Trayvon Martin Petition Calls for Federal Help After Fla. State Attorney Decision

Trayvon Martin Petition Calls for Federal Help After Fla. State Attorney Decision

Civil rights group on Monday launched a campaign calling on the US Department of Justice to take over the case of Trayvon Martin, arrest the man who shot him, and launch an independent investigation into the Sanford Police Department’s unwillingness to protect Martin’s civil rights.

“The tragic killing of Trayvon Martin and subsequent mishandling of this case by Sanford police is yet another reminder that to some, simply being Black in America is a crime,” ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson said in a statement.. “While the campaign for justice in this case will not bring back Trayvon, this is an opportunity for people of all races to stand with his family and families across the country who have seen the impact of a justice system that places so little values on the lives and dignity of Black people.”

In an email to members, the organization makes the case that Sanford police botched their questioning of Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood that shot and killed Martin. ColorOfChange members are now signing a petition calling on federal intervention on the grounds that Sanford police refused to take the full statements of witnesses and pressured neighbors to side with the shooter’s claim of self-defense.

According to ColorOfChange, Sanford police have moved Martin’s case over to the State’s Attorneys office who is claiming that there is not enough evidence to support even a manslaughter conviction.

Jeremy Lin Set To Announce First Global Endorsement Deal with Volvo

Jeremy Lin and Volvo are set to make a major announcement on Monday at 5:00pm EST time. Volvo Cars of North America sent out invitations to the press conference announcing “a dynamic marketing partnership with Jeremy Lin, the popular New York Knicks point guard.”

Although Jeremy Lin sports Nike shoes during games and is said to be in the works to create his own show with the athletic wear company, he has yet to announce any major endorsements.

Woman Behind ‘Don’t Re-Nig 2012’ Stickers Insists They’re Not Racist

Woman Behind 'Don't Re-Nig 2012' Stickers Insists They're Not Racist

The online store that originally started selling “Don’t Re-Nig 2012” stickers has been taken down but now a second site is selling the bumper stickers and the owner has no qualms about selling the sticker. has an exclusive interview with Paula Smith, the Hinesville. Georgia woman behind Ms. Smith insists she’s not racist. Her defense? “Obama is not even black. He’s got a mixture of race. It’s his choice of what his nationality is.”

Trayvon Martin Shooter ‘Focused on Young, Black Males’, Says New Report

Trayvon Martin Shooter 'Focused on Young, Black Males', Says New Report

More details are emerging of George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old Miami man who’s making national headlines for killing unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin a month ago and running free. Zimmerman, who admitted to shooting the teen, said he fired in self-defense and has not been arrested in the case.

A look at the local police department’s history includes two other cases in which the Sanford Police Department was accused of giving favorable treatment to relatives of officers involved in violent encounters with blacks.

Happy 100th Birthday to Bayard Rustin, “Resister Extraordinaire”

Happy 100th Birthday to Bayard Rustin,

Tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of the day civil rights organizer Bayard Rustin was born. It’s a milestone in and of itself, but little occasion’s needed to remember the visionary organizer and activist.

Rustin was a master strategist who all but created the model of post-World War II nonviolent social movements in the U.S. He championed nonviolent tactics and introduced the Gandhian protest tactics that would become one of the hallmarks of the Civil Rights Movement. He’s best known for organizing the March on Washington in 1963, after which he was anointed the title of “Socrates” of the Civil Rights Movement.

“Stop Kony” Invisible Children Co-Founder Detained by San Diego Police

Jason Russell, co-founder of Invisible Children, the group that shot to worldwide fame for its #StopKony campaign, has been detained by San Diego police, reports NBC.

From NBC San Diego:

Jason Russell, 33, was allegedly found masturbating in public, vandalizing cars and possibly under the influence of something, according to Lt. Andra Brown. He was detained at the intersection of Ingraham Street and Riviera Road.

Brown said Russell was acting very strange.

Police said they received several calls yesterday at 11:30 a.m. of a man in various stages of undress, running through traffic and screaming. Police described him as “in his underwear.”

From Alabama to Seoul: HB 56 Fight Moves to Hyundai Shareholders Meeting

From Alabama to Seoul: HB 56 Fight Moves to Hyundai Shareholders Meeting

Civil and immigrant rights advocates have made good on their promises to engage big business over Alabama’s HB 56, the nation’s harshest anti-immigrant state law. And they’re following them across the world to do so. A delegation of U.S.-based advocates presented at Hyundai’s annual shareholder meeting in Seoul this week to get the company to speak out about HB 56.

In recent months, a coalition of immigrant rights groups has sent letters to foreign companies with manufacturing sites in Alabama to invite them to pressure lawmakers to repeal HB 56. So far, Hyundai’s made no move either way.

The Korean automaker’s business amounts to two percent of Alabama’s GDP, said Wade Henderson, president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Together with Daimler AG and Honda, the automakers’ investments in Alabama amount to 45,000 jobs and $4.8 billion in wages, Henderson said.

