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NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Tulsa Cops Not Ready to Call Shooting Spree Racially Motivated

Tulsa Cops Not Ready to Call Shooting Spree Racially Motivated

Jake England, 19, and his 32-year-old roommate Alvin Watts were arrested Sunday in connection with a shooting spree that left three people dead, two others wounded and an entire black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma shocked.

All five victims were black. Police described the suspects as white, but a family friend said one was Cherokee, the LA Times points out.

Dannaer Fields, 49; Bobby Clark, 54; and William Allen, 31, were all shot and killed as they were walking within a few miles of one another on Tulsa’s predominantly black north side.

Police Chief Chuck Jordan said the gunmen appeared to have chosen their victims at random.

Police Blame Man Whose 911 Call Led Cops to Kill Unarmed Black Teen

Police Blame Man Whose 911 Call Led Cops to Kill Unarmed Black Teen

Funeral services were held Saturday for 19-year-old Kendrec McDade, who was shot and killed by Pasadena, California police on March 24. Police say they thought McDade was armed, so they shot him when he reached for his waistband but McDade was unarmed, he never had a gun.

The complicated sequence of events started out with a 911 call from Oscar Carrillo, 26, who told the dispatcher his laptop was stolen at gunpoint by two armed men.

“Eh, miss, two guys just stole my backpack. They put a gun on my face right now,” Carrillo told the 911 operator. “I’m on Raymond and Orange Grove. They just run away.”

Carrillo later admitted that the suspects were not armed and had taken his property out of his car. He said he told police the suspects had guns in order to get officers to respond faster.

Now Pasadena Police want to charge Carrillo with involuntary manslaughter.

Invisible Children Release Kony 2012 Update With ‘More Details and Context’

Invisible Children Release Kony 2012 Update With 'More Details and Context'

Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video became the most viral video in history when it was released on March 5th, 2012. The organization released an update on Thursday called “KONY 2012: Part II - Beyond Famous” which they say offers more details and context about the conflicts in Uganda.

This generation has responded to the call to make Joseph Kony famous,” the new video’s description reads on YouTube. “Now we need to dig deeper and turn awareness into informed action.”

The follow-up video was made without input from the group’s co-founder who starred in the initial ‘Kony 2012’ video—he who suffered a breakdown following publicity generated by the film, according to the BBC.

The organization’s director of ideology, Jedidiah Jenkins, told Reuters the sequel is intended for an international audience and will more accurately chronicle the conflict in Uganda.

The original video has more close to 87,000,000 views on YouTube.

Burger King Apologizes for Mary J. Blige Chicken Ad

Burger King Apologizes for Mary J. Blige Chicken Ad

Burger King has apologized for releasing an ad featuring Mary J. Blige singing about Crispy Chicken Snack Wraps. The fast food restaurant chain said the ad was unplugged because of licensing issues but Blige has a slightly different story.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Blige said, “I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence.Unfortunately, that’s not what was happening in that clip, so I understand my fans being upset by what they saw. But, if you’re a Mary fan, you have to know I would never allow an unfinished spot like the one you saw to go out.”

The video, which went viral on Monday, was pulled down by Burger King after viewers began to complain. According to Burger King, the reason the spot was yanked from the Web was because the ad was “released prematurely before all of the licensing and final approvals were obtained.” Burger King wrote in a statement to AP, “we would like to apologize to Mary J. and all of her fans for airing an ad that was not final. We know how important Mary J. is to her fans, and we are currently in the process of finalizing the commercial. We hope to have the final ad on the air soon.”

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.

Nichelle Nichols Throws Vulcan Signs with Obama in the Oval Office

Nichelle Nichols Throws Vulcan Signs with Obama in the Oval Office

If you’re following Barack Obama on Tumblr, you saw this adorable photo yesterday — the President with Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played Lt. Uhura on the original Star Trek, showing the Vulcan salute. (Lt. Uhura was a human, not a Vulcan, but there’s only so many recognizable hand signs a franchise can produce.)

Obama has long identified as a comics-and-sci-fi geek, but it’s also worth noting that Nichols has a history with social justice; here she is talking about how Dr. Martin Luther King begged her to stay with the series, to continue inspiring young people by portraying a professional black woman on a hit TV show. Perhaps she even inspired a young Barry Obama? And recently, Nichols has been using Twitter to give Geraldo Rivera some well-deserved heat for his ‘hoodie’ comments about Trayvon Martin.

New Orleans: All Four Danziger Bridge Cops Sentenced to 40-65 Years

New Orleans: All Four Danziger Bridge Cops Sentenced to 40-65 Years

On Wednesday the Justice Department announced five former New Orleans police officers were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six to 65 years for the shootings of unarmed civilians in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

On Sept. 4, 2005, a week after Hurricane Katrina, police officers responded to a call that there were two snipers shooting at officers on the Danziger Bridge. According to the Department of Justice, once officers arrived they began shooting into the crowd, killing two men, a teenager named James Brissette and 40-year-old Ronald Madison, a man with mental disabilities. Four others were shot, including Susan Bartholomew, who lost an arm in the shooting.

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 Colorlines.com’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, Colorlines.com’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 Colorlines.com 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

BlackEnterprise.com 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.”

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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]

Colorlines.com’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.

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