Aamer Rahman has sold out consecutive nights at London’s famed Soho Theatre and had a performance on so-called reverse racism go viral last year. But he says he’s tired of the expectation that comedians of color will make white folks feel comfortable in order to be successful. In an interview with CeaseFire, Rahman railed against the “expectation for non-white comedians to pander to white audiences. I think it is just unusual for people to see a brown person who makes comedy for black and brown people.”
Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:
- Israel attacks a UN school serving as an evacuation center in Gaza, killing at least 20 people as they slept.
- Some 150 people are feared trapped following a massive landslide in India.
- Five people are rescued after a water main burst, flooding part of UCLA’s campus with about 10 million gallons of water.
- The National Labor Relations Board says McDonald’s is a joint employer, meaning it’s liable for labor violations at individually owned franchises.
- Hyundai recalls 883,000 cars for transmission problems.
- More Jay Z and Bey divorce rumors surface.
- Need weed? A San Francisco startup will deliver it to your home.
- Two more massive craters are observed in Siberia.
In October 2012 U.S. Border Patrol officers shot and killed 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez with 10 bullets as he walked down a street in the border city of Nogales, Mexico. Today, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on his mother Araceli Rodriguez’s behalf against the agency which it says operates with impunity.
“The U.S. Border Patrol agents who killed my son in a senseless act of violence are still out there and they need to be brought to justice,” said Araceli Rodriguez in a statement. “The U.S. government has not held the agents who shot my son accountable and that is why I am bringing this lawsuit.”
Border Patrol officers have killed dozens of migrants in recent years, and advocates say that those deaths have highlighted the agency’s lax use of force guidelines. Since 2005, Border Patrol officers have been involved in the deaths of at least 42 people, according to the ACLU. Fifteen of those deaths occurred in between 2011 and 2012. This spring, the agency “tightened” its rules of engagement for its officers, The Arizona Republic reported.
Still, said ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project attorney Lee Gelernt in a statement, “Jose Antonio’s death is unfortunately not unique. Border Patrol is using excessive and unnecessary force against people on both sides of the border. Agents continue to violate the Constitution with impunity.”
A new report looks at how more than a decade of defunding at every level of government has led to the decline of New York City’s public housing, the largest system in North America. The report’s call for affordable housing funding akin to the Marshall Plan comes on the heels of outrage in the city over luxury building “poor doors”—separate entrances, wings and amenities for market-rate and affordable housing residents.
(h/t WNYC Radio)
Here’s some of what I’m reading up on this morning:
- Israel bombs Gaza’s only power station as it intensifies its attacks on Gaza.
- The U.S. says Russia is violating an arms treaty.
- A federal appeals court rules Virginia’s same-ses marriage ban unconstitutional.
- More than a third of adults in the U.S. have debt in collection.
- OKCupid has been manipulating users.
- Running just five minutes a day can help prevent cardiovascular disease, adding years to your life.
According to its own policy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, only detains pregnant women if they pose a public safety threat—but new evidence illustrates the practice is quite common.
Over at Fusion, Cristina Costantini found that at 559 pregnant women have been detained by ICE in just six facilities since 2012, and there’s no reason to believe they meet ICE’s own policy for holding expecting mothers. At least 14 women suffered miscarriages while in detention in 2012. According to Fusion’s estimate, up to 57 pregnant immigrant women are being detained per day.
Read more over at Fusion.
An estimated 1,200 fast food workers are back home this Monday morning after attending their first-ever national conference this weekend in Addison, Ill., about four miles from McDonald’s headquarters. The gathering dramatizes the resolve of fast food workers to escalate their campaign as well as the growth of the movement, which began with 200 workers in November 2012. Their main demands are a $15-an-hour minimum wage and the right to form a union without retaliation.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) largely funded the two-day convention and North Carolina’s Moral Mondays leader Rev. William Barber III was a keynote.
Said one worker, according to The New York Times, “It’s awesome to see all these people here. I’m ready to take the next step.” This national conference comes after a mid-May protest forced McDonald’s to close company headquarters.
President Obama met with three Central American presidents at the White House Friday afternoon to address the influx of unaccompanied child migrants. According to The Hill, Obama claims to have come to agreement with El Salvador’s Salvador Sánchez Cerén, Honduras’ Juan Orlando Hernández, and Guatemala’s Otto Pérez Molina to “address poverty and violence” in order to stem the immigration tide. Meanwhile, the administration is still attempting to get Congress to approve a nearly $4 billion to increase detention facilities and to hire additional immigration judges to hasten the deportation of children, which seems unlikely to happen before lawmakers take off for vacation at the end of next week.
