Some Skeptical of Perfect College Rate at Chicago’s Urban Prep

Some Skeptical of Perfect College Rate at Chicago's Urban Prep

For the third year in a row, every senior at Urban Prep Academy, the only all-black male charter high school in Chicago, has been accepted to college, according to the Chicago Tribune. The school has made international headlines year-after-year for their perfect college going rates—including a segment on the Oprah Winfrey show—but some say the successes also begs questions.

“This is so tough—I consider myself among those who cannot accept this news at face value, and it’s disheartening that wonderful news like this is seen as too good to be true,” said’s education reporter Julianne Hing.

Department of Justice Cuts Off Negotiations With Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Department of Justice Cuts Off Negotiations With Sheriff Joe Arpaio

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division has cut off negotiations with Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, according to Talking Points Memo. According to a letter obtained by TPM, Arpaio’s office is refusing to consider working with an independent monitor which is said to be a “non-negotiable component of any settlement.”

In December, the DOJ accused Arpaio’so office of engaging in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing, including racial profiling in traffic stops, immigration operations and discriminating against Spanish speakers in the county jails.

“DOJ considers the oversight of an independent monitor to be an absolute necessity for meaningful and sustainable reform of MCSO,” DOJ Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin said in the letter. “It was disappointing, to say the least, for you to contact us 24 hours before our negotiations were scheduled to continue and raise, for the first time, a precondition that you understood would result in the cancellation of negotiations — and, by extension, the initiation of a civil lawsuit — and calls into question whether you were ever interested in settling this matter.”

“This is Arpaio being Arpaio,” said Julianne Hing,’s immigration reporter.

“Arpaio, who’s stalled and whined during every part of the federal investigation into his office, and became the first office that the Justice Department had to sue just to gain access to their internal records, is staying true to form.”

“Most police departments who are approached by the DOJ for these sorts of investigations engage in negotiations with the DOJ as a way of showing that they are interested in gaining back public trust. They will agree to reforms generally because their public reputations have been shot and they want to get away from the threat of federal oversight. Not so with Arpaio,” Hing added.

“It looks everyone now will be gearing up for a fight that will be more dramatic than it needs to be. To the courts we go,” Hing went on to say.

TAGS: DOJ joe arpaio

Jeremy Lin Talks About the Good Things in Life in Post-Surgery Fan Q&A

Jeremy Lin Talks About the Good Things in Life in Post-Surgery Fan Q&A

I wrote earlier today about how sad I am that Jeremy Lin’s out for the season due to a knee injury. But it turns out that he’s looking at the brighter side of life. The New York Knicks point guard held a public Q&A session with fans on Facebook shortly after he had knee surgery yesterday. Here’s a snippet, collected by the Wall Street Journal:

Jeremy: That’s a tough question. Depends on the day, but my three favorite foods are sushi, steak and seafood

Apple: Do you like animals? Dogs or cats ?

Jeremy: Dogs all the way. When i was young, I saw a cat run into my backyard and rip my favorite Nerf ball in half, but I was too young/scared to chase the cat away.

Watch Mary J. Blige’s Pulled ‘Crispy’ Chicken Burger King Commercial [Video]

Watch Mary J. Blige's Pulled 'Crispy' Chicken Burger King Commercial [Video]

“Crispy chicken, fresh lettuce, three cheeses, ranch dressing wrapped up in a tasty, flour tortilla,” Mary J. Blige sings in a new Burger King commercial that premiered on Monday. But after some controversy on Twitter the ad has disappeared from YouTube.

No one knows exactly why the ad was pulled but Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak has his theories:

The stereotype perpetuation of a black woman espousing the virtues of fried chicken is never a pleasant thing to behold, although Octavia Spencer didn’t cause much of an uproar for saying in The Help (for which she won an Oscar), “Frying chicken just tend to make you feel better about life” in a scene that was not intended to make you want to kill yourself. And if the issue is with Blige selling out, well, that’s been happening for years. In 2010, she used her soul-bearing rep to shill fragrance on QVC, and last year she released My Life II…The Journey Continues (Act 1), crassly capitalizing on her revered 1994 sophomore album despite her career-long shtick depending on her portrayal of her life through song. (In that sense, her tenth album, My Life II, was actually My Life IX.)

