Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

‘Chávez,’ Brought to You by Budweiser

'Chávez,' Brought to You by Budweiser

The César Chávez film has had its share of thoughtful criticism. Dolores Huerta kinda answered the controversy around Chávez’s stance on undocumented immigrants (although it’s unclear if anyone has asked her about her own). And, speaking of Huerta, where were the women in the film? And where were the Pinoy workers who influenced Chávez’s work with the United Farm Workers (UFW)? But now, a Budweiser video connected with the film, which stars Diego Luna, is raising eyebrows. 

The self-proclaimed King of Beers has long sponsored the UFW, and has now released a video of a special screening for held for farmworkers in Delano, California. It concludes with a clip of Chávez’s son explaining, in Spanish (which is a bit bizarre, considering the video is in English, and Paul Chávez speaks English), that his father enjoyed drinking his Bud. 

(h/t Latino Rebels)

Gun Violence Spikes in Chicago, Again

Gun Violence Spikes in Chicago, Again

Chicago’s gun violence is back in the news again with yesterday’s headline: 4 dead among at least 36 shot in 36 hours. “Chiraq’s” gun violence and murder rate have been well covered by media over the last few years. A brief recap follows, in addition to the latest on solutions.

Most homicides occur on the city’s predominantly black and Latino south and west sides. Much of the violence concentrates among youth. Almost half of Chicago’s 2,389 homicide victims between 2008-2012 were killed before their 25th birthdays, according to a new Chicago-focused human rights report from Amnesty International. And that says nothing of the youth who survive shootings (more than 2,300 in 2013) or witness them. Again, from Amnesty: “Studies have shown that youth exposed to high levels of violence often become the victims and perpetrators of the violence, exhibiting the same psychological trauma as children growing up in urban war zones.”

A fair question then: how is Chicago—from communities to schools to city hall to hospitals—intervening in the lives of all those young people with unaddressed psychological trauma?

New FBI director, James Comey in a visit yesterday to the city reportedly said: “You can’t arrest your way to a healthy neighborhood”—even though cops and more cops appears to be the public’s main demand. So if according to America’s top cop, the punitive arm of the criminal justice system is only one part of the city’s solution to gun violence and extreme rates of victimization among youth, what are others?

The new Amnesty report begins by recognizing that scattering public housing residents and recent school closings contribute, respectively, to fracturing previously hierarchal gangs and endangering Chicago’s youth. It makes a few tangible recommendations as well. The first: properly investigating allegations of torture levied against Chicago police from the 1970s through the 1990s. One new investigation from watchdog group, BetterGov.org tracks increasing police misconduct claims over the past decade as well as skyrocketing costs ($84.6m in 2013, alone). Real reform won’t come however, it says, until CPD addresses its own “no-snitch” culture and tolerance for abuse.

Other recommendations, including adequately funding anti-gang youth initiatives and beefing up protections for immigrants and LGBTQI individuals, make the Amnesty report a worthwhile read. Note too, how one Calif. group aims to help its crime victims of color living in high crime neighborhoods by first making them visible.

(h/t Chicago Tribune)

Tax Day Freebies, Pharrell Cries on Oprah and Google Drones

Tax Day Freebies, Pharrell Cries on Oprah and Google Drones

Here’s what I’m catching up on this rainy morning: 

TAGS: Morning Rush

On 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Act: Integration and Gay Rights

On 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Act: Integration and Gay Rights

As public schools have re-segregated, the achievement gap between black and white students has widened. That’s a major finding from a forthcoming year-long investigation into southern schools by Pro Publica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones who yesterday previewed the article on Face the Nation. The 20-minute Sunday morning segment comes after last week’s civil rights summit featuring four presidents—Obama, Bush, Clinton, Carter—reflecting on LBJ and the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Other guests on the program, which assessed failures and progress made: Michael Eric Dyson, Evan Wolfson, and Tavis Smiley.

So, how are we doing 50 years on?

Calif. Leads on Making Crime Victims of Color Visible

Calif. Leads on Making Crime Victims of Color Visible

Amidst today’s growing push for criminal justice and prison reform, victims living in high crime neighborhoods rarely get a mention. A small movement out of California aims to change that however by making working class and low-income victims of color visible. Californians for Safety and Justice have expanded on last year’s first-ever survey of crime victims with a new (though, small) report looking at what may be a common but invisible experience in high-crime neighborhoods: repeat victimization.

Fully two-thirds of 500 people surveyed last year described having been victims of multiple violent crimes within the past five years alone. These victims are more likely to be low income, young (under 30) and black or Latino.

