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Aoki Supporters, Including Kathleen Cleaver, Call FBI Claims ‘a Distortion’

Aoki Supporters, Including Kathleen Cleaver, Call FBI Claims 'a Distortion'

In response to additional information last week about former Black Panther Richard Aoki’s role as an FBI informer, the activist’s long time allies are once again coming to his defense. In a piece for the San Francisco Bayview that appeared over the weekend, several prominent activists and academics called evidence of Aoki’s role as an FBI informant a “distort[ion] of the legacy of Richard Aoki.”

The op-ed was authored by Ward Churchill, a native activist and former ethnic studies professor; Kathleen Cleaver, former member of the Black Panther Party and Yale law professor; and Natsu Taylor Saito, a George State University law professor. The piece suggests that Aoki still has many prominent supporters from his many years as a prominent activist, despite damning evidence that he also worked as an FBI informant.

First, the authors aren’t surprised by the allegations:

This is a classic example of how truth is mixed with falsehood to rewrite history and promote a more sweeping agenda. The goal is to discredit the movements of the 1960s and ’70s and key activists of that era who might serve as role models for coming generations. The failed prosecution of former Black Panthers in the well-known case of the “San Francisco 8” is just one of many recent examples.

The authors critique Seth Rosenfeld’s reporting, before putting his work within a long history of FBI-inspired ‘disinformation’:

A key weapon in their arsenal is the spreading of false and derogatory information - “disinformation,” in the counterintelligence vernacular - to “disrupt, destabilize, discredit, and destroy” radical activists and organizations. The FBI has utilized numerous techniques to convey such disinformation, from planting rumors in targeted communities to mass dissemination of half-truths or outright lies through the press, electronic media and books claiming to provide “objective” analyses.

The government’s use of disinformation for repressive purposes traces back at least as far as its campaigns to “neutralize” the anarchist and Garvey movements during and shortly after World War I. Since the process was systematized in the 1930s, an ever-greater flow of material crafted by the FBI’s in-house spinmeisters and an unknown number of contract writers, collaborating scholars, and cooperating journalists, has been devoted to burnishing the bureau’s public image while degrading its adversaries.


In August, news that Aoki was listed as an FBI informant sent shockwaves throughout the progressive community. The news was felt especially hard in the Bay Area, which Aoki called home and had for decades made a name for himself first as a radical activist with the Black Panther Party and student movements of the 1960s, and then as a longtime educator in the East Bay. Last week, the Center for Investigative Reporting released over 200 pages of FBI files it had obtained on Aoki’s role with the FBI. The files, many of which are redacted, show that Aoki was listed as an FBI informant for 16 years.

TAGS: Aoki

NYPD Cop ‘Accidentally’ Shoots and Kills Unarmed 20-Year-Old Latino

NYPD Cop 'Accidentally' Shoots and Kills Unarmed 20-Year-Old Latino

A 20-year-old Bronx bodega worker was accidentally shot and killed by a NYPD officer responding to an armed robbery inside the store early Friday morning, according to law enforcement officials.

Reynaldo Cuevas was shot and killed when he ran into the responding officer as he rushed out of the robbery scene at full speed, according to NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

“Mr. Cuevas … ran full-speed into the officer,” Kelly said. “The two became entangled, at which point, we believe, the officer accidentally discharged his weapon.”

NBC New York reports the robbers remained barricaded inside the store for over three hours until they were taken into custody. Police said the three suspects who participated in the robbery are expected to be charged with felony murder, in addition to robbery counts.

DOJ Finds Violation of Constitutional Rights in Kansas Correctional Facility

On Thursday the Justice Department released its findings determining that the Topeka Correctional Facility (TCF), an all-female facility in Topeka, Kan., under the jurisdiction of the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC), fails to protect women prisoners from harm due to sexual abuse, misconduct from correctional staff and other prisoners in violation of their constitutional rights. The Justice Department delivered a letter detailing the findings to Governor Samuel D. Brownback and Secretary of the KDOC Ray Roberts.

