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Here's What Our Twitter Community Had to Say About Black Men and Unemployment

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 12:53
Here's What Our Twitter Community Had to Say About Black Men and Unemployment

Yesterday, Colorlines hosted a Twitter chat in conjunction with this month's installment of its Life Cycles of Inequity Series, "Why Young, Black Men Can't Work." We invited our online community to weigh in on the issues of long-term unemployment, racial inequity in hiring practices, and disparities in job opportunities between black and white high school graduates. Not only was the discussion lively and insightful, but our hashtag #livesofblackmen even trended nationwide in the states of California, Texas and Minnesota and in the cities of Chicago, DC, Philadelphia and Boston.

Here's the conversation-in-tweets, as compiled by Race Forward, which launches its brand new Storify page today. 

[<a href="//storify.com/raceforward/livesofblackmen-twitter-chat-confronts-black-male" target="_blank">View the story "#LivesofBlackMen and Unemployment" on Storify</a>]
Categories: Diversity Headlines

Three Myths of the Unaccompanied Minors Crisis, Debunked

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 12:03
Three Myths of the Unaccompanied Minors Crisis, Debunked

On Monday President Obama asked Congress for an emergency $2 billion to address the flows of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minor children arriving at the U.S-Mexico border. Arrivals of children, already estimated at 52,000 this year, are expected to reach a record 90,000. Obama asked for money to fund the addition of immigration judges, detention facilities and enforcement efforts to stem the tides of new arrivals. He also asked that Congress expand Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson's powers to allow him to expedite the deportations of youth, many of whom are being held in converted Army bases across the country, the New York Times reported. 

With the failed prospects of immigration reform, the flows of primarily Central American unaccompanied minors at the U.S.-Mexico border has become the immigration flashpoint of the moment. But Obama, as he does with most matters immigration-related, has responded with an enforcement-first approach. In so doing, the administration and Republican lawmakers both have perpetuated several key falsehoods about the crisis. Here now, some myth-busting on the top three myths both political parties are guilty of perpetuating:

Myth: The current refugee crisis is a creation of President Obama's making.

Republican lawmakers are having a field day casting Obama administration policy, namely DACA--a program initiated in 2012 which gave a narrow class of undocumented youth short-term work authorization and protection from deportation--as responsible for the sudden uptick of new migrants. In early June, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions even called Obama "personally responsible" for the influx, Think Progress reported. It's become popular political fodder for politicians with midterm elections on the mind. However, humanitarian groups like the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Women's Refugee Commission have noted the jump in unaccompanied minor border crossings since late 2011 (PDF), long before Obama announced DACA in June of 2012. 

What's more, in interviews with hundreds of detained youth, multiple agencies and researchers have found that the vast majority have no idea about the existence of DACA, let alone the notion that they might take advantage of it for themselves.

Some have also theorized that smugglers are advertising DACA or the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), a Bush-era law which allows unaccompanied minors to be released into the custody of family or a sponsor while they await a deportation hearing in front of a judge, as the U.S. laying out the welcome mat for migrant children. In a House Homeland Security Committee hearing last week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson gave credence to the theory that the influx is due in part to migrants swayed by smugglers' false "promisos" of a free pass once they arrive in the U.S. Smugglers may be using the falsehood to drum up business for themselves, says Michelle Brané, the director of the Women's Refugee Commission's Migrant Rights and Justice program, but endemic gang violence and abject poverty are the decisive motivating factors creating the demand for their services. "People decide to leave first, and then they look for a way to leave," says Brané.

"Just because [migrants] think the U.S. is nicer than we actually are doesn't mean that they don't need protection and don't qualify for protection," says Brané.

Myth: Telling parents in Central America to stop sending their children, and quickly deporting the ones who are here, will fix the problem.

It's not just Republicans, though. The Obama administration, too, has fallen prey to a simplistic understanding of the situation.

On Thursday, President Obama used an ABC News interview to directly address parents in Central America. "Do not send your children to the borders," Obama said. "If they make it, they'll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it." Media efforts to discourage families from sending their children on the treacherous, often deadly journey, have historically been ineffective, says Lauren Heidbrink, an anthropologist at National Louis University who has researched the issue from Guatemala. Most of the children fleeing Guatemala are rural, often extremely poor, and don't necessarily watch TV or have access to newspapers. Parent-shaming oversimplifies the crisis, says Heidbrink. "The decision-making process to send a child is far more complicated than just a bad, misinformed parent sending their child."

