Colorlines’ Greatest Hits of 2014

By Akiba Solomon Dec 22, 2014

The new year is a perfect time to consider where we’ve been, what we did and what we made. So in the run-up to 2015, some of our writers and editors reflected on our favorite Colorlines stories to write and read in 2014. 

Carla Murphy, Reporter/Blogger

Favorite to write: "Criminals, Victims and the Black Men Left Behind." I was out in the field talking to folks in their communities. Also, the piece breaks new ground by reporting on black men who are victims of violent crime, which is rarely covered in media.

Favorites to read: "The Problem with Time Magazine’s New Take on Asian-Americans in Tech." Julianne Hing’s original perspective challenges the model minority frame. Her kicker says it all: "In the end, [Jack] Linshi’s article reads more like an extended whine for Asian-Americans who’ve bought into model minority-buttressed myths of white supremacy but wake up from entitled slumber surprised to find themselves stifled by it."

"The Overwhelming Whiteness of Black Art," by Jamilah King because it captured so well the dissonance of experience in that exhibit and also the larger implications of what it means for a largely white audience to consume "black art."

Julianne Hing, Reporter/Blogger

Favorite to write: "Dispatch from Murrieta, Calif.: Protesting Migrant Children." I headed to Murrieta expecting to find an all-white crowd of tea partiers protesting with teeth bared, facing off against a uniformly Latino immigrant community. In the end I found racial dynamics that were much more complex. 

Favorites to read: Carla Murphy reported the hell out of "Criminals, Victims and the Black Men Left Behind." She explored the themes that defined the year in race: how the law denies black people their humanity.

Aura Bogado’s "Inside the Immigration ‘Icebox‘ interview with Mayeli Hernandez put an actual human face–a child’s face–to a refugee crisis being discussed in broad strokes and with heavy fear-mongering.

Jamilah King’s "Overwhelming Whiteness of Black Art" did more than simply make provocative points by pointing fingers. She raised thoughtful questions, contextualized with history, and explored the role her own identity played in her experience of the show.

Stacia Brown’s "Untold Story of Black Fatherhood" was a nuanced essay that was just plain lovely to read.

Aura Bogado, News Editor

Favorite to write: "How the U.S. Deported One of Its Own Citizens." For this story, I was able to spend time with Blanca Maria Alfaro and her family, as well as pore over nearly two decades worth of documents that illustrate how the United States profiled and deported one of its own citizens.

Favorite to read: "Race, Disability and the School-to-Prison Pipeline." Julianne Hing gave me a clear picture of the way that institutions work in unison to fail black children–all but insuring they will wind up in prison. 

Jamilah King, Senior Editor 

Favorite to write: "The Overwhelming Whiteness of Black Art."I really enjoyed the feedback I got on this piece. A lot of it touched on bigger-picture questions that I’m interested in, namely: "Who’s making art? And for whom?"

Favorites to read: I’ve grappled with the issues Carla Murphy examines in "Criminals, Victims and the Black Men Left Behind" in my own life. I hadn’t really thought about the larger context for it, but thanks to Carla’s great reporting, I learned a lot.

Aura Bogado’s "Inside the Immigration ‘Icebox" was the first on the icebox that I’d read. Aura did a great job reporting it and making it happen, just on the cusp of national coverage of it.

Julianne Hing’s "Race, Disability and the School to Prison Pipeline" was a great piece to kick off the Life Cycles of Inequity project. It took me inside the classrooms with these kids and touched on a sorely needed discussion about disability and schooling.

Miriam Zoila Pérez, Gender Columnist

Favorite to write: "Fat Activists Take Body Acceptance to the Beach." It was refreshing to get to talk to folks who are loving and embracing themselves in spite of societal norms. And it was amazing to see all the media pick-up after it was published, particularly given that no one, not even mainstream news, brought in fat-shaming or alarmism about obesity rates. I love bringing attention to people making positive waves amidst a lot of struggle.

Favorite to read: "The Ugly Idea That Killed Eric Garner," by Kai Wright distilled the many injustices of our current moment, tracing them back to one of the most important roots of our current policing system. He offered keen analysis that is hard to find in such emotional and fraught times.

Akiba Solomon, Editorial Director 

Favorite to write: "Get on the Bus: Inside the Black Life Matters ‘Freedom Ride’ to Ferguson." The 21-hour bus ride from New York City to Ferguson gave me unique insight into a growing contemporary movement. And the people of Ferguson and St. Louis are no joke. 

Favorites to read: "What’s a Union For?"because she examined how unions are evolving. The key question: How are labor unions using their power to work beyond labor issues?

"Killed by the Cops [INFOGRAPHIC]" by Jamilah King and Erin Zipper because it was a visually beautiful way to add to the horrific story of police brutality in the United States.