Comedy Central’s ‘Indecision’ caught up with the Undocubus riders who traveled from Arizona to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC to urge the Obama administration to stop criminalizing immigrant communities.
66 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives who were eligible to register to vote in 2008 did so. The other 34 percent—more than one million people—did not. There’s a concerted effort to register Native voters in 2012, and make an big impact on Election Day.
Meet Voting Rights Watch’s newest community journalist, Hillary Abe. He works for College Horizons, a national non-profit focused on facilitating the higher education of Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian youth. Hillary is also an accomplished videographer, and aspiring filmmaker. He recently shot and directed a short video in Northern Arizona geared towards mobilizing rural Native youth to vote. Check out and share his video, and expect to see more from him about the Native vote this election season.
After taking a few years off rapper Missy Elliott is making a comeback with her 7th solo album.
Missy Elliott says it all in the first line of the song ‘9th Inning’ previewed above: “Now I’m in the 9th inning, thought I fell off, I ain’t quite finish.”
The song also features rhymes by the man who produced the beats, Timbaland.
Dominican American Pulitzer Prize-Winning author Junot Díaz released his latest book today. “This Is How You Lose Her” follows the story of protagonist Yunior’s downward spiral after his fiancée finds out he’s cheated on her.
“When I finished my first book, Drown, I realized that the theme of infidelity, which runs through the book, needed sort of a much more upfront presentation, and I concocted this project. It just really interested me,” Díaz told NPR’s Steve Inskeep. “But you know, sometimes you chart out a course and you think it’s going to be an afternoon walk, and you realize it takes you half your life.”
NPR has an in-depth interview with Díaz that focuses on his process writing “This Is How You Lose Her.” In the excerpt below Díaz tells NPR’s Inskeep about how he was taught to view women:
“I grew up in a world, [a] very New Jersey, American, Dominican, immigrant, African-American, Latino world. And, you know, I went to school and it was basically the same. I went to college; it was basically the same, where largely I wasn’t really encouraged to imagine women as fully human. I was in fact pretty much — by the larger culture, by the local culture, by people around me, by people on TV — encouraged to imagine women as something slightly inferior to men. And so I think that a lot of guys, part of our journey is wrestling with, coming to face, our limited imagina[tion] and growing in a way that allows us not only to imagine women as fully human, but to imagine the things that we do to women — that we often do blithely, without thinking, we just sort of shrug off — as actually deeply troubling and as hurting another human being. And this seems like the simplest thing. A lot of people are like, ‘Really, that’s like a huge leap of knowledge, of the imagination?’ But for a lot of guys, that is.”
Díaz, who is known for his bold, nuanced depiction of immigrants and people of color, will be the keynote speaker the Facing Race conference taking place November 15-17 in Baltimore. Facing Race, the largest national, multi-racial gathering of leaders, educators, journalists, and activists on racial justice is organized by Colorlines.com’s publisher the Applied Research Center.
If you want to learn more about Díaz check out his guest DJ mixtape on NPR that includes the likes of Calle 13, Ana Tijoux, Kinky and openly gay rapper Le1f.
Univision anchor Maria Elena Salinas remembers covering the events of September 11, 2001.
“If there is one thing I remember from the week it’s all the people that were being interviewed that would take a moment to show a picture—regardless of what was being asked from them—they showed a picture of a loved one [asking] ‘have you seen my brother, have you seen my mother, have you seen my sister, have you seen my wife?’ It was one after another,” Salinas says in the video above.
Salinas goes on to say that for Latinos and immigration in general, “everything’ has changed since 9/11.
Last week, Jorge Rivas reported on the parts of the internet caught up by a Nicki Minaj line on Lil Wayne’s new Dedication 4 mixtape: “I’m a Republican, voting for Mitt Romney / You lazy bitches are fucking up the economy…”
While most folks assumed Minaj, who often raps from the point of view of different assumed personas, was just engaging in artistic license, some folks thought she was making a real confession of her politics. (Not sure where these folks were when Jay-Z and Nas released “Black Republican” in 2007.)
This morning, Obama was asked about the lyric in a phone interview Orlando hiphop station Power 95.3’s The Obie And Lil Shawn Morning Show. You can listen to Obama’s answer above, in which he explains that he and Michelle aren’t old yet, and that they try to keep their iPods current and in touch with popular culture.