What's more, most families pay smugglers to get their children out of the country, with fees ranging from $7,500 to upwards of $10,000--with interest, says Heidbrink. The interest payments alone, often paid for by families taking out loans on their land, can threaten families' very livelihoods. "The concern about rapid deportations is the conditions that spurred migration have not changed in any way, shape or form and in fact the conditions they're returning to are complicated by all the debt they have," says Heidbrink. This forces them to remigrate funneling them into a cycle of migration and deportation.

Myth: This is an immigration problem.

The Obama administration called the bracing flows of tens of thousands of migrant children at the U.S. borders a "humanitarian crisis." But the administration is responding to it like it's an administrative one, say critics. The proposed efforts to expedite deportations and roll back Bush-era TVPRA humanitarian protocols for dealing with unaccompanied child migrants is a serious concern for child advocates. "What the administration is proposing is that the process for adjudicating those claims be shortened, without the benefit of an immigration judge or legal representation, Kevin Appleby of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops told CBS. "It is akin to sending a child back into a burning building and locking the door."

Conditions in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are all unique, but families are sending their children out of the country by and large to flee rampant violence, corruption, political instability and entrenched poverty. Youth, who are primary targets for gang recruitment, are particularly vulnerable. To stay in their home countries is to die, said children interviewed for a 2012 Women's Refugee Commission report (PDF). Indeed, nearly 60 percent of children interviewed by the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights had viable claims meriting U.S. protection, CBS reported. "It's not an immigration issue," says the Women's Refugee Commission's Brané. "It's a refugee issue."

"For us to say that that they cannot stay, that we don't want them because there's so many is absurd," says Brané. "Protection standards aren't about how many people qualify, they're about whether people need protection or not."

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Three Reasons the Hobby Lobby Decision Is Worse for Women of Color

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 12:03
Three Reasons the Hobby Lobby Decision Is Worse for Women of Color

You've probably heard that the Supreme Court laid down a pretty bad decision on Monday in the Hobby Lobby case, essentially giving some corporations the right to deny coverage of certain types of contraception to their employees based on religious freedom.

We won't know the exact impact of this ruling until we see how many of the eligible corporations (closely-held private companies that most are interpreting based on the IRS definition that they be 50 percent owned by five or less people) actually choose to use this right given to them by the Supreme Court on Monday. Nine out of 10 businesses are estimated to be closely held, and an estimated 52 percent of private sector employees work for closely held companies. So we're talking about a potential impact on just a few thousand employees, or a few million, depending on how many businesses choose to exercise this right. We know that in addition to Hobby Lobby, there are at least 82 other companies who've already been challenging the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate.

While much proverbial ink has been spilled speculating about the impact this will have, few have talked about how women of color might fare under this ruling. On its face there is nothing about this ruling that singles out women of color. But because of our political and economic realities, women of color often bare the brunt of the negative impacts of restrictions on women's health anyway. Here are three reasons why women of color may fare worse under this decision:

1. The Cost of Birth Control

Those who can't afford to pay for their birth control out of pocket if their employers deny coverage will face the biggest challenges. Women of color are more likely to be low-income, and also more likely to work a minimum wage job. And as Justice Ginsberg pointed out in her dissent, getting an IUD could cost as much as an entire month's rent working at the minimum wage. And let's not forget that contraceptives aren't only prescribed for preventing pregnancies--they're also used to manage severe menstrual symptoms and conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis. Women of color who are already struggling to make ends meet may face increased burdens. That could mean doing things like splitting one pack of pills between two women each month, as Kimberly Inez McGuire reports two Latina women living in South Texas have been doing.

Elizabeth Dawes Gay, writing at Ebony, elaborates on how this impacts black women specifically:

"In 2011, more than half of Black people were covered by private (usually employer-sponsored) health insurance, either through their own employer or that of a family member, and 57 million adult women of all races were covered through employer-sponsored insurance.  If the behavior of companies like Hobby Lobby becomes the norm rather than the exception, it could impact contraceptive access for millions of people in the U.S. and have a disproportionate impact on Black women who, with lower income and wealth on average, may not be able to afford to pay for their contraception out-of-pocket."

Renee Bracey Sherman also wrote about how this decision could affect Black women. For Asian-American and Pacific Islander women, already low rates of contraceptive use could be even lower if this decision places another economic barrier in their way.

