Selling for Your Time


Zakeia Tyson-Cross shares her thoughts on pop culture in the following poem: 

Can I have your attention?
Just for one moment
I have a point to stress
A product for you to see
It’s made with the best synthetic materials
Often passed as organically natural
If you eat or drink it
You will instantly become hooked
Like a junkie looking for its last fix
It may devastate your system over a period of time
Cause you to develop erratic cells
To form more violent ones
Make your youth look depressingly old and worn
But you will get your monies worth
And I will capitalize ….

In Trayvon’s Name: Tools for Turning Outrage to Action

Photo courtesy of Flickr/David Shankbone (CC-BY-2.0) 

A Florida jury’s acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin has sparked protests around the nation and a highly personal statement from President Obama. One of the protesters’ demands is for an investigation of whether Trayvon Martin’s killing violated federal civil rights laws, and the U.S. Justice Department is reportedly investigating that possibility.

Calling on Congress to Advance Home Opportunity

In tough times, there’s some good news on the housing front. In slow but meaningful steps around the country, decisionmakers are adopting key elements of the Compact for Home Opportunity, and the reality for American homeowners and communities is beginning to improve. But there’s a hitch. The hitch is Congress.

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


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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.

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