Colorlines.com’s investigative reporter Brentin Mock and blogger Aura Bogado cover the challenges presented by new voter ID laws, suppression of voter registration drives, and other attempts to limit electoral power of people of color. Check out their Voting Rights Watch blog.
Jose Antonio Vargas is on the cover of the new issue of TIME Magazine.
The terms “undocumented,” “unauthorized” and the the phrase “not legal” are used instead of the “i-word.”
On the cover, photographed by Gian Paul Lozza, Vargas stands before 35 other undocumented immigrants living across the country.
“This Time magazine issue is going to reach a lot of homes and a lot of white people and non-immigrants of all backgrounds that may have a deeper conversation on immigration and immigrants as a result of reading it,” said Mónica Novoa, campaign coordinator of the Drop the I-Word public education campaign.
“We hope people will pay attention to the choice to put the i-word in quotes and to use ‘undocumented’ instead. We applaud Define American, Jose Antonio Vargas and all of the young people involved, and hope this sparks an interest in more people standing up for immigrant rights,” Novoa went on to say.
“As members of a society with supposedly evolved human values we must answer this question: Are we ok with creating an underclass of people and denying a large segment of the population the right to affordable education, life-saving healthcare, fair labor and the right to have in-tact families?”
The newly released ROC National Diners’ Guide 2012 provides information on the wage, benefits, and promotion practices of the 150 most popular restaurants in the United States. The Guide lists responsible restaurants where you can eat knowing that your server can afford to pay the rent and your cook isn’t working while sick.
With over 10 million workers nationwide, the U.S. restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors in the country’s economy, even during the current economic crisis, according to Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC-U.) The group says despite the industry’s growth, restaurant workers suffer under poverty wages and poor working conditions.
“If you care about sustainability — the capacity to endure — it’s time to expand our definition to include workers. You can’t call food sustainable when it’s produced by people whose capacity to endure is challenged by poverty-level wages,” the New York Times’ (all things food related writer) Mark Bittman wrote in an opinion piece earlier this week.
Not surprisingly, most of the most notable abuses occur at the bigger companies. (There’s a list at the end of this post.)
There’s a few surprises on the good list though: Five Guys Burgers and Fries and In-N-Out Burgers offer their employees paid sick leave and offer all their non-tipped workers more than $9/ an hour.
There’s also a few notable high-end restaurants on the list including Ilan Hall’s The Gorbals in Los Angeles. Hall, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York and the pastry program at the school’s Napa Valley campus who has worked for Tom Colicchio at Craft and for Mario Batali at his Spanish tapas place, Casa Mono, both in New York. Most people recognize him as the guy who won the second season of “Top Chef.”
Take a look at the list of worst restaurants for workers’s below and download ROC-U’s report at Rocunited.org/dinersguide.
A 75-year-old Milwaukee man immediately confessed to fatally shooting his 13-year-old neighbor when police arrived but the officers still detained the teen’s mother and forced her to sit in the police car for more than an hour rather than let her hold her dying son or join him at the hospital. Officers also searched through the mother’s home looking for stolen firearms (that were never found) and arrested her other son on a year-old truancy violation.
Associated Press has more details: > The actions might have seemed harsh, Milwaukee police Chief Ed Flynn acknowledged Wednesday, but that’s an unfortunate aspect of homicide investigations — the detectives’ top priority is to gather facts, and compassion is only a secondary concern.
Prosecutors say the boy, 13-year-old Darius Simmons, was outside his home May 31 when his 75-year-old neighbor confronted him about stolen firearms. When Simmons protested his innocence, John Henry Spooner shot him in the chest as Simmons’ mother watched, the criminal complaint said.
Flynn said investigators get only one chance to collect evidence and interview witnesses at the scene. That means keeping witnesses apart to prevent them from talking, even family members who are mourning and want to be together, he said.
“None of it makes sense. My sister was treated like she was the suspect,” Simmons’ uncle, Leon Larry told the AP. “And searching the house, it looked like they were trying to give the suspect a reason for what he did, an excuse for what he did. That’s garbage.”
High school senior Lawrence Yong from Los Angeles just sang himself off the admissions waitlist at the University of Michigan.