2. The Risks of Unplanned Pregnancy

The risks of having to carry an unintended pregnancy to term are much higher for women of color, especially black women. Black women are four times more likely to die during childbirth than white women, which means potentially being unable to prevent a pregnancy due to the financial barriers put in place by their religious employers. And it's not just death that women of color are at higher risk for during childbirth--it's also infant mortality, low-infant birth weight and premature delivery--all things that pose significant long-term risks to the mother and child.

3. History

Women of color have already had to deal with a long history of reproductive control at the hands of employers and the government. From slave owners' manipulation of Black women's reproduction, to non-consensual sterilization of Latinas in public hospitals, to welfare reform and family caps limiting the number of children welfare recipients can have, women of color have long had to fight for the right to control their own reproduction. This case just adds another layer to controlling fertility, this time at the hands of employers.

At this point it's no longer news that those in our communities who are the most vulnerable suffer the most when increased restrictions and barriers are put into place--and pregnancy and reproduction has been a hotbed of these kinds of restrictions over the last few years. As the Obama administration figures out how they might fill the gap left by this ruling (even the majority opinion, written by Justice Alito, offers this as a solution), we have to keep in mind that women of color are once again going to be relying on a safety net to get basic needs met. And that's a safety net with more and more holes. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

In South Carolina, an Effort to Encourage Black Men Into Teaching

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 11:05
In South Carolina, an Effort to Encourage Black Men Into Teaching

This fall, students of color will for the first time in U.S. history constitute a majority of the nation's public school students. But teachers of color are only 17 percent of the nation's teaching force. Black men make up just 2 percent of the nation's schoolteachers. Diversifying the nation's teaching force--namely by encouraging men of color to join it--is in the nation's educational interests, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has emphasized for years.

A new program out of South Carolina's Clemson University is aiming to do just that. NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports on Call Me Mister, a program that mentors young black men and trains them to become teachers. By the fall the program, which seeks to convert young black men one at a time into someday teachers, will have placed more than 150 teachers in classrooms in eight states:

SANCHEZ: These men are intent on changing the lives of black boys who are struggling with school and with life. Like Marshall Wingate once did.

MARSHALL WINGATE: I actually could relate to a lot of kids because my father has been locked up. I remember seeing him beat my mom, I seen a lot that I shouldn't have seen and I actually kind of grew up too fast as they say.

SANCHEZ: Wingate, now 21, has been student teaching for a year sharing his story with boys he says desperately want someone to care about their struggles.

WINGATE: That's just my main goal. I really love kids at the end of the day, I love kids, it just brings me joy.

Listen to the story in full at NPR.

 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Twitter Asked Robin Thicke Why He's Such a Sketchy Misogynist

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 09:35
Twitter Asked Robin Thicke Why He's Such a Sketchy Misogynist

Someone in Robin Thicke's world thought it would be a good idea for him to do a Twitter Q&A with VH1 to help prompte his new album, "Paula," dedicated to his estranged ex-wife Paula Patton. VH1 tweeted, "Have a burning question for @robinthicke? Submit your ?s for tomorrow's Twitter Q+A using #AskThicke!" 

As Callie Beusman pointed out over at Jezebel, people had plenty of questions about all of the sexist and misogynist drama that's embroiled the singer's career over the past year. One hilarious example, "On a scale of R. Kelly to Phil Spector, how do you intend to 'Get Her Back?' #AskThicke"

Check out Jezbel and Buzzfeed for more.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Yes, There's a 'Selfie Generator' for Kara Walker's Sugar Exhibit

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 09:33
Yes, There's a 'Selfie Generator' for Kara Walker's Sugar Exhibit

One of the more controversial parts of Kara Walker's new exhibit at the old Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn has been all the mindless selfies that people have taken in front of the giant sphinx centerpiece. Now there's a website called sugarselfie.us that pokes fun at the phenomenon by allowing users who can't make it to the exhibit in person the ability to take their own offensive virtual selfies.

Let's see how many actually get the joke.

(Hyperallergic)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

'Cannibal Cop' Conviction Overturned, BNP's Sanction Busting and Beyoncé's Star Power

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 06:42
'Cannibal Cop' Conviction Overturned, BNP's Sanction Busting and Beyoncé's Star Power

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

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Obama to Use Executive Action to Increase Border Enforcement

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 12:53
Obama to Use Executive Action to Increase Border Enforcement

President Obama spoke at a press conference at the White House Rose Garden to address mounting pressure over immigration reform and a humanitarian crisis at the border. He made clear that despite some support, there will be no vote on crucial comprehensive immigration reform--and continued to blame some Republicans for stalling a bill. Obama's administration, meanwhile, has deported more people than another other in the history of the United States.