But the real magic happens when the President of the United States has to explain Nicki Minaj’s ouvre to the nation. “I’m not sure that’s actually what happened,” said Obama. “She likes to play different characters, you know, so I don’t know what was going on there.” Not sure if President Carter ever had to expound on David Bowie’s Thin White Duke period.
Minaj confirmed on Twitter that she was, you know, rapping:
Ha! Thank you for understanding my creative humor & sarcasm Mr. President, the smart ones always do… *sends love & support* @barackobama— Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ) September 10, 2012
Awesome! Now I can tell my grandchildren that the 1st black President of the United States took the time to address a Nicki Minaj question— Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ) September 10, 2012
And in case you’re concerned that Obama is too cool, just listen to how he dad-splains Minaj’s guest verse as “a little rap.”
The scrutinization of True the Vote, and their voter-stalking Tea Party co-signers across the nation, is growing. Today, Common Cause and Demos released a report called “Bullies at the Ballot Box” that raises awareness about groups who determined to challenge voters at the polls, even at risk of intimidating voters away from the polls. Says the report:
As we approach the 2012 elections, every indication is that we will see an unprecedented use of voter challenges. Organizers of True the Vote claim their goal is to train one million poll watchers to challenge and confront other Americans as they go to the polls in November. They say they want to make the experience of voting ‘like driving and seeing the police following you.’ There is a real danger that voters will face overzealous volunteers who take the law into their own hands to target voters they deem suspect. But there is no place for bullies at the ballot box.
Colorlines readers may recognize that “police following you” line from our Voting Rights Watch 2012 reporting on the group True the Vote, which you can read here.
The “Ballot Bullies” report examines laws around challenging voters in ten states, looking namely at how well or bad voters are protected from pre-Election Day voter registration challenges that can lead to reckless purging, voter caging, being challenged at the polls on Election Day, and the behavior of obnoxious poll watchers. According to the report Florida and Pennsylvania have some of the worst voter protection laws, says the report, yet these are pivotal states that hold tremendous sway in the upcoming presidential elections. True the Vote has a substantial presence in Florida and has pressed hard for Gov. Rick Scott’s reckless purging program there.
People of color in particular should be most wary of these groups:
“With comments about the ‘illegal alien vote’ and ‘the food stamp army,’ King Street Patriots and their allies have created a climate of fear that voter fraud is rampant in minority precincts and used that fear to justify their discriminatory targeting of poll-watching efforts - again, without evidence to support the targeting.”
The King Street Patriots is the Houston-based Tea Party group that gave birth to True the Vote and it’s spawn of poll harassers around the U.S.
This report follows another released by the Brennan Center for Justice last week, “Voter Challengers,” which delves deep into the racial history and politics behind poll watching in America.
Today is an historic day for Chicago’s public schoolteachers. The city’s teachers are striking today for the first time since 1987 after negotiations for a new contract for Chicago Public School’s 25,000 schoolteachers ended. The strike will affect hundreds of thousands of students and their family. It’s just the second week of school for the nation’s third largest school district.
For all the city and union politics at play, the exact reasons that compelled teachers to strike can quickly get lost in the fray. Chicago schoolteacher Xian Barrett took to his blog to explain to CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard why he’s headed to the picket line today:
When you make me cram 30-50 kids in my classroom with no air conditioning so that temperatures hit 96 degrees, that hurts our kids.
When you lock down our schools with metal detectors and arrest brothers for play fighting in the halls, that hurts our kids.
When you take 18-25 days out of the school year for high stakes testing that is not even scientifically applicable for many of our students, that hurts our kids.
In response to additional information last week about former Black Panther Richard Aoki’s role as an FBI informer, the activist’s long time allies are once again coming to his defense. In a piece for the San Francisco Bayview that appeared over the weekend, several prominent activists and academics called evidence of Aoki’s role as an FBI informant a “distort[ion] of the legacy of Richard Aoki.”
The op-ed was authored by Ward Churchill, a native activist and former ethnic studies professor; Kathleen Cleaver, former member of the Black Panther Party and Yale law professor; and Natsu Taylor Saito, a George State University law professor. The piece suggests that Aoki still has many prominent supporters from his many years as a prominent activist, despite damning evidence that he also worked as an FBI informant.
