Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Deportation Video Wins White House Contest, But Disappears

myasian-americana-whitehouse.jpgStill from White House video soliciting votes. “My Asian Americana” is highlighted on top left hand corner.”

In November 2011, the White House launched the “What’s Your Story” video challenge, asking the AAPI community to submit videos about the “issues that matter the most” to them. The Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders office received over 200 submissions and narrowed it down to 10 videos the public could vote on. But the video with the most votes (by a landslide) was ignored in the end.

The film that earned the highest numbers of votes, “My Asian Americana,” looks at the intersection between the criminal justice system and immigration. The video features a dozen men and women talking about being deported to a country they don’t know and what they remember and miss from the United States.

The videos submitted “remind us of why we do the work we do here to make sure your voices are heard,” a White House staffer says in a video thanking those who submitted videos. “With your help we’ll invite an exceptional group of finalists hear to the White House to share their stories in person with officials from President Obama’s administration,” says another staffer in the video.

But the filmmakers say the White House “formally refused to invite” them to an April 5th, 2012 event that included the finalists.

Zimmerman to be Charged in Trayvon Martin Shooting, Official Says

Zimmerman to be Charged in Trayvon Martin Shooting, Official Says

Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey plans to announce as early as Wednesday afternoon that she is charging neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, a law enforcement official close to the investigation tells the Washington Post.

It was not immediately clear what charge Zimmerman will face.

The Special prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case sent reporters a news release Tuesday at 8 p.m., saying she would make her announcement in the next 72 hours.

Let’s hope they can find him.

UPDATE: 4/11/12 3:15pm EST: The Miami Herald is reporting that there will only be one criminal charge filed. Via Herald writer Frances Robles:

Zimmerman Losing Weight and ‘Over the Edge,’ Martin Family Afraid He’s a Flight Risk

Zimmerman Losing Weight and 'Over the Edge,' Martin Family Afraid He's a Flight Risk

Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Martin’s family, says his legal team had always warned that George Zimmerman may “become a flight risk,” but that they are specially concerned now that nobody knows where Zimmerman is.

Crump told the AP he was worried that Zimmerman had disappeared. “The family has some serious concerns about the fact that the killer of their son, Trayvon Martin, is unaccounted for,” Crump said. “Nobody knows where he’s at.”

“We hope that [authorities] will take this under consideration that this a flight risk. If they go to press charges, is he really going to face them?” Crump said in a seperate interview with TIME Magazine.

Zimmerman’s former lawyers tell the AP Zimmerman is losing weight and suffering from “high levels of stress:” 

“He is largely alone. You might even say he is emotionally crippled by virtue of the pressure of this case,” said Hal Uhrig, a former lawyer for George Zimmerman. The protests and the profound isolation of going into hiding may have pushed him “a little bit over the edge,” said Uhrig and his colleague, Craig Sonner.

Caine’s Arcade Is the Happiest Place in East L.A. Right Now [Video]

Caine's Arcade Is the Happiest Place in East L.A. Right Now [Video]

9 year-old Caine built an elaborate arcade out of cardboard boxes (located in his dad’s used auto parts store). Unfortunately, Caine had no customers. Then one day, the internet organized a surprise to make his day.

Caine’s Arcade is located at 538 N Mission Rd, in Boyle Heights, CA 90033. He’s there on Saturday’s from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

If you can’t make it, drop by his website and give him a few dollars via PayPal for his college fund.

Boyle Heights is one of the neighborhoods with the highest densities in the county of Los Angeles. Boyle Heights is also overwhelmingly Latino with 94% of residents being Latino—81% of them of Mexican heritage.

In May 2011, Colorlines.com’s education reporter Julianne Hing looked at how East LA kids have some of the toughest times learning in Los Angeles schools.

Watch Senior in Nursing Home React to Listening to Music From His Era

Watch Senior in Nursing Home React to Listening to Music From His Era

“Alive Inside” tells a story of hope and beauty in a place where they are hard to find. Directed by Michael Rossato-Bennett, the film looks at the power music has to “awaken” the minds of seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia living in nursing homes that have been considered closed.

