Renisha McBride Murder Trial Begins Today

Renisha McBride Murder Trial Begins Today

Jury selection begins in Detroit today in the case of Renisha McBride, the unarmed and disoriented 19-year-old black woman shot by Theodore Wafer, 54, on his front porch after she had been in a car accident. Although “stand your ground” is reportedly not being used by Wafer’s defense, McBride’s murder last November has drawn attention for its similarities to the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman incident.

(h/t NBC News)

The Latest On Youth Unemployment and Jobs

The Latest On Youth Unemployment and Jobs

Monday morning doesn’t mean work for many young people who want a job. The unemployment rate is inching down, but as NPR reports, one in four blacks and one in six Latinos under the age of 25 can’t find a job. There just aren’t enough of them to go around, Howard University economics professor William Spriggs says, also pointing out that information about job openings segregates along color lines and networks.

In an announcement slated for today, Trymaine Lee reports that Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative (MBK), which aims to improve outcomes for young men and boys of color, is expanding. The $200 million program is getting a $100 million boost from a variety of private partners, including the NBA and NBA Players Association. MBK has been criticized for not including girls and young women of color and its small-scale and foundation funding.

And just FYI, tech initiatives for youth of color are getting more attention lately—likely, because of increasing pressure on the industry to add more blacks, Latinos and women. NPR follows a 20-year-old Oakland woman working double time this summer at her fast-food job and learning tech skills through a nonprofit, Hack the Hood. On the East Coast, another nonprofit, All Star Code, is expanding to help 1,000 young men of color prepare for careers in tech.

If you’re under 25 and employed, how did you find your job? If you’re unemployed, what’s your biggest challenge?

500 Palestinians Dead, NYPD’s Chokeholds, MH 17 Victims

500 Palestinians Dead, NYPD's Chokeholds, MH 17 Victims

Here’s what I’m reading up on today:

  • Sunday marked the deadliest day of fighting in this new round of violence in the Gaza Strip, bringing the Palestinian death toll to nearly 500.
  • International investigators are having trouble recovering bodies from downed Malaysia Airlines flight 17 thanks to separatist rebels in Ukraine.
  • More than 1,000 NYC residents claim to be victims of chokeholds similar to the one that apparently killed Eric Garner. 
  • A court has delayed an Arizona execution due to concerns over the drugs involved. 
  • Shelly Sterling claims to have momentum in the legal battle against her husband Donald for the right to sell the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Hundreds of Sites Set to Protest Child Migrants, Immigration Reform

Hundreds of Sites Set to Protest Child Migrants, Immigration Reform

Hundreds of U.S. sites are set for anti-immigration demonstrations today and tomorrow, Saturday, July 19. The coordinated protests are being billed as: “The National Day of Protest Against Immigration Reform, Amnesty and Border Surge,” and if you live in a U.S. city, there’s a chance one is happening near you. The protests are organized in partnership with ALIPAC, an anti-immigration organization, and tea party groups. More than 45 are planned to take place across California alone. The Murrieta Border Patrol station, which organizers describe as, the facility “where Americans turned back buses of illegals,” will host protestors as well.

As I reported for in my dispatch from Murrieta, Calif., the city where all these recent protests against child migrants began, the situation is a complex one which draws out folks who consider the recent flows of child refugees a threat to the nation’s identity.

“We have some racists, some bigots in Murrieta. Of course we do,” Rev. Jack Barker of Murrieta’s St. Martha Catholic Church told a crowd of 200 gathered at an evening pro-migrant vigil in front of City Hall last Wednesday, urging the public not to let the angry citizen blockades define the city’s reputation. “But we’re very typical middle America,” Barker said. “We kind of are a microcosm of America in many ways.” 

What protestors outside the Border Patrol station voiced is not so much a nostalgia for the past as it is a longing for political control in a rapidly changing social landscape. After all, social upheaval and demographic change is the very history of the U.S. In recent years in Murrieta, that change has been particularly swift. Murrieta is a whiter town than the rest of the state—56 percent of the city’s population is white compared with 40 percent of California’s. But those dynamics are quickly changing.

Catch up on Colorlines’ coverage of the unaccompanied minors crisisThe list of protest locations is available here.

Department of Education Goes After University of Phoenix

Department of Education Goes After University of Phoenix

First the U.S. Department of Education took a regulatory hatchet to Corinthian Colleges. Now they’re coming after the biggest for-profit college of them all—University of Phoenix. 

