Assata Shakur Becomes First Woman to be on FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 12.28.07 PM.pngThe FBI announced today that former Black Panther Party member Assata Shakur is the first woman to be added to its most wanted terrorist watch list. Shakur was convicted of the 1973 murder of a New Jersey State Trooper and sentenced to life in prison. In 1979, she escaped from prison and has since sought refuge in Cuba as a political exile. Shakur still professes her innocence in the case, and her name has since become synonymous with the ongoing political struggles of Black Power Era activists who supporters say were falsely accused of crimes during the 1970s.

The FBI and the state of New Jersey also announced Thursday that the reward for Shakur’s capture has been doubled to $2 million.

Los Angeles Times Drops ‘Illegal Immigrant’

Los Angeles Times Drops 'Illegal Immigrant'

Great news from the Los Angeles Times. One month after the Associated Press and USA Today announced that they will no longer describe undocumented immigrants as “illegal”, the fourth most widely distributed paper in the country says that it will do the same.

From the L.A. Times:

Immigration is one of the most contentious and compelling subjects of our time. In our coverage, we aim to report with authority and balance — to be fair, nuanced and precise. We know that language matters and that our word choices must likewise be fair, nuanced and precise.

The Times adopted its current style on immigration-related language in 1995, recommending the use of “illegal immigrants” or “undocumented immigrants” in lieu of “illegal aliens.” Those phrases have become highly politicized since then, prompting the Standards and Practices Committee to consider an update. The committee has been consulting with reporters and editors from across the newsroom since last fall, as well as meeting with advocates seeking an end to the media’s use of “illegal immigrant.” After hearing strong arguments for and against the current Times style, we concluded that it was time for a new approach.

“Illegal immigrants” is overly broad and does not accurately apply in every situation. The alternative suggested by the 1995 guidelines, “undocumented immigrants,” similarly falls short of our goal of precision. It is also untrue in many cases, as with immigrants who possess passports or other documentation but lack valid visas.

Read more at the Times.

The announcement is another major victory for the Drop the I-Word campaign, which launched in 2010. The campaign is now calling on the New York Times to stop referring to undocumented immigrants as “illegal”, and recently delivered a petition to the New York Times’ doorstep with 70,000 signatures.

Odd Future Feels Bad That You’re So Sensitive About Its Mountain Dew Ad

Odd Future Feels Bad That You're So Sensitive About Its Mountain Dew Ad

Los Angeles-based hip-hop collective Odd Future isn’t afraid of a little controversy. That much became clear on Wednesday amid outrage over a series of Mountain Dew commercials created by frontman Tyler, the Creator. One of the ads features a battered white woman at a police station line-up trying to identify her attacker. The suspects are all men (members of Odd Future) and a menacing goat, which spends its time whispering threats to the frightened woman. Another ad shows how the woman got there: she was assaulted by the goat at a restaurant where she worked as a waitress. Critic Dr. Boyce Watkins called the ad “arguably the most racist commercial in history.

PepsiCo, which owns Mountain Dew, pulled the ad on Wednesday. Tyler, the Creator also yanked it from the group’s YouTube page. Odd Future’s manager Christian Clancy issued a lukewarm statement on Tumblr that falls pretty much in line with how Tyler, the Creator usually responds to critics: If you’re offended, you just don’t get good art. Here’s an excerpt:

It was never Tyler’s intention to offend however, offense is personal and valid to anyone who is offended. Out of respect to those that were offended and the ad was taken down. For those who know and respect Tyler he is known for pushing boundaries and challenging stereotypes thru humor. This is someone who grew up on David Chappelle. This situation is layered with context and is a discussion that Tyler would love to address in the right forum as he does have a point of view. As someone who hasn’t had the experience of being discriminated against I choose to respect the opinion of those who have… what I can speak to is Tyler who represents much more than the current narrative this story suggests. Contrary to what many may discern from this Tyler is the embodiment of not judging others, his delivery may not be for everyone (which is true for anyone who pushes boundaries) but his voice is nonetheless important to the conversation since his demographic understands what he ultimately stands for and sees the irony of it all.