“Untold Stories” describes victims’ experiences with police (not good; not only in California) and other first responders (better). It finds limited to no assistance accessed or offered, particularly among low-income persons surviving multiple victimizations (i.e. assault, shootings, physical and sexual violence, etc) and suggests a kind of “walking wounded” phenomenon in high poverty, high crime neighborhoods.

More quantitative and qualitative research is needed, the report says. There’s just not that much out there on crime victims as compared to research on criminals and crime.

Former KKK Leader Kills Three, MTV Movie Awards and Total Lunar Eclipse

Former KKK Leader Kills Three, MTV Movie Awards and Total Lunar Eclipse

Here’s some what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • Just 13 percent of all Twitter accounts have tweeted more than 100 times—and 44 percent have never tweeted at all. #Huh. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Risking Arrest for Her Mom

Risking Arrest for Her Mom

With immigration reform stalled in Washington, Gabriela García is fed up. The 23-year-old grad student and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient recently blocked a San Francisco intersection in protest. Her journey, told by PRI, of going from quietly petitioning to civil disobedience reflects the increasing frustrations of many. This week three protesters began a hunger strike in front of the White House. That comes on the heels of a month-long series of fasts by more than 1,500 women in 35 states and Mexico, protesting continued deportations.

García’s mom disapproves of her daughter getting arrested. But Gabriela doesn’t mind.

“To see the fear and the sadness in my mom’s eyes that have forced her to become shameful of who she is — I can’t turn against that,” García explained. “I can’t pretend that everything is okay.” 

The García’s left Oaxaca for the United States when Gabriela was three-years-old. Her mom, now 65, earns minimum wage at McDonald’s.

Learn more at PRI.

Who’s Giving Second Chances to War on Drugs Survivors?

Who's Giving Second Chances to War on Drugs Survivors?

“Are we moving towards a society where it’s much harder to get a second chance?” Moving towards? That ship’s long sailed considering that for 30 years now in Missouri, for example, mothers with a past drug conviction can’t access food stamps—ever. For mainstream America, though, slowly awakening to the ills of too-much incarceration, the question is thankfully relevant and it leads off a worthy D.C. panel this morning featuring Joe Jones.

Jones, a recovering addict and ex-knucklehead, he says, is the founder and CEO of the Center for Urban Families in Baltimore. According to the current cover story in The American Prospect, “Is there hope for the survivors of the Drug Wars?” CUF is among the first programs in the country designed to specifically help young men of color readjust for economic success in society. In addition to workforce training, it offers fatherhood classes, helps men navigate family court and counsels ex-prisoners forever marked by where they’ve been but, not where they are or trying to be.

Start the video at the 7:40 mark when journalist Monica Potts introduces Jones who tells his story. The idea for CUF formed, he says, when he realized early on that programs targeting women and children in the 1990s were incomplete if they didn’t also try to help the men in their lives.

Also, add to the discussion through #2ndChanceSociety on Twitter and cc: @Colorlines, of course.

How can we build a second chance society? 

(h/t Assets Building Program, NAF)

Sebelius Resigns, White Men on Late Night and Google Glass Sale

Sebelius Resigns, White Men on Late Night and Google Glass Sale

Here’s some of what I’m reading up on this Friday morning: 

TAGS: Morning Rush

For Missouri Moms, A Past Drug Conviction Means No Food Aid, Ever

For Missouri Moms, A Past Drug Conviction Means No Food Aid, Ever

Missouri is one of 10 states that still ban people, mainly women, with felony drug convictions from ever receiving food stamps. Overall, according to the Sentencing Project, an estimated 180,000 women and their children, primarily families of color, are disproportionately affected by this little-known holdover from Clinton-era welfare reform. Now for the first time Missouri’s legislature is looking at loosening if not lifting the lifetime ban. Even with bipartisan support however, it’s unclear whether the bill will make it through. 

The majority of the other states still riding hard for this War on Drugs-era punishment are located in the South. 

(h/t St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

AG Holder Tweaks F.B.I. Racial Profiling Rules

AG Holder Tweaks F.B.I. Racial Profiling Rules

After five years in revision status, anonymous sources tell The New York Times that the U.S. attorney general has finalized the F.B.I.’s racial profiling rules. The paper describes them as a compromise between Eric Holder’s “desire to protect the rights of minorities,”—influenced in no small part by his experience as a younger man—and concerns from national security officials that they might be hampered in their front-line fight against terrorism.

“Decades ago, the reality of racial profiling drove my father to sit down and talk with me about how, as a young black man, I should interact with the police if I was ever stopped or confronted in a way I felt was unwarranted,” Holder said this week before Al Sharpton’s civil rights group, the National Action Network.