More from the DOJ on the investigation’s findings:

The investigation concluded that TCF fails to protect women prisoners from sexual abuse and misconduct from correctional staff and other prisoners in violation of their constitutional rights. TCF has a past history of officer-on-prisoner and prisoner-on-prisoner sexual abuse and misconduct. The women at TCF live in an environment with repeated and open sexual behavior, including sexual relations between staff and prisoners and non-consensual sexual conduct between the female prisoners. Much of the inappropriate sexual behavior, including sexual abuse, continues and remains unreported due to insufficient staffing and supervision, a heightened fear of retaliation, a dysfunctional grievance system and inadequate investigative processes. To date, KDOC and TCF have failed to remedy the myriad systemic causes of harm to the women prisoners at TCF despite repeated, well-documented and detailed investigations and audits exposing the problems.

“Our investigation has revealed that multiple deficiencies in the operations of the Topeka Correctional Facility have exposed female prisoners to harm and the serious risk of harm from prisoner-on-prisoner and employee-on-prisoner sexual abuse and assault,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “It is our strong desire to work with both the facility and the Kansas Department of Corrections to implement reforms to address these repeatedly-documented deficiencies.”

The investigation was conducted by the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section and focused on whether prisoners at the facility were subject to sexual abuse in violation of their constitutional rights.

Photos: ‘Undocumented and Unfraid’ UndocuBus Riders Watching Obama’s DNC Speech

Photos: 'Undocumented and Unfraid' UndocuBus Riders Watching Obama's DNC Speech

On Thursday evening about 20 Undocubus riders who traveled from Arizona to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte met at a local church to watch President Obama deliver his acceptance speech.

Colorlines.com’s Aura Bogado, who traveled on the Undocubus, was with the group and reports
there was a silence almost the entire time Obama delivered his speech.

Bogado sent the following pictures and note from Charlotte:

There was a long discussion afterwards, when people stood up and shared what they thought. Some were positive, noting that Obama said, “you have to do the work,” and “you have to earn it.” Gerardo Torres (who was arrested and released this week) interpreted that to mean that his community has to continue to fight against local police enforcing federal immigration law.

Torres and many others in the room are returning to Arizona in the next few days, and almost all the riders mentioned the latest SB1070 ruling (I noted that none of them called it “show me your papers,” they all referred to it as racial profiling”). Even those who were very critical of the speech said that the next fight is in Arizona, around SB1070.

Miguel Guerra was arrested in an action against Arpaio and SB1070 in July, was handed over to ICE, and then released while he fights his case to stay in the US. He, his wife, and their oldest daughter are undocumented, and his two younger children are US citizens born in Arizona. After he was released, he boarded the bus bound to Charlotte. After the speech, he said he was disappointed he couldn’t hand Obama a letter that his oldest daughter had written to the president. In it, the15-year-old writes that her “dad is trying to stop all the racism here in Arizona and other states.” Because the First Lady mentioned that Obama reads letters that people write to him for guidance, Torres hopes that Obama reads the letter if it is sent to the White House.

All pictures below taken by Aura Bogado in Charlotte.

Watch Kerry Washington’s Powerful DNC Speech on Threats to Women’s Rights


Kerry Washington:

“Today there are people trying take away rights that our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers fought for: our right to vote, our right to choose, affordable quality education, equal pay, access to health care. We the people can’t let that happen.”




Eva Longoria:

“Mitt Romney would raise taxes on middle-class families to cut his own—and mine. That’s not who we are as a nation, and here’s why: The Eva Longoria who worked at Wendy’s flipping burgers—she needed a tax break. But the Eva Longoria who works on movie sets does not.”

Brooklyn Is the Second Most Expensive Place to Live in the U.S.

Brooklyn Is the Second Most Expensive Place to Live in the U.S.

Brooklyn is the second most expensive place to live in the entire country — topped only by Manhattan — according to the latest report from the Washington-based Council for Community and Economic Research.

Raanan Geberer at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle explains the report’s findings and methodology:

The council ranks 300 American cities based on a variety of factors including prescription drug prices, utilities, transportation, grocery prices, as well as housing. Using the number 100 to represent the national average, Brooklyn ranked at 183.4 overall — 129.9 in gro Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo ScissuraBrooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo Scissura rocery items, 126.4 in utilities, 104 in transportation costs and 111.1 in healthcare costs, and a whopping 344.7 in housing. Manhattan’s average was 233.5.

