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NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Major Investigation Looks at Nation’s Re-Segregating Schools

Major Investigation Looks at Nation's Re-Segregating Schools

As a follow up to her 2012 investigation into residential segregation, ProPublica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones is back, this time with a year-long look at re-segregating schools in the South and the nation, too. In “Segregation Now,”:

Almost everywhere in the country, Hannah-Jones found, the gains of integration have been eroded. And nowhere has that been more powerfully and disturbingly true than in the South - once home to both the worst of segregation and the greatest triumphs of integration. Freed from the federal oversight that produced integration, schools districts across the 11 former states of the Confederacy have effectively re-instituted segregation for large numbers of black students, in practical terms if not in law.

The complete reporting package on re-segregated schooling today is huge so here’s a handy how-to-read/view guide as well as a plain, non-graphics text-only version. Each chapter, based on Hannah-Jones’ embedding in the Tuscaloosa, Ala. school district, will be rolled out over three days, beginning today. So settle in! 

In the meantime though, be sure to share your six words on race and education in America. And look out for reaction over the coming week to this major investigation—and add your own.

South Korea Ferry Update, Low Jobless Claims and the Problem with ‘Liking’ Cheerios

South Korea Ferry Update, Low Jobless Claims and the Problem with 'Liking' Cheerios
Here’s what I’m reading about while not eating Cheerios this morning: 
 
  • Guess who benefits from those free drug samples your doctor’s hawking? Big pharma
TAGS: Morning Rush

Cleveland Business Mag Admits Diversity Problem

Cleveland Business Mag Admits Diversity Problem

In a January story featuring 2014 predictions from 32 community leaders, Crain’s Cleveland Business profiled no African-Americans or Asian-Americans. There was one Latino. And 30 of the 32 leaders whose views were published were men. How do those erasures happen in a city where more than half of the population is black and one third of its businesses are owned by women?

Crain’s Cleveland with the help of concerned community members is apparently trying to figure that out.

Whites comprise about one third of Cleveland’s population, Latinos are at 10 percent and Asian-Americans, just under 2 percent. Asian-American business owners account for 3 percent of the city’s firms and African-Americans, roughly 25 percent.

(h/t Crain’s Cleveland)

Meet the Preacher Behind “Moral Mondays” in NC

Meet the Preacher Behind

It was Moral Mondays that inspired us to start organizing, an African-American teacher from North Carolina told me recently at a national labor conference. Bunking three to a room and skimping on hotel-priced breakfast that morning, she and her colleagues had trekked to Chicago in search of more inspiration and, strategy. I thought of her after reading this week’s Mother Jones profile of Rev. William Barber II, the man behind Moral Mondays. What he began last year as a small protest against voting rights infringement blossomed this February into a rally of tens of thousands.

Barber, who suffers a painful arthritic condition and is also pastor of Greenleaf Church in Goldsboro,

…has channeled the pent-up frustration of North Carolinians who were shocked by how quickly their state had been transformed into a laboratory for conservative policies. [And] what may be most notable about Barber’s new brand of civil rights activism is how he’s taken a partisan fight and presented it as an issue that transcends party or race—creating a more sustained pushback against Republican overreach than anywhere else in the country.

Read more at Mother Jones.

South Korean Ferry Sinks, Nas Documentary, NCAA Athletes Get Food

South Korean Ferry Sinks, Nas Documentary, NCAA Athletes Get Food

Here’s what I’m reading about this morning:

  • A man is in custody after a bomb scare at the Boston Marathon yesterday. 
  • Obama will announce a $600 million jobs training and apprenticeship program. 

TAGS: Morning Rush

NYPD Disbands Muslim-Spying Unit

NYPD Disbands Muslim-Spying Unit

The NYPD announced today that it has disbanded a post-9/11 plainclothes unit used to spy on Muslims in their communities. The Demographics Unit, according to a pay-walled New York Times article, mapped entire neighborhoods and built detailed profiles of where people ate, shopped and prayed. The move is being interpreted as one indication that the NYPD is backing away from controversial post-9/11 surveillance tactics, which are the subject of at least two suits brought by area Muslims and civil rights groups.

