Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Report: Government Abandoned Integration of Housing For Decades

Report: Government Abandoned Integration of Housing For Decades

When President Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act in 1968, a week after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he declared that none of the of civil rights bills passed in the preceding decade “is more important than this.”

Johnson’s excitement centered on language requiring federal housing officials “affirmatively further” fair housing, to ban racial discrimination in housing, and end redlining, block busting and forced segregation. Not only did the Fair Housing Act prohibit explicit discrimination. It compelled the government to actively foster integration. The bill created an office of civil rights tasked with withhold Housing and Urban Development grants, a key source of federal dollars, when projects failed to address racial division.

It was a carrot and stick strategy of the highest kind.

But as an investigation released today by ProPublica shows, the enforcement side of the Fair Housing Act has scarcely been utilized in the law’s 44 years in existence. The words “affirmatively further” have never been defined, and efforts to curtail housing segregation have been repeatedly sidelined, undercut and defanged by every administration since Johnson.

“People say integration has failed,” a Clinton administration fair housing official told ProPublica journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. “It hasn’t failed because it’s never been tried.”

Colorlines.com’s Akiba Solomon on Reproductive Rights and the Election

Colorlines.com's Akiba Solomon on Reproductive Rights and the Election

Akiba Solomon, Colorlines.com’s “Gender Matters” blogger was a guest on BrianLehrer.tv earlier this week to discuss reproductive rights and the 2012 Election. She was joined by the president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, Andrea Miller. Naral Pro-Choice fights for birth control, sex education, healthy pregnancies, and a woman’s right to choose.

HIV-Positive DREAMer in Urgent Need of Medical Care Stuck in ICE Custody

A DREAMactivist.org petition is urging U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to immediately release and end deportation proceedings for a 27-year-old HIV-positive DREAMer that was held in a Florida detention center without medical care. According to the petition, Wasington Coelho Ribero went in to the Krome Detention Center with a “healthy viral load count” but his health deteriorated after he was denied medical care for four months.

“When he entered Krome, his viral load count was good and he was healthy,” the petition explains. “On October 4th, however, Wasington was transferred to a hospital and told that his viral load count had increased to the point that he needed to go on ‘the cocktail,’ a potent regiment of medicines reserved for HIV+ individuals whose health is deteriorating.”

Activists are urging Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano to immediately stop Ribero’s deportation because they claim he is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) eligible DREAMer, a low-priority for deportation, and because he will continue to suffer if he is not released.

Felipe Matos, a field director with GetEQUAL, offers more details via The Huffington Post:

A few weeks ago, a friend and fellow organizer brought to my attention the case of Wasington Coelho Ribero, a 27-year-old Brazilian immigrant who is a gay man living with HIV in a detention facility in Miami. This young man arrived in the U.S. when he was only 12 years old. He was the victim of an uncle back in Brazil who had molested him from age 10 to age 12. Since he arrived at Krome Detention Center four months ago, his health has declined significantly. He went from a healthy viral load count to what witnesses to his health condition are calling “falling apart due to medical neglect.” […]

Now Wasington is in a detention center without the proper care for his medical condition, and his condition is worsening. According to a petition calling on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director John Morton to release him immediately, he has developed sores on his feet and white spots on his entire body.

Senator Marco Rubio and Sen. Bill Nelson are also listed among several other Florida elected officials on the Dreamactivist.org petition.

Visit Dreamactivist.org for more information on the petition.

Forever 21 Withholds Labor Records After Feds Ask About Sweatshops

Forever 21 Withholds Labor Records After Feds Ask About Sweatshops

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed an action to enforce a subpoena issued to Los Angeles-based apparel retailer Forever 21 seeking documents related to the company’s apparel contractors and manufacturers. The Department initially issued the subpoena on Aug. 16. but the company has not complied with the demands.

A recent investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found significant evidence of violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions by vendors supplying goods to Forever 21.

“We are disappointed that Forever 21 has refused to cooperate with the subpoena, particularly given the significant problems we have found among its suppliers. Since 2008, our investigators have identified dozens of manufacturers producing goods for Forever 21 under sweatshop-like conditions,” said Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator for the division in the West. “When companies like Forever 21 refuse to comply with subpoenas, they demonstrate a clear disregard for the law, and the Labor Department will use all enforcement tools available to recover workers’ wages and hold employers accountable.”