The White House has hosted several conversations and events about immigration—not just recently about child migrants, but also about the 11 million people who remain undocumented in Obama’s second term. But critics charge that the people most affected by the immigration system, the undocumented themselves, aren’t truly represented in Washington. In a sharp essay over at Latino Rebels, California Immigration Youth Justice Alliance member Hairo Cortes, addresses the issue, and calls for major non-profit immigrant rights advocates to boycott meetings at the White House until Obama discusses the issue with undocumented people.
With this clear history of unwillingness to lead by taking politically risky positions, and of siding with the political interests over working class immigrant communities, I call on America’s Voice, the National Council of la Raza, the National Immigration Forum, the Center for American Progress, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and all those other advocates who were unwilling to take a stand against deportations when it was most critical for them to do so, to step aside and boycott all further White House meetings until President Obama sits down with and negotiates with the undocumented immigrant day laborers, trans and queer organizers, parents, and youth who brought the proposal of Administrative Relief to the public consciousness when everyone said we should be quiet.
Mainstream advocates have long suggested that grassroots activists should quiet down about the administration’s record-setting deportation numbers and concentrate instead on putting pressure on the Republican Party to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Yet it’s been politically clear that the GOP won’t be moving on such a bill in an election year. In response to partisan blame, Cortes makes clear that his allegiance isn’t with the Democrats, but with his community.
You can read the essay, titled “Undocumented People Must Be at Negotiation Table to Achieve Substantive Relief,” in its entirety over at Latino Rebels
A Las Vegas family court judge said this week that he would like to expand an inquiry into another juvenile detention facility after ordering that inmates at a juvenile detention center in Elko, Nevada be cleared out, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
“If a parent did that, it would be child abuse — probably charged criminally,” Judge William Voy told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“When you treat a kid like an animal, you’re going to get an animal,” Voy said. “There’s other ways of dealing with it, without resorting to something that would otherwise be child abuse if it wasn’t in an institution.”
Staff at the Elko facility reportedly restrained juvenile inmates at the Nevada Youth Training Center by linking handcuffs and ankle shackles. Reports of the technique, known as “hobbling” or “hogtying,” spurred Judge Voy to recall 12 youth from Las Vegas who’d been held at the facility. In 2002 the Department of Justice investigated the Nevada Youth Training Center staff after receiving complaints of detainee abuse, AP reported. Five employees were eventually fired.
It’s not just Elko. More than one in four youth held in juvenile detention told researchers with the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (PDF) that they’d been restrained in some way before in 2010. Those physical restraints include: “handcuffs, wristlets, a security belt, chains, or a restraint chair.”
h/t The Crime Report
Palestinian Artist Khaled Jarrar was all set to travel to New York for two recent art openings featuring his work—The New Museum’s “Here and Elsewhere,” and a solo show at the Whitebox Art Center. The artist may be best known for his work at the Berlin Biennale, where he offered “State of Palestine” passport stamps.
But there was a problem. As curator Myriam Vanneschi writes in Hyperallergic, Israel wouldn’t allow Jarrar, who lives in the West Bank, to travel to New York:
Israeli soldiers kept him waiting for hours on end before transporting him, together with a group of others who were denied exit, to a spot further away from the Jordanian border crossing. When they were released, they had no other option but to travel back to Ramallah. It was two o’clock in the morning at that point and he had missed his flight. He had tried to reason with them to no avail. “There is no reasoning,” he said to me. “This is retribution on their part, it is revenge and you can’t reason with that.”
In a letter to Vanneschi included in the curator’s post, Jarrar explains how he was the target of racism and humiliation by Israeli border police.
But that didn’t stop Jarrar and Vanneschi from moving forward. “No Exit,” described as new work “that deals with his status as well as the current situation in Gaza,” opened Thursday evening in New York City. The show, hosted by Whitebox and Undercurrent Projects, runs through August 7.
Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:
- French troops are guarding the Air Algérie crash site in Mali that claimed 116 lives.
- Some 10,000 Palestinians protest against Israeli strikes on Gaza.
- The presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are meeting with President Obama at the White House.
