Trayvon Martin’s Mom Has a Special Mother’s Day Message

Trayvon Martin's Mom Has a Special Mother's Day Message

“This will be my first Mother’s Day without my son, Trayvon. I know it will be hard, but with my faith, family, and the outpouring of national support, I will get through,” Sybrina Fulton says in a video released Friday on

Fulton, the mother of Florida shooting victim Trayvon Martin, is asking parents nationwide to support the Second Chance on Shoot First campaign, a new national campaign working to reform, repeal and prevent passage of new Florida-style “Shoot First” laws around the country.

“I’m asking you to join Florida by calling upon the governor of your state to re-examine similar Stand Your Ground laws throughout the nation to keep our families safe. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

The Second Chance on Shoot First campaign partners include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, National Urban League, the NAACP, ColorOfChange, National Action Network, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil and Human Rights and VoteVets.

Artist Puts Fake Gardeners Near Clooney’s House Before Obama Fundraiser

street-art-ramiro-gardeners-2.jpgRamiro Gomez painted the piece above specifically for Obama’s visit. (Photo: Jorge Rivas/ Click image to enlarge.

Ramiro Gomez says he’s wanted to place his cardboard paintings of Latino domestic workers and gardeners in front of locations that President Obama has visited but it’s just never worked out.

But this time around it was different.

Obama is expected to arrive in Los Angeles Thursday evening to attend a fundraiser at George Clooney’s house off Laurel Canyon in the Studio City area. Less than a mile away from where Gomez himself is a domestic worker by day.

Gomez, 25, who identifies as a “male nanny,” says he didn’t have to work too hard within his network to find Clooney’s address.

“Every other piece I’ve done has been on a non-news day but today is a busy day,” Gomez told as he was putting his pieces up on a cross-street leading up to Clooney’s home.

The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that the 150-person guest list includes the likes of Barbra Streisand, Robert Downey Jr., and Tobey Maguire. With tickets reportedly going for $40,000 each, a conservative estimate for tonight’s fundraiser is $6 million.

U.N. Official Recommends U.S. Return Mt. Rushmore to Sioux

U.N. Official Recommends U.S. Return Mt. Rushmore to Sioux

A United Nations human rights official has recommended the U.S. turn over control of lands considered to be sacred to Native Americans, including the site of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

James Anaya, a UN fact-finder on the rights of indigenous peoples, presented his recommendations in Geneva last Friday after completing a 12-day visit to the U.S. where he met with representatives of indigenous peoples in six states.

‘I have heard stories that make evident the profound hurt that indigenous peoples continue to feel because of the history of oppression they have faced,’ Mr Anaya said in a statement.  For over a century, he said, the government had seized lands and resources from Native Americans, removed children from their families and communities, caused the loss of languages, broke treaties with tribes and oppressed the indigenous peoples on the grounds of racial discrimination. ‘The sense of loss, alienation and indignity is pervasive throughout Indian Country,’ Anaya said.

Anaya’s findings will be included in a final report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council.

Cancer Patients Remind Us ‘What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger’

Cancer Patients Remind Us 'What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger'

Lots of readers have left comments or sent messages about being disappointed with recent news—specifically, the passing of Amendment One in North Carolina that banned gay marriage.

Yesterday we were reminded by LGBTQ North Carolinians that the true victory was their “renewed commitment to each other and solidarity with all families.”

And sometimes we just need a clear and concise reminder: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

It’s a phrase the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche coined in the 1800s and it’s been proven by several studies that small amounts of trauma can make us more resilient.

But sometimes you have to see it to believe it.

A group of pediatric cancer patients in Seattle are sharing their strength with the world and reminding us “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” And they have smiles to prove it.

HBO and VICE Partner for News Magazine Show, International Stories Expected

HBO is partnering with the snark-fueled culture and fashion magazine VICE on a news magazine show to be hosted by VICE founder Shane Smith. The weekly series will be executive produced by Smith, Bill Maher and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria serving as consultant.

