Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Two Police Officers Convicted of Civil Rights Violations Against Latinos in Connecticut

Two Police Officers Convicted of Civil Rights Violations Against Latinos in Connecticut

Following a four-year investigation into allegations of racial profiling and harassment against Latinos, East Haven police officers David Cari and Dennis Spaulding were convicted on Monday of conspiracy against civil rights, deprivation of rights, and obstruction of justice. Spaulding was also individually convicted of using unreasonable force. The two were originally arrested in January 2012, along with officers John Miller and Jason Zullo, following a federal investigation that revealed an excessive number of traffic stops and arrests involving Latinos, as well as evidence that Latino detainees were assaulted by the officers.

New Haven has a growing Latino immigrant population, and the case began following the 2009 arrest of Rev. James Manship, a local pastor. Manship had received multiple reports of harassment and abuse from Latino parishioners, and was arrested while attempting to video-record the officers arresting a Latino man. Cari and Spaulding submitted a false police report following Manship’s arrest, allegedly writing 27 drafts of the report. 

The officers will be sentenced on January 21, and could face up to 20 years in prison. Miller and Zullo have pled guilty to related charges but have not yet been sentenced.

‘The Onion’ Protests the Washington DC NFL Team’s Name With Anti-Semitism

'The Onion' Protests the Washington DC NFL Team's Name With Anti-Semitism

If you’re trying to make a point about the bigotry of an NFL team’s name, it’s best not to resort to a bigoted argument. But that’s what The Onion did in its failed attempt at humor when it ran an article with the title, “Redskins’ Kike Owner Refuses to Change Team’s Offensive Name” to poke fun at Daniel Snyder, the team’s Jewish owner. 

I get that The Onion is trying to use bigotry to make the point against the Washington DC NFL team’s name, but they missed me with this one. 

Watch Students Discuss Ongoing Racism at the University of Alabama

Watch Students Discuss Ongoing Racism at the University of Alabama

Last month the University of Alabama made headlines when campus newspaper reporters exposed racism against a sorority pledge. The conversations that stemmed from that event inspired the Mallet Assembly, a group founded in 1961 to be an integration and racism watchdog at the university, to address what they describe as ongoing racism and a segregation mentality. Members of the group say this mentality is deeply embedded in Greek life at the school, and has a broader impact on student employment and other factors. In this video, members of the group talk about their experiences, and host a demonstration mirroring the reaction to George Wallace’s infamous 1963 “segregation forever” speech

(h/t Vice)

‘Africa’-Themed Party Features KKK, Elephant and Black Face Costumes

'Africa'-Themed Party Features KKK, Elephant and Black Face Costumes

A white Australian recently turned 21 and decided to have an “Africa-themed” birthday party. She posted the photos on Facebook, without shame, and then refused to take them down with confronted with how racist they were. And just how racist are they? Well, they play on every tired black and African stereotype you’ve ever heard of.

Buzzfeed’s Heben Nigatu noted that the girl created a (since deleted) Tumblr page in an effort to explain her actions. She starts off by writing, “It was my ‘African themed’ party and it was honestly made that theme because I have always wanted to go to Africa (to teach english) but haven’t made it there yet.” And yes, it gets much worse. Read more

 

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(h/t Buzzfeed via Jezebel)

Watch This Cute Little Girl’s Hilarious Tap Dance Routine

Watch This Cute Little Girl's Hilarious Tap Dance Routine

This pre-schooler made up her own choreography and it’s the cutest thing. Watch.

(h/t Daily Picks and Flicks)

New Study Shows 15 Percent of Youth are Unemployed, Not in School

New Study Shows 15 Percent of Youth are Unemployed, Not in School

Fifteen percent of youth ages 16 to 24 nationwide are both unemployed and not in school, a new study shows. Today, the Opportunity Nation coalition released a report and searchable map that provides recent economic, education and community-based information for geographic regions across the country. The Opportunity Index scores both states and individual counties based on opportunities for advancement and social mobility. 

