Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

FBI Joins Investigation of Iraqi Woman Beaten to Death with Tire Iron in San Diego

FBI Joins Investigation of Iraqi Woman Beaten to Death with Tire Iron in San Diego

El Cajon, CA police have not been able to identify a suspect in the gruesome murder that took the life of Shaima Alawadi, an Iraqi mother of five who was beaten to death in her home last Wednesday. El Cajon, which is a few miles west of San Diego, has one of the nation’s largest Iraqi communities.

Police say Alawadi’s 17-year-old daughter Fatima Al Himidi found her mother unconscious in the family’s home on Wednesday after being beaten with a tire iron. Alawadi died Saturday, a short while after being taken off life support.

Members of New York Legislature Wear Hoodies to Legislative Session [Photos]

New York State Senator Eric Adams and his colleagues honored Trayvon Martin on Monday by wearing hoodies to the March 26, 2012 Senate legislative session in Albany.

The images below were uploaded to Facebook by Senator Eric Adams.

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On Twitter, Hunger Games Fans Demand To Know Why Black Characters Are Black

On Twitter, Hunger Games Fans Demand To Know Why Black Characters Are Black

“The Hunger Games” earned over $155 million in North America over the weekend. The sci-fi film based on the novel written by Suzanne Collins broke several box office records this weekend, including the strongest opening weekend ever for a spring release.

Audiences on opening night praised “Hunger Games.” Filmgoers under the age 25 gave it a glowing A+ and those over 25 an A-, according to CinemaScore, the market research firm that surveys film audiences. Thirty-nine percent of the audience was younger than 18, according to CinemaScore exit polling.

“What separates “The Hunger Games” from the usual apocalyptic-teen-gladiator fare is its smart take on class and inequality, and its honest depiction of race as an integral party of that story,” said Channing Kennedy, Colorlines.com’s Community Manager. “While the movie adaptation isn’t entirely free of ‘racebending,’ it’s definitely worthy of praise.”

However there are people who aren’t happy some of the characters in the film are black—even though their characters in the novel were described as having “dark skin.”

Police: Zimmerman Says Trayvon Martin Knocked Him Down, ‘Slammed His Head Into Sidewalk’

Police: Zimmerman Says Trayvon Martin Knocked Him Down, 'Slammed His Head Into Sidewalk'

The Orlando Sentinel on Monday morning published the most detailed report to date of what authorities say happened one month ago today when George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin.

According to Sanford Police, Zimmerman was on foot looking for Martin when he was approached by Martin. After the pair exchanged words, authorities say Martin threw the first punch, which is what is now protecting Zimmerman from being arrested. 

Trayvon Martin’s Classmates Continue to Demonstrate One Month After His Death [Video]

On Friday students across the Miami school district walked out in support of the Trayvon Martin family’s fight to arrest George Zimmerman. On Monday morning—the one month anniversary of Martin’s death—students at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High dressed in black in a silent protest of the death of their classmate.

“I want justice for Trayvon,” Jeremy Barnes, a 15-year-old freshman at the Northeast Miami-Dade school, told the Miami Herald. He wore a black shirt with a collage of photos of Trayvon, including the photo of the slain teen in a hoodie.

People of Color Go On Tumblr To Tell Their ‘I Could Be Trayvon’ Stories

People of Color Go On Tumblr To Tell Their 'I Could Be Trayvon' Stories

A Tumblr launched Friday is collecting stories from men of color who have been victims of racial profiling. IcouldBeTrayvon.com asks visitors to share stories and pictures about being racially profiled and how that incident made them feel.

“As boys and men of color, we are providing a platform to share with each other, and with the world, our ‘Trayvon Stories’ — the times we were similarly racially profiled by police or vigilantes, and could have ended up dead after doing nothing more than the everyday activity typical of human beings living in a supposedly free society,” said Dom Apollon, who founded the Tumblr. Apollon is Research Director at the Applied Research Center, Colorlines.com’s publisher.

Apollon says he was inspired to create the Tumblr after he saw the “Planned Parenthood Saved Me” Tumblr that collects stories from women who say Planned Parenthood saved their lives.

For more information on how you can submit your “I could be Trayvon” story visit IcouldBeTrayvon.com/submit

Miami Heat Tweets Team Pic of Hoodies To Support Trayvon Martin

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LeBron James tweeted the picture Friday morning.