This means that housing costs in Brooklyn are more than three times that of the average American city, which, according to the survey, is someplace like Erie, Pa., or Charlottesville, Va.

Wondering what this means for many of Brooklyn’s historically black communities?

The Center for Urban Research at CUNY analyzed Census data over the last decade and explains the demographic changes:

Black losses were substantial in several communities with historically large Black populations. The Black population declined by 10,000 in Crown Heights North (a loss of almost 12% of the Black population), 8,400 people in Flatbush (decline of 14%), 7,258 people in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens (decline of 12%), and almost 6,000 people (-5,936) in Bedford (decline of almost 15%). [Note: The City Planning Department created two separate “neighborhood areas” for the community commonly referred to as Bedford-Stuyvesant. We use the Planning Department’s “neighborhood area” delineation for this analysis.]

Communities in northern Brooklyn such as Bedford, Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, and Clinton Hill in 2000 straddled the area of central Brooklyn with substantial Black population plurality and the Park Slope/Brooklyn Heights area with substantial White population plurality. By 2010, Black population concentration had declined and White concentration had increased. In Bedford, the White population had the greatest percentage increase of any of the major groups citywide — 633% (an increase of almost 16,000 people), increasing the White population share in that neighborhood from 4% in 2000 to 25.5% in 2010. In Prospect Heights, the White population share increased from just over one-quarter in 2000 (28.2%) to almost half (47.2%) in 2010 (an increase of 3,818). In Clinton Hill, the White population share more than doubled from 15% in 2000 to just over 35% in 2010 (an increase of 7,419).

Brooklyn rents grew at an average rate of nearly 6.58 percent last year, compared with 0.37 percent in 2010, according to the latest Brooklyn Rental Market Report.

Manhattan rents have stayed steady in the past year, according to NY.Curbed.com

Brooklyn has also seen high foreclosure rates.

In 2008, one in four homeowners with subprime mortgages in the 11233 zip code, which spans Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights neighborhoods, lost their homes, the Fed said.

August Jobs Report Shows Stubbornly High Black and Brown Unemployment

August Jobs Report Shows Stubbornly High Black and Brown Unemployment

The official August jobs report released this morning shows that the economic depression in communities of color continues unabated. Double digit unemployment for blacks remains stuck at 14.1 percent. The unemployment rate for Latinos edged slightly upward to 10.2 percent.

Unemployment for the general population is unchanged at 8.1 percent and 96,000 jobs were created in August. That’s not even enough to keep up with population growth.

Disturbingly, the number of people actively looking for work continues to slide. It’s at a 30 year low. Over three million people have disappeared from the workforce all together since 2008. If labor force participation was the same as when Obama came to office, the overall unemployment rate would be almost 40 percent higher.

Additional information on male labor force participation is even more sobering. According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s the lowest in almost 60 year low. This news is a disaster for black and Latino men.

High youth unemployment, over 50 percent in some areas, alongside the number of people who’ve given up on work could be important drivers in the outbreak of violence in communities of color this summer.

The jobs report only adds to the curiosity of President Obama’s silence on black and Latino unemployment in last night’s speech, or a full-throated discussion of the jobs crisis overall.

Gabby Douglas Takes Stage with Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj at MTV VMAs

Gabby Douglas Takes Stage with Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj at MTV VMAs

Alicia Keys made her official comeback at the 2012 MTV VMAs on Thursday night. The singer performed her latest new single “Girl On Fire,” featuring Nicki Minaj and a special appearance by Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas!

Over 200 Pages of FBI Files Detail Richard Aoki’s Path to Informant

Over 200 Pages of FBI Files Detail Richard Aoki's Path to Informant

There’s now a paper trail that shows detailed evidence of former Black Panther Richard Aoki work as an FBI informant. In a report released Friday morning at the Center for Investigative Reporting, reporter Seth Rosenfeld outlines his findings of 221 pages of FBI files that show Aoki’s role as informant with the agency for 16 years, from 1961 to 1977.

Here’s what the records show: The FBI began targeting Aoki while he was still in high school, a striking point that speaks to just how aggressively the government worked to intervene in radical and people of color-led movements. Notably, the files do not detail exactly what information Aoki gave to the FBI, and in particular the redacted documents do not specify whether he informed on the Black Panthers, the political organization with which Aoki is most widely identified. However, the documents do show that Aoki was an informant during the critical years in which the Black Panthers had conflict with the police.