The Korean-American-owned Forever 21 has been confronted with allegations of violating labor laws before.

In 2004, Forever 21 settled a lawsuit brought on by The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) representing 19 Latino garment workers that alleged unfair and unlawful business practices and sought unpaid wages, damages, and penalties. The settlement included a commitment by Forever 21 to take steps to promote greater worker protection in the local garment industry.

APALC’s case and campaign is the subject of “Made in L.A.,” an Emmy award-winning documentary film that follows three Latina immigrants who are part of the lawsuit. The New York Times’ Andy Webster called the film “an excellent documentary about basic human dignity.”

glamour-forever21.jpg

But despite Forever 21’s labor practices making national news the business is still booming.

Forever 21’s New York Time Square store handles between 200 and 600 boxes of new merchandise every night.

Just yesterday, the same day the Department of Labor announced legal action against Forever 21, Glamour Magazine’s “Slave to Fashion” blog announced a partnership with Forever 21.

“The collaboration is running for 3 months in 480 (!!) stores across the country, and in each store there will be a special Glamour section with items I’ve hand-picked to help you get the look,” a blog post on “Slave to Fashion” explained.

Perhaps “Slave to Fashion” isn’t the appropriate place to announce the partnership considering the new allegations that Forever 21 may be working with sweatshops.

Romney Camp Says Obama is Taking Latino Voters for Granted

Earlier this week we published a story about President Obama saying that if he was reelected it’ll be because the GOP has ignored Latinos. Now the Mitt Romney camp is firing back.

“Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community,” Obama told the Des Moines register.

Buzzfeed spoke to Romney’s adviser Alberto Martinez about the President’s comments.

“It’s a fascinating glimpse into how President Obama has taken the Hispanic community for granted for the past four years,” Martinez said.

“The whole episode underscores why millions of Hispanics are deeply disappointed with President Obama. Hispanics view President Obama as a weak leader who makes promises he can’t keep and has pursued policies that have failed all Americans.”

Deported Father Granted More Time To Fight For His Kids

Deported Father Granted More Time To Fight For His Kids

Felipe Montes, a deported father who federal immigration authorities allowed to return to the United States in August so that he could fight for his parental rights, has been granted an extension to his humanitarian parole.

Montes was deported from North Carolina in late 2010 for driving violations and his children were placed in foster care. The Alleghany County child welfare department refused to return the three young boys, now 1, 3 and 4-years-old, to their father’s custody and the family was at the brink of permanent separation. The foster families caring for the children want to adopt the boys.

In February, Colorlines.com broke Felipe Montes’s story and the Latino advocacy group Presente.org launched a petition demanding the family be reunified. Over 20,000 people singed the petition and with the help of the Mexican consulate in Raleigh, NC, Montes applied for permission to return to the United States for his hearings. In August, federal immigration authorities made the rare decision to allow Montes to return to the country for 90 days. The initial parole required that Montes return to Mexico on October 29th.

The father and his court appointed attorney, Donna Shumate, expected the three months would be enough time for the case to conclude, but instead, the hearings have dragged on. Earlier this week, Montes was preparing to leave the United States without his kids.

But on Thursday, Montes’s attorney confirmed that federal authorities will allow him to remain until December 23rd. The next court hearing about his parental rights is scheduled for November 19th.

“I got a chance to get the kids back before I leave,” Montes told Colorlines.com. “I got all the way back here and I didn’t want to have to go to Mexico without them.”

Mitt Romney + Poor People = Hilarious? [Video]

Mitt Romney + Poor People = Hilarious? [Video]

In the fifth Actually… video Elon James White tries to figure out what Mitt Romney means when he says, “The poor are taken care of.”

White is a Brooklyn-based comedian, writer and creator of the award-winning web series “This Week in Blackness,” a satirical look at race, politics and pop-culture in a so-called “post-racial” America and the award winning radio show “TWiB Radio.”

White’s video, published on Actually.org on Wednesday, is part of the “Actually…” series, a collaboration between American Bridge 21st Century and the Jewish Council for Education and Research (JCER.) The founders of Actually.org say their plan is to work with comedians to make sure lies don’t go unchecked in politics.

