In cities across the nation, protestors took the streets with a call to reclaim Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy this holiday weekend. The actions were part of a coordinated effort, dubbed #ReclaimMLK on social media, that sought to build off of them momentum of last year’s rallies against police brutality.
Here’s some of what I’m reading up on this morning:
- ISIS demands $200 million in return for two Japanese hostages.
- Obama prepares for his State of the Union this evening.
- Kenyan schoolchildren are tear-gassed trying to defend their playground.
- A Cincinnati overpass collapses, killing one.
- The KKK distributes rock candy and propaganda to a Southern California neighborhood on MLK Day.
- Shake Shack is going public.
- Maybe your password shouldn’t be “123456.”
- Comedy Central debuts “The Night Show with Larry Wilmore”.
- Mali eliminates Ebola.
A delegation of Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter, and Ferguson leaders has returned from a 10-day trip to Palestine, where they sought to forge connections with Palestinian activists.
“The goals were primarily to allow for the group members to experience and see firsthand the occupation, ethnic cleansing and brutality Israel has levied against Palestinians, but also to build real relationships with those on the ground leading the fight for liberation,” Dream Defenders’ legal and policy director Ahmad Abuznaid told Ebony. “In the spirit of Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael and many others, we thought the connections between the African American leadership of the movement in the US and those on the ground in Palestine needed to be reestablished and fortified.”
While on their trip, delegates met with black Palestinians, refugees, Palestinian activists, and those who’d been removed from their homes in East Jerusalem. The Institute for Middle East Understanding assisted in developing the delegation’s itinerary. During a stop in Nazareth, the delegation staged a solidarity demonstration.
Professor Marc Lamont Hill
For more photos, check out IMEU’s Flickr page.
We came here to Palestine to stand in love and revolutionary struggle with our brothers and sisters. We come to a land that has been stolen by greed and destroyed by hate. We come here and we learn laws that have been cosigned by ink but written in the blood of the innocent. And we stand next to people who continue to courageously struggle and resist the occupation. People who continue to dream and fight for freedom. From Ferguson to Palestine, the struggle for freedom continues.
For more photos, check out IMEU’s Flickr page.
A new article by Stateline’s Teresa Wiltz begins with a provocative wealth and political disparity: “Nearly 80 percent of seniors in the U.S. are white—while nearly half of people younger than 18 are black, Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern or multiracial.” Older and younger citizens obviously have different political interests—one prefers jobs training, the other, better roads. But add a racial mismatch and those generational differences widen, with critical implications for present state spending and the nation’s future. Take school funding, a priority for youth of color (and their parents). Wiltz writes:
“Since the late 1990s, researchers have found that when faced with a young population that looks markedly different from their own, Americans are more likely to vote “no” on local tax referendums to finance public school education and are more likely to support spending cuts. This is particularly true when the older population is predominantly white and the school-age population is not, according to a 2012 working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
And according to sociology professor Manuel Pastor “states with the largest gaps also spend less on mass transit and are more likely to pass restrictive immigration laws.” (The racial generation gap is widest in the Sunbelt states: Arizona, New Mexico, California and Nevada.)
If relatively wealthier white generations fail to prepare and invest in today’s growing proportion of youth of color, experts predict devastating longterm consequences for the nation. Read more in Stateline.
Bay Area protestors have hung a giant banner with the words “Black Power Matters” on the Oakland federal building this morning. The action is part of a weekend of protests scheduled throughout the Bay Area this holiday weekend that aim “Reclaim King’s Legacy.” Protestors have also stopped some BART service in downtown San Francisco as part of the actions. This weekend’s events culminate in a Jobs and Economy March for the People on Monday, Jan. 19, beginning at 11 a.m. PST at Oscar Grant Plaza (Fruitvale BART), according to a press release. Here’s the scene from The Town:
Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream
Here are some of the stories I’m reading up on this morning:
- Authorities in Belgium foil a plot to kill cops en masse.
- Oklahoma executes Charles Warner, who said he felt like his “body was on fire” after being injected with a lethal cocktail.
- It just got a lot easier to travel to Cuba.
- The GOP’s Joni Earnst will give the response to Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday.
- Duke University reverses course on its plan to use its chapel to ring the Muslim call to prayer.
- Arizona high schoolers will have to pass the U.S. citizenship test in order to graduate.
