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NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Viola Davis Welcomes Protestors Who Disrupted ‘Won’t Back Down’ Premiere

Viola Davis Welcomes Protestors Who Disrupted 'Won't Back Down' Premiere

An estimated 50 parents and teachers demonstrated outside the “Won’t Back Down” film premiere in New York Sunday. Demonstrators said the film pushes for more testing, closures, teacher bashing and the privatization of public schools.

Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal star in the film “Won’t Back Down” that is loosely based on The Parent Trigger law, which first passed in California in 2010 and now on the books in seven states.

“I’m not Maggie Gyllenhaal, but I play her in real life,” Zakiyah Ansari, a mother of eight, an education advocate and the organizer of the protest told the Hollywood Reporter. “When you have a super PAC like StudentsFirst pushing this movie, we are not fooled. We know the agenda of this group pushes for more testing, closures, teacher bashing and the privatization of our public schools.”

Colorlines.com’s education reporter Julianne Hing published a story Wednesday that called the film a “a well-funded political tool to advance a hot-button school reform policy around the nation. Hing’s story “Hollywood Takes Up School Reform’s Latest Agenda in ‘Won’t Back Down’” describes the policy debate behind the film:

The film dramatizes the real-life policy debate happening right now across the country as states debate parent trigger laws which give parents the power to dissolve and remake their kids’ failing public schools if organizers can garner the support of more than 50 percent of parents at the school. Parent trigger backers, among them the former Washington D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, have said that the law, which is on the books in seven states, is a powerful tool to empower parents, who are too often left out of the school reform debate. Yet skeptics say the law only provides the illusion of parental empowerment—that the law is designed to shortcut the destabilization of public schools, and the actual process doesn’t leave room to ensure lasting involvement from parents.

Davis appeared on the “Today” show Monday morning applauded the protesters.

“I welcome protests,” Davis said on the ‘Today Show’ the following morning. “I welcome discourse; I think discourse is a good thing. I think it spearheads change…. And you know what, in this movie, the teacher at the end of the day is the hero. They save the day. And it’s a system that’s broken, that needs to be fixed.”

Film reviewers have given “Won’t Back Down” a 33 percent freshness score on the film review website, Rotten Tomatoes.

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune claims that “You know exactly where the movie stands straight off,” after describing the film’s opening with an apathetic teacher. “[‘Won’t Back Down’] represents an unusually blunt attempt to make movie audiences feel good about feeling lousy about public education and the good-for-nothing union-coddled teachers destroying a generation of learners.”

That’s not very good and perhaps why opening weekend expectations for the film remain soft. Insiders expect the $19-million movie to pull in less than $5 million when it opens against the sci-fi time travel film “Looper” and the animated comedy “Hotel Transylvania.”

Awkward Moments with Mitt Romney: That One Time He Asked a Group of Black Teens ‘Who Let The Dogs Out?’

Awkward Moments with Mitt Romney: That One Time He Asked a Group of Black Teens 'Who Let The Dogs Out?'

Remember the Baha Men’s 2000 hit single “Who let the dogs out?”

Well, it was at a 2008 Martin Luther King Day parade in Jacksonville, Florida that Mitt Romney made the ill-considered decision to chant the lyrics to the Baha Men’s song.

Surrounded by a group of black teens (and for what appears to be no apparent reason) Romney recited the lyrics and asked “Who let the dogs out, who, who.”

And just in case you’re wondering, the latest poll numbers show Romney has zero percent support among black voters.

Did Ann Romney Just Say Being Black is Kind of Like Being Mormon?

Did Ann Romney Just Say Being Black is Kind of Like Being Mormon?

On Tuesday night, Ann Romney told “The Tonight Show” host Jay Leno that electing her husband would help eliminate prejudice against their Mormon faith, just like we left “prejudices behind” when we elected President Obama.

“On a serious note, talk about the significance—if he gets elected—of being the first Mormon president?” Leno asked Mrs. Romney.

She began to answer the question with an analogy.

“I love the fact that we have the first African-American president. That means to me that we’re leaving prejudices behind,” Mrs. Romney told Leno. “I would hope that if Mitt were elected, we would see more of the same.”

That last statement raises other questions.

First question is whether she compared the prejudice and oppression faced by black people in the U.S. with that of the Mormon experience. That’s something that can get anyone in to some controversy.

The second question Mrs. Romney’s comments raise is whether she believes the country is post racial—is she suggesting that because the U.S. elected a black president that we’ve left prejudice behind?