First Lady Michelle Obama Strikes the Heisman Pose [Photos]

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First Lady Michelle Obama strikes the Heisman pose while greeting Dallas Cowboys football players, from left, Miles Austin, DeMarcus Ware, and Felix Jones at the Kleberg Rylie Recreation Center in Dallas, Texas, Feb. 10, 2012. The players joined Mrs. Obama and chefs from past seasons of “Top Chef” for the “Schools and Chefs Working Together” cooking competition to help promote the “Let’s Move!” initiative. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award is awarded annually to the player deemed the most outstanding player in collegiate football.

The President is also no strangers to the Heisman pose. The picture below dates back to the days before he was President. (And look closely! They are both giving the camera so much face!)


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Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum Comment on Trayvon Martin Case

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum both commented on the Trayvon Martin case Friday, shortly after President Obama weighed in, BuzzFeed is reporting.

In a statement, Romney said: “What happened to Trayvon Martin is a tragedy. There needs to be a thorough investigation that reassures the public that justice is carried out with impartiality and integrity.”

Santorum has slightly tougher words.

“It’s a horrible case, and it’s chilling to hear what happened,” Santorum said. “And of course the fact that law enforcement didn’t immediately go after and prosecute this case is another chilling example of horrible decisions made by people in this process.”

He continued: “I think it’s pretty clear the problems we’re seeing in this case, and hopefully the state Attorney General and local community is reacting and responding, and hopefully this matter will be an example of what law enforcement has to do in a case like this.”

Romney had previously ignored reporters when asked about Martin’s case.

Obama: ‘If I Had A Son He’d Look Like Trayvon’

Obama: 'If I Had A Son He'd Look Like Trayvon'

President Obama said Friday morning the nation needs to do some “soul searching” over the shooting death of unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida.

“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama said at the White House.

“I can only imagine what these parents are going through,” Obama said after announcing his pick of Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank, adding “When I think about this boy I think about my own kids.”

“My main message is to the parents: If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon. I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves.”

Obama went on to say “soul searching” means “we examine the laws and context for what happened as well as the specifics of the incident.”

Although he didn’t get in to any details, Obama did make a structural connection to the case when he made a reference to the “laws and context.”

Mitt Romney Ignores Reporter’s Question About Trayvon Martin

Mitt Romney Ignores Reporter's Question About Trayvon Martin

[Update: 3/23/2012 12:53pm EST: Shortly after Obama made his comments, GOP primary candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum released their statements on the Trayvon Martin case.]

Sam Youngman, a campaign correspondent for Reuters, says he was ignored when he asked GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney how he would handle Trayvon Martin case.

Youngman took to Twitter this morning with details: > Wording of my question to Romney today: “Would your Justice Department get involved in the Trayvon Martin case?” He did not answer

White Teen Gets Life in Gruesome Mississippi Hate Crime

White Teen Gets Life in Gruesome Mississippi Hate Crime

Deryl Dedmon and two other Rankin County, Miss. young men pleaded guilty Thursday to federal hate crime charges for the hit-and-run death of African-American James C. Anderson. One day after Dedmon was sentenced to two life terms in prison after pleading guilty to murder under a state hate crime law, he, and two other teens were charged and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy and one count of violating the federal hate crime law, according to the Clarion Ledger.

Memphis Grizzlies Stop By St. Jude Children’s Hospital for Tea Time

A few big time basketball players from the Memphis Grizzlies stopped by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis last Thursday for tea time with children who are undergoing treatment for cancer.

stjude-grizzlies-teatime2.jpg (Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies decorates cookies during a visit with children on March 15, 2012 at Memphis Grizzlies House - St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cousin of Oscar Grant Shot By Oakland Police Files $10 Million Lawsuit

Tony Ray Jones, a 24-year-old man shot and wounded by Oakland police in February, filed a $10 million federal civil rights suit against the city Wednesday. Jones is the cousin of Oscar Grant, the BART passenger killed by a transit agency police officer in 2009.

According to the complaint, Jones was unarmed when he shot by Oakland Police Officer Cesar Garcia on February 19th, 2012. The complaint points out at the time of the shooting, Garcia was under a criminal investigation for the “unjustified” shooting of two unarmed African-American males in May 2011. Thirty year old, Antoine Jackson and twenty-three year old John Sloan were fatally shot by Garcia and his unit partner after stepped out of their vehicles in Oakland. The suit alleges those scenes are “eerily similar to Mr. Jones’ case.”