However, as the rules revision process appears to have repeatedly highlighted: “Making the F.B.I. entirely blind to nationality would fundamentally change the government’s approach to national security.”

Besides race, the new rules reportedly add religion, national origin, gender and sexual orientation to the F.B.I.’s prohibited profiling list. They also increase “the standards that agents must meet before considering those factors” and establish a program to track profiling complaints.

The new rules do not change however, how the F.B.I. uses nationality to map neighborhoods, recruit informants, or look for foreign spies. They leave unchallenged, the fundamental question of whether the F.B.I. can collect information on a Muslim man without evidence of wrongdoing.

Civil rights groups welcome the expanded prohibitions but had also been looking to the new rules to rein in more of the authority granted to federal agents in the aftermath of 9/11.

At the White House’s request, the Justice Department is reportedly delaying release of the new rules in order to coordinate a larger review of racial profiling to include the Department of Homeland Security. Under Bush-era regulations, racial profiling rules carried exemptions not only for national security investigations but border security and immigration investigations as well. 

(h/t The New York Times)

Resetting Passwords, Hercules Gifs and Derrick Gordon Comes Out

Resetting Passwords, Hercules Gifs and Derrick Gordon Comes Out

Here’s what I’m reading about this morning: 

  • Facebook chat? There’s an app for that (that you will be forced to download separately).
  • Is Hercules, the film, as good as Hercules, the gifs?

      Inline image 1 

  • University of Michigan’s Derrick Gordon comes out
TAGS: Morning Rush

ICYMI: Women (Still) on Losing Side of Equal Pay Gap

ICYMI: Women (Still) on Losing Side of Equal Pay Gap

Even in women-dominated professions, men are paid more than their female counterparts. Women comprise 80 percent of the nation’s elementary and middle school teaching force. Their median weekly pay is $937 compared to $1,025 for men. Secretaries and administrative assistants are nearly 95 percent women; their male counterparts receive $100 more in median weekly pay. The gender pay gap according to an informative if maddening Instititute for Women’s Policy Research report, exists in all but three occupations, at every income level and widens within race and ethnic groups. And today the Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, intended to help close that gap. Happy belated National Equal Pay Day, by the way. (It was yesterday.)

It’s likely the Paycheck Fairness Act never had a real shot at clearing the Senate. The New York Times describes the bill as part of a larger Democratic strategy to appeal to low- and middle income voters during an election year. Other pillars of that strategy—increasing the federal minimum wage, extending long-term unemployment benefits—aren’t expected to pass the divided House.

(h/t ProPublica)

Pa. School Stabbings, Heartbleed Bug and Traveling Sneezes

Pa. School Stabbings, Heartbleed Bug and Traveling Sneezes

Here’s what I’m reading about this morning: 

  • That Congressman who brought the Duck Dynasty guy to Obama’s State of the Union has been busy making out with a person who is not his wife. 
  • Futures are up after Alcoa shares gain, and ahead of the Fed meeting. 
  • Time to change all of your passwords or the Heartbleed bug will get you (if it hasn’t already). 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Hunger Striking at the White House

Hunger Striking at the White House

A group of three people and their supporters began camping out in front of the White House on Saturday, coinciding with a national day of action against continued deportations by Obama’s administration.  And today, they’ve started an indefinite hunger strike. 

Jose Valdez, a 55-year-old construction worker from Arizona already knows what it’s like to stop eating. Valdez, who’s been working with the Puente Movement, participated in a 15-day long hunger strike in Phoenix that started in February—during which time someone threw burritos at him covered in racist slurs. But the bigger blow for Valdez, was that his 31-year-old son Jaime, who was also on a hunger strike at the notorious Eloy Detention Center, was deported. Valdez concluded his strike in March, and is now starting another just a month later.

Jaime Valdez, who says his deportation was retaliation for his participation in the hunger strike at the detention center, turned himself in at the Nogales Port of Entry on April 1, demanding humanitarian parole. Jaime Valdez is now at the Florence Detention Center in Ariz., waiting to hear back to learn whether he will be allowed to reunite with his family. In the meanwhile, his father, hasn’t given up hope.

“I’m in DC hunger striking again to see who will support me,” says father Jose Valdez—adding that he didn’t get much support from politicians during his first hunger strike. “I want to know who will help stop deportations and detentions, and who will help provide some kind of relief for undocumented people.”

This new hunger strike kicks off as a 48-hour fast wraps up on the National Mall. Some 100 women fasters, organized through the We Belong Together campaign, were visited by several members of Congress today, as they conclude a month-long series of fasts to highlight immigration as a women’s issue. 