As Cord Jefferson pointed out at Gawker, Mountain Dew is having a particularly bad week at the intersection of race and rap.

Unfortunately, the cowering white woman vs. black men and goat was only half of Mountain Dew’s image-management problems today. Its recently hospitalized spokesperson Lil Wayne issued an apology for the verse he’d contributed in February to the Future song “Karate Chop (Remix),” in which he said that he would “beat the pussy up like Emmett Till.”

To Wayne’s credit, he did issue a heartfelt apology to Emmett Till’s family.

RIP Chris Kelly: Watch This 1992 Kris Kross Performance at the Billboard Music Awards

Hip-hop fans are in shock this morning over the news that 34-year-old Chris Kelly died last night at an Atlanta-area hospital. Kelly is known as one half of the popular early ’90s hip-hop duo Kris Kross, whose hit single “Jump” became one of the most popular songs of the decade.

In honor of Kelly, here’s a look back at the 1992 Billboard Music Awards, where the Kris Kross beat out Billy Ray Cyrus (father of current star Miley), TLC, and Nirvana to win the award of debut artist of 1992.

TAGS: Kris Kross

Major Companies Rely On Underground Labor Brokers That Charge Workers High Fees

Some of the country’s biggest temp agencies and high profile companies regularly delegate hiring and employment services to a network of underground labor brokers that charge workers obligatory fees for rides to their jobs and to cash checks. The fees push workers incomes below the minimum wage. That’s according to a new investigation by ProPublica and Marketplace, which ran a multi-part series this week on the practice.

The labor brokers, called “raiteros,” are often informally subcontracted by major temp agencies that have contracts with companies including Fresh Espress, Sony, Marlboro and Ty Inc. to deliver temporary workers to warehouses and factories. The raiteros control access to the jobs from start to finish, determine who gets jobs and who doesn’t and charge workers $5 to fill out job applications and $8 for a ride to work. “If you don’t pay for a ride, raiteros won’t find you a job,” Marketplace reports. Workers said that if they drive to work themselves they’ll lose the job.

The investigation found that the mostly Latino and largely undocumented folks locked into these relationships with the brokers don’t get paychecks directly from the companies, but rather through the raiteros themselves. The brokers distribute checks at check cashing shops that charge workers one to two percent. “Even immigrants with their own bank account are obligated to use a check cashing service,” Marketplace reports.

In the end, workers end up getting paid below minimum wage after the fees are deducted.

Several workers in Chicago, where the investigation is based, told Marketplace and ProPublica that when they complained to the temp agency Select Remedy that they had not received checks, the agency referred the workers back to the brokers.

In Illinois, state laws passed in 2006 made it illegal for temp agencies to require workers to pay for transportation to and from work or force them to pay fees to cash checks. After the law changed, the entirely underground and unregulated raiteros popped up around the city and broke all the rules without notice.

Some advocates interviewed for the story say the raiteros insulate employers and temp staffing agencies from dealing with complaints from workers and from legal concerns about hiring undocumented immigrants.

This May Day, Support Bangladeshi Workers With More Than Just Boycotts

This year’s International Workers Day coincides with ongoing fallout from the latest Bangladeshi factory accident, which killed at least 386 people when a garment factory collapsed.

The annual day celebrates the international labor movement. And this year it’s an especially poignant May 1st. As multinational corporations heed, or ignore, calls to demand better worker conditions in the poorly constructed and accident-prone factories, and as people revive talk of boycotting retailers like Wal-mart, what’s needed from consumers in the global north is not simply boycotts, writes Vijay Prashad.

Prashad, over at the Guardian, argues:

What is needed is robust support for the workers as they try to build their own organisations at the point of production. Pressure on north Atlantic governments that mollycoddle multinational firms would create a breathing space for workers who otherwise suffer the full wrath of firms that couch their repression in the syrupy language of hard work and growth rates.

