Lady Justice

Norman Williams, center, with Mark Melahn, left, and Jesse Goodman, who worked on his case while in law school. Williams was sentenced to 25 years to life after his third-strike conviction, which was for stealing a car jack and tools from a tow truck. Through the efforts of Stanford's Criminal Defense Clinic, his sentence was reduced to 10 years. He had already served more than that so was freed. (Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times)

Statues of Lady Justice frequently portray her wearing a blindfold, signifying impartiality and objectivity. But careful readers of the Los Angeles Times on May 13 have good reason to believe that the Lady is peeking — at least in California — and it is entirely possible that her vision is distorted in favor of “white […]

Prop 8 Ruling: The Measure of a Court

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Yesterday, the California Supreme Court ruled on the validity of Proposition 8, the measure adopted by California voters last November to add a new section 7.5 to Article I of the California Constitution, as follows: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”. The measure was challenged by a […]

Who Celebrates Our Queer Servicemembers on Memorial Day?

danchoi

There will be parades all across the country this Memorial Day commemorating our U.S. servicemembers who died while in the military. But not all of our servicemembers will be honored for their acts of bravery and patriotism. Back in the day, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer servicemembers who served our country were either closeted […]

Special Election: Dear Los Angeles Black Mega Church Pastor

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I didn’t say anything when I drove down Crenshaw Boulevard two Sunday’s ago and that truck with that big sign in support of the upcoming measures on the May 19 California Special Election was conveniently parked in front of your church. But after this past Sunday’s “dog and pony show” I can’t takes it no […]

Los Angeles NAACP Life Achievement Award

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I had a déjà vu moment last week while watching Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, receive the Los Angeles NAACP Chapter’s Life Achievement Award. Watching Sterling try to find the words of why he merited the award was like watching George Wallace try to convince black voters that he had changed from his segregationist […]

Posters Show the Labor Movement At its Best

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When I receive a book for review, I quickly skim through it before putting it aside for future reading. But when I got Lincoln Cushing & Timothy W. Drescher’s, Agitate! Educate! Organize! American Labor Posters, I became so engrossed in its collection of historic labor posters that I could not put it down. Many readers […]

Alabama Senator Linked to White Supremacists

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With the recent announcement that Justice David Souter will retire from the U.S. Supreme Court, President Obama must now find a replacement. And over the next four years – eight years if there is a second Obama term – the president has the opportunity to shape the federal courts to reflect 21st century realities. Much […]

One Block, Three Pharmacies, How Come?

pharmacies

Okay so we’re always talking about the number of liquor stores, check cashing businesses, motels, pawn shops, and fast food restaurants in our neighborhoods, but has anyone ever bothered to question the oh-so-stealty move-in of pharmacies? Case in point, on Crenshaw Boulevard at Coliseum, in one block there is a Rite-Aid, CVS, and Walgreen’s—literally next […]

Another Reason to Skip Wal-Mart

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The CEO of Wal-Mart, just like Mormons, can exercise his right to free speech and expression however he sees fit. I too have that right — and will exercise it by refusing to give the company that pays him my business and by saying so. Why? Well, I have many reasons for not shopping there, […]

AB 1281 Brings Outdated Racial And Ethnic Data Collection Practices Up To Current Standards

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Schools in the United States have historically reflected the classification of students’ race and ethnicity based on the categories utilized by the federal government. Those classifications have been set in many different ways over the years as demographic changes have occurred and people’s nomenclature for themselves or their group(s) have been updated by the U. […]

Myopia Meltdown

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Sometimes something happens and we are forced to confront our own presumptions, preconceived notions and faulty premises. In the corporate workplace and in a relatively homogenous social construct that often does not reflect the heterogeneity of its true broader, community composition, these moments may be few and far between. That’s because our judgments, knee-jerk reactions […]