She thinks “we leaving prejudices behind” but has she read news about that new empty chair lynching trend?

Samuel L. Jackson Debuts F-Bomb-Laced Pro-Obama Voting Ad

Samuel L. Jackson Debuts F-Bomb-Laced Pro-Obama Voting Ad

Actor Samuel L. Jackson has a message for Democrats who supported President Barack Obama in 2008 but aren’t enthusiastic this time around:

“Sorry my friend, but there’s no time to snore. An out of touch millionaire has just declared war. On schools, the environment, unions, fair pay. We’re all on our own if Romney has his way. And he’s against safety nets. If you fall, tough luck. So I strongly suggest that you wake the fuck up,” Jackson says in the video.

The ad was paid for by the Jewish Council for Education and Research Super PAC.

Families Urge the FCC to Lower Price of Prison Phone Calls

Families Urge the FCC to Lower Price of Prison Phone Calls

Earlier this week, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn heard from friends and relatives of people who are in prison who urged her to help lower the cost of calls from U.S. prisons. Advocates say regulation would both reduce the price-gouging that the families of incarcerated people and contribute to the social good by reducing recidivism.

“For example, one fifteen-minute interstate phone call from prisons in two different states—one in the East and one in the West—costs about $17. For those families, they will spend an additional $34 over and above their basic monthly phone rate to speak twice a month for a total of 30 minutes,” Clyburn said in a statement released after she met with the family members (PDF).

According to a Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) study, some families are forced to choose between keeping in touch with a relative behind bars and, in some cases, putting food on the table.

The issue falls clearly along racial lines: 35 percent of those incarcerated are Latino and 37 percent are Black. And many of them are poor, according to statistics from the Bureau of Prisoners.

A Colorlines.com story published earlier this year noted that close to 88 percent of people awaiting trial or serving time in jail had no income or made less than $1,200 a month.

In that same story, Colorlines interviewed a woman named Martha Wright, who said a 5-minute calls with her grandson could cost up to $18.

“You just have to get everything out in one line,” Wright said with humor.

In most parts of the country states have no incentive to regulate prison phone companies because they also get “commissions.” More details from PPI’s report “The Price to Call Home:”

Prison phone companies are awarded these monopolies through bidding processes in which they submit contract proposals to the state prison systems; in all but eight states, these contracts include promises to pay “commissions” — in effect, kickbacks — to states, in either the form of a percentage of revenue, a fixed up-front payment, or a combination of the two. Thus, state prison systems have no incentive to select the telephone company that offers the lowest rates; rather, correctional departments have an incentive to reap the most profit by selecting the telephone company that provides the highest commission.

“Connecting husbands to wives, parents to children, and grandparents to grandchildren should be a national priority because these tangible means of communicating not only will help these families keep in contact, but the general society benefits overall, as studies show that prisoners are less likely to re-offend if they are able to maintain these relationships with their loved ones,” FCC Commissioner Clyburn said.

Along with hearing testimonies from friends and relatives of people who are incarcerated, the FCC officials attended a screening of “Middle of Nowhere,” a feature film written and directed by Ava DuVernay that captures a woman’s struggle to maintain her relationship with her incarcerated husband. DuVernay made history earlier this year when she became the first black woman to win the Best Director prize at Sundance.


Chicano Poet Takes on Anti-Muslim ‘Savage’ Ads [Video]

Chicano Poet Takes on Anti-Muslim 'Savage' Ads [Video]

In this video, spoken word artist Mark Gonzales takes on the racist advertisements — paid for by Pamela Geller and her organization the American Freedom Defense Initiative — that referred to Muslims as “savages.”

Gonzales is an HBO Def Poet with a Master’s in Education. He’s also Mexican, and a Muslim. For more of his work visit WageBeauty.com.

More details via the YouTube video description:

This video of spoken word artist Mark Gonzales is in response to the hateful and racist advertisements purchased by Pamela Geller and her organization the American Freedom Defense Initiative on San Francisco city buses as well as across the country in the month of August. While hate profiteers do have the right to freedom of speech, we also use our right to speak out against the historical and ongoing targeting of communities of color. The use of the word “savage” in Geller’s bus ads and elsewhere throughout US history, as is seen in the targeting of indigenous people and communities of color, is offensive to all of us. It desecrates the memories of those whose lives and land were taken as a result of imperialism and conquest. We stand against hate, then and now, and see these attacks as targeting all of our communities.