- Target will close all of its stores in Canada—leaving 17,600 people jobless.
- Astronauts head out to the International Space Station for a whole year.
To celebrate The Nation’s 150th anniversary, the liberal publication is bringing together a bunch of brilliant minds to talk about race in America at the Schomberg Center for Black Culture in New York City. The center’s director Khalil Muhammad will moderate a discussion featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson, “Nation” columnist and Columbia law professor Patricia J. Williams, “Nation” editorial board member and DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University Eric Foner, “Nation” contributing writer and blogger Mychal Denzel Smith and award-winning author and essayist Darryl Pinckney.
The discussion begins at 6pm eastern, and you can tune in below.
Google does it. So does Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo.
But Apple refuses to observe Martin Luther King Day. That means corporate employees for the company that uses MLK in its own advertising, and whose CEO, Tim Cook, touts his commitment to diversity and has a photo of MLK in his office, have to work on the holiday that celebrates him. Writing for ValleyWag (which, as part of Gawker doesn’t observe MLK Day, either—but also doesn’t run ads with MLK in them), Dan Lyons wonders why:
I believe Tim Cook is sincerely committed to diversity. Apple’s top management team isn’t exactly the most diverse group of people you’ve ever seen, but it is better now, under Cook, than it was under Steve Jobs.
In the Jobs era, the Apple management team had zero people of color. Now there are two. That is Cook’s doing.
So why not observe MLK Day? After all the news that came out last year about the dismal diversity statistics in the Valley, not observing the holiday looks pretty tone-deaf. And it is not often that Apple is accused of being tone deaf. If there is one thing Apple has always been good at, it’s marketing and PR and image management.
To be fair: Apple also does not give employees paid holidays on Presidents’ Day or Columbus Day […]
Cook did give corporate workers extra days off around Thanksgiving in 2014, though. These holidays apply to corporate employees—not Apple Store employees.
Apple’s not alone. Only 37 percent of employers will give their workers a paid day off this coming Monday, which became a federal holiday 15 years after a bill to do so was first introduced in 1968. South Carolina didn’t recognize the holiday until 2000. Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi, meanwhile, observe the day but also celebrate Confederate General and slaveowner Robert E. Lee’s birthday.
Oh, and for full disclosure: Colorlines is published by Race Forward—which most certainly observes and gives employees the day off on Martin Luther King Day.
In 17 Oakland public schools, a district-run program dedicated solely to the nurturing and development of black boys is seeing results four years into its operation. It’s called the Manhood Development Program, and black boys enrolled in its classes and mentoring initiatives have improved their grades and reading capacity, according to a new report (PDF) released today by the district’s Office of African American Male Achievement.
But that’s not all. The program, which was conceived as an initiative to decrease school suspensions and increase graduation rates for black boys in 2010, is dedicated to identity development and emotional nurturing of youth.
Half the students enrolled in the MDP report that by the ninth grade, they’ve seen someone get shot, according to the report, called “The Black Sonrise.” Meanwhile, only 28 percent of California’s black boys scored “proficient” or higher on a state English exam. While black boys are just 17 percent of Oakland’s public school enrollment, they’re 75 percent of students who get arrested while at school. The dynamics are not unrelated, the district determined.
In order to address what the Office of African American Male Achievement calls the “epidemic failure” of black boys, the MDP put together classes which are currently offered in 17 district schools to 450 students. The classes, which are held every five days a week during the school day, bring together a mix of “high-achieving,” “average,” and “under-achieving” students for a program “predicated on evidence-based community-defined best practices and insights.” The classes allow black boys learn from their peers and black men to support each other in an academic environment that’s all too often hostile to them and offer curriculum by and about other African-Americans.
“They’ve seen victimization everywhere they look — at the hands of police or sometimes at the hands of schools,” Vajra Watson, director of research and policy for equity at UC Davis and author of the report, told the UC Davis News Service. “And [they’ve] changed that into empowerment to know where they come from, who they are and importantly where they’re going.”
Read the report in full (PDF).
Here are some of the stories I’m reading up on this morning:
- Authorities arrest an Ohio man who they say wanted to bomb the capital.
- France’s Hollande makes remarks about Islam’s compatibility with democracy at the Arab World Institute.
- The Boston chapter of Black Lives Matter shuts down the I-93.