- Authorities determine that porcelain dolls left outside 10 California girls’ homes were “intended as a kind gesture.”
- Google is set to acquire video game streaming platform Twitch for $1 billion.
- Supermodel Andreja Pejić comes out as a trans woman.
- The top Sierra Leonean doctor battling ebola has contracted the infection himself.
- Astronomers find that three exoplanets they hoped would hold water are instead dry.
On Wednesday the U.S. Department of Education confirmed that it has opened an investigation into whether Newark, New Jersey’s school reform plans violate the civil rights of the city’s black students, Reuters reported. Civil rights groups, including the Journey for Justice Alliance and the Advancement Project, filed a complaint in May with the Department of Education alleging that school closures in Newark, New Orleans and Chicago have a unique and disparate impact on black and Latino students, who are vastly overrepresented among those who attend schools targeted with school closures plans in all three cities. Black students were 52.8 percent of Newark public school enrollment but 73.4 percent of those affected by school closures in the 2011 to 2012 school year. White students, meanwhile, were 7.9 percent of the district but just 1.1 percent of those whose schools were shuttered.
In Newark, the school reform plan One Newark is set to close 13 more public K-12 schools.
“Closing the doors of public schools is not the way to improve public schools,” Sharon Smith, founder of Parents United for Local School Education said at a Wednesday press conference, the Star-Ledger reported.
The civil rights complaint was filed on the same week as the 60th anniversary of the landmark school desegregation Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.
One in 10 youth locked up in juvenile detention has experienced suicidal thoughts in the last six months, according to sobering new findings published by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (PDF). The article is the latest installment in a series from the Northwestern Juvenile Project examining the mental health of youth at Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago.
The findings may shed some light on other troubling trends about young people’s experiences in juvenile detention, where the youth commit suicide at two to four times the national rate of youth in the general population.
According to researchers’ findings, not only had 10 percent of youth had thoughts of suicide, 11 percent had attempted suicide at least once. The average age of kids’ first suicide attempt was 12.7 years. Whites are at a higher risk than youth of color for committing suicide. White males were more than two times more likely as black males and five times more likely than Latino males to tell someone about their suicidal thoughts. But researchers also found that Latino and black males were far more likely than others to have thoughts of “death and dying” in the last six months.
Write the report authors (PDF):
It is unclear whether and how concern about death among African American and Hispanic males is related to risk for suicide. Some studies suggest that such concern may result from a greater likelihood of having lost siblings and peers to violent death as compared to non-Hispanic white males. These findings also may reflect an awareness of a heightened risk of mortality. Among the Cook County sample, African-American and Hispanic males had a substantially greater risk of an early violent death than non-Hispanic males.
Here’s an all too easily forgotten reality: mass incarceration and the U.S. deportation machine are deeply intertwined. And black immigrants get swept up in both systems. A new video from the Black Alliance for Just Immigration spells it out:
The rate of detention and criminal deportation is soaring. Black immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America are overrepresented in immigration detention and criminal deportatiton proceedings by five times their presence in the undocumented community. And all Latino undocumented immigrants are disproportionately affected by a wide margin. Ultimately all forms of crimnalization keeps people divided.
Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:
- An Air Algérie flight is missing, and likely crashed in northern Mali with about 116 people on board.
- A TransAsia flight crashes in Taiwan, killing 48 people.
- Despite one lone vote against it from the U.S., the U.N. begins an inquiry into whether Israel is committing war crimes; meanwhile, Israel attacks a U.N. school in Gaza.
- The botched execution of Joseph Wood in Arizona takes nearly two hours.
- Jobless claims fall again to their lowest level since 2006.
- Check out these photos from Comic-Con 2014 kicking off in San Diego!
- The world’s first malaria vaccine may soon be approved.
- An astronaut tweets his “saddest photo yet” from space.
In early July, League City, Tex., city council members voted 6-2, “to refuse requests or directives by federal agencies to permit or establish any facility for the purposes of processing, housing or detaining any illegal aliens, designated as ‘refugee’ or otherwise.” The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and Appleseed, a Texas-based legal advocacy group, filed the federal complaint, charging that League City’s resolution discriminates against the affected children and violates the Fair Housing Act and Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint “is a warning to other municipalities that are considering similar resolutions. Cities can’t accept federal funds, and then use them to discriminate,” MALDEF attorney Marisa Bono told The Center for Public Integrity.