Alzheimer’s disease is more prevalent among African-Americans than among whites — with estimates ranging from 14% to almost 100% higher. (The Alzheimer’s Association notes while the rates vary among studies, three out of four report these higher prevalence rates.)

Experts say the number of African-Americans entering the “age of risk” is also growing rapidly. The number of African-Americans age 65 and over will more than double by 2030, from 2.7 million in 1995 to 6.9 million by 2030, according the The Alzheimer’s Association. [PDF]

“Alive Inside” will premiere on April 18 at the Rubin Museum in New York.

The Music and Memory organization is soliciting donations of used and new iPods to put music in the hands of nursing home patients across the country. They’ll accept old, new, used, and even broken or damaged iPod players that their volunteers may be able to repair Their residents don’t mind a few case scratches or decals. Visit Musicandmemory.org/give-an-ipod.html for more information.


8-Year-Old Filipino Girl Covers Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ [Video]

From Fitri Cerado website:

Foto Contact2Fitri Cerado is an 8- year old girl. When you first meet her, you would think that she is just another and happy kid. She was born in Indonesia on in November, 2003, to Filipino parents. Her mother and father were both working in Indonesia at the time she was born. She currently still lives and goes to school there. At an early age, Fitri showed interest in singing and music. She was only a toddler when she started to listen to Mozart and watch Indian music videos.

TAGS: Adele Videos

Meet Sweet Brown, the New Black Internet Meme That’s Going Viral [Video]

Meet Sweet Brown, the New Black Internet Meme That's Going Viral [Video]

“There is nothing the Internets loves more than making a Black person appearing to be a complete fool,” writes D.L Chandler on HipHopWired.com.

A woman who identified herself as Sweet Brown gave Oklahoma City-based NBC affiliate KFOR-4 an on-air interview shortly after her home caught on fire. And everyone is calling her the new Antoine Dodson. (you remember him? “Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife”)

“I woke up to get me a cold pop, then I thought somebody was barbecuing, I said, ‘Oh, Lord Jesus, it’s a fire!” a bandana-wearing Sweet Brown exclaims. “Then I ran out, I didn’t grab no shoes or nothing, Jesus! I ran for my life!”

“And then the smoke got me, I got bronchitis! Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Sweet Brown knows people are making fun of her.

“I’ve been shown it, but I don’t like looking at it because I don’t like looking at myself like that because I look like a joke and I was really serious!” she told KFOR on Tuesday.

Pasadena Leaders Say They Have Their Own Trayvon, Rally at City Hall

Pasadena Leaders Say They Have Their Own Trayvon, Rally at City Hall

More than 100 demonstrators rallied in front of the steps of city hall on Tuesday in support of justice for an unarmed teen that was killed by Pasadena Police on March 24th.

Two Pasadena police officer shot and killed 19-year-old Kendrec McDade in an alley when they saw him reach for his waistband. McDade was unarmed, he never had a gun.

McDade’s father Kenneth spoke at the event organized by NAACP leaders and Pasadena clergy members.

“Somebody cut him down for no reason,” Kenneth McDade said. “Somebody’s got to be held accountable. As long as I’ve got life in my body I’m going to find out what happened to my son.”

Community members held signs with images of Trayvon Martin next to images of McDade and point to similarities in both cases—both were unarmed, young black males.

“We have our own Trayvon Martin here,” said Michelle White, Executive Director at Affordable Housing Services and President of the ACLU Chapter in Pasadena. (White did not speak on behalf of the ACLU.)

“Young black males are just an endangered species in the United States and Pasadena is no different in that regard.”

Maricopa County’s Former Top Prosecutor Andrew Thomas Disbarred

Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and his onetime deputy, Lisa Aubuchon, will be disbarred effective May 10 by the Arizona ethics panel for failed corruption probes. Thomas worked closely with Sheriff Joe Arpaio who is also under investigation.

A three-member panel found Thomas violated professional rules of conduct for lawyers in bringing unfounded criminal charges against two county officials and a judge in December 2009.

