Gaza Ceasefire Holds for Second Day, Missouri Execution and One Billion Passwords Stolen

Gaza Ceasefire Holds for Second Day, Missouri Execution and One Billion Passwords Stolen

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

TAGS: Morning Rush

Oak Creek, Two Years After the Sikh Mass Murder

Oak Creek, Two Years After the Sikh Mass Murder

Today marks the second anniversary of the Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Sikh gurdwara shooting, a murder-suicide that claimed the lives of seven people. White supremacist Wade Michael Page shot and killed six people before turning this gun on himself. Mass murders have become almost commonplace in the United States—but one thing that sets this shooting apart is the racial hatred that motivated the attack.

Over at NBC News, civil and immigrant rights advocate Deepa Iyer writes about how the Oak Creek community is healing and rebuilding after the massacre:

The Sikh Healing Collective was formed to address the mental health and trauma needs with resources that integrate language, cultural and faith norms, especially to assist the children who lost parents in the shooting, or witnessed unspeakable violence while hiding in the gurdwara’s basement and kitchen pantry during the massacre.

Young Sikh Americans like Mandeep Kaur and Rahul Dubey began to take leadership positions both within the gurdwara and with non-Sikh groups, to better build partnerships and address the community’s needs as a whole. Similarly, Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi has plans to build connections between various race and faith groups in town with interfaith organizations and events.

And buoyed by the testimony of Harpreet Singh Saini before the Senate Judiciary Committee about losing his mother in the massacre, organizations around the country came together to successfully advocate Department of Justice to include categories of Sikh, Arab and Hindu in tracking hate crimes at the federal level.

You can read Iyer’s full dispatch over at NBC News. For full disclosure, Iyer is a board member of Race Forward, which publishes Colorlines. 

In Rare Move, McDonald’s Franchisee Speaks Out

In Rare Move, McDonald's Franchisee Speaks Out

Kathryn Slater-Carter owns a McDonald’s in Daly City, California, and she’s one of a few franchise owners speaking publicly about the minimum wage battle embroiling her industry. Slater-Carter is spearheading union-backed legislation in her state to give franchise owners more rights, a three-year-old effort getting more publicity since the National Labor Relations Board ruled recently that it will treat McDonald’s as a “joint employer” of fast-food workers. Before, McDonald’s could pass the buck on worker conditions to franchisees but this decision could potentially recalibrate the power balance between corporate and franchise owners. Slater-Carter explains that she and other owners are at the mercy of corporate decision-makers. She has a lot to say, too, about fast food workers and the challenges they face:

To be able to offer health insurance we would have had to raise prices significantly. And that’s on low-income people. Part of the problem is, and this is what I told the McDonald’s folks when they wanted us to lower our wages, the cost of living here is too high. …

[If McDonald’s workers unionized], I think the biggest negative effect would be that corporations, the big guys, couldn’t suck as much money off the top. I have mixed emotions on unions, and I told SEIU this. Sometimes I think the union benefits are a little over the top. But by the same token, in this stagnant economy that we’ve got, the little people are getting screwed. So I’m sure you know of the lawsuits for wage theft from the employees against McDonald’s operators in California. Wage theft is wrong, and it comes a point at which people do need to protect themselves and their interests. If they’re working, they deserve to be paid.

Read more at The Washington Post. And at The Nation, learn more about the new House bill designed to “make labor organizing a basic freedom no different than freedom from racial discrimination.”

On the American Perception of Israel’s War In Gaza

On the American Perception of Israel's War In Gaza

“What would you do if Hamas attacked you?”— That’s the question posed to Americans yesterday in a brief but powerful op-ed by author Peter Beinart in The Atlantic. It aims to explain why it’s so difficult for Americans in particular to criticize the state of Israel.

Revealingly, the question is rarely asked the other way: What would you do if your people had been under occupation for almost 50 years and your territory was blockaded by air, land, and sea? It’s rarely asked because we Americans can’t easily imagine ourselves as a stateless people. I suspect this goes to the heart of why people in the developing world generally identify more strongly with the Palestinians than Americans do. If you live in Nigeria or Pakistan, the experience of living under the control of another country yet not being a citizen of that country is fairly recent. (White) Americans, by contrast, have to go back all the way to 1776.

Read the rest at The Atlantic.

