Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Watch Jeremy Lin’s First NBA Dunk [Video]

Watch Jeremy Lin's First NBA Dunk [Video]

Jeremy Lin had another big game last night against the Wizards. Watch He his first NBA dunk above.

One Asian fan held up a sign reading: “Who says we can’t drive?” in reference to Lin being a driving force to the Knick’s three wins since the Knicks headcoach Mike D’Antoni handed the keys to the offense over to Lin.

For more on Lin’s history in the NBA read Jamilah King’s “The Subtle Bigotry That Made Jeremy Lin the NBA’s Most Surprising Star.”

TAGS: Jeremy Lin NBA

Guy In Blackface Asks Brigham Young Students About Black History Month [Video]

Guy In Blackface Asks Brigham Young Students About Black History Month [Video]

File this one under bizarre.

Dave Ackerman, 31, a comedian based in Utah dresses up in blackface and went to the Brigham Young campus to ask questions about black historical figures.

“During the filming of this video only 3 people said anything about me not really being black… which I find disturbing,” Ackerman says in the end of the video.

On his Facebook page, Ackerman actually likens his video to Franchesca Ramsey’s “Shit white girls say to black girls” video.

He says he’s conducting a social experiment, but is it if he’s in blackface?

Activist Patricia Stephens Due Dead at 72

Activist Patricia Stephens Due Dead at 72

Patricia Stephens Due, the lifelong Florida civil rights crusader who led 1960s-era demonstrations and voter-registration drives and went to jail for 45-days for trying to integrate a lunch counter died Tuesday. She was 72.

The Root.com on Due’s legacy: 

The 72-year-old, whom they called the Joan of Arc of the civil rights movement in Tallahassee, Fla., succumbed on Tuesday after a long fight with thyroid cancer. She died in Atlanta, where she had moved to to be closer to her three daughters.

During the civil rights era’s peak in the 1960s, Due led demonstrations at segregated theaters and pools and conducted voter-registration drives. Her landmark moment was a “jail-in” at Florida A&M when she and eight other black students tried to integrate a Tallahassee lunch counter. When faced with paying a fine or going to jail, she chose the latter. Her courage attracted the attention of Martin Luther King Jr., who sent her a letter in jail. Her activism garnered her an FBI file that ran more than 400 pages.

Florida officials honored her contributions last year by naming May 11 Patricia Stephens Due Day in the state.




We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to submissions@colorlines.com, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.

Michelle Obama Can Do A Lot More Push-Ups than Jimmy Fallon [Video]

Michelle Obama Can Do A Lot More Push-Ups than Jimmy Fallon [Video]

First Lady Michelle Obama made an appearance on Tuesday night’s “Late Night” and got in to a friendly competition with host Jimmy Fallon.

CNN Suspends Roland Martin for Controversial Super Bowl Tweets

CNN Suspends Roland Martin for Controversial Super Bowl Tweets

The Washington Post received a statement from CNN stating Roland Martin will not be appearing on CNN “for the time being.”

“Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive. Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated. We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.”

Following retailer H&M’s Super Bowl commercial featuring soccer player David Beckham, Martin tweeted “if a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl.”

In response, GLAAD wrote: “.@rolandsmartin Advocates of gay bashing have no place at @CNN #SuperBowl #LGBT”

The back and forth continued until Roland issued an apology late Monday night.

Chris Brown Performing at Grammys on Third Anniversary of Fight with Rihanna

Chris Brown will join the Foo Fighters, David Guetta, and Lil Wayne at the Grammy awards on Sunday for a special performance highlighting dance/electronica music.

Brown’s high profile arrest for assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna happened early in the morning that he was slated to perform at the Grammys in 2009. His performance Sunday will mark his first return to the Grammys since the incident.

Strangely enough Rihanna is also slated to perform Sunday. (She’s performing on the main stage, Brown is performing outside in a tent.)

Organizers said last month that Rihanna, who has four nominations including album of the year for “Loud,” will sing with Coldplay on the Grammy stage.