More Trouble in Ukraine, Sharpton: FBI Informant and UConn’s Starved Athlete

More Trouble in Ukraine, Sharpton: FBI Informant and UConn's Starved Athlete

Here’s some of what I’m reading this morning: 

TAGS: Morning Rush

Following Lumumba’s Death, Jackson, Miss. Votes Today

Following Lumumba's Death, Jackson, Miss. Votes Today

All eyes are on Jackson, Miss. today. Six weeks after his untimely passing this February, a special election is being held to replace mayor Chokwe Lumumba, 66, whose brief tenure held the promise of a black progressive renaissance not just for Jackson but similar cities across the South. Among today’s seven top candidates is Lumumba’s 31-year-old son, attorney Chokwe Antar Lumumba. 

Lumumba has won an endorsement from the Jackson Free Press but earns a cautious review from the Clarion-Ledger

New York Governor Drops Prison Education Plan

New York Governor Drops Prison Education Plan

Just six weeks after announcing the plan before a gathering of black and Latino lawmakers, New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, last week dropped a plan to publicly fund college classes at 10 prisons. Nationwide, only about a dozen privately funded prison education programs have survived the past two decades. There were 350 up until 1994 when the Clinton administration and Congress cut Pell grants to inmates. 

The prison education setback in New York is significant. It comes amidst a growing bipartisan effort to reform federal and state prisons, as well as president Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative for boys and young men of color. But in this new environment of possibility for prison reform, there still appears to be insufficient political support from directly affected communities of color and their sending-cities for scaling back mass incarceration. Nationwide, nearly a million men and women reenter society annually from federal and state prisons. Education programs like the Bard Prison Initiative have been shown to reduce the rate of recidivism, which in New York, is 40 percent.

New York’s prison population, the vast majority of which come from downstate, is 49.2 percent African American, 24 percent Latino and 24.1 percent white. Prisons are located in upstate New York, in largely Republican and majority white counties. Political resistance to Cuomo’s plan came from the Republican-controlled state senate. But popular pushback appears to have settled on the unfairness of providing a free education to prison inmates while law-abiding citizens struggle to pay for college.

It’s not clear whether the 10 prisons initially selected for the prison education program were minimum or maximum security facilities or a combination of both. New York currently spends $60,000 a year to incarcerate one person. It costs about $5,000 a year for a year of college education for an inmate. 

(h/t The New York Times)

Gentrification Report: Black and Latino Displacement Is Remaking the Bay Area

Gentrification Report: Black and Latino Displacement Is Remaking the Bay Area

A new report from San Francisco-based community advocacy group Causa Justa::Just Cause released today details just how deeply gentrification is reshaping San Francisco and Oakland. In a sweeping report detailing the economic, social and even public health impacts of gentrification, Causa Justa::Just Cause hits back at the narrative of the seeming inevitability about gentrification. Rather, the authors of “Development Without Displacement” argue, gentrification is the outgrowth of public disinvestment in marginalized communities and years of unjust economic development policies.

In 2011 median rental prices in Oakland neighborhoods in late stages of gentrification surpassed rental housing prices in even Oakland’s historically affluent neighborhoods like the Oakland Hills. Between 1990 and 2011, median rental housing prices in San Francisco neighborhoods in the late stages of gentrification increased 40 percent. What’s more, the rental price increases and housing crisis have fueled the displacement of blacks and Latinos from both cities.

Between 1990 and 2011 the proportion of black residents in all Oakland neighborhoods fell by nearly 40 percent. Perhaps more stunning, black homeowners were about half of north Oakland’s homeowners in 1990. By 2011 they were just 25 percent of the neighborhood’s homeowners. In San Francisco’s Mission district, the historically Latino neighborhood has lost over 1,000 Latino families and seen an influx of 2,900 white households, the report authors write.

“The Mission right now is in chaos with evictions,” Causa Justa member Cecilia Alvarado says in the report. “There is also nowhere to go. The units available are for people who earn $6,000 to $7,000 more than I do per month—not for middle-class or working-class families, which had always been the status of the Mission—families with kids.” Indeed, to longtime residents of the historically Latino neighborhood in San Francisco, the Mission is a new and strange place these days. 

The report also includes policy recommendations to slow and reverse gentrification, ranging from housing protections to equitable economic development in all communities. The underlying message is that displacement is a choice, not an inevitability. 

UCSB Riot, Walters to Leave The View and Moondust Gear

UCSB Riot, Walters to Leave The View and Moondust Gear
Here’s some of what I’m reading up on today: 
 
  • We’re getting close to a blood test that will detect early and later stages of cancers. 
TAGS: Morning Rush
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