Study: Racial Discrimination Leads to Higher Smoking Rates

Study: Racial Discrimination Leads to Higher Smoking Rates

When people feel like they’re being discriminated against, no matter their race, they’re more likely to turn to smoking. Those are the new findings of researchers who looked at how perceived discrimination affects smoking rates.

“We found that regardless of race or ethnicity, the odds of current smoking were higher among individuals who perceived that they were treated differently because of their race, though racial and ethnic minority groups were more likely to report discrimination,” said Washington University in St. Louis professor James Purnell, a co-author of a new study out in the American Journal of Public Health.

TAGS: smoking

Tyler Clementi’s Webcam Spying Roommate Convicted of Hate Crime

Dharun Ravi, a former Rutgers student who was accused of spying on and intimidating Tyler Clementi, his gay roommate who later committed suicide, faces a maximum of ten years in prison after jurors found him guilty on charges of invasion of privacy this morning. It was a mixed verdict.

From CNN:

The most serious charges in the Rutgers case centered on whether Ravi’s actions had constituted bias intimidation, meaning that he was motivated to inspire fear in the Ridgewood, New Jersey, native because of his sexual orientation. Those charges carry jail time of up to 10 years and possible deportation back to his native India.

Prosecutors have said that Ravi tried to embarrass Clementi because he was gay.

Actress Sonja Sohn Talks About Her Love for Baltimore After ‘The Wire’

Actress Sonja Sohn Talks About Her Love for Baltimore After 'The Wire'

HBO’s “The Wire” has been off the air for four years, but it’s still having an impact — and not just in Hollywood. Actress Sonja Sohn, who starred on the show as police detective Shakima “Kima” Greggs, ended up sticking around town after its final season to start a non-profit called “ReWired for Change” that helps formerly incarcerated people transition back into everyday life. Sohn recently told NPR that the idea to start the organization came to her in 2008 as she toured the country with the rest of her cast members in an effort to get out the vote:

“We thought, ‘Hey, if we can pull folks off the basketball courts in Charlotte to go vote … what else could we do?’ At that point, we thought we just couldn’t use this social capital to promote our careers — it seemed so small,” she says. “So when I came up with this idea that we start this nonprofit, the fellows all liked the idea and they said, ‘We don’t have time to run it, but if you can run it, we got your back,’ and they became the founding members of the organization.”

Her profile over at NPR goes into much more detail, including her personal and professional struggles, and the moment when she wanted to quit the celebrated show.


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As iPads Bolster Apple Shares, Demonstrators Prepare for Nationwide Protests

As iPads Bolster Apple Shares, Demonstrators Prepare for Nationwide Protests

Apple Inc. stock hit the $600 mark Thursday afternoon, just one day ahead of the company releasing it’s brand new third generation iPad. Analysts believe share prices could go up to $960 in the next year as the smartphone and tablet trend continues.

That’s exactly why Demonstrators will be protesting outside of Apple stores in San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., on Friday. As Apple’s market grows, demonstrators are calling on Apple to create a worker protection strategy to prevent workplace abuse, injury, and death in the factories that produce new iPad and iPhones.

March Madness Crowd Chants ‘Where’s Your Green Card’ at Latino Player

March Madness Crowd Chants 'Where's Your Green Card' at Latino Player

When Kansas State’s point guard Angel Rodriguez (who’s Puerto Rican) went to take foul shots some in the crown started chanting “Where’s your green card?”

Think Progress with more details:

During their school’s NCAA Tournament game against Kansas State University today, members of the Southern Mississippi University band chanted, “Where’s your green card?” at a Puerto Rican Kansas State player.

Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez, who was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and played high school basketball in Miami, Florida, was fouled while shooting during the first half of today’s game in Pittsburgh. As Rodriguez stepped to the foul line, the chants, reportedly started by Southern Miss band members, began.

The irony of it all is that those born in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are actually U.S. citizens.

(The chant may be tough to hear without earphones.) 

Rihanna on Working With Chris Brown: ‘It’s Music and It’s Innocent’

Rihanna on Working With Chris Brown: 'It's Music and It's Innocent'

Rihanna was a guest on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show Thursday morning and said she decided to work with Chris Brown again because he’s the “hottest R&B artist out right now.” Her comments mark the first time she has commented publicly about the controversial remixes.

“The first song that came about was ‘Birthday Cake’ … we ended up recording [the two songs] at the same time and executing them together,” she explained on to Seacrest. “But I reached out to [Brown] about doing ‘Birthday Cake’ because that’s the only person that, really, it made sense to do the record.

Race Discussions Blow Up at SXSW Premiere of LA Riots Documentary

Race Discussions Blow Up at SXSW Premiere of LA Riots Documentary

“Uprising: Hip Hop and The L.A. Riots” premiered at SXSW on Wednesday night. The VH1 documentary examines the relationship between what was happening on the streets before the 1992 uprising and the rage expressed in hip-hop music.