First, the authors aren’t surprised by the allegations:
This is a classic example of how truth is mixed with falsehood to rewrite history and promote a more sweeping agenda. The goal is to discredit the movements of the 1960s and ’70s and key activists of that era who might serve as role models for coming generations. The failed prosecution of former Black Panthers in the well-known case of the “San Francisco 8” is just one of many recent examples.
The authors critique Seth Rosenfeld’s reporting, before putting his work within a long history of FBI-inspired ‘disinformation’:
A key weapon in their arsenal is the spreading of false and derogatory information - “disinformation,” in the counterintelligence vernacular - to “disrupt, destabilize, discredit, and destroy” radical activists and organizations. The FBI has utilized numerous techniques to convey such disinformation, from planting rumors in targeted communities to mass dissemination of half-truths or outright lies through the press, electronic media and books claiming to provide “objective” analyses.
The government’s use of disinformation for repressive purposes traces back at least as far as its campaigns to “neutralize” the anarchist and Garvey movements during and shortly after World War I. Since the process was systematized in the 1930s, an ever-greater flow of material crafted by the FBI’s in-house spinmeisters and an unknown number of contract writers, collaborating scholars, and cooperating journalists, has been devoted to burnishing the bureau’s public image while degrading its adversaries.
In August, news that Aoki was listed as an FBI informant sent shockwaves throughout the progressive community. The news was felt especially hard in the Bay Area, which Aoki called home and had for decades made a name for himself first as a radical activist with the Black Panther Party and student movements of the 1960s, and then as a longtime educator in the East Bay. Last week, the Center for Investigative Reporting released over 200 pages of FBI files it had obtained on Aoki’s role with the FBI. The files, many of which are redacted, show that Aoki was listed as an FBI informant for 16 years.
A 20-year-old Bronx bodega worker was accidentally shot and killed by a NYPD officer responding to an armed robbery inside the store early Friday morning, according to law enforcement officials.
Reynaldo Cuevas was shot and killed when he ran into the responding officer as he rushed out of the robbery scene at full speed, according to NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
“Mr. Cuevas … ran full-speed into the officer,” Kelly said. “The two became entangled, at which point, we believe, the officer accidentally discharged his weapon.”
NBC New York reports the robbers remained barricaded inside the store for over three hours until they were taken into custody. Police said the three suspects who participated in the robbery are expected to be charged with felony murder, in addition to robbery counts.
On Thursday the Justice Department released its findings determining that the Topeka Correctional Facility (TCF), an all-female facility in Topeka, Kan., under the jurisdiction of the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC), fails to protect women prisoners from harm due to sexual abuse, misconduct from correctional staff and other prisoners in violation of their constitutional rights. The Justice Department delivered a letter detailing the findings to Governor Samuel D. Brownback and Secretary of the KDOC Ray Roberts.
More from the DOJ on the investigation’s findings:
The investigation concluded that TCF fails to protect women prisoners from sexual abuse and misconduct from correctional staff and other prisoners in violation of their constitutional rights. TCF has a past history of officer-on-prisoner and prisoner-on-prisoner sexual abuse and misconduct. The women at TCF live in an environment with repeated and open sexual behavior, including sexual relations between staff and prisoners and non-consensual sexual conduct between the female prisoners. Much of the inappropriate sexual behavior, including sexual abuse, continues and remains unreported due to insufficient staffing and supervision, a heightened fear of retaliation, a dysfunctional grievance system and inadequate investigative processes. To date, KDOC and TCF have failed to remedy the myriad systemic causes of harm to the women prisoners at TCF despite repeated, well-documented and detailed investigations and audits exposing the problems.
“Our investigation has revealed that multiple deficiencies in the operations of the Topeka Correctional Facility have exposed female prisoners to harm and the serious risk of harm from prisoner-on-prisoner and employee-on-prisoner sexual abuse and assault,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “It is our strong desire to work with both the facility and the Kansas Department of Corrections to implement reforms to address these repeatedly-documented deficiencies.”
The investigation was conducted by the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section and focused on whether prisoners at the facility were subject to sexual abuse in violation of their constitutional rights.