George Zimmerman’s Lawyers Lose Contact, Withdraw From Case

George Zimmerman's Lawyers Lose Contact, Withdraw From Case

Attorneys for George Zimmerman said Tuesday at a news conference they haven’t heard from George Zimmerman since Sunday, the AP is reporting. Attorney Craig Sonner said they have withdrawn as his counsel, saying they have lost contact with him.

They that against their advice, Zimmerman contacted the special prosecutor who will decide if he should face charges.

Activist Challenges Georgia ‘Kill at Will’ Law in Federal Suit

Activist Challenges Georgia 'Kill at Will' Law in Federal Suit

A federal lawsuit was filed Monday asking that Georgia’s “kill at will law” be struck down because it’s vague and could result in a disproportionate number of people of color being shot.

Civil rights activist Rev. Markel Hutchins says he filed the lawsuit in response to the death of Trayvon Martin. “Georgia has a statute comparable to the controversial Florida law at the center of the Trayvon Martin tragedy,” Hutchins wrote on Facebook Tuesday.

“It is not clear what actions would create ‘reasonable belief’ that deadly force is necessary,” said the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. “An individual seeking to stand their ground and assert self-defense has no way of knowing if their ‘reasonable belief’ comports with the standards protected by the law and [they] want to ensure that they do not subject themselves to criminal penalties.”

Rick Santorum Suspends Presidential Campaign, Leaves Behind A Bunch of Racist Gaffes

Rick Santorum suspended his White House campaign Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday afternoon. The former Pennsylvania senator made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

The former Pennsylvania Senator leaves behind a few (some of them racist?) gems for us to go down memory lane with.

There was that one time when Santorum vowed he wouldn’t give black people “somebody else’s money.”

Baseball’s Ozzie Guillen on Fidel Castro: ‘I Betrayed My Latin Community’

Baseball's Ozzie Guillen on Fidel Castro: 'I Betrayed My Latin Community'

Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended for five games Tuesday because of comments he made about Fidel Castro in a recent Time Magazine interview. Guillen said he “love[s] Fidel Castro…I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that son of a bitch is still there.”

At the news conference in Miami, Guillen said his comments were misinterpreted by the reporter, and he doesn’t love or admire the dictator.

“I feel like I betrayed my Latin community,” Guillen said, according to ESPN’s translation of his comments in Spanish. “I am here to say I am sorry with my heart in my hands and I want to say I’m sorry to all those people who are hurt indirectly or directly.”

“The Marlins acknowledge the seriousness of the comments attributed to Guillen,” read a statement from the team. “The pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized, especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship.”

Romney Escapes Green Bay Man’s Questions About Mormonism and Race [Video]

Romney Escapes Green Bay Man's Questions About Mormonism and Race [Video]

The first question for GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney at a town hall meeting in Green Bay, Wisc. on April 2nd came from a man who wanted to quote the Book of Mormon. The man, who’s been identified as a Ron Paul supporter, wanted to know if Romney thought it was a sin for a white man to marry and pro-create with a black woman.

BYU: Same Sex Crushy Feelings Are Okay, Just Don’t Act On Them

BYU: Same Sex Crushy Feelings Are Okay, Just Don't Act On Them

A collective of LGBT students at Brigham Young University, the nation’s largest religious university owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have created a video that speaks to other LGBT mormon youth.

Below is how the group describes themselves on YouTube:

A message of hope and love to LGBT Mormon youth from the students of USGA (Understanding Same-Gender Attraction) which is an unofficial group of Brigham Young University students, faculty, and friends who wish to strengthen families and the BYU community by providing a place for open, respectful discussions on the topic of same-gender attraction.

Campus Progress’ Shay O’Reilly points out that the group isn’t allowed to form an official group or use the word “gay” in their description so they identify as a collective. The group is not recognized by the school.

According to BYU 14% of students are of color with the majority of them being Asian/Pacific Islanders. Latino, black and American Indian students follow, in that order,

On Tuesday, CNN reported Carri Jenkins, an assistant to the president of BYU, said that that for the video alone, the students would not be punished. The honor code, Jenkins said, is “based on conduct, not on feeling, and if same-gender attraction is only stated, that is not an honor code issue.”