Last year just 42 of the 14,600 students offered a place on U-M’s wait list last year got in and Yong knew he had to do something to set himself apart. The high school teen covered the Jackson 5’s “I want you back” with his own set of lyrics written specially for the admissions office at U-M.
“In all honesty I only expected it to get maybe 100 or 200 views. Maybe from a couple of my school friends and then some people at church,” Yong told AnnArbor.com. “It was really incredible. I am not entirely sure how it spread so quickly but that’s exactly what happened.”
Yong’s video “Michigan, give me one more chance!” had more than 43,000 views at the time this story was published.
Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson announced Tuesday that it would no longer fund the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The announcement comes a week after ColorOfChange launched radio ads across the country exposing the connection between Johnson & Johnson and the policy group, which has pushed legislation that hurts black communities such as voter suppression bills and so-called Stand your Ground laws.
“As Americans learn more about ALEC’s extreme agenda, companies understand that their brands suffer through association with a group that has weakened our democracy and made it harder to earn a living wage,” said ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson. “The ColorOfChange community commends Johnson & Johnson for acting in the best interest of consumers and cutting ties with this shadowy organization.”
“The extreme ALEC agenda harms all of us on a daily basis,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way Foundation in a statement. “It’s disturbing that so many American companies still have a hand in advancing legislation that suppresses the right to vote, impedes access to health care, weakens public education and jeopardizes public safety. I commend the persistence of the hundreds of thousands of activists who have demanded accountability from corporations supporting the ALEC agenda. Johnson & Johnson’s departure from ALEC is a big victory, and the other corporate funders who have yet to leave ALEC should take note.”
“Dear White People” is a satire about being a black face in a white place. The film has an impressive list of people ready to help make it happen, all they need is funding.
The filmmakers have started an Indiegogo fundraiser to raise $25,000 in the month. Below is a bit more information about the project via Indiegogo:
Remember when Black movies didn’t neccesarily star a dude in a fat suit and a wig? Or have major plot twists timed to Gospel numbers for no apparent reason? No? Damn…
Well believe it or not there was a time when “Black Art-House” was a thing. When movies like Do The Right Thing, Hollywood Shuffle, and Boyz In Da Hood were breaking box office records as well as making us laugh, cry, and think in ways movies hadn’t before.
The humble producers of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, a satire about being a black face in a white place, long to bring those days back. But we can’t do it without you!
Here’s the deal…we’re looking to raise seed money that will go a tremondously long way in securing the capital we’ll need to produce our million dollar indie feature. With our trailer, script and your help, we believe we can bring this exciting piece of cinema to life! Join us, won’t you?
The filmmakers say “Dear White People” follows the stories of four black students at an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over a popular “African American” themed party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film will explore racial identity in “post-racial” America while weaving a universal story of forging one’s unique path in the world.
On Sunday New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg went to a black church in one of the city’s most heavily policed neighborhoods to let them know ‘Stop-and-Frisk’ isn’t going anywhere. Just after citing Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech the Mayor told the congregation at the First Baptist Church of Brownsville that ‘stop-and-frisk’ should be “mended, not ended.”
The New York Times reports Bloomberg opened up his speech with an allusion to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and suggested that gun violence remained a barrier to full racial equality.
Later, he said of the frisk policy, “to borrow a phrase from President Clinton, I believe the practice needs to be mended, not ended” — a reference to a phrase that Mr. Clinton used in a very different context, in a 1995 speech defending affirmative action programs.
“We are not going to walk away from a strategy that we know saves lives,” Bloomberg said on Sunday, the NY Times reports. “At the same time, we owe it to New Yorkers to ensure that stops are properly conducted and carried out in a respectful way.”
On the heels of a silent march this coming Sunday, The New York Times has published a short documentary film on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policing program. The 6-minute film centers around Tyquan Brehon, a young man in Brooklyn who says he was stopped more than 60 times before age 18.
Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network and others are rallying together on Father’s day to “End Stop And Frisk Silent March Against Racial Profiling” in New York .
Sunday, June 17th, 110th and 5th at 3p. Silent march to end stop-and-frisk.
Earlier this month a Florida judge ordered George Zimmerman back in jail fter prosecutors said Zimmerman and his wife misled the court about their finances. On Tuesday the wife of Zimmerman—the man accused of shooting Trayvon Martin—was also arrested.