On Thursday evening about 20 Undocubus riders who traveled from Arizona to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte met at a local church to watch President Obama deliver his acceptance speech.
Colorlines.com’s Aura Bogado, who traveled on the Undocubus, was with the group and reports
there was a silence almost the entire time Obama delivered his speech.
Bogado sent the following pictures and note from Charlotte:
There was a long discussion afterwards, when people stood up and shared what they thought. Some were positive, noting that Obama said, “you have to do the work,” and “you have to earn it.” Gerardo Torres (who was arrested and released this week) interpreted that to mean that his community has to continue to fight against local police enforcing federal immigration law.
Torres and many others in the room are returning to Arizona in the next few days, and almost all the riders mentioned the latest SB1070 ruling (I noted that none of them called it “show me your papers,” they all referred to it as racial profiling”). Even those who were very critical of the speech said that the next fight is in Arizona, around SB1070.
Miguel Guerra was arrested in an action against Arpaio and SB1070 in July, was handed over to ICE, and then released while he fights his case to stay in the US. He, his wife, and their oldest daughter are undocumented, and his two younger children are US citizens born in Arizona. After he was released, he boarded the bus bound to Charlotte. After the speech, he said he was disappointed he couldn’t hand Obama a letter that his oldest daughter had written to the president. In it, the15-year-old writes that her “dad is trying to stop all the racism here in Arizona and other states.” Because the First Lady mentioned that Obama reads letters that people write to him for guidance, Torres hopes that Obama reads the letter if it is sent to the White House.
All pictures below taken by Aura Bogado in Charlotte.
“Today there are people trying take away rights that our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers fought for: our right to vote, our right to choose, affordable quality education, equal pay, access to health care. We the people can’t let that happen.”
“Mitt Romney would raise taxes on middle-class families to cut his own—and mine. That’s not who we are as a nation, and here’s why: The Eva Longoria who worked at Wendy’s flipping burgers—she needed a tax break. But the Eva Longoria who works on movie sets does not.”
Brooklyn is the second most expensive place to live in the entire country — topped only by Manhattan — according to the latest report from the Washington-based Council for Community and Economic Research.
The council ranks 300 American cities based on a variety of factors including prescription drug prices, utilities, transportation, grocery prices, as well as housing. Using the number 100 to represent the national average, Brooklyn ranked at 183.4 overall — 129.9 in gro Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo ScissuraBrooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo Scissura rocery items, 126.4 in utilities, 104 in transportation costs and 111.1 in healthcare costs, and a whopping 344.7 in housing. Manhattan’s average was 233.5.
This means that housing costs in Brooklyn are more than three times that of the average American city, which, according to the survey, is someplace like Erie, Pa., or Charlottesville, Va.
Wondering what this means for many of Brooklyn’s historically black communities?
Black losses were substantial in several communities with historically large Black populations. The Black population declined by 10,000 in Crown Heights North (a loss of almost 12% of the Black population), 8,400 people in Flatbush (decline of 14%), 7,258 people in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens (decline of 12%), and almost 6,000 people (-5,936) in Bedford (decline of almost 15%). [Note: The City Planning Department created two separate “neighborhood areas” for the community commonly referred to as Bedford-Stuyvesant. We use the Planning Department’s “neighborhood area” delineation for this analysis.]
Communities in northern Brooklyn such as Bedford, Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, and Clinton Hill in 2000 straddled the area of central Brooklyn with substantial Black population plurality and the Park Slope/Brooklyn Heights area with substantial White population plurality. By 2010, Black population concentration had declined and White concentration had increased. In Bedford, the White population had the greatest percentage increase of any of the major groups citywide — 633% (an increase of almost 16,000 people), increasing the White population share in that neighborhood from 4% in 2000 to 25.5% in 2010. In Prospect Heights, the White population share increased from just over one-quarter in 2000 (28.2%) to almost half (47.2%) in 2010 (an increase of 3,818). In Clinton Hill, the White population share more than doubled from 15% in 2000 to just over 35% in 2010 (an increase of 7,419).
Brooklyn rents grew at an average rate of nearly 6.58 percent last year, compared with 0.37 percent in 2010, according to the latest Brooklyn Rental Market Report.