According to rumors, Blige earned an estimated $2 million for the ad. Other celebrities in the campaign (who’s videos are still live on YouTube) include soccer star David Beckham, Jay Leno and, in Spanish-language ads, actresses Salma Hayek and Sofia Vergara.

Oprah on OWN: “Had I Known it was This Difficult I Might Have Done Something Else”

 Oprah on OWN:

Oprah was a guest on “CBS Morning” on Monday and brought the subject of her network OWN not doing well by herself within the first minute of her segment.

“I didn’t think it was going to be easy. If I knew then what I know now, I might have made some different choices,” Oprah Winfrey told the anchors of “CBS Morning.”

“Our strategy is to do what we should have done at the beginning, and that is to build one show, one hour at a time, and then move on to the next night,” Winfrey said. “What I wanted to create and will create is a channel and an environment where we don’t waste your time, it’s all meaningful.”

“Because you failed at something - which we haven’t - but because you failed doesn’t mean you’re a failure,” she said, adding, “I feel better about our network today than I ever have. The most painful thing was I had to let people go. I had to lay off 30 people.”

“If I were writing a book about it, I could call it ‘101 Mistakes,’ ” she added.

TAGS: Oprah OWN Videos

‘The Daily Show’ Takes on Tucson’s Ban on Mexican-American Studies [Video]

'The Daily Show' Takes on Tucson's Ban on Mexican-American Studies [Video]

The Daily Show’s Al Madrigal traveled to Arizona to interview a Tucson school board member who said he voted for the ban on Mexican-American studies program based on the powerful evidence of hearsay.

Seth Freed Wessler Wins Hillman Prize for Deportation Investigation

Seth Freed Wessler

The Sidney Hillman Foundation has awarded reporter Seth Freed Wessler with the 2012 Hillman Prize for his “Shattered Families” investigation of the intersection of deportation and child welfare.

Hillman Prizes are awarded to journalists who have demonstrated “excellence in reporting in service of the common good.” Other Hillman Prize winners this year include The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates and The New Yorker’s Sarah Stillman.

Wessler’s investigation “Shattered Families” uncovered a disturbing national trend that’s left over 5100 children stuck in foster care. The investigation found that between January and June of 2011, the United States carried out more than 46,000 deportations of the parents of U.S.-citizen children.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to be awarded the Hillman Prize. The deported and detained parents who agreed last year to tell me their stories face the prospect of losing their children forever. Some already have,” said Wessler. “This investigation establishes that these tragedies are a result of structural failures of law and policy. It’s my hope that the attention it’s received will continue to usher in policy shifts to keep families together.”

Wessler’s investigation has made national headlines (Nightline, AP, CNN, among others), reviewed by policy makers around the country, and even prompted a comment by the President of the United States. In response to a question posed about the lack of due process in the deportation of parents, President Obama called it a “real problem” and said the federal government needs “to make sure that children aren’t torn from their parents without due process and the possibility to stay with their children.”

Tubas Go Missing Near L.A., Blame the Mexican Banda Black Market

Tubas Go Missing Near L.A., Blame the Mexican Banda Black Market

High school marching bands across Southern California—from Los Angeles to Manhattan Beach—have had their tubas stolen, and their music directors think they know why.

There’s a banda bandit on the loose in Los Angeles.

“The band is driven by the tuba and the drummer,” Bill Roper, a professional tuba player explains to the Associated Press. “The tuba serves the time function and the bass function, and the rest of the band can’t exist without that.”

Rapper David Banner Calls for Policy Changes After Trayvon Martin’s Death

Rapper David Banner Calls for Policy Changes After Trayvon Martin's Death just published an interview with hip-hop artist and producer David Banner discussing his frustrations with Trayvon Martin case and the system that’s allowed the man who shot him to still be walking free.

“The fact [is] we have to get some type of legislation now,” Banner says in the video.

