Colorlines

Politics

Andrea Shorter on the Supreme Irony of Today’s Prop 8 Ruling

by Julianne Hing on May 26 2009, 5:05PM

What a newsday to start off the week. It reminds me of another big day last year that was filled with both joyous and crushing news. You know, November 5, 2008, the morning after Barack Obama won the election and…

Topics: Politics

The gang aptitude test

by Michelle Chen on May 25 2009, 4:50PM

Pop quiz: Do any of the following describe you? I try to be nice to other people because I care about their feelings. I get very angry and “lose my temper” (yell or get mad). I do as I…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Politics

Goodbye, Abstinence-Only [VIDEO]

by Terry Keleher on May 9 2009, 10:38AM

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy President Obama has just cut all federal funding for failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in his proposed 2010 budget. The $100 million program from the George W. Bush era is…

Topics: Politics

Crack, powder and kicking butt in drug policy

by Michelle Chen on April 29 2009, 5:31PM

After years of frustration under Reagan-era drug laws, a Senate subcommittee hearing today parsed the fine line between crack and powder. The notorious 100-to-1 gap between sentencing policies for powder and crack cocaine is a linchpin of the mandatory-sentencing…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Politics

The law of unintended consequences

by Michelle Chen on April 27 2009, 5:35PM

Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano indicated last week that she is open to reforming the Real ID Act—the controversial 2005 legislation that purported to standardize driver’s licenses and block access for undocumented immigrants and people deemed security threats. The…

Topics: Immigration, Politics

Numbers game

by Michelle Chen on April 3 2009, 6:01PM

Counting people is harder than it looks. The 2010 census is morphing from a sociological project into a political one: conservatives are crowing about the dangers of tallying “illegals,” and activists are seeking policy changes to guard against undercounting….

Topics: Politics

Sticky fusion

by Michelle Chen on April 1 2009, 2:39PM

In a House Subcommittee hearing today, civil liberties advocates tried to shed some public light on one of the darkest corners of law enforcement. The hearing focused on so-called “fusion centers” funded by Homeland Security and scattered across the…

Topics: Politics

Double-vision on Mexico’s “drug war”

by Michelle Chen on March 11 2009, 4:21PM

On the U.S.-Mexico border, drug-related violence rivals immigration as a media fixation, projecting images of a so-called “failed state” and a “wave” of killings. The New York Times cites a National Drug Intelligence Center report calling Mexican cartels “the…

Topics: Global Affairs, Immigration, Politics

New York’s uphill climb to drop the rock

by Michelle Chen on March 6 2009, 3:55PM

All eyes are on New York as it moves toward reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The mandatory-sentencing statutes have reshaped the prison population since the 1970s by drawing in thousands of people of color and low-level and nonviolent offenders….

Topics: Criminal Justice, Politics

Framing Bills With Racial Equity in Mind

by Jorge Rivas on March 6 2009, 1:57PM

Photo: Newsok, Video below. The Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP) in Minnesota has been working on including racial equity in legislation for years. When a bill titled “Driver’s license and identification card required to show full head and face” was…

Topics: Politics

Dropping the rock

by Michelle Chen on February 5 2009, 11:30AM

This week, New York took a decisive step toward reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws—the notorious mandatory-minimum sentencing rules that have driven the mass incarceration of people of color over the past generation. Despite some marginal reforms in recent years, the…

Topics: Politics

It’s Time to Rethink Our Welfare Policy

by on February 4 2009, 1:31PM

Earlier this week the New York Times reported that even as many states have skyrocketing unemployment, their welfare rolls are shrinking. As a researcher for a racial justice think tank, I’ve been traveling the country collecting accounts of how this…

Topics: Politics

Patterson May Appoint Anti-Immigrant Senator

by Jonathan Adams on January 23 2009, 10:32AM

Now that Caroline Kennedy has dropped out of the running to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate, reports speculate Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand from upstate New York is going to be announced tomorrow as the new Senator. Gillibrand has a…

Topics: Politics

Targeted neighborhoods, pt. 2: NYPD stop and frisk

by Michelle Chen on January 16 2009, 5:23PM

A new, disturbingly timely report by the Center for Constitutional Rights documents glaring racial disparities in the stops and searches carried out by New York City police. The analysis is hardly surprising, but the data does provide statistical muscle to…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Politics

Obama Considers Another Centrist Dem for Interior Secretary

by Guest Columnist on December 15 2008, 10:20AM

Obama Considering Appointment of Centrist Dem & Alberto Gonzalez Supporter as Interior Secretary By Roberto Lovato This article in the Denver Post (DP) indicates that President-elect Obama is preparing to announce the appointment of Colorado Senator Ken Salazar as…

Topics: Politics

Lots Going Down in Chi-Town: Obama, Blago, and the Republic Sit-in

by Terry Keleher on December 9 2008, 10:38AM

From his transition office in downtown Chicago, as President-Elect Barack Obama continues to rapidly line up has plans and personnel for his incoming administration, he’s getting a close-up look at a lot of other significant developments going down around…

Topics: Politics

Obama Could Pass Over Progressive Latino for Interior Secretary

by Guest Columnist on December 8 2008, 8:11AM

Obama Rumored to Be Leaning Toward Pro-Hunter, Pro-Logging Democrat to Lead Interior Department By Roberto Lovato, Of América A source close to the Obama transition team just told me that “(Congressman Raul) Grijalva fell out of favor and they are…

Topics: Politics

Preventing Unintentional Racial Impacts

by Terry Keleher on November 26 2008, 10:04AM

Originally published by American Forum ILLINOIS EDITORIAL FORUM By Sen. Mattie Hunter and Rep. Arthur Turner Suppose you’re a white person who uses drugs. Now suppose you’re a black person who uses drugs. Think you run the same risk of…

Topics: Politics

How to Accept It’s a Post-Racial Society (a.k.a., How You Can Learn to Stop Making Excuses, Throw Away All Your Race Cards and Accept We Are Living in a Post-Racial Society)

by Dom Apollon on November 11 2008, 3:28PM

If you’re like me, you justifiably shed tears at the incredible symbolic power unleashed this week when Americans chose Barack Hussein Obama to be our 44th president. Moreover, his victory speech rightfully reminded us after eight years in the Bush…

Topics: Politics

State Wins and Losses: Ballot Initiatives Roundup

by Jonathan Adams on November 7 2008, 7:11AM

Immigration While immigration was all but ignored by both presidential candidates, voters in several states were presented with ballot measures on immigration enforcement and English-only requirements. In Oregon, an English-only initiative failed though one passed in Missouri. A harsh criminal…

Topics: Politics