Equity & Justice

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

Reading Into Changes To The Lord's Prayer

Jun 9, 2019

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

La Sagrada Familia, the famous Roman Catholic Church designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, has stood unfinished for more than a century.

Now, 137 years after construction began, the city of Barcelona has finally issued a building license for one of its most famous tourist attractions.

The permit, granted on Friday, allows construction to continue, with a projected completion date of 2026.

In 1996, the New Republic ran a bright, red cover that perfectly captured the tenor of the contemporary debate over welfare. "DAY OF RECKONING," a cover line read, above a photograph of an unidentified black woman. She was smoking a cigarette in one hand and holding a baby with a bottle in the other. The text beneath that image read "Sign the Welfare Bill Now." The racial optics were not subtle.

Linda Fairstein won fame prosecuting criminals and then wrote crime fiction. Did she allow her gift for fiction to guide her powers as a prosecutor?

For 25 years, Linda Fairstein led sex crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, which inspired Law and Order: SVU. She's written bestselling crime novels, like Blood Oath and Death Dance, about a hard-nosed, tenderhearted Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper who eats in a lot of New York's classiest Italian restaurants on a public servant's salary.

Now there's a mystery.

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Employees at Sephora cosmetics went through inclusion training this week. It came about after the singer SZA said she was racially profiled at one of the stores. But does that kind of training work? Here's Karen Grigsby Bates from our Code Switch team.

Amanda Bacon's eating disorder was growing worse. She had lost 60% of her body weight and was consuming only about 100 calories a day.

But that wasn't sick enough for her Medicaid managed-care company to cover an inpatient treatment program. She was told in 2017 that unless she weighed 10 pounds less — which would have put her at 5-foot-7 and 90 pounds — or was admitted to a psychiatric unit, she wasn't eligible for coverage.

"I remember thinking, 'I'm going to die,' " the Las Cruces, N.M., resident recalls.

Maureen McKinney / NPR Illinois

All Illinois employers would have to conduct sexual harassment training under sweeping legislation adopted in the waning days of the General Assembly. 

“This really deals with sexual harassment, discrimination, and equity issues affecting every worker in the state of Illinois,’’ said  Democratic state Senator Melinda Bush of Grayslake, who is sponsor of the bill, which would protect independent contractors under the Illinois Human Rights Act. “So it is, I would say, probably one of the biggest pieces of civil rights law we’ve had in years.”

As a third-generation Jehovah's Witness, Amber Scorah believed she had the answer to life's biggest questions. The answer was Armageddon, and it predetermined everything.

"If the world is ending, why would you go to college?" Scorah says in an interview. "Why would you get a career?"

So, she didn't. Instead, like every other member of the church, she dedicated her life to spreading the word.

Every time Jennifer Tidd's son was secluded or restrained at school, she received a letter from his teachers. Her son has autism and behavioral issues, and over three years — from 2013 to 2016 — Tidd got 437 of those letters.

"I see this pile of documents that's 5 inches tall that represents hundreds of hours of being locked into a room, and I feel, you know, horrible," Tidd says.

She's sitting in her living room in Northern Virginia, her head hanging over the stack of papers. Tears are in her eyes.

In a media landscape that can still be pretty awful for Muslims, Tell Them, I Am, a new podcast from KPCC, aims to give Muslims a space to define their own identities outside of stereotypes and broad generalizations.

The brown walls are peeling at all ends. Giant paint chips cake the ceiling. And the cash register — if you can call it that — is just a series of old wooden drawers.

"I'm going to put up a sign that says 'Enter at your own risk.' Otherwise someone is going to hold me liable," says Romin Kohinoor, one of the owners of the nearly century-old Britannia & Co., one of Mumbai's last Parsi cafes.

Luckily for Kohinoor, these quirky interiors have long been seen as more of an attraction than a liability.

I'm Converting: My First Ramadan

Jun 1, 2019

For Muslims all over the world, Tuesday will mark the first day of Eid al-Fitr — traditionally a three-day celebration to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Eid is a time often spent with family and friends — eating, drinking and rejoicing after a month of fasting and long nights of worship. But for many people who have converted to Islam and are struggling to find their way in the Muslim community, this family-focused holiday can be isolating.

This was the toughest TV show for me to watch in a long while.

When They See Us is director/writer/producer Ava DuVernay's searing, four-part drama about five black and Latino boys who were railroaded into falsely confessing to the most notorious gang rape in New York City history. But it wasn't difficult viewing for its violence—in fact, the Netflix series is very careful in how it presents many instances of assault, with the most grisly details left to viewers' imagination.