Within that 15 percent of youth, the counties with the lowest indicators, both at 34.8 percent, were Apache County and Navajo County, Ariz. Both are counties with large Native American populations. The index does not disaggregate information related to race or ethnicity, and instead focuses on specific economic conditions in geographic regions. But overlaying their opportunity maps over others charting race and ethnicity shows what you might expect—the lower half of the U.S., which includes the most racially and ethnically diverse states in the country, scored lowest for opportunities. And specific areas with the high levels of income inequality also scored particularly low. The study indicates that economic conditions faced by U.S. families, 49 percent of which are living in poverty according to this report, is also limiting opportunities for the next generation.

Watch the Ohio State Marching Band’s Michael Jackson Tribute

Watch the Ohio State Marching Band's Michael Jackson Tribute

The Ohio State marching band, also known as the “Best Damn Band in the Land,” paid tribute to Michael Jackson over the weekend and it was so, so good. The action starts at around the 50-second mark, and check out those fancy formations!

(h/t Mashable)

Prince Pulls Off His Pajama Party

Prince Pulls Off His Pajama Party

10-21-prince-2.jpgAs promised to those who made a $50 donation, Prince welcomed fans to Paisley Park, where people lounged around in fashionable pajama wear, ate pancakes, and got to hear the coolest 55-year-old play a set and an encore. 

Dubbed The Breakfast Experience, the entry line to Prince’s pajama party was long—but well worth it, at least for some fans. One Instagram user said he made new friends and had pizza during the four hour wait, and seemed happy to enjoy the pancakes, and especially enjoy the encore. But one Minnesota City Pages reviewer grew annoyed at the few refreshment options and left after one set, wrongly assuming there was no encore.

What do you think? Would you have stuck around through the whole pajama party, the pancakes, the show and the encore? 

(Fan photo: swisslara/Instagram)

Obamacare Website Will Get Fixed, Says POTUS

Obamacare Website Will Get Fixed, Says POTUS

Now that the noise of the government shutdown has subsided, the nation is now more attuned to the deep flaws in the POTUS’s Obamacare web portal Healthcare.gov. In fact, had Sen. Ted Cruz and his fellow enemies of Obamacare gone radio silent during the time since Obamacare’s online rollout, they may have seen more of the damage to the Affordable Health Care act’s public buy-in that they hoped for given all of the glitches in accessing the website

At first, President Obama chalked those glitches up to a flood of web traffic, saying it was evidence that there was massive demand for the healthcare products. Three weeks later, though, millions still have not been able to work Healthcare.gov and its affiliate state sites. While the White House’s goal is to sign up 500,000 people for healthcare by October 31, only about a quarter-million of people have done that, according to CNN’s analysis (of 14 states).  

Which is why Obama addressed the nation today, to acknowledge that there have been problems, but also telling them to Keep calm and continue to buy Obamacare

“There’s no sugarcoating it,” said Obama from the Rose Garden today. “The website has been too slow, and people have been getting stuck during the application process.”

Obama said that he recruited the “best and brightest” information technicians from across the nation to come work on improving the website, but he also encouraged people to sign up for Obamacare over the phone or in person. The Healthcare.gov website has been updated with information on how to access Obamacare through those offline avenues, which of course is still a problem if you don’t have a computer or wi-fi. 

As for the frustrations with the website, Obama said, “Nobody is madder than me that the website is not working as well as it should, which means it is going to get fixed.”

About halfway through his speech, one of the women standing behind him at the Rose Garden almost fainted. The president helped catch her and responded, “This is what happens when I talk too long.”