This week University of Phoenix’s parent company Apollo Group announced that the federal agency will begin a federal review on August 4 of the corporation’s use of federal student aid and loan money, the Huffington Post reported. Some for-profit colleges receive nearly 90 percent of their revenue from students’ federal aid and loans, and in recent years the industry has come under fire for fleecing students of taxpayer money while sending students out the door with loans they’re unable to repay and barely improved job prospects. Nearly half of federal student loan defaults come from students in the for-profit sector even though they account for just 13 percent of higher education enrollment in the nation.

The Department of Education is turning to the Apollo Group after taking decisive action against Corinthian Colleges, another large for-profit schools corporation. In early July the 102-campus corporation was forced to sell off and wind down the operation of its campuses.

The heyday of for-profit colleges, which experienced unprecedented growth in the mid-2000s by enrolling a disproportionately high number of African-American, Latino, women, and older or returning students, appears to be over. The industry has taken a serious enrollment hit since the recession and because of stepped up federal scrutiny over industry practices.

Read Colorlines’ coverage of the Department of Education action against Corinthian Colleges earlier this month. 

Marlene Pinnock Files Lawsuit Over Freeway Beating

Marlene Pinnock Files Lawsuit Over Freeway Beating

Marlene Pinnock, a black woman whose brutal beating by a California Highway Patrol officer on July 1 was caught on camera, has filed a civil rights lawsuit, AP reported. 

The lawsuit, which named the CHP commissioner, the still-unnamed officer in the video, and other officers as defendants, accuses them of acting with excessive force, assault, battery, and a violation of Pinnock’s due process rights. The lawsuit, the AP reported, alleges that Pinnock “suffered great mental and physical pain, suffering, anguish, fright, nervousness, anxiety, grief shock, humiliation, indignity, and embarrassment.” Pinnock is seeking monetary damages. 

On July 1, the CHP received nine 911 calls that Pinnock, an African-American woman, was walking barefoot on the shoulder of a busy Los Angeles freeway, it said. What happened once an officer arrived on the scene though, is what’s most concerning. According to the CHP, the officer tried to grab ahold of or subdue Pinnock. In the video, which does not capture the entire interaction, the CHP officer chases Pinnock and then swings her to the ground before straddling her and beating her with a series of punches as she tries to shield her face.

MH 17 Crash Site Contaminated, Israel’s Ground Invasion in Gaza and Kindle Unlimited

MH 17 Crash Site Contaminated, Israel's Ground Invasion in Gaza and Kindle Unlimited

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

  • After reaching a new contract, New York’s Long Island Rail Road workers will not strike
TAGS: Morning Rush

Detroit’s Maternal Death Rate Three Times National Average

Detroit's Maternal Death Rate Three Times National Average

Between 2008 and 2011, more than two dozen Detroit women died because of issues directly related to pregnancy or childbirth, reports The Detroit News. That maternal death rate is three times the national average, and the worst of major U.S. cities. Racial health disparities are squarely to blame, experts say.

Writes The Nation’s Dani McClain:

The numbers make sense given the racial disparity in maternal mortality. Black women nationwide are at three to four times greater risk than white women. And since Detroit’s population is 83 percent African-American and more than four in ten of its residents live under the poverty line, it’s no wonder that the chance that pregnancy or childbirth will result in death is so high—higher than in Libya, Uruguay or Vietnam, the article reports.

Blame it on the prevalence of chronic health issues likely to put a new or birthing mother’s life at risk, namely diabetes, hypertension, obesity and heart disease. Black women are also twice as likely as white women to receive no prenatal care, or to receive it only in the third trimester.

Read more on new approaches to addressing racial health disparities from Colorlines’ Miriam Zoila Pérez. 

Seattle Revival of ‘The Mikado’ Insists on Bringing Yellowface Back With It

Seattle Revival of 'The Mikado' Insists on Bringing Yellowface Back With It

mikadoposter_071714.jpgYellowface is nothing new. But people seem unable to leave it behind as an embarrassment of the past. The Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year with a production of the operetta duo’s classic “The Mikado.” Except, writes Jeff Yang over at CNN

It is the most frequently staged of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas and a perennial favorite of the Society. Every time, they have done it the same way: As a photocopy of the Victorian original, with Caucasian actors wearing garish facepaint and outfits that cartoonishly approximate traditional Japanese garb.

[T]hese “traditional” productions — yellowface productions — of “The Mikado” have to end.

They are the deep-drilled root of the yellowface weed: the place from which the scourge keeps springing back, even when its surface expressions are plucked. There are older examples of yellowface in entertainment than “The Mikado,” but none so popular, and certainly none that have been as popular among mass audiences for as long — 129 years and counting.

I want to be clear that I’m not saying that “The Mikado” shouldn’t be performed at all.