The Bangladeshis are capable of doing their own labour organising; what they need is political backing to do so. What is also needed, then, is clear-cut opposition not to this or that retailer, but to the system that produces pockets of low-wage economies in the south in order to feed a system of debt-fuelled consumption in the north. None among us is against global connections, but it is high time we put our minds to work to reject neoliberal globalisation.

What is needed, in other words, is an international labor movement.

Is Facebook’s Push for Immigration Reform More Sinister Than It Seems?

Is Facebook's Push for Immigration Reform More Sinister Than It Seems?

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made a big splash last month when he launched, a pro-immigration reform organization. The young tycoon pulled together a rock star list of silicon valley elites to “”continue to promote innovation and meet our workforce needs.” The group’s current raison d’etre is to ensure that the immigration bill provides tech companies with enough visas for foreign workers to fill jobs they say can’t fill with U.S. workers.

But as might be expected from an outfit whose members include a number of the country’s most successful businessmen from across the political spectrum, Zuckerberg’s new outfit may have some rather sinister motivations. appears most interested in securing tech companies’ access to lower-paid foreign workers.

The Gang of Eight immigration bill is set to expand visas for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, so called STEM jobs and Zuckerberg’s is jumping into the fray to lobby for fewer strings attached to hiring foreign workers.

Gawker’s Adrian Chen reports:

As promotes high-minded ideals of openness and opportunity, Facebook’s lobbying firms have been doing the dirty work of making sure immigration reform means they can freely hire high-skilled immigrants for less money than their American counterparts. Specifically, Facebook has been trying to insert language into the Senate immigration bill to eliminate a requirement that American companies make a “good faith” effort to hire Americans before looking abroad, according to the Washington Post. And Facebook wants to axe rules that would require companies to pay these foreign workers more.

Facebook and other advocates for more so-called high skilled visas—the H1B and L-1 visas—argue that their companies suffer because there simply aren’t enough U.S. workers with the right skills to fill jobs. Indeed, there’s been far more demand for these visas in recent years than there are visas available.

But there’s also new analysis from the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank, that finds that the U.S. actually has enough tech workers to fill jobs here. If that’s the case then why do companies like Facebook want so many easily accessible guest workers? According to EPI and others, it’s because firms can pay these workers less than they can pay U.S. workers for the same jobs.

“The bottom line is that these visas can be used for cheaper indentured work,” says Ron Hira, a Public Policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology who’s contributed to EPI analysis. Hira says that because companies control the H1-B and L-1 visas of their employees, workers are regularly exploited and subjected to terrible working conditions, under-paid and sometimes left without any work at all once they are arrive in the country.

Recently, a group of 350 teachers in Louisiana who were in the country on H1-B visas—the same kind Zuckerberg wants more of with fewer regulations—won a $4.5 million settlement after they were forced to pay illegal and exorbitant fees and subjected to workplace abuses by the contractor that brought them to the U.S. to teach.

While the current Senate bill does raise the wage floor for the H1-B visa program, it does not significantly extend Department of Labor oversight over wage and hour violations and critics say it leaves workers vulnerable to exploitation.

There’s Scientific ‘Proof’ that Jamestown Settlers Practiced Cannibalism

There's Scientific 'Proof' that Jamestown Settlers Practiced Cannibalism

From the laugh-to-keep-from-crying files, the BBC is reporting on scientific proof that Jamestown settlers practiced cannibalism during what it calls “the cruel winter of 1609-10.”

The evidence uncovered by Doug Owsley, a forensic anthropologist at the Smithsonian’s natural history museum, is a 400-year-old skull and tibia of a teenage girl found in a James Fort, Va., excavation site.

An excerpt from the BBC article:

“The Starving Time was one of the most horrific periods of early colonial history. The Fort James settlers were under siege from the indigenous Indian population and had insufficient food to last the winter.