Junot Díaz and Edwidge Danticat In Conversation

Junot Díaz and Edwidge Danticat In Conversation

Junot Díaz and Edwidge Danticat have been friends for 20 years now. Danticat hails from Haiti and Díaz, across the border in the Dominican Republic. In the summer issue of Americas Quarterly the two immigrants from the island of Hispaniola discuss a shared responsibility to fight the Dominican Republic’s landmark constitutional ruling last September that left more than 200,000 people of Haitian descent stateless. Due to intense international pressure, including from Díaz and Danticat, the Dominican Republic this May established a pathway to citizenship. But the battle is far from won. As Danticat says, “Two novelists are not going to solve this problem”—but it’s always a treat to listen to them try anyway:

Why should the world—and especially citizens of the Americas—be paying attention to what’s going on in the Dominican Republic? Given that you are both children of the island of Hispaniola living in the U.S., why is this issue important to you?

DIAZ: …that island is my birthplace and one of my two homes; and if people like me don’t fight its injustices, don’t fight for the better future we deserve, who will? As a Dominican living in the U.S., it matters to me a whole hell of a lot that political elites in the D.R. are inflaming ethnic-racial hatred against Haitians to divide the pueblo and keep it from organizing against its real enemies—the elites themselves….

DANTICAT: Both Junot and I—correct me here if I am wrong, Junot—grew up in relative poverty on our respective sides of the island….

DIAZ: Oh yes, poverty aplenty.

DANTICAT: In both our lives, even when we were living on the island, we were also aware of our relative privilege when we traveled to see the relatives or spent time in the campo or the pwovens [rural provinces]. That makes you extraordinarily aware of what opportunity means. And it makes you hypersensitive to seeing not just a few but a slew of rights and opportunities being taken away in one swoop.

You hope you would always speak up. Even when the issue is not as clear as this. You hope you would speak up if someone is sleeping on the floor in an immigration cell in Texas, or if people are being tortured in Guantánamo, no matter what their nationality. People’s lives are being affected here in a way that touches their children and their children’s children.

Read the full interview on Americas Quarterly.

Truce in Gaza, Ebola Deaths Hit 887 and Nixon Tapes

Truce in Gaza, Ebola Deaths Hit 887 and Nixon Tapes

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • Target’s shares fall eight months after its massive data breach. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

PBS’s ‘America By the Numbers’ To Focus on Race This Fall

PBS's 'America By the Numbers' To Focus on Race This Fall Play

“America by the Numbers” is back with host and executive producer Maria Hinojosa. Back in 2012, the series focused on the small town of Clarkston, Georgia. This fall, it will focus more broadly on America’s changing racial demographics. 

“At a time when issues like immigration and health care are so hotly debated, this measured, smart series sheds refreshing light on communities and issues ranging from infant mortality rates among babies of color in New York to high school dropout rates among Cambodian youth in Long Beach,” said CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong. 

The series will premiere on Thursday, October 2. Here’s a list of what to expect from each episode, from the Center for Asian American Media’s Momo Chang:

“The New Mainstream”
In the original pilot episode, America By The Numbers explores the new multicultural mainstream through a portrait of Clarkston, Georgia, home to over 40 nationalities in a single square mile, and a laboratory for the future of our country. Once an organizing hub for the Ku Klux Klan, this small city outside of Atlanta went from 90 percent white to 82 percent non-white in 30 years after becoming a designated location for refugee resettlement. The series visits Clarkston to document how its daily realities reflect wider demographic trends and examine the collaborations and collisions that are occurring between old and new residents.

“Private Idaho”
It is estimated that by 2043, if not before, white Americans will no longer constitute a majority in the U.S. According to Census data, cities such as Coeur d’Alene, Idaho have some of the most concentrated and fastest growing white populations in the nation. Coeur d’Alene is also the former headquarters of the Aryan Nations. Local residents banded together to force the white separatists out, and some initiatives in Coeur d’Alene public schools now focus on diversity. While Coeur d’Alene remains 92 percent white, the composition of the town, and the state of Idaho, are changing. America By The Numberstravels to Coeur d’Alene to explore both the allure and complexity of living in an overwhelming white community, and what it means to be white in America today.

“Multicultural Mad Med”
It is estimated that consumers of color represent a $3 trillion market, and advertisers are taking particular notice of the rapidly growing purchasing power of Latinos. America By The Numbers goes to the Austin, Texas headquarters of LatinWorks, an award-winning ad agency at the forefront of efforts to win the attention of the growing multicultural market, to examine how advertisers of today are reframing their messaging to appeal to Latino consumers, and how these consumers are responding.

