Despite a 41% decrease in violent crime since 1990 incarceration rates have soared, according to the infographic below from OnlineCriminalJusticeDegree.com.
The children seen in the video above performing Madonna’s “Vogue” at their kindergarten graduation from the Olympic Primary Center in Los Angeles. Their teacher Mr. Avina posted the video to YouTube but several commenters have shared moving details that provide more context on the students and teacher.
“The boys and girls started the school year as shy English learners and have bloomed into confident kindergarten graduates who exude stage presence as they sang and performed their unique choreography to “Vogue,” wrote one commenter familiar with the class. “Mr. Avina is a gifted teacher who has helped each and every student succeed academically as well as develop a love for the arts. Bravo, Mr. Avina!!”
Another commenter reveals Mr. Avina ended up teaching kindergarten after budget cuts forced him to leave his last school:
Mr. Avina then chimes in and explains he was forced to leave Mayberry Elementary in Silverlake due to budget cuts.
Mr. Avina, I was reading about how you lost your sixth grade teaching position due to budget cuts and were reassigned to kindergarten. I’m guessing the kindergartners and their parents were glad to have you :)
Yes, that is correct. It was difficult to leave my school last year (Mayberry Elementary), but I ended up at a great little school and had amazing school year with these kids! It worked out very well! I’m curious, how did you hear about that?
And one last bit from Mr. Avina:
You know, these kids come into school singing songs like “I’m Sexy and I Know It,” so you know they are very capable of learning pop songs. By the end of the year, the nursery rhyme kiddie songs become a bit mind-numbing, so I wanted to teach them a pop song that I loved (and this was the result). When your expectations are high, your kids meet them.
According to public records, 97.5% of the student body at the Primary Center is Latino and close to 98% of them are on a free or reduced-price lunch program.
Is there anything Tyler Perry can’t do?
That’s it. Just wanted to alert readers there’s a new black action hero in town that isn’t Will Smith, Vin Diesel or Denzel Washington.
“Black Folk Don’t,” the documentary web series that challenges common stereotypes is back with a new episode. The second season premiere episode takes place in New Orleans and interviewees include MSNBC host Melissa Harris Perry, noted cultural critic Touré, and numerous local residents of ages ranging 14-80.
“Black Folk Don’t” is the brainchild of director-producer Angela Tucker, whose past credits include feature length films, documentary and fiction shorts, web series, advocacy videos, and PSAs.
“I’ve always done things that is said black people typically don’t do. I wanted to turn the stereotypes on their heads, and it was important to me to get a wide range of perspectives from everyday folks,” Tucker said in a stamement. “‘Black Folk Don’t’ will make you laugh, make you pause, and I expect it will enrich the general perspective of how everyday people live their lives.”
“Black Folk Don’t” Season 1 is available online, and Season 2 will air online every Tuesday in six minute episodes beginning on June 26 on blackfolkdont.com and BlackPublicMedia.org.
There will be seven episodes this season. The series is shown on BlackPublicMedia.org, Vimeo, BlipTV, PBS.org as well as at blackfolkdont.com.
President Barack Obama has responded to the Arizona v. the United States Supreme Court ruling and says he remains “concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally.”
Attorney General Eric Holder also issued his own statement with similar sentiments.
Statement by the President on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Arizona v. the United States published in its entirety below:
I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system - it’s part of the problem.
At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education - which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.
I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values - but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country - and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it.
Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) told the Republican State Committee on Saturday what voting rights advocates have been saying for months: voter ID laws will help will help presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney win the state.
Turzai kicked it up a notch and said Pennsylvania’s voter ID law will (not help, but) “allow” Romeny to win the state.
“Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation - abortion facility regulations - in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”
Turzai’s statement drew a round of applause, PoliticsPA.com reports.
“We know that marginalized people are less likely to have identification cards,” said Aura Bogado, Colorlines.com’s Voting Rights Watch 2012 blogger. “While Republicans have long held that this is a non-partisan issue, Turzai’s comment illustrates that Voter ID laws don’t prevent fraud; instead, they prevent voters from participating in what should be a democratic process.”
A study published in October 2011 by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU found that voter ID laws fall most heavily on young, low-income, and voters of color, as well as on voters with disabilities—voters who traditionally are registered Democratic.