“What do we want to see implemented to make sure this doesn’t happen again because y’know American culture, now that we’ve seen this happend it’s going to take something two-times as bad as this to even get peoples attention.”

ICE Arrest 3k Immigrants in 6 Days, Largest Roundup Ever

ICE Arrest 3k Immigrants in 6 Days, Largest Roundup Ever

On Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced 3,168 undocumented immigrants were detained over the course of six-days in a national operation the agency dubbed “Cross Check.” According to ICE, the six-day operation was the largest such effort in the agency’s history.

Operation Cross Check involved more than 1,900 ICE officers who worked with federal, state and local law enforcement throughout the U.S. to carry out the arrests in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, three U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

Today’s Love Goes to Myanmar’s Freedom

Myanmar’s government confirmed that dissident leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her allies won a sweeping victory in weekend by-elections. State radio and television reported that Ms. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won 43 of the 45 parliamentary seats.

Speaking to thousands of red-clad supporters outside the headquarters of her opposition party, the National League for Democracy, the Nobel laureate called the election “a triumph of the people” and said: “We hope this will be the beginning of a new era.”


Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at the National League for Democracy (NLD) party headquarters after winning her seat in the parliament and a landslide victory in the parliamentary elections April 2, 2012 in Yangon, Myanmar. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Kai Wright on MSNBC Discussing Character Assassination of Trayvon [Video]’s editorial director Kai Wright was a guest on MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes” on Sunday to discuss the racial tensions being played out in media coverage of the Trayvon Martin case.

Joining Wright in the discussion was Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Demos’ Rich Benjamin, and Columbia University’s John McWhorter.

Whitney Houston’s Final Film: ‘Sparkle’ Trailer Released [Video]

The film follows three sisters as they form a succesful singing group and deal with the fallout of fame and drugs.

Trayvon Hashtag Makes Real Life Appearance at Miami Protest… on Man’s Mohawk

Political leaders, sport stars and entertainers were among several thousand people who gathered Sunday at a Miami rally calling for an arrest in the Trayvon Martin case.

Also present was Mohawk Gaz, who spray painted a picture of Trayvon on one side of his mohawk and “#Trayvon” on the other side.



Trayvon’s Parents Accept Geraldo’s Hoodie Apology, Still Must Defend Son

Trayvon's Parents Accept Geraldo's Hoodie Apology, Still Must Defend Son

On Sunday night, Geraldo Rivera personally apologized to Trayvon Martin’s parents for saying that children shouldn’t wear hoodies because “Trayvon’s hoodie killed him as surely as George Zimmerman did.”

“Now, what I was trying to do was caution parents that allowing their kids to wear hoodies or similar clothing in certain circumstances, particularly if they are minority young men, could be dangerous. But I never intended to hurt anyone’s feelings and certainly, Sybrina and Tracy, I never intended to hurt your feelings. I want to personally convey my deepest apologies to both of you. I am sorry if anything I said, Tracy, added to your misery,” Rivera said on his show.

The apology was reminiscent to an apology made last week by Rivera which apologized for causing offense but not for his initial statements.

“I remain absolutely convinced of what I said about asking for trouble,” he wrote in a letter to Politico last week. “There’s trouble enough for minority boys and young men not to provoke mad responses from paranoid jerk offs.”

Martin’s father accepted Rivera’s apology, but not without defending his son.

“Your apology is accepted. Let me just add one thing with the wearing of the hoodie,” he said. “I don’t think America knows that, in fact, at the time of the incident when he initially made the call, it was raining. So Trayvon had every right to have on his hood. He was protecting himself from the rain. So if being a suspicious, walking in the rain with your hoodie on is a crime, then i guess the world is doing something wrong.”

Trayvon Martin’s Mom Gets Close to 70k Twitter Followers in Just 2-Weeks

sybrina-fulton-twitter.pngCall it a sign of the times but Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, has joined Twitter to call attention to her fight to get justice for her son.

Her first tweet was on March 18th and she’s been tweeting steadily since.