The video was created by filmmaker David Zlutnick’s Upheaval Productions.

Cherokee Nation Demands Scott Brown Apologize For ‘Downright Racist’ Behavior

Cherokee Nation Demands Scott Brown Apologize For 'Downright Racist' Behavior

The Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation issued a strongly worded statement Wednesday denouncing the actions of Sen. Scott Brown staffers and supporters at a campaign rally earlier this week. In a video posted on YouTube, members of Brown’s staff are seen chanting so-called Indian “war whoops” and making “tomahawk chops,” presumably in reference to their opponent Elizabeth Warren’s claims of Cherokee heritage.

“The conduct of these individuals goes far beyond what is appropriate and proper in political discourse. The use of stereotypical ‘war whoop chants’ and ‘tomahawk chops’ are offensive and downright racist. It is those types of actions that perpetuate negative stereotypes and continue to minimize and degrade all native peoples,” Bill John Baker, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation said in a statement.

But Brown isn’t apologizing. He said his staffer’s actions were unfortunate, but quickly pivoted and pointed fingers at Warren.

“It is certainly something that I don’t condone,” said Brown when asked about the video Tuesday by WCVB. “The real offense is that (Warren) said she was white and then checked the box saying she is Native American, and then she changed her profile in the law directory once she made her tenure.”

Chief Baker says he expects more from Brown.

“The individuals involved in this unfortunate incident are high ranking staffers in both the senate office and the Brown campaign,” Chief Baker said. “A campaign that would allow and condone such offensive and racist behavior must be called to task for their actions.” Chief Baker asked Sen. Brown to apologize for his staff’s actions.

The Native American Journalists Association also issued a statement that said: “NAJA is disappointed that coverage of U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s claimed Native heritage has resulted in a series of disrespectful headlines and puns that show disregard for Native Americans and our history.”

Dolce & Gabbana Send Racist Mammy Collection Down the Catwalk

Dolce & Gabbana Send Racist Mammy Collection Down the Catwalk

The set at Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2013 fashion show at Milan Fashion Week included a balcony lined with trailing ivy and upstanding cacti. The models on the runway wore fruit cornucopias — and burlap dresses and earrings that include romanticized images of black women living happy slave plantation lives.

The New York Times’s Suzy Menkes thought the show was “imaginative.”

“The imaginative elements came fast and furious — witty, ironic, funky — but always with a sense of proportion and style,” Menkes wrote in a short write up about the show. “The spirit of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana is maxi — and the show was effusive in every way, from earrings that swung as giant raffia circles fancied up with pompoms, through prints of toy soldier puppets on silken sheaths.”

For others, the show was obviously offensive.

Sara Ilyas at The Guardian writes, “that’s the same Aunt Jemima that, initially conceived as part of a minstrel show, became an image that romanticised slavery and plantation life. There’s no denying they’re offensive.”

To top it all off, not a single black model was included in their show. So Dolce and Gabbana liked black women enough to exoticise them on earrings but not to include them on their runway?

Romney’s Mexican Cousin: U.S./NAFTA ‘Responsible for Increase in Illegal Immigration’ [Video]

Romney's Mexican Cousin: U.S./NAFTA 'Responsible for Increase in Illegal Immigration' [Video]

Mitt Romney’s cousin, only identified as Kelly in the Vice video above, says the GOP presidential candidate’s position on immigration reform is off.

“I think his position needs to change,” the Mexican Romney says. “Being born and raised in Mexico, and especially since NAFTA, I think the United States is partly responsible for the increase in illegal immigration.

Kelley’s immigration comments start about 2:10 minutes in to the video.

“Give amnesty to those that are out there—that are working legitimately and have a job—and let these people go out there and work and let them take care of their families because basically they’re starving to death here,” Kelly said.

Are You and Your Friends Registered to Vote? Here’s One Website That Does It All

Are You and Your Friends Registered to Vote? Here's One Website That Does It All

Today is National Voter Registration Day and Colorlines.com/NOW is highlighting a website that’s a one-stop-shop for all your voter registration needs.

Visit vote.ColorOfChange.org to register to vote and re-register if your name or address have changed. The site even allows you to check if you’re registered to vote.

The site guides visitors through voter registration by sharing registration deadlines and procedures, ID requirements, and early voting opportunities state by state. Vote.ColorOfChange.org will also be updated throughout the election season as pending voting laws are finalized.

For even more resources to protect your vote, visit Aura Bogado’s list of online tools to help you this election cycle.

