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Updated: 5 days 9 hours ago

One of Malcolm X's Last Speeches: 'Our Color Became to Us Like a Prison'

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 13:55

El-Hajj Malik el Shabazz—the leader most commonly known as Malcolm X—was assassinated 50 years ago, on February 21, 1965.

Just one week prior—on Valentine’s Day at 2:46 a.m.—his Queens, N.Y., home had been struck by three Molotov cocktails as he and his family slept. Despite the firebombing, Shabazz flew to Detroit for an awards ceremony sponsored by the Afro-American Broadcasting and Recording Company. It was there that he talked about what his recent world travels had impressed upon him. Shabazz, who had been briefly sedated after the firebombing so he could get some rest, also explained how the press often casted black resistance as psychopathy. 

Shabazz returned to his home the following day to a media circus—a home the Nation of Islam, or NOI, had started eviction proceedings on the previous year, about a month after Shabazz broke from the religious movement to start his organization. On February 18, 1965, while his wife and children were already in hiding, the NOI evicted the family.  

Shabazz was murdered just three days later at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Who Has More in Their 401K? Whites in Their 30s or Blacks in Their 50s?

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 13:51
Who Has More in Their 401K? Whites in Their 30s or Blacks in Their 50s?

You get one guess. Even when workers of different races have similar access to 401k savings accounts, whites are able to put and keep more socked away than their black peers, writes Henry Pollack, a professor at the University of Chicago, for Washington Post's Wonkblog. The difference is so stark that as of 2010, white workers aged 20 through 40 have more saved in their 401k accounts than do black workers who are between the ages of 40 and 60. Those are the new findings of Stanford professors Kai Yuan Kuan, Mark Cullen and Sepideh Modrek.

At less than $20,000, young black workers under the age of 40 had the least money saved among Latino, black and white workers of different ages. Whites between 40 and 60, meanwhile, have the largest 401k accounts--in 2010 that's $100,000. Researchers found that workers across different races made 401k contributions that were not wildly disparate, but that black and Latino workers were far more likely to need to withdraw from their accounts or need to take out loans against their savings.

All this is not so surprising, especially since economic inequity extends elsewhere. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, black workers with advanced degrees, for instance, make roughly what white workers with just a college degree do. Since the end of the Great Recession, the racial wealth gap has in fact only widened. In 2013, white households had a net worth 10 times that of Latino families, and 13 times that of black households.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Another Academy Voter Speaks: Oscars Can't Be Racist Because Academy Prez is Black

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 08:21
 Oscars Can't Be Racist Because Academy Prez is Black

The Hollywood Reporter is continuing its “brutally honest Oscar ballot” series, which features candid conversations with anonymous Academy voters.

On Thursday, we told you about the Academy voter who was offended by the cast of Selma wearing “I can’t breathe” t-shirts at the New York premier. Another enjoyed the film and briefly mentioned it in their interview. A new interview posted on The Hollywood Reporter yesterday, however, might also raise eyebrows:

I didn’t think Selma was a particularly good film, apart from the main actor [David Oyelowo], and I think the outcry about the Academy being racists for not nominating it for more awards is offensive — we have a two-term president who is a black woman [Cheryl Boone Isaacs] and we give out awards to black people when they deserve them, just like any other group.

There you have it, folks. The Academy has a black president; therefore the Academy itself—a group of more than 6,000 people, 76 percent of whom are men, 94 percent of whom are white, which nominated zero people of color in all four acting categories this year (including David Oyelowo, who this voter admits is a good actor)—can’t be racist. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

'The Reid Report' Canceled Amid MSNBC Shake-Up

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 08:04
'The Reid Report' Canceled Amid MSNBC Shake-Up

MSNBC is shaking things up at 30 Rock. The network announced on Thursday that it's canceling Joy-Ann Reid's "The Reid Report" and Ronan Farrow's "Ronan Farrow Daily." The hosts will still reportedly be involved with the network, but each show struggled with ratings over the past year.

