New York City’s Fast Food Workers Walk Out

New York City's Fast Food Workers Walk Out

Workers from McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King and other chain restaurants in New York City went on strike today for the second time in six months. Strike organizers are calling it the largest mass action of fast food workers ever: over 400 employees from 60 restaurants are refusing to work today, according to New York Communities for Change, the group spearheading the strike. They’re demanding benefits, $15 hourly wages—“We can’t survive on $7.25,” workers chanted at rallies in Brooklyn and Manhattan—and say they want a union. caught up with some of these striking workers this morning as they rallied in front of a Wendy’s on Fulton St. in downtown Brooklyn. Many held signs like those carried by Memphis sanitation workers in the 1968 strike championed by Martin Luther King, Jr.: “I am a woman;” “I am a man.” Today marks 45 years since King was shot and killed while supporting that strike.


Shalema Simpson, 24 

Brooklyn. Employer: Wendy’s

“I have a three-year-old and I’m not making enough money right now so I’m living with my grandfather and four other people in a one-bedroom apartment. I am supposed to be working inside there right now but I am out here instead. I’ve worked at McDonalds, Hale and Hearty, Shake Shack and they are all bad but right now this is the worst establishment. Sometimes our checks bounce. It’s too much. I don’t know if [the strike] will change anything but at least we’re being heard.”

Hey Grey Lady, ‘Get With the Times’ on the I-Word [VIDEO]

Hey Grey Lady, 'Get With the Times' on the I-Word [VIDEO] Play

On the heels of the Associated Press decision to remove “illegal immigrant” from its Stylebook, the Applied Research Center, which publishes Colorlines, calls on the New York Times to do the same. In October 2012, we published an open letter to the Times that said: Words Matter. And, the i-word is out.

Since we launched the Drop the I-Word campaign almost three years ago, the number of outlets agreeing to stop using the term “illegal” has increased at an accelerating pace. The Times is also considering a change, but has not said how “sweeping” it will be. Writer and comedian Negin Farsad directed a video for Drop the I-Word that encourages the paper of record to “Get With the Times” by dropping the i-word today.

Juan Williams’ Son To Run GOP Outreach To African Americans

Juan Williams' Son To Run GOP Outreach To African Americans

Raffi Williams, the son of Fox News analyst Juan Williams, has been hired by the Republican National Committee to help the party reach out to black voters. News of the twenty-four-year-old new hire comes two weeks after the party published its 90-page blueprint to attract “minority,” gay and young voters.”

“I think it’s a slow process. If you expect us to get a ridiculous amount of African-Americans in the next election, that’s not going to happen probably,” Williams told Buzzfeed. “But we can start to make inroads, and the more inclusive we are as a party, the better optics we get to other demographics as well — not just African-Americans — and that helps us in the long run.”

“So it’s about making those new connections and getting the support I need. People are really enthused about it,” Williams said. “And that’s a nice thing for me. I didn’t know what I was walking into exactly, but from the chairman on down, everyone is so on board with this.”

Michelle Obama Hosts ‘42’ Screening With Jackie Robinson’s Widow

Michelle Obama Hosts '42' Screening With Jackie Robinson's Widow

First Lady Michelle Obama hosted 80 high school and college students from across the country for a screening of “42” at the White House on Monday. “42” tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play major league baseball.

Alongside the students were guests Harrison Ford, Chadwick Boseman and Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson.

“Jackie and Rachel Robinson weren’t destined for greatness — they prepared themselves for greatness, which meant that they could make a difference outside of baseball, as well. And that is the only thing that is important for you to understand,” the First Lady told the young crowd. “You can be great in your profession, you can earn a lot of money, you can be famous, but the question is what are you doing for others.”

The students at the screening traveled to the White House from Thurgood Marshall Academy in Washington, DC; Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg, MD; TC Williams High School in Alexandria, VA and Amino Jackie Robinson Charter High School in Los Angeles, CA.

The First Lady told the students both she and President Obama found the film was “very powerful” when they watched it over the weekend.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly ‘Wanted to Instill Fear’ in Black and Latino Men

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly 'Wanted to Instill Fear' in Black and Latino Men

State Sen. Eric Adams, a retired NYPD captain, took the stand Monday in the landmark stop-and-frisk federal trial to testify about a 2010 conversation with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. During his testimony at the Floyd vs. City of New York trial, Adams said Kelly purposely targeted black and Latino to men to ensure they knew were being watched “every time that they left their homes.”