- The Oscar nominations are out—and Selma’s been snubbed for Best Director and Best Actor.
- Jobless claims are back up.
- You can now use your personal wifi hotspot at Marriott Hotels (the chain was fined by the FCC for not allowing it at a Nashville hotel last year).
- Naya Rivera is sorry if you feel offended for her comment that “white people shower more than ethnics.”
- Wanna avoid early death? Walk 20 minutes a day.
Rikers Island jail will extend its recently announced ban on solitary confinement to older adolescents, aged 18-21. Only 16- and 17-year-olds had previously been covered under an earlier announcement and the extension is being hailed “an innovation.” According to Christine Herrman, director of the Segregation Reduction Project at the Vera Institute, even the most innovative jails punish inmates over age 18 with solitary confinement. Of nearly 500 inmates, ages 19-21 in the facility, 103 are currently in solitary. Not everyone is pleased, however.
Corrections officers’ union president Norm Seabrook vowed to sue for every guard assaulted under the new policy.
A federal investigation into Rikers found what it described as, “a deep-seated culture of violence.” In 2014, according to data obtained by the Associated Press, guards set a record for use of force—many times against teens.
Read more in The New York Times.
Seniors at Normandy High School got a surprise announcement Monday when black church leaders gathered in the school gym to announce that 11 students would receive a full ride to colleges operated by the churches, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Michael Brown graduated from Normandy High School days before he was shot and killed this past August by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer. His killing reignited national conversations about race and the policing of black people in the U.S. Brown’s death also shined a light on the larger educational inequities faced by Brown and his classmates. Normandy High School has for years struggled with accreditation issues and posted alarmingly high school discipline rates.
The scholarships, which will include full tuition, were offered by colleges run by African-American Methodist churches: African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion; and Christian Methodist Episcopal. The scholarship program “means a lot,” Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Remember back in November when Eddie Huang took to Twitter to sound off about voiceover lines he was being fed for “Fresh Off the Boat,” the upcoming sitcom loosely based on his eponymous memior? Now, the celebrity chef has written a no-holds-barred essay for New York magazine about whitewashing, images of Asians in media, the TV business and his clashes with writers of the ABC show set to premiere on February 10.
Huang writes about how he fought the sanitized palate of producers and studio heads for a truer depiction of his childhood growing up the son of Taiwanese immigrants in suburban Orlando. What he gets isn’t exactly what he wanted, but it’s something. Huang writes:
This show isn’t about me, nor is it about Asian America. The network won’t take that gamble right now. You can’t flash an ad during THE GAME with some chubby Chinese kid running across the screen talking shit about spaceships and Uncle Chans in 2014 because America has no reference. The only way they could even mention some of the stories in the book was by building a Trojan horse and feeding the pathogenic stereotypes that still define us to a lot of American cyclope. Randall was neutered, Constance was exoticized, and Young Eddie was urbanized so that the viewers got their mise-en-place. People watching these channels have never seen us, and the network’s approach to pacifying them is to say we’re all the same. Sell them pasteurized network television with East Asian faces until they wake up intolerant of their own lactose, and hit ‘em with the soy. Baking soya, I got baking soya!
Our parents worked in restaurants, laundromats, and one-hour photo shops thinking it was impossible to have a voice in this country, so they never said a word. We are culturally destitute in America, and this is our ground zero. Network television never offered the epic tale highlighting Asian America’s coming of age; they offered to put orange chicken on TV for 22 minutes a week instead of Salisbury steak … and I’ll eat it; I’ll even thank them, because if you’re high enough, orange chicken ain’t so bad.
Read the rest at Vulture.
Some of this morning’s headlines:
Al Qaedaclaims responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
New edition of Charlie Hebdo sells out within hours of Al Qaeda’s announcement.
Rikers Island guards set record for use-of-force reports in 2014.
Astronauts evacuated from U.S. section of space station.
Ohio bartender accused of threatening to kill John Boehner.
Kurt Cobain’s suicide note is now on a T-shirt.
A timeline of the drama between MLK’s feuding children.
Over at Salon, Al Jazeera America’s Wajahat Ali put together a tongue-and-cheek checklist for what he calls “moderate Muslims” who want to reassure the world (read: non-Muslims) that they aren’t terrorists. Some tips:
1. Use excessive, inflammatory language in sensitive, volatile situations. This is your first step in becoming a Moderate.