Coroner: Whitney Houston Died of Drowning, Heart Disease, and Drug Use

Coroner: Whitney Houston Died of Drowning, Heart Disease, and Drug Use

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office has determined that Whitney Houston’s official cause of death is: “drowning and effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use.”

The coroner’s office also said the manner of death was an “accident.”

However, the toxicology report adds that “Cocaine and metabolites were identified and were contributory to the death. Marijuana, Alprazolam (Xanax), Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) and Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) were identified but did not contribute to the death.”

Associated Press is also reporting the Coroner’s spokesman Craig Harvey explaining their results indicated “Houston was a chronic cocaine user.”

Dharun Ravi’s Finally Speaks Out, Denies He Caused Suicide

Dharun Ravi's Finally Speaks Out, Denies He Caused Suicide

Former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi, who was convicted last week of a hate crime for spying on his gay roommate’s date, will make his first primetime television interview on Friday night.

“Even though I wasn’t the one who caused him to jump off the bridge, I did do things wrong and I was stupid about a lot of stuff,” Ravi said in an exclusive broadcast interview with “20/20″ co-anchor Chris Cuomo.

“The more and more I found out, it would be kind of obnoxious of me to think that I could have this profound effect on him,” Ravi said.

At another point he added, “After all this time and reading his conversations and how and what he was doing before, I really don’t think he cared at all. I feel like I was an insignificant part to his life. That’s giving me comfort now.”

The full interview airs Friday on ABC’s “20/20″ at 10 p.m. ET.

Ravi is scheduled to be sentenced May 21 and could face five to 10 years in prison. As an Indian citizen who is in the U.S. on a green card, Ravi could also face deportation. For more read Rinku Sen’s “Dharun Ravi, Tyler Clementi and the Hard Work of Truly Stopping Bullies.”

Here’s What ‘Stand Your Ground’ Gun Laws Do, Find Out if Your State Has One

In a look at “Stand Your Ground” laws, ProPublica’s Cora Currier explains that “In 2005, Florida became the first state to explicitly expand a person’s right to use deadly force for self-defense. Deadly force is justified if a person is gravely threatened, in the home, or ‘any other place where he or she has a right to be.’ In Florida, once self-defense is invoked, the burden is on the prosecution to disprove the claim.”

Currier notes, “Most states have long allowed the use of reasonable force, sometimes including deadly force, to protect oneself inside one’s home—the so-called Castle Doctrine. Outside the home, people generally still have a ‘duty to retreat’ from their attacker, if possible, to avoid confrontation. In other words, if you can get away and you shoot anyway, you can be prosecuted. In Florida, there is no duty to retreat. You can ‘stand your ground’ outside your home too.”

Sanford Police Chief Steps Down Amid Outcry for Trayvon Martin

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Miami Herald is reporting Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee has temporarily removed himself from office Thursday, a day after city commissioners gave him a vote of no confidence.

“It is my hope the process would move swiftly and thoroughly through the justice system,” Lee said.

More details to come.


City of West Hollywood Condemns Bravo’s ‘Shahs of Sunset’

City of West Hollywood Condemns Bravo's 'Shahs of Sunset'

The West Hollywood City Council has passed a resolution condemning the new reality television show “The Shahs of Sunset” for perpetuating negative stereotypes about Iranian-Americans, Weho Daily reports. The show, which is produced by Ryan Seacrest Productions, airs on the Bravo Network, a subsidiary of NBC Universal.

“The show depicts negative stereotypes of the Iranian-American community,” said West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman. “Negative stereotypes disseminated about any group should raise concern as this can lead to discrimination and, in extreme cases, even violence,” continued Councilmember Heilman.

Feelings in the Persian-American community are mixed.

Asians Were Fastest-Growing U.S. Population in Last Decade, Census Finds‎

According to the 2010 Census, the Asian population grew faster than any other race group in the United States between 2000 and 2010. The population that identified as Asian, either alone or in combination with one or more other races, grew by 45.6 percent from 2000 to 2010, while those who identified as Asian alone grew by 43.3 percent. Both populations grew at a faster rate than the total U.S. population, which increased by 9.7 percent from 2000 to 2010.

The biggest Asian ethnic group in the nation is Chinese, at 4 million people. Filipinos log in at second with 3.4 million people, and Asian Indians follow with 3.2 million people.

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