Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Eddie Huang Sounds Off About ‘Fresh Off the Boat’

Eddie Huang Sounds Off About 'Fresh Off the Boat'

Eddie Huang, the restaurateur whose memoir “Fresh Off the Boat” is the inspiration for the forthcoming ABC sitcom, also named “Fresh Off the Boat,” took to Twitter Wednesday to sound off about pressure he says he’s facing to scrub clean political criticisms of America in his voiceovers on the show.

It started here: And then Huang leveraged his Twitter followers to amplify his criticisms. Melvin Mar, an executive producer of “Fresh Off the Boat,” didn’t respond to a request for comment as of press time.

Five Things You Need to Know About Obama’s Immigration Plan

Five Things You Need to Know About Obama's Immigration Plan

Are ICE agents getting a big raise? Is there about to be a massive executive amnesty? And will the government shut down again?

News is running wild with rumors about how President Obama might move on executive action on immigration as early as next week. Here’s a quick roundup that covers some of what you need to know:

  • The New York Times is reporting that Obama’s executive action “will protect up to five million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits.” That would largely be done by extending deferred action to the parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents and expanding the criteria for those people currently eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
  • Fox News, meanwhile, is reporting that it’s obtained what it calls a 10-point plan—although it’s unclear what all ten points are. According to Fox, it would provide a path to citizenship for 4.5 million undocumented immigrants, but also provide raises to immigration agents in order to “increase morale.”
  • These estimates all fall short, however, of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s call to the president made Wednesday. Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Arizona) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Illinois) have proposed a plan that would benefit seven million undocumented immigrants. It just doesn’t seem likely to happen at this point.
  • As the Chicago Tribune is reporting, whatever takes place, the rumors alone are enough to make Republicans pretty livid—and they might use a tactic that shut down the government last year in protest. But, as CNN reports, the G.O.P. wants to avoid another shutdown this round. Still, CNN says “it’s clear that conservatives are bracing for a major confrontation with the president.”
  • The Department of Homeland Security is now a defendant in a lawsuit to end deportations—because it hasn’t responded in a timely manner to a petition to change the rules around deferred action.  

White House to Women and Girls of Color: We Haven’t Forgotten You

White House to Women and Girls of Color: We Haven't Forgotten You

After facing months of criticism for sidelining women and girls of color in its exclusively male initiative My Brother’s Keeper, the White House released a report (PDF) Wednesday aimed at letting women know they’re important to racial justice, too. 

The report, released by the White House Council on Women and Girls, chaired by Valerie Jarrett, gathered information about how women and girls of color are faring in education, health, employment, domestic violence, and criminal justice. 

“Women and girls of color still face higher rates of poverty and receive lower wages for their work than their white peers, and they are more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system,” wrote Jarrett and White House Council on Women and Girls executive director Christina Tchen. “And when women are the primary or sole breadwinners for nearly half of all households of color, these disparities do not just affect them, but their families and communities as well.”

It’s a line that groups like the African American Policy Forum have been repeating for the last year in forums held around the country to highlight the experiences of girls and women of color. 

In addition to the report release, the Council is also putting together another committee called the Working Group on Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls of Color and will host a gathering January of next year to discuss increasing access to science, technology, engineering and math educational opportunities to girls of color. 

DHS Sued to Stop Deportations

DHS Sued to Stop Deportations

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) is suing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to put an end to deportations.

NDLON submitted a rulemaking petition to DHS in February, urging the Obama administration to expand DHS’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which provides temporary relief from deportation as well as work permits to undocumented youth, to “a much larger class of individuals.” DHS is legally bound to respond to the petition within a reasonabe amount of time—but has failed to do so for more than nine months.

In its lawsuit, NDLON claims electoral hopes—and not a genuine need for more time—have caused the Obama administration to delay its response. It also outlines how people are placed at risk as a result:

Thus, while DHS has failed to respond to Plaintiff’s Petition, it has continued to aggressively deport and criminalize immigrants, mainly through operations of one of its constituent agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). An entire population that would benefit from the President’s promised action continues to face the daily risk of deportation because of electoral political calculations. ICE has acted arbitrarily and, in the most egregious of cases, has even retaliated against people who dared organize and protest its abuses.

Plaintiffs, along with their lawyers, are holding a mock trial today in front of Washington, D.C.’s ICE office today.