And I’m not one to gossip, so you didn’t hear it from me… but rumor has it that Rihanna and Brown have been hanging out together. “Sources tell RumorFix that the Barbadian beauty held up rehearsals for the Grammys on the Sony lot in Los Angeles, while she was behind doors with her ex” for five hours!

Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank Execs Funding Pols Behind Minnesota Voter ID Push

Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank Execs Funding Pols Behind Minnesota Voter ID Push

On Wednesday, TakeAction Minnesota released a report that suggests executives from Minnesota’s three largest banks—Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and TCF—are at the center of the effort to restrict voter rights in the state.

The report, entitled “The 1% vs. Democracy in Minnesota: Following the Money Behind the Photo ID Amendment,” unravels the tangled web of campaign funding behind Republican legislators who are trying to secure a photo ID amendment on the November 2012 ballot. Civil rights advocates say such amendments will keep thousands of voters of color from the polls.

If the ballot measure succeeds it would bypass the state’s Democratic governor, who vetoed a similar bill last year.

“Over the past week, we’ve learned a lot about who would lose if photo ID becomes law — over 700,000 eligible Minnesota voters, including seniors, low-income persons, students, people of color, disabled and rural Minnesotans,” Dan McGrath, executive director of TakeAction Minnesota said at a news conference. “What hasn’t been discussed is who WINS when people can’t vote. That’s what this report outlines.”

McGrath presented his findings to reporters on Wednesday morning. A press release from TakeAction described McGrath’s presentation and findings:

McGrath walked reporters through the report’s key findings via two large charts displayed next to the podium which explained how banking executives put members of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) in the House leadership and then placed an attack on the voting rights of Minnesotans at the top of the 2012 legislative agenda. Voter ID legislation was initially introduce by Representative Mary Kiffmeyer when the new majorities took office.

According to the release, the report primarily establishes the huge sums of money that banking industry groups put into state campaigns and their significant support for members who are leading the photo ID effort. 

To read more about who would be affected the most by voter ID laws read “The Real Cost of the GOP’s Push for Voter ID Laws.”

The report is embedded below.

1% vs Democracy Report

Justice Sonia Sotomayor Rules for Goldilocks on Sesame Street [Video]

Justice Sonia Sotomayor Rules for Goldilocks on Sesame Street [Video]

Sesame Street recently got a visit from one wise Latina.

Starbucks Barista Draws ‘Chinky Eyes’ on Korean-American Customer’s Cup

Starbucks Barista Draws 'Chinky Eyes' on Korean-American Customer's Cup

First it was “Ching Chong” at Chick-Fil-A in Irvine then it was it was “Lady Chinky Eyes” at a Papa John’s in Harlem and now a Starbucks Barista in Georgia drawing “chinky eyes” on a cup to identify two Korean-American customers.

On January 9th, I wrote a story titled “Calling Asians Racist Slurs on Fast Food Receipts is Now a National Trend” about a growing number of incidents where fast food workers identify customers on receipts with a racist slur, or in this latest case, a drawing. At places like Starbucks and Jamba Juice the person taking customers’ orders is suppose to ask for the customers name to ensure they get the correct drink in a more efficient manner but as Angryasianman.com reports, that’s not always the case:

Last month at a Starbucks Coffee location in Alpharetta, Georgia, two Korean customers — who are not native English speakers — discovered that their barista had identified them by drawing “chinky eyes” on their drinks. You know, where they usually write your name? OH NO THEY DIDN’T. Yes, they did.

You cannot tell me those are both just two random squiggles on those cups. I’m told that the customers immediately complained to the store manager, who did not defend the drawings or offer some kind of bullshit explanation, but simply apologized. And that’s it. Oh, sorry for the racist way we run our coffee joint.

The caricatures were drawn at a Starbucks in Alpharetta where 72% of the population is white, while Asians make up 13.7 of the population, according to 2010 census data.

“I guess it’s too much to hope that the Starbucks employees in question would give a damn about the people in their neighborhood. Instead, two Asian customers were simply reduced to a wordless, racist caricature with the stroke of a pen,” Angryasianman.com went on to say.