For more on these cases and their impact, see today’s frontpage article by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh on Colorlines.

(h/t The New York Times)

‘Chávez,’ Brought to You by Budweiser

'Chávez,' Brought to You by Budweiser

The César Chávez film has had its share of thoughtful criticism. Dolores Huerta kinda answered the controversy around Chávez’s stance on undocumented immigrants (although it’s unclear if anyone has asked her about her own). And, speaking of Huerta, where were the women in the film? And where were the Pinoy workers who influenced Chávez’s work with the United Farm Workers (UFW)? But now, a Budweiser video connected with the film, which stars Diego Luna, is raising eyebrows. 

The self-proclaimed King of Beers has long sponsored the UFW, and has now released a video of a special screening for held for farmworkers in Delano, California. It concludes with a clip of Chávez’s son explaining, in Spanish (which is a bit bizarre, considering the video is in English, and Paul Chávez speaks English), that his father enjoyed drinking his Bud. 

(h/t Latino Rebels)

Gun Violence Spikes in Chicago, Again

Gun Violence Spikes in Chicago, Again

Chicago’s gun violence is back in the news again with yesterday’s headline: 4 dead among at least 36 shot in 36 hours. “Chiraq’s” gun violence and murder rate have been well covered by media over the last few years. A brief recap follows, in addition to the latest on solutions.

Most homicides occur on the city’s predominantly black and Latino south and west sides. Much of the violence concentrates among youth. Almost half of Chicago’s 2,389 homicide victims between 2008-2012 were killed before their 25th birthdays, according to a new Chicago-focused human rights report from Amnesty International. And that says nothing of the youth who survive shootings (more than 2,300 in 2013) or witness them. Again, from Amnesty: “Studies have shown that youth exposed to high levels of violence often become the victims and perpetrators of the violence, exhibiting the same psychological trauma as children growing up in urban war zones.”

A fair question then: how is Chicago—from communities to schools to city hall to hospitals—intervening in the lives of all those young people with unaddressed psychological trauma?

New FBI director, James Comey in a visit yesterday to the city reportedly said: “You can’t arrest your way to a healthy neighborhood”—even though cops and more cops appears to be the public’s main demand. So if according to America’s top cop, the punitive arm of the criminal justice system is only one part of the city’s solution to gun violence and extreme rates of victimization among youth, what are others?

The new Amnesty report begins by recognizing that scattering public housing residents and recent school closings contribute, respectively, to fracturing previously hierarchal gangs and endangering Chicago’s youth. It makes a few tangible recommendations as well. The first: properly investigating allegations of torture levied against Chicago police from the 1970s through the 1990s. One new investigation from watchdog group, BetterGov.org tracks increasing police misconduct claims over the past decade as well as skyrocketing costs ($84.6m in 2013, alone). Real reform won’t come however, it says, until CPD addresses its own “no-snitch” culture and tolerance for abuse.

Other recommendations, including adequately funding anti-gang youth initiatives and beefing up protections for immigrants and LGBTQI individuals, make the Amnesty report a worthwhile read. Note too, how one Calif. group aims to help its crime victims of color living in high crime neighborhoods by first making them visible.

(h/t Chicago Tribune)

Tax Day Freebies, Pharrell Cries on Oprah and Google Drones

Tax Day Freebies, Pharrell Cries on Oprah and Google Drones

Here’s what I’m catching up on this rainy morning: 

TAGS: Morning Rush

On 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Act: Integration and Gay Rights

On 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Act: Integration and Gay Rights

As public schools have re-segregated, the achievement gap between black and white students has widened. That’s a major finding from a forthcoming year-long investigation into southern schools by Pro Publica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones who yesterday previewed the article on Face the Nation. The 20-minute Sunday morning segment comes after last week’s civil rights summit featuring four presidents—Obama, Bush, Clinton, Carter—reflecting on LBJ and the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Other guests on the program, which assessed failures and progress made: Michael Eric Dyson, Evan Wolfson, and Tavis Smiley.

So, how are we doing 50 years on?