Ryan Devereaux reported for the Guardian:

Adams had traveled to Albany for a meeting on 10 July 2010 with the governor to give his support for a bill that would prohibit the NYPD from maintaining a database that would include the personal information of individuals stopped by the police but released without a charge or summons. In discussing the bill, which ultimately passed, Adams said he raised the issue of police stops disproportionately targeting young African American and Latino men.

“[Kelly] stated that he targeted and focused on that group because he wanted to instil fear in them that every time that they left their homes they could be targeted by police,” Adams testified.

“How else would we get rid of guns,” Adams said Kelly asked him.

Adams told the court he was stunned by the commissioner’s claim and immediately expressed his concerns. “I was amazed,” Adams testified. “I told him that was illegal.”

In the last 11-years, the NYPD has conducted a staggering 5-million stop-and-frisks. Of those who were stopped and patted down for “seeming suspicious,” 86 percent were black or Latino, according to an analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union released last month. In 2012 alone, police made 533,042 of these stops with 89 percent resulting in no arrest or ticket.

An August 2012 New York Times poll found opinions about stop-and-frisk are divided by race. Fifty-five percent of white New Yorkers described the use of stop-and-frisk as acceptable; 56 percent of blacks called it excessive. Among Latinos, 48 percent said it was acceptable, and 44 percent said it was excessive. caught up with David Floyd, the 33-year-old lead plaintiff in the stop-and-frisk case, and asked what he felt when he was randomly searched and why he decided to challenge the NYPD.

Take a look at the video below. 

Watch Snoop Lion and His Daughter Sing About Gun Violence

Watch Snoop Lion and His Daughter Sing About Gun Violence

Snoop Lion teamed up with Drake and his daughter Cori B to deliver an anti-gun anthem in his latest video, “No Guns Allowed.”

Lyrics from the peace anthem “No Guns Allowed” are below:

[Verse: Snoop LioExplainn / Cori B.] Money makes a man and that’s a crime If we all were rich, we’d spend more time With our daughters and sons, they’re losing their minds We all feel hurt, here’s mine, hear me now

[Chorus: Snoop Lion / Cori B.] Cause, no guns are allowed, in here tonight We’re gonna have a free-for-all, no fights I wanna get lost in the crowd, in here tonight I need to hear my thoughts, turn the music up loud

[Hook: Snoop Lion] Let the music play, me don’t want no more gunplay When the bodies hit the ground, there’s nothing left to say, ay, ay Me don’t want to see no more innocent blood shed Me don’t want to see no more youth dead Come hear me now

“No Guns Allowed” is the new single from Snoop Lion’s forthcoming reggae and dancehall influenced album, “REINCARNATED,” available later this month. The album is executive produced by Diplo and the Major Lazer production team and will be released in conjunction with Berhane Sound System, Mad Decent, VICE Music, and RCA Records.

Artist You Should Know: Laura Mvula

Artist You Should Know: Laura Mvula

It’s been a good day at and so it’s only appropriate we share a song with you that includes lots of bells and hand clapping.

I’ll let Pop Africa introduce you to Laura Mvula:

Singer and pianist Laura Mvula was born in the UK and raised with myriad musical influences. Jazz came courtesy of her father, gospel via the church on Sunday and classical music through training in violin and piano from the age of 10. 


She studied for four years at the Birmingham Conservertoire, where as well as gaining expertise in composition she acquired the name Mvula from her Zambia-born husband Themba Mvula — she’s had the African blogosphere laying claim for a minute, but she’s a daughter of the diaspora.

Her debut studio album, Sing to the Moon, will be released in the U.S. on May 14th, 2013.

Rinku Sen Shares Tips on How To Be A Good Ally on Melissa Harris-Perry Show

Rinku Sen Shares Tips on How To Be A Good Ally on Melissa Harris-Perry Show

What does it take to be a good ally? Well, for starters, listen more and talk less.

“The job of a good ally is not to save anybody but rather to help create the conditions under which people can assert and grow their own power,” said Rinku Sen, President and Executive Director of The Applied Research Center, on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show.

Associated Press Stylebook Drops ‘Illegal Immigrant’

Associated Press Stylebook Drops 'Illegal Immigrant'

The Associated Press announced on Tuesday they will no longer recommend journalists use the term illegal immigrant when referring to immigrants in the United States without legal permission.