Its biting satire and splendidly silly stage play make it quite possibly Gilbert and Sullivan’s greatest work. But when it is performed by an all-white troupe of actors dressed and made up as Asians, it shifts from a brilliant comedy of manners to, as Asian-American actress and blogger Erin Quill says, a “racist piece of crap.”

Read the rest of Yang’s piece at CNN.

TAGS: yellowface

U.S. Expands Sanctions on Russia, Microsoft Eliminating 18,000 Workers and Siberian Crater

U.S. Expands Sanctions on Russia, Microsoft Eliminating 18,000 Workers and Siberian Crater

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

TAGS: Morning Rush

Immigration Detention Quotas Have Kept Families Apart for 55 Million Nights

Immigration Detention Quotas Have Kept Families Apart for 55 Million Nights

A congressional mandate requires that the U.S. hold 34,000 unauthorized immigrants in detention every day, for an annual cost of $2 billion. (Unsurprisingly, gobs of money paid to for-profit prison corporations are involved.)

Detention Watch Network, in partnership with MIT’s Codesign Studio, brings to life the human impact of all those nights detainees spent locked up with a new website Bedtime Stories, lauched today. Altogether it adds up to more than 55 million nights since the quota was put in place—nights when parents might have been tucking their children into bed, or readying for the next workday have instead been spent behind bars.

The website pulls out personal accounts from immigrant detainees of their detention experiences, like this one from a detainee in Arizona’s Pinal County Jail: 

“The only way to have a visit with our families is by way of a televised screen and a telephone[…] which makes our stay here more depressing and affects us psychologically, since in circumstances such as these, we need all the support of our families.”

Visit Bedtime Stories for more.

Ariz. Congressional Candidate Confuses YMCA Campers for Migrant Children

Ariz. Congressional Candidate Confuses YMCA Campers for Migrant Children

A self-described conservative Republican candidate running for a seat in Congress joined a protest against migrant children in Oracle, Ariz., on Tuesday, where it was rumored that children would be dropped off in a shelter. Adam Kwasman, who currently serves in his state’s House of Representatives, saw a yellow school bus full of what he thought were child migrants and tweeted—and later deleted—“Bus coming in. This is no compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law.”

The politician later told Phoenix’s 12 News Brahm Resnik that he “was able to see some of the children in the buss, the fear in their faces.” Resnik broke it to Kwasman that the bus was full of YMCA campers—not migrant children:

Kwasman later tweeted that he was apparently grateful to God that the yellow school bus in question wasn’t carrying migrant children:

Kwasman faces his party’s primary election in August.

Study: Black Men No Better, Sometimes Worse Off Than in 1960s

Study: Black Men No Better, Sometimes Worse Off Than in 1960s

Those are the sobering, if unsurprising, conclusions from University of Chicago economists Derek Neal and Armin Rick,  who picked up the work of earlier researchers to examine the economic progress of black men since the 1980s. What Neal and Rick found is that despite major educational and economic gains blacks made between 1940 and 1980, in recent decades mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on black men have stalled and sometimes reversed economic progress made decades earlier. “The growth of incarceration rates among black men in recent decades combined with the sharp drop in black employment rates during the Great Recession have left most black men in a position relative to white men that is really no better than the position they occupied only a few years after the Civil Rights Act of 1965,” the authors write in their abstract.

Neal and Rick write

Since 1980, incarceration rates among both black and white men in most age groups have increased by factors of two to three… On any given day in 2010, almost one in ten black men ages 20-39 were institutionalized, and rates of institutionalization were actually slightly higher among black men in 2000. Further, because turnover among prison populations is quite high, these results suggest that far more than ten percent of prime age black men will serve some time in prison or jail during a given calendar year.

The impact is severe. Black men between the ages of 25 and 29 without a high school diploma posted a higher incarceration rate in 2010 than an employment rate. 

Ultimately, evidence shows that “prison spells harm [for] the future labor market prospects of arrested offenders, and black men likely now face worse labor market prospects relative to white men than they faced when policy shifts in the late 1970s and early 1980s ignited the prison boom,” the authors wrote.

For more on the welfare of black men, check out Colorlines’ ongoing series: Life Cycles of Inequity.

via WashingtonPost

More than 200 Palestinians Killed, KKK Hands Out Candy, and a Four-Winged Raptor Fossil

More than 200 Palestinians Killed, KKK Hands Out Candy, and a Four-Winged Raptor Fossil

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

  • At least 206 Palestinians, including at least 39 children, have been killed as a result of Israeli attacks on GazaAn Israeli was killed by a Palestinian rocket on Tuesday; it was the conflict’s first Isreali death.
TAGS: Morning Rush

Los Angeles Mayor Says City Will Step Up for Migrant Children

Los Angeles Mayor Says City Will Step Up for Migrant Children

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday that his city will open its arms to house migrant children as they await immigration processing, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“As a father, who are we as Americans if we don’t step forward first and say, these kids who are isolated, alone … let’s get them someplace safe and secure,” Garcetti said today, the paper reported. The exact details are as yet unclear, the mayor said.

