Get That Colonization Off Your Crown, Michelle

malia-sasha-michelle

From the time Barack Obama became a fixture on the national stage, I have eyed Michelle Obama with an uneven mix of appreciation and disappointment. It’s not about her fashion sense, though she’s been ridiculed for accentuating her hips and baring her toned arms by folks with twisted aesthetic sensibilities and outright hate. It’s not [...]

Equality: Obama vs Truman

truman

July 26, 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of President Harry S. Truman signing Executive Order #9981 ending racial segregation of the United States military. 2009 also marks the 16th anniversary of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the law passed by Congress mandating the discharge of openly gay, lesbian or bisexual military servicemembers. According to Servicemembers Legal [...]

Poor, Elderly, and HIV/AIDS Citizens to Die in California

herndon-davis

In just under two weeks the state of California will go broke unless it makes deep cuts to its budget by eliminating spending on crucial programs to cover a $24 billion deficit. Among the programs hardest hit are social services which assist the elderly, blind, low-income families, single parents, the mentally challenged and those living [...]

Civil Rats Are Human Rats!

gettysburgh

I watched the movie Gettysburg again the other day. It is one of my favorites because the producer was a Mexican American and it is about the real reasons why democracy exists. In the movie, there is a scene where a New Hampshire officer is talking to two rebel soldiers. He asks them why they [...]

Forget Paper vs. Plastic: For the American Right, Gay Marriage Is the New Green

billo

Here is a well-kept secret. Notwithstanding its efforts to ignore, marginalize, or dismiss environmental science, the American right is creating an environmental movement of its own. This one, however, has very little to do with preserving the earth or its resources but instead is premised on some quite remarkable efforts to recycle various “outrages” around [...]

Remembering Multiculturalism

Clockwise from top left: Al Robles, Richard Aoki, Mark Him Lai, Ron Takaki

The passing of leading thinkers in the ethnic studies canon — Ron Takaki, Mark Him Lai, Richard Aoki, and the poet Al Robles — in the last few months challenges us to complete unfinished tasks. During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, whenever anyone would ask what am I, I always responded “human.” I didn’t [...]

Gay Pride Speaks to Equality

Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

In the Oxford English Dictionary “equality” means, “Identical in amount; neither less nor greater…having the same measure, number, value, intensity.” How did three Democratic presidents, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Lyndon Johnson, speak to equality? President Barack Obama on Monday, June 1, named June as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month” issuing a proclamation: [...]

UFW Alums Battle Over Labor’s Future

Dolores Huerta and Eliseo Medina

After electing the most pro-union President in decades, organized labor is being torn by internal fights. And at the heart of these conflicts are veterans of the United Farmworkers of America (UFW), whose strategic innovations have shaped today’s labor movement and whose “Si Se Puede” (“Yes We Can”) rallying cry became the hallmark of Barack [...]

The Poor You Shall Have with You Always

lorraine

During this current recession, I’m sure anyone watching the news has noticed the sudden interest in helping the “poor”. We sit in horror as traumatized children talk about the difficulties of adjusting to life without video games and cable TV, having to move out of their elaborate houses into welfare motels, who now find themselves [...]

Trying to be Exclusive, but Acting like Everyone Else

black-professionals

In recent times, a trend seems to have emerged. I call it the second wave of the not-always-so-Talented Tenth. This is constituted by an increasingly visible and vocal contingent; they are the crop of African-Americans, generally ages 23-40, who have christened themselves “professionals.” This isn’t necessarily professional in the conventional sense of careers – those [...]

What Blacks Can Learn From Gays

gay-protest

Before you open that bottle of champagne, can of beer, or bottle of Hennessy in celebration of last week’s decision by the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8 and the ban on gay marriage, did you ever stop to think maybe the joke’s on us? I mean, think about it. Last November, Blacks voted overwhelmingly [...]

Obama Not Marching with Black Pride

Rev. Joshua DuBois with President Barack Obama. (Photo credit: Mike Theiler for the Globe/file)

June is Pride Month. And Black Pride contributes to the multicultural aspect of joy and celebration in the queer communities. Black Pride symbolizes not only black LGBTQ uniqueness as individuals and communities, but it also affirms our varied expressions of LGBTQ life in America. This year will be our first Black Pride parade with an [...]

Marriage Equality, Beyond the Lying

From upper left: Rick Warren, Dick Cheney, Chief Justice Ronald George, and Mary Ann Glendon.

My first essay for the L.A. Progressive was about Proposition 8 and the lies that self proclaimed Christian activists were telling in order to promote their bigotry. It seems almost ridiculous to catalog the number of violations of the Commandment against bearing false witness that these “Christians” embraced in order to sell their ballot measure. [...]

Proposition Hate Redux

lesbian-couple

The California Supreme Court ruled again on same-sex marriage. This time it did to uphold Proposition 8, restricting marriage to one man and one woman. In a 6-to-1 decision, the justices decided that Proposition 8 would remain part of the state constitution. And the 18,000 same- sex couples that ran to the altar to legally [...]

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

no-on-prop-8-unite2

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

clown

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

sinatra-baylor-sterling

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

posters

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

sessions

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

buy-the-world

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, [...]

Inside Joe Arpaio: Arizona Deputy Calls Him a Disgrace to the Department

sheriff_arpaio

“It ain’t right,” the man with the soft, desert cowboy drawl says slowly into the phone. “These folks are human beings and he treats ‘em like swine. Well, actually, Joe treats everyone who ain’t white and rich like swine.” ”Here in Maricopa County, he thinks it’s a crime to be poor or have brown skin [...]

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