“The Actually..”. ad campaign (which was the #1 political ad campaign last week according to the WSJ) was created by Elon James White and the co-creator of “The Daily Show” Lizz Winstead.

You can tune in to White’s radio show “TWiB Radio” Monday through Thursday at 1:30pm EST. Watch the show at TV.TWIB.ME or listen at TWIB.FM.

*An earlier version of this story misidentified the name of White’s radio show.

93% of Front-Page Election News Stories are Written by White Reporters [Infographic]

93% of Front-Page Election News Stories are Written by White Reporters [Infographic]

The latest infographic from 4th Estate shows that over 93% of front page print articles, covering the 2012 Presidential Election, were written by white reporters. The percentage of articles written by Asian American reporters is 3.3%, by black reporters is 2.9%, and Latino reporters is 0.7%.

(Full infographic below.)

The Dallas Morning News stands out as an exception where 18.8% of their front page stories were written by black reporters, according to 4th Estate.

At three percent (3%), The New York Times has the highest percentage of front page stories written by Latinos.

The Boston Globe had the highest percentage of front page articles written by Asian Americans at 11.5%.

“The most striking under-representation of minorities in our data is that of Hispanic journalists, considering the Hispanic population stands at approximately 16.3% of the U.S. population (according to the 2010 Census),” the 4th Estate study noted.

Latinos are the fastest-growing and second largest population group in the United States. According to projections from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, more than 12.2 million Latino voters are expected to cast ballots on Election Day, an increase of 26 percent from 2008.

Earlier this week President Obama acknowledge Latinos are a huge factor in the 2012 election.

“Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community,” Obama told the Des Moines Register.

(h/t The Atlantic)

Winner of Trayvon Martin Look-Alike Contest to Receive Prize

Winner of Trayvon Martin Look-Alike Contest to Receive Prize

A Topeka teenager is scheduled to receive an award on Friday for winning a Trayvon Martin Look-Alike contest.

The contest was organized by C.E. “Sonny” Scroggins, a longtime Topeka activist, and founder of the Kansas Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee.

“He looks just like Trayvon when he has his hoodie pulled up,” Scroggins told the Topeka Capital Journal.

The Topeka Capital Journal has more details:

The winner of a local Trayvon Martin look-alike contest will receive an award Friday afternoon during the Grant Cushinberry Birthday Celebration at an East Topeka park named after the city’s beloved philanthropist.

Event organizer C.E. “Sonny” Scroggins said Taveion Lamb, a Topeka teenager, will receive his award shortly after 3 p.m. Friday, after school lets out, at Cushinberry Park, 335 S.E. 15th.

Lamb was selected as winner of a Trayvon Martin look-alike contest earlier this year in Topeka.

The look-alike contest was organized in part to draw attention to other Scroggins’ other rallies urging state officials to overturn “stand your ground” laws across the country.

“The stand your ground laws need to be repealed or replaced,” Scroggins said in a press release. “Vigilante justice has no place in the United States or Kansas.”

Is Apple’s New iPad Mini Video the First to Include More Than White Guys?

Is Apple's New iPad Mini Video the First to Include More Than White Guys?

With almost every new Apple product launch the company releases an introduction video to help explain why the product is so revolutionary. The videos generally premiere at press conferences where Apple unveils new products, then the videos live on Apple.com and YouTube where they’re seen by millions of Apple devotees.

Historically, the product videos have included a carousel of any number of Apple’s top twelve executives against a white background talking their new products up. The execs in the videos celebrate Apple innovation and tout lines like “this new Apple product is 18% thinner than it’s predecessor and it took an incredible cross-collaborative effort to do this.”

apple-carousel-1.jpgSince Apple was founded their advertising has consistently included models and actors of color alongside their products. But because all of Apple’s top twelve executives are white males, their product intro videos have been a carousel of white talking heads touting new technologies.

Until Tuesday.

It appears that the iPad mini product video released Tuesday, for the first time, prominently included someone who wasn’t a white male.

The representation of people of color in product launch videos is more than just about diversity at Apple. It’s about equity, and seeing people of color who make it to the top, AND have a say, and represent the company. That’s a lot different from just diversity in hiring or advertising.

The 4-minute video prominently features Michael Tchao, one of the original developers of Apple’s groundbreaking but failed Newton personal digital assistant. Tchao, who left Apple in 1994 before retuning in 2009, is currently the vice president of iPad product marketing.