First they ate their horses, then dogs, cats, rats, mice and snakes. Some, to satisfy their cruel hunger, ate the leather of their shoes. […]

Relief came in the form of Lord De La Warr, who sailed into the settlement with food and new colonists. After six months of siege and starvation, only 60 of the original 300 settlers had survived.

“It’s somebody doing what they had to do,” said Dr Owsley of the cannibalism.”

Accusations of cannibalism have long been a European colonialist technique for dehumanizing indigenous peoples in what is now known as North and South America, in Asia and in Africa. In the contemporary United States context, films, cartoons, television shows and artifacts have reinforced the written accounts of a range of European explorers.

A recent Smithsonian magazine article explores “European hypocrisy” on the topic.

In medieval times, cultural enemies—not military or religious heroes—were commonly depicted as cannibals or giants, “especially in narratives of territorial invasion and conquest,” argues Geradine Heng, in Cannibalism, The First Crusade and the Genesis of Medieval Romance. “Witches, Jews, savages, Orientals, and pagans are conceivable as—indeed, must be—cannibals; but in the 12th-century medieval imaginary, the Christian European subject cannot.”

Smithsonian also notes that the word “cannibal” first entered the English language in the mid-16th century by means of Spanish explorers.

For more on what we refer to as scientific racism, check out “American Science’s Racist History Still Haunts the World” by Michelle Chen, and “The Pseudoscience of ‘Black Women Are Less Attractive” by me.

Father of Wrongly Accused Teen in Boston Bombing May Sue New York Post

Father of Wrongly Accused Teen in Boston Bombing May Sue New York Post

The New York Post may have to pay for its careless reporting. In the chaotic aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, the paper ran a photo on its cover misidentifying the two suspects. The title was “Bag Men: Feds seek these two pictures at Boston Marathon.”

One of the two men pictured was actually a 16-year-old track athlete named Salah Barhoum who had just run the marathon. What followed was a torrent of unwanted media attention for the teen, who pleaded his case to the New York Daily News and professed his innocence.

Now, Salah’s father, El Hussein Barhoum, wants to hold the paper accountable. The Washington Post reports that the elder Barhoum is talking with attorneys about his options to sue the paper. The 16-year-old is reportedly afraid to go to school because he does not want people to ask him questions about the bombings.

From the Washington Post:

Staffers from the New York Post, says El Houssein Barhoum, visited his home in Revere, Mass., on the same day that “Bag Men” appeared on the paper’s cover. “They come here at my home, check his real name and took some pictures,” he recalls. When asked if they’d apologized for the high-profile photograph, El Houssein Barhoum said they hadn’t. “If they won’t apologize, it’s not between me and the New York Post,” he says. “They should apologize on the newspaper. They should write something on the newspaper, not between us. If they make a bad image of your son, they should make a good image just to correct.

The Post did run a story later that said Salah and his acquaintance had been cleared, but that’s not enough, according to the boy’s father.

Unregulated Lenders Now Target Pensioners

Unregulated Lenders Now Target Pensioners

Remember subprime loans? The ones that predatory lenders hawked to people of color, stripping communities of homes and wealth and tanking the economy? Well they’ve been pretty well regulated out of existence now. But that hasn’t stopped sketchy lenders from searching out new frontiers of financial predation.

The NY Times’ Jessica Silver-Greenberg reported on Sunday that the latest target of mass predation are aging pensioners who take cash advances on their retirement income and get saddled with sky-high interest rates. Consumer advocates say that like the subprime crisis, folks of color are more likely to find themselves the target of these unregulated financial services.

“Almost as a given, for every consumer scam, for every consumer abuse out there is always a racial component to it,” Stuart Rossman, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center told Though Rossman says there’s no good data on the racial demographics of those who rely on the pension advances, “[race and predation] go hand in hand. This abuse is bad and it’s worse when you take into account race or ethnicity.”