Obama stressed that if Congress can't move forward on immigration reform, he'd be forced to take administrative action. The only clear plan he laid out today, however, was to increase enforcement at the border.

Pablo Alvarado, who leads the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, made a short statement in response to Obama's remarks:

This is a pivotal moment in the movement for migrant rights.  What comes next will be defining moment for the President and for the country. In de-linking his immigration policy from his legislative reform strategy, the President is now free to do the right thing, and he can fulfill the promise of being a transformative president.  

The President's enforcement-first strategy and his misguided deportation policy were premised on the possibility of legislative reform, but it is now very clear Congress itself is broken. 

We fully expect the President to maximize use of existing authority to ameliorate the injustice of the status quo, and we pledge to work with the administration to fend off the attacks from nativists that will surely come, if and when, he does the right thing. Until then we will continue to escalate opposition to unnecessary and unjust deportations.

Obama, who also highlighted a Fourth of July naturalization ceremony this Friday at the White House, says he'll be looking to take more action in the coming months. For now, however, he will certainly increase enforcement at the border. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Angie Martinez on Leaving Hot 97: 'I'm Curious About What My Value is in the Market'

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 11:31
 'I'm Curious About What My Value is in the Market'

Angie Martinez sent shockwaves throughout the hip-hop industry recently when she was stepping down as a longtime host of pioneering station Hot 97 and moving on to rival station Power 105.1. As a signature industry radio personality, Martinez has interviewed everyone from 2pac to Barack Obama and become arguably one of the most powerful women in hip-hop. 

In a profile by Jon Coscarelli for New York Magazine, Martinez sheds some light about questions she had about her own earning potential as one of hip-hop's signature female voices:

Still, "nobody saw it coming. I didn't see it coming," she explains as scattering assistants set the table with fish tacos for the next shot, a family meal including her 11-year-old son, Niko. "I just got to a point where I thought to myself, I'm curious about what my value is in the market, and let me just see what's out there," she says. Like professional wrestlers (or rap crews), the stations trade taunts and play up their bad blood for entertainment and ratings, but Martinez insists she's received nothing but support from her co-workers, past and future. "We're not gangs. Nobody's gonna hurt each other. That's never gonna happen," she says. "We're all competitive people." After the big announcement, Ebro Darden, Hot 97's former program director turned on-air talent, tweeted, "Angie, I love you and gave my life to protect you. This is a great opportunity to extend your brand!! Get that $$."

Martinez's move shows that even at the top, women still have to fight for what they're worth in the entertainment industry. Read more

 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Prince Celebrated the 30th Anniversary of 'Purple Rain' With a Special Guest

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 11:25

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of his signature "Purple Rain," Prince threw a surprise concert at his Paisley Park mansion in Minneapolis. And he had a very special guest on hand: Appollonia Kotero, the co-star of the 1984 film. Watch their performance.

(Stereogum)

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Meet the Group That's Been Called the British Version of the Fugees

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 11:18

For those of us still waiting on this Fugees reunion, we may have something to help hold us over in the mean time. Hawk House is a London-based hip-hop and soul trio whose makeup (two male rappers and a female who's a beast on the mic and can sing) has drawn comparisons to the Fugees. Here's Zo from Okayplayer:

The group comprises two low-key but powerful MCs in Sam and Eman, and one fluttering vocalist in Demae. "Round We Go" and A Little More Elbow Room (the mixtape what bore it) are laden with the type of sample-heavy, sloppy (in a good way) drums and supper-subby bass licks that allude to serious influence by the one and only J Dilla.

You can download the group's 2013 free mixtape "A Little Bit More Elbow Room" on their website. Their new EP, "A Handshake to the Brain," just dropped and is availble on iTunes. You can listen below. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Lupita Nyong'o Talks About the Beauty of Braiding Hair

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 10:52

When Lupita Nyong'o announced plans to star in and produce a film adaptation of Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie's "Americanah," she said the book felt intimately familiar to her. Among other things, the book dealt with braiding hair, a subject that the Oscar-winning actress is also passionate about. In this video for Vogue, Nyong'o talks about developing her passion for braiding.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

SCOTUS Rules in Hobby Lobby's Favor Over Birth Control

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 08:56
SCOTUS Rules in Hobby Lobby's Favor Over Birth Control

In a 5-4 ruling the Supreme Court sided with two companies who sought religious exemptions in Obamacare requirements that they cover birth control for employees.