From Rosenfeld’s report:


Arizona’s SB1070 ‘Show Me Your Papers’ Provision Likely to Go Into Effect

Arizona's SB1070 'Show Me Your Papers' Provision Likely to Go Into Effect

On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton virtually cleared the way for Arizona to start questioning suspected undocumented immigrants they come in contact with. Bolton gave the U.S. Department of Justice and Arizona 10-days to work out the wording of the order that will officially lift a 2-year-old injunction that prevented officers from checking a person’s immigration status.

“The district court was correct in blocking Arizona’s harboring statute, which criminalized many everyday interactions with unauthorized immigrants. Unfortunately, the district court’s ruling let the “show me your papers” law stand, despite significant new evidence that it was passed with a discriminatory motive and will result in illegal detentions,” said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project “The ruling puts an enormous burden on the countless Arizona residents who will be victims of racial profiling and illegal detentions because of this law. We remain committed to fighting what is left of SB 1070 and defending the rights of all Arizonans to be free from this unjust law.”

Supporters of SB 1070, including Gov. Jan Brewer, cheered the ruling.

“After more than two years of legal challenges, it is time that Section 2B of SB 1070 take effect,” Brewer said in a statement. “Given today’s ruling, along with the federal court’s suggestion that it intends in the very near future to formally lift the existing injunction, it is clear the day of implementation is fast approaching.”

There is some good news to come out of all this. Judge Bolton issued an injunction against a statute that makes it a crime to harbor people suspected of being undocumented immigrants.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver Ditches Prepared Speech and Takes DNC to Church

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver Ditches Prepared Speech and Takes DNC to Church

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, ditched his prepared DNC remarks half way through his speech on Wednesday night and urged Obama to “hope on!”

“There is something essential in the human spirit that searches for hope. We are driven by hope,” said Cleaver. “President Barack Obama has been lampooned for speaking of hope; hope for a better America. I want to encourage our president and all of us to continue to hope for an America that remembers, recognizes, and fervently protects its greatness.”

“Yes, Mr. President, hope on. Continue to hope, Mr. President,” Cleaver, who is also a United Methodist pastor, went on to say.

Benita Veliz Becomes First Undocumented Immigrant to Address a Political Convention

Benita Veliz Becomes First Undocumented Immigrant to Address a Political Convention

Benita Veliz made history Wednesday night when she took the stage at the Democratic National Convention.

“I’ve had to live almost my entire life knowing I could be deported,” she said on the stage. The twenty-seven-year old came to the U.S. without papers as a child but now qualifies for temporary status that protects her from deportation under President Obama’s Deferred Action program.

Michelle Obama’s DNC Dress Designed by African-American Designer Tracy Reese

michelle-obama-dress-dnc2.jpg First lady Michelle Obama takes the stage during day one of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 4, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mrs. Obama wore a custom designed dress by designer Tracy Reese. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

First Lady Michelle Obama’s dress at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday was designed by designer Tracy Reese.

Reese, 48, is originally from Detroit, Michigan, and a graduate of New York City’s Parsons School of Design. Before launching her own label, Reese was head of the Women’s Portfolio for Perry Ellis.

“I found out Mrs. Obama was wearing one of our designs when she stepped out on stage to make her beautiful speech,” Reese told Entertainment Weekly. “In the midst of [New York Fashion Week] preparations, seeing [her] in one of my designs was a truly extraordinary moment.”

“This particular fabric is a rich Italian silk jacquard in a great formal design,” Reese went on to point out about the one-of-a-kind dress.

Reese also shared her joy with her Twitter followers Tuesday night. Check our her tweets below.

Rosario Dawson Calls DNC Immigration Demonstrators ‘Soldiers of the Battle’ [Video]

Rosario Dawson Calls DNC Immigration Demonstrators 'Soldiers of the Battle' [Video]

On Tuesday, actress Rosario Dawson, who had been at a nearby forum on immigration, walked over and showed her support for Undocubus demonstrators who traveled from Arizona to Charlotte to urge the Obama administration to stop criminalizing immigrant communities.

