Years of labour peace between the government of Ontario and teachers came to an end this year. Like their colleagues in British Columbia, Ontario teachers and support staff are complaining of unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional legislation -- the Putting Students First Act, 2012 -- that gives the Education Minister, Laura Broten, unchallenged power to ban strikes, job actions, set compensation and benefits, and to take over local school boards who are non-compliant. Ontario school boards are unanimously opposed to the Act, which reduces their power, and so are teachers and support staff, who feel the government is manufacturing a crisis. Most see this as a cynical ploy to capture public support for two by-elections this week that could nudge the Liberal government into majority status. ETFO and OSSTF, two of the teacher unions involved, have repeatedly pointed out that "the school year is not in jeopardy", that they had already accepted a wage freeze, and that local bargaining is proceeding well. As legislation looms aheads, teachers, support staff, and labour activists are wondering: is this the end of collective bargaining for the public sector? [more inside]
Panhandling in Arcata tests the city's tolerance. 'Long known as the "Berkeley of the North," Arcata traditionally has welcomed the downtrodden, embraced the leftist fringe and fostered a live-and-let-live ethos.' 'But balancing the comfort of the haves with tolerance for the have-nots has come down to a complex question of just who is worthy of help.' 'Councilwoman Susan Ornelas reflected the community's torn conscience: "While we're a progressive town and we're very open-hearted," she said, "we have limits on our tolerance."' 'A report last fall by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty found that slightly more than half of 234 cities surveyed had bans on aggressive panhandling, the same proportion had outlawed it in specific areas, and one-fourth forbade begging citywide.' [more inside]
"According to a photo published to the 'Wipe Out Homophobia" Facebook group, Chick-Fil-A has announced a voluntary recall of Jim Henson's Creature Shop Puppet Kids Meal toys, and is blaming it on safety issues. There's no information on when the notice was allegedly put up, but the 'recall' is backdated to one day before the Jim Henson Company cut ties with Chick-Fil-A for its donations to anti-gay groups."* All this comes on the heels of Chick-Fil-A's COO, Dan Cathy, owning up to the company's contributions to anti-gay causes in a recent interview: "Well, guilty as charged." [more inside]
With the U.S. Presidential election about 3 months away, and voter ID laws headed to court this Wednesday in Pennsylvania and in other states like Texas and Minnesota, Propublica tells you Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Voter ID Laws. A solution to a nonproblem. [Previously] [more inside]
Almost sixty years ago, a BBC satirical review created a segment to mark current events in Mississippi. Almost sixty years later, Millicent Martin's song and dance number still has the power to shock. (slyt, nsfw, inflammatory/racist language, etc.)
Silent march by thousands protest NYPD's stop-and-frisk tactics. 'Nearly 300 civil rights groups were represented in the 30-block walk, from elected officials and labor union members to New York residents angry about how they're being treated when they walk the streets. Critics say the NYPD's practice of stopping, questioning and searching people who police consider suspicious is illegal and humiliating to hundreds of thousands of law-abiding blacks and Hispanics. Last year, the NYPD stopped close to 700,000 people, up from more than 90,000 a decade ago.' [more inside]
In 1971, "decades before any state had seriously considered legalizing gay marriage, long before anyone had thought of creating—never mind repealing—a policy called “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” before Reagan, before AIDS, before the American Psychiatric Association determined that homosexuality was not a mental illness, and before half the people currently living in America were even born, a man named John Singer stepped into the King County marriage license office in Seattle." Meet Faygele ben Miriam, the radical activist who pioneered the fight for same-sex marriage in Washington State, 41 years ago. Via.
Andrew Sullivan's Daily Beast reports that Jan van Lohuizen, "highly respected Republican pollster", has advised his fellow conservatives to embrace GLBT civil rights. The text of the memo is reproduced in full at the link.
"Had Tom and I had the right to marry, many things would have been different. Losing a loved one is devastating enough, but to then be rendered legally insignificant only makes the pain worse." [more inside]
When the Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia in 1967 declared laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional, the last affected state in which a legal interracial marriage occurred was South Carolina in January, 1969, in the city where the Civil War started. What most people don't know is the bride was a transsexual. [more inside]
On Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden went on Meet The Press and expressed his support for same-sex marriage rights. This led to several days of press speculation that Biden had blundered and gone off-message from an Administration that had rather carefully refused to take a strong position on the issue, and the media began to pursue Democrats over the issue. In response to this, today President Obama said: "...for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."
A preacher rebukes North Carolina media over asking the wrong questions about marriage. North Carolina votes today on Amendment 1, which states that, "Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State." Here are some of the people who would be affected.
We Who Are About to Bug Out Salute You
Rutherford B. Hayes.... brought the troops home and ended Reconstruction, with the almost unanimous support of the nation’s liberal establishment. They too fought politically against slavery before the Civil War, risked their lives to emancipate its victims, and, too soon, couldn’t wait to bug out of the South.