In March 2011, Tchao made a short appearance in an iPad 2 video, however he is featured more prominently  in this latest video iPad mini video.

“One of the things that makes iPad so incredible is that there is almost no end to what you can do with it,” Tchao says in Apple’s new marketing video. Tchao appears alongside Jonathan Ive, Apple’s celebrated senior vice president of industrial design, and Dan Riccio, senior vice president of hardware engineering.

Apple did not respond to calls and emails made to confirm Tchao is the first person of color to be prominently featured in an Apple product introduction video. All the historic product intro videos available online on YouTube and Apple’s site only feature past and current white executives.

Before returning to Apple in October 2009, Tchao was general manager of Nike’s Techlab the company’s technology arm, which designed armbands and sneakers that integrate with iPods and iPhones.

Tchao first joined Apple in March 1986 as a product line manager, according to his Linkedin profile. He graduated from Stanford University in 1986 with a BS in Engineering and Product Design. He joined Apple shortly after that same year as a product line manager. He left Apple in 1994—four years before Apple discontinued the Newton.

Tchao has been back Apple since 2009 and has had a number of roles but he’s never appeared in any of the product videos.

apple-ad-poc.jpgTo be clear, Apple has included people of color in their advertising since the company was founded. A female Asian model was included in a 1977 Apple II ad and most recently you can regularly see brown and black hands holding iPods, iPhones and iPads in Apple ads. At one point the company even featured labor activist Cesar Chavez in an ad campaign—problematic for many reasons, but especially because the ads were airing while Apple headquarters was in a labor dispute with their janitorial crew.

But the product introduction videos have been different—until Tuesday the executive product intro videos only featured white males.

The integration of Tchao in the introduction videos comes at an interesting time.

High end U.S. and European companies are increasingly included Asians and Asian-Americans in their advertising in an effort to attract buyers in Asian countries.

Google regularly features Asian and South Asian engineers demonstrating products in product launch videos. Google’s videos have also featured women.

That could be why Apple finally included someone who wasn’t a white male in their video. But this seems like it’s more than that. Perhaps a person of color finally made it to the top at Apple, the world’s most valuable company. And that’s a big deal.

After nearly 50 years of applying anti-discrimination laws, American workplaces are still dominated by white men. As Colorlines.com’s publisher Rinku Sen pointed out last week, “Men of color and all women have more access to some jobs than they used to, but the ranks of decision makers come nowhere close to reflecting our numbers in the nation as a whole.”

Apple’s third retail store in Beijing, and its largest in Asia, opened this past Saturday. Elsewhere in Asia, Apple has also dealt with unacceptable (read: deadly) worker conditions in manufacturing factories.

Rosario Dawson and Voter Protection Experts Answer Your Questions in Twitter Townhall

This Thursday, October 25th, Colorlines.com is participating in a Twitter town hall sponsored by the Advancement Project. With Election Day swiftly approaching, experts from Advancement Project, Voto Latino, ColorOfChange and Colorlines.com will be there to answer any questions you may have about voting and election day.

Colorlines.com’s very own voting rights expert Brentin Mock will be part of the Twitter Townhall also.

Join the conversation using #yVote and help build the movement for empowered and collective voting!

When: October 25th, 2012 3:30 EDT

Where: Twitter - #yVote

How do I Join?

  1. RSVP for the event at goo.gl/hizzp

  2. On Oct. 25th follow us on Twitter at @Colorlines and share your voice using #yVote.

  3. @Colorlines, @ColorOfChange, America Ferrera and Rosario Dawson along with voting protection experts, and many other voting rights orgs will be sharing your tweets and answering all of your questions. Follow the conversation at Tweetchat.com/room/yvote

See YOU at the Twitter Town Hall!

U.S. Sues Bank Of America for Over $1 Billion in Mortgage Fraud Case

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are suing Bank of America for more than $1 billion for mortgage fraud against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced Wednesday that the U.S. has filed a civil mortgage fraud lawsuit against Bank of America and its predecessors Countrywide Financial Corporation and Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that from at least 2007 through 2009, Countrywide, and later Bank of America after acquiring Countrywide in 2008, implemented a new loan origination process called the “Hustle,” which was intentionally designed to process loans at high speed and without quality checkpoints, and which generated thousands of fraudulent and otherwise defective residential mortgage loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that later defaulted, causing over $1 billion dollars in losses and countless foreclosures.