“We really need to have better representation and that’s why we continue to have to keep seeing soldiers of the battle keep going down one by one until finally there is a critical mass to make a difference,” Dawson told reporters outside the DNC site where Undocubus members were demonstrating.

rosario-obama-undocubus.jpg (Rosario Dawson and Isela “Chela” Meraz, Photo by Aura Bogado)

Ten Undocubus members were arrested at the intersection of 5th and College streets, just one block from the convention site and where delegates go through a security checkpoint.

In a statement the group made online, they explain, “We came out because we are tired of the mistreatment. We are tired of waiting for change and we know that it never comes without risk or without sacrifice.

At one point during the demonstration Dawson took to a megaphone and told Undocubus riders already in jail-transport vans that she admired them.

“That’s what it takes,” she said. “For all of you who just got arrested, I want to commend your bravery. Things will change. We are here with you.”

Before she left the protest, Dawson turned to Undocubus rider Isela “Chela” Meraz and said “You inspire me,” before turning and giving her a big hug.


CT Court Set to Hear Inmate’s Case that Death Penalty is Racist

CT Court Set to Hear Inmate's Case that Death Penalty is Racist

Five Connecticut death row inmates are suing the state to get their sentences overturned because they argue race and geographic bias played a part in their prosecution. Their lawsuit went to trial Wednesday at the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers.

The inmates cite a study that concluded that people of color accused of murdering white victims are three times more likely to receive a death sentence as defendants in white-on-white murder cases.

The Hartford Courant has more:

Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane is expected to be one of the first witnesses Wednesday in the long-awaited habeas corpus trial on claims by condemned killers that Connecticut’s death penalty is racially, ethnically and geographically biased.

Kane and other state prosecutors - including New Haven State’s Attorney Michael Dearington, who successfully sought the death penalty for Cheshire home invasion killers Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky - will likely testify about their decisions to pursue death by lethal injection for certain accused murderers, and sentences of life in prison for others.

Starting Wednesday and for several weeks, the judge, lawyers, court staff and witnesses in the case will travel to Northern Correctional Institution in Somers where the trial is being held in a prison dayroom. Northern houses Connecticut’s death row.

Petitioners in the lawsuit include five of the 11 black, white and Hispanic men on death row.

DREAMer Benita Veliz to Address DNC Wednesday

DREAMer Benita Veliz will address the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night.

Veliz was detained after a traffic stop in 2009 and received a deportation order shortly after. Her name made national headlines in 2011 when she was spared deportation under new guidelines established by the Morton Memo on Prosecutorial Discretion, issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Veliz is scheduled to talk after Attorney General of California Kamala D. Harris and before Spanish language talk show host Cristina Saralegui.

Take a look at the schedule below:

From 9:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Remarks

Karen Mills Small Business Administration

Progress for People Video: Small Business

American Voices Remarks

Bill Butcher

Remarks

The Honorable Kamala D. Harris Attorney General of California

Stronger Together Video: Immigration

Remarks

Benita Veliz DREAM Act Activist

Cristina Saralegui Journalist, Actress, and Talk Show Host

Sandra Fluke Attorney and Women’s Rights Activist

Austin Ligon Co-Founder and Former CEO of CarMax, Inc.

Watch Trailer for Jay-Z, Will and Jada Smith’s ‘Free Angela’ Doc

Free-Angela-All-Political-Prisoners.jpeg

Will & Jada Pinkett Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation have officially come on-board as executive producers of Shola Lynch’s Angela Davis documentary, “Free Angela & All Political Prisoners.”

Deadline.com has more on the announcement:

Overbrook Entertainment and Roc Nation will lend their clout to the Realside Productions/De Films Aiguille-produced documentary Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, which was directed by Shola Lynch. They will become executive producers on a film that premieres at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival and marks the 40th anniversary of the acquittal of Angela Davis on charges of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy. The docu was produced by Carole Lambert, Shola Lynch, Carine Ruszniewski, and Sidra Smith.

The documentary chronicles Angela Davis’ activism that implicated her in charges of attempted kidnapping and murder. It features interviews with Davis, her lawyers, FBI agents assigned to the case, and journalists who covered one of the most volatile trials of the ’60s. Davis’ imprisonment sparked a worldwide movement for her freedom as a political prisoner, while she was simultaneously being labeled a terrorist. The film wrestles with the meaning of political freedom in a democracy negotiated between the people and its government.