Calif. Leads on Making Crime Victims of Color Visible

Calif. Leads on Making Crime Victims of Color Visible

Amidst today’s growing push for criminal justice and prison reform, victims living in high crime neighborhoods rarely get a mention. A small movement out of California aims to change that however by making working class and low-income victims of color visible. Californians for Safety and Justice have expanded on last year’s first-ever survey of crime victims with a new (though, small) report looking at what may be a common but invisible experience in high-crime neighborhoods: repeat victimization.

Fully two-thirds of 500 people surveyed last year described having been victims of multiple violent crimes within the past five years alone. These victims are more likely to be low income, young (under 30) and black or Latino.

“Untold Stories” describes victims’ experiences with police (not good; not only in California) and other first responders (better). It finds limited to no assistance accessed or offered, particularly among low-income persons surviving multiple victimizations (i.e. assault, shootings, physical and sexual violence, etc) and suggests a kind of “walking wounded” phenomenon in high poverty, high crime neighborhoods.

More quantitative and qualitative research is needed, the report says. There’s just not that much out there on crime victims as compared to research on criminals and crime.

Former KKK Leader Kills Three, MTV Movie Awards and Total Lunar Eclipse

Former KKK Leader Kills Three, MTV Movie Awards and Total Lunar Eclipse

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

  • Just 13 percent of all Twitter accounts have tweeted more than 100 times—and 44 percent have never tweeted at all. #Huh. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Risking Arrest for Her Mom

Risking Arrest for Her Mom

With immigration reform stalled in Washington, Gabriela García is fed up. The 23-year-old grad student and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient recently blocked a San Francisco intersection in protest. Her journey, told by PRI, of going from quietly petitioning to civil disobedience reflects the increasing frustrations of many. This week three protesters began a hunger strike in front of the White House. That comes on the heels of a month-long series of fasts by more than 1,500 women in 35 states and Mexico, protesting continued deportations.

García’s mom disapproves of her daughter getting arrested. But Gabriela doesn’t mind.

“To see the fear and the sadness in my mom’s eyes that have forced her to become shameful of who she is — I can’t turn against that,” García explained. “I can’t pretend that everything is okay.” 

The García’s left Oaxaca for the United States when Gabriela was three-years-old. Her mom, now 65, earns minimum wage at McDonald’s.

Learn more at PRI.

Who’s Giving Second Chances to War on Drugs Survivors?

Who's Giving Second Chances to War on Drugs Survivors?

“Are we moving towards a society where it’s much harder to get a second chance?” Moving towards? That ship’s long sailed considering that for 30 years now in Missouri, for example, mothers with a past drug conviction can’t access food stamps—ever. For mainstream America, though, slowly awakening to the ills of too-much incarceration, the question is thankfully relevant and it leads off a worthy D.C. panel this morning featuring Joe Jones.

Jones, a recovering addict and ex-knucklehead, he says, is the founder and CEO of the Center for Urban Families in Baltimore. According to the current cover story in The American Prospect, “Is there hope for the survivors of the Drug Wars?” CUF is among the first programs in the country designed to specifically help young men of color readjust for economic success in society. In addition to workforce training, it offers fatherhood classes, helps men navigate family court and counsels ex-prisoners forever marked by where they’ve been but, not where they are or trying to be.

Start the video at the 7:40 mark when journalist Monica Potts introduces Jones who tells his story. The idea for CUF formed, he says, when he realized early on that programs targeting women and children in the 1990s were incomplete if they didn’t also try to help the men in their lives.

Also, add to the discussion through #2ndChanceSociety on Twitter and cc: @Colorlines, of course.

How can we build a second chance society? 

(h/t Assets Building Program, NAF)

Sebelius Resigns, White Men on Late Night and Google Glass Sale

Sebelius Resigns, White Men on Late Night and Google Glass Sale

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

TAGS: Morning Rush

For Missouri Moms, A Past Drug Conviction Means No Food Aid, Ever

For Missouri Moms, A Past Drug Conviction Means No Food Aid, Ever

Missouri is one of 10 states that still ban people, mainly women, with felony drug convictions from ever receiving food stamps. Overall, according to the Sentencing Project, an estimated 180,000 women and their children, primarily families of color, are disproportionately affected by this little-known holdover from Clinton-era welfare reform. Now for the first time Missouri’s legislature is looking at loosening if not lifting the lifetime ban. Even with bipartisan support however, it’s unclear whether the bill will make it through. 

