This week the Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio invited Daniela Palaez, a Miami high school valedictorian who’s quickly become a national face for the DREAM Act, to Washington D.C., and later said he still opposes the DREAM Act. Palaez and her sister Dayana were facing removal to Colombia, but won a two-year reprieve on their deportation order after their principal, local superintendent, thousands of fellow students, as well as Florida lawmakers from both parties lobbied to keep them in the country.
Speaking of Andrew Breitbart smearing important black people, Associated Press reports today on 2,000 pages of Obama administration emails over the Shirley Sherrod debacle. According to AP, the emails show the White House engaged significantly with Agriculture Department officials’ discussion over whether and how to push Sherrod out. The White House says that the emails merely confirm what it has already acknowledged—that officials were aware of the discussion but did not order Agriculture to fire her.
Protesters in Selma, Alabama who are fed up with the state’s heavy handed approach to voter ID legislation and immigration reform are today finishing a week-long march meant to bring attention to the two issues.
The march was organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to help commemorate the 47th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”, an iconic moment in the history of the civil rights movement where hundreds of protesters were beaten by state and local police. The incident is arguably remembered as the emotional peak of the civil rights movement.
The New York Police Department has spied on Muslim New Yorkers for no other reason than that they are Muslim, according to documents released today by the Associated Press. The story is the latest in the AP’s ongoing investigation of the NYPD’s program to target and surveil Muslims in the Northeastern United States and provides the clearest evidence to date that the police are engaged in systematic and official practices of racial and ethnic profiling.
If you’re a woman, or a person who just happens to respect women, you’ve got plenty reason to be angry these days.
Artist Favianna Rodriguez, fed up with the misogyny taking over the airwaves and filling statehouses, created a series of posters that say exactly what many of us have been feeling for a very long time. As she wrote on her blog, “Everywhere you turn, the right wing is attempting to further limit and hinder our access to our reproductive rights through anti-contraceptive measures.”
The sudden, sharp drop in black unemployment that set economists buzzing in January appears to have in fact been so much statistical noise. The February 2012 job numbers are out and black unemployment went right back up, to 14.1 percent (roughly double that of white unemployment, a disparity that has held for decades).
Piece by piece, courts are stopping Alabama’s harshest in the nation law. On Thursday the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals blocked two more provisions of Alabama’s HB 56 from being enforced while courts decide the constitutionality of the law.
The federal appeals court ruled that Alabama may not enforce Sections 27 and 30 HB 56, which restricted undocumented immigrants’ business transactions with public entities and made any contract an undocumented immigrant entered into unenforceable. Both of these provisions have severe impacts on Alabama residents’ everyday lives. People in Alabama reported having their water shut off for weeks at a time because they could not provide adequate identification.
Legendary legal scholar Derrick Bell has been back in the news again. From the grave, conservative activist Andrew Breitbart targeted the late academic’s association with President Obama because of his pioneering work in the field of critical race studies. It’s an ultimately sad stunt, considering Bell’s decades of work to untangle the messy conversations about race in America.
Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire isn’t very impressed with the Kony 2012 video that’s gone viral this week. “It simplifies the story of millions of people in northern Uganda and makes out a narrative that is often hard about Africa, about how hopeless people are in times of conflict.”
This article has been updated since publication.
On Wednesday night’s episode of the MTV reality challenge show “Battle Of The Exes” the last black contestant almost went home not because he lost a challenge but because his own teammate/ex-girlfriend mocked him with “one of the most offensive pranks” in MTV Challenge history. “The Challenge: Battle of the Exes,” an offshoot from the reality series “The Real World” that puts former MTV reality TV show participants up against each other in grueling physical challenges.
In last night’s episode a Southern “sheltered” white contestant named Emily decided to mock her African American ex-boyfriend Ty by dressing up in his clothes and covering her face in Nutella… aka blackface.
The Kony 2012 campaign has now gone viral in its attempt to bring international attention to the horrendous crimes of Ugandan guerrilla leader Joseph Kony. But Jezebel warns that the non-profit that’s behind the film, Invisible Children, has a somewhat shady past of its own. Here’s more from Jezebel, which notes that if you really want to donate money to Uganda, there are more direct ways to do it. (For the record, Invisible Children responded to Jezebel here.)
The American radical right grew “explosively” in 2011 according to a report issued Thursday by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The rise of hate groups is believed to be fueled by antagonism toward President Obama, resentment toward changing racial demographics and the slumped economy.
“The dramatic expansion of the radical right is the result of our country’s changing racial demographics, the increased pace of globalization, and our economic woes,” Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and editor of the new report, said in a statement.
“For many extremists, President Obama is the new symbol of all that’s wrong with the country - the Kenyan president, the secret Muslim who is causing our country’s decline,” Potok said. “The election season’s overheated political rhetoric is adding fuel to the fire. The more polarized the political scene, the more people at the extremes,” Potok went on to say.
On Monday I shared a story about Lakota Indians in South Dakota blocking two tarsands pipeline trucks from entering their land. One of the women who stood in front and blocked the giant big rigs was a 92-year-old grandmother.
On Tuesday morning I got an email from one of her family friends and I thought it could serve as inspiration for us all. Here’s the note that Colorlines.com reader Coya A. forwarded to us:
In the middle is my grandmother, Marie Randall, she is 92 years old! and my cousin Andrew Ironshell, they are part of the group of Lakota Oyate who prevented the TransCanada/XL Pipline trucks from crossing the border into the Pine Ridge Reservation, the home of the Oglala Lakota! I am so proud of my people and I will stand by them anytime and anyday!!
Today’s love goes to Maria Randall for standing up in what she believes in and being an inspiration to us all!
Katy Butler, a 16-year old from Ann Arbor, Mich., delivered more than 200,000 signatures to the Motion Picture Association of America on Wednesday urging them to change the rating of the documentary “Bully” to PG-13 so more young people can see it.
“I just heard that the Motion Picture Association of America has given an “R” rating to “Bully” — a new film coming out soon that documents the epidemic of bullying in American schools,” Butler wrote in her Change.org petition. “Because of the R rating, most kids won’t get to see this film. No one under 17 will be allowed to see the movie, and the film won’t be allowed to be screened in American middle schools or high schools.”
But shortly after Butler delivered the signatures the chairman of the Classification and Rating Administration of the MPAA said she “shares Katy’s goals of shining a light on the problem of bullying,” but that the rating will not change.
“Katy Butler’s efforts in bringing the issue of bullying to the forefront of a national discussion in the context of this film are commendable and we welcome the feedback about this movie’s rating,” Joan Graves said in a statement. “We hope that her efforts will fuel more discussion among educators, parents and children.”
Rush Limbaugh apologized last week for calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” but his laters have to make you wonder if he has any regrets.
According to ABC News Limbaugh has lost 42 advertisers but he told his listeners today that “everything’s cool,” that those advertisers have little if any impact on the show’s revenues.
A billboard portraying a black man with a metal collar around his neck has sparked controversy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, according to PennLive.com
The billboard that reads “Slaves, obey your masters,” was paid for by americanatheists.org. According to PennLive.com the sign is in the city’s most racially diverse section.
Laurene Powell Jobs, the wife of the late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, has been a supporter of the DREAM Act for years. That’s according to a Washington Post profile of leaders in the Silicon Valley that support the bill that would give undocumented students a path to legalization.
This Dollar Shave Club commercial (that takes confidence cues from the Old Spice man) had me until they introduced Alejandra—the scenes comes across like she’s the butt of the joke.