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Oprah Defends Kardashian Interview on Struggling OWN Network

Oprah Defends Kardashian Interview on Struggling OWN Network

Oprah’s OWN network aired an interview with the Kardashian family on Sunday. In it, the reality TV stars talked about everything from the infamous sex tape that catapulted Kim into the spotlight to the controversial role of mother Kris Jenner, who’s been criticized for pushing all six of her kids into the media spotlight.

Oprah’s taken her own amount of criticism for interviewing the family in the first place.

5th Grader to Give Previously Banned Speech on Marriage Equality

5th Grader to Give Previously Banned Speech on Marriage Equality

New York City elementary school student Kameron Slade is scheduled to give a speech on marriage equality today. The speech will be given as part of a special assembly of fifth graders that was scheduled after news broke last week that Slade’s school principal had banned the speech for being “inappropriate” for the school-wide competition. The boy calls for tolerance and acceptance.

Here’s more from NY1:

Rodney King’s Autopsy Planned for Today

Rodney King's Autopsy Planned for Today

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday to determine what caused Rodney King’s death. The 47-year-old was found dead at his home’s swimming pool in Southern California early Sunday morning.

Twenty years ago King became the brutalized symbol of police brutality after his beating by four LAPD officers was caught on tape. The acquittal of those officers later led to the 1992 L.A. uprisings, which left over 50 people dead, thousands injured, and billions of dollars in property damage. In the middle of the carnage King pleaded for peace, asking, “Can we all get along?”

TAGS: Rodney King

Obama: Halting DREAMers’ Deportations the ‘Right Thing to Do’

Obama: Halting DREAMers' Deportations the 'Right Thing to Do'

Protecting the select portion of undocumented immigrants who would qualify for the DREAM Act from deportation is in the best interest of the nation, President Obama said this afternoon from the Rose Garden of the White House. This morning the Obama administration announced that it would grant DREAM Act-eligible youth a two-year reprieve from deportation, along with the potential for work authorization.

“Put yourselves in their shoes,” Obama said, listing the hardships and everyday survival mechanisms of undocumented immigrant youth who were raised in the country and are “Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper,” yet continue to face deportation.

“It makes no sense to expel talented young people who for all intents and purposes are Americans,” Obama said. Obama said the initiative was borne out of inaction from Congress, which narrowly failed to pass the DREAM Act in December of 2010. Yet Obama called out Republicans in particular, who have shown no meaningful interest in taking up any legalization measure, and instead recommend only harsher enforcement to deal with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The DREAM Act would allow a select portion of undocumented youth who commit at least two years to the military or college and clear a host of hurdles to become eligible for citizenship.

Today’s move will not provide young people a path to citizenship, Obama emphasized. “It’s not a permanent fix. This is a stop gap measure.” The only real, long-term solution remains policy overhaul from Congress, the president said.

Obama said the initiative was also the result of efforts to improve immigration enforcement to focus on “criminals who endanger our communities rather than students earning their education.” Still, in the last year that the Obama administration has supposedly been enforcing prosecutorial discretion guidelines that should have left DREAMers out of the deportation queue, many would-be DREAMers have received deportation notices, and been deported.

Watch the Season 2 Premiere of ‘Awkward Black Girl’

Watch the Season 2 Premiere of 'Awkward Black Girl'

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is back with a new season. The popular web series premiered “The Sleepover” on Thursday night. Watch it and enjoy!

Occupy Atlanta Activist Fights Eviction From Family’s Longtime Home

Occupy Atlanta Activist Fights Eviction From Family's Longtime Home

Carmen Pittman is a 22-year-old black woman who’s played an important role in Occupy Atlanta. She’s been fighting to save the home that’s been in her family for generations. In 2011, the home was sold at auction after Carmen’s grandmother became bed-ridden with pancreatic cancer and was unable to pay a mortgage that resulted from a sub-prime loan. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution noted this week that Georgia is the “epicenter of the foreclosure crisis.”

Carmen documented her family’s struggle in a moving video that’s after the jump.

BREAKING: Obama Will Halt Deportations of DREAMers

BREAKING: Obama Will Halt Deportations of DREAMers

President Obama will stop deporting undocumented youth who are eligible for the federal DREAM Act, the Associated Press reported.

This class of immigrants will also be granted access to work permits, as well, but not citizenship. The order is expected to impact up to 800,000 young people.

