Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Supreme Court Rules No Mandatory Life Without Parole for Juveniles

Supreme Court Rules No Mandatory Life Without Parole for Juveniles

In a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court today ruled that juveniles cannot be handed mandatory sentences for life without the possibility of parole. The court considered a set of murder cases in which teenagers were sentenced to life in prison without parole. The question before the court: does locking up kids and throwing away the key violate the 8th amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment? The answer from the court is a clear Yes, in part. The court did not all together prohibit life sentences to juveniles, but did reject mandatory life without parole sentences for young people.

This is the third major case in the last several years on juvenile sentencing. In 2005, the court outlawed the death penalty for juveniles and last year the court found that juveniles can not be locked up forever for crimes other than murder. This decision extends these previous restrictions to cases of murder by juveniles.

A previous version of this post suggested the court had rejected all life without parole sentences, rather than just mandatory sentences.

Critic Says HBO’s ‘Newsroom’ Characters of Color are Not Very Developed

Critic Says HBO's 'Newsroom' Characters of Color are Not Very Developed

Aaron Sorkin’s highly anticipated series “The Newsroom” premieres this Sunday on HBO with plenty of TV critics already calling it a game changer for television. Sorkin, an Academy and Emmy award winning screenwriter and producer, has an impressive repertoire that includes “A Few Good Men,” “The West Wing,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” and “The Social Network.”

HBO’s “Girls” has received a mountain of criticism for the lack of diversity and how actors of color are portrayed on the show. “The Newsroom” has three regular actors of color but after reading Emily Nussbaum’s critique of the show’s first episode I’m left wondering if the show is doing any better in terms of how the actors are portrayed.

TAGS: HBO TV

Obama Talks DREAM Act at Nat’l Association of Latino Elected Officials [Video]

Obama Talks DREAM Act at Nat'l Association of Latino Elected Officials [Video]

President Barack Obama addressed the crowd at National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) Friday afternoon and a large portion of his speech addressed the DREAM Act and his recent decision to halt the deportations of DREAMers.

“The question we should consider is this: Was providing these young people with an opportunity to temporary measure of relief the right thing to do?”, Obama asked the crowd at NALEO. 

“It was time we gave them a sense of hope and your speaker from yesterday has a different view,” Obama went on to say, referring to Mitt Romney.

“Almost four years ago…we gave someone new a chance to lead. Someone who we hadn’t known very long, who didn’t have much of a record but promised to lead us to a better place. When Barack Obama came to office, America wished him well and hoped for the best,” Romney said. “Three and half years later over 23 million Americans are out of work, unemployed, underemployed, or simply quit looking for a job. At a time when we should be gaining momentum in the economy, we’re actually seeing us lose a bit of it. Job growth has slowed. As you know, Hispanics have been hit disproportionately hard.”

Media outlets noticed Romney’s “softer tone on immigration,” as “The New York Times” put it, since the Republican primary season.

But that doesn’t mean he offered up anything new.

W. Kamau Bell on Eric Holder Being Targeted: ‘Old Boys Network Only Works if You’re an Old White Boy’

W. Kamau Bell on Eric Holder Being Targeted: 'Old Boys Network Only Works if You're an Old White Boy'

Comedian W. Kamau Bell was a guest on Current TV’s “The War Room” to discuss when you can and can’t use the race card and a few other bits from the news cycle.

Bell also pointed out that Attorney General Eric Holder is likely being targeted because of his race.

“It’s clear the old boys network only works if you’re an old white boy,” Bell said.

Jeremy Lin Teams Up With Barack Obama and Joe Biden to ‘End Violence’ Against Women

David Beckham, Eli Manning and Jeremy Lin are among several athletes who joined the star-studded anti-domestic violence ad released by the White House Thursday.

Here She Goes Again: Diane Von Furstenberg Can’t Stop Talking About Chinese Women

Here She Goes Again: Diane Von Furstenberg Can't Stop Talking About Chinese Women

Last year she called Chinese people disobedient Japanese people now designer Diane Von Furstenberg is back saying Chinese women are afraid of themselves.

In an interview with the The Wall Street Journal the 65-year-old Belgian fashion designer describes Chinese women:

“What I like about women is always strength, but Chinese women are even stronger. It’s like strong women on steroids. I also realize they are fragile. All women are the same really: they are strong, but they are afraid of their own strength.” 

Here’s another gem about how Chinese people have come so far…because the last time she saw them they were all on bikes:

I always was fascinated with China, because I was born in Europe, and for us, China had this fascination and mystery. The first time I came here was in 1989. They were on bicycles, and the speed of the growth has been incredible.

So what say you? Do the most recent comments read a bit awkward to you?