Reid has been a longtime contributor to the network and has been so popular that fans even began a petition to get her show on the air.

Reid, along with Melissa Harris Perry and Janet Mock, was one of only a handful of black female cable news hosts in an industry dominated by white men

These infographics from Media Matter show the race and gender imbalances in cable news: gender-diversity-cable.jpg ethnic-diversity-cable-3.jpg

Here's a look at an interview with Rep. Barbara Lee that represents just some of what Reid accomplished:

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Bill O'Reilly's 'War Reporting' Questioned, Apple Car, How the Brain Heals

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 07:17
Bill O'Reilly's 'War Reporting' Questioned, Apple Car, How the Brain Heals

Here's some of what I'm reading up on (and listening to) this morning: 

  • The brain is incredible, especially when it comes it healing itself
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Academy Voter Offended by Selma Cast Wearing 'I Can't Breathe' Tees

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 12:39
Academy Voter Offended by Selma Cast Wearing 'I Can't Breathe' Tees

The Hollywood Reporter is posting a conversation with an anonymous member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences daily until the Oscars on Sunday. On Wednesday's post, this Academy member went in on "Selma": 

First, let me say that I'm tired of all of this talk about "snubs" -- I thought for every one of [the snubs] there was a justifiable reason. What no one wants to say out loud is that Selma is a well-crafted movie, but there's no art to it. If the movie had been directed by a 60-year-old white male, I don't think that people would have been carrying on about it to the level that they were. And as far as the accusations about the Academy being racist? Yes, most members are white males, but they are not the cast of Deliverance -- they had to get into the Academy to begin with, so they're not cretinous, snaggletoothed hillbillies. When a movie about black people is good, members vote for it. But if the movie isn't that good, am I supposed to vote for it just because it has black people in it? I've got to tell you, having the cast show up in T-shirts saying "I can't breathe" [at their New York premiere] -- I thought that stuff was offensive. Did they want to be known for making the best movie of the year or for stirring up shit? 

The Academy may not be the cast of "Deliverance," but its typical member is an old white man: it's made up of more than 6,000 members, 94 percent of whom are white and 76 percent of whom are men, whose average is 63 years old.

"Selma" was nominated for Best Picture--and was the only one out of eight films in the category that focused on the lives of characters of color. Five out of the five nominees for Best Actor are white men; the same is true for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. And five out of the five nominees for Best Actress are white women; the same is true for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

The Long Reach of Police Torture: From Chicago to Guantánamo

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 11:01
 From Chicago to Guantánamo

Last month, the hand-written Guantánamo diaries of prisoner Mahamedou Ould Slahi began appearing in foreign outlets around the world. The 44-year-old Mauritian national and former resident of Germany, accused of aiding the perpetrators of 9/11, had been held for 12 years without trial. I'd read one German magazine excerpt recounting his torture at the hands of U.S. officials, titled, "We're Gonna Teach You About Great American Sex."

Turns out, one of those officials was a decorated Chicago detective named Richard Zuley. And according to a new two-part Guardian investigation, Zuley first perfected his "interrogation technique" on Chicago's black men and women, some of whom accuse him today of having elicited false confessions under torture. Through Zuley, the must-read investigation connects the dots between police torture of non-white, mostly African-American citizens stateside with that practiced on Muslim men under the War on Terror at Guantánamo.

For more on the roots of Chicago's police torture saga, start here. This month, disgraced Chicago police commander Jon Burge walked free with his pension after serving 4 1/2 years for lying under oath. Burge is accused of torturing or overseeing the torture of more than 100 African-American men on the city's South and Westsides throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Zuley was a Chicago police detective from 1977 to 2007. According to The Guardian, he now works for Chicago's department of aviation.