The announcement comes after over a year of demands from community including a week of actions during which undocumented youth staged sit-ins in Obama’s campaign offices demanding exactly this kind of action. Despite Obama’s support for the federal DREAM Act, a legalization bill for a select portion of the country’s undocumented youth, in the two years since its failure in Congress Obama has continued to deport those who would be eligible for the bill, activists argued. Activists pressured Obama, as the November election nears, to grant relief to young undocumented immigrants as some measure of proof that Obama’s immigration record would include more than his current distinction of having deported more people in his one term than any other president.

The DREAM Act would allow youth who grew up in the country, commit at least two years to the military or higher education and clear a host of other hurdles to become eligible for citizenship down the line.

Trayvon Martin’s Dad has a Moving Message for Father’s Day

Trayvon Martin's Dad has a Moving Message for Father's Day

Tracy Martin, the father of Trayvon Martin hopes no one will have to feel the pain he has endured since his son was gunned down in Florida earlier this year.

“I’ll share a prayer for all the dads across America who share this grief with me,” Tracy Martin says in the video.

Jon Stewart Takes on Rick Scott’s Voter Suppression in Florida [Video]

Jon Stewart Takes on Rick Scott's Voter Suppression in Florida [Video]

Colorlines.com’s investigative reporter Brentin Mock and blogger Aura Bogado cover the challenges presented by new voter ID laws, suppression of voter registration drives, and other attempts to limit electoral power of people of color. Check out their Voting Rights Watch blog.

Check out the ‘Florida’ tag page to get the latest on voter suppression in Florida.

TIME Mag’ New Immigration Cover Story: ‘We Are Americans - Just Not Legally’

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Jose Antonio Vargas is on the cover of the new issue of TIME Magazine.

The terms “undocumented,” “unauthorized” and the the phrase “not legal” are used instead of the “i-word.”

On the cover, photographed by Gian Paul Lozza, Vargas stands before 35 other undocumented immigrants living across the country.

“This Time magazine issue is going to reach a lot of homes and a lot of white people and non-immigrants of all backgrounds that may have a deeper conversation on immigration and immigrants as a result of reading it,” said Mónica Novoa, campaign coordinator of the Drop the I-Word public education campaign.

“We hope people will pay attention to the choice to put the i-word in quotes and to use ‘undocumented’ instead. We applaud Define American, Jose Antonio Vargas and all of the young people involved, and hope this sparks an interest in more people standing up for immigrant rights,” Novoa went on to say.

“As members of a society with supposedly evolved human values we must answer this question: Are we ok with creating an underclass of people and denying a large segment of the population the right to affordable education, life-saving healthcare, fair labor and the right to have in-tact families?”

A Guide to the U.S.’ Worst Restaurants for Workers

A Guide to the U.S.' Worst Restaurants for Workers

The newly released ROC National Diners’ Guide 2012 provides information on the wage, benefits, and promotion practices of the 150 most popular restaurants in the United States. The Guide lists responsible restaurants where you can eat knowing that your server can afford to pay the rent and your cook isn’t working while sick.

With over 10 million workers nationwide, the U.S. restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors in the country’s economy, even during the current economic crisis, according to Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC-U.) The group says despite the industry’s growth, restaurant workers suffer under poverty wages and poor working conditions.

“If you care about sustainability — the capacity to endure — it’s time to expand our definition to include workers. You can’t call food sustainable when it’s produced by people whose capacity to endure is challenged by poverty-level wages,” the New York Times’ (all things food related writer) Mark Bittman wrote in an opinion piece earlier this week.

Not surprisingly, most of the most notable abuses occur at the bigger companies. (There’s a list at the end of this post.)

There’s a few surprises on the good list though: Five Guys Burgers and Fries and In-N-Out Burgers offer their employees paid sick leave and offer all their non-tipped workers more than $9/ an hour.

There’s also a few notable high-end restaurants on the list including Ilan Hall’s The Gorbals in Los Angeles. Hall, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York and the pastry program at the school’s Napa Valley campus who has worked for Tom Colicchio at Craft and for Mario Batali at his Spanish tapas place, Casa Mono, both in New York. Most people recognize him as the guy who won the second season of “Top Chef.”

Take a look at the list of worst restaurants for workers’s below and download ROC-U’s report at Rocunited.org/dinersguide.