Blacks Disproportionately Hit by Layoffs at New Orleans Newspaper

Blacks Disproportionately Hit by Layoffs at New Orleans Newspaper

Last month I shared a story with you about The New Orleans Times-Picayune scaling back its printed edition to three days a week to cut costs. Now The Poynter Institute is reporting blacks were disproportionately hit by the layoffs, “meaning the newspaper serving the majority-black city will become less diverse unless the difference is made up with new hires.”

“The lack of diversity that will be suffered in these newsrooms is unacceptable, and will result in more losses for these companies as consumers will go elsewhere to find news that is truly representative of their community,” the National Association of Black Journalists President Greg Lee said in a news release last week.

The Poynter Institutes blog with more on the layoffs:

The Times-Picayune reported that 84 of 173 people in the newsroom were laid off, a loss of 48.5 percent. According to a list I assembled (based on conversations with multiple people in the newsroom) 14 of 26 African-Americans in the newsroom lost their jobs — a 53.8 percent cut. That includes editors, reporters and administrative personnel.

A 5.3 percentage-point difference may not appear to be much, but it erodes the newspaper’s diversity. The Times-Picayune didn’t participate in the latest ASNE census, but according to the list I assembled, the newsroom would have been 15 percent African-American before the layoffs. If no African-Americans are hired into the new operation, it would be 13.5 percent. (Other departments of the company, such as the press room, have more black employees and were cut significantly.)

According to the latest survey by the American Society of News Editors, newsroom are getting whiter across the country, not just at The Times-Picayune.. When ASNE started its survey in 1978 the percentage of journalists of color in newsrooms was just below 4 percent. The percentage peaked with the 2006 census (at 13.73 percent), but it has fallen almost every year since.

Judge Rules Thousands of School Workers Wrongfully Fired After Katrina

Judge Rules Thousands of School Workers Wrongfully Fired After Katrina

On Thursday, a Louisiana judge ruled that thousands of New Orleans school employees were wrongfully fired after Hurricane Katrina shut down the entire city in 2005.

The ruling awards more than $1 million to seven people who filed the class-action suit against the New Orleans school board and the state, according to WDSU.com.

“Hurricane Katrina gave education reformers a convenient excuse to completely remake the education landscape in New Orleans in their vision. Since then, New Orleans schools have indeed been completely remade; the city now boasts the highest percentages of students who are enrolled in charter schools anywhere in the country, and aggressively adopts school reforms that push for the privatization of the school system,” said Julianne Hing, Colorlines.com’s education reporter.

“This ruling will never be able to undue those years of sweeping change, but it’s important to know that those firings are what allowed for the ‘Teach for Americanization,’ if you will, of New Orleans schools. Without these now-illegal firings, we certainly would be in a different place today,” Hing went on to say.

There are an estimated 7,000 employees that were fired that could come forward seeking damages. That is, if school officials don’t appeal the case.

George Zimmerman Re-Enacts Fatal Shooting Of Trayvon Martin [Video]

George Zimmerman Re-Enacts Fatal Shooting Of Trayvon Martin [Video]

The video above was shot by Sanford police the day after the shooting of Trayvon Martin. It was released by defense attorney Mark O’Mara Thursday morning.

N.C. Senate Killed the Compensation Program for Survivors of State Eugenics Program

North Carolina’s plan to compensate people who were sterilized under the state’s eugenics program is probably not going go through because the State Senate scratched it off the budget Wednesday.

New York Times reports:

Despite backing from Gov. Bev Perdue and the State House of Representatives, a compensation package that would have given victims up to $50,000 each was not included in the Senate’s budget.

“I think there’s a very strong message from the Senate they’re not prepared to take it up this year,” said Thom Tillis, a Republican and speaker of the House, who supported paying victims.

Lawmakers will vote on the final $20.2 billion budget later this week and then send it to the governor, but it is unlikely that any last-minute changes will include the eugenics bill.

There are an estimated 2,000 victims of North Carolina’s forced sterilization program that are still alive today.

Check Colorlines.com’s archives for more history on the proposed compensation package.

Watch ‘Glee’ Star Harry Shum Jr. Compete in a Pole Dancing Contest [Video]

Watch 'Glee' Star Harry Shum Jr. Compete in a Pole Dancing Contest [Video]

Kev Jumba from You Offend Me, You Offend My Family” aka YOMYOMF invited Harry Shum Jr. to a pole dance off.