FlyRights is a smartphone app designed to provide a quick and easy way to report complaints of air travel harassment, profiling, and discrimination. Within the first ten hours of its launch, FlyRights had fielded two complaints of harassment and profiling. By contrast, the DHS's report to Congress on civil rights and civil liberties listed only 11 complaints in the first six months of 2011. FlyRights was designed by the Sikh Coalition, the nation's largest Sikh civil rights organization.
"[T]he Commission hereby clarifies that claims of discrimination based on transgender status, also referred to as claims of discrimination based on gender identity, are cognizable under Title VII's sex discrimination prohibition"On April 20, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a unanimous ruling for the plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought up by the Transgender Law Center on behalf of Mia Macy, who claimed she was denied a job as at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after she announced she was transitioning from male to female. The decision allows for people who have been fired or prohibited from applying for a job based on their gender identity to bring federal lawsuits against their employers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. [more inside]
When John Carlos raised his fist in a black power salute at the 1968 Olympics, it changed 20th-century history – and his own life – for ever. How does he feel about it now?
Civil rights activist, (and adopted Newfie) dies at 88 As reported previously, Philips was the sole black survivor in a shipwreck of US navy vessels of the coast of Newfoundland. The kindness shown to him by those who nursed him in the tiny town, where no one had seen a black man before, inspired Phillips' life of activism for civil rights. A good reminder of the power of small kindnesses ...
The King Center archive launched a new web interface this year, featuring online access to thousands of historical documents relating to Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement.
In the course of his life, he stepped into the ring as a Golden Gloves boxer, marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington DC and even fell victim to southern racism. It would not be until decades later as a mechanic that a customer would ask Gordon Burt Jr to play a song on his guitar.
In addition to receiving a recording deal, Dr. G.B. Burt continues to live in Alabama, but also enjoys his dream of performing on stage - an ambition that stretched as far back as the 1950s.
In addition to receiving a recording deal, Dr. G.B. Burt continues to live in Alabama, but also enjoys his dream of performing on stage - an ambition that stretched as far back as the 1950s.
Governor Christine Gregoire announces her support for marriage equality in Washington State. "And let me just tell you, I feel so much better today than I have for the last seven years." (SLYT) [more inside]
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has launched a legal challenge to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), which prohibits activists from engaging in conduct "for the purpose of damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise." [more inside]
A progressive Australian political advocacy group have produced a 2-minute advertisement showing their support of Marriage Equality Down Under. Warning: May pull heartstrings. [more inside]
"Clay and many magazine people told me not to include a lesbian article in the first issue—and so, of course, we did."
The December 20, 1971 issue of New York Magazine came bundled with a 40-page preview of the first periodical created, owned, and operated entirely by women. The first issue sold out in eight days. 40 years later, New York Magazine interviews Gloria Steinem and the women who launched Ms. Magazine. (single page version.) From the same issue: How the Blogosphere Has Transformed the Feminist Conversation [more inside]
Even as medical marijuana activists in states like Arkansas, Ohio, and Massachusetts look to legalize medical use in 2012, the ATF has sent letters to gun shops in existing medical marijuana states. The letter says that shop owners cannot sell guns or ammunition if they have "reasonable cause to believe" that the customer is a drug user, even if their use is legal under state law -- and that having or even mentioning a medical marijuana card constitutes reasonable cause. The entire text of the letter can be viewed here. [more inside]
"I tried to get killed in Birmingham and go home to God because I knew it would be better for you in Birmingham"
Civil Rights leader Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth passed away this morning at the age of 89. [more inside]
In October 1870, as American Jews were observing the High Holidays, The Atlantic Magazine published an article called "Our Israelitish Bretheren." 'At the time, it served as a sort of crash course about a tiny, mystifying minority. Today, it survives as something quite different: a snapshot of a transitional moment in Jewish history.' Written by American biographer, James Parton -- the founder of American Heritage magazine.
"You know something very bizarre is going on in Hollywood when the movie Rise of Planet of the Apes tells more about the black experience in America than The Help." Max Gordon reflects on the truths that Hollywood can't talk about openly, and the dangers involved in sugarcoating the past.
"World War II has immesurably magnified the Negro's awareness of the disparity between the American profession and practice of democracy." During WWII, the armed forces were still marked by segregation of troops, with black troops often led solely by white officers, there were many instances of violence against African-American troops as well as general discrimination. While many African-American troops were serving with honor and some with particular levels of distinction, a stateside newspaper - the Pittsburgh Courier - began the "Double V" campaign: "Democracy: Victory at Home, Victory Abroad" after printing a letter from a reader asking "Should I Sacrifice To Live ‘Half American?’". The response from the community was overwhelming. Many people, not just activists, latched onto the campaign and made it a huge success for the community, helping to lay the ground work for the beginnings of the post-war Civil Rights movement.