The announcement comes more than three years after launched The Drop the I-Word campaign that called on media outlets to stop using the term “illegal immigrant” because it is a racially charged slur that confuses the immigration debate and fuels violence.

“The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally,” wrote AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll on the organization’s blog.

“It’s great to see the Associated Press stand up for responsible journalistic standards. The style guide is the last word on journalistic practice so it’s particularly important for the AP to set this standard,” said Rinku Sen, executive director of the Applied Research and publisher of “This should put the debate to rest.”

The updated AP Style Guide entry is being added immediately to the AP Stylebook Online and Manual de Estilo Online de la AP, the new Spanish-language Stylebook. It reads as follows:

illegal immigration Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.

Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented.

Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without attribution.

Specify wherever possible how someone entered the country illegally and from where. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What nationality?

People who were brought into the country as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with details on the program lower in the story.

Two Things You Should Know About Chris Brown’s ‘Fine China’ Music Video

Two Things You Should Know About Chris Brown's 'Fine China' Music Video

Chris Brown released his latest video on Monday for his song “Fine China,” off his upcoming album “X.”

Here’s what you need to know about it. 

1. Someone watched “Rush Hour” too many times.

Angry Asian Man explains:

In the music video for his latest single, “Fine China,” the singer gets a taste for some Asian flavor and romances the wrong girl — the daughter of Triad boss (played by Francois Chau) — does some kung fu dance-fighting with tough guys and ends up in a standoff against bad people with guns. It’s all rather ridiculous.


2. The opening scenes in the “Fine China” music video were shot in Hancock Park… the same neighborhood where Chris Brown beat up Rihanna in 2009.

The scenes were shot just blocks away from the domestic abuse incident and in both incidents Brown was driving a red Lamborghini. 

Tennessee Gets Closer to Passing Bill That Ties Welfare to School Grades

Tennessee Gets Closer to Passing Bill That Ties Welfare to School Grades

A Tennessee bill that would cut welfare benefits of parents with children performing poorly in school cleared committees of both the House and Senate last week.

The measure takes “a carrot and stick approach,” one of the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, told the Knoxville News and Sentinel.

Seth Freed Wessler summarized the bill last month on

A Tennessee lawmaker introduced legislation last week to stop welfare payments to parents if their kids get bad grades in school. The sponsor, State Senator Stacy Campfield said, “One of the top tickets to break the chain of poverty is education.” But he added, “We have done little to hold [parents] accountable for their child’s performance.”

The bill would chop nearly a third of family’s Temporary Aid for Needy Families benefits, already a pittance, if their child fails to pass state competency tests or get’s held back. How exactly the threat to make poor people poorer will improve educational outcomes isn’t at all clear.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, and Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah. It calls for a 30 percent reduction in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits to parents whose children are not making satisfactory progress in school, the Knoxville News and Sentinel reported.

The measure faces another committee hearing in the House, but is now clear for a floor vote in the Senate.

What Rubio Really Wants on Immigration Reform Is Control

What Rubio Really Wants on Immigration Reform Is Control

After nearly five months of backroom talks, lawmakers crafting immigration reform bills in the House and Senate say they’ll release legislation next week. But as veteran immigration reformers like Sens. Chuck Schumer and Lindsay Graham danced their familiar routines on the Sunday talk shows this past weekend, the new kid on the scene, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tried to come off as a cooling agent. In a letter to Senate Juditiary Committee chair Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Rubio warned against the “rush to legislate.”

“Reports that the bipartisan group of eight senators have agreed on a legislative proposal are premature,” Rubio wrote.

Some have commented that Rubio is trying to build himself an exit strategy from the immigration reform process, to which he’s been integral thus far. That could be. While there’s little doubt the Florida Republican is committed to reforming immigration laws, skeptics say he’s even more committed to taking up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania come 2016. And to the extent he thinks the reform process will hinder that ambition by angering the right of the party, Rubio may be ready to bail.

Another possibility is that Rubio is just trying to position himself as the gatekeeper and as a leader, and he’s pressing the breaks any time it appears to the public that someone else is pressing the gas.

Rubio’s objections to the speed of the process don’t have a great deal of substance. He’s mainly said that he wants the bill to go through the normal committee process and in his letter on Sunday, he called for a series of hearings to discuss the bill. The truth is that was already the plan—leading members of the Senate have committed to starting the reform bill in the Judiciary Committee and moving it deliberatively to the floor.