TAGS: Obamacare

A List of Every Theater That’s Playing ‘12 Years a Slave’

A List of Every Theater That's Playing '12 Years a Slave'

Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” had a limited release opening last Friday in 19 theaters across the country. That list expands a bit this Friday on October 25, and then the film opens nationwide on November 1. Here’s where it’s playing now:

OCTOBER 18:

Los Angeles
Cinemark Baldwin Hills
Arclight Hollywood
The Landmark 

New York
AMC Empire 25
Lincoln Plaza
Regal Union Square

Chicago
AMC River East 
Landmark Century Centre
Cinemark Evanston 18
Showplace Icon

Washington, D.C.
Regal Gallery Place
Landmark Bethesda Row
Majestic Silver Springs

Atlanta
Regal Atlantic Station 
AMC Phipps Plaza
Landmark Midtown
AMC Southlake Pavilion

Toronto
Varsity

OCTOBER 25 (Theaters TBD—more cities to be added soon)
Boston
Dallas/Ft. Worth
Detroit
Houston
Philadelphia
Baltimore

ESPN Hosts Laugh as Lee Corso Dances Around in ‘Redface’

ESPN Hosts Laugh as Lee Corso Dances Around in 'Redface'

America’s worldwide leader in…bigotry? ESPN analyst Lee Corso took redface to a new extreme on “College Gameday” over the weekend. Bill Murray makes an appearance. It’s awful.

(h/t The Atlantic)

Happy Birthday Celia Cruz

Happy Birthday Celia Cruz

The legendary Cuban singer widely known as the “Reina de la Salsa” or queen of salsa music, Celia Cruz was a pioneering voice in the salsa movement and paved the way for future generations of Afro-Latina artists. Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1925, her music frequently referenced African Yoruba roots in Cuban culture. She died of brain cancer in 2003 in New Jersey, where she’d spent most of her life in the U.S. 

Celia_Cruz_102113_a.jpgToday, Google honored Cruz with a dreamy cerulean blue doodle on their search bar. She would have been 88 years old. 

Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ Tour Features a Jesus Christ Lookalike

Kanye West's 'Yeezus' Tour Features a Jesus Christ Lookalike

Kanye West kicked off his ‘Yeezus’ tour in Seattle over the weekend. Fans were treated to a 27-track songlist, Kanye rapping from atop a giant mountain and, reportedly, a (white) Jesus Christ lookalike. 

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(Photo credit: ChildishvGambino, h/t Consequence of Sound)

Wanna Touch a Black Woman’s Hair? This Short Film Explores Why

Wanna Touch a Black Woman's Hair? This Short Film Explores Why

A few months ago, a group of black women caused quite an uproar when they stood in New York City’s Union Square with signs that read, “You can touch my hair.” Billed as an “interactive public art exhibit,” the event allowed anyone to “explore the tactile fascination with black hair by” touching real-life black hair on real-life black women. 

Turns out that event was part of a short documentary series that also included a panel discussion with writer Michaela Angela Davis, model Autumn McHugh, Un’ruly Founder Antonia Opiah and moderated by filmmaker and former Miss Black Massachusetts Safiya Songhai. 

(h/t Urban Bush Babes)

‘12 Years a Slave’ Has Big Opening Weekend With Diverse Audience

'12 Years a Slave' Has Big Opening Weekend With Diverse Audience

Steve McQueen’s ‘12 Years a Slave’ made an in impressive United States debut over the weekend. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film grossed $960,000 from 19 theaters in six top markets for an average of slightly more than $50,500 average at each location.

Fox Searchlight distribution chief Frank Rodriguez said that the success went far beyond the opening weekend box office numbers. The film “reached an incredibly diverse audience. Playing in theaters including Lincoln Plaza in New York and the Showcase Icon in Chicago, we have been attracting both the art/specialty cinephile crowd, as well as the African-American audience,” Rodriguex told the Hollywood Reporter. 

LA County Sheriff Baca Found Personally Liable for Inmate Beating

LA County Sheriff Baca Found Personally Liable for Inmate Beating

A federal civil jury concluded yesterday that Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is personally liable for an inmate abuse case from 2009. And it could cost the sheriff $100,000. This marks the first time Baca has been held personally and legally responsible for a beating in his jails. 

Tyler Willis alleged that sheriff’s deputies brutally beat him as he was awaiting trial at Men’s Central jail—punching, kicking, shooting him with a stun gun, and striking him with a flashlight, which caused multiple injuries. The plaintiff’s side argued that Sheriff Baca ignored warnings from studies that indicated a harsh level of brutality at his jails. The sheriff was one of five named defendants, and Baca will reportedly pay up $100,000 for his part—unless the decision is overturned by appeal.

The Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in LA County Jails released a statement today welcoming the jury’s finding, but added that the decision indicates the need for civilian oversight. “Those in custody and their families should not have to take their cases to the Federal level to receive justice and ensure accountability,” the statement read.

The federal jury’s decision comes on the heels of a federal investigation into Sheriff Baca’s department—particularly for its use of force. 

A Snapshot of an HBCU That’s 90 Percent White

A Snapshot of an HBCU That's 90 Percent White

Tune in to the conversation around historically black colleges and universities and it’s easy to think the institutions are in a state of perpetual existential crisis. NPR’s Code Switch reporter Gene Demby’s deep dive into one West Virginia HBCU doesn’t do much to allay that perception, but he does offer a compelling, multilayered snapshot of an institution which has adapted to the changing times by enrolling more whites. So many that today, the student body of Bluefield State College, originally Bluefield Colored Institute when it was founded in 1895, is 90 percent white. It didn’t come about by accident. Structural forces—namely Brown v. Board of Education and the upheaval of the Civil Rights Movement, along with key decisions by white administrators—were instrumental in the shift.

Demby’s descriptions of life at Bluefield State College today are fascinating, if you’ve an attachment to the original mission and historical legacy of HBCUs. From: “The Whitest Historically Black College in America”:

Most of the current students we spoke to knew about the school’s status as a historically black college, but treated it like a bit of trivia. The players on the women’s basketball team, who were planting seeds for a homecoming event, joked casually about there not being step shows or marching bands or black fraternities and sororities.

TAGS: HBCUs

Area in East New York Renamed ‘African Burial Ground’

Area in East New York Renamed 'African Burial Ground'

When it was unveiled in 2010, the African Burial Ground Visitor Center in Manhattan’s Lower East Side became a significant monument to New York’s history of slavery, and it continues to commemorate those buried in the Ground Zero Slave Graves. That same year, the remains of previously enslaved people were also discovered in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood. A group of advocates officially unveiled “African Burial Ground Square” this week on the site of the New Lots African Burial Ground, in honor of those forgotten African slaves. Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron, who was part of the renaming initiative, says the effort was also a way to replace street names that honor Dutch colonists with one that speaks to the legacy of slavery. According to New York’s Amsterdam News, there are 70 streets in New York named after former slave owners.

In addition to the square’s renaming, Schenck Playground in the square will also be given an “Afrocentric” renovation, which will include artifacts and a monument that will tell the story of the burial ground, along with new lights and equipment.

(h/t Amsterdam News)

San Francisco Activists Block Deportation Bus

San Francisco Activists Block Deportation Bus

Some 100 people—many of them undocumented youth—blocked a deportation bus Thursday evening outside immigration headquarters in San Francisco. For the next two hours or so, about 20 people placed themselves in front of and in back of the bus. Many of those involved recently attended a convergence in Arizona, which included trainings and civil disobedience actions, including the blocking of another deportation bus. 

Federal immigration police told demonstrators that they would face felony charges if they didn’t clear the way—but activists held their ground. They were eventually escorted away from the bus, which was packed with immigrants preparing to be deported or heading to detention centers, and the bus took off.

It’s likely that demonstrators will hold similar actions in various cities in the coming days, as they demand President Obama halt record-setting deportations.  

M.I.A.’s New Track ‘Y.A.L.A’ is a Dedication to Second Chances

M.I.A.'s New Track 'Y.A.L.A' is a Dedication to Second Chances

M.I.A.’s new album, “Matangi,” drops on November 5, and to help build hype for her third LP, the singer released a preview to a track called “Y.A.L.A” (You Always Live Again) in response to the YOLO (You Only Live Once) credo that’s been around for a few years.  The singer wrote on Twitter this week, “If you only live once why we keep doing the same shit?”

Listen:

(h/t Afropunk)

TAGS: MIA
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