New Yorkers Tag Racist ‘Savage’ Jihad Subway Ads

That didn’t take long.

Advertisements that equate Islamic jihad with so-called “savagery” were posted Monday in ten New York City subway stations. But hours after the ads went up a street artist tagged them with “racist” and “hate speech” labels.

“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man,” the ad reads. “Support Israel/Defeat Jihad.”


The ads were initially rejected by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs New York’s transportation systems, because the advertisement failed to meet its standards —which prohibit demeaning language of any group. But a federal court forced the MTA to run the ads, saying they were protected speech under the First Amendment.

Pamela Geller, executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, has claimed responsibility for the ads.

“We don’t think it’s controversial,” Geller said in an interview with CNN. “It’s truth. The MTA has run anti-Israel ads before and no one had an issue about it. ‘Any war on innocent civilians is savagery’: What’s controversial here?”

Geller also told CNN she had no qualms about releasing the ad amid ongoing protests against an anti-Islam film clip that left dozens in seven countries dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. “If it’s not a film, it’s a cartoon, it’s always some event,” Geller said. “I will not sacrifice my freedom.”

“We recognize the freedom of speech and Geller’s right to be a racist and bigot. But we also recognize the responsibility of New Yorkers to denounce that bigotry,” said Muneer Awad, director of Council of American-Islamic Relations.

“We must stop dismissing this as simple hysteria, and realize that the same racism inherent in this hate group’s message, underlies the government policies of the elected officials associated with them,” Awad went on to say in an email to Colorlines.com. “We will continue to expose these hate groups until our elected officials clearly denounce them and stop supporting discriminatory policies targeting American Muslims and all other minority communities.”

The Interfaith Center of New York, joined by other groups including the Cordoba Initiative and Jews Against Islamophobia, have also denounced the ads, calling them “dangerous” and “hate speech.”

Philip Weiss, on Mondoweiss.com, reports the savage ads have been altered with “racist” or “hate speech” labels in at least seven New York subway stations so far. He’s published a collection of images showing the altered ads on his site.

The same ads also appeared on San Francisco buses last month. There, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency put up their own counter ads and donated any proceeds from the ads to human rights organizations.

34::225 - Savage


“SFMTA policy prohibits discrimination based on national origin, religion, and other characteristics and condemns statements that describe any group as ‘savages,’ read the ads put up by the county agency. (Photo by WarzauWynn)

The ads in NYC subways are expected to remain posted for a month, MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders told Reuters. Geller told the AP the subway ads cost about $6,000.

Rep. Maxine Waters Officially Cleared of All Ethics Charges

Rep. Maxine Waters Officially Cleared of All Ethics Charges

The House Ethics Committee on Tuesday officially cleared Rep. Maxine Waters of all ethics charges after nearly three years of investigating the California Democrat.

Rep. Waters, who represents California’s 35th congressional district, was the subject of an investigation by the Ethics Committee because she advocated on behalf of OneUnited Bank, a black owned financial institution whose board of directors included Rep. Waters’ husband. The bank ultimately received $12 million in federal bailout funds dating back to 2008.

“It appears that Rep. Waters recognized and made efforts to avoid a conflict of interest with respect to One United,” the committee said on Tuesday.

However, Waters’ Chief of Staff and grandson, Mikael Moore, was issued a letter of reproval for three ethics violations for taking an active role in helping OneUnited officials request Treasury funds. The Committee concluded Moore knew or should have known, his actions would benefit Waters’s husband, who owned $350,000 in OneUnited stock.

Madonna: Obama Is ‘A Black Muslim’ and ‘Y’all Better’ F—-ing Vote for Him

Madonna: Obama Is 'A Black Muslim' and 'Y'all Better' F---ing Vote for Him

At a concert in Washington, D.C. Monday night, Madonna endorsed President Barack Obama. And she did it in the most, uh, colorful of ways.

“Y’all better vote for fucking Obama, OK? For better or for worse, all right? We have a black Muslim in the White House. Now that’s some amazing shit,” Madonna said at the sold out show in the Verizon Center. “It means there is hope in this country. And Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man, goddamnit.”

Her endorsement will undoubtedly cause some controversy but most polls show the President leading in swing states.

Woman Acting for El Paso County, Co. Clerk’s Office Only Registering Republicans [Video]

Woman Acting for El Paso County, Co. Clerk's Office Only Registering Republicans [Video]

A YouTube video shot in front of a El Paso, Colorado grocery store that depicts a woman only registering Republicans has gone viral. The short video shows a young woman identifying herself as an El Paso County, Co. Clerk’s Office who is there only to hand out registration forms to likely Romney voters.