The High Court agreed that the Affordable Care Act violated federal law which protects religious freedom. However, the Supreme Court also said that the government may provide its own alternatives for those who need to access coverage, SCOTUSblog reported.

The case was a key controversy over President Obama's signature healthcare law, and became yet another bitterly fought battle over women's reproductive rights. 

The case turned on legal arguments centered around religious freedom, but had everything to do with birth control. Imani Gandy at RH Reality Check explained the terrain:

Contraceptives prevent pregnancy, abortifacients terminate a pregnancy, and a pregnancy begins at implantation. So contraceptives by definition are not abortifacients because they prevent a pregnancy; if they work, there is no pregnancy to be terminated.

These statements are not up for debate. They're not subject to any "well actually" muddying of the waters. They are incontrovertible facts based in science.

Nevertheless, should the Supreme Court rule in Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood's favor, and allow them to avoid their obligations under the Affordable Care Act because they are opposed to abortion-inducing drugs and they "believe" that certain emergency contraceptives qualify as such, those three factual statements will become mere matters of opinion.

Read the Supreme Court ruling in full (PDF).

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Watch Erykah Badu Photobomb a Reporter on Live TV

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 08:34
Watch Erykah Badu Photobomb a Reporter on Live TV

Pix 11 reporter Mario Diaz got quite a surprise on Friday when he was out reporting on actor Shia LeBeof's recent arrest. Erykah Badu photobombed Diaz with a series of silly antics before leaning in to kiss him and being pushed away.

Over at Vulture, E. Alex Jung captured the friendly aftermath that followed.

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Why Today's SCOTUS Decision In Harris v. Quinn Matters

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 08:16
Why Today's SCOTUS Decision In Harris v. Quinn Matters

Should an Illinois mom who receives Medicaid to care at home for a son with a rare genetic disorder be compelled to pay dues to SEIU, the union bargaining on behalf of home care workers in the state? In a 5-4 decision this morning with repercussions for African-Americans and women in particular, SCOTUS has ruled in Harris v. Quinn that "partial public employees" like Pamela Harris can't be required to pay dues. When given the choice, many workers stop paying dues so this decision will limit a public sector union's ability to organize--but it won't end it.

The public sector is the leading source of (well paid) employment and upward mobility for African-Americans and women comprise nearly 60 percent of all government workers (think, teachers, nurses, home health aides, etc). Union membership has fallen dramatically since the early '80s, down to 11 percent from 20 percent in 1983, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But union membership remains strong in the public sector where workers (35 percent) are five times more likely to belong to a union than those in the private sector (6 percent). 

For expert analysis on the decision and its implications, follow SCOTUSblog and OnLabor.

What do you think? Should Harris be compelled to pay dues to the union representing home care workers in Illinois?

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Laverne Cox Pays Tribute to Slain Black Trans Woman at NYC Pride

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 08:08
Laverne Cox Pays Tribute to Slain Black Trans Woman at NYC Pride

Laverne Cox was one of three grand marshals at this year's Pride parade in New York City along with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Rea Carey and "Frozen" star Jonathan Goff. Cox made her ride through Manhattan's West Village memorable by sharing it with with the Dolores Nettles, mother of Islan Nettles, the 21-year-old transgender woman who was beaten to death in Harlem last year. The elder Nettles rode next to Cox and waved to the crowd while holding a photo of her daughter.

Cox's celebrity has skyrocketed since the debut of the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black," and she's long used her high profile to bring attention to Nettles' case. Nettles, a fashion student, was viciously beaten while walking with friends in her Harlem neighborhood on August 17, 2013. She died days later at Harlem Hospital. Her murder remains unsolved. 

While Pride parades in the United States have become billion-dollar affairs, transgender people of color still face deadly realities. As Tim Murphy wrote at Out.com about Nettles' death:

According to a report last year from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, which tracks and fights attacks on LGBTQ people, half of all fatal hate crimes committed in the United States in 2012 against LGBTQ people were against transgender women, and 73% of all homicides were of people of color. The same report found that transgender women of color were dramatically more likely to experience police violence or discrimination. According to the group Transgender Day of Remembrance, there have been 85 murders of transgender people in the United States between 2008 and 2013. And those are just the reported cases.