Silver-Greenberg reports that the advance companies advertise the services online and often aggressively target recipients of public pensioners including military veterans, teachers and others. Because people of color occupy public jobs at disproportionate rates they’re likely more vulnerable to these schemes from the start.

One of these pensioners is Ronald Govan, a 59-year-old black Marine veteran from Georgia whom Silver-Greenberg reports on. Govan needed a loan but couldn’t get one from the bank because a 2008 foreclosure and subsequent bankruptcy wrecked his credit. So he jumped when he got an email from a Delaware based pension advance company offering him $10,000 upfront against his disability pension. But with his signature, Govan agreed to pay $353 the company of his $1,033 monthly pension, according the Times. In all he was paying a 36 percent interest rate on the advance.

Others have paid interest rates as high as 106 percent, largely because the companies promise fast cash without revealing the long-term costs.

Govan’s story leads to a larger context: racial disparities in wealth are growing. A report from the Urban Institute released last week shows again that the wealth gap between white, Latino and black Americans has expanded significantly since the start of the recession. That’s in part because of the fallout of racially targeted subprime lending.

Now, some of the same people who lost generations of wealth in the foreclosure crisis may be the targets of an unregulated pension scheme. (A 2012 AARP report revealed that black and Latino elders were twice as likely as their peers to lose their homes.)

Take Govan: it was his foreclosure that killed his credit and made him vulnerable to pension advance in the first place.

This is often how structural racial inequality works: exclusion and discrimination from the past creates the conditions for new kinds of abuse in the present. That’s what happened in the subprime context where legacies of redlining that excluded black borrowers from regular financial services left the space wide open for predators to crawl in.

So why aren’t these pension loans regulated? Because the lenders pretend the loans are not loans. By calling the high interest products “cash advances” they’ve remained just outside the purview of federal regulators and credit reporting requirements and above state usury laws.

Sound familiar? It was in part because federal regulatory schemes did not cover non-bank lenders that these financial services went on a subprime feeding frenzy. In the subprime context, the securitized subprime loans tanked the market.

Now, Congress and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are taking notice, largely because of federal laws that make it illegal for military pensions to be written over to third parties, the Times reports. But for now, the advance companies continue the search for new borrowers.

After Dorner’s Allegations of Racism, LAPD Chief Now Says He Can’t Review Fired Cops’ Cases

After Dorner's Allegations of Racism, LAPD Chief Now Says He Can't Review Fired Cops' Cases

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck won’t be able to make good on his promises to re-examine the firings of Los Angeles Police Department officers who feel racism tainted their termination after 40 officers took him up on his offer earlier this year. The city charter, Beck now says, bars him from looking into cases older than three years, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In February former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner released a rambling but scathing manifesto charging the Los Angeles Police Department with corruption and racism, then went on a shooting rampage before apparently shooting himself after holing up in a mountain cabin east of Los Angeles. Dorner’s alleged death toll was three—including the daughter of a Los Angeles police officer who sat on the review board which called for Dorner’s termination.

Dorner’s attack put LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on the defensive, even as Beck was leading the manhunt to locate him. Many critics of the LAPD recognized in Dorner’s manifesto a cogent critique. He railed against racism he said was rampant throughout the department and which was responsible for his own firing in 2009. He called out former colleagues’ harassment and discrimination of civilians. Beck, hoping to regain legitimacy, extended an offer to other cops whose jobs had been terminated, and said he would reexamine their firing.

About half of the 40 cops who asked that their cases be reexamined won’t get that opportunity though, because the city charter bars it. “Therefore the Department does not have the power to reinstate officers whose terminations occurred more than three years ago,” Gerald Chaleff, the LAPD’s special assistant for constitutional policing wrote to the former officers, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“You are being informed of this to forestall any misconceptions about the power of the department.”