Bankruptcy Attorneys Report Major Jump in Student Loan Debtors

Bankruptcy Attorneys Report Major Jump in Student Loan Debtors

Student loan debt is pushing an increasing number of young people and their parents toward bankruptcy, according to a survey released Tuesday by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA.)

The NACBA say they were one of the first groups to warn of the rising mortgage crisis and they’re now forecasting a “Student Loan Debt Bomb.”

“Take it from those of us on the frontline of economic distress in America,” said William E. Brewer Jr., the group’s president. “This could very well be the next debt bomb for the U.S. economy.”

One example the group cites is the class of 2005 borrowers who began repayments the year they graduated, one analysis found 25 percent became delinquent at some point and 15 percent defaulted. The Chronicle of Education puts the default rate on government loans at 20 percent.

Students are not alone in borrowing at record rates, so too are their parents. Loans to parents for the college education of children have jumped 75 percent since the 2005-2006 academic year. Parents have an average of $34,000 in student loans and that figure rises to about $50,000 over a standard 10-year loan repayment period. An estimated 17 percent of parents whose children graduated in 2010 took out loans, up from 5.6 percent in 1992-1993.

College seniors who graduated with student loans in 2010 owed an average of $25,250, up five percent from the previous year. Borrowing has grown far more quickly for those in the 35-49 age group, with school debt burden increasing by a staggering 47 percent.

The NACBA survey of 860 bankruptcy attorneys nationwide found that:
> More than four out of five bankruptcy attorneys (81 percent) say that potential clients with student loan debt have increased “significantly” or “somewhat” in the last three-four years. Overall, about half (48 percent) of bankruptcy attorneys reported significant increases in such potential clients.
>
> Nearly two out of five of bankruptcy attorneys (39 percent) have seen potential student loan client cases jump 25-50 percent in the last three-four years. An additional quarter (23 percent) of bankruptcy attorneys have seen such cases jump by 50 percent to more than 100 percent.
>
> Most bankruptcy attorneys (95 percent) report that few student loan debtors are seen as having any chance of obtaining a discharge as a result of undue hardship.

“Even in the best of economic times when jobs are plentiful, young people with considerable debt burdens end up delaying life-cycle events such as buying a car, purchasing a home, getting married and having children,” said John Rao, attorney, National Consumer Law Center and vice president at NACBA.”Piling up student loans in middle age is even more troublesome. And parents who take out loans for children or co-sign loans will find those loans more difficult to pay as they stop working and their incomes decline.”

Last October President Obama introduced a plan called the “Pay As You Earn” plan that would cap federal student loan payments at 10 percent of the borrowers discretionary income. Any remaining debt would be forgiven after 20 years.

TAGS: student debt

Rep. Barbara Lee Recognizes Black HIV/AIDS Awareness on House Floor

Rep. Barbara Lee Recognizes Black HIV/AIDS Awareness on House Floor

Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) recognized National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on the House floor.

“After more than 30 years of struggle, our collective progress reflects the heights that can be reached when all stakeholders work together to achieve common goals. Now is not the time to stop and we look forward to working with our colleagues until an end of AIDS becomes the reality of our lifetime,” Lee said earlier in a statement.






We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to submissions@colorlines.com, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.

Roland Martin Insists He’s Not Coaching Bullies on #Teamwhipdatass

Roland Martin Insists He's Not Coaching Bullies on #Teamwhipdatass

CNN’s Roland Martin offered what he called “final thoughts” last night on the uproar over his controversial tweets during the Super Bowl. Both GLAAD and National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) have said Martin promoted violence against gays.

On Sunday Martin tweeted: “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl” and “Who the hell was that New England Patriot they just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass”

Martin says now that his comments were about soccer, not gay men, and that they were deliberately over-the-top jokes. Though, it wasn’t Martin’s first turn with controversy over his comments about LGBT people. 

