With George Zimmerman off the hook for shooting Trayvon Martin, Shoot-em-up Charlie takes a look at how the case was won. With the NRA, ALEC and the Stand-Your-Ground laws, this case was about much more than race. (Stick around at the end credits for some 911 audio from the Joe Horn Stand Your Ground case.)
Black Youth Project (BYP100) is 100 young black activists from across the country convened by the Black Youth Project to mobilize communities of color beyond electoral politics.
In the video above, the following message is issued:
To the Family of Brother Trayvon Martin and to the Black Community:
May this statement find us in the spirit of peace and solidarity.
We know that justice for Black life is justice for humanity.
Our hope and community was shaken through a system that is supposed to be built on freedom and justice for all. We are your sons and daughters. We are the marginalized and disenfranchised. We are one hundred next generation leaders. We are the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100).
We see the hopelessness of a generation that has been broken trying to find its place in this world. We understand that we need to turn anger into action and pain into power.
As we waited to hear the verdict, in the spirit of unity, we formed a circle and locked hands. When we heard “not guilty,” our hearts broke collectively. In that moment, it was clear that Black life had no value. Emotions poured out -- emotions that are real, natural and normal, as we grieved for Trayvon and his stolen humanity. Black people, WE LOVE AND SEE YOU. We mourn, but there’s hope as long as love endures.
Trayvon was manifested from ancestral excellence. The salt water falling from our eyes now, is not different from the salt water we were trafficked on then. If the soil of the United States could speak, before saying a word it would cough up our blood. Choking frantically, crust-curdling with the gore of a oppressed peoples it has been force-fed. White supremacy has water-boarded it with the remnants of its genocide of us.
This moment reminds us that we can’t look to others to see our value but we have to recognize our own value. In spite of what was said in court, what verdict has been reached, or how hopeless we feel, Trayvon did NOT die in vain. A mother should never have to bury her son. However, his death will serve as the catalyst of a new movement where the struggle for justice will prevail.
Instead of a moment of silence, we raise our voices together. As Audre Lorde said, “our silence will NOT PROTECT US.” We are young leaders standing on the shoulders of our ancestors, carrying the historical trauma embedded in a legal system that will NOT PROTECT US. We are the legacy of Black resilience that compels us to fight for our lives.
We continue to call out Black Love, Black Power and Black is Beautiful in the face of continued devaluation of Black life. We affirm a love of ALL Black life, no matter if we are in hoodies or business suits, incarcerated or in boardrooms, on welfare or in the WNBA, on the corner or in the White House. We declare the fundamental value, beauty and power of ALL Black people. The poet Claude McKay once said, “Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave…we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack. Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!”
Affirmative action occupies a telling place in a nation painfully aware of its racial inequities yet painfully divided over how to solve them.
Great numbers of Americans support the overarching goals of assuring equal access to educational opportunity and maintaining racial diversity in the country's institutions of higher learning. At the same time, polls show Americans are deeply conflicted – often along racial lines – about policies that achieve those goals by allowing colleges to use race as a factor in their admissions decisions.
The latest chapter in this national struggle was supposed to come with the U.S. Supreme Court's consideration of an affirmative action case involving a white student and the University of Texas. But the ruling – announced Monday amid much anticipation – merely sent the case back to the lower courts for reconsideration.
Afiirmative action, in its threadbare form, lives for now. But there was enough in Monday's opinion to suspect it will be diminished further in time.
All of which makes it an opportune moment to think again about what some people think could be a fairer and more palatable way of ensuring diversity on America's campuses – affirmative action based on class. The idea seems simple enough: This approach would give poor students of any race a helping hand into college, and any policy that gives an admissions boost to lower-income students would naturally benefit significant numbers of black and Latino students.
Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the progressive think-tank The Century Foundation, is one of the principal proponents of what has come to be called "the economic integration movement."
"My primary interest is in ensuring that we have a fair process that looks at the biggest disadvantages that people face today, which I see as class-based," Kahlenberg said in a recent interview. "That will end up helping low-income and working-class students of all races."