The majority of the other states still riding hard for this War on Drugs-era punishment are located in the South. 

(h/t St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

AG Holder Tweaks F.B.I. Racial Profiling Rules

AG Holder Tweaks F.B.I. Racial Profiling Rules

After five years in revision status, anonymous sources tell The New York Times that the U.S. attorney general has finalized the F.B.I.’s racial profiling rules. The paper describes them as a compromise between Eric Holder’s “desire to protect the rights of minorities,”—influenced in no small part by his experience as a younger man—and concerns from national security officials that they might be hampered in their front-line fight against terrorism.

“Decades ago, the reality of racial profiling drove my father to sit down and talk with me about how, as a young black man, I should interact with the police if I was ever stopped or confronted in a way I felt was unwarranted,” Holder said this week before Al Sharpton’s civil rights group, the National Action Network.

However, as the rules revision process appears to have repeatedly highlighted: “Making the F.B.I. entirely blind to nationality would fundamentally change the government’s approach to national security.”

Besides race, the new rules reportedly add religion, national origin, gender and sexual orientation to the F.B.I.’s prohibited profiling list. They also increase “the standards that agents must meet before considering those factors” and establish a program to track profiling complaints.

The new rules do not change however, how the F.B.I. uses nationality to map neighborhoods, recruit informants, or look for foreign spies. They leave unchallenged, the fundamental question of whether the F.B.I. can collect information on a Muslim man without evidence of wrongdoing.

Civil rights groups welcome the expanded prohibitions but had also been looking to the new rules to rein in more of the authority granted to federal agents in the aftermath of 9/11.

At the White House’s request, the Justice Department is reportedly delaying release of the new rules in order to coordinate a larger review of racial profiling to include the Department of Homeland Security. Under Bush-era regulations, racial profiling rules carried exemptions not only for national security investigations but border security and immigration investigations as well. 

(h/t The New York Times)

Resetting Passwords, Hercules Gifs and Derrick Gordon Comes Out

Resetting Passwords, Hercules Gifs and Derrick Gordon Comes Out

Here’s what I’m reading about this morning: 

  • Facebook chat? There’s an app for that (that you will be forced to download separately).
  • Is Hercules, the film, as good as Hercules, the gifs?

      Inline image 1 

  • University of Michigan’s Derrick Gordon comes out
TAGS: Morning Rush

ICYMI: Women (Still) on Losing Side of Equal Pay Gap

ICYMI: Women (Still) on Losing Side of Equal Pay Gap

Even in women-dominated professions, men are paid more than their female counterparts. Women comprise 80 percent of the nation’s elementary and middle school teaching force. Their median weekly pay is $937 compared to $1,025 for men. Secretaries and administrative assistants are nearly 95 percent women; their male counterparts receive $100 more in median weekly pay. The gender pay gap according to an informative if maddening Instititute for Women’s Policy Research report, exists in all but three occupations, at every income level and widens within race and ethnic groups. And today the Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, intended to help close that gap. Happy belated National Equal Pay Day, by the way. (It was yesterday.)

It’s likely the Paycheck Fairness Act never had a real shot at clearing the Senate. The New York Times describes the bill as part of a larger Democratic strategy to appeal to low- and middle income voters during an election year. Other pillars of that strategy—increasing the federal minimum wage, extending long-term unemployment benefits—aren’t expected to pass the divided House.

(h/t ProPublica)

Pa. School Stabbings, Heartbleed Bug and Traveling Sneezes

Pa. School Stabbings, Heartbleed Bug and Traveling Sneezes

Here’s what I’m reading about this morning: 

  • That Congressman who brought the Duck Dynasty guy to Obama’s State of the Union has been busy making out with a person who is not his wife. 
  • Futures are up after Alcoa shares gain, and ahead of the Fed meeting. 
  • Time to change all of your passwords or the Heartbleed bug will get you (if it hasn’t already). 
TAGS: Morning Rush
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