - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 09:56
 Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley swept to re-election in mid-term elections Nov. 4, as her party took over the House and Senate.“It’s a great day in South Carolina,” Haley said to a cheering crowd, as her family stood beside... Sunita Sohrabji http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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D.C. Voters OK Pro-Pot Measure to Legalize Use

New America Media - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 09:50
 D.C. is on course to legalizing marijuana, with early election results Tuesday showing voters overwhelmingly approving a measure to allow recreational use.As of 11 p.m., the measure, Initiative 71, has been approved, 68-31 percent, with roughly 30 percent of precincts... Washington Informer http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Muriel Bowser Elected as Mayor of D.C.

New America Media - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 09:28
 D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser defeated Council cohort David Catania in the District's mayoral election Tuesday night, becoming just the second woman in the city's history to hold the seat.The race was called for Bowser shortly after 11 p.m.Bowser, 42,... Washington Informer http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Latino, Immigration Groups Demand Reform After GOP’s Sweeping Wins

New America Media - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 09:22
 After a triumphant midterm election for the Republican Party, national Latino and immigration reform advocates got back to the message they’ve been pushing for the last two years: calling on President Obama for immediate immigration reform. “For most immigrant families struggling... Colorlines http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Marshall Purchase of FOX Affiliate Approved

New America Media - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 09:16
 Federal regulators have approved the sale of a FOX TV affiliate in Quad Cities, Iowa, to longtime media executive Pluria Marshall Jr., president and CEO of Houston-based Marshall Broadcasting Group (MBG), officials announced Monday.Marshall, also publisher of Wave Publications Group... Wave Newspapers http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
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Special Report: Where Asian-American and Latino Issues Meet

Colorlines - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 08:57

What are the "real clear moments of collaboration between Asian-Americans and Latinos" is the question driving journalist Maria Hinojosa's new hour-long podcast, "Hyphen-Americans." Abigail Licad, editor in chief of Asian-American life magazine, Hyphen says, "[Collaboration] is exactly what's being forgotten in all the negative media hype especially when it concerns issues like affirmative action and immigration." From school desegregation to early 20th century inter-marriage between Sikh men and Mexican women to the farm worker movement, Licad fills in the historical record. 

Next, Hinojosa introduces listeners to a University of California, Davis resource center that welcomes young Asian and Latino students who are undocumented (7:30); examines the effects of California's affirmative action fight on communities of color (15:00); talks food (like Filipino-Americans' leche flan) and where saki meets salsa (35:05) and ends with words of wisdom from a Japanese-American woman reflecting on the first years of her life in an internment camp (47:55). Listen, on Latino USA above.

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