Police Chief Defends Detaining Teen’s Mother After Neighbor’s Fatal Shot

Police Chief Defends Detaining Teen's Mother After Neighbor's Fatal Shot

A 75-year-old Milwaukee man immediately confessed to fatally shooting his 13-year-old neighbor when police arrived but the officers still detained the teen’s mother and forced her to sit in the police car for more than an hour rather than let her hold her dying son or join him at the hospital. Officers also searched through the mother’s home looking for stolen firearms (that were never found) and arrested her other son on a year-old truancy violation.

Associated Press has more details: > The actions might have seemed harsh, Milwaukee police Chief Ed Flynn acknowledged Wednesday, but that’s an unfortunate aspect of homicide investigations — the detectives’ top priority is to gather facts, and compassion is only a secondary concern.

Prosecutors say the boy, 13-year-old Darius Simmons, was outside his home May 31 when his 75-year-old neighbor confronted him about stolen firearms. When Simmons protested his innocence, John Henry Spooner shot him in the chest as Simmons’ mother watched, the criminal complaint said.

Flynn said investigators get only one chance to collect evidence and interview witnesses at the scene. That means keeping witnesses apart to prevent them from talking, even family members who are mourning and want to be together, he said.

“None of it makes sense. My sister was treated like she was the suspect,” Simmons’ uncle, Leon Larry told the AP. “And searching the house, it looked like they were trying to give the suspect a reason for what he did, an excuse for what he did. That’s garbage.”

‘Obama Boy’ Has a Crush on the President, R&B Style

'Obama Boy' Has a Crush on the President, R&B Style
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High School Senior Sings His Way Off UMich’s Admission Wait List

High School Senior Sings His Way Off UMich's Admission Wait List

High school senior Lawrence Yong from Los Angeles just sang himself off the admissions waitlist at the University of Michigan.

Last year just 42 of the 14,600 students offered a place on U-M’s wait list last year got in and Yong knew he had to do something to set himself apart. The high school teen covered the Jackson 5’s “I want you back” with his own set of lyrics written specially for the admissions office at U-M.

“In all honesty I only expected it to get maybe 100 or 200 views. Maybe from a couple of my school friends and then some people at church,” Yong told AnnArbor.com. “It was really incredible. I am not entirely sure how it spread so quickly but that’s exactly what happened.”

Yong’s video “Michigan, give me one more chance!” had more than 43,000 views at the time this story was published.

Johnson & Johnson Becomes 19th Company to Withdraw Support From ALEC

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson announced Tuesday that it would no longer fund the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The announcement comes a week after ColorOfChange launched radio ads across the country exposing the connection between Johnson & Johnson and the policy group, which has pushed legislation that hurts black communities such as voter suppression bills and so-called Stand your Ground laws.

“As Americans learn more about ALEC’s extreme agenda, companies understand that their brands suffer through association with a group that has weakened our democracy and made it harder to earn a living wage,” said ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson. “The ColorOfChange community commends Johnson & Johnson for acting in the best interest of consumers and cutting ties with this shadowy organization.”

“The extreme ALEC agenda harms all of us on a daily basis,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way Foundation in a statement. “It’s disturbing that so many American companies still have a hand in advancing legislation that suppresses the right to vote, impedes access to health care, weakens public education and jeopardizes public safety. I commend the persistence of the hundreds of thousands of activists who have demanded accountability from corporations supporting the ALEC agenda. Johnson & Johnson’s departure from ALEC is a big victory, and the other corporate funders who have yet to leave ALEC should take note.”

Finally, a Satire Film About Being a Black Face in a White Place is in the Works

Finally, a Satire Film About Being a Black Face in a White Place is in the Works

“Dear White People” is a satire about being a black face in a white place. The film has an impressive list of people ready to help make it happen, all they need is funding.

The filmmakers have started an Indiegogo fundraiser to raise $25,000 in the month. Below is a bit more information about the project via Indiegogo:

Remember when Black movies didn’t neccesarily star a dude in a fat suit and a wig? Or have major plot twists timed to Gospel numbers for no apparent reason? No? Damn…

Well believe it or not there was a time when “Black Art-House” was a thing. When movies like Do The Right Thing, Hollywood Shuffle, and Boyz In Da Hood were breaking box office records as well as making us laugh, cry, and think in ways movies hadn’t before.