857 Desks Installed On National Mall to Call Attention to Drop Out Rates

857 Desks Installed On National Mall to Call Attention to Drop Out Rates

An installation of 857 empty school desks, representing the number of students nationwide who are dropping out every hour of every school day, is on display at the National Mall June 20, 2012 in Washington, DC. The installation was presented by the College Board to call upon presidential candidates who are running for the White House to make education a more prominent issue in the 2012 campaigns and put the nation’s schools back on track. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

TAGS: schools

64-Year-Old Great-Grandmother Takes 2nd Place at Bikini Contest

64-Year-Old Great-Grandmother Takes 2nd Place at Bikini Contest

A Los Angeles grandma beat a bunch of women half her age in a bikini contest in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this month. Ruby Carter-Pikes, 64, won second place in the FitSciences Championships on June 2.

“It’s like showing people age is only a number and you don’t have to get cut up or do anything crazy, just be healthy and take care of your body,” Carter-Pikes told KNBC-LA Wednesday.

“Coming from a black family, and most Hispanics, too, we die from high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, kidney failure, it’s not because of our genes, it’s because of what we eat,” she told KNBC-LA.

According to her profile on the social networking site Body Proud, Carter-Pikes seriously got in to fitness after several family members were affected with diabetes.

It wasn’t until I was an adult and had four children that I really start to realize and recognize the devastation of my family’s poor eating habits and the effects it had on the health my love ones including my grandmother, mother, aunts, sisters, uncles, brothers, etc. For example, my grandmother died at 57 after being diagnosed with heart problem and high cholesterol; my mother fought the battle of diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease; a sister leg was amputated as a result diabetes (while on dialysis). A niece was diagnosed with diabetes at the early age of 11 and was prescribed insulin shots immediately. She lived with the disease until the age of 32.

Mrs. Carter-Pikes, keep inspiring us all!

FOX Picks Up Jesus Orellana’s Sci-Fi Movie Project ‘Rosa’

rosa_jesus_orellana_poster.jpg

20th Century Fox has purchased the rights to create a full length feature film based on the sci-fi short-film ROSA that was created entirely by young comic-artist Jesús Orellana.

The film’s synopsis:

ROSA is an epic sci-fi short film that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where all natural life has disappeared. From the destruction awakes Rosa, a cyborg deployed from the Kernel project, mankind’s last attempt to restore the earth’s ecosystem. Rosa will soon learn that she is not the only entity that has awakened and must fight for her survival.

The Hollywood Reporter has more details: > Orellana is on board to direct the project, which is being produced by Simon Kinberg as well as Raymond Brothers and Scott Glassgold of IAM Entertainment.

Orellana produced the short with no budget on a home computer in Barcelona. The short film that has been widely celebrated at film festivals across the globe took him one year to complete.

TAGS: Film ROSA

Investigators Find Forced Labor at Louisiana Walmart Seafood Supplier

Investigators Find Forced Labor at Louisiana Walmart Seafood Supplier

An investigation by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) has found labor law violations and inhumane treatment of workers at a Walmart seafood supplier in Louisiana.

The 37-page report published Wednesday alleges Mexican “guest workers” are forced to work shifts of up to 24 hours during peak production periods, with as few as four hours between shifts. According to the report, workers are paid 40 percent below the legal minimum wage. The WRC concluded that the totality of the abuses taking place at this employer constitute forced labor under U.S. law.

The WRC is an independent labor rights watchdog which launched the investigation of the employer, C.J.’s Seafood, in response to an urgent worker complaint. According to the National Guestworker Alliance, which helped workers at the factory organize and brought the complaint to the WRC, 85% of the crawfish at C.J.’s is processed for Walmart.

The affected workers are laborers from Mexico, here under the U.S. government’s H2-B guest worker visa program. The report says virtually every aspect of the worker’s lives are controlled by the employer, and are subjected to threats of deportation and violence in order to frighten them into submission.

“Most Americans would be shocked that such conditions exist in this country. These workers, who process seafood for America’s largest retailer, are forced to work hours that no human being should have to endure, are paid far less than the minimum wage, live in squalor on the employer’s property, and are threatened with dire consequences if they dare to complain,” WRC Executive Director Scott Nova said in a statement.

“Walmart, which undoubtedly benefits from the low production costs made possible by these abuses, did nothing to protect the rights of workers at this facility, despite long-standing public assurances that it is policing labor practices in its supply chain,” Nova went on to say.

The guest workers have filed complaints with the US Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Jelani Cobb’s Moving ‘New Yorker’ Piece on the Legacy of Rodney King

Jelani Cobb's Moving 'New Yorker' Piece on the Legacy of Rodney King

William Jelani Cobb, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of History at Spelman College. He specializes in post-Civil War African American history, 20th century American politics and the history of the Cold War.