Kahlenberg knows that many dispute this belief. But he says skepticism directed at the class-based solution has to be weighed against its dim alternative: If race-based affirmative action disappears with no program to replace it, African Americans and Latinos on college campuses will disappear too. Studies show that African-American and Latino enrollment at the nation's top 200 colleges would plummet by two-thirds if colleges stopped considering race when deciding whom to accept.
There were five of them, not even men yet, accused of a violent rape. They were prosecuted aggressively by district attorneys and vilified by a tabloid press, then sent to prison for as many as 13 years.
In 1989, the case of the Central Park Five, as the attack on a 28-year-old white investment banker in uptown Manhattan has come to be known, roiled the country, touching on race and class and fears about crime.
But the defendants -- all black or Latino, none older than 16 -- didn't commit the attack on the Central Park jogger. They were the victims of coerced confessions and authorities eager for scapegoats.
Then in 2002, after the five had all spent years in jail, a previously unknown man admitted to beating and sexually assaulting the woman. All five of the convictions were vacated.
An explosive new documentary looks at a case once referred to as "the crime of the century": the Central Park Five. Many people have heard about the case, but far too few know that innocent teenagers were imprisoned as a result. The film tells the story of how five black and Latino teenagers were arrested in 1989 for beating and raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. Media coverage at the time portrayed the teens as guilty and used racially coded terms like "wolf pack" to refer to the group of boys accused in the attack.
Donald Trump took out full-page ads in four city newspapers calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty so they could be executed. However, the convictions of the five were vacated in 2002 when the real rapist came forward and confessed to the crime, after the five defendants had already served sentences of almost seven to 13 years.
This wasn’t the America the president spoke about in his speech last night. A 400-person election protest at the University of Mississippi featured some rioters yelling racial epithets. One photo on Twitter showed the mob burning an Obama campaign sign, but it’s unclear if that really happened on campus. Word spread on Twitter as the student journalists tweeted a “riot” video. Two were arrested.
A protest at the University of Mississippi against the re-election of President Barack Obama grew into crowd of about 400 people with shouted racial slurs as rumors of a riot spread on social media. Two people were arrested on minor charges.
The university said in a statement Wednesday that the gathering at the student union began late Tuesday night with about 30 to 40 students, but grew within 20 minutes as word spread. Some students chanted political slogans while others used derogatory racial statements and profanity, the statement said.
The incident comes just after the 50th anniversary of violent rioting that greeted the forced integration of Ole Miss with the enrollment of its first black student, James Meredith.
Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones promised an investigation and said “all of us are ashamed of the few students who have negatively affected the reputations of each of us and of our university.”
As a counter to the protest, about 700 students gathered outside the university administration building on Wednesday evening, holding lit candles and calling for racial harmony.
Liberals are leading the pack, Libyan officials said one day after the country held its first free elections in decades. “Early reports show that the coalition is leading the polls in the majority of constituencies,” said an official from the National Forces Alliance, a liberal coalition, as votes were tallied around the country. Leaders from the Islamist Justice and Construction Party acknowledged the lead gathered by liberals, but said it was “a tight race of us in the south.” Liberals held a strong lead in and around Tripoli, where most of the country’s population is concentrated.
There has been much discussion as to whether people of color have been adequately involved and represented in the Occupy Wall Street movement. However, the discussion needs to be not just focusing on if there is enough diversity in Occupy Wall Street, but also on if that diversity is leading to a shift toward racial justice and equity in the agenda and politics embraced by the movement.
This is the first in a two-part series from Colorlines. Read the full report here.
This piece written by Ben Ehrenreich looks at the push by city officials across the country to end the occupation movement, by evicting them from the parks.
