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!
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:
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.
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 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.
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.
Thanks everyone for sharing this amazing moment! We are all so grateful and honored to have dressed Mrs. Obama for such a momentous speech!!— Tracy Reese (@Tracy_Reese) September 5, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Karen Mills Small Business Administration
Progress for People Video: Small Business
American Voices Remarks
The Honorable Kamala D. Harris Attorney General of California
Stronger Together Video: Immigration
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Is Nicki Minaj voting for Mitt Romney?
The Trinidadian-born rapper appears on Lil Wayne’s “Dedication 4,” the recently released fourth installment in his mixtape series and says “I’m a Republican voting for Mitt Romney, you lazy bitches are [expletive] up the economy.”
Minaj doesn’t follow up her “endorsement” with any other political thoughts, instead rhyming “economy” with “zombie,” Billboard.com points out.
Minaj has tweeted criticism for President Barack Obama in the past. But in that same tweet she also lobbied for universal healthcare hardly which hardly makes her sound like a Republican.
“What’s sad is that when Yvette was bringing home the bacon, the gov’t was probably taking millions. On her deathbed though, #Nowheretobefound,” she wrote. “That should be a God given right! Even with Obama Care, too much involved. Just give FREE health care to all. @BarackObama what can we do?”
RapDose, which first pointed out the lyrics on Monday, pointed out Minaj rapped her lyrics over beats produced by Kanye West.
West attended the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver in support of President Obama.
“It’s an incredible time to be around. I wish my momma could have seen this day,” West said at the DNC in 2008.
The janitors working around the clock at the Republican National Convention ended up going home making less than Florida’s hourly minimum wage.
Huffington Post’s Jason Cherkis talked to a few workers at the convention and has more details:
Carolyn Walker said she has been cleaning the convention center for 13 years. She had been making $8 per hour until a few years ago, when the cleaning contract went to another company, Cleanevent USA. The new company meant a new, downsized paycheck. She’s now making minimum wage — $7.67 per hour. But that wasn’t the only hit to her wallet.
Walker said the company charges her $6 per week for uniforms. “It stinks to tell you the truth,” she said. “We work very hard.” It effectively means she’s making less than Florida’s minimum wage.
Larry Gilmore, 32, and Jean Baptiste, 27, recounted similar hits to their paychecks by Cleanevent. Baptiste said he’s charged $11 per week for uniforms — a thin blue short-sleeve shirt and dark pants.
On Friday, a federal judge sided with the Obama campaign and ruled the state of Ohio must restore three days of early voting before Election Day. U.S. District Judge Peter Economus ruled Ohio can’t give members of the military and citizens living abroad three more days than it gives other voters to submit absentee ballots.
“This court finds that plaintiffs have a constitutionally protected right to participate in the 2012 election — and all elections — on an equal basis with all Ohio voters,” Economus said in ruling on a lawsuit brought by Obama for America.
“Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable injury if in-person early voting is not restored the last three days before election day, and there is no definitive evidence before the court that election boards will be tremendously burdened,” Economus, who was appointed in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, went on to say in the ruling.
“The Court’s decision is another step forward in guaranteeing Ohioans have fair and free access to early voting,” said Mike Brickner, director of communications and public policy ACLU of Ohio. “Secretary Husted should now ensure that Boards of Elections are open weekends throughout the early voting period in order to provide the greatest level of flexibility and accessibility to all voters.”
“Election officials are charged with serving voters, and I can think of no greater service than expanding early voting opportunities for every Ohioan,” said Brickner. “Providing expanded hours will give voters more options to decide when they wish to cast their ballot, help those voters with pressing schedules or other special needs, and will ease the influx of voters on Election Day.”
Paul Ryan’s black ex-girlfriend offered a British newspaper an exclusive interview earlier this week but now she wants nothing to do with the media. Is this a case of the Romney campaign trying to silence her?
Pope said, “I’m not interested in talking. I don’t know why everyone is calling. I’m newly married and would just like to be left alone.”
Ryan did an interview awhile back, saying he had a Black GF during college. Ryan was clearly trying to blunt criticism that he was not sympathetic to African Americans.
The interesting story here is that just yesterday the UK’s Daily Mail published an exclusive interview with Pope:
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Deneeta Pope said she met the future vice presidential candidate through friends at Miami University some 20 years ago.
Pope, 40, said: ‘Paul is a very nice guy, a kind guy and a family guy. He’s very approachable and a very likeable person.’
The relationship and the negative reaction he said he suffered from his so-called friends were a formative experience in the political evolution of the VP pick who described himself as a ‘big, big fan’ of Martin Luther King and is a staunch advocate of civil rights.
But Pope, an I.T. specialist and realtor living in Chicago, denies that they experienced any racism as a couple.
Pope also said that while their relationship was not very serious, they have remained friends through the years.
‘It tells you the kind of guy Paul is when you learn that he has remained friends with all of his friends that he met in college.’
So she was divulging plenty of information just days ago but now she wants nothing to do with the media? Did she get a call from the Romney campaign asking her to keep quiet? Or is she over it already?