(h/t The Guardian)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Former Oscar Winner Mo'Nique: 'I'm Just a Girl From Baltimore'

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 08:29
 'I'm Just a Girl From Baltimore'

In the week leading up to this year's Oscar Awards celebration, 2009 Best Supporting Actress winner Mo'Nique is opening up about being shut out of Hollywood. The 47-year-old actress told The Hollywood Reporter that only recently learned that she's seen effectively blacklisted in the industry for not "playing the game" and being "difficult" and "tacky." As she told THR, according to E: "That's why I have my beautiful husband because he's so full of tact. I'm just a girl from Baltimore. But being from that place, you learn not to let anybody take advantage of you."

Since winning the 2009 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Lee Daniels' "Precious," the actress has appeared in just a handful of minor roles. Her BET talk show debuted in 2009 and ended two years later. During the 2009-2010 awards season she faced criticism for asking to be paid for promotional appearances.

Daniels, who reportedly told the actress about her status in Hollywood, told THR: "Mo'Nique is a creative force to be reckoned with. Her demands through Precious were not always in line with the campaign. This soured her relationship with the Hollywood community. I consider her a friend. I have and will always think of her for parts that we can collaborate on, however the consensus among the creative teams and powers thus far were to go another way with these roles."

Read more.

This 2014 infographic on the lack of diversity in the Academy Awards helps explain why Mo'Nique's situation matters:

academy_021915.jpg

 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Latino Life by the Numbers

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 07:51
Latino Life by the Numbers

Written by the Puerto Rican mother-daughter team of Idelisse Malavé and EstiGiordani, the new book Latino Stats: American Hispanics by the Numbers" does just what its title suggests: It explores the lives of Latinos through numbers and dispels popular myths.

For example, most Latinos aren't immigrants--and most new immigrants aren't Latino. But too often, Latinos are defined by this topic (that and food; remember that salsa replaced ketchupas the No. 1 selling condiment nearly a quarter century ago!).

Colorlines illustrated some of the book's stats and spoke with Malavé about its sometimes-surprising findings:

Where Latinos live

One in six people in the United States is Latino, but 2/3 live in just five states: California, Florida, Illinois,New York and Texas. But according to "Latino Stats," Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee have seen the fastest Latino population growth since 2000.

Latinos at the voting booth

Cuban voters only represent about five percent of all Latino voters but they draw a lot of attention because of their perceived conservatism in the swing state of Florida. But there there's a catch. "Ten years ago, about 2/3 of Cuban voters were Republican--and now it's down to 47 percent," says Malavé. "The number who identify as Democratic [doubled] from 22 to 44 percent." Malavé also notes that Latinos will make up 40 percent of the electorate by 2030.

Latinos at the movies

"We like to go to the movies, we like to go in groups, and we like to talk about the movie afterwards--it's one of our preferred activities," says Malavé. But that love doesn't translate to films about Latinos. When they do appear on the screen, they're often playing a stereotype. Says Malavé,"The top three roles are gang member, gardener or maid."

Latinos and money

Latino weekly earnings average about $200 less than that of all American workers. And there's a gender gap here, too. "The lowest average weekly earnings [are] for Latina women, who get $521 a week," explains Malavé. "Latino men come in at second lowest at $592.

 

Latinos in K-12

One in four public-school students is Latino. But they tend to be educated by teachers and leaders who don't look like them. "Most Latino children are in schools where the teachers, who are predominantly white, are the youngest, most inexperienced and have the least access to resources," says Malavé.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Deadly Superbug at UCLA, Walmart Worker Raises, The Happiest State in the U.S.

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 07:09
Deadly Superbug at UCLA, Walmart Worker Raises, The Happiest State in the U.S.

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

Categories: Diversity Headlines

In New Chapter in War on Terror, Muslim-Americans Still Caught In the Middle

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 11:27
In New Chapter in War on Terror, Muslim-Americans Still Caught In the Middle

In light of last week's execution-style killings of three college students, some Muslim-Americans are approaching an international conference that opened yesterday, with caution. President Obama's week-long Summit on Countering Violent Extremism has drawn community and government groups representing 60 countries to Washington, DC this week. What's driving this gathering are attacks in recent months by individuals self-identifying with, or reported by media and authorities to have been influenced by radical Islam, in Western capitals, Ottawa, Paris and, this weekend, Copenhagen, as well as major cities like Sydney.