Mayor Villaraigosa did us all a favor. His massive police raid on Occupy L.A. provided a few clarifications that will prove important as this movement moves forward, which it most certainly will. First, he could not have more powerfully confirmed Occupy’s critique of the corruption of our political system. It doesn’t matter if the mayor is a white, billionaire media mogul a la Bloomberg or a working-class Chicano with deep roots in the local labor movement. Oakland’s Jean Quan is a “progressive” Democrat. So is Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who unleashed riot police on Philly’s occupation just before the L.A. raid. (Forty-five minutes before cops swarmed the park, occupiers here were chanting, “Philly got raided, L.A. won’t take it!”) Race, class origins, longstanding political affiliations count for little. Party allegiance couldn’t be less relevant. Look at our president, at his wars, his bailouts, his complete silence on the repression of the Occupy movement. Proximity to power causes even the most stalwart progressives to suffer strange fits of amnesia and to develop violent allergies to all forms of popular democracy outside the conventional channels. If L.A. “charted a different path,” as the mayor put it, it is only because his cops crushed dissent more efficiently and elegantly than New York’s or Oakland’s, and without so many embarrassing YouTube videos. But they answer, as Villaraigosa does, to the same bosses.
Second, even the most refined manners will not be rewarded. For all of Occupy L.A.’s efforts to remain in the good graces of the police and the City Council, the camp here suffered the same fate as less courteous occupations elsewhere in the country: tents slashed and destroyed, the park fenced off, the more courageous and stubborn activists dragged away, cuffed with zip ties and bused out of sight. It doesn’t matter how many hoops you jump through, how many permits you apply for, how many health and safety inspections you undergo: they don’t want you here. They don’t want to see you, don’t want to hear your voice. Nationwide, the message has been as consistent as it has been clear: there is no room for genuine political protest in the United States. The First Amendment makes for excellent PR, but should you be fool enough to take it seriously, you will eventually find yourself staring at your own reflection in the face shield of a riot cop. Whether you ask for permission or not.
Bank of America Corp. will pay a record $335 million to compensate Countrywide Financial Corp. borrowers who were charged more for home loans based on race and national origin. Occupy Wall Street protesters say that much more needs to be done.
Countrywide, acquired by Bank of America in 2008, assessed higher fees and interest rates to more than 200,000 black and Hispanic borrowers, the U.S. Department of Justice said yesterday in a statement. The lender also steered minorities into higher-cost subprime mortgages from 2004 to 2007, even when they qualified for prime loans, the agency said.
Occupy Wall Street protesters aren't too impressed by the settlement, but in an interview with CNN news, some acknowledge that it's a step in the right direction; a beginning with much more that needs to be done.
Thomas Perez, Asst. Attorney General for the DOJ's civil rights division, said most victims of the loan discrimination were unaware that they were improperly steered to the riskier mortgages.
"They were thrilled to have gotten the loan and to have realized the American dream," Perez said. "They had no idea they could have and should have gotten a better deal. This is discrimination with a smile."
MSNBC reports that there are two groups of consumers who may receive payments from the settlement:
Affected consumers include two different groups of victims who will be eleligible for two different types of damages, said Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, who spoke with Justice Department officials abou the settlement.
The first group involves Latinos and African Americans who had quality, prime loans with Countrywide but were charged more money, mostly in fees, for their mortgages than other consumers, Rheingold said. This group, which includes about 200,000 individuals can expect to get anywhere from $500 to $1,500.
The second set of victims, including about 10,000 Latino and African American borrowers, were steered into subprime loans even though they qualified for prime loans that carried a lower interest rate.
“Their damages may be more extensive,” Rheingold said, because in addition to being charged a higher rate many of these consumers ended up with greater financial problems as a result, including bad credit and possibly the loss of their homes. Such damages could total thousands of dollars per victim.
Kathleen Day, a spokeswoman for the Center for Responsible Lending, said that the settlements is a "good thing for the nation and for consumers,” and that it also “establishes what should a have been a line in the sand more than a decade ago. This never should have been allowed to happen.”
We can only hope that the settlement will cover at least the financial expenses incurred by the victims of these discriminatory lending practices. We've all seen the news reports of homeowners needing hospital admissions for heart attacks or other stress-induced medical conditions on foreclosure day, and the desperate measures some have been driven to when it became clear that they had only days left before they were tossed out on the street with their families.
No, this never should have been allowed to happen, but without criminal charges and someone doing prison time, there's no reason it won't happen again. Cheating people out of their money has become too acceptable on Wall Street.
The Justice Department has identified the victims and will be contacting consumers directly about the settlement, but if you believe you were a victim or have questions about the case you can email the agency at: email@example.com.