Simply titled “VICE,” the new HBO series will showcase a mix of stories from around the globe. Among the segments in production for possible inclusion in the show are: Taliban child suicide bombers; North Korean slave labor camps; New York’s underground voodoo heroin clinics; Somalian pirates; and Satanic dentists in the Pacific Northwest.

While a lot of VICE Magazine’s print content demeans people regularly, a handful of their international videos have positively portrayed marginalized groups of society in ways other big media doesn’t even begin to approach.

It’s either a hit or a really big miss though so we’ll proceed with caution but with a name like Zakaria attached (he’s the host of CNN’s international affairs program GPS) there’s high hopes here.

But still, proceed with caution. People like ‘Girls’ story editor Lesley Arfin who said defecating is ‘taking Obama to the White House’ have been employed by VICE.


Violence at Rikers Island is Out of Control, Inside Sources Call it ‘House of Horror’

The Village Voice has obtained disturbing images from inside sources in New York City’s jail system that show inmates with knife wounds and beating injuries to the face, neck and arms. Documents obtained show Correction Department employees may be pitting inmates against each other to “keep order.”

The Correction Department launched a major investigation in 2008 after teen inmates beat 18-year-old Christopher Robinson to death as guards looked the other way. Documents obtained include inmate interview transcripts that show guards were deputizing inmates, often in the teen jail, and pitting them against one another in fights as a way to keep order and extort them for phone, food, and television privileges.

Several sources, told the Village Voice, that the practice is very much still in place, which is backed up by hundreds of internal Correction Department documents obtained by the Voice.

(Just a warning, link below includes graphic images.)

Luchadora DREAMer Fights for Her Life On and Off the Ring [Video]

Luchadora DREAMer Fights for Her Life On and Off the Ring [Video]

Alicia Torres Don is a luchadora who fights in the wrestling ring but she’s also fighting a daily struggle to keep her mother alive. And that’s just the beginning of her story.

The short film “The Fighter” by Joshua Davis follows Don and illustrates the complexities of the lives that many DREAMers face outside of their organizing efforts.

In the ring she is known as La Aguila Dorada, or the Golden Eagle, a luchadora character Don says she developed around her fight for justice and what is right. However, outside the ring she is best known for another fight: for the rights of undocumented youth that she says are living in a state of fear and uncertainty inside the U.S.

La Aguila Dorada” is a member of the N.C. Dream Team. ( has reported on their actions previously.)

“When I’m down and getting beat, I’m not thinking that I’m down — I’m thinking how the hell do I get out of this,” Don says in the video.

“The more involved and the more active you become, the more you realize that you’re not going to be able to do it forever — you get burned out, honestly and all of it is a result of my status and how hard it is to be an undocumented immigrant in the United States,” Don goes on to say.

“The Fighter” is part of The Undocumentary Project, a multimedia project about undocumented immigrant youth living in North Carolina.

  • Update 9/11/12: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the filmmaker as Josh David.

Thinking About Attending Facing Race? Allow These Notables to Persuade You

Thinking About Attending Facing Race? Allow These Notables to Persuade You

They say recommendations from friends and familiar faces is the best type of marketing.

Check out the (star-studded) video above of Facing Race conference highlights presented by ARC Executive Director Rinku Sen, including testimonials from Melissa Harris Perry, Ai-jen Poo, and Van Jones.

Registration is now open for Facing Race — the largest national, multi-racial gathering of leaders, educators, journalists, artists, and activists on racial justice. Celebrating 30 years in the racial justice movement, we are looking forward to this chance to listen and learn from our multi-racial and multi-generational community.

Our keynote speaker this year is Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Junot Diaz.

2012 Facing Race Conference will be held in Baltimore, MD from November 15-17.

Register today! ARC—Applied Research Center—is’s publisher.

(Also a special thank you to nine-time Grammy award winner Eddie Palmieri for providing us with new music from for this video.)

Thank Michelle, Sasha and Malia for Helping President Obama’s Gay Marriage Shift

Thank Michelle, Sasha and Malia for Helping President Obama's Gay Marriage Shift

President Barack Obama told ABC’s Robin Roberts that his decision to come out and support gay marriage was spurred because he has close friends who are in “same-sex relationships” but aides working close to the president say Michelle, Malia and Sasha also had influence.