North Carolina Clergy Jailed While Praying for ’21st Century George Wallace’ Governor

North Carolina Clergy Jailed While Praying for '21st Century George Wallace' Governor

A “pray-in” in front of the North Carolina state Senate building ended with a group of 17 people — elderly ministers, college students and civil rights advocates — being handcuffed and jailed yesterday.

In the first of a series of planned nonviolent actions, Rev. William Barber, the North Carolina NAACP state conference president, led prayers and songs to protest a round of Republican-backed bills that would limit Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, reduce state funding of unemployment benefits by $700 million, and cut preschool access for mostly poor and working-class children. Barber’s group was also seeking national attention to legislation that, if passed, would make voting more burdensome for college-age, elderly, undocumented and previously incarcerated people.

Barber told reporters, before getting jailed, that “rightwing extremists in the state legislature and the governor’s office are acting as if they want to go down in history as the George Wallaces of 21st century by standing in the door of progress.”

The voter bills would impose a strict photo ID law, cut early voting, strip away voting rights for the formerly incarcerated and cause college students’ parents to pay a $2,500 tax if their kids vote at a different precinct than their home residence.

Barber called the voting restrictions unconstitutional and described them as “poll taxes”—a reference to Reconstruction-era fees specifically designed to prevent impoverished, recently emancipated black people from exercising their constitutional right to vote.

The proposed voter ID bill has already cleared the state House and will come to a vote in the state Senate soon. College students across the state began staging protests last week .

“The extreme ideology coming from the North Carolina legislature, with its attacks on the poor and working people, is alarming enough,” said Penda Hair, co-director of the civil rights organization Advancement Project. “Even more shameful is that the lawmakers who have taken control of the House and Senate are now trying to rig the rules, and disenfranchise certain voters, in order to remain in power far after this legislative session.”

These arrests came on the same day that President Obama nominated Charlotte mayor and North Carolina rising political star Anthony Foxx for Secretary of Department of Transportation. Also today, a Brookings study found that last year African-American voters turned out at a higher rate than white voters in November.

Magic Johnson’s TV Network Launching All Black ‘The View’ Like Talk Show

Magic Johnson's TV Network Launching All Black 'The View' Like Talk Show

Magic Johnson’s cable network “ASPiRE” is launching a talkshow similar to “The View” that will be co-hosted by five black women.

Variety has the details on the new program dubbed “Exhale:”

Weekly yakker aims to bring candid conversation to topics including family, relationships, career, money and faith. Co-hosts are journo Angela Burt-Murray, thesp and comedian Erin Jackson, helmer Issa Rae, author and TV anchor Rene Syler and actress Malinda Williams.

“Exhale,” produced by Lynne Robinson and Black Robin Media, will be Aspire’s third original series. Victoria Mahoney serves as director on “Exhale.”

“Exhale” launched in June 2012 through Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Johnson’s entry into the television arena came courtesy of communications giant Comcast Corp. as part of its agreement with the FCC and Department of Justice to diversify the cable landscape, the L.A. Times reports.

Ad Featuring Undocumented Immigrants Asks Whether They Deserve Healthcare Too

Ad Featuring Undocumented Immigrants Asks Whether They Deserve Healthcare Too

California has more uninsured people than other some states have people. It’s also home to the largest number of undocumented immigrants in the country.

The state is launching its insurance exchange program that will make health care more affordable for residents once Obamacare kicks in but it’s planning but it’s planning on leaving undocumented immigrants out.

The California Endowment, a health foundation, is running TV ads across the state to make sure undocumented have access to healthcare. The Endowment is pushing the state to keep county-run programs open and expand Medicaid on the government’s dime.

In the 60-second ad running across the state, several undocumented immigrants look into the camera and ask if California stands for universal coverage. “Does that mean everyone, everyone? Does everyone include me? Us too?”

