The Occupy Movement Focuses on Foreclosures


By Alan Jenkins

As the Occupy movement enters its third month, it is moving into a new phase. Colder weather in the north, combined with aggressive push back from city officials around the country, is requiring the movement to adopt new, innovative approaches that include, but transcend, public presence as protest.

Lip Balm You Can Believe In?

If you have any doubt that the Occupy movement is changing the American culture and capturing the imagination, check out this ridiculous ad for Mabelline lip balm in which supermodels carry signs and line the streets to protest—wait for it—dry lips.  “We want lip balm we can believe in!” says one pouty model to the camera.

Immigration Blog Round Up, November 7


Photo by ElvertBarnes

Following in the steps of Arizona, Georgia, Utah and Indiana, Alabama has joined the campaign of attrition against undocumented immigrants by implementing a new anti-immigrant law, HB 56.  While the law is similar to its counterparts – Arizona SB 1070 and Georgia HB 87, to name a few- it’s more restrictive. For example, it requires schools to check the immigration status of children and their parents. Since its enactment, the law has ignited fear, panic, and disruptions in the everyday lives of Latino communities, including U.S. citizens.  A significant number of Latino students have not been showing up to school, employees are not reporting to work, and homes have suddenly become uninhabited.

What 21st Century Democracy Looks Like


Those who say they don’t know what the Occupy Wall Street protestors want fail to understand the nature of this quintessential 21st century movement.  It is true that they have no policy manifesto.  They have not yet released a list of shared demands, although they are working toward doing so.  But when you listen to the participants tell their stories, when you read their signs and hear their songs, their shared desires for our nation clearly emerge.

Heeding the Voice of the 99 Percent


Photo by david_shankbone

When a group of young people camped out in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street in mid-September to express their disappointment toward the way corporations have mishandled the economy, it barely made the local newspapers’ front pages. Four weeks later, and with hundreds of thousands of people joining the movement, Occupy Wall Street has captured the attention of national and international media, and it has provided a golden opportunity for lawmakers, intellectuals, unions, and President Obama to channel the participants’ efforts into their agenda.

Immigration Blog Round Up: October 7


Photo by muymegan

When it comes to our immigration policies, we need workable solutions that uphold our values and move us forward together. Recent misguided legislation in Georgia and Alabama, among other places, does none of that. In fact, anti-immigrant laws are already having a devastating effect on these states’ economies and communities. And the rhetoric emitted by the supporters of such laws just coats the whole enterprise with a malevolent sheen of divisiveness and spite, the last things we need as we face down a wayward economy that’s going to take unity and common sense to make right.

Court’s Ruling on Anti-Immigrant Law Undermines Our Values


On September 29, the Federal District Court in Birmingham upheld most of the sections of Alabama’s draconian immigration law in Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, et al. v. Bentley, et. al., and blocked some significant elements of this far-reaching law. The decision made by Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn clearly undermines the most fundamental American values of fairness and equality in that state. The law under review is considered by many civil and human rights activists and immigration advocates to be the harshest anti-immigrant law in the country.

What Can We Learn from the Dominique Strauss-Kahn Sexual Violence Case?


Photo by

Sexual violence and the criminal justice system

[This article originally appeared on race-talk]

This past August, over the span of a few days, the Manhattan Criminal Court issued two decisions in cases centered on sexual violence. One is the now-notorious case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK). The other, which has gone unnoticed, involves a client of the Sex Workers Project, whom we’ll call “JD.” The two cases serve as stark comparisons of how the criminal justice system does or does not help victims or complainants of sexual violence find justice, peace of mind, or financial stability.

Our Modern Family

On Sunday, the sit-com Modern Family won a well-deserved five Emmy awards, including one for best comedy series.  I’m a fan of the show, but can’t help thinking that it is a double-edged sword. 

The show depicts three inter-connected families who reflect a rich, 21st century American reality: a gay couple with an adopted Asian-American daughter, a spring/autumn marriage between a Colombian immigrant with a son and her much older Anglo husband, and a white heterosexual couple with three very different kids.  Part of the brilliance of the situation, of course, is that they are really just one family; the older husband is the grandfather of the Asian-American daughter, the step-father of the Latino son, and so on. 

September 11, 2011


Photo by dennoit

On the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the time is right to consider how we have changed as a country and how we remain the same.  It is a widely-accepted truism that we were all changed after the terrorist attacks in Washington, DC, New York, and Pennsylvania. However, even though some made use of the fear and heated emotions following the attacks to suppress human and civil rights, our bedrock principles endure, and in fact, flourish.

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