According to same Brennan Center for Justice report, as many as five million eligible voters across the country could meet difficulties voting this Election Day due to voter ID laws.
“This is making clear to everyone what Voter ID was all about. This is about one thing: disenfranchising Democratic voters and rigging elections for Republicans,” Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montco) told PoliticsPA.com. “When they get behind closed doors, they admit it. And that’s exactly what Turzai did.”
Just hours after the Supreme Court issued its decision on SB 1070, federal officials said they would immediately rescind a controversial federal-state partnership that uses local cops in Arizona to detain immigrants. A Department of Homeland Security official speaking on the condition of anonymity told Colorlines.com that the 287g program would be terminated in all Arizona counties. The official said the program was not useful in states that have adopted immigration enforcement laws like SB1070.
The official also said that the state would not respond to immigration reports from Arizona cops unless the individual fits the federal immigration priorities that the Obama administration has long articulated (ie., people convicted of major crimes, those who have been previously deported and people who recently crossed the border). Advocates have long charged that the 287g program encourages profiling and that the administration deports far more people than accounted for under the priorities it insists it follows.
The former GOOD Magazine editors who were abruptly fired earlier this month have teamed up to launch their own magazine about “creative destruction” called “Tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow” co-founders include six editors who were let go after GOOD’s founders announced they were moving to a “community-based publishing system” and two other staffers who quit in June.
Here’s a bit more about the project via Kickstarter:
Tomorrow is a one-shot magazine about creative destruction—a fitting concept for eight recently unemployed journalists and designers. Our next move: Pushing others to jump out of their comfort zones, too, and writing and designing the hell out of the results. For the next month, we will crash on one issue of a magazine. No salaries, no health care, no ergonomic office chairs. No foundation grants, no advisory boards, no independently wealthy vanity investors—for now, at least. That means no filler, no product placement, no luxury gift guides. It means we won’t be afraid to publish things that are complicated or sexy or weird… the kinds of things that might just get you fired. (We’ve been there.) Tomorrow will feature original articles and essays about what’s on the cusp, plus fresh design, illustrations, and photography in a quality print publication.
Don’t click on that last link below until you’ve donated money the Kickstarter campaign, but just FYI the last issue of GOOD Magazine edited by former executive editor Ann Friedman includes a cover story by Colorlines.com’s very own Seth Freed Wessler.
ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero believes the court’s decision Monday to uphold SB 1070’s “show me your papers” provision could still lead to widespread civil rights violations. He’s announced the ACLU is prepared to challenge any of the anti-immigrant laws that have popped up across the country since Arizona introduced SB 1070.
“We are not done in Arizona and will continue the battle against discriminatory laws like these that encourage racial profiling and undermine the constitutional guarantee of equal protection,” Romero said in a statement Monday. “Be it in the courts or in state legislatures, we will aggressively take on these laws and blunt the effects of this miscarriage of justice. When local police can stop and detain anyone they perceive as ‘foreign’ because of their skin color, their accent or their surname, it is a watershed moment for civil rights.”
“The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the “show me your papers” provision for now will lead to widespread civil rights violations until it is reviewed again and possibly struck down,” Romero said. “Today’s decision is an invitation for more litigation, while civil rights are inevitably violated.”
In anticipation of the ruling, Romero announced the ACLU has amassed an $8.77 million “war chest” to aggressively battle any state’s attempts to enact copycat legislation while also fighting the “corrosive effects” of existing anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and five other states.
More details via ACLU press release:
In anticipation of the ruling, Romero announced the ACLU has amassed an $8.77 million “war chest” to aggressively battle any state’s attempts to enact copycat legislation while also fighting the “corrosive effects” of existing anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and five other states.
The high court affirmed the most egregious and hotly disputed part of the Arizona law, S.B. 1070, which requires police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is “reasonable suspicion” a person is not in the U.S. legally. Although the state law is not yet in effect, some Arizona sheriffs have already engaged in widespread racial profiling and discrimination in a state that is 30 percent Latino.
“When law enforcement can say ‘show me your papers,’ Arizona begins to resemble a police state, rather than one of the United States.” Romero said. “At the same time S.B. 1070 and its copycats codify discrimination, polarize communities and undercut legitimate police work.”