Zimmerman Goes Public, Launches Website to Raise Funds

zimmerman-website.jpgGeorge Zimmerman, the Florida man who claims he shot and killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense, has set up a personal website to collect money for his legal expenses, his attorneys confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel on Monday.

Domain records show the site was created Sunday, is real and is operated by Zimmerman himself. It solicits donations through PayPal with a promise that “any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense, in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment.”

“I am the real George Zimmerman,” declares Zimmerman’s website.

The website, which has an U.S. flag background, includes a statement from Zimmerman and features a photo of a vandalized black cultural center at Ohio State University.

One Small Step for Vanity Fair: Sofia Vergara on Cover of TV Issue

vanity-fair-1.jpgVanity Fair has a tradition of having fold out covers for their Hollywood and TV related issues. Usually there’s up to a dozen actors on the fold out cover with light skinned actors and actresses on the front page while actors of color make the inside pages—if there are any included at all.

The latest issue is the umpteenth time a Vanity Fair cover pushes a black actress to the back pages while actresses with lighter skin make the cover. This time around they did include Colombian actress Sofia Vergara on the cover but pushed Kerry Washington, Grace Park and Archie Panjabi to the back pages inside the magazine. 

That last spread is below along with an abridged history of Vanity Fair’s fold out covers.  


George Zimmerman’s Lawyer Cites ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’ in Trayvon Martin Shooting

George Zimmerman's Lawyer Cites 'Shaken Baby Syndrome' in Trayvon Martin Shooting

Hal Uhrig, a lawyer and former Gainesville, Florida, police officer who is representing George Zimmerman made an appearance on CBS’s “This Morning” last week and shared a glimpse of their defense.

“We’re familiar with the Shaken Baby Syndrome,” said Uhrig on CBS This Morning. “You shake a baby, the brain shakes around inside the skull. You can die when someone’s pounding your head into the ground.”

“He didn’t commit any crime,” Unrig went on to say. “He was attacked, broke his nose, hit his head into the ground and he defended himself. That’s not against the law.”

Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton Dons Hoodie, Speaks Out for Trayvon Martin

levarburton.jpgFrom Common, P Diddy to the entire Miami Heat basketball team, celebrities from across the entertainment and sports industries have spoken out publicly in support of justice for Trayvon Martin and his family.

But most recently it was a nice surprise to see a man who’s been entertaining children for decades speak out.

LeVar Burton was the host of the PBS children’s program “Reading Rainbow” that opened up the minds of young viewers on PBS from 1983 to 2006. Currently Burton is the voice of Doc Greene on “Transformers: Rescue Bots” on the Hub (the network that replaced Discovery Kids.)

He updated his Twitter profile picture to a picture of him wearing a hoodie and recently tweeted a message wondering why Martin’s killer George Zimmerman was still free. 

Sources Say Zimmerman Could be Arrested This Week

Sources Say  Zimmerman Could be Arrested This Week

WFTV.com on Monday reported that two different sources have said Trayvon Martin’s killer George Zimmerman could be arrested this week, and that a Grand Jury will not meet on Tuesday.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey on Monday also said she will not take the Trayvon Martin shooting death before a grand jury.

Corey told the AP she continues to investigate the case and will not involve a grand jury that had been set to meet Tuesday in Sanford, Fla.

AP with more details:

Corey said her decision to skip the grand jury shouldn’t be considered a factor in determining whether charges will be filed against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who has admitted to fatally shooting the unarmed Martin.

The announcement means the decision on charges now rests solely with Corey, who had a reputation for not presenting cases before grand juries if it wasn’t required. Under Florida law, only first-degree murder cases require the use of grand juries.

Corey took over the case last month after the prosecutor who normally handles cases out of Sanford recused himself. That prosecutor, Norm Wolfinger, had originally called for the case to be presented before a grand jury.

“From the moment she was assigned, Ms. Corey noted she may not need a grand jury,” said a statement from Corey’s office.

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