The County Clerk issued a statement Sunday discrediting the woman seen in the video but the controversy is bringing other voter suppression efforts in the state to light.

“The young lady in this video is not an employee of the Clerk & Recorder’s Office and her statements regarding working for the County  Clerk’s Office are inaccurate,” read a statement issued Sunday by the County Clerk.

“Our office has reached out to the campaign involved and requested that they clarify this information with their volunteers. They have responded and have clarified the matter to their volunteers to avoid this happening again in the future,” the statement continued.

But for many following voter suppression efforts across the country say these type of stories coming out of Colorado shouldn’t come as a shock.

“Colorado is a state where the state secretary Scott Gessler has attempted a reckless purge program in cahoots with Kansas state secretary Kris Kobach, who has shown a clear hostility to Latino immigrants and expansive voting rights,” said Brentin Mock, Colorlines.com’s Voting Rights reporter.

“Colorado is also the place where Sec. Gessler is fighting county elections supervisors in the Democratic enclave of Denver by preventing them from mailing ballots to voters. Gessler also has joined teams with voter harassment team True the Vote, who he shared stage with at the Heritage Foundation this summer to defend these policies which look like nothing but a partisan attempt to steal the election.”


Indian American Comedian Celebrates Success by Pointing to a Few Failures

Indian American Comedian Celebrates Success by Pointing to a Few Failures

Hari Kondabolu, a comedian and writer on “Totally Biased,” says it’s a great time to be Indian American. Unless of course, you piss him off.

New episodes of “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell,” return Thursday, Oct. 11th at 11:30P on the FX Network. (And full disclosure, Bell is a member of the Board of Colorlines.com’s publisher, the Applied Research Center.)

SNL Also Thinks Romney Sported Brownface for Univision Town Hall

SNL Also Thinks Romney Sported Brownface for Univision Town Hall

Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” host Seth Meyers went on a rant about President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign strategy Saturday and offered up some advice.

Meyers’ advice for Obama came mostly by way of Mitt Romney’s campaign “tailspin,” including his leaked 47-percent comments and what Meyers referred to as the candidate’s “brownface” appearance at a Univision town hall.

Citizenship and Voter I.D. Laws Could Keep 10 Million Latinos From Voting

Citizenship and Voter I.D. Laws Could Keep 10 Million Latinos From Voting

Latinos in the U.S. comprise more than 10% of the nation’s eligible voters and approximately 8% of its registered voters, but according to a new report, demands for proof of citizenship and photo identification requirements in several states could prevent at least 10 million Latino citizens from voting.

“Like African Americans, Latinos have experienced decreased access and correspondingly lower levels of voter registration and participation than non-Hispanic whites,” said the report titled “Segregating American Citizenship: Latino Voter Disenfranchisement in 2012.” The report was released Monday by the civil rights organization Advancement Project.

The report found 23 states have “legal barriers” that can keep eligible Latino voters from the voting booth—and In many states, the number of eligible Latino citizens that could be affected by these barriers exceeds the margin of victory of the 2008 presidential election.

Univision Anchor Cites Colorlines.com Deportation Investigation to Obama

Univision Anchor Cites Colorlines.com Deportation Investigation to Obama

On Thursday, Univision anchor Maria Elena Salinas cited a Colorlines.com investigation that found there is an estimated 5,100 children in foster care who face barriers to family reunification because their mother or father is in detention or has been deported.

Salinas mentioned Colorlines’ investigation before asking President Obama whether he would consider deferred action for non-citizen parents of U.S. born children.

Transcript of Salinas’ question is below:

“Mr. President, you have been the President who has made the largest number of deportations in history — more than 1.5 million so far. You’ve separated many families. There are more than 5,000 children who are American citizens in foster care and in the adoption process. Would you just — since you’ve granted deferred action, would you like to do something — consider doing something similar to other groups of non-criminal illegal immigrants such as the parents of U.S.-born children?”

The president responded with his well worn talking points on deportation. He said that the Department of Homeland Security is now targeting deportation programs on “people with criminal records” and people “apprehended close to the border.” He said this later group, border crossers, are “not people who have longstanding roots in our community.”

“His assertion that by focusing on these demographics he’ll avoid separating families is plainly not reflected in reality,” said Seth Freed Wessler, Colorlines’ investigative reporter.