Priscilla Dang was going for a run in a Vancouver, Wash., neighborhood when she was groped by two teenagers, ages 16 and 18, on bikes, according to KATU. Turns out the teens messed with the wrong woman. Dang’s family own a martial arts academy and she’s been mastering the skills of Kung Fu for 18 years—just as long as the teens have been alive.
Arizona’s immigration law, known as Senate Bill 1070, passed in 2010. Since then, five other states, including Alabama, have passed similar legislation.
Below is a statement released by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange after Monday’s SB 1070 Supreme Court decision:
“Today the Supreme Court acknowledged that state law enforcement can play an important role in assisting the federal government in fulfilling its responsibility to enforce the immigration laws of this country. The Court, in this landmark decision, provides guidance on the validity of Arizona’s immigration law which will impact Alabama’s immigration law along with those of several other states.
“Illegal immigration is a serious issue facing states across our nation, and it has been addressed by state legislatures in various ways. Hopefully today’s decision will spur the federal government to enforce the rule of law in the immigration arena.”
“My office will be reviewing today’s decision to determine the full extent of its impact on Alabama’s law and the pending litigation.”
As Colorlines.com’s Seth Freed Wessler reported, the Supreme Court this morning allowed the “show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s SB 1070 to be implemented. (Read here for the quick details of the ruling.) Seth and Monica Novoa will have in-depth analysis of the ruling tomorrow. Below Colorlines’ economic justice contributor Imara Jones chimes in on what the ruling means for the nation’s stalled economy:
Today’s Supreme Court ruling is another blow to jobs and hampers the economy’s ability to make a full recovery.
In upholding the most controversial part of the law, the court insured that the War on Immigrants will continue to be fought across America. Several states have followed Arizona’s lead. More have vowed to do so. The bitter arguments which will result are set to fracture both the laws of land and inflame public opinion.
Divided laws and a divided electorate will make comprehensive immigration reform, which would provide a path to citizenship and legal residency for the nation’s millions of undocumented immigrants, that much more difficult to achieve.
The Center for American Progress estimates that comprehensive immigration reform would add $150 billion to our economy each year—$1.5 trillion over 10 years—through better wages and expanded education opportunities. An increase in economic activity on this scale would add 83,000 jobs a month, allowing us to generate more than 2x the number of jobs than we’ve been creating recently.
With today’s opinion, not only has the court allowed a wrong to stand, it’s shot our economy in the foot.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has released a statement on the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold portions of SB 1070.
Brewer believes the “heart” of the law was upheld and she calls it “a victory for the rule of law.”
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law. It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens. After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.
“While we are grateful for this legal victory, today is an opportunity to reflect on our journey and focus upon the true task ahead: the implementation and enforcement of this law in an even-handed manner that lives up to our highest ideals as American citizens. I know the State of Arizona and its law enforcement officers are up to the task. The case for SB 1070 has always been about our support for the rule of law. That means every law, including those against both illegal immigration and racial profiling. Law enforcement will be held accountable should this statute be misused in a fashion that violates an individual’s civil rights.
“The last two years have been spent in preparation for this ruling. Upon signing SB 1070 in 2010, I issued an Executive Order directing the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZ POST) to develop and provide training to ensure our officers are prepared to enforce this law efficiently, effectively and in a manner consistent with the Constitution. In recent days, in anticipation of this decision, I issued a new Executive Order asking that this training be made available once again to all of Arizona’s law enforcement officers. I am confident our officers are prepared to carry out this law responsibly and lawfully. Nothing less is acceptable.
“Of course, today’s ruling does not mark the end of our journey. It can be expected that legal challenges to SB 1070 and the State of Arizona will continue. Our critics are already preparing new litigation tactics in response to their loss at the Supreme Court, and undoubtedly will allege inequities in the implementation of the law. As I said two years ago on the day I signed SB 1070 into law, ‘We cannot give them that chance. We must use this new tool wisely, and fight for our safety with the honor Arizona deserves.’”
