Thinking about the public mindset in the road ahead post-SCOTUS decisions

By Eleni Delimpaltadaki Janis

In the last two weeks, the Supreme Court issued decisions on landmark cases concerning equality and people's rights, including Affirmative Action, voting rights, and rights for same-sex couples. The Opportunity Agenda has issued public opinion reports and media coverage analysis, which examine a range of issues concerning equality and rights. Most relevant today are The Opportunity Agenda's studies on LGBT rights and Affirmative Action, the highlights of which are shared below. 

For concerned activists and advocates who are thinking about the road ahead post-Supreme Court decisions, this is an important time to better understand the public mindset around these issues.   

SCOTUS Decision on DNA Collection from Arrested Individuals and the Impact on Black Men and Boys


A DNA collection kit

Amid many recent challenges to Fourth Amendment protections against warrantless or unreasonable search and seizure, including revelations of widespread National Security Agency internet and telephone surveillance and the Department of Justice subpoena of phone records from Associated Press journalists, earlier this month the Supreme Court ruled on a case that tests the limits of personal privacy from the state.

A Hero's on His Way!


Change is coming to the most important government agency that most Americans never heard of. For many months, a broad coalition of housing, consumer protection, and civil rights groups has been calling on President Obama to replace the acting head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency or FHFA, the body that oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The agency’s acting head, Edward DeMarco, is a holdover from the Bush administration who has stubbornly blocked reforms that could prevent foreclosures, protect the public, and speed our economic recovery. In particular, DeMarco has stubbornly ruled out the option of adjusting the principal on Fannie and Freddie-held mortgages to fair market value, despite clear evidence from his own agency that doing so would save public funds as well as families’ homes.

Live from New York: More on media's role in forming perceptions and lives

SNL comedian Keenan Thompson. Photo courtesy of Pop Culture Geek (CC BY 2.0)

Guest Blogger Janet Dewart Bell

Saturday Night Live’s opening segment of the season finale on May 18 was with Keenan Thompson’s caricature of the Reverend Al Sharpton on his MSNBC program Politics Nation. The send up is increasingly offensive because there is little balance in how black men are portrayed on the program. Okay, I know that Jay Pharaoh has tried to channel President Obama since Fred Armisen's inspired portrayal of the "cool,"  unflappable Obama of a few years ago. Also, we've witnessed the transformation of guest host "Sir" Charles Barkley into a charming and lovable compassionate centrist. But I digress. 

Dad, I’m Home!: What Does It Mean to Be a Stay-at-Home Dad?

Photo courtesy by tienvijftien (CC BY 2.0)  

In the 1950s, stereotypical housewives, like June Cleaver, of Leave It To Beaver and Margaret Anderson of Father Knows Best, may have brought immense joy and laughter in the households of many, and perhaps, in many women, a longing to be as flawless as they were. The two cleaned, cooked, and mended with complete delight all while maintaining their composure, beauty, and subservience to the wise father. Since the 1950’s the typical role of a stay-at-home mom has significantly changed. Today, our social trends have shifted and men are taking on nontraditional roles, such as becoming a full time caregiver and tackling everyday household chores while women bring home the “bacon.” An exploration of traditional and nontraditional gender roles of parenting may help redefine stereotypical roles that are perpetuated by various media conglomerates, and move us toward greater acceptance of gender roles that defy our long held core values and beliefs about the role of men and women.

The Fair Housing Act at 45: A Time for Celebration and Action


This blog is also available on

April is fair housing month and, this year, it’s also the 45th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act. Adopted in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Fair Housing Act transformed the legal rights that all Americans have to rent and own homes in communities across the country. It marks a giant step toward equal opportunity for all.

A New Play's Timely Commentary on American Values

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman (image from the film adaptation American Psycho)

The poet, author, and activist Maya Angelou once said of her work that “the idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” Art’s great power is to transform what’s possible by making us see and feel the world in new ways.

Immigration Bill Hits the Senate: Strategies to Win the Media Battle

Today, April 17, 2013, "a bipartisan group of lawmakers formally filed an 844-page immigration bill on the Senate floor early Wednesday, setting the stage for months of public debate over the proposal," reported the Washington Post. The time has come once again for what is presumed and very likely to be a long legislative battle on how to change our broken and outdated immigration policies. While elected officials and interest groups are arguing over policy, the public will be watching the developments and forming opinions through the media lens. For that, it is critical that proponents of positive policy reform, American values and rights for Americans and immigrants alike should continue to think strategically about the stories they tell to the public through the media.

This is Our Time: Remarks at The Opportunity Agenda’s Creative Change Award Ceremony


Executive Director Alan Jenkins shared remarks (read below) at the 2013 Creative Change Awards. Photo courtesy of Tiffany L. Clark. 

On April 5, The Opportunity Agenda had the privilege of presenting the 2013 Creative Change Award to scholar, activist, and MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry. Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, presented the award, and the night included master of ceremonies (and master comedienne) Negin Farsad and a brilliant performance by hip hop theater innovator Bryonn Bain. We also showed a short and exciting video about our Communications Institute for social justice leaders. It was one of the most inspiring, energizing, and soulful evenings in our organization’s history. I’m sharing here excerpts of my remarks from the event, which only begin to capture the energy of the event and the promise of this moment in America’s history.

Creative Change, Immigrant Justice & The Butterfly: Artists Rise Above and Transform the Narrative


A vibrant Monarch butterfly with two faces in its wings connects across human and artificial borders, calling out to us, “Migration is Beautiful.”

Artist/Activist and Creative Change alumni Favianna Rodriguez and Julio Salgado (along with artists such as Cesar Maxit and Melanie Cervantes) are using the butterfly image as a vital metaphor of the possibilities inherent in the Immigrant Justice movement. As ABC News/Univision stated in its recent piece Hopeful,'Unapologetic' Art Rebrands the Immigration Movement , these artists are deploying the butterfly to help us understand that “Migration is natural, borders are not.” 

Syndicate content