Magic Johnson Says He’s Proud of His Gay Son

Magic Johnson Says He's Proud of His Gay Son

TMZ cameras caught Magic Johnson’s son walking hand-in-and down the Sunset Strip with another man. But it’s no biggie because Earvin Johnson III — aka EJ — is supported by his father and mother in “every way.”

“Cookie and I love EJ and support him in every way,” Magic Johnson told TMZ. “We’re very proud of him.”

EJ, 20, is currently studying at New York University, TMZ reports.

Magic Johnson has been public with his support for gay rights for several years. In November 2008, he lent his voice to the “No on Prop. 8” campaign and recorded a telephone call for California voters urging them to vote no on the ban on same-sex marriage.

“This is Magic Johnson calling to ask you to join me and Barack Obama in opposing Proposition 8,” Johnson said on the call. “Prop 8 singles out one group of Californians to be treated differently - including members of our family, our friends, and our coworkers. That is not what California is about. So this Tuesday, vote no on Proposition 8. It is unfair and wrong. Thanks.”

HRC Apologizes for Mistreating Trans and Immigrant Activists

HRC Apologizes for Mistreating Trans and Immigrant Activists

The Human Rights Campaign today was the last group to issue an apology for what they referred to as “two unfortunate incidents at the United for Marriage event at the Supreme Court last week.”

“In the midst of a tremendously historic week for our community, two unfortunate incidents at the United for Marriage event at the Supreme Court last week have caused pain in the community,” HRC’s Fred Sainz, Vice President, Communications and Marketing, wrote in HRC statement:

In one case, a trans activist was asked to remove the trans pride flag from behind the podium, and in another, a queer undocumented speaker was asked to remove reference to his immigration status in his remarks.

HRC joined in a coalition statement on Friday apologizing for these incidents and the individuals involved have personally offered their apologies to those affected. But to be perfectly clear, HRC regrets the incidents and offers our apologies to those who were hurt by our actions. We failed to live up to the high standard to which we hold ourselves accountable and we will strive to do better in the future. Through both our legislative and programmatic work, HRC remains committed to making transgender equality a reality.

HRC’s statement came after an apology from the United for Marriage Coalition and a statement from GetEQUAL. Initially, HRC denied any wrongdoing, but Matt Comer at Q Notes quotes several parties that in fact say the group was actually responsible for at least one of the incidents. also points out the statements from the gay rights groups only came after the blog Transition Transmission demanded an apology for the flag removal incident. The Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP) later posted a video calling for an apology as well.

A Non-Grotesque Picture From the Hospital Room of Louisville’s Kevin Ware

A Non-Grotesque Picture From the Hospital Room of Louisville's Kevin Ware

Louisville Cardinals sophomore guard Kevin Ware suffered one of the most gruesome injuries in televised sports history on Sunday night. His team, however, went on to win the game and made sure to bring the good news (and the Midwest Regional trophy) to Ware’s bedside on Sunday night.

There’s also more good news, less 24 hours after the incident and one surgery later,Ware has been able to move around his Indianapolis hospital room with the help of crutches.

The University of Louisville’s sports medicine director, Fred Hina, told the Courier-Journal Monday morning that though Ware’s recovery will be lengthy, the injury should not end his career.

Ware’s teammates have been posting pictures to different social media sites. Check out some of the updates below.

Watch Kid President Introduce Mexican-Filipino Singer Jessica Sanchez at White House

Watch Kid President Introduce Mexican-Filipino Singer Jessica Sanchez at White House

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcome children and their families to the South Lawn of the White House for the 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday.

Kid President had the honor of introducing the first family and Mexican-Filipino singer Jessica Sanchez to start the festivities. Sanchez, 17, was the runner-up on the eleventh season of the reality singing show, “American Idol” and is currently signed to Interscope Records.

March Madness: Native American Guard Shoni Schimmel Delivers ‘One of the Biggest Upsets in History’

March Madness: Native American Guard Shoni Schimmel Delivers 'One of the Biggest Upsets in History'

For weeks, ESPN has been asking only one question in women’s college basketball: Who’s going to stop Baylor University’s Brittney Griner?

Griner is the first National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) female basketball player ever to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots. But her final college game came a week earlier than expected in a shocking upset when Baylor lost to Louisville.