The lawsuit follows renewed promises by President Obama that he’ll soon take executive action to expand deferred action. It remains unclear when the president will follow through and how many people may obtain temporary relief from deportation as a result. 

Ferguson’s Tef Poe Drops a Powerful ‘War Cry’ [AUDIO]

Ferguson's Tef Poe Drops a Powerful 'War Cry' [AUDIO]

Tension is mounting as a Ferguson grand jury decides whether or not it will indict Officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed teen Michael Brown in August. Within this context, Ferguson MC and activist Tef Poe has a new song called “War Cry (Gov. Jay Nixon Diss).”  

In a lengthy blog post, Poe—who recently joined Michael Brown’s parents on a trip to Geneva where they testified before the United Nations Committee Against Torture—explains:

Our backs have been forced into a corner and we are currently trapped in the belly of one of the most immoral situations this country has birthed. Darren Wilson is a killer yet we are rounded up and treated like cattle for demanding his arrest. Vonderitt Meyers and Kim King are both dead and the police refuse to give us answers. The Ball family still has not received a moment a of clarity and honesty concerning the death of their lost family member. The police in Saint Louis, Missouri have decided to declare war upon people of color. Gov. Jay Nixon alongside many other elected officials has decided to close his eyes to these atrocities. He has shielded and aided Michael Browns killer from prosecution. He has cosigned our community being brutally attacked by an uncontrollable force of wild cowboys. Jay Nixon is blatantly standing on the wrong side of history with zero regard for the pain we currently feel as a community. He is not our friend. He is not our comrade. He is not our Governor. Jay Nixon does not work for us. He works for those that use institutionalized racism to kill us.

[…]


We cry for justice and they tear gas us in return. This situation has turned into a political game of cat and mouse and we are the mice. We believe in nonviolent protests. We advocate strongly for nonviolent protests. Our mission statement is nonviolent protests. We say this while we know for a fact that every police precinct in the metropolitan area is preparing to partner with the National Guard and attack us as if we are not tax paying citizens. We have witnessed your cruelty once before. We know you will not stop until there are no more bullets for you to shoot. We pray for peace but we are prepared defend our families. We are prepared to protect our children. We say this while we also realize you are currently preparing your militia to shoot us down in the streets of our very own communities as if we are stray dogs. My heart is heavy simply because I feel helpless.

“War Cry” isn’t the most SFW song in the world (after all, it is a war cry). And if the term “cracka” upsets you, don’t listen. But if you want to hear a visceral testimony from a city on the brink, this is the record for you.

Ferguson Movement Transforms Civilians Into Activists

Ferguson Movement Transforms Civilians Into Activists

Washington Post social change reporter Sandhya Somashekhar took a look at some of the non-traditional leaders of the Ferguson-based movement for justice in the Michael Brown case.

There’s Shermale Humphrey, a 21-year-old who quit her job at a St. Louis Subway to organize acts of civil disobedience; she’s currently couch-surfing.

There’s DeRay Mckesson, a 29-year-old school administrator who flies from Minneapolis to Ferguson on his days off to protest. He co-produces an almost-daily newsletter, Words to Action, with Twitter star Johnetta Elzie.

And then there’s Charles Wade, a 32-year-old stylist from Austin who has raised $35,000 in protestor-support funds on ­Twitter. He’s taken up residence at a St. Louis airport hotel and he hosts Sunday dinners for protestors. 

These activists aren’t your traditional organizers, according to Somashekha:

 
A November 10 tweet from Mckesson sums up their guiding principle:
 
“Silence will lure you with its promise of comfort. But silence will drain your spirit and weaken your soul. Silence corrupts. #Ferguson.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: College Athletes, Unite

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: College Athletes, Unite

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar continues to speak up for college athletes’ rights. The sports great has been vocal about college athletes unionizing in the face of exploitation by the NCAA. His latest article in socialist publication Jacobin speaks at length about the underside of his championship-winning tenure at UCLA in the late 1960s:

The worst part is that nothing much has changed since my experience as a college athlete almost forty years ago. Well, one thing has changed: the NCAA, television broadcasters, and the colleges and universities are making a lot more money.