“For the sixth time in less than 18 months, this Office has been compelled to sue a major U.S. bank for reckless mortgage practices in the lead-up to the financial crisis. The fraudulent conduct alleged in today’s complaint was spectacularly brazen in scope, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “As alleged, through a program aptly named ‘the Hustle,’ Countrywide and Bank of America made disastrously bad loans and stuck taxpayers with the bill. As described, Countrywide and Bank of America systematically removed every check in favor of its own balance - they cast aside underwriters, eliminated quality controls, incentivized unqualified personnel to cut corners, and concealed the resulting defects. These toxic products were then sold to the government sponsored enterprises as good loans. This lawsuit should send another clear message that reckless lending practices will not be tolerated.”

Off the Record, Obama tells Reporter: If I Win, It’ll Be Because GOP ‘Alienated’ Latinos

Off the Record, Obama tells Reporter: If I Win, It'll Be Because GOP 'Alienated' Latinos

In an interview with the Des Moines Register, which was originally conducted off the record but made public Wednesday, President Obama said if he’s reelected it’ll be because the GOP has ignored Latinos.

Des Moines Register editors accepted the interview with the President on the condition that it would be off the record, but once the interview was done the editors published a story urging the Obama campaign to release transcripts of the interview. On Wednesday the Obama campaign obliged.

Below is an except from Obama’s interview with the DesMoinesRegister.com:

The second thing I’m confident we’ll get done next year is immigration reform. And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community. And this is a relatively new phenomenon. George Bush and Karl Rove were smart enough to understand the changing nature of America. And so I am fairly confident that they’re going to have a deep interest in getting that done. And I want to get it done because it’s the right thing to do and I’ve cared about this ever since I ran back in 2008.

“There’s a difference between Latinos voting for you because the other party has so alienated them and Latinos voting for you because they enthusiastically support your policies and agenda and President Obama may be banking too much on the former and not paying enough attention to the latter,” said Colorlines.com reporter Julianne Hing.

The Obama administration set a new record for deportations in 2011, removing nearly 400,000 undocumented immigrants. The vast majority have no criminal record whatsoever.

DOJ Sues Mississippi for Its Egregious School-to-Prison Pipeline

Mississippi is breaking the law by violating the due process rights of kids who are getting funneled through its juvenile justice system, the Department of Justice has said. It filed a lawsuit today against the state itself, as well as the city of Meridian, Lauderdale County and judges of the Lauderdale County Youth Court for doing exactly that.

“The department is bringing this lawsuit to ensure that all children are treated fairly and receive the fullest protection of the law,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “It is in all of our best interests to ensure that children are not incarcerated for alleged minor infractions, and that police and courts meet their obligations to uphold children’s constitutional rights.”

Among Meridian’s violations, according to the DOJ, are: - Children are handcuffed and arrested in school and incarcerated for days at a time without a probable cause hearing, regardless of the severity - or lack thereof - of the alleged offense or probation violation. - Children who are incarcerated prior to adjudication in the Lauderdale County system regularly wait more than 48 hours for a probable cause hearing, in violation of federal constitutional requirements. - Children make admissions to formal charges without being advised of their Miranda rights and without making an informed waiver of those rights. - Lauderdale County does not consistently afford children meaningful representation by an attorney during the juvenile justice process, including in preparation for and during detention, adjudication and disposition hearings.

Jay Smooth Deconstructs Romney’s Famous ‘47%’ Flub

Jay Smooth Deconstructs Romney's Famous '47%' Flub

The “Actually…” web series has added another celebrity fact checker to their list! In this new video, DJ Jay Smooth hits Romney on his 47% comment.

Smooth’s video published on Actually.org on Wednesday is a collaboration between American Bridge 21st Century and the Jewish Council for Education and Research (JCER.) The founders of Actually.org say they plan to work with other comedians to make sure lies don’t go unchecked in politics.

Top Row, 3rd From Left: Most Adorable Obama-With-Kids-Photo Ever

President Obama takes a lot of pictures with kids. A lot of pictures.