According to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were alerted by prosecutors Tuesday that a warrant had been issued for Shellie Zimmerman, 25. She was arrested about 3:30 p.m. “at the location she was residing in Seminole County,” deputies said in a statement.
She was booked on a perjury charge, with bond set at $1,000. She is currently “in the process of posting bond,” deputies said.
The arrest comes after prosecutors in George Zimmerman’s case told Judge Kenneth Lester that Shellie Zimmerman lied about her husband’s finances, in order to conceal about $135,000 from the court.
On Tuesday, by a vote of 5 to 2, the California State Senate’s Public Safety Committee approved the new version of AB 1081, also known as the TRUST Act.
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network describes one testimony heard Tuesday at the Capital:
The committee heard powerful testimony from Blanca Perez, a Los Angeles mother facing deportation due to an arrest last year for selling ice cream on the street who urged the state to set an example for the rest of the country with the passage of the bill. “Immigrants in Alabama and Arizona are afraid today, but as my experience tells us, immigrants in Los Angeles, here in Sacramento and even in San Francisco, have reason to be afraid as well,” Ms. Perez told the committee.
“Blanca’s story confirms that ICE’s priorities are stunningly out-of-whack,” said Assemblymember Tom Ammiano. “This is something I’d expect in Arizona, not in Los Angeles. Persecuting this courageous, hard-working mom for selling ice cream on the street is a ridiculous waste of resources. Today’s vote recognizes that S-Comm is sabotaging our public safety. The TRUST Act is the solution we need to begin rebuilding the confidence that our local law enforcement worked so hard to build, but that ICE has shattered.”
If AB 1081 becomes law it could be a significant blow to the “Secure Communities” federal program since over a quarter of S-Comm deportations are currently from California.
On Sunday’s episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter” host Oprah Winfrey confronted 50 Cent with a long list of heavy duty questions.
Perhaps the most interesting scene of the hour was Oprah asking 50 Cent why he made comments about her TV audience being white and old.
“I think she caters to older White women,” Jackson told the Associated Press in 2006. “Oprah’s audience is my audience’s parents, so I could care less about Oprah or her show.”
Oprah told 50 Cent she understood those comments to be an insult and ask that he clarify.
“I would see moments where you would discuss your views on [Hip Hop] culture, and everything that was wrong with the culture was on my CD, I was like ‘Oh she doesn’t like me,’” 50 Cent said.
“I’m looking and there are so many impressions and different points. Not to say that those things were wrong, but if I can’t be your friend, let me at least be your enemy so I co-exist. I was using it as a strategy.”
“I had to create a reasoning why it was so many white women in the actual audience. I was like ‘You know what they look at? When she says things they actually identify with they say, yeah that’s right, Oprah’s a billionaire, I think like a billionaire.’ Regardless of how they feel they identify with you being a woman,” 50 Cent said.
In other news, Oprah did learn a thing or two from 50 Cent. Her “a-ha moment” and 50 Cent’s words of wisdom for her: “either pray or worry but no need for both”
And just in case you were wondering, 50 Cent’s grandmother (who raised him) refuses to call him 50 Cent. He goes by his real name gramas house, Curtis James Jackson.
The California Senate Public Safety Committee will decide Tuesday whether to limit how local law enforcement agencies can participate in the controversial federal immigration program, Secure Communities. If AB 1081, also known as the TRUST Act, passes it could be a significant blow to the federal program since over a quarter of S-Comm deportations are currently from California.
The hearing falls one week after Washington, DC became the latest in a string of local governments across the country to adopt policies similar to the TRUST Act and also comes days after the California Catholic Conference - which consists of all ten of the state’s Catholic Bishops - publicly announced its strong support of the bill.
The program has come under criticism for eroding trust between police and immigrant communities, with the fear of deportation and family separation making immigrant victims and witnesses to crimes reluctant to come forward.
A 75-year-old Milwaukee man pleaded not guilty Monday in the fatal shooting of his 13-year-old neighbor. John Henry Spooner is facing first-degree intentional homicide charges for killing his 13-year-old neighbor Darius Simmons while he was retrieving a trash can from the street.
Spooner admitted to police that he shot Simmons on Thursday morning, even as the teen was running away from him with his hands up.