  • The NCAA rakes in nearly $1 billion annually from its March Madness contract with CBS and Turner Broadcasting.
  • The NCAA president made $1.7 million in 2012.
  • The ten highest paid coaches in this year’s March Madness earnbetween $2,627,806 and $9,682,032….

Life for student-athletes is…big business in which everyone is making money — everyone except the eighteen to twenty-one-year-old kids who every game risk permanent career-ending injuries.

Read the rest at Jacobin Magazine.

U.S.-China Climate Deal, ‘Selma’ Reviews, Fukushima Radiation Off California Coast

U.S.-China Climate Deal, 'Selma' Reviews, Fukushima Radiation Off California Coast

A note to readers: I’ll be heading to Dallas for Facing Race today and will be taking a break from Morning Rush for a couple of days. Morning Rush will be back on Monday. 

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

  • Missouri’s governor says he won’t tolerate violent protests following a grand jury decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson in connection to Michael Brown’s killing; makes little to no mention of police repression. 
  • Five big banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and HSBC, are fined billions of dollars for trying to manipulate of foreign exchange markets. 
  • Kaiser nurses walk off the job, citing Ebola measures and patient safety standards. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

‘Illegal Pete’s’ to Keep Name Despite Criticism

'Illegal Pete's' to Keep Name Despite Criticism

The Colorado fast-food chain known as Illegal Pete’s will be keeping its name. 

Activists had urged the owner, Pete Turner, to change the burrito restaurant’s name. They met with him during a community meeting in October and told him that using the word “illegal” in the name of a Mexican restaurant is racist, given the connotation to immigrants. After meeting with activists, Turner said he’d think about changing the name ahead of opening its seventh location in Fort Collins.

But in a lengthy statement largely focusing on his brand’s history, as well as the contributions he’s made as an employer, Turner explained why he chose to keep the name:

The word “illegal” means many things, in this statement, I have outlined what it means to me. So, I will not change the name of our company. We welcome you, and all humans, to visit our restaurant; to get to know us, and to form your own opinion, and hopefully create a meaningful relationship with Illegal Pete’s and other humans while in an atmosphere that celebrates individuality and relaxed human connection.

That invitation to make a human connection, however, is unlikely to take place with local residents who are denouncing Turner’s decision. We Are Not Illegal, a group of community members, students and professors, issued its own statement, which highlights the name’s negative impact:

The group has stressed, and continues to stress, that regardless of the intention of Pete Turner’s decision to name the restaurant initially, the impact is painful and offensive. Turner maintains that he engages in fair practices with his employees, and cares deeply about the betterment of the community, but he has chosen to name his restaurant in such a way that he is aligning he himself with anti-immigrant activists such as John Tanton who use the word “illegal” to hurt and oppress others.

Illegal Pete’s is set to open its new location Thursday. 

What Happens to America’s Deported Veterans?

What Happens to America's Deported Veterans?

It’s Veteran’s Day and over at Fusion, Jorge Rivas looks at the roughly 35,000 undocumented immigrants who serve in the United States military. In the case of one, Manuel de Jesus Castano, the criminal justice and immigration systems overlap with heartbreaking consequences. 

Castano’s friends say he was deported for a misdemeanor based on allegations that were retracted after he had already been deported.

Castano passed away at age of 55 in June 2012, about a year after he was deported. He died away from his family, including his sons who also served in the military.

Only then, after death, could he return to the U.S.  According to military policy, honorably discharged veterans, even those who have been deported, are entitled to burial at a U.S. military cemetery.

Fellow veteran Clavo Martinez, who helped bring Castano’s body back to the U.S. for burial, put it this way: “Deported veterans aren’t considered citizens again until their body is dead.”

Read more at Fusion

Palestinian Activist Rasmea Odeh Found Guilty of Immigration Fraud

Palestinian Activist Rasmea Odeh Found Guilty of Immigration Fraud

On Monday, a Detroit jury deliberated for a scant couple of hours before finding Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh guilty of immigration fraud. Prosecutors argued that Odeh falsified information on an immigration application, failing to notify authorities that she’d been convicted by an Israeli military court for participating in a 1969 bombing. For her conviction, Odeh faces 10 years in prison, revocation of her U.S. citizenship and deportation, the Detroit Free Press reported.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Odeh told supporters outside of the Detroit courthouse, “We can’t find the justice … in this court. Maybe in another place, there is justice in this world. We will find it. We will find the justice.”