Manhattan rents have stayed steady in the past year, according to NY.Curbed.com
Brooklyn has also seen high foreclosure rates.
In 2008, one in four homeowners with subprime mortgages in the 11233 zip code, which spans Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights neighborhoods, lost their homes, the Fed said.
The official August jobs report released this morning shows that the economic depression in communities of color continues unabated. Double digit unemployment for blacks remains stuck at 14.1 percent. The unemployment rate for Latinos edged slightly upward to 10.2 percent.
Unemployment for the general population is unchanged at 8.1 percent and 96,000 jobs were created in August. That’s not even enough to keep up with population growth.
Disturbingly, the number of people actively looking for work continues to slide. It’s at a 30 year low. Over three million people have disappeared from the workforce all together since 2008. If labor force participation was the same as when Obama came to office, the overall unemployment rate would be almost 40 percent higher.
Additional information on male labor force participation is even more sobering. According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s the lowest in almost 60 year low. This news is a disaster for black and Latino men.
High youth unemployment, over 50 percent in some areas, alongside the number of people who’ve given up on work could be important drivers in the outbreak of violence in communities of color this summer.
The jobs report only adds to the curiosity of President Obama’s silence on black and Latino unemployment in last night’s speech, or a full-throated discussion of the jobs crisis overall.
There’s now a paper trail that shows detailed evidence of former Black Panther Richard Aoki work as an FBI informant. In a report released Friday morning at the Center for Investigative Reporting, reporter Seth Rosenfeld outlines his findings of 221 pages of FBI files that show Aoki’s role as informant with the agency for 16 years, from 1961 to 1977.
Here’s what the records show: The FBI began targeting Aoki while he was still in high school, a striking point that speaks to just how aggressively the government worked to intervene in radical and people of color-led movements. Notably, the files do not detail exactly what information Aoki gave to the FBI, and in particular the redacted documents do not specify whether he informed on the Black Panthers, the political organization with which Aoki is most widely identified. However, the documents do show that Aoki was an informant during the critical years in which the Black Panthers had conflict with the police.
From Rosenfeld’s report:
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton virtually cleared the way for Arizona to start questioning suspected undocumented immigrants they come in contact with. Bolton gave the U.S. Department of Justice and Arizona 10-days to work out the wording of the order that will officially lift a 2-year-old injunction that prevented officers from checking a person’s immigration status.
“The district court was correct in blocking Arizona’s harboring statute, which criminalized many everyday interactions with unauthorized immigrants. Unfortunately, the district court’s ruling let the “show me your papers” law stand, despite significant new evidence that it was passed with a discriminatory motive and will result in illegal detentions,” said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project “The ruling puts an enormous burden on the countless Arizona residents who will be victims of racial profiling and illegal detentions because of this law. We remain committed to fighting what is left of SB 1070 and defending the rights of all Arizonans to be free from this unjust law.”
Supporters of SB 1070, including Gov. Jan Brewer, cheered the ruling.
“After more than two years of legal challenges, it is time that Section 2B of SB 1070 take effect,” Brewer said in a statement. “Given today’s ruling, along with the federal court’s suggestion that it intends in the very near future to formally lift the existing injunction, it is clear the day of implementation is fast approaching.”
There is some good news to come out of all this. Judge Bolton issued an injunction against a statute that makes it a crime to harbor people suspected of being undocumented immigrants.
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, ditched his prepared DNC remarks half way through his speech on Wednesday night and urged Obama to “hope on!”
“There is something essential in the human spirit that searches for hope. We are driven by hope,” said Cleaver. “President Barack Obama has been lampooned for speaking of hope; hope for a better America. I want to encourage our president and all of us to continue to hope for an America that remembers, recognizes, and fervently protects its greatness.”
“Yes, Mr. President, hope on. Continue to hope, Mr. President,” Cleaver, who is also a United Methodist pastor, went on to say.
Benita Veliz made history Wednesday night when she took the stage at the Democratic National Convention.
“I’ve had to live almost my entire life knowing I could be deported,” she said on the stage. The twenty-seven-year old came to the U.S. without papers as a child but now qualifies for temporary status that protects her from deportation under President Obama’s Deferred Action program.