Because of her food journalism, the food world has been well aware of Samin Nosrat for several years. But she became a household name when two things happened: First, her book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, became a runaway bestseller. The book explores the mysteries of cooking for the home chef and garnered just about every award a cookbook could get.

When Patricia Cahill was 15, she received an unexpected request. A nun who taught at a Catholic high school near her home in Ridgewood, N.J., called her at home and invited her to perform at an upcoming "hootenanny" Mass.

"This was [the] 1960s, you know. Peter, Paul and Mary and all that," Cahill said. "I didn't really play guitar, but a nun — a nun! — asked me to."

Cahill grew up in an Irish Catholic family and attended parochial schools. As invitations from the nun kept coming, she said she felt flattered by the attention, and her family welcomed the nun into their home.

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When the first HIV drug, AZT, came to market in 1987, it cost $10,000 a year.

That price makes Peter Staley laugh today. "It sounds quaint and cheap now, but $10,000 a year at that time was the highest price ever set for any drug in history," he says.

Christopher Vine

The Illinois legislature last week approved a measure to have public schools include LGBTQ history in their curriculum. That news hit home with Callie Vine, who will attend Carbondale High School in the fall.

Callie, who's 14, is gender-nonconforming, which means she doesn’t fit into a set definition being of masculine of feminine. She made this bill the focus of her history fair project, and won the chance to compete at state.

Jeffrey Beall / FLICKR (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Gov.  J.B. Pritzker’s signature would ensure that single-occupancy public restrooms in Illinois will be gender neutral.

The bill was approved by the Senate in April and a few days ago by the House of Representatives.

Kim Hunt is executive director of the Pride Action Tank, which advocated for the measure.

“It brings me a great deal of joy that we live in a state where legislators get it, and that’s not the case in many others,’’ she said,

The measure will update the state’s plumbing code, which specifies that restrooms be labeled by specific gender.

With the economy booming, Ernesto Martinez can barely keep up with all the construction work coming into the small drywall company he owns. He's part of a historic wave of Latino prosperity in America.

It wasn't always like this. Martinez remembers when he was 17. He had $120 to his name, and it was all in his pocket. It's how much he got paid for his first job in the U.S., as a mover. He says he stood there, mesmerized, in front of a shop window at the mall.

Martinez was looking at a pair of Air Jordans. They cost around $100.

Theresa Burroughs, who proudly called herself a foot soldier for the right to vote, has died in Greensboro, Ala. She was 89.

Greensboro is part of Alabama's Black Belt, a region named for its rich black soil, and known for its oppression of black citizens during the Jim Crow era, including erecting obstacles to the vote. She said no one around her talked about it then out of fear.

Brittany Smith grew up mostly in Detroit, earning a master's degree in public health from the University of Michigan. But when she and her then-boyfriend, Sam, began their careers, they ran into roadblocks. It was 2013, and Detroit was still struggling from the effects of the Great Recession. Sam Smith couldn't find full-time work. His job as a college career counselor wrapped when the campus where he worked shut down.

They began looking for an out.

The promotion of religious freedom in America, a cause that not long ago had near unanimous support on Capitol Hill, has fallen victim to the culture wars.

A high point came in 1993, when Congress overwhelmingly passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, meant to overturn a Supreme Court decision that limited Americans' right to exercise their religion freely.

Updated on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

The Alabama Historical Commission says a wrecked ship off the Gulf Coast is the Clotilda, the last known vessel to bring people from Africa to the United States and into bondage.

At the Robert Hope Community Center in Mobile, Ala., on Wednesday, researchers unveiled their discovery to descendants of the people on that fateful voyage. "They had been waiting for this for a long time," Alabama Historical Commission Chairman Walter Givhan, a retired major general, told NPR. "They were jubilant."

More than 1,000 victims of the Holocaust were buried Wednesday in Belarus, some 70 years after they were killed in the genocide.

Their bones were unearthed this winter by construction workers as they began to build luxury apartments in the southwestern city of Brest, near Poland.

Soldiers brought in to excavate found undisputed evidence of a mass grave: skulls with bullet holes, shoes and tattered clothing worn on the last day of people's lives.

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As Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota was wrapping up her remarks to the crowd at a Ramadan gathering on Capitol Hill late Monday, she spotted a familiar face in the front row.

It was Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who was famously mocked by then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 race. Omar told the audience she remembered how Trump had belittled Khan's wife by saying he wasn't sure if Muslim women were allowed to speak.

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The surprise announcement started this way.

(SOUNDBITE OF COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS)

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin.

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