Diversity Headlines

Man Charged in Beating Death of Islan Nettles in New York City

Colorlines - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 09:56
Man Charged in Beating Death of Islan Nettles in New York City

It's been more than a year since Islan Nettles, a 21-year-old fashion designer and transwoman of color was brutally beaten to death in Harlem. This week New York City police officers announced that James Dixon, 24, has been arrested and charged with manslaughter.

The arrest caps a year and a half of often frustrating back-and-forth. Initially, another man was charged with the crime, but those charges were later dropped.

Nettles' death sparked an outcry against violence targeting transgender women of color. From the New York Times:

Ms. Nettles's killing incensed the transgender community in New York and prompted vigils, protests and the formation of an advocacy group, the Trans Women of Color Collective. For many, Ms. Nettles's death became emblematic of violence against transgender people, who are often the targets of beatings, and what many of them see as the indifference the authorities show across the country to the killings of men transitioning to women.

Lourdes Hunter, the director of the Trans Women of Color Collective, said the long delay in bringing charges against Mr. Dixon reflected the low priority such cases have among the police and prosecutors. Ms. Hunter also questioned why the attack was not treated as a hate crime, because no motive other than Ms. Nettles's sexual orientation had been suggested. She also wondered why Mr. Dixon was not charged with murder.

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Categories: Diversity Headlines

[Video] Debunking the Myth That Black Men Are Immune to Harm

Colorlines - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 09:02

It was difficult last November to ignore the language that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson used to describe Michael Brown. "The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon," he told a St. Louis grand jury in testimony released last November. Wilson also claimed that he felt "like a 5-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan," and that, even after having been shot already, "[Brown] was almost bulking up to run through shots."

The grand jury never really questions Wilson's dehumanizing descriptions of Brown, an unarmed teen of similar height and size. As a result, there's little indication that the grand jury even considered that Brown felt fear and pain during his escalating confrontation with Wilson, that his feelings mattered or, more to the point, that he may have been the victim. They are not alone.

"The narrative that young men of color's pain is insignificant--both that it's somehow smaller than the pain that other people experience and that it's somehow less important--is as old as our country," Vera Institute of Justice researcher Danielle Sered told an overflow crowd last week at the Ford Foundation in New York City. The implication and meaning of that narrative was the subject of an extraordinary talk, "Young Men of Color and the Other Side of Harm." (Watch video above).

Panelists included (l to r): Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY); forensic psychiatrist Dr. Richard Dudley who specializes in treating black male victims; Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson; Howard University theologian and director of Healing Communities prison ministry, Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear; and Danielle Sered, director of Common Justice, a restorative justice program that provides victim services to young black men.

Below, slightly edited highlights from the hour-long panel, which convener Sered hopes will launch a new national conversation that centers the effects of harm and trauma in the lives of young black men.

Common Justice's Danielle Sered, on how treatment and care for victims is racialized...

"As a white woman I know the profound impact it can have on a person for a society to take her pain seriously. When I survived sexual assault in my late teens there were many, many programs available to support me. I didn't actually go to any of those programs. And at the same time their very existence affected me profoundly. They communicated something. They told me that I matter, that what happened to me was wrong, that I was deserving of care, that what happened to me ran contrary to the values of my society in a way that was so important, that society would invest resources in making sure that I came through it OK. And that message from our society, especially when it is reinforced in countless ways by our media and our social institutions, offers a profound and essential support to healing. ... But as a nation, we have failed to make a comparable effort to provide young men of color who survive violence with the services and supports that they need and deserve--even though those young men are among the people most likely to survive harm in our country."

Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear on challenging "thug" imagery and language...

"One of the reasons young black men don't get the attention white women get as victims is that they're not part of the human narrative. We don't see them as human beings. We see them as criminals. We see them as thugs. We see them as animals. We have all kinds of names that we call them rather than recognize their humanity. That contributes to black-on-black violence because if the narrative is that young black men aren't human, young black men internalize that and devalue each other's lives. We need a real fresh way of thinking about humanity of all people involved in the penal system whether they're victims or perpetrators. And we start with language. We're not about fixing people coming home from prison; we're about changing the narrative around the whole community. So, for example, we don't use the term "ex-offender." We use the term "returning citizen." It's not perfect. But if you continue to define someone by their past then you're not giving them a chance for their future. Language is really important."

Dr. Richard Dudley on the myth of black male immunity to pain...