Palestinian-American activists and Odeh’s supporters argued that her case was politically motivated and the charges were a pretext to pursue a prominent activist fighting for Palestinian liberation. Odeh, who’s lived in the U.S. since 1995 and who became a citizen in 2004, was arrested in October 2013 for withholding information on a citizenship application. However, her supporters said, she was convicted by Israeli military courts that have little use for fair justice. While in Israeli custody her confession was extracted after she was subjected to 25 days of torture and sexual assault, her supporters said. According to a 2013 U.S. State Department report (PDF), Israeli military courts have a conviction rate of more than 99 percent for Palestinians. Odeh maintains that she was not involved in the 1969 attack, even though opponents argue a film confirms her involvement, the Detroit Free Press reported. 

Judge Gershwin Drain barred Odeh’s testimony about her conviction from being raised before jurors. As a result, Odeh’s defense team was cut off from a key part of their defense, and instead argued that Odeh did not knowingly lie to immigration investigators, according to Electronic Intifada, which reports from a Palestinian perspective. 

Odeh has vowed to appeal the verdict.

South Korea Ferry Captain Sentenced to 36 Years, Mayo Lawsuit, #CosbyMeme

South Korea Ferry Captain Sentenced to 36 Years, Mayo Lawsuit, #CosbyMeme

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

  • What’s mayo if it doesn’t contain eggs? According to a lawsuit filed by multinational food giant Unilever, it’s not mayo
  • This is what happens when you don’t understand the Twitter: In a now deleted tweet, Bill Cosby encouraged users to, “Go ahead. Meme me! #CosbyMeme.” It didn’t turn out that well for him
TAGS: Morning Rush

[VIDEO] President Obama Steps Up on Net Neutrality

[VIDEO] President Obama Steps Up on Net Neutrality

President Obama today ratcheted up his support for a free and open Internet by recommending a specific plan of action to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is currently deciding on new “net neutrality” rules or, whether to allow folks to continue using the Internet as they’ve always used it. That means open and free, without service providers charging higher prices for access to “premium” content for example (think about cable companies charging extra to watch HBO versus a network channel). In order to keep the status quo, Obama suggests regulating broadband like a utility—the option also pushed by consumer advocacy groups. Listen to Obama’s two-minute pitch above. The FCC has already received more than 4 million public comments supporting net neutrality. 

Boko Haram Suspected in Suicide Bombing, AA Attendants Reject Contract, ‘Dolphin Smooth’

Boko Haram Suspected in Suicide Bombing, AA Attendants Reject Contract, 'Dolphin Smooth'

Here’s what I’m reading up on today: 

  • The last of two U.S. citizens held by North Korea are released
  • IS’ leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is spared by U.S. airstrikes. Or wounded by U.S. airstrikes. Or killed by U.S. airstrikes. No one’s really sure
  • American Airlines flight attendants reject a union contract by 16 votes—largely over healthcare costs and work rule changes; we’ll likely see mediation before arbitration next. 
  • You know those easy-to-use laundry detergent pods? Toddlers often mistake them for toys—and wind up in the hospital as a result. 
  • Reid Wiseman is back from space and his photo tweets are pretty amazing. 
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94% of Child Migrants Who’ve Received Removal Orders Had No Attorney

94% of Child Migrants Who've Received Removal Orders Had No Attorney

Between July 18 and October 21, immigration courts sped through 800 cases a week to begin processing the tens of thousands of child migrants who crossed the border into the U.S. this past summer, Politico reports. In the same span of time, judges issued 1,542 deportation orders and 94 percent of them went to children who faced their court proceedings without the aid of an attorney.

The public tussle over how children are being fast-tracked through the nation’s notoriously complex immigration system has swung from whether or not the child migrants in question show up at their hearings to whether or not these children deserve to have access to attorneys at all. Because immigration is handled in civil, not criminal courts, those who go before an immigration judge have no right to an attorney. 

The already backlogged immigration courts may not have yet seen the full weight of the child migrant crisis, since in those same three months judges have granted more than 10,000 continuances, which put off court hearings so that children can find the time to seek out the services of an attorney, Politico reported.

In addition to $9 million in federal aid to provide these children, many of whom are under the age of 14 and do not speak English, with attorneys, cities like Oakland, San Francisco, and New York have stepped up to provide legal services. 