UPDATED 12:30pm EST: Today’s Supreme Court ruling in the SB 1070 case was only about federal preemption. The federal government did not challenge the law on racial profiling grounds, which immigrant rights advocates say are their central concerns. The 5-3 decision upholding section 2(b) of the law, the “show me your papers” provision, was, in fact, the court’s more liberal decision. Kennedy was joined by Justices Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer and Sotomayor. Justices Scalia, Alito and Thomas issued separate opinions. Kagan recused herself from the case. (Scroll to the bottom to read more of the update.)
In a long awaited decision, the Supreme Court today upheld the most controversial part of Arizona’s SB 1070, the “show me your papers” provision. The decision allows Arizona law enforcement officers to question anyone they suspect may be undocumented. Immigrants in Arizona may now face broad targeting by police and advocates warn that Latinos in general are likely to be profiled on the basis of their race.
The court considered whether states have the power to pass their own immigration laws. The federal government argued that only the federal government, not the states, can make immigration laws. Arizona retorted that SB 1070 was simply intended to help the federal government to conduct the work of immigration enforcement and does not interfere with federal law. The court considered four provisions of the law and upheld a lower courts injunction of three of the provisions, amounting to a partially victory for the federal government and immigrant right groups. But the court ruled to overturn a lower court’s injunction of section 2(b) of the law, which requires cops to ask about immigration status.
“The status checks [do] not interfere with the federal immigration scheme. Consultation between federal and state officials is an important feature of the immigration system,” wrote Justice Kennedy, for the court’s majority.
The three other provisions on the table were struck down on the grounds that they preempt federal law. Those provisions would have made it a state crime to be an undocumented immigrant on Arizona soil, allowed police to conduct a warrantless arrest of anyone they suspect could be deported and criminalized work for undocumented immigrants.
Kevin Johnson is the dean of the UC Davis Law School. “It’s important to remember that the court struck down three of the four provisions before the court,” Johnson told Colorlines.com. “There was only one provision upheld, the one that requires local police to stop people they have a reasonable suspicion they may be undocumented. It’s not an across the board victory for the US government or for Arizona.”
Johnson added that the decision will have major implications for the rest of the country. “Other states have laws with provisions like 2(b). Those are all percolating in federal courts and this decision will have an impact on those state laws.”
Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and Utah all passed laws in the wake of SB 1070 that include sections like 2(b). Nearly two dozen other states have considered similar bills.
The Supreme Court remanded the case back to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which will be tasked with lifting the injunction against the “show me your papers” provision. The provision will not go into effect until that happens.
The court’s was clear that additional constitutional concerns may arise once provision is actually enacted, which opens the door for more litigation against the law.
“This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect,” Kennedy wrote.
Other cases are already in the works to challenge SB 1070. Nora Preciado is an attorney with the National Immigrant Law Center, which along with the ACLU and MALDEF has sued the state of Arizona on civil rights grounds.
“There is certainly space to continue challenging the law,” Preciado told Colorlines.com. “It’s really important that the court recognized that there may be constitutional problems when put in practice. They left open the possibility of other challenges once the provision is applied.”
Check back today and tomorrow for more analysis on what the SB 1070 decision means for Arizona and the country.
Update 12:30 EST cont.: The court has clearly left open the possibility that once the law goes into effect, it could be challenged on other constitutional grounds. And some advocates say that the federal government set itself up for this loss on section 2(b) by failing to challenge the law on civil rights grounds. I’ve written about this before and will be writing about this more later today and tomorrow. But the basic point is that the “show me your papers” provision will become problematic in its implementation, because there’s no way for cops to know who’s undocumented without profiling on the basis of race.
The Supreme Court justified its decision to reject the lower court’s injunction of section 2(b) by noting that the federal government regularly asks local police to participate in immigration enforcement. The decision notes that the provision will pass constitutional muster as long as it is implemented in a fashion that does not result in clear constitutional violations, like extended periods of detention without cause. The court notes that the provision is constitutional as long as local police only check a suspect’s immigration status during a lawful stop or arrest. It’s up to the lower court to issue a new decision that binds Arizona’s cops to this kind of narrow application of the provision, but barring an injunction of the law on other grounds, Arizona’s cops will soon be allowed to ask those they stop about their immigration status
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.
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.
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’
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.
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.
Last year she called Chinese people disobedient Japanese people now designer Diane Von Furstenberg is back saying Chinese women are afraid of themselves.
“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?