But a picture tweeted by @barackobama yesterday might be the most adorable photo of the president with kids, ever. The president is seen hanging out with a group of children sitting on bleachers but a young boy sitting at the top “photobombed” the picture and stole the show.

Not a lot of details so far of where this picture was taken, it was only tweeted with a simple “picture of the day” caption.

>>UPDATE 10/24/12 12:00PM EST: A friend and mother of two daughters emailed me to express her concerns about this photo. “Sure, it’s an ‘innocent’ kiss but I hope someone talked to that boy about respect for other people’s bodies,” she wrote in her email. And it’s true, sometimes pictures don’t tell the whole story.<<

Still, there’s something to say about Obama’s connection with children. In Nickelodeon’s 2012 “Kids Pick the President” poll 65% of the votes went to President Obama. There’s something there, just take a look at the last picture below—even Mitt Romney’s grandson has big smiles for the President.

Take a look at some amazing moments of President Obama with kids below.


adorable-kids-obama-2.jpg

East Haven Police Reach Agreement With Feds On Racial Discrimination

East Haven Police Reach Agreement With Feds On Racial Discrimination

More than three years after the Department of Justice began an investigation of practices of systemic discrimination and brutality against Latinos by East Haven, Conn. cops, town officials announced today they’ve reached a proposed settlement agreement with the feds.

For years in East Haven, Conn., a predominantly white suburb of New Haven, Latino residents were confronted by a barrage of police harassment and profiling. The town made national headlines in December of last year when the DOJ released a report charging the East Haven Police Department with systemically harassing Latinos.

In January, a separate criminal investigation by the FBI led to the arrest of four local cops for violent abuse of Latinos. Earlier this month, one of the charged officers pleaded guilty to uses of excessive force. The three other charged officers pleaded not guilty.

Shortly after the arrests, the town’s mayor, Joseph Maturo proposed that to remedy the damage by his police department he’d “eat tacos” for dinner. Predictably, the comments did nothing to halt growing outrage and within a week, Maturo announced that his police chief, Leonard Gallo, would resign.

According to Latino residents who I spoke with earlier this year, East Haven police were more restrained in months since the DOJ report was released, but many still feel precarious. Residents told methey hoped federal attention would bring lasting change.

In a press release, the DOJ wrote:

The Justice Department today announced that the town of East Haven, Conn., memorialized its intention to enter into a settlement agreement to resolve the department’s civil investigation of allegations that the East Haven Police Department (EHPD) engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination against Latinos on account of their race, color or national origin. The proposed agreement also resolves allegations that EHPD engaged in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, unconstitutional searches and seizures and retaliation against persons who witnessed police misconduct or criticized EHPD’s practices.

As I reported in February, the practices of racial profiling and harassment were initially thrust into public view when a Yale University Law School clinic filed a civil rights action on behalf of a local pastor, the owners of a Latino owned convenience store and seven other Latino residents of the town who claimed they’d been abused by local police. The complaint listed two fifths of East Haven’s active duty cops as defendants.

The proposed agreement between the DOJ and New Haven, which must still be approved by town officials, requires the police to train officers in bias-free practices. The agreement also requires cops to contact foreign consulates when non-citizens are arrested and to develop policies, oversight, and training on police use of force. It also calls on police to develop stronger partnerships with town residents.

Responsibility for the East Haven racial harassment scandal was not contained to the local police force. As I reported in February, at the same time East Haven’s police were profiling and harassing Latino residents, federal immigration authorities continued to respond to calls from the town and at least several Latino residents of East Haven were deported.

After profiling, falsely arresting and often brutalizing Latinos in town, the cops routinely called ICE to report those without papers, locals charge. “When they come into this bar,” explains Marin, “the first thing they check is immigration status. And then they’ll probably call immigration.”

Even as the Department of Justice was investigating the police for alleged civil and criminal violations, another federal agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was acting in cahoots with the East Haven cops’ assault on immigrants.

ICE has consistently claimed that its enforcement practices do not rely on racial profiling to find immigrants and that it only deports serious criminals. The unfolding drama in East Haven does significant damage to that claim.

Jesse Jackson Jr. Back at Mayo Clinic, Return to Congress Unclear

Jesse Jackson Jr. Back at Mayo Clinic, Return to Congress Unclear

Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has returned to a Minnesota Mayo Clinic hospital for “an evaluation.”