“Even if he meant it in a jovial manner, Roland Martin’s words carry a real impact on the everyday lives of Black LGBT people, especially our youth. Given the number of rash murders, attacks and violent acts involving LGBT people of color, we cannot let statements such as this go unchecked. Silence is a form of acceptance and only perpetuates the problem,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director of the NBJC, the nation’s largest black LGBT civil rights organization.

On Monday night Martin took to his blog and said he was sorry that his comments were misconstrued. In a post titled “Final Thoughts On Super Bowl-Twitter Controversy,” Martin wrote:

My joking about smacking someone, whether it was in response to a commercial or food they prepare for a Super Bowl party or wearing an opposing team’s jersey, was stated in jest. It was not meant literally, and in no way would I ever condone someone doing such a thing.

As I said repeatedly, I often make jokes about soccer in the U.S., and my crack about David Beckham’s commercial was related to that and not to anyone’s sexuality. To those who construed my comment as being anti-gay or homophobic or advancing violence, I’m truly sorry. I can certainly understand how someone could come to a different conclusion than the one I meant.

I’m disheartened that my words would embolden prejudice. While public debate over social issues is healthy, no matter which side someone takes, there is no room for debate as to whether we need to be respectful of others.

Colorlines.com editor Kai Wright, of #teamproudtowearpink, said Martin still misses the point. “Whether Roland Martin was talking about soccer is entirely beside the point. He was shaming and advocating violence against people who don’t fit his outdated idea of manhood, and it wasn’t funny. It’s not been funny previously, either. It’s precisely the kind of casual harassment that people who refuse to live under Martin’s gender rules face every day. Martin says he’s sorry that I misunderstood. Whatever. I’m sorry he still won’t explore why he feels it so comical that I wear pink.”

CDC: 1 in 16 Black Men Will Be Diagnosed with HIV During Their Lifetime

CDC: 1 in 16 Black Men Will Be Diagnosed with HIV During Their Lifetime

“On this National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we have greater opportunity than ever before to reverse the HIV epidemic in Black America and the nation as a whole,” Kevin A. Fenton, Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS at the Centers for Disease Control, said on Monday.

“HIV touches every corner of black communities,” Fenton went on to say in a statement. Below is an excerpt from Fenton’s statement on state of black HIV/AIDS rates in the U.S. and what the CDC is doing about it:

The impact of HIV has been devastating among black youth, with approximately 40 percent of new infections among blacks now occurring among those between the ages of 13 and 29. Young black gay and bisexual men are the most severely affected, experiencing a nearly 50 percent increase in new HIV infections over the past few years. In addition, HIV is now the third leading cause of death among black women in the prime of their lives - those aged 35 to 44 years.

To turn the tide on this epidemic, we must confront the complex social and environmental conditions that help fuel the HIV epidemic in African-American communities. Lack of access to health care plays a role. We know that those who don’t have the means to see a health care provider may not get an HIV test or treatment until it’s too late. We also know that nearly 1 in 5 African-Americans are without health insurance.

In addition, where you live and choose sexual partners also has a significant impact on your HIV risk. Higher rates of HIV in black communities and the fact that African-Americans tend to select partners who are of the same race increases the likelihood of being exposed to HIV infection with each sexual encounter.

We must also tackle factors such as homophobia and stigma - far too prevalent in many communities - that prevent too many in the black community from getting tested, and if HIV positive, from getting treated. And we must speak out about HIV and begin to shed light on these issues that continue to hide in the dark.

At CDC, HIV prevention in black communities remains one of our top priorities. Last year, we invested more than half of our HIV prevention budget to fight HIV among African-Americans. We’ve expanded initiatives to reach more African-Americans with HIV testing, increased the number and reach of HIV prevention programs in black communities, and are working with our partners, like those in the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative, to launch campaigns aimed at increasing HIV testing and awareness among black women and black gay and bisexual men, among other groups.

Fenton went on to call on the faith community, public health and community leaders, teachers, parents, and business leaders - both within and outside black communities - to “maximize the powerful tools we have at our fingertips and to work together to bring this epidemic to an end. “

An analysis by the Black AIDS Institute found that if black America were its own country, it would rank 16th in the world in the number of people with HIV — ahead of Ethiopia, Botswana, and Haiti.