ESPN said Louisville pulled off “one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament.” The Associated Press also marked the occasion with similar words, calling Baylor’s loss “one of the biggest upsets in the history of the NCAA women’s tournament.”

So who’s largely responsible for taking down Baylor University and Brittney Griner?

The Indian Country Today Media Network has the answer:

Leading the charge for the U of L was, again, All-Everything point guard Shoni Schimmel. She drained five three-pointers and hit from everywhere else closer to the hoop, finishing with a team-high 22 points. Shoni’s sister and super sixth-woman, Jude Schimmel, added six points, five rebounds and three assists, tied for tops on the team. The Schimmel sisters are from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation in Oregon.

Shoni Schimmel, who’s 5-foot-10, grew up on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in eastern Oregon.

“There’s so many Native Americans that coulda-shoulda-woulda but didn’t do anything,” Schimmel told Louisville’s Courier-Journal in 2011. “It’s almost sickening how much talent is [on the reservation.]”

“I am very proud of who I am and where I came from, but I wanted to be one of the ones that made it out. My job is to play basketball, and I love doing it,” Schimmel went on to say.

According to NCAA’s most recent NCAA Race and Gender Demographics Report, there were four male and 21 female Division I basketball players that identified as American Indian/Alaskan Native during the 2011-2012 season.

Study: Undocumented Latinos Get Into HIV Treatment Dangerously Late

Study: Undocumented Latinos Get Into HIV Treatment Dangerously Late

A recent study conducted at a free clinic in Houston found undocumented Latinos with HIV infections enter care with more advanced disease than other patients. Despite getting medical care at later dates, however, undocumented Latinos with HIV achieved similar success in treatment as documented Latino and white patients.

HIV doctors and researchers have long warned that it is far more difficult for treatment to succeed when patients begin after the virus has advanced in the body. Late diagnosis has already been identified as a key reason for higher death rates among black Americans.

Dr. Thomas Giordano, associate professor of medicine-infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine, reviewed data from patients who visited Houston’s Thomas Street Health Center over a five-and-a-half year period. The study consisted of 1,620 HIV-infected adults, including 186 undocumented Latino patients, 278 documented Latino patients, 986 black patients and 170 white patients.

“We found that undocumented Hispanic patients came into the clinic with the most advanced HIV disease compared to the documented Hispanic, black and white populations, indicating that they were delaying care or had experienced delays in getting diagnosed,” said Dr. Giordano in a statement.

The study found that undocumented Latinos entered treatment with the most weakened immune systems.

One year after entering HIV care undocumented Latinos achieved similar rates of retention in care and similar success in reversing HIV’s advance as documented Latino and white patients. The study found black patients, however, were “significantly less likely” to succeed in care than even undocumented Latinos. There has been significant research on the impact social and economic factors have on black Americans’ ability to get, keep and thrive in HIV care.

Houston has the third largest Latino population in the United States.

Wu Tang Clan’s GZA Teaching Science in NYC Schools

Wu Tang Clan's GZA Teaching Science in NYC Schools

Gary Grice, one of the founders of Wu Tang Clan who goes by the stage name GZA, dropped out of school when he was in 10th grade. These days he’s back in schools sharing the expertise he’s developed over the years and helping students learn science through the art of rapping.

NYPD Using Facial Recognition Software on Facebook and Instagram Photos

NYPD Using Facial Recognition Software on Facebook and Instagram Photos reports that the New York Police Department is using facial recognition technology to match photos of suspects with images in online databases like Facebook and Instagram.

DNAinfo has the details:

The new technology is the latest weapon in the NYPD’s crime-solving arsenal that already includes DNA databases, radiological detectors and sophisticated license plate readers. The new investigative entity was formally launched late last year, with eight cops working in teams of four manning the operations.

Facial recognition — which zeroes in on features and extracts size and shape of eyes, noses, cheekbones and jaws to find a match — is now revolutionizing investigations in ways not seen since fingerprint analysis was implemented generations ago.

Analysts who follow the NYPD closely fear the new investigation tactics could lead to racial profiling.

“The ways that law enforcement is using technology is increasingly becoming a concern for communities of color. There’s a long, ugly history of surveillance in these communities, dating back to COINTELPRO and leading up to the NYPD’s recent and unwarranted surveillance of Muslim communities,” said’s news editor Jamilah King. “These new tactics are frightening precisely because racial profiling is so rampant.”

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