“Native American Boomtown”
The Bakken Oil Boom is bringing billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to North Dakota, but most people don’t know that 1/5 of North Dakota’s oil production comes from an Indian reservation. While the oil boom has led to more jobs and affluence for some, the more than 1,000 wells on the Fort Berthold Reservation have also attracted a huge influx of non-Indianoil workers, as well as increased drug trafficking, crime, and traffic accidents. America By The Numbers speaks to tribal members who are facing new threats along with new wealth, to assess the impact of the North Dakota oil boom on the Native American way of life.

“New American Politics”
America By The Numbers revisits Clarkston, Georgia to track candidates in the local 2013 election. This election could be historic for Clarkston, as three of the candidates running for Mayor and City Council are former refugees from Somalia and Bhutan, who are voting and running for office for the first time ever. The new American candidates say they decided to run for office after participating in the original pilot episode of America By The Numbers and screening event.

“Wounded Warriors”
Pacific Islanders, including citizens of Guam, serve at a disproportionately high rate in the U.S. armed forces, and also have the highest per capita rate of casualties and deaths in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But with no VA hospital on the island, returning Guamanian vets suffering from war-related injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are having greater difficulty getting access to care than their counterparts on the mainland. America By The Numbers examines the difficulties faced by these discrepancies in veteran care.

“Surviving Year One”
While the numbers for infant mortality are improving for the U.S. as a whole, women of color, especially African Americans and Latinas, are losing babies at alarming rates. Babies of color born in Rochester, New York have a greater chance of not living to their first birthdays than babies in developing countries such as Libya and Jamaica. America By The Numbers travels to Rochester, where researchers, doctors, and prenatal care programs are investing in initiatives that could make a difference.

“Model Minority Myth”
Asian Americans are the best-educated ethnic group in the U.S., and are seen as a “model minority.” However, Southeast Asian Americans have some of the lowest high school completion rates in the country. Research suggests that language barriers, inherited PTSD from refugee experiences, cultural alienation, and gang violence are contributing factors. America By The Numbers investigates in Long Beach, California, home to the largest Cambodian community in the U.S. “Model Minority Myth” is a part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a public media initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities across America address the dropout crisis.


‘Free Palestine’ Demonstrators Gather Outside White House

'Free Palestine' Demonstrators Gather Outside White House

An estimated 10,000 people demonstrated in Washington, DC this weekend calling for an end to violence between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The rally was billed as the largest pro-Palestinian march in the United States, Politico reports

The Washington Post’s coverage reveals what appears to have been a uniquely American gathering: 

Caya Cagri, 60, of Kensington, Md., and her sister, Beyhand Trock, 59, of Bethesda, Md., don’t agree in all their views about the conflict, but both showed up to support peace in Gaza.

“Our mother’s Jewish and our father’s a Muslim,” Cagri said, explaining the family’s Turkish roots. “They had three daughters; one married a Jew, one married a Muslim and one married a Catholic.”

Cagri’s husband is Catholic and Trock’s is Jewish.


House Passes Anti-Immigration Bills as Protest Grips D.C.

House Passes Anti-Immigration Bills as Protest Grips D.C.

The House of Representatives was set to go on vacation last Friday—but decided to extend its recess one day in order to pass two anti-immigration bills.

H.R. 5230 would speed up the process for deporting Central American children crossing the border into the United States and use some of the $694 million allotted in the bill to reimburse National Guard troops in Texas. The bill passed with the support of Texas Representative Henry Cuellar, who was the only Democrat to vote for the bill. Four Republicans voted against the bill, but it passed the House 223-189.

H.R. 5272 would essentially block President Obama from taking executive action on immigration. Obama introduced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program the summer leading up to the last election in 2012, and is expected to expand the program this summer. The House bill, which passed 216-192, seeks to stop that.

The House is now on vacation for five weeks. Neither bill is expected to pass through the Senate. Obama has made clear that he believes the House is simply sending messages with the bills.

Meanwhile, activists continue to put pressure on Obama to meet with those most affected by immigration policy. Activists from various cities rallied in D.C. on Saturday in a march rally organized by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. Two people hoisted massive banners 50 feet in the the from flag polls calling for an end to deportations. 

Israel Breaks Ceasefire, China Earthquake, and Ohio and Michigan’s Toxic Water

Israel Breaks Ceasefire, China Earthquake, and Ohio and Michigan's Toxic Water

Good Monday morning! Here’s some of the news I’m reading up on: 

  • Water in parts of Ohio and Michigan remains toxic, and boiling it only makes it worse. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Nearly Half of U.S. Children Have Experienced Trauma

Nearly Half of U.S. Children Have Experienced Trauma

Just under half of the children in the U.S. have experienced an “adverse experience” which can be classified as trauma, reports KPCC. The first term can seem like jargon, and the second can sound overly dramatic, but the experiences they describe are all too real—and common. A child who’s experienced homelessness, witnessed domestic violence at home, dealt with the loss of a caregiver like a grandparent or mother or who has an incarcerated parent, have all experienced “adverse experiences.” 