“In fact, many children are stuck in foster care because their parents have been detained as a result of a conviction of some sort. Felipe Montes, for example, was deported in late 2010 because he was convicted of driving violations. Other parents I met inside detention centers around the county were facing deportation as a result of charges for things like petty theft or minor drug charges. The president’s focus on “criminals” will not solve the problem of family separation or keep children of deportees out of foster care,” Wessler said.

Wessler says the President’s assertion that people picked up at the border don’t have ties to the U.S. is similarly wrong.
The NY Times reported late last year, that ‘56 percent of apprehensions at the Mexican border in 2010 involved people who had been caught previously, up from 44 percent in 2005.’”

In other words, the majority of migrants picked up at the border are mostly people who’ve been here before, and many are coming back to reunite with their families.

“This should come as no surprise,” Wessler said, citing a recent study from Pew that found that “nearly half of undocumented immigrants in the US have minor children.”

“The President said these are ‘heartbreaking stories’ that emerge ‘occasionally.’ But the truth is that when, as federal data shows, over 22 percent of deportees are the parents of U.S. citizens, these stories will be far from occasional outliers.” Wessler said.

Are Black and Latino Teens Getting Paid to Wait in Line for iPhone 5’s?

Are Black and Latino Teens Getting Paid to Wait in Line for iPhone 5's?

There are thousands of die hard Apple iPhone fans waiting in line to purchase the smartphone that went on sale Friday morning at 8am. But alongside those die hard fans waiting in line are hundreds of people getting paid to wait in line.

More than 200 people are expected to hold places in line for strangers at stores around New York and the San Francisco bay area for the iPhone 5, Bloomberg.com reported on its Tech Blog. Most of these arrangements were made on the website TaskRabbit Inc., where a user can find workers to do odd jobs like, have them wait in line for four hours.

TaskRabbit is charging clients $55 to have someone wait in line for them for four hours. The company then takes an 18% “service fee” and leaves workers with $45.10 for hours worth of work.

But young people are also finding these odd jobs through Craiglist and other arrangements.

The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed a teen outside the San Francisco Apple store who’s been getting $12/hour since he started camping out Tuesday:

By noon Thursday, there were eight people in line outside the Union Square store, but many more were expected before Friday morning. Right behind Hufnagel was Christian Soto, 19, who was being paid $12 an hour by his employer, Compupod, a Mission District iPhone repair service. Soto got in line Tuesday and planned to get two or three phones, including a black 32-GB model for himself.

“I’m getting paid and I’m getting the phone, so it works out,” Soto said from inside his bright green tent.

“Who can blame this guy? It’s an established fact that black and brown customers are leading smartphone adoption in the U.S. but that also exists alongside the reality that more people of color of living in poverty these days and that a vast majority of young adults are under or unemployed,” says Jamilah King, Colorlines.com’s news editor and technology reporter. “We live in a consumer society. And this guy clearly had to get his hustle to make things happen.”

In addition to TaskRabbit, the listings website Craigslist has dozens of posts in major U.S. cities from people seeking or offering line-waiting services.

After posting a Craigslist ad, Juan De Pablo, 25, is getting paid $150 to arrive at the Third Street Promenade Apple store in Santa Monica by 8 p.m. Thursday. “I kind of have a lot of free time on my hands,” Pablo told the L.A. Times.

Junot Díaz Calls DREAM Act ‘A Tiny Little Bone’ for People Who Deserve More

Junot Díaz Calls DREAM Act 'A Tiny Little Bone' for People Who Deserve More

“As a country when ever things get really hard instead of blaming the wealthy and blaming the people in power who put us in this terrible situation, we tend to afflict the very people who all the hard work to keep us afloat,” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz tells a high school student interviewing him for The Mash, the teen edition of the Chicago Tribune.

“I think the DREAM Act is a tiny little bone that they throw in to a community that deserves a lot more, and certainly I think it’s nice and important but we should be able to recognize the community—the people who do the heavy lifting—and stop afflicting them.”

“I come from a family who had a lot of people who were undocumented and our contributions have to be honored,” Díaz went on to say.

Díaz, who is known for his bold, nuanced depiction of immigrants and people of color in his writing, will be the keynote speaker the Facing Race conference taking place November 15-17 in Baltimore. Facing Race, the largest national, multi-racial gathering of leaders, educators, journalists, and activists on racial justice is organized by Colorlines.com’s publisher the Applied Research Center.

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