When Queer Communities of Color Are Not Needed to Win Marriage Rights

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With Iowa being the fourth state to approve marriage equality, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans’ optimism is high, believing many more states will follow suit. “We’re hoping this momentum is contagious,” Daniel Richards of Rhode Island told me. And should Rhode Island soon approve of same-sex marriage, it would be the fourth New […]

The New William H. Parker Center Controversy: Revisionist History Cannnot Override Long Racial Legacy

Photo by Al Muto

The City of Los Angeles is about to unveil its brand new “state-of-the-art,” world-class headquarters for what it considers its world-class law enforcement agency. Just know there’s one too many “world-class” attributes in that last sentence, and given the latest controversy — the public should decide where the “world-class” attribute should actually go. A month […]

Open Veins of Latin America: Obama Should Read It!

Latin-American author Edward Galeano. Image Source: Robert Birnbaum

During the recent Summit of the Americas, in Trinidad, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela gave President Obama a copy of Open Veins in Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, by Eduardo Galeano. Few in the American press corps or in the White House staff would have understood the importance of this […]

The Socioeconomic Times of Mike Tyson

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Could there be social justice for Mike Tyson? James Toback, tries to address this question in his soon to be released film “Tyson,” a documentary that provides insight into the legendary boxer’s emotional and psychological inner world. In the documentary, Tyson’s upbringing in the mean streets of Brooklyn, New York, and his later stint as […]

US to Boycott UN Racism Forum

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A global conference devoted to addressing racism is having trouble attracting an audience. The event, slated to take place in South Africa next week, boasts Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a plenary speaker — and so far, only a handful of leaders have RSVP-ed oui. Others have announced they will not attend: Israel, Canada, some […]

African Americans and the Economic Crisis

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Joe Biden was quite out front about it. On the same day the newspapers were trumpeting the news that President Obama had felt a “glimmer of hope” in the economic situation, the Vice-President was telling CNN that we can expect unemployment to increase each month for the rest of the year. Joblessness stands at 8.5% […]

Key Leaders Endorse National Labor Justice Campaign

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Among the many labor, community, and academic leaders backing the proposal are John Wilhelm, International President of the Hospitality Division of UNITE-HERE, Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, Archdiocese of Detroit, and the Reverend Alexia Salvatierra, Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. That over 500 prominent activists and politicians from over 30 states […]

Equality Advances? Attack the Gays!

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Be warned: Those new National Organization for Marriage anti-GLBT “actor auditions” videos posted are gone. NOM noticed that its evil ruse had been exposed and demanded that YouTube take them down. Even a clip of a recent MSNBC Rachel Maddow clip that included the audition tapes is gone. NOM’s reason: copyright infringment. YouTube has to […]

Just Old Men Talking

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I don’t remember exactly when I began to think this way, but looking back, it must have been at some point during my early elementary school years that I began to believe the “American History” I was learning in school was either incomplete or misleading. I understood and accepted that I needed to master this […]

The Obama Progressive Agenda: A Progress Report

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Although progressives have already won two major victories – the stimulus package and the budget – and a reversal of a number of Bush anti-environment policies, most activists are focused on the troika of universal health care, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), and comprehensive immigration reform. Having asked activists across the nation over the […]

Michelle Obama: The True Image of an African American Woman

michelle

For many years, African Americans were perceived as being ignorant creatures incapable of thinking and successfully holding leadership positions and roles. However, African Americans are constantly defying this perception and reaching heights beyond any individual’s greatest expectation. For instance, blacks were supposedly incapable of playing the position of quarterback in football—at any level—because they were […]

Diddy’s Dumb Deed

beautiful dark skinned women, black, brown, white

ias Against Dark-Skinned Women within the Black Community, also known as “colorism” has reared it’s ugly head again. There’s been another attack on Black Women by one of our own! Diddy‘s CIROC Vodka sent out a cattle call looking for and I quote, “White, Hispanic and Light-skinned African American” women to represent his vodka. By […]