Read more of Murphy's account

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Taking Care of Transgender Elders

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 08:01
Taking Care of Transgender Elders

January 2, 2014 was a cold day in New York City and Tanya Walker remembers it well. The 51-year-old had surgery that day after being diagnosed with lung cancer. "I was homebound, and the weather was so cold I couldn't breathe outside," she explains. 

As a black trans woman, Walker was in an unenviable position. Aside from structural barriers that create disproportionate obstacles to healthcare, Walker doesn't have much family support in New York.  But she hasn't had to face her illness alone.  

Walker says she started coughing up blood about a year ago, and soon visited a doctor. After blood work and several scans, she was diagnosed with Stage Three lung cancer and told that she would need an operation, chemotherapy and radiation. A longtime member of the Audre Lorde Project (ALP), Walker says she brought up her diagnosis to her fellow members. "And all of the sudden they said, 'Why don't we get together as a community and help Tanya out through this illness?'"

Being transgender means one is more likely to suffer poverty, homelessness and criminalization. The violence carried out upon trans and gender non-conforming people lowers their life expectancy. But for those who do make it to middle age, there's little in the way of resources for housing, employment and healthcare. As an active part of New York's trans community, however, Tanya Walker says she got the support she needed. And a lot of it came through ALP.

The help that Walker received was highly coordinated. ALP staffers and members sat down and asked Walker about her specific needs and then mapped out a safety plan that centered on her wellness--not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually as well. For two months at the start of this year--through snow and freezing temperatures--some 30 people volunteered their time and resources to join Walker for her appointments and treatments, and also cooked and delivered food to her on a daily basis.

Planning such an endeavor for someone undergoing cancer treatment might sound daunting, but those who took care of Walker say it's simply what a community does to take care of one of it's own.  "It wasn't difficult for us to come together," says ALP's Gina George.

ALP demonstrates what it means to actively support its elders. For some in the trans community that kind of action doesn't always match up with what some call the mainstream gay rights narrative.

Throughout the country Pride parades took place on Sunday. Pride commemorates the Stonewall Riots, which occurred 45 years ago and were sparked by Sylvia Rivera, a trans woman of color. Greenwich Village, the site of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, is now dotted with rainbow ads marking summer sales; some storefronts even offer mimosas and hors d'oeuvres to celebrate gay pride. Those offers, however, exist in stark contrast to the lives of trans people--and to trans women of color especially--who remain under attack.

Just two days before Pride, Christopher Street pier was the site of the tenth annual Trans Day of Action, which more than 1,000 people attended. One attendee, Cynthia X, held a bright yellow sign that read, "Stonewall was a riot!" The 27-year-old thinks that too much is lost in mainstream celebrations. "Stonewall was a sacrifice of trans women of color that gets more whitewashed every year," she says. "Like the chant says, 'Fuck your assimilation, we want our liberation.'"

For people like Cynthia X, liberation means access to basic needs like employment, healthcare and housing--without the risk of death that so often haunts trans women of color.

On Sunday, meanwhile, Pride kicked off in New York with "Orange is the New Black's" Laverne Cox as one of three grand marshals. Cox, who donned the cover of Time, has come to represent a wider acceptance of black trans women in the mainstream. That kind of visibility is important, but not everyone is convinced that it's making trans women safer.

"It hasn't changed anything at all, "says Walker. "Transmisogyny still marginalizes trans women of color."

ALP's George does think the kind of visibly that Cox and Janet Mock have is important--especially for young trans people to know that there is hope beyond violence and disappointment. But as much as ALP works to confront the issues of basic housing, healthcare and employment, the financial resources for that kind of work are limited.

"There really is no funding--a lot folks come out of their pockets to help our community, and it's an important opportunity for the funding machines to think about that," says George. She points out that finding senior housing for trans women in New York, for example, is unheard of.

Tanya Walker no longer needs people to cook and deliver her meals. After intensive treatment, she'll soon find out whether the cancer has been eradicated, or if she'll have to continue fighting it. Walker addressed Trans Day of Action participants on Friday, who reveled in her presence. And she says that she knows that no matter what her upcoming diagnosis brings for her, she'll have the backing of a community that's invested in taking care of its elders. 

Categories: Diversity Headlines

Hobby Lobby Ruling, Facebook's Emotional Manipulation and KLM's Racist Tweet

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 06:56
Hobby Lobby Ruling, Facebook's Emotional Manipulation and KLM's Racist Tweet

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

Categories: Diversity Headlines