Earlier in the week Spooner reported a break-in at his home and blamed the family next door, the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal reports.
However, Simmons’ aunt told the Journal the teen was in school Tuesday when Spooner’s house was broken into. She went on to say police searched Simmons’ house after he was shot and did not find any of Spooner’s guns.
According to reports Simmons and his mother moved in to the south side neighborhood on May 1 from the north side because she was looking for a safer neighborhood.
A Los Angeles judge has issued a tentative ruling and ordered the L.A. Unified School District to use student achievement in reviewing instructors.
L.A. County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant upheld claims by a group of parents that the district was violating a 40-year-old state law, known as the Stull Act, which requires that teacher evaluations include measures of how well pupils are learning what the state expects them to know each year. The law was amended in 1999 to specifically require the use of state standardized test scores to measure student progress.
But Chalfant did not order the district to use student test scores in evaluations. Which specific measures are used, how they are incorporated into performance reviews, how the different elements are weighted and how administrators are trained in using student performance measures “may well be a matter subject to collective bargaining,” he wrote.
The ruling, while tentative, lends significant legal clout to a growing movement to use student test scores as part of a teacher’s performance review. Several states have begun incorporating them into teacher reviews and the Obama administration is also pushing school districts to use them.
This morning Colorlines.com unveiled new social media sharing buttons on the /NOW blog. The new buttons allow readers to quickly share Colorlines stories on Pinterest and Reddit in just a few seconds.
Pintest is the fastest growing social media website in Internet history and now the number three most-popular social network in the U.S., behind only Facebook and Twitter, according to the Experian’s Digital Marketer Trend and Benchmark Report.
Colorlines has a thriving community on Pinterest that visually introduce regular and new readers alike to stories that have been “pinned” to the digital cork-bulletin-board-like site.
We also have Redditors that regularly share our stories on Reddit, the social news website where users submit content that other members can vote and lift up to the front page.
Visit Colorlines.com/NOW to see a list-view of our latest stories.
On Monday, “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts, 51, announced to the nation that the treatment that saved her life five years ago may have contributed to a new diagnosis that some medical groups say is harder to fight.
Robins was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a group of diseases that affect the bone marrow and blood. The disease can be caused by past chemotherapy treatment or radiation therapy, according to the National Marrow Donor Program..aspx)
In a story published on ABC News’ website titled “I’m Going to Beat This” Robins said she learned about her diagnosis on the same day in April that her show beat out NBC’s “Today Show” in the ratings for the first time in nearly 16 years. “Talk about your highs and lows!”
“Then a few weeks ago, during a rather unpleasant procedure to extract bone marrow for testing, I received word that I would interview President Obama the next day,” Roberts said.
“The combination of landing the biggest interview of my career and having a drill in my back reminds me that God only gives us what we can handle and that it helps to have a good sense of humor when we run smack into the absurdity of life.”
“Sometimes the treatment for cancer can cause other serious medical problems,” Robins told viewers Monday morning.
“My doctors tell me I’m going to beat this — and I know it’s true,” Roberts said.
“Bone marrow donors are scarce and particularly for African-American women,” she said. “I am very fortunate to have a sister who is an excellent match, and this greatly improves my chances for a cure.”
First Lady Michelle Obama is known for pushing healthy eating and exercise but at a campaign stop last Thursday she was all about pies. One Apple and one sour cherry pie, to be precise.
The First Lady made an unannounced stop at Mom’s Apple Pie Co., a family-owned bakery in Occoquan, a small town about 23 miles southwest of the White House, ABC News reports.
Six-year-old Sydney Trapp happened to be in the shop and serenaded the Mrs. Obama with “Ode to Joy” on her violin.
Lastly, take a look above and check out the new Pinterest and Reddit sharing buttons.
I’m willing to make the claim that Mrs. O’s beautifully colorblocked pink and mint outfit will get you “re-pinned” on Pinterest, so go share.
First Lady Michelle Obama (3rd L) greets local residents as she visits Mom’s Apple Pie Bakery June 7, 2012 in Occoquan, Virginia. The first lady campaigned in a rally for her husband President Barack Obama at the VFW Post 1503 in Dale City, Virginia, earlier. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)