New York’s Public Housing Tenants Sue Over Slow Pace of Repairs

New York's Public Housing Tenants Sue Over Slow Pace of Repairs

New York City is a slumlord, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday in the Big Apple’s Housing Court. The New York City Housing Authority has more than 400,000 tenants, making it the city biggest landlord. But delays in repairs have long plagued the agency and the backlog of repairs currently stands at 300,000 word orders, according to the New York Times.

More from the Times:

More than 300 tenants at the [Alfred E.] Smith Houses who are suing the authority listed numerous repairs needed in their complex of 12 buildings, including leaks, flooding, mold, warped floors, holes in walls, and broken stoves, toilets, doors, windows, buzzers and mailboxes.

Aixa O. Torres, president of the tenant association, said residents were often left without gas because pipes needed to be replaced. She said that in her 60 years in the project, the situation had never been so bad.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg blames the backlog on a reduction in federal subsidies over the last decade. His solution? A proposal to lease land within eight public housing projects in Manhattan to private developers to help pay for the repairs. The mayor’s proposal is widely opposed by public housing tenants, who fear that the move would be the first step in kicking them out of their homes. Bloomberg’s proposal has also been an issue in this year’s mayoral race, with former housing activist and current frontrunner Christine Quinn speaking out against it.

The Messages of Love (and Hate) for Jason Collins

The Messages of Love (and Hate) for Jason Collins

“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay,” declared NBA player Jason Collins in a personal essay published in Sports Illustrated on Monday. With those words Collins became the first male athlete in a major professional sport to openly come out as gay.

Sports Illustrated published the story at 11am EST on Monday. Within minutes there were messages of support, messages fueled with hate and everything else in between. Literally, and everything else in between: One fellow NBA player even told his 80,000 Twitter followers that he didn’t mind Collins’ coming out, he was just bothered with what he called the “I’m black buffer.”

Still the homophobic messages were drowned out pretty quickly. Collins immediately drew support for his announcement from the White House — President Obama called him — along with former President Clinton, the NBA, current and former teammates, a sponsor, and athletes in other sports.

Checkout some of the messages of love (and hate) for Collins below:

(If you’re on a mobile device and don’t see any content below please scroll down and select “desktop view.)

‘Sa-I-Gu’ Documentary Explores How Korean Women Remember the L.A. Riots

'Sa-I-Gu' Documentary Explores How Korean Women Remember the L.A. Riots

Today is the 21st anniversary of the uprising in Los Angeles shortly after the Rodney King trial verdict was announced. “Sa-I-Gu”, Korean for April 29, opens a window on Korean American women in Los Angeles whose stores — and lives — were devastated during in the aftermath.

Three Korean women, Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, Christine Choy and Elaine Kim started making the film “Sa-I-Gu” just three months after the uprising in Los Angeles. They interview interview several Korean women shopkeepers and use newsreel footage and family photographs to help tell their side of the experience.

Sa-I-Gu provides an important perspective for better understanding the Los Angeles riots, community studies, and ethnic relations and racism in the United States.

I was 9-years-old and living about a mile away from the epicenter of the L.A. Riots and remember the events vividly. I knew that they were other children who remembered the events like they happened yesterday and created a series of video portraits of young adults who were 8, 9 and 10-year olds during the LA Riots.

Visit “Two Decades Later, Children of the L.A. Riots Share Memories” to listen to how children who lived through the riots remember the events today.

Wizards’ Jason Collins Gets Messages of Support From Big Names

Wizards' Jason Collins Gets Messages of Support From Big Names

This morning NBA player Jason Collins revealed he’s gay in an essay published in Sports Illustrated.

“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay,” the 34-year-old center wrote in his first person article published online this morning.

Collins’ article sparked messages of support, including from his friend Chelsea Clinton, who was his classmate at Stanford. “I am very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength and courage to become the first openly gay athlete in the NBA,” Clinton posted on her Facebook page. “His decision marks an important moment for professional sports and for our country.”

Clinton’s father, former president Bill Clinton also issued a statement in support.