The film, directed by Mark Ford, includes a well researched and compelling mix of archival footage from both local television news camera and video shot by community members on the ground—a lot of which has has never been broadcasted before. Interweaved throughout the film are interviews with well known figures and hip hop artists including: Rodney King, Arsenio Hall, John Singleton, Too Short, KRS-One, Nas and Sir Jinx. Current LAPD Chief Charlie Beck was also interviewed along with former chiefs Bernard Parks and William Bratton. (There were not very many women included in the film.)

American Idol Expels Black Finalist, Puts Criminal Record on Blast

American Idol Expels Black Finalist, Puts Criminal Record on Blast

American Idol is about making dreams come true but on Wednesday night’s show producers not only cut some dreams short but they also humiliated a contestant when they put his criminal justice history on blast.

“The fact is we are not allowed to have anybody that has an outstanding warrant on the program — and you have four of them against you,” one of the producers told 25-year old Jermaine Jones.

Seems like it was an obvious decision that had to be made but did they have to parade him around and broadcast his business to 17 million viewers?

Romney’s Mexican Relatives Wish He’d Get on Board with DREAM Act

Romney's Mexican Relatives Wish He'd Get on Board with DREAM Act

GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has promised to veto the DREAM Act several times. DREAM activist have also pressed him multiple times on the subject, including interrupting a recent victory speech in Massachusetts with DREAM Act chants.

But now the pressure is coming from Romneys own Mexican relatives.

“Ellos (the Dreamers) no han hecho nada malo (they have done nothing wrong),” one of Romney’s relatives said in an interview aired Monday on Univision. “The U.S. certainly could use their talents.”

(h/t: NY Daily News)

Celebrate Pi Day with Mathematician Euphemia Lofton Haynes

Celebrate Pi Day with Mathematician Euphemia Lofton Haynes

It’s March 14, which means it’s Pi Day!

(For our readers whose nerdiness manifests in non-math arenas: pi, or π, is the ratio of any circle’s circumference to its diameter. This works out to be approximately 3.14, but not exactly; the true value has been being calculated for literally thousands of years, and has raised all sorts of questions about what a weird universe we live in. But for our purposes, 3.14 = March 14.)

Since we’re talking about math today, let’s talk about a less inspiring numerical constant: the number of people of color and women in STEM fields. In 1999, black women made up less than one quarter of one percent of mathematicians; in 2009, only two percent of math and statistics doctorate degrees were issued to black women. The numbers aren’t much better for anyone who isn’t a white man, and in some cases are getting worse. And yes, the ‘overachieving Asian’ archetype is more complex than it looks.

White Born-Again and Evangelical Christians Dominated Alabama and Mississippi GOP Primaries

White Born-Again and Evangelical Christians Dominated Alabama and Mississippi GOP Primaries

Mississippi has the highest African-American population of any state in the union but on Tuesday’s GOP primary around 8 in 10 Mississippians voters were white evangelical or born-again Christians, the largest share measured in any state, according to the Associated Press.

Meet Jimmy, the White Guy Who Made a Video About Why the Philippines is So Awful

Meet Jimmy, the White Guy Who Made a Video About Why the Philippines is So Awful

First there was Alexandra Wallace. Then than two-girls from that Gainesville High School that didn’t like black folk. And now there’s Jimmy Sieczka.

Meet Jimmy Sieczka, the white guy who made a 14-minute video about why he dislikes the Philippines so much. (Sieczka is currently a mentor at the International Academy of Film and Television in Cebu—he’s been there for three years.)

He goes on for 14-minutes complaining about lack of refrigeration at open air markets, traffic, being offered prescription drugs on the streets and how every hot girl in the Philippines is a “lady boy.” And even complains about how many skin lightening creams there are in the market. (yes, a white guy complaining about skin lightening products.)

TAGS: Videos WTF

‘Homeless Hotspots’ Miss Point on Dignity, Says Head of Street Newspaper Network

clarence-homeless-hotspot.jpgBartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), the advertising agency behind the “Homeless Hotspots” campaign that turned homeless people in to mobile wifi providers claims their idea was an attempt to “modernize the Street Newspaper model.” But the Director of the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) says the advertising agency missed the mark on dignity and self-respect.

Lisa Maclean is the executive director of INSP, the group that oversees over 100 street press projects in 40 countries, in 24 languages, with a combined readership of 6 million per edition.

She says since the first street paper launched 20 years ago, the model has been based on working, not begging.

“BBH’s interest in supporting homeless people is really commendable. But it misses a couple of crucial elements specific to the street paper model. Homeless vendors buy their copies for half the cover price, then sell them on and keep the profits. The buy and sell element is crucial in the process, as it is the transaction that makes the vendor a salesman, not the recipient of a donation,” Maclean wrote on INSP’s blog.

“Street papers offer vendors not just an income, but a sense of self-respect and dignity. At the same time, they put a face on homelessness by offering quality, independent journalism.”

(h/t: AdAge)

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