Garcetti’s response is in stark contrast to that of Murrieta, Calif. mayor Alan Long, who encouraged residents to protest the proposed dropoff of migrants at his city’s Border Patrol station. Meanwhile in the border town of Oracle, Arizona, residents mimicked Murrieta on Tuesday with protests of their own meant to keep out boys who were set to be dropped off in town, NBC reported.

The crisis stems from the arrival of tens of thousands of migrant children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala who are fleeing violence, forced recruitment into gangs, and poverty. Some 90,000 migrant children are expected to cross into the U.S. by year’s end. Despite steady increases in the number of arrivals since 2011, this year’s arrivals have made the crisis a “humanitarian situation,” according to the Obama administration.

UT Austin’s Affirmative Action Safe After Fifth Circuit Affirms Prior Ruling

UT Austin's Affirmative Action Safe After Fifth Circuit Affirms Prior Ruling

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment upholding the constitutionality of University of Texas’ race-conscious admissions policies, Politico reported. The Supreme Court sent the affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas back to the appellate court last year to take a closer look at whether the university’s consideration of race was narrowly tailored and whether the university exhausted other race-neutral alternatives. 

The case centered around the complaints of Abigail Fisher, a white plaintiff who sued the University of Texas after she was denied admission to the school. She argued that the university’s admissions policies discriminated against her as a white applicant. 

This decision should stand as a declaration of the ongoing importance and legality of affirmative action efforts that holistically evaluate applicants for admission in higher education and for the principle of stare decisis,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP-LDF, said in a statement.

Read more on last year’s Supreme Court decision in Fisher v. Texas which led to today’s Fifth Circuit ruling, and catch up on Colorlines’ affirmative action coverage. 

U.S. Begins Deportations of Central American Migrants

U.S. Begins Deportations of Central American Migrants

The U.S. is making good on promises to expedite the processing and removal of child migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. On Monday the first planeload of 40 women and children departed from New Mexico and landed in Honduras, where the migrants were greeted by much fanfare, including Honduras’ first lady Ana Garcia de Hernandez.

It’s not softening the removal, though. The Los Angeles Times’ Cindy Carcamo reports:

Critics said Honduran government inaction was largely responsible and that the welcome in San Pedro Sula, a city sometimes called the murder capital of the world, was mostly a show. Despite the government’s promise of job leads, a $500 stipend, psychological counseling and schooling, returning mother Angelica Galvez said she wasn’t expecting much.

“They haven’t helped me before,” said Galvez, 31, who was traveling with her 6-year-old daughter, Abigail. “Why should I believe them now?”

Immigration advocates have criticized the expedited removal of migrants, who are fleeing violence, widespread crime and corruption as counter to the humanitarian needs of those who are arriving at the U.S-Mexico border.

Jose Antonio Vargas Detained by Border Patrol

Jose Antonio Vargas Detained by Border Patrol

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas—whose “Documented” film is still making rounds—has essentially been trapped near the U.S.-Mexico border for several days. Vargas has traveled around the United States without incident, but things change the closer one gets to the border. He had been reporting on child migrants in Texas, but soon realized that his passport from the Philippines might tip local authorities off. 

This morning, as Vargas tried to leave from the McAllen-Miller airport, he was detained by Border Patrol. HuffPost’s Ryan Grim tweeted about Vargas’s predicament:

Define American says that Vargas has been taken to the McAllen Border Patrol Station

Watch Onondaga Turtle Clan’s Alfred Jacques Make Lacrosse Sticks

Watch Onondaga Turtle Clan's Alfred Jacques Make Lacrosse Sticks

The Iroquois Nationals beat Australia 12-10 at the World Lacrosse Championship in Denver, Colo. Monday night; the team has won three of its four games in the tournament so far. After being barred from participating over a passport debacle in 2010, the team is back this year and scheduled to play against the United States tonight. 

Lacrosse remains a sacred game for the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois. In this short video, Onondaga stickmaker Alfred Jacques illustrates the importance of the craft he’s been honing for 50 years. 

Deadly Derailment in Moscow, Big Tobacco Merger and 603 Dead from Ebola

Deadly Derailment in Moscow, Big Tobacco Merger and 603 Dead from Ebola

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

  • Tracy Morgan is still recovering from a deadly car crash in which he was critically injured, and speaks out to paparazzi for the first time since. 
TAGS: Morning Rush
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