But will this week's conference--and its resulting agreements for action in communities around the world--focus, too, on other homegrown extremists like white American Craig Stephen Hicks or Norway's Anders Behring Breivik, a white, conservative Christian? That's just one of many concerns that 27 religious, ethnic and civil liberties groups in the U.S. raised in a December letter to Homeland Security ahead of this February's gathering. Because, in ratcheting up the fight against domestic and foreign terrorism, President Obama pledges not just to go after violent individuals. Also fair game, according to his LA Times op-ed--and a focus of this week's special gathering--are "the propagandists, recruiters and enablers who may not directly engage in terrorist acts themselves, but who radicalize, recruit and incite others to do so."

How Obama's broad definition of targets for law enforcement and spying actually plays out on the ground, in residential communities, will be of particular concern for many Muslim Americans.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

PETA Ad Equates Dog Club With the KKK

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 10:09

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, tweeted one of its videos* Tuesday that equates the American Kennel Club, the group that promotes the Westminster Dog Show, with the Ku Klux Klan.

By having a Klan member attend an American Kennel Club meeting, the PETA video--which has subtitles that misspell the white terrorist organization's name as the "Ku Kluk Klan"--attempts, in a comedic way, to compare dog breeding with the Klan's trademark white supremacy. While the ad doesn't mention or depict the beating, castrating, hanging and burning of black people, the image of a Klan member in full regalia conjures up this violence.

 

*Post and headline have been updated since publication to address a lack of clarity created in the edit. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

For Black Americans, Fleeing the Segregated South Was Deadly

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 09:02
For Black Americans, Fleeing the Segregated South Was Deadly

The Great Migration, that roughly two decade span of the early 20th century when millions of African-Americans fled the segregation and violence of the American South for the relative economic prosperity of Northern and Western cities, fundamentally altered the U.S. landscape. But a new study has found that it also shortened black migrants' lives.

The study was published this month by the American Economic Review and found that mortality rates increased at 40 percent for black men and 50 percent for black women. Common causes of death were cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and cirrhosis. 

Duke University demographer Seth Sanders, who co-authored the study, told NBC News that the findings contradict a commonly held idea that increased economic mobility in the North automatically benefited black migrants' physical health. "We thought what we would find was that migration north extended life and made the African-American population healthier," Sanders said. "We actually found exactly the opposite. Urban life is stressful. Being away from your roots is probably stressful."

Between the 1910s and 1970s roughly six million African-Americans left the Deep South for places like New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. The study found that if a black man lived to the age of 65, he had more than an 82 percent chance of living until 70 if he stayed in the South. In the North, those chances dropped to 75 percent. For black women who were 65, the chances of reaching the age of 70 in the South were more than 90 percent; in the North, those chances dropped to 85 percent.

In her seminal book "The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration," Isabel Wilkerson details the toll of racism in the North. "[Black migrants] were fleeing the violence of the caste system in the South, only to be met with challenges and obstacles in the North," Wilkerson explained to NBC News. "They were searching for ways to manage in a world that had not welcomed them... where they were met with hostility upon their arrival. I would not find it surprising that their health would suffer as a result."

This infographic from Duke University sums up the study's major findings:

greatmigration_021815.png

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Jason Collins, EJ Johnson Team Up for #ThisIsLuv Townhall

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 08:59
Jason Collins, EJ Johnson Team Up for #ThisIsLuv Townhall

A new initiative called #ThisIsLuv is underway to dismantle the idea that the black community is more homophobic than any other, and it's already got two big names on board: EJ Johnson, the openly queer son of NBA legend Magic Johnson, and Jason Collins, the NBA's first openly gay player. They will headline a town-hall discussion next week on the subject. 

"Too many people within the black LGBT community believe this myth and never allow themselves to be loved by their families," Wade Davis, a former NFL player and co-founder of You Belong, told #ThisIsLuv partner Ebony.com. "Our goal is to make it known that love for black LGBT people exists in our community."