“This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about over the years and she, you know, she [Michelle] feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do,” Obama told ABC’s Robin Roberts Wednesday.

Insiders tell the LA Times the first lady went out of her way to invite gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual couples to the events she sponsored for military families.

“There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective,” Obama said.

RuPaul: ‘Barack… Shantay, You Stay!’

560790_10150786868472828_31772462827_9550160_1188065429_n.jpegA few hours after Barack Obama made history by being the first sitting president in history to say he believes gay relationships are equal to straight ones, Ru Paul (not to be confused for Ron Paul) gave the president his blessing.

‘Barack… Shantay, You Stay!’

There’s a ‘Sh*t Steve Harvey Says’ Video and It’s Totally Things He’s Really Said

There's a 'Sh*t Steve Harvey Says' Video and It's Totally Things He's Really Said

Jasmine Suntrell says she made the ‘Shit Steve Harvey Says’ video above after her mom asked why she had so much disdain for Steve Harvey. She made the compilation to “succinctly explain my ire,” she wrote on the video’s YouTube subscription.

Interesting thing here is that while most of the “Shit People Say” videos that have gone viral are satire this one is all real Steve Harvey.

LGBT North Carolinians Share Their Wins a Day After Amendment One [Video]

LGBT North Carolinians Share Their Wins a Day After Amendment One [Video]

The video above comes from S.O.N.G, “a home for LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender, and sexuality in the South.” The group says the anti-gay Amendment One may have won but their win is bigger.

“The TRUE victory is in our renewed commitment to each other and solidarity with all families.”

President Obama Affirms His Support for Same Sex Marriage

President Obama Affirms His Support for Same Sex Marriage

President Barack Obama affirmed his support for gay marriage on Wednesday. The big news here is that he actually used the word marriage—not civil union.

“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” President Obama told ABC News’ Robin Roberts in an interview scheduled to appear on “Good Morning America” Thursday.

Writer Who Was Fired for Bashing Black Studies Continues, Slams “Academic Mob”

On Tuesday, the Chronicle of Higher Education severed ties with a blogger that dismissed black studies as “left-wing victimization clap-trap” but that hasn’t stopped her from hating on black studies.

Naomi Schaefer Riley, posted her commentary, called “The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations,” on The Chronicle’s Brainstorm blog on April 30.

She’s continued to take stabs at black studies and has an even bigger platform now. Most recently she said “black studies is a cause, not a course of study.”

A&E Orders Reality Series on Gentrification in South Boston

A&E has ordered a new reality series called “Southie Rules” that follows one “stubborn native South Boston family as they battle the relentless gentrification of their neighborhood.”

Apparently it’s news and reality-tv worthy when white folks get pushed out of the neighborhood but not when Latinos or black communities are pushed out of New York’s Williamsburg, LA’s Silverlake and all of San Francisco. NY’s Chinatown is also in the thick of it too.

It’s unclear what the racial makeup of the family at the center of “Southie Rules” is but 85% of South Boston is white, according to public data from the 2000 Census.

Variety also points out working-class Southie has been examined on the bigscreen in films like “Gone Baby Gone” and “Mystic River.”

Actress Puja Mohindra Uses Love to Slam Ashton Kutcher’s Popchips Ad

Actress Puja Mohindra Uses Love to Slam Ashton Kutcher's Popchips Ad

Actress Puja Mohindra wants Ashton Kutcher to know his Popchips ad that mocked Indians was a total fail… and she’s doing it with kindness.

“Ashton, I know a lot of people are mad at you right now—about a billion—but I believe in you Ashton so I just wanted to share a few tips on how to make fun of Indian people,” Mohindra says in the video titled “To Ashton Kutcher, Love Kimmy Patel.”

Her first tip for Kutcher? You have to be Indian to make fun of Indians.

“I made this video because I believe you can respond to ignorance with love and humor. It was made with the spirit that comedy can educate, create change, initiate a dialogue, and encourage understanding & empathy between people,” Mohindra told

“The Popchips ad was a definite fail, but it’s less important to spend time hating on the company or Ashton Kutcher and more important to learn from the mistake. The whole incident has created a conversation about race, and that’s where the opportunity for change lives,” Mohindra went on to say.