“I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea’s classmate and friend at Stanford,” reads Clinton’s statement. “Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney also announced the president’s support for Collins.

“We commend him for his courage and support him in this effort,” Carney told reporters at a daily briefing.

The Wizards, whom Collins has been playing with most recently, also released a statement that read, “We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision to live his life proudly and openly. He has been a leader on and off the court and an outstanding teammate throughout his NBA career. Those qualities will continue to serve him both as a player and as a positive role model for others of all sexual orientation.”

In April 2011, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for calling a referee an anti-gay slur and it appears he may have learned a thing or two. Shortly after Collin’s Sports Illustrated piece was published there was a message of support from Bryant’s Twitter feed.

NBA Commissioner David Stern also issued a statement this morning in support of Collins: > “As Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family. Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”

First Active NBA Player Comes Out As Gay

First Active NBA Player Comes Out As Gay

NBA center Jason Collins this morning become the first male athlete in a major professional sport to come out as gay.

Collins, 34, is a 12-year NBA veteran and this season he appeared in 32 games with the Celtics. He currently is a free agent.

“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport,” Collins says a first-person article. “But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

chi-jason-collins-gay-athlete-20130429-002.jpegAn excerpt from Collins’ essays is published below:

 Why am I coming out now? Well, I started thinking about this in 2011 during the NBA player lockout. I’m a creature of routine. When the regular season ends I immediately dedicate myself to getting game ready for the opener of the next campaign in the fall. But the lockout wreaked havoc on my habits and forced me to confront who I really am and what I really want. With the season delayed, I trained and worked out. But I lacked the distraction that basketball had always provided.

The first relative I came out to was my aunt Teri, a superior court judge in San Francisco. Her reaction surprised me. “I’ve known you were gay for years,” she said. From that moment on I was comfortable in my own skin. In her presence I ignored my censor button for the first time. She gave me support. The relief I felt was a sweet release. Imagine you’re in the oven, baking. Some of us know and accept our sexuality right away and some need more time to cook. I should know — I baked for 33 years. When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue.

I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I’d been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, “Me, too.”

Collins was born in Northridge, Calif., and graduated from Stanford University with a degree in communications, concentrating in broadcast and print media. His twin brother Jarron is also a longtime NBA center, spending time with the LA Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers last season.

Jarron also published an essay this morning in support of his brother. His piece published in Sports Illustrated is titled “I’ve never been more proud of my brother.”

Former NBA player John Amaechi came out as gay in 2007 but already had retired. More recently, earlier this month top WNBA draft pick and Baylor University senior Brittney Griner became one of the highest profile LGBT athletes in the country when she confirmed in an interview that she is gay.

LATEST: White House, Kobe Bryant, NBA Commissioner, Bill Clinton have all declared their support for Jason Collins.

Black Voters Made History By Beating Whites to Polls Last November

Black Voters Made History By Beating Whites to Polls Last November

Brookings Institution scholars are reporting that African Americans turned out to vote at a higher rate than white voters last November. Brookings demographer William H. Frey analyzed 2012 census election data, along with Pew Research Center numbers, and found that black voters turned out at a higher rate than any other race, which was consistent with similar findings by Pew in December. Back then it was also estimated that black voters turned out at a higher rate than white voters, but Frey’s analysis finally confirms that conclusion.


The Associated Press, for whom the analysis was commissioned, reports that the finding reflects “a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.”

One key downer from the report is that overall turnout rates have steadily decreased: 58 percent voter turnout in 2012 compared with 62 percent in 2008 and 60 percent in 2004.

Still, the milestone for African American voters is particularly significant given that they overcame many threats to the ballot franchise — namely voter ID laws and the attacks on early voting — in order to reach this peak in turnout.

“Black turnout set records this year despite record attempts to suppress the black vote,” said NAACP president Ben Jealous in an interview with AP. He also told them that the upcoming 2014 midterm elections will be “the real bellwether” for black turnout.

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