#ThisIsLuv launched on February 16 and it will last throughout March. Along with the townhall meeting and "Empire" watch parties, it is inviting activists, celebrities, writers and others to share photos and video blogs that depict supportive relationships that transcend sexual identity using the hashtag #ThisIsLuv. (Lee Daniels, the creator of "Empire," has said that he is depicting Lucious Lyons' vitriol toward his gay son, Jamal, to "blow the lid off of homophobia" in the black community.)

"Part of what we wanted to offer is space to place black LGBT-affirming love front and center," campaign co-creator Darnell Moore told Ebony.com. "Many of us are loved by our families and friends and some of us have experienced alienation and hurt, but isn't that the case for so many others? We are hoping people will use this an opportunity to further dialogue."

The town-hall discussion will take place on February 22 at the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. Along with Collins and Johnson, the event's special guests will include Daniel Moodie-Mills (Politini), Mychal Denzel Smith (The Nation), Lori Adelman (Feministing), Miss Lawrence ("Real Housewives of Atlanta") and Tiq Milan (GLAAD).

You can follow along with #ThisIsLuv on FacebookTwitter and Tumblr.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

DOJ to Challenge Immigration Ruling, Racist Chelsea Fans, Ash Wednesday

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 06:55
DOJ to Challenge Immigration Ruling, Racist Chelsea Fans, Ash Wednesday

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

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Questions Linger for LGBT Community After Police Kill Jessie Hernandez

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 14:31
Questions Linger for LGBT Community After Police Kill Jessie Hernandez

It's an unseasonably warm February Friday in Denver and four young activists are looking for a place to eat lunch. They don't have much time -- it's already 12:30, and Diane Amaya has to be back at work in the clerical office at the Denver Elections Division by 1:00 -- so they're scouring the grass around the city's McNichols Civic Center. The lawns are mostly empty, minus the police SUV blaring Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," but they're worried about crossing an invisible boundary.

"Why can't we sit there?" asks Angel Campos, holding a cheese pizza box, pointing to the stairs of a nearby building.

"Because we might get arrested by that cop," responds his brother Freddy.

"But that's only if we have a blanket and they think we're trying to sleep there," says Cecilia Kluding-Rodriguez, her eyes scanning in the other direction.

Finally, Amaya points to an area with two benches about a hundred feet away. "Let's grab those benches."

It's a curious lunchtime shuffle that's become all too common, they say, since the Denver City Council passed its so-called "urban camping" ban in 2012. One of at least half a dozen such laws passed nationwide since 2000, the ordinance bans any unauthorized "camping" in public spaces. But critics say that it unjustly criminalizes the homeless, more than half of whom are black or Latino, according to a survey conducted by The Gathering Place. The survey also acknowledges that "diverse languages, abilities, sexual orientations and gender identities are represented" in its count, though it doesn't give specifics. Separate studies have estimated that, nationally, 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT.

The challenges facing LGBT youth of color in Denver have been magnified since police fatally shot 17-year-old Jessica "Jessie" Hernandez in late January. Hernandez's death was another stark reminder of the dangers faced by queer youth of color in the city. In 2008, Angie Zapata, an 18-year-old transgender woman, smiled at a man, allegedly provoking him to beat her to death with a fire extinguisher. In 2009, Michael DeHerrera, a gay man, was brutally beaten by police after using the women's restroom at a nightclub. Hernandez's death was a reminder of the dangers faced by people who are young, brown and queer.

"Jessie could have been any of us," says Kluding-Rodriguez, an organizer with the Colorado Anti-Violence Project's youth organizing group Branching Seedz of Resistance. "We're a target when people just like us are gunned down without reason."

Hernández's killing came at a particularly tense time between the Denver police department and its more than 600,000 residents. Twenty-year-old Ryan Ronquillo was shot and killed by officers last July while standing outside of a funeral home. Just two weeks before Hernández's death, officers shot and killed Sharod Kendell, 23. Two weeks after her killing, the department announced a $860,000 settlement with James Moore, a disabled veteran who was beaten so badly by officers that his heart briefly stopped.