The humble producers of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, a satire about being a black face in a white place, long to bring those days back. But we can’t do it without you!

Here’s the deal…we’re looking to raise seed money that will go a tremondously long way in securing the capital we’ll need to produce our million dollar indie feature. With our trailer, script and your help, we believe we can bring this exciting piece of cinema to life! Join us, won’t you?

The filmmakers say “Dear White People” follows the stories of four black students at an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over a popular “African American” themed party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film will explore racial identity in “post-racial” America while weaving a universal story of forging one’s unique path in the world.

Mayor Bloomberg to Black Church: ‘Stop-and-Frisk’ Is Here to Stay

Mayor Bloomberg to Black Church: 'Stop-and-Frisk' Is Here to Stay

On Sunday New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg went to a black church in one of the city’s most heavily policed neighborhoods to let them know ‘Stop-and-Frisk’ isn’t going anywhere. Just after citing Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech the Mayor told the congregation at the First Baptist Church of Brownsville that ‘stop-and-frisk’ should be “mended, not ended.”

The New York Times reports Bloomberg opened up his speech with an allusion to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and suggested that gun violence remained a barrier to full racial equality.

Later, he said of the frisk policy, “to borrow a phrase from President Clinton, I believe the practice needs to be mended, not ended” — a reference to a phrase that Mr. Clinton used in a very different context, in a 1995 speech defending affirmative action programs.

“We are not going to walk away from a strategy that we know saves lives,” Bloomberg said on Sunday, the NY Times reports. “At the same time, we owe it to New Yorkers to ensure that stops are properly conducted and carried out in a respectful way.”

New York Times Looks at the Scars of Stop-and-Frisk [Video]

New York Times Looks at the Scars of Stop-and-Frisk [Video]

On the heels of a silent march this coming Sunday, The New York Times has published a short documentary film on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policing program. The 6-minute film centers around Tyquan Brehon, a young man in Brooklyn who says he was stopped more than 60 times before age 18.

Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network and others are rallying together on Father’s day to “End Stop And Frisk Silent March Against Racial Profiling” in New York .

Sunday, June 17th, 110th and 5th at 3p. Silent march to end stop-and-frisk.

George Zimmerman’s Wife Arrested, Charged with Perjury

Earlier this month a Florida judge ordered George Zimmerman back in jail fter prosecutors said Zimmerman and his wife misled the court about their finances. On Tuesday the wife of Zimmerman—the man accused of shooting Trayvon Martin—was also arrested.

Orlando Sentinel has more details on the developing story:

According to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were alerted by prosecutors Tuesday that a warrant had been issued for Shellie Zimmerman, 25. She was arrested about 3:30 p.m. “at the location she was residing in Seminole County,” deputies said in a statement.

She was booked on a perjury charge, with bond set at $1,000. She is currently “in the process of posting bond,” deputies said.

The arrest comes after prosecutors in George Zimmerman’s case told Judge Kenneth Lester that Shellie Zimmerman lied about her husband’s finances, in order to conceal about $135,000 from the court.

‘TRUST Act’ Legislation to Reform ‘Secure Communities’ Advances in California Senate

On Tuesday, by a vote of 5 to 2, the California State Senate’s Public Safety Committee approved the new version of AB 1081, also known as the TRUST Act.

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network describes one testimony heard Tuesday at the Capital:

The committee heard powerful testimony from Blanca Perez, a Los Angeles mother facing deportation due to an arrest last year for selling ice cream on the street who urged the state to set an example for the rest of the country with the passage of the bill. “Immigrants in Alabama and Arizona are afraid today, but as my experience tells us, immigrants in Los Angeles, here in Sacramento and even in San Francisco, have reason to be afraid as well,” Ms. Perez told the committee.

“Blanca’s story confirms that ICE’s priorities are stunningly out-of-whack,” said Assemblymember Tom Ammiano. “This is something I’d expect in Arizona, not in Los Angeles. Persecuting this courageous, hard-working mom for selling ice cream on the street is a ridiculous waste of resources. Today’s vote recognizes that S-Comm is sabotaging our public safety. The TRUST Act is the solution we need to begin rebuilding the confidence that our local law enforcement worked so hard to build, but that ICE has shattered.”

If AB 1081 becomes law it could be a significant blow to the “Secure Communities” federal program since over a quarter of S-Comm deportations are currently from California.

For more on AB 1081 read the story published earlier today.

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