Researchers have been looking into the ways that these experiences can affect children’s brain development—and subsequently how kids fare in school. Unsurprisingly, it’s not typically for the better. The higher the number of adverse experiences a child has survived, the higher the likelihood that they’ll develop chronic diseases later in life such as alcoholism and depression.

Childhood trauma is more common than some might think, and while children’s experiences vary depending on their race, children of all races experience childhood trauma. Read Colorlines’ report on a new effort to recognize the role trauma plays in kids’ school lives.

Want to find out your personal Adverse Childhood Experience score? Take a questionnaire based on a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control.


Eric Garner’s Death Ruled a Homicide

Eric Garner's Death Ruled a Homicide

New York City’s medical examiner has ruled Eric Garner’s death a homicide. Garner was placed in a chokehold by NYPD officers during an arrest two weeks ago that was caught on video; in it, Garner is clearly heard saying that he’s unable to breathe. Chokeholds are against the police department’s policy, but remain common practice. 

According to NBC New York, the medical examiner concluded that NYPD officers’ actions caused Garner’s death:

The medical examiner said compression of the neck and chest, along with Garner’s positioning on the ground while being restrained by police during the July 17 stop on Staten Island, caused his death.

Garner’s health also played contributing factors.

The NYPD has yet to respond to the medical examiner’s conclusion. The Department of Justice has been keeping an eye on the case. 

No Charges for NYPD Cops Who Killed Kimani Gray

No Charges for NYPD Cops Who Killed Kimani Gray

Brooklyn’s district attorney’s office will not file charges against police officers who shot and killed Kimani Gray last year, CBS reported Wednesday.

Kimani Gray was standing with friends after a birthday party on March 9, 2013, says Gray’s mother, Carol. When officers from the Brooklyn South Anti-Crime Patrol approached Gray and other young men on East 52nd Street, Gray began acting “suspiciously,” CBS reported, before pulling out a gun. Officers shot and killed Gray.

As of Gray’s death last year, both officers involved in the shooting, Sgt. Mourad Mourad and Officer Jovaniel Cordova, had been named in five federal lawsuits alleging civil rights violations, illegal stops and false arrest, the New York Daily News reported.

On Thursday night family and community held a vigil for Gray on the corner where he was killed, News12 Brooklyn reported.

Broken Ceasefire, House Delays Vacay, and Gorgeous Velella Velellas

Broken Ceasefire, House Delays Vacay, and Gorgeous Velella Velellas

Here’s what I’m reading up on this first day of August: 

TAGS: Morning Rush

U.N. Warns Against Deportations of Child Migrants

U.N. Warns Against Deportations of Child Migrants

The deportations of child migrants have already begun, and if President Obama gets his way, many more will follow. On Thursday, outgoing U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the U.S. ought to protect the roughly 57,000 child migrants who’ve arrived here this year by themselves.

“I am particularly concerned because the United States appears to be taking steps to deport most of these children back,” Pillay told Reuters. “There are almost 100 reports of physical, verbal and sexual abuse by agents towards the children filed in a complaint by NGOs [non-governmental organizations].”

Reuters’ Stephanie Nebehay reported:

But Pillay said children should only be deported if their protection was guaranteed in the countries that are returned to.

Those needing international protection should be identified and granted protection in the United States, she said.

Mandatory detention of child migrants should only be a “last resort option” as it contravenes the legal principle of upholding a child’s best interests, she added.

Arthur Chu: Faking a Chinese Accent Is a Fraught Task

Arthur Chu: Faking a Chinese Accent Is a Fraught Task

Arthur Chu, best known as a controversial Jeopardy gameshow champion, happens to be a voice actor. And along the way, picking up work has meant being asked to fake a Chinese accent, one he grew up around but worked hard to wash clean from his diction. 

It’s an irony not lost on him, and he explores the sensitivities of it over at NPR’s Code Switch. Chu writes:

Nearly every Chinese immigrant I’ve met does, in fact, “talk like that,” because it’s almost impossible not to have a thick accent when your first language is as fundamentally phonetically different from English as Mandarin or Cantonese is.

But it’s equally true that every single Chinese-American kid born here I’ve met emphatically does not “talk like that.” In fact, there isn’t a Chinese-American accent the way there’s a distinct cadence to how black Americans or Latino Americans talk. Most Chinese-Americans have a pitch-perfect “invisible” accent for wherever they live.