"There's an underlying narrative that young men of color are somehow immune to violence. There's a notion that violence doesn't affect them in any particular sort of way, hence there's no need for a program or any sort of intervention. I'm reminded of testifying in court a couple of decades ago, about a young man who had been assaulted. During the course of this assault, [another young man, his friend] was killed. He developed really bad PTSD and so his parents brought him to see me. Every time the incident came up he would disassociate, he would relive it, he would run screaming out of the house thinking it was all happening again. So I'm testifying about this in court and in the middle of it, the judge actually stopped me and said, 'Dr. Dudley, are you trying to tell me that a kid from Bedford-Stuyvesant can be traumatized?' [Audience audibly shuffles.] Fast forward decades now, and whether I'm consulting with police or visiting mental health programs in prison, that same notion--that these young men are somehow immune to violence--interferes with even beginning the exploration process of what to do."

D.A. Kenneth Thompson on reforms to the criminal justice system...

"When I ran [for office] I said I would deal with the marijuana arrests and wrongful convictions and we have started to do that. Twelve exonerations in a little over a year, 100 murder cases left to look at--which is extraordinary. And our decision to go beyond murder cases to look at non-homicide cases is important. ... The criminal justice system is not infallible. There have been a few of these men who've died before we can get them out.

There was one young boy named Willie Stuckey. He was only 16-years-old when he confessed [to murder]. We looked at that case and concluded that his video-taped confession was false. So I moved quickly to correct that but Willie Stuckey had already died. He died at the age of 31 of a massive heart attack while maintaining his innocence in prison. But that didn't stop me from moving to vacate his conviction. And so we tracked down his mother who had moved away.

I called and introduced myself to her and told her that we were going to have this court appearance because Willie should've never gone to prison in the first place. And all you could hear is her crying on the other end of the phone, uncontrollably. So I asked her if she would come to court and stand in Willie's place. Because although we couldn't save his life we could at least give him back his good name. And she came to court and stood there on behalf of her son.

Now, that won't bring him back. But maybe that'll help her with the healing process and show folks how we're taking a different approach in Brooklyn, treating people who're wrongfully convicted, whether living or dead, with the dignity they deserve."

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries on actually seeing black men as victims of violent crime...

"Even at a time where you have the police-community relationship at the forefront and a [bipartisan] political opportunity to deal with mass incarceration and the failed War on Drugs, this victimization issue has still largely escaped notice. It's been largely ignored. And given that Congress has an opportunity now to make progress on fixing the broken criminal justice system, there's a real moment to inject the victimization of young men of color into [that conversation]."

I'm continuing to report on victimization and trauma in low-income communities for Colorlines in partnership with The Investigative Fund and I'd like to hear your stories. Please email cmurphy(at)raceforward(dot)org.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Taraji P. Henson's Big Year Just Keeps Getting Better

Colorlines - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 09:00
Taraji P. Henson's Big Year Just Keeps Getting Better

Not only is she the star of this season's smash FOX hit "Empire," now Taraji P. Henson has been named the 2015 American Black Film Festival Celebrity Ambassador. Here's more from Shadow and Act:

The Oscar-nominated actress will wear a different hat later this year, as the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) announced today that Ms. Henson will be the 2015 celebrity ambassador, for what will be its 19th edition, set for June 11-14, 2015, in New York City at the New York Hilton, AMC Empire 25 and the historic Ziegfeld Theater. 

"I want to thank Jeff Friday and everyone at ABFF for the honor of serving as your 2015 Ambassador. It is a privilege to join my fellow filmmakers to celebrate and support Black artists and the artistry that resides in all of us," Henson told the media.

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Categories: Diversity Headlines

Obamacare at the Supreme Court, Tsarnaev Trial, Zombie Outbreak Study

Colorlines - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 08:56
Obamacare at the Supreme Court, Tsarnaev Trial, Zombie Outbreak Study

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

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Los profesionales del futuro: Una manera revolucionaria de educar

New America Media - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 02:20
In this segment, we hear from: Vira C. Lozano, a teacher at North Star Academy in Redwood City. Now in her second year, Lozano says professional development sessions have helped her develop a better understanding of the Common Core.... Celina Rodriguez http://publisher.namx.org/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=19&id=103
Categories: Diversity Headlines

something went wrong

Diversity at Work - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 01:54
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Women’s Media Center Statement: Komen Foundation VP Karen Handel Resigns

Majority Post - Tue, 02/07/2012 - 11:46
The Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure will clearly be a contender for media debacle of the year and the architect of that disastrous decision, former Komen VP Karen Handel, deserved to lose her position. Regardless of Karen Handel’s statement to the media it should be clear that she had to resign because she [...]
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Dangerous “Prenatal Discrimination Bill” Crafted by GOP

Majority Post - Tue, 02/07/2012 - 10:57
An article written by Nick Baumann and published yesterday in Mother Jones, “House GOP Memo: ‘Abortion Is the Leading Cause of Death in the Black Community’,” discusses a new “prenatal discrimination bill” proposed by the GOP. The bill attempts to distinguish between “black abortions” and abortions in general and claims that “abortion is the leading [...]
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WMC Board Member Gloria Feldt Discusses Public Reaction to Komen Decision