Before Mitt Romney was introduced at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night viewers saw a 10-minute video created to humanize Romney. The video featured the Romney family inside their home several times but in one of the scenes a women who appears to be working for the family in the background was simply ignored.
Is she one of the four housekeepers the reports have alleged Romney is underpaying? It could be, but more importantly some say the video made her invisible.
“As I’m watching Romney’s RNC video spotlighting his family, I find it interesting there is no mention of the woman in the red shirt in the background, who is obviously there helping,” said artist Ramiro Gomez, who’s art looks to start conversations about the labor force that takes care of families and homes.
“Yet another reason why I’ll keep making my cardboard cutouts, we are not invisible and we will be heard,” wrote Gomez to his Facebook followers as the video was broadcasted live Thursday night. Colorlines.com spotted the video thanks to a tip from Gomez, who is a nanny during the day.
“Not only was there an invisible chair last night there was a lot of invisible help in the Romney family story,” said Colorlines.com’s economic justice blogger Imara Jones. “We constantly heard about Ann Romney’s struggle with her five children but no references to the household workers who gave a hand. Earlier this year, when asked, she couldn’t even remember their names.”
IRS forms released earlier this year by Romney’s presidential campaign show that despite reporting income of $21.7 million, the couple paid only $20,603 in taxable wages for household help in 2010. This figure was divided among four women: Rosania Costa ($4,808), Kelli Harrison ($8,667), Susan Moore ($2,238) and Valerie Cravens Anae ($4,890).
The Huffington Post went to several Boston-based domestic staffing agencies and found the salary range for a housekeeper is between $20 and $30 an hour. The HuffPost’s Christina Wilkie did the math and realized that the amount the Romney’s reported in their IRS forms doesn’t add up to fair wages.
“Yet the Romneys still paid only half of the lowest range of an average housekeeper’s salary, which raises the question of who cleaned the Romney houses the other 50 percent of the time,” Wilkie wrote in her story published in January. A Romney campaign adviser declined to respond to questions from The Huffington Post about the housekeeping salaries.
“The average net worth of Latinos is $7,000. The Romneys are worth a quarter of a billion dollars. That economic gulf creates a labor pool that allows the Romney’s to make their lives easier, but the people that help them everyday are rendered transparent to Romney eyes. It’s curious,” Imara Jones went on to say.
The description for the “OSU Haters” Tumblr is simple: “Ohio State is no place for hate! We expose tweets from haters here, especially those which were deleted.”
And that’s exactly what the site does, it takes hateful and/or racially insensitive tweets posted by other Ohio State students and lays them out for the world to see.
Below is a small sample of the type of tweets “OSU Haters” publishes:
The good news is the three month old Tumblr may actually be making a big difference. “OSU Haters” posted the following note from a “former hater:”
As a consequence of my insensitivity to others at this university, my life was almost flipped upside down. Shortly after my comments I was contacted by the university that a hold had been put on my account and that I needed to meet with them immediately. Becoming a nervous wreck as to what could have happened, I scheduled a same-day appointment and met with some of the faculty in the Office of Student Affairs. During that meeting I discovered the stigma that had been attached to my name and the consequences that could come of it. I was informed that I could be kicked out of Ohio State permanently with an official note being put on any other school I applied to about my comments. This would have been an irrecoverable loss that would haunt me for the rest of my life if I didn’t take quick action. I found out my comments were not private, not secure, not a just way to vent, and not okay.
I had to make amends, and I had to do it quickly. I agreed to regular counseling about hate speech, safe ways to vent my frustration, and the newly formed anxiety I had about future employers finding out about this. I have also begun attending Diversity Leadership Transcript Program events with OSU and the office of Diversity to help me realize the importance of diversity for this country to progress. It is one of the most powerful factors in the progression of science, business, health, equality, and innovation not only within the United States but the world. Without it I wouldn’t be where I am today and most of you wouldn’t be either. I now know what I did was wrong and I will never repeat the same mistake. My only hopes are that this won’t affect my future, and hate like this won’t affect others’ futures as well. We are one university and one country, don’t let petty differences tear apart the exact thing that makes you great.
According to AngryAsianMan, students at Ohio State are organizing a town hall meeting to address the problems identified by the OSU Haters Tumblr. The meeting is scheduled for September 4 at the Multicultural Center.
Mitt Romney’s wife Ann Romney and their son Craig have been making campaign stops in hopes of increasing the former Governor’s chances with Latino voters. Mrs. Romney has been out schooling Latinos but her son seems to have a greater appreciation for
At a Latino Coalition luncheon Wednesday Ann Romney told the overwhelmingly Latino audience to get past the “biases … from the Democratic machine that have made us look like we don’t care about this community.”
But she seemed to speak to the crowd in a pretty severe tone.
“You’d better really look at your future and figure out who’s going to be the guy that’s going to make it better for you and your children, and there is only one answer,” Mrs. Romney told the audience.
“It really is a message that would resonate well if they could just get past some of their biases that have been there from the Democratic machines that have made us look like we don’t care about this community,” Romney told ABC News after her speech. “And that is not true. We very much care about you and your families and the opportunities that are there for you and your families.”
ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe called Mrs. Romney’s words a “harsher pitch than we usually hear from the woman who wants to be the next first lady.”