Zimmerman Pleads Not Guilty, Waives Right to Speedy Trial

Zimmerman Pleads Not Guilty, Waives Right to Speedy Trial

George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, has waived his right to a speedy trial on Tuesday, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Experts believe lawyers are prolonging court proceedings in hopes the controversy fades away from national headlines.

Zimmerman, 28, admits he shot Martin, but still claims he did so in self-defense. He pleaded not guilty in court documents, making his appearance unnecessary at Tuesday’s arraignment hearing.

In Florida, a defendant is entitled a trial within 175 days of being charged, but Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara told ABC News he would try to prolong the process to allow racial tensions and the emotion associated with the case to subside.

Latino Street Artist Sparks Conversation About Labor in Beverly Hills

The scenes are familiar to Angelenos driving through Beverly Hills. Latina domestic workers of every age group waiting at bus stops and men attending gardens. Artist Ramiro Gomez says he wants people to stop and think about the labor force that takes care of the things we value the most: our families and our homes.

A carboard cutout of a gardener sits on Sunset Blvd. in Beverly Hills. (Photo: Jorge Rivas)

The 25-year-old artist who makes a living as a male nanny* by day has been placing hand-painted cardboard cut outs of workers in and around Beverly Hills. He’s left cardboard figures of housekeepers waiting at bus stops, men watering gardens, trimming hedges and even cut outs of a man with a leaf blower.

“I like that when people see my cardboard cut outs of real humans they stop and say ‘what is that’ and realize that what their seeing is a cardboard version of a housekeeper or gardener that they’ve just been driving past,” Gomez told

Gomez paints on cardboard he sources from a Best Buy and Target store dumpster at the edge of West Hollywood. He grew up about 65-miles east in a county called San Bernardino. He attended community college before transferring to the art school CalArts but says he was dissatisfied with his program and left before graduating.

Senate Blocks Vote on Democrats’ Student Loan Bill

It was never going to be easy. But now the country will get another taste of just how hard it is to get anything done in Congress, this time with student loans. This afternoon Senate Republicans blocked Democrats’ attempts at stopping student loan interest rates from doubling come July 1.

It was a largely symbolic move; the Democrats’ proposal in its current form had little chance of passing in the House. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid voted against advancing his bill, signaling that negotiations in the coming days could lead to another vote on the bill.

Democrats and Republicans have filed separate bills that would postpone a scheduled interest rate increase on subsidized Stafford student loans. On July 1 the interest rate is set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, which would add an extra $1,000 to students’ debt over their lifetime. Yet Republicans have suggested that their proposal be financed by slashing a preventative health program from President Obama’s healthcare overhaul, while Democrats have proposed funding the rate increase deferral with a tax increase on high-earners who own privately held corporations.

Republicans are now demanding a vote on their proposal, the AP reported.

TAGS: student debt

Alabama’s Revised Anti-Immigrant Law May Come Up for Vote This Week

Alabama's Revised Anti-Immigrant Law May Come Up for Vote This Week

Alabama’s attempt to revise its breathtakingly harsh anti-immigrant law, HB 56, could come up for a vote this week in the Senate, Sen. Scott Beason’s office confirmed. The movement comes just weeks after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over Arizona’s SB 1070, which HB 56 was largely based on. In the face of national outrage and the host of lawsuits HB 56 ignited, Alabama senators have been hammering out what the revisions would look like, but immigrant rights advocates say that the revisions do not address the basic civil rights concerns with the law, and instead worsen the anti-immigrant provisions of HB 56.

Sen. Beason and Rep. Micky Hammon have been working on a compromise that would merge the two lawmakers’ attempts at revising HB 56, which went several steps further than Arizona’s SB 1070 at criminalizing life for undocumented immigrants in the state. The issue now is how much the state should tinker with the key “reasonable suspicion” provisions which compel law enforcement officers to ask anyone about their immigration status if they believe a person may be undocumented.

TAGS: alabama hb 56
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