Majority Post - Tue, 02/07/2012 - 10:54
WMC Board Member and former President of Planned Parenthood Gloria Feldt has written an article for the Daily Beast on the implications of the recent Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood. “If this were just about Planned Parenthood,” she writes, “or yet another battle over abortion, the outrage would be [...]
Categories: Diversity Headlines

“The Marketing of Breast Cancer” and the History of the Komen Foundation

Majority Post - Mon, 02/06/2012 - 11:18
In AlterNet’s article, “The Marketing of Breast Cancer,” Mary Ann Swissler discusses the complicated history of the popular Dallas-based Susan G. Komen Foundation, under fire recently for its decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood. Swissler reaches back in time and reminds readers that the Komen Foundation “helped block a meaningful Patients Bill of Rights [...]
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Exclusive: Hillary Clinton Launches Public Service Initiative

Majority Post - Sun, 02/05/2012 - 22:25
By Marianne Schnall February 6, 2012 Working with the nation’s top women’s liberal arts colleges, Secretary of State Clinton hopes to harness the potential of women around the world to strengthen leadership in both government and civil society. For the world to cope with its full range of problems, women must be agents of change. [...]
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BREAKING: Statement by Julie Burton, Women’s Media Center President Re: Komen Decision

Majority Post - Fri, 02/03/2012 - 10:44
NEW YORK-We’re relieved for millions of women across the country who will not be cut from access to critical health care services. We think the reaction over the last 48 hours really demonstrates the power of women when we speak loudly and act together. It also demonstrates the power of social media to enact change [...]
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Exclusive: Komen vs. Planned Parenthood—What’s Going On?

Majority Post - Thu, 02/02/2012 - 22:27
By Ellen Sweet February 3, 2012 Immediate outrage in the social media greeted the Komen foundation after it defunded breast cancer screening by Planned Parenthood. Ellen Sweet explores what’s behind its puzzling turn-about. Why would an organization that has invested $1.9 billion over the past 30 years to save women’s lives, whose founder and first [...]
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Statement from Women’s Media Center on Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood

Majority Post - Thu, 02/02/2012 - 13:33
NEW YORK– The Women’s Media Center is deeply disappointed with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s decision to cease funding breast cancer prevention, education, and screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers. We urge our friends and supporters to join us by standing in solidarity with Planned Parenthood Federation of America and all of [...]
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Exclusive: Could DSM-5 Be Harmful to Your Mental Health?

Majority Post - Wed, 02/01/2012 - 22:42
By Elayne Clift February 2, 2012 The APA diagnostic manual revision process, in the news recently over the definition of autism, holds other potential threats for women’s health. Elayne Clift investigates the gender issues in DSM-5. Debbie N. (not her real name) was a college student in the 1990s when she traveled to the Mediterranean [...]
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Exclusive: U.S. Acts on Women, Peace and Security

Majority Post - Mon, 01/30/2012 - 22:23
By Lucinda Marshall January 31, 2012 A new action plan opens far-reaching possibilities to improve the security of women and the world. With some caution, women’s peace advocates plan to monitor its implementation. The National Action Plan On Women, Peace and Security (NAP) issued by President Obama shortly before the end of last year has [...]
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Rose Aguilar on Reproductive Rights

Majority Post - Mon, 01/30/2012 - 11:53
PWV Alum Rose Aguilar has a new gig writing a regular op-ed for Al Jazeera English. Check out her debut article “Reproductive Rights and the Republican Primary.”
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Patty Jenkins wins Award for ABC’s The Killing

Majority Post - Mon, 01/30/2012 - 10:31
The Women’s Media Center congratulates Patty Jenkins for winning “Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Dramatic Series” for The Killing Pilot (AMC) at the 64th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards!
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Four Decades–And Counting–of Feminist Journalism

Majority Post - Mon, 01/30/2012 - 10:11
Stanford University News published an article detailing a recent Stanford panel discussion where editors, activists, and bloggers came together to salute Ms. magazine and consider the future of feminism. The piece mentions the contributions of WMC Co-Founder Gloria Steinem and Board Member Helen Zia in the creation of the iconic magazine.
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Katy Garretson wins Frank Capra Achievement Award

Majority Post - Mon, 01/30/2012 - 08:22
The Women’s Media Center congratulates Katy Garretson for becoming the 26th recipient of the Frank Capra Achievement Award at the 64th Annual Director’s Guild of America Awards. It is a pleasure to see her talents, career, and service recognized and celebrated.
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