The AP reported Tuesday that the clinic confirmed Jackson was back at the facility for a follow-up evaluation “to ensure he is on the path to properly manage his health.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., the congressman’s father, told the AP the evaluation may lead to a longer stay.

An anonymous source earlier this year claimed Jackson “has severe clinical depression, a drinking problem or a problem with alcohol.” More recent however claim Jackson is battling bipolar disorder.

Jackson Jr., is facing re-election in November but a close friend who visited him Monday says he may not return to Congress.

llinois congressman Danny Davis told Reuters Jackson was frail and emotional during the meeting on Monday.

Davis said there is a “strong possibility” Jackson, a Democrat who is expected to easily win re-election on November 6, will eventually return to Congress.

“But if you had to bet on it, you’d probably want to stay out of it,” Davis told Reuters. “You just can’t tell. We don’t know as much about mental health and mental illness as we need to know.”

Jackson has not appeared in public since the beginning of the summer.

Winnsboro Police Believe Woman’s Burns Were Self-Inflicted

Winnsboro Police Believe Woman's Burns Were Self-Inflicted

Update 10/23/12 5:37PM EST: Authorities now believe Moffitt’s wounds were self-inflicted. Story has been updated.

Sharmeka Moffitt, a 20-year-old black woman, is in critical condition with burns on more than half her body, after she claims she was set on fire Sunday by three men who wrote the initials “KKK” and a racial slur on her car in northeastern Louisiana.

According to the Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement officers responded to a call around 8 p.m. near the walking trail at Civitan Park to find Moffitt attacked and burned, the Franklin Sun reports.

The Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office along with Winnsboro police and Louisiana State Police are investigating the attack, but law enforcement officers acknowledged Monday they do not have any suspects in the case. They’re also not calling the incident a crime at this time.


Update 10/23/12 5:37PM EST: According to the Franklin Sun, Winnsboro Police Chief Lester Thomas, evidenced gathered at the scene of the incident shows 20-year-old Sharmeka Moffitt’s initial claims that she was attacked and set on fire turned out to be false claims made up by Moffitt.


Crunk Feminist Collective is reporting authorities have not called the attack a hate crime because “Sharmeka could not definitively identify the race of her attackers.”

Crunk Feminist Collective with more details and context:

The fact that the race of her attackers is being used as a gauge for this hate crime demonstrates the limitations of how we think about race and racism in this country. This Black woman was targeted and subjected to severe and life-threatening bodily injury for sport. Her perpetrators then thought they should punctuate their crime by scrawling hateful racially incendiary messages on her car. What isn’t hateful about that?

And what is with all the shock and bewilderment? Winnsboro, Louisiana is just about 60 miles from Jena, Louisiana, the site of the 2007 Jena 6 incident. I grew up in Ruston, Louisiana, about 75 miles from Winnsboro. As late as the late 1990s, the KKK marched in downtown Ruston, and my classmates bragged during class trips about having relatives who were high ranking officials in the terrorist organization. Racially incendiary acts are commonplace in this part of the world. (Every damn part of the U.S. world) Like critical race theorists tell us, racism is not an aberration. It is part of the everyday, commonplace fabric of our lives. Before folks start decrying this act as an individual aberration of 3 sick individuals, perhaps we would do well to remember that their acts are symptomatic of the continued persistence of racism in this country.

Otis Chisley, the president of the local branch of the NAACP, told the AP that regardless of the investigation’s outcome racism and KKK activity remain a fact of life in the state.

“It’s prevalent throughout Louisiana,” he told the AP. “It’s hidden but it exists.

Vivica A. Fox Schools Stacey Dash on How to Make Presidential Endorsements With Class

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In an interview published by theGrio yesterday, actress Vivica A. Fox talked about her new TV projects and also weighed in on a recent surprising presidential endorsement: Stacey Dash’s endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“I don’t know why she [Stacey Dash] had to do a photo shoot in a Baywatch red swimsuit with the boobs and the whole flag behind her,” Fox said. “And she doesn’t have a job or something to promote right now. I just didn’t get it. She’s entitled to her own opinion but it was just surprising that first of all she was a Republican, and that she did it the way that she did. Most politicians when you support them, you try to support them with class, you don’t need to do a swimsuit shoot.”

Is it just me, or did she deliver those words with a touch of shade?

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