ICE Creates Public Advocate Position to Serve ‘Those in Immigration Proceedings’

As part of the agency’s ongoing detention reform the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced its first Public Advocate position that is supposed to “serve as a point of contact for individuals, including those in immigration proceedings, non-governmental organizations and other community and advocacy groups, who have concerns, questions, recommendations or other issues they would like to raise.”

“As our first Public Advocate, Andrew Lorenzen-Strait will work to expand and enhance our dialogue with the stakeholder community,” said ICE Director John Morton in a statement. “We want the public to know that they have a representative at this agency whose sole duty is to ensure their voice is heard and their interests are recognized, and I’m confident Andrew will serve the community well in this capacity.”

“This is part of the other package of reforms the Obama administration is taking up to address ICE abuses, including the cases of U.S. citizens who are mistakenly detained by immigration authorities,” said Julianne Hing, Colorlines.com’s immigration reporter. “My sense though is that the appointment is a largely symbolic gesture that won’t get to the root of the problems with ICE’s rampant racial profiling and mistaken detention of U.S. citizens.”

Lorenzen-Strait has served with ICE since 2008, first as an advisor and analyst on policies related to immigration enforcement, detention and juveniles and most recently, as the senior advisor for Enforcement and Removal Operation’s (ERO) detention management division.

Recently ICE also established an 1-800 hotline for detainees claiming U.S. Advocates say ICE would do better to halt programs like Secure Communities than patch things up with these sorts of minor reforms.

Hoekstra Also has a Weird ‘Debbie Spend it Now’ Website

Hoekstra Also has a Weird 'Debbie Spend it Now' Website

Turns out Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra, the man behind infamous “Debbie Spend it Now” commercial, also has a racist web site.

Critics are pointing to html code behind the website describes the Asian woman seen in his commercial and website as “yellowgirl.”

“The image in question was originally named yellowshirtgirl but was mistakenly shortened in one place. It’s that simple,” web consultant who worked on the site Kristen Luidhardt told TPM.

The HTML code has since been updated to read “yellowshirtgirl.”

Politico reports Hoekstra is unapologetic and thinks the controversy is exciting. More from Politico.com:

Hoekstra was far from apologetic Monday — and even declared his excitement that the ad had stirred up such controversy. “It hits Debbie smack dab between the eyes where she is vulnerable,” he said Monday on a previously scheduled conference call with reporters. “We knew we were taking an aggressive approach on this. I’m excited … it has jump-started the debate,” he said.

Hoekstra also told reporters Monday that his ad is “insensitive” only to the spending philosophy of Stabenow and Democratic President Barack Obama.

TAGS: ads

Univision in Talks With ABC News to Launch 24-hour Cable News Network

A “long-brewing business plan” between the Walt Disney Co. and Univision Communications Inc. to create a new 24-hour cable-news channel that will broadcast in English was uncovered by the Washington Post on Tuesday.

Univision recently started offering english subtitles on their Spanish-language telenovelas and also launched an english language daily news blog on Tumblr. All signs that point to the network reaching out to a latino english speaking audience, insiders say.

Univision News’ site describes the organization as the “#1 source for uncompromising, bold coverage of current events from a Latino perspective - in English.”

Univision and ABC News have previously teamed up to conduct polls on Latino voters. 

“The demographics are favorable. The channel would be geared toward English-speaking Hispanics in the United States, whose numbers are growing,” the NY Times’ Brian Stelter said about the plan.” Many advertisers want more ways to reach Hispanics, and big media companies want to help.”

The partnership may also be part of a cost-saving strategy. “Network news divisions like ABC have been under financial pressure for some time now. By sharing some resources with Univision, ABC could trim some of the news gathering costs it incurs,” Stelter went on to say.

Univision is owned by a consortium of partners, including the Saban Capital Group and TPG Capital. ABC News is owned by the Walt Disney Inc.

Prop. 8 Ruled Unconstitutional

Prop. 8 Ruled Unconstitutional

On Tuesday a three-judge panel of the 9th US circuit court of appeals decided California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in a 2-1 decision.

“Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said.

The ruling upheld a decision by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who struck down the ballot measure in 2010 after holding an unprecedented trial on the nature of sexual orientation and the history of marriage.

Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage nationwide, issued the following statement in response to the ruling:

“Today’s powerful court ruling striking down the infamous Prop 8 affirms basic American values and helps tear down a discriminatory barrier to marriage that benefits no one while making it harder for people to take care of their loved ones. The Ninth Circuit rightly held that a state simply may not take a group of people and shove them outside the law, least of all when it comes to something as important as the commitment and security of marriage. We salute the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which brought this challenge to Prop 8.

 “This monumental appellate decision restores California to the growing list of states and countries that have ended exclusion from marriage, and will further accelerate the surging nationwide majority for marriage. As this and other important challenges to marriage discrimination move through the courts around the country, Freedom to Marry calls on all Americans to join us in ensuring that together we make as strong a case in the court of public opinion as our legal advocates are making in the courts of law. By growing the majority for marriage, winning more states, and tackling federal discrimination - Freedom to Marry’s ‘Roadmap to Victory’ - we maximize our chances of winning when one case or another finally reaches the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Backs of Proposition 8 said they plan to appeal to a larger 9th circuit panel and then to the US Supreme Court.

The Court’s decision is embdded below:


Ninth Circuit Proposition 8 Opinion Ruling

House GOP Memo: ‘Abortion Is Leading Cause of Death’ for Blacks

House GOP Memo: 'Abortion Is Leading Cause of Death' for Blacks

A House GOP memo obtained by Mother Jones argues for a “prenatal discrimination bill” by referring to “black abortions” as distinct from abortions in general and claiming that “abortion is the leading cause of death in the black community.” Republicans on the House judiciary committee will meet Tuesday to mark up H.R. 3514, also known as Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act.

H.R. 3514 was introduced by Congressman Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican. Mother Jones’ Nick Baumann provides more details:

Franks’ bill, which is also known as H.R. 3514, didn’t make it out of committee when it was introduced in the last Congress. But the fact that it’s now receiving a markup—a key step on the way to a floor vote—and that 78 cosponsors have signed on suggests that it could proceed to a vote of the full House before November’s elections. In addition to banning abortions based on the race or gender of the fetus, H.R. 3514 would give a woman’s family members the ability to sue abortion providers if they believed an abortion was obtained based on race or sex. Critics warn that it would be next to impossible to prove that an abortion was obtained on the basis of race or gender and fear the provision could lead to nuisance suits against abortion providers by family members who are opposed to abortion on principle.

In a story published on Colorlines.com last year Miriam Zoila Pérez offered some historical context on states having opinions and control on women’s reproduction:

Women’s reproduction has long been at the mercy of state control, particularly for women of color. For black women, this history dates back to slavery. As Dorothy Roberts outlined in her seminal 1998 book, “Killing the Black Body,” women held in bondage had no control over their fertility whatsoever, and they were relied upon and manipulated in order to produce the next generation of labor. Even after emancipation, eugenics and paternalistic ideas about who was fit to reproduce influenced government policy in the U.S. These policies overwhelmingly impacted the lives and health of women of color, as well as low-income women, women with disabilities and others deemed “unfit.” There is a deep history of forced sterilization across communities of color—some of which actually did result in the near elimination of certain Native American tribes.

These practices are not ancient history, and many incarnations still exist today: primarily through economic and social welfare programs that limit women’s access to certain forms of contraception or place caps on how many children they can have when receiving welfare. For example, undocumented women I worked with in Pennsylvania were able to get coverage for sterilization as part of their emergency medical coverage during pregnancy, but could not receive coverage for other forms of birth control since their Medicaid ran out shortly after giving birth. Women’s reproduction—but more specifically, the reproduction of women of color and low-income women—remains a practice in which the government is invested and deeply entwined.