Hernández's shooting marked the fourth time in seven months that Denver police officers fired at moving vehicles, leading to the deaths of two suspects. Three others were killed in such incidents, according to the Denver Post.

Hernandez's death has only heightened calls for police transparency in such matters, and within days of her killing, 200 people gathered to mourn her death. Hernández's family has called for a federal investigation because they believe it's "the only way to uncover the truth because we have little confidence in the Denver Police Department's ability to conduct a fair and timely investigation," they said in a statement posted by Latino Rebels.

Hernández's identity as a gender non-conforming lesbian has inevitably become part of the narrative surrounding her death, and that's not just because Creating Change, one of the biggest national gatherings of queer activists, took place in Denver soon after she was killed. Statistics show that queer youth of color are at heightened risk for harassment and by police. Just weeks before her death, on New Year's Day, Hernández was cited for speeding, eluding a police officer and resisting arrest.

The brutality that Denver police have shown in recent years toward black and Latino men also put Hernandez at risk, according to activists. "People perceived Jessie's gender as masculine, and that put her at risk," says Amaya, another activist with the anti-violence group that's been in contact with Hernandez's family since her death. "She was targeted because of the chosen family she surrounded herself with, who were all queer, brown and masculine."

Gender non-conformity carries with it its own risks, especially when it intersects with racism. As Dani McClain reported for Colorlines while looking at the dangers faced by black trans men and African-American masculine-identified women, "Somewhere at the intersection of blackness, gender expression and sexual orientation is a heightened risk for harassment and bias-driven violence." McClain continued: "People who are perceived as feminine--including femme lesbians and trans women--are certainly at risk, as the case of CeCe McDonald brought to national attention last year. But trans men and masculine-of-center women experience discrimination and harassment in ways that often map more clearly to mainstream narratives about black men."

For this group of young activists sitting outside of Denver's Civic Center, among the many questions left unanswered is this one, posed by Teddy Campos: "Would police have handled Hernandez's cases differently if her gender expression matched her biological sex?"

Amaya drives the point home. "We shouldn't have to justify our humanity so police [can't] justify having killed us," she says. "We shouldn't have to justify our humanity in order to live. Our existence is not a threat."

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Under Pressure, Cop Who Assaulted Black Female Professor Resigns

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 13:45
Under Pressure, Cop Who Assaulted Black Female Professor Resigns

Stewart Ferrin, a 25-year-old Arizona State University police officer, resigned Monday after a lengthy controversy following his violent arrest of ASU professor Ersula Ore last May, the Arizona Republic reported. And he did so in dramatic fashion.

In a letter he wrote to ASU police chief Mike Thompson, Stewart wrote that the 7 1/2 months he spent on paid administrative leave from his job "caused great financial stress and emotional anguish" by preventing "lateral opportunities" with prospective employers, and possibilities for more training and promotions within the agency he currently served. 

Last May, Ferrin stopped Ore, who's a professor in the university's English department, for jaywalking. Video eventually showed that Ferrin and other officers strongarmed Ore, and eventually threw her to the ground.

What started as a volatile incident between the professor and the police officer soon became a lengthy legal and political drama. While ASU initially backed Ferrin and said he hadn't violated any policies that evening, Ore was charged with resisting arrest and other crimes. She pleaded guilty to charges of resisting arrest and is currently serving a nine-month probation sentence, the Phoenix New Times reported. Investigators with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, the FBI and the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office also all subsequenty concluded that Ferrin was guilty of no wrongdoing, the Phoenix New Times reported. 

In November Ore filed a $2 million legal claim, a prelude to a lawsuit, against Arizona State University and alleged that she was falsely arrested, the Arizona Republic reported. On January 21, ASU notified Ferrin they planned to fire him. Ferrin's "rigid, power-based approach to law enforcement and unwillingness to exercise discretion and sound judgment culminated in [him] arresting Dr. Ore without a lawful basis," Ferrin's boss Chief Thompson told him the letter notifiying him of his termination.