Watch the Trailer for ‘Selma’

The trailer for Ava DuVernay’s MLK biopic, “Selma,” is here. The film opens in New York and Los Angeles on Christmas Day—with a nationwide release January 9, 2015.

Can you say Oscar? 

Jobless Rates Drop to Six-Year Low, Obama Writes to Khamenei, Stevie Wonder on Tour

Jobless Rates Drop to Six-Year Low, Obama Writes to Khamenei, Stevie Wonder on Tour

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

  • Rather than handling its own ridiculous problem of online harassment, Twitter is collaborating Women Action Media, a third party, to create yet another tool to report such harassment. It’s unclear to me at this point who will own what user information and how it may be used in the future. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

In California, Trauma Experienced in Childhood a ‘Public Health Crisis’

In California, Trauma Experienced in Childhood a 'Public Health Crisis'

In Californa, one in six people has confronted severe trauma as a child, according to a new study (PDF) released this week by Bay Area-based health research and advocacy groups Center for Youth Wellness and the Public Health Institute. What’s more, those experiences, classified as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), can negatively impact the health of the adults children become.

The Center for Youth Wellness gathered four years of data on 27,745 Californians and found that 61.7 percent of people in the state had experienced one ACE, while 16 percent had experienced four more more. ACEs fall into three broad categories: abuse, neglect and “household dysfunction,” which encompasses the incarceration of a family member, mental illness, divorce and substance abuse. 

The more ACEs an adult has confronted, the higher their likelihood for serious illnesses like diabetes, stroke and cancer. Those who’ve experienced four or more ACEs, for example, are 2.2 times more likely to experience coronary artery disease. 

In California the most common ACEs adults report experiencing are emotional and verbal abuse, followed by parental divorce or separation, and substance abuse by a family member. Asian-Americans are less likely to report having experienced ACEs, but by and large, childhood trauma is distributed roughly equally across people of all races. For instance, 16.4 percent of whites, 16.5 percent of blacks, 17.3 percent of Latinos and 11.1 percent of Asians report experiencing four or more ACEs. However, the percentage of those who experience high concentrations of ACEs is higher among those who are poorer and have less education. 

Public health researchers in this emerging field have found that the accummulation of these negative life events and struggles constitutes toxic stress which can seriously impact children who are in the midst of important brain and cognitive growth, affecting their physical and mental health years down the line. 

“It’s a public health crisis,” the Center for Youth Wellness’s co-founder Dr. Nadine Burke Harris told KPCC“This is not just a small percentage of the population - that it’s happening in limited neighborhoods - but this is really all of us, and that’s going to require system change.”

h/t KPCC

Forget Congress. Who’s Running Your Statehouse?

Forget Congress. Who's Running Your Statehouse? Play

So put aside the horrific examples John Oliver points out above of shenanigans happening in statehouses all across the country. (Truly. Horrific.) Fact is, Congress has a well-earned reputation for gridlock, whereas statehouses are where bills actually become laws—more than 24,000 this year alone, according to a Washington Post article cited by Oliver. That compares to Congress’ 185 bills passed since January 2013. With that workhorse-meets-constipation disparity in mind then, consider that as of Tuesday, according to Facing South, the GOP further tightened its already dominant grip over the South, gaining 64 seats. (In Alabama, for example, the GOP controls every statewide elected office and all but one congressional seat.) Nationwide, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, after final votes are tallied and recounted, “it appears that Republicans will have a net gain of between 350 and 375 seats and control over 4,100 of the nation’s 7,383 legislative seats”—giving some indication of the thousands of laws to pass (or progressive legislation to stall) over the next few years on everything from abortion rights to low-wage labor organizing, paid sick leave, health care and more.

“Statehouses do a huge amount of work while no one is watching,” Oliver says. He’s right. Less than one-third of U.S. newspapers assign a reporter to the statehouse and nearly 90 percent of local TV news stations do not either, according to a Pew analysis released this July.

G.O.P. Agenda, Carlesha Freeland-Gaither Found Alive, Colon Cancer Rising for Young Adults

G.O.P. Agenda, Carlesha Freeland-Gaither Found Alive, Colon Cancer Rising for Young Adults

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

TAGS: Morning Rush
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