Pérez also points out black women do have more abortions but there’s a lot more to the story:

anti_abortion_crop_022411.jpg

So why are African-American women having so many more abortions than other groups? Most reproductive rights and health advocates say it’s because of a much higher rate of unintended pregnancy among black women, a fact that is supported by data: black women have an unintended pregnancy rate three times that of white women, according to Guttmacher. This imbalance derives from larger health disparities: lack of access to health care, lower rates of contraceptive use, and higher rates of untreated STDs and of preventive disease overall.

Groups like the Radiance Foundation, in their language about abortion as “genocide” and “holocaust,” imply instead a larger conspiracy, perhaps promoted by government, to threaten the black community. And like other public health conspiracy theories that have circulated in black neighborhoods over the years, the assertion is rooted in a very real and troubling history.

The House GOP memo is available on Mother Jones.

Karen Handel Resigns From Komen Foundation

Karen Handel Resigns From Komen Foundation

Karen Handel just announced her resignation as a senior vice president for public policy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure on Tuesday morning.

“I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization,” Handel wrote in her resignation letter.

Although Komen reversed their decision to end grants to Planned Parenthood last week, news has continued to surface that Handel was behind the decision.

Published in it’s entirety, below is Handel’s resignation letter:

February 7, 2012

The Honorable Nancy Brinker

CEO, Susan G. Komen for the Cure VIA EMAIL

5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 250

Dallas, Texas 75244

Dear Ambassador Brinker:

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has been the recognized leader for more 30 years in the fight against breast cancer here in the US - and increasingly around the world.

As you know, I have always kept Komen’s mission and the women we serve as my highest priority - as they have been for the entire organization, the Komen Affiliates, our many supporters and donors, and the entire community of breast cancer survivors. I have carried out my responsibilities faithfully and in line with the Board’s objectives and the direction provided by you and Liz.

We can all agree that this is a challenging and deeply unsettling situation for all involved in the fight against breast cancer. However, Komen’s decision to change its granting strategy and exit the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood and its grants was fully vetted by every appropriate level within the organization. At the November Board meeting, the Board received a detailed review of the new model and related criteria. As you will recall, the Board specifically discussed various issues, including the need to protect our mission by ensuring we were not distracted or negatively affected by any other organization’s real or perceived challenges. No objections were made to moving forward.

I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization. Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone’s political beliefs or ideology. Rather, both were based on Komen’s mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy. I believe that Komen, like any other nonprofit organization, has the right and the responsibility to set criteria and highest standards for how and to whom it grants.

What was a thoughtful and thoroughly reviewed decision - one that would have indeed enabled Komen to deliver even greater community impact - has unfortunately been turned into something about politics. This is entirely untrue. This development should sadden us all greatly.

Just as Komen’s best interests and the fight against breast cancer have always been foremost in every aspect of my work, so too are these my priorities in coming to the decision to resign effective immediately. While I appreciate your raising a possible severance package, I respectfully decline. It is my most sincere hope that Komen is allowed to now refocus its attention and energies on its mission.

Sincerely,

Romney: “I Also Feel Government Should Cut Off Funding to Planned Parenthood”

Romney:

In an interview on Monday, when asked whether he thinks Komen should provide funds to Planned Parenthood, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said “I don’t think so.”

“I also feel that the government should cut off funding to Planned Parenthood,” Romney told talk radio host Scott Hennen. “Look, the idea that we’re subsidizing an institution that provides abortion, in my view, is wrong. Planned Parenthood oughta stand on its own feet and should not get government subsidy.”

Romney had remained fairly quiet on his stance on sexual reproduction politics until earlier this week when President Obama released the January jobs report that pointed to signs of a better economy.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57372313-503544/romney-joins-fight-on-contraception-rules/?tag=cbsnewsMainColumnArea“With the U.S. economy improving, Mitt Romney is expanding his focus to other areas of attack against President Obama, and on Monday honed in on a social issue - contraception - that he has rarely discussed on the stump,” CBS News pointed out.

During a January debate, Romney brushed aside a question about whether he would support a state ban on the sale of contraceptive drugs and devices as a “silly” non-issue.

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