Below is an excerpt from his New Yorker piece on the legacy of Rodney King:

The old adage holds that history occurs twice—first as tragedy, then as farce—but if anything is to be learned from the tragic tale of Rodney King, it’s that history’s encores are often just as brutal as its débuts. King, who died Sunday at age forty-seven, was inducted, unwitting and unwilling, into a fraternity of men whose experiences seem like a series of historical paraphrases. There’s John Weerd Smith, the Newark cabdriver whose arrest sparked the 1967 riots in that city; Marquette Frye, whose 1965 D.U.I. arrest in Watts ignited days of chaos and fire. In 1964, fifteen-year-old James Powell was shot and killed by an N.Y.P.D. officer in Harlem— word of his death was just so much kindling to an already tense city, and riots broke out in Manhattan and Brooklyn. During the Second World War, the police shooting of Robert Bandy, a soldier, inaugurated the 1943 Harlem riot. And there are more. That roll call explains why the disbelief that swaths of America felt when viewing the videotape of Rodney King’s beating was scarce in black America, why so many African Americans saw it through eyes jaundiced by similar experience—a civic violation as lived cliché. […] King was changed by what transpired on March 3, 1991, and we’d like to believe we have been also, though precisely how is hard to pinpoint. The three levels of bureaucratic self-defense are to deny a problem exists; admit that it exists but say it’s confined to a few rogue individuals; or admit to systemic troubles, create a commission, and then claim that reforms have completely eliminated the problem. After the Los Angeles riots, the L.A.P.D. went directly to level three. In the wake of the Christopher Commission’s findings, the department took steps to diversify its ranks. The removal of Police Chief Daryl Gates and the subsequent appointment of Willie Williams, the first black police chief in L.A. history, was directly related to King’s beating. But in 2009, television viewers saw grainy footage of another black man lying prone at the feet of a California police officer, this time in Oakland. The man, Oscar Grant, had been shot and killed. Earlier this year, the New York Civil Liberties Union released a report pointing out that in 2011 the N.Y.P.D. conducted nearly six hundred and eighty-six thousand stop-and-frisks, with blacks and Latinos accounting for more than eighty-six per cent of those targeted by police. A little leaguer has a vastly higher chance of being thrown against a mailbox and searched in New York City than when I was growing up there.

TAGS: Rodney King

New Beautiful Short Film Highlights Three DREAMers

New Beautiful Short Film Highlights Three DREAMers

Video description:

A compassionate look at undocumented youth in the United States. Through a series of interviews with undocumented kids, activists, policymakers, non-profit leaders, educators and members of the clergy “Illegal” seeks to raise the consciousness level of the American public regarding the importance of full immigration reform. Though an important step was taken with the president’s order to halt the deportations of some young undocumented residents, we must remember that his executive order could change as early as January under a new administration. Our work is far from over.

“Illegal” is an independent documentary film financed by Houston philanthropist Curry Glassell.

Apple Stores in Georgia Won’t Sell iPads to People Speaking Farsi

Apple Stores in Georgia Won't Sell iPads to People Speaking Farsi

WSB-TV in Alpharetta, Georgia has interviews with two people who were denied iPads and iPhones at two different Apple Stores after employees learned they were from Iran.

Sahar Sabet, 19 and a U.S. citizen, says it all started when an employee asked her what language she was speaking with her uncle.

“When we said ‘Farsi, I’m from Iran,’ he said, ‘I just can’t sell this to you. Our countries have bad relations,’” Sabet said.

“I would say if you’re trying to buy an iPhone, don’t tell them anything about Iran. That would be your best bet,” Zack Jafarzadeh, who had a similar experience at a nearby Apple Store told WSB-TV.

On Tuesday, The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on Apple to change its policy after learning about WSB-TV’s report.

“Apple must revise its policies to ensure that customers do not face discriminatory treatment based on their religion, ethnicity or national origin,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “If the actions of these Apple employees reflected company policy, that policy must be changed and all employees retrained.”

Somehow Kelly Ripa Managed to Make a Deportation Joke While the First Lady Double Dutched

First Lady Michelle Obama went on Live! With Kelly Monday morning and she double Dutched in wide-legged pants!

(And yes, at 3:30 minute mark you hear Kelly Ripa threatening those poor kids with deportation.)

Spanish Talk Shows Biggest Name Cristina Saralegui Endorses Barack Obama

Spanish Talk Shows Biggest Name Cristina Saralegui Endorses Barack Obama

Jorge Ramos may want nothing to do with him but Spanish-language daytime talk shows’ biggest name announced her support for the re-election of President Barack Obama.

This is the first time that Cristina Saralegui has endorsed a President or actively participated in a presidential campaign.

Saralegui’s “El Show de Cristina” premiered on Univision in 1989 and had high ratings for years until it was canceled in 2009 due to low viewership. Her endorsement is still huge though because she’s Cuban and her devoted audience skews older—two groups that have historically voted Republican.

President Obama holds a 34-point lead over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney among registered Latino voters, according to a March NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll of Latino respondents.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201