Equity & Justice

Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Culture, Income, and Justice

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The Fisk Jubilee Singers are known worldwide for their flawless voices and stellar performances of Negro spirituals. They're from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., but they travel around the world to perform their music. Negro spirituals were originally sung by slaves and remain tightly linked to African-American culture. Paul Kwami, the choir's musical director, said singing these spirituals was a way for slaves to lament their servitude, along with the hope of being free one day.

Over the last few days, the sports media has been transfixed by the story of Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, two burly offensive lineman who play for the Miami Dolphins. Martin, a 24-year-old, second-year pro, abruptly walked away from the team last week after an incident with Incognito, 30, his frequent tormentor and the offensive line's unofficial leader.

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Art Revolution Blooms After Arab Spring

Nov 7, 2013

In the U.S., graffiti is often condemned as vandalism. But during the Arab Spring, artists say city walls were often the only places where they could talk back to tyrants.

Street art can be found across the Middle East and North Africa, and the Arab Spring protests inspired an artistic revolution. The "Creative Dissent" exhibit at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan is putting that art on display.

Typing Love Letters To St. Louis

Nov 7, 2013

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Singer Chris Brown was in the news last week after being accused of punching a fan outside a Washington, D.C., hotel. Police later identified the alleged victim as 20-year-old Parker Isaac Adams. Brown maintains it was his bodyguard who threw the punch and only after Adams tried to board the singer's tour bus.

Adams' uncle came to his defense after the incident, insisting to reporters that his nephew wasn't a troublemaker.

"Parker's not some kind of hoodlum," Creighton Adams told the AP.

Texas Tangled In Hair Braiding Controversy

Nov 6, 2013

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Finally today, not to kick a man when he is already down, but can we take a moment to contemplate yesterday's admission by the mayor of a major North American city that he had in fact used crack cocaine? Citizens of Toronto, welcome to my world. As a longtime resident of Washington, D.C., I have had to endure years of jokes about our former mayor, Marion Barry, now a D.C. council member, who was famously induced to light up in a hotel room by a woman with whom he had been, ahem, involved.

Comediennes Of Color: 'I Am Funny'

Nov 6, 2013

This past weekend's Saturday Night Live was the most-watched episode of the season, but viewers may have been looking for something other than laughs. Saturday's show followed weeks of criticism over SNL's painfully obvious lack of diversity.

In Florida, one of the nation's largest school districts has overhauled its discipline policies with a single purpose in mind — to reduce the number of children going into the juvenile justice system.

It's a move away from so-called "zero tolerance" policies that require schools to refer even minor misdemeanors to the police. Critics call it a "school to prison pipeline."

Civil rights and education activists say the policy can be a model for the nation.

Just months after Wade Ingram became police chief in Gary, Ind., in January 2012, he began an unusual initiative: visiting the family of each of the city's homicide victims.

That's meant many visits for Ingram.

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Many couples who struggle with infertility say they would go to the ends of the earth to have a child. Some use surrogate mothers in the United States, but the high cost and legal complications keep that option out of reach for many families. So some Americans are going global --to countries like India– to make it happen.

Aja Brown made history this past summer when she became the youngest mayor in the history of Compton, Calif. There is a lot of buzz there around the charismatic 31-year-old.

The city of about 100,000 people just south of Los Angeles has long struggled with gangs and street violence. But it wasn't always that way. Compton flourished in the '50s and '60s, when its factory jobs were a beacon for African-Americans fleeing the South.

Catherine Chung went from mathematics to writing, though she says words were always her first love. She was named one of Granta's New Voices in 2010, and her first novel, Forgotten Country, received honorable mention for a PEN/Hemingway Award last year.

In Forgotten Country, Chung writes of a family with a curse that stretches back generations — from their time in Korea to their life in America. Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, each generation of the family has lost a daughter.

New Scholarship Boosts Urban Art

Nov 4, 2013

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And now we'll continue with this theme of using hip-hop to teach. When legendary lyricist and DJ MC Lyte first appeared on the national scene 1988, she wasn't thinking about education. This is her hit song, "Lyte as a Rock."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LYTE AS A ROCK")

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Cutting SNAP Benefits Not A Snap Decision

Nov 4, 2013

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Amy Tan was 200 pages into a new novel when she attended a large exhibition on Shanghai life in the early 1900s. While there, she bought a book she thought might help her as she researched details on life in the Old City. She stopped turning pages when she came upon a group portrait.

Earl Lloyd became the first black man to play in the NBA 63 years ago this week. Lloyd was a forward for the Washington Capitols who grew up in Virginia. He didn't break the league's color barrier (the New York Knicks' Wat Masaka, a Japanese-American point guard, beat him to it by a few years), but it was a seminal moment for the league, which is now about 80-percent black.

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