“We at Overbrook Entertainment are very proud to support this intriguing documentary about the life of Angela Davis. Filmmaker, Shola Lynch has done an incredible job in revealing a piece of American history we thought we all knew,” said Jada Pinkett Smith.

“Shola Lynch has crafted an intricate and compelling film about Angela Davis. Roc Nation is honored to be a part of a creative collective that can present such a riveting story,” said Roc Nation founder Shawn “Jay Z” Carter.

Photo: President Obama, Sasha And Malia Watch Michelle’s DNC Speech

Photo: President Obama, Sasha And Malia Watch Michelle's DNC Speech

President Barack Obama and his daughters, Malia, left, and Sasha, watch on television as First Lady Michelle Obama begins her speech at the Democratic National Convention, in the Treaty Room of the White House, Tuesday night, Sept. 4, 2012.

At a campaign stop earlier on Tuesday President Obama told his Norfolk, Virginia supporters that his wife was the family’s star and that her speech later that night would top his.

“Whatever I say here today,” he told more than 11,000 supporters on the campus of Norfolk State University, CBS reported. “It’s gonna be at best a distant second to the speech you will hear tonight from the star of the Obama family, Michelle Obama.”

Obama told his supporters he would be back at the White House watching Mrs. Obama’s speech with his daughters.

“I’m gonna try not to let them see their daddy cry,” he went on to say. “Because when Michelle starts talking, I start getting all misty.”

America’s Next Top Model 2027: Julián Castro’s Daughter Carina Victoria

America's Next Top Model 2027: Julián Castro's Daughter Carina Victoria

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro made his national debut as the keynote speaker on the first day of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday. But each time the cameras pointed to his family, Castro’s three-year-old daughter Carina Victoria stole the spotlight.

Carina sat in the audience patiently watching her dad speak but she seemed to really get a kick out of watching herself on convention monitors. Just take a look at the video above, she’s ready for the cameras and ready to be America’s Next Top Model, a wise Latina and the president one day.

In his keynote speech Castro explained Carina was named after his grandmother and spoke about her legacy:

In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don’t always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor. My grandmother never owned a house. She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.

And while she may be proud of me tonight, I’ve got to tell you, Mom, I’m even more proud of you. Thank you, Mom. Today, my beautiful wife Erica and I are the proud parents of a three-year-old little girl, Carina Victoria, named after my grandmother.

A couple of Mondays ago was her first day of pre-K. As we dropped her off, we walked out of the classroom, and I found myself whispering to her, as was once whispered to me, “Que dios te bendiga.” “May God bless you.” She’s still young, and her dreams are far off yet, but I hope she’ll reach them. As a dad, I’m going to do my part, and I know she’ll do hers. But our responsibility as a nation is to come together and do our part, as one community, one United States of America, to ensure opportunity for all of our children.

Castro, 37, was the first Latino to deliver a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

Gay Teen in Stun Gun Case Sues Indy School District

An openly gave high school student has filed a federal lawsuit against Indianapolis Public Schools. Darnell “Dynasty” Young, who’s 17, first made headlines last spring after being expelled for bringing a stun gun to school. Young said that he brought the stun gun to school to protect himself against bullies. The new lawsuit, which was filed last Friday by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Kirkland & Ellis, alleges that Indianapolis Public Schools “engaged in discriminatory treatment and fail[ed] to protect Young.

Colorlines.com contributor Rod McCullom offers more details:

Young says classmates at Arsenal Technical HS relentlessly bullied him ever since he and his twin brother arrived in October from Arizona—taunting him, calling him names, following him home and even throwing rocks at him. On 16 April, Young eventually fired a stun gun into the air to scare off a group of six kids who used gay slurs and threatened to attack him. Young was suspended and remained out of school until his expulsion on 8 May.

Young and his mother said they told the school about the bullying “more than 10 times”—but the school only formally investigated one complaint. The stun gun was given to him by his mother, who says school authorities were not helpful and told Darnell to “tone down” his accessories and mannerisms. Young’s mother is also a party to the lawsuit.

TAGS: Bullying
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