The “Asian accent” tells the story of Chinese-American assimilation in a nutshell. Our parents have the accent that white Americans perceive as the most foreign out of all the possible alternatives, so our choice is to have no accent at all. The accent of our parents is the accent of the grimy streets of Chinatown with its mahjong parlors and fried food stalls and counterfeit jewelry, so we work to wipe away all traces of that world from our speech so we can settle comfortably into our roles as respectable middle-class doctors, lawyers, engineers, hundreds of miles from Chinatown.

No wonder we react so viscerally to the “ching-chong, ching-chong” schoolyard taunt. To attack our language, our ability to sound “normal,” is to attack our ability to be normal. It’s to attack everything we’ve worked for.

I’d caution against Chu’s generalizations about the speech and assimilation patterns of Chinese or Asian-Americans raised in the U.S. I can think of second-generation Asian-Americans I’ve met, for instance, who may not have an identifiable “Asian-American” accent, but do speak with tones inflected by the Latino or black and even Asian immigrant neighborhoods they were raised in. Still, it’s a thoughtful take from a person with a unique perspective on the voiceover industry. Read the rest at Code Switch.

Want to hear Arthur Chu’s voice? Listen to his demo. (Sorry, none feature a Chinese accent.)

Brokers Call East New York ‘The New Frontier’

Brokers Call East New York 'The New Frontier'

East New York is home to people of color—less than 4 percent of the population there is white. Many of its residents are also poor: In 2012, more than half of the population was eligible for some kind of public service due to low incomes. But will East New York stay a working class community of color? 

A new listing is interchangeably calling East New York the “New Frontier” and the “Next Frontier,” key terms that suggest a neighborhood that’s ripe for change by white residents. For instance, the eight units at 577 New Lots Avenue has been completely gutted and brokers are offering one and two bedroom apartments between $1,100 to $1,500 with no fee—cheap by some New York City standards, but much higher than many other apartments in the neighborhood. The ad, which literally reads, “come claim your LOT,” seems to target gentrifiers who are moving further east in search of cheaper housing.

Here are some photos from the New Lots listing:


(h/t Curbed NY)

Trans Girl’s Friend Helps Stop Stabbing Attack on D.C. Metro

Trans Girl's Friend Helps Stop Stabbing Attack on D.C. Metro

A 15-year-old transgender girl was stabbed in the back Wednesday while riding on a D.C. metro train. According to witnesses, 24-year-old Reginald Anthony Klaiber began verbally assaulting the teen before attacking her. One unnamed witness and friend of the teen told NBC News 4 that they intervened in the attack to protect her: “He pulled out a knife and he stabbed my friend. And that’s when I maced him.”

The girl is expected to recover from her injuries. Klaiber is charged with assault with a deadly weapon, which may carry an enhanced hate crime penalty because of the statements he made prior to the physical assault. 

Meet The Good Doctor At Mississippi’s Only Abortion Clinic

Meet The Good Doctor At Mississippi's Only Abortion Clinic

Dr. Willie Parker provides abortions because he is a Christian. It’s a viewpoint that trips up the anti-abortion protesters outside Mississippi’s only (and besieged) abortion clinic, the doctor says in an amazing Esquire profile. A 2-to-1 appellate court ruling yesterday spared the Jackson Women’s Health Organization. But that’s a small victory for women and families in the South. From the article:

…[A] similar law [requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges] may soon leave the state of Texas—home to twenty-seven million people—with just six abortion clinics. It is already law in North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah and looms over Alabama, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Louisiana and is likely to spread to other states, pressed by a nationwide conservative movement that uses regulation to force a result democratic votes cannot achieve. So Parker flies down from his home in Chicago for several days twice a month to perform the service so few other doctors are willing to provide.

Parker at one point in his career refused to do abortions. But he had what he calls a “come to Jesus,” moment. Check out his Esquire profile as well as the conditions facing women seeking help at Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Let us know what you think.

16,000 IDF Reservists Called, Sierra Leone’s Ebola State of Emergency and Faster Immigration Court for Kids

16,000 IDF Reservists Called, Sierra Leone's Ebola State of Emergency and Faster Immigration Court for Kids

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • Sierra Leone calls up its troops to handle its Ebola quarantine epicenters—part of the nation’s state of emergency. 
  • Wisconsin’s Supreme Court upholds the state’s voter ID law—which currently isn’t in effect because it was ruled unconstitutional by a lower court earlier this year. 
TAGS: Morning Rush
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