March 15, 2012

The True Costs of Detention: Disadvantages and Harms of Detention for Pre-Adolescent Children

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:05 PM by minoritybrief

ACY brief examines the costs of confinement for children under 14. Research has shown that young children often lack the mental capacity to fully understand their actions. Furthermore, juvenile detention centers are typically geared towards older youth, ages 15-17, who make up the majority of youth in the juvenile justice system. Santa Clara County, California offers a reasonable alternative to incarcerating pre-adolescents.


July 18, 2011

Miscarriage of justice for some pregnant women

Posted in African American Politics, Reproductive Freedom at 8:34 PM by minoritybrief

from The Grio

If you’re wondering why Republicans have been unable to work with Democrats to arrive at a political deal to prevent the American government from going into default, it might be because they’re too busy criminalizing 15-year-old girls for having miscarriages.

You read that correctly. Rennie Gibbs currently faces life in prison in Mississippi over a miscarriage she endured in 2006 when she was 15 years old, and she is not the first to face attempted criminalization of this kind (though she is the first to be charged in Mississippi). Prosecutors are allegedly targeting Gibbs because she has reportedly abused cocaine, but there is no evidence that her drug use contributed to the miscarriage.

Unfortunately, her case is by no means isolated, and in fact marks the continuation of a nationwide trend towards criminalization of pregnant women. Increasingly in the United States and around the world, laws are being created and prosecutions are being brought that would make pregnant women into criminals, many of these women of color like Rennie Gibbs.

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July 6, 2011

His Accuser’s Past Matters? Strauss-Khan’s Does Too

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:40 PM by minoritybrief

By: Tonyaa Weathersbee,

So it seems that the Guinean maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Khan of raping her has a past.

And, judging from what’s been flowing from recent news reports, it’s a past that could set him free – and sentence other rape victims to silence.

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July 1, 2011

Court Overturns Michigan Affirmative-Action Ban

Posted in Affirmative Action at 8:54 PM by minoritybrief

New York Times

A federal appeals court on Friday struck down Michigan’s 2006 ban on the consideration of race and gender in public-university admissions and government hiring in the latest round of the decade-long fight over the University of Michigan’s affirmative action policies.

The 2-to-1 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, said the voter-approved ban “unconstitutionally alters Michigan’s political structure by impermissibly burdening racial minorities.”

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June 29, 2011

Book Excerpt: “Black Woman Redefined”

Posted in African American women tagged at 10:28 PM by minoritybrief

In the midst of an era of reality TV like the Real Housewives of Atlanta and Basketball Wives, it is sometimes easy to forget that we are also witnessing another era of reality too. The glorious reality of Michelle Obama. Strong, smart, sophisticated, beautiful, accomplished, loving, loved, and black.

Excerpts from:
The Age of Michelle Obama
An Open Letter to the First Lady of the United States

Dear Mrs. Obama:

Do you have any idea what you mean to us?

By us I mean the strong, independent, accomplished black women of America. I suspect that on some level you do, but because you are the First Lady of the United States, I know that you don’t think along those lines , and you should not. I love that you embrace all Americans and that you are everyone’s First Lady. But please allow me this small indulgence as I share with you how special you are to us. What I am about to say may seem a bit much, but it is important that you know—that everyone knows—how much you have changed and are changing everything for present and future generations of black women in this nation.

“How so?” you may ask.

I’ll tell you how: You humanize us. You soften us. You make us invisible no more. You make us approachable, feminine, sexy, warm, compassionate, smart, affirmed, accomplished, and fun-filled all at once. Your very nature most emphatically answers Sojourner Truth’s 160-year-old question, “Ain’t I a woman too?” Yes, we are women too!

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Female Firefighters Decry New Pregnancy Policy

Posted in Gender Equity, Sexism tagged at 9:31 PM by minoritybrief

from Black America Web

Firefighters face the very real possibility of serious injury and death every time they answer an emergency call. But some female firefighters in the nation’s capital claim they encounter perils on the job their male counterparts are not forced to endure.

Pregnant firefighters in Washington, D.C. used to have the option of desk duty instead of hauling heavy hoses and placing themselves and their unborn children in imminent danger before a new policy took away that option.

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June 25, 2011

Menthol Cigarettes Marketed in ‘Predatory’ Manner, Study Finds

Posted in Health tagged , at 3:00 PM by minoritybrief

By Althea Fung, National Journal

Tobacco companies advertise more and have lowered the price of menthol cigarettes in California stores near high schools with large African American student populations, according to a new report from the Stanford School of Medicine.

An overwhelming majority – 86 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute – of African American smokers prefer the minty flavor of menthol cigarettes. Tobacco companies are capitalizing on this, the Stanford team said.

“The tobacco companies went out of their way to argue to the Food & Drug Administration that they don’t use racial targeting,” Lisa Henriksen of the Stanford Prevention Research Center, said in a statement. “This evidence is not consistent with those claims.”

Henrikson’s team randomly selected convenience stores, small markets and places selling cigarettes within easy walking distance of 91 schools in 2006.

In what they call “predatory” marketing patterns geared at young blacks, the researchers found the proportion of menthol cigarette advertisements increased by 5.9 percentage points as the proportion of black students increased by 10 percentage points. Additionally the odds of an advertised discount on Newport cigarettes – the leading brand of menthol cigarettes – were 1.5 times greater.

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Survey Says: Capitol Hill’s Staff Is Lily White

Posted in Congress tagged at 2:45 PM by minoritybrief

The 2011 edition of the National Journal survey of “Hill people”—that is, high-level staffers to members of Congress—revealed something we probably already knew: Capitol Hill is really white and really male. Now, the question among some is how that indisputable fact may impact policies for women and people of color.

According to the survey, which occurs every three years, fully 93 percent of top staffers on the Hill are white. Nearly 70 percent are male. While Democrats have a slightly more equitable gender ratio—62 percent male, 38 percent female—their staff is still 91 percent white.

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June 20, 2011

How states are rigging the 2012 election

Posted in Voting Rights at 6:07 PM by minoritybrief

By E.J. Dionne Jr

An attack on the right to vote is underway across the country through laws designed to make it more difficult to cast a ballot. If this were happening in an emerging democracy, we’d condemn it as election-rigging. But it’s happening here, so there’s barely a whimper.

The laws are being passed in the name of preventing “voter fraud.” But study after study has shown that fraud by voters is not a major problem — and is less of a problem than how hard many states make it for people to vote in the first place. Some of the new laws, notably those limiting the number of days for early voting, have little plausible connection to battling fraud.

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June 19, 2011

Plots to Disenfranchise Voters Underway

Posted in Voting Rights at 10:27 PM by minoritybrief

By: Jackie Jones,

A coalition of civil rights organizations are taking aim at political and legislative voter suppression efforts which, they say, create a recipe for massive disenfranchisement of minorities and youth in the 2012 election.

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