After several years of steady increases in the numbers of child migrants arriving in the U.S., some 57,000 unaccompanied migrant children fleeing rampant violence and conscription into gangs primarily in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, have so far been apprehended this year while attempting to seek refuge in the U.S. Still, overall flows of migrants crossing into the U.S. are still low. In the last year, Border Patrol has apprehended some 420,000 people, AP reported today, after three years of near historic lows of apprehensions. The last time apprehensions at the border were so low was in 1973, when the Border Patrol arrested 500,000 people, AP reported.
Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:
- The U.N.’S human rights commissioner suggests that Israel is committing war crimes; Israel continues its attacks on Gaza as Secretary of State John Kerry arrives to urge a ceasefire.
- Two Ukrainian jet fighters have been shot down near the MH17 crash site.
- Eric Garner, who died after an NYPD officer placed him in a chokehold, will be remembered at his wake and funeral today.
- Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman is upset that his “death blow” against Herbalife, which he says is a massive pyramid scheme, didn’t quite work out.
- Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter rank low in customer satisfaction.
- Did you recently purchase peaches, plums, pluots or nectarines at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Kroger’s or Trader Joe’s? They’re being recalled.
- Bats use polarized light to get their bearings and fly.
At its annual convention happening in Las Vegas, the NAACP unanimously passed a resolution today backing fast food workers’ ongoing campaign for a $15 hourly wage and a union.
Burger King and Taco Bell employee Terence Wise, a father of three living in Kansas City, addressed the attendees. “Our children watch us go to work each day only to come home to eviction notices, shut-off notices, and bare cupboards,” Wise told the crowd, according to a statement. “The civil rights movement taught us what to do when our nation defaults on a promise. Straighten your back, stand together, and fight for justice.”
The NAACP resolution notes that, the nation’s “four million fast food workers are the largest group of minimum wage workers in the United States, with workers of color disproportionately represented and especially concentrated in the lowest paying jobs; where only ten percent of workers of color hold management positions compared with almost half of the white men who work in fast food industry, further perpetuating the racial wage gap.”
Read the resolution in full after the jump.
The recent revelations that the U.S. monitored the email of five prominent American Muslims failed to shock the Muslim community in the U.S., writes Laila Alawa for The Guardian. American Muslims, by now long used to over a decade of domestic surveillance in and sanctioned discrimination of their communities, have plenty of reason to distrust their government.
And it’s shaping how Muslims in America view the country, and themselves. Writes Alawa:
Many from outside the Muslim American community have been shocked by these revelations and others like them. But for me - beyond the feeling that my long-held suspicions have been confirmed - the knowledge that my faith makes me suspicious in the eyes of the government to which I’ve pledged my allegiance, well, that fazes me less and less everyday.
And for every one of me, there is at least one other young person whose childhood has been shaped by the reality of constant surveillance, government stings and wannabe informants.
After 9/11, I learned quite quickly to keep my head down because I thought that, if I could stay under most people’s radars, I could thrive a world in which stories of warrantless deportations, faith-based workplace discrimination (and termination) and arrests that resulted in unending detention were common.
I was clearly not alone in making life choices based on my perception that I was - or could be - under surveillance. A 2014 study from the University of California at Berkeley showed that, whether or not Muslim Americans reported being monitored, they still felt significant levels of anxiety and anger about it.
Read Alawa’s piece in full at The Guardian.
Lost in the debate over how much money it would cost to change the Washington NFL team’s name or what a name change would mean for the football team’s institutional legacy is the reality that using American Indians as sports team mascots has a real impact on Native Americans.
And far from being limited to the world of pro sports, K-12 schools across the country continue to use American Indians as sports mascots. All of it colors the self-concept of young Native Americans, according to a new report released today from the liberal think tank Center for American Progress (PDF).
Write report authors Erik Stegman and Victoria Phillips:
American Indian/Alaska Native students across the country attend K-12 and postsecondary schools that still maintain racist and derogatory mascots. Research shows that these team names and mascots can establish an unwelcome and hostile learning environment for AI/AN students. It also reveals that the presence of AI/AN mascots directy results in lower self-esteem and mental health for AI/AN adolescents and young adults. And just as importantly, studies show that these mascots undermine the educational experience of all students, particularly those with little or no contact with indigenous and AI/AN people. In other words, these stereotypical representations are too often understood as factual representations and thus “contribute to the development of cultural biases and prejudices.”
Read the report in full (PDF).