2. Generalize! Generalize! Generalize!
3. Callously exploit a tragedy to advance divisive political agendas.
4. When asked for no reason if you support ISIS, say, “No.”
5. Taylor Swift — Learn her. Love her. Embrace her. When confronted with bigotry and fear-mongering, simply recite “Haters gonna’ hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Shake it off! Shake it off!”
6. Invite representatives of minority communities to have a civil conversation, but then cut them off when they begin to speak.
7. Don’t wear keffiyahs. (Unless you are Rachael Ray or white hipsters.)
8. Don’t wear long beards. (Unless you are a cast member of “Duck Dynasty” or, again, white hipsters.)
9. Don’t eat halal food. (Unless you live in Manhattan.)
10. Don’t have an ethnic accent — America will be unable to understand or empathize with you. (Unless you are Arianna Huffington or Arnold Schwarzenegger.)
Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:
- At least 16 mosques in France have been attacked—including by firebombs—since the Charlie Hebdo attack.
- Speaking of which, Charlie Hebdo is publishing its new issue with a caricature of Muhammad on the cover.
- Divers find AirAsia’s second black box.
- A 66 year-old man with a history of PTSD and mental illness, Andrew Brannan, is set to be executed by the state of Georgia today.
- The American Dialect Society ranks #blacklivesmatter as Word of the Year.
- When it comes to Green Card applications, Asian immigrants fare much better than than Latin Americans.
- After passing in the House last week, the Keystone XL pipeline bill moves forward in the Senate.
- Oil may fall as low as $20 a barrel (it’s under $50 a barrel already).
- There’s a new trailer for “House of Cards,” Season 3.
- Facebook knows you a lot better than your loved ones do.
It ought not come as a surprise by now. Institutions with school resource officers—that is, school-based law enforcement personnel—report student arrests for disorderly conduct at nearly five times the rate of schools without similar personnel on campus, according to an infographic released by Boston University. The graphic examines the unequal toll that zero-tolerance policies and discipline have on black and Latino students, and the long chain of consequences that harsh discipline can trigger for young people—including lockup, expensive court-related fees and fines, and a cycle of arrest and jail time. The takeaway is that harsh discipline not only doesn’t benefit its targeted students, it also sets them on a path that’s dangerous and difficult to correct.
Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:
- John Kerry says he’ll soon be in Paris, which was the site of a massive rally attended by nearly 4 million people in support of France’s 17 slain police officers, journalists and other civilians.* Attendees included heads of state who coincidentally routinely imprison and kill journalists.
- Meanwhile, no massive rallies for the estimated 2,000 people killed in Nigeria.
- IS issues threats on the U.S., France, Australia and Canada.
- Today marks the five-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
- Cuba releases 53 political prisoners as part of renewed relations with the U.S.
- Gas prices hit a nearly six-year low in the U.S.
- The slender Galaxy A7 is here.
- The Golden Globes snubs Selma, stays racist and proves that Gina Rodriguez is everything. Oh, and it also gives Reuters a chance to write that women are apparently fashion accessories.
- Here we go: Taiwan confirms the outbreak of two new avian flu strains.
- Bionic implants may allow people paralyzed from spinal cord injuries to walk again.
*An earlier version of this post read that 17 journalists were killed in France; the post has been amended to reflect that 17 people, including journalists, were killed.
Natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan—which devastated the Philippines in 2013—displace more people than war, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center in Geneva. And as climate change sets off increasingly lethal natural disasters, so will the numbers of environmental refugees increase, Reuters reported.
It is a reality that governments must prepare themselves for. In 2013, some 22 million people were displaced by extreme natural disasters like typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis, a number three times the number of those who were forced to migrate because of war, according to the IDMC.
“Many more people in a growing population live more exposed to extreme weather,” Jan Egeland, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which runs the IDMC, said this week at a conference in Oslo, Norway.
Climate change, rising sea levels, and extreme weather are decimating people’s homes and access to safe food and water. In 2011, experts predicted that by the year 2020, just five years from now, some 50 million people will be forced to migrate because of environmental degredation. Earlier this summer, New Zealand accepted a family Grist called the world’s first official environmental refugees, who cited climate change as the reason why they had to flee their homeland.