"The lack of support, cooperation, and downright bias coupled with an agenda to ruin my career, has become unbearable and I will not subject my family to this any longer," Ferrin wrote in his letter published by the Arizona Republic (PDF). 

Dash cam video of Ore's arrest is up at YouTube.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Graphic Design Company Insists 'Hanging Tree' Ad Was Not About Race

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 13:09
Graphic Design Company Insists 'Hanging Tree' Ad Was Not About Race

Florida-based graphic design company Seasalt & Co. has responded to a request for comment Colorlines made on Monday about its ad featuring a noose hanging from a tree. On Tuesday, Seasalt posted a message on its Facebook page and then sent a nearly identical note to Colorlines. Excerpts from the statement addressed to us:

"We have made it clear why we chose a certain graphic for a certain product. It has nothing to do with any race. Our collection is about rising above and refusing to let the world run us and hang us by any mistakes we have made or didn't make. [...] Not everyone understands art as It's subjective. We are tired of the hate, judgement and injustice. Seeing the noose wasn't meant to think of a certain race being hung. It was left empty to represent that we refuse to be judged and hung in a non [literal] sense. [...] This originated from personal experiences, and [we] wanted to create something that had purpose and meaning. In the art industry it can be very catty and we ourselves, as well as other artist[s] have been ridiculed without even having a chance to be heard. [...] . We are huge supporters and advocates and are the voice for the unheard.

We also will be donating a % of proceeds from this not yet released collection to charities that support equality and artist[s]. Maybe even a scholarship fund. [...] We want to fight for justice and equality and make it known we are no longer following the leaders of hate or bulling/attacking of others. We take concerns VERY seriously and understand our choice of graphic may have been too much for some and that is not what we want. We understand some are more sensitive than others and that is okay. We have decided to change the image out from one of our fellow artist[s] [ . ...] We understand many have been out raged by the image, however we also witnessed some horrible behavior by users, our personal lives and even family members have been threatened with harm

Again we apologize for any hurt feelings, we are taking means to remedy this issue.

The e-mail, as well as the similar Facebook post, is signed by "Ashleigh" but does not include a last name. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Judge Halts Obama's Executive Action

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 09:55
Judge Halts Obama's Executive Action

Just two days before President Obama's historic executive action for undocumented immigrants was set to begin its rollout, a Texas judge has put key portions of the executive order on hold. 

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued his ruling in Texas v. United States, a lawsuit backed by 26 states challenging President Obama's executive action. Hanen ruled in a lengthy opinion that Obama didn't follow proper procedural requirements before announcing his plan to offer short-term work permits and protection from deportation for an estimated five million undocumented immigrants, and has temporarily halted some provisions of the executive action. The White House has announced plans to immediately appeal the ruling, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The executive action was set to apply to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and undocumented parents with U.S. citizen children who also cleared a host of other requirements. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services set a February 18 start date to begin accepting applications for the expanded class of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. 

Hanen made clear that his ruling didn't apply to Obama's first executive action from 2012, which gave certain young undocumented immigrants who'd come to the U.S. as children similar protection from deportation and work permits.

Advocates, too, stressed that the ruling is only the beginning of a longer fight. "Despite its extreme and inflammatory rhetoric," ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project director Cecilia Wang said in a statement, "the Texas court decision does not explicitly hold that DAPA, DACA, or any other part of the federal government's executive action is unconstitutional."

Prior cases challenging Obama's first executive action, including one brought by the union which represents Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, have been dismissed. "We are confident that the Appeals Court will quickly determine that it has no legal merit, as did the only other court that considered a challenge to President Obama's executive action," the National Day Laborer Organizing Network's Jessica Karp Bansal said in a statement.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Judge Halts Obama's Immigration Action, Hello Barbie, Mars Colonization

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 07:16
Judge Halts Obama's Immigration Action, Hello Barbie, Mars Colonization

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

Categories: Diversity Headlines