First Lady Michelle Obama Best Dressed at Kids Choice Awards

The neon and fluorescent colors came out in full force to Nickelodeon’s 25th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards on Saturday. Perhaps it was the neon orange “red carpet” that invitees had to compete against as they entered the ceremony in Los Angeles but Jada Pinkett Smith wore a hot pink jumpsuit, Ludacris had his neon green shoelaces and a few celebrities like Halle Berry were covered neon green head-to-toe…but only because they were doused in goo. 

But perhaps one of the most talked about guest’s outfit belonged to First Lady Michelle Obama. The First Lady’s metallic ensemble (including skinny metallic jeans) were designed by Wes Gordon, a 25-year-old up-and-comer American designer.

The annual ceremony hosted by Nickelodeon is one of a handful awards ceremonies where young people get to cast votes. This year kids paid tribute to their favorites by casting over 220 million votes March 1-March 31 on, Twitter and Facebook.


On the left is voice actress Alexandria Suarez who is the voice of Backpack on Dora the Explorer, to her right is Fatima Ptacek, the voice of Dora Explorer herself! Regan Mizrahi is the voice of Boots the Monkey.

(L-R) Voice actors Alexandria Suarez, Fatima Ptacek, and Regan Mizrahi arrive at Nickelodeon’s 25th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards held at Galen Center on March 31, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for KCA)


Forensic Experts Say Screams on 911 Call Are Not George Zimmerman’s

Forensic Experts Say Screams on 911 Call Are Not George Zimmerman's

Two of the nations leading forensic voice identification experts say it was not George Zimmerman who was heard crying for help in the 911 call recordings in the moments before Trayvon Martin was killed. Sentiments Trayvon’s mother has expressed since she heard the recordings last month.

“Yes I do. I believe that’s Trayvon Martin. That’s my baby’s voice. Every mother knows their child and that’s his voice,” Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton told Anderson Cooper last week when asked if she believed that was Trayvon yelling for help in the 911 call recordings.

Now two leading experts in the field of forensic voice identification agree with her.

The Orlando Sentinel commissioned Tom Owen, a forensic consultant and chair emeritus for the American Board of Recorded Evidence, to examine the eight different 911 call recordings released by the Sanford Police department last month. His conclusion: It was not George Zimmerman who was screaming for help.

Readers Answer: How Would They Use Their Mega Millions for Good?

Earlier today we asked readers a simple question:

What’s the first thing you would do for social justice if you win tonight’s $640 million Mega Millions jackpot?”

We got almost a hundred responses on Twitter, the Colorlines Facebook page and in the comments section for the story. The comments ranged from donuts, buying Congress members and starting funds to send DREAMers to college.

Below are just two or three dozen of the responses. Take a look, there are some really thoughtful responses and a good list of organizations that folks want to help.

It means the world to us here at Colorlines when you share and provide feedback. So with that, thank you and good luck to all of those waiting for the results tonight. Including me. 

ICE Finally Gives Congress Data on Number of Parents Deported

icedata-report-parents.gifOn Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released to Congress data on the number of parents of United States citizen children they’ve deported. The data, which was requested by Congress in 2010, is the same data that and the Applied Research Center obtained in September 2011 under pressure of a Freedom of Information Act request.

In November 2011, Colorlines published a story titled “U.S. Deports 46K Parents With Citizen Kids in Just Six Months” that revealed these numbers for the first time.

“As I wrote then, the federal government deported 46,486 parents of US-citizen children in the 6 month period between January-June 2011,” said Seth Freed Wessler, Colorlines’ investigation reporter who filed the Freedom of Information Act request.

“The figure amounts to more than 22% of all deportations in that same period. The collateral effects of these deportations are mounting, and our investigation found that there are now over 5100 children in foster care whose parents have been detained or deported by federal immigration authorities.”

Wessler also noted the release of this data to Congress comes late.

“In early 2010, Congress requested that ICE begin collecting data on the deportation of parents of U.S.-born children no later than July 1, 2010, and to provide the data at least semi-annually to the Committees and the Office of Immigration Statistics.”

Embedded below is the report ICE delivered to Congress on Monday.

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