Stetson Kennedy died yesterday at 94. The folklorist and writer was best known for infiltrating and exposing the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, increasing public resistance to the organization and helping lead to the revocation of their national charter. Kennedy revealed details of the KKK to writers of the popular radio show "Superman," giving the Man of Steel a new postwar enemy through 16 episodes of the series "Superman vs. the Klan". [more inside]
"I finally said, you know what, I'm going to tell my story. The first American injured in the Iraq war is a gay Marine. He wanted to give his life to this country." ~Eric Alva, 40, former Marine and veteran of Operation Iraqi FreedomTell: An Intimate History of Gay Men in the Military [more inside]
"If it hadn't been for you guys, I might not be here..." On November 14, 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges walked by a mob surrounding William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, becoming the first African-American child to integrate a white elementary school in the South. [more inside]
The Washington Mall welcomes another hero. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is unveiled. Sitting directly between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, "the composition of the [King] memorial utilizes landscape elements to powerfully convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King's message: justice, democracy, hope and love." [more inside]
The Secret History of Guns. "The Ku Klux Klan, Ronald Reagan, and, for most of its history, the NRA all worked to control guns. The Founding Fathers? They required gun ownership—and regulated it. And no group has more fiercely advocated the right to bear loaded weapons in public than the Black Panthers—the true pioneers of the modern pro-gun movement. In the battle over gun rights in America, both sides have distorted history and the law, and there’s no resolution in sight." [Via]
The New Republic examines what they're calling "America's Next Great Civil Rights Struggle" and asks, "What will it take for America to accept transgender people for who they really are?" [more inside]
Tomorrow will be the first time gay and lesbian couples will be able to enjoy civil-unions in the state of Illinois. The full text of the Bill can be read here. In response, Catholic Charities is ending foster care and adoption services to avoid serving same-sex parents.
Vice President and Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey is remembered by "Nixonland" author Rick Perlstein in today's New York Times as "America's Forgotten Liberal" on this, the 100th anniversary of Humphrey's birth. A significant political figure in his own right as a champion of civil rights, a front-runner in the 1960 Democratic primaries and the Democratic nominee for president in 1968, Humphrey's political and personal humiliations at the hands of Lyndon Johnson hindered him at what should have been the very pinnacle of his career and the success of the 30-year liberal majority in Washington. A four-part series at MinnPost.com by writer Iric Nathanson (pt.1, pt.2, pt.3, pt.4) looks at his career. Humphrey died of cancer in 1978 while still serving in the Senate.
Acting Solicitor Gen. Neal Katyal, in an extraordinary admission of misconduct, took to task one of his predecessors for hiding evidence and deceiving the Supreme Court. The misconduct took place 'in two of the major cases in its history: the World War II rulings that upheld the detention of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans.' 'Scholars and judges have denounced the World War II rulings as among the worst in the court's history, but neither the high court nor the Justice Department had formally admitted they were mistaken — until now. "It seemed obvious to me we had made a mistake. The duty of candor wasn't met," Katyal said.' [more inside]
In 2009, Ctrl.Alt.Shift, the "youth initiative of Christian Aid," held a national competition in the UK for aspiring filmmakers aged 18 to 25. Their mission: create a short film treatment based around three key issues: "War + Peace," "Gender + Power" and "HIV + Stigma." The results were then screened to an audience at the 2009 Raindance Film Festival. The films: 1000 Voices, HIV: The Musical, Man Made, No Way Through and War School. (All YouTube links. Vimeo links and descriptions of each film are inside this post.) These films deal with adult subject matter and may be disturbing for some viewers. Some may also be nsfw. [more inside]
Charles Barkley on homophobia in sports It bothers me when I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say: ‘Oh, no guy can come out in a team sport. These guys would go crazy.’ First of all, quit telling me what I think. I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play.”
Brazil's supreme court recognises same sex unions. The Brazilian Supreme Court voted 10-0 (one abstention) yesterday to recognise same-sex civil unions as of equal legal validity to marriage/ with "stable" same-sex couples now able to gain certificates that allow access to equal legal rights. "Discrimination generates hatred," said Justice Carlos Ayres Britto, who wrote the ruling. [more inside]
"No public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality."
My Student, the 'Terrorist' If this were a movie, the story might end with a triumphal courtroom scene, or an intrepid Washington Post reporter breaking the story. It might have a sentimental ending, with a conservative Muslim family and community locking arms with Christians and Jews and atheists and turning the country back to its commitment to civil rights. The government, shamed, would reform its practices. But this is not a movie, and inhumane treatment is well protected in post-9/11 America. [more inside]
Images of a People's Movement - more than 18 pages of photos and dozens of first-hand narratives, interviews & recollections of the 1951-1968 Southern Freedom Movement by the Civil Rights Movement Veterans. (These are just samplings - it's a deep and rich site.) [more inside]
Worcy Crawford ran the only bus company that would transport colored passengers in pre-Civil Rights Act Birmingham. Mr. Crawford recently passed away and now the buses sit in disrepair.
On August 28, 1963, Marlon Brando, James Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, Charlton Heston, Joseph Mankiewicz, and Sidney Poitier met in a TV studio to discuss the Civil Rights Movement. (SLYT)
Bid 'Em In. An animated video to accompany the late, great Oscar Brown Jr.'s song "Bid 'Em In." via [more inside]