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Unequal Before The Law

Federal charges ordinarily cover matters of national reach: immigration, voting rights, racketeering. Not in Indian Country. Tribal members frequently find themselves in federal court for all sorts of allegations— not just serious crimes, such as murder, but lesser offenses, like burglary. Once in federal court, they face sentencing guidelines that are stiffer than if they were tried in state court, where non-Native cases are generally heard. Diversion, probation and other mitigation actions, typical of state courts, are also less common, as is a jury that includes their peers, which is to say, other Natives.

Tenants Are Teaming Up To Target Voucher-Snubbing Landlords

Elizabeth Byrd is a single mother of six and grandmother of four who spent 18 years in and out of the Brooklyn homeless shelter system. She is also now working with other tenants to take action against law-breaking landlords and real estate brokers who refuse to accept tenants who use government housing vouchers to pay rent. “The discrimination they’re doing is illegal, and we can do something about it,” said Byrd, who is 50. “We are too determined to give up.” Byrd pays 80% of her current rent with a FHEPS voucher, administered by the city’s public assistance agency for families with a history of eviction or domestic violence.

Federal Complaint Alleges University Conspired Against Palestinians

Students at the University of Illinois Chicago have filed a federal complaint against the school, alleging that staff discriminated against them because of their ethnicity and national origin. The seven students, six Palestinian Americans and one Jewish American, attempted to join an informational session over the videoconferencing platform Zoom in January about a study abroad summer program in Israel. During and after the video call, students say they were racially profiled, harassed and silenced by university staff and, later, by campus police. In the Zoom call, UIC staff denied the students with Arab and Muslim names admission to the session while other students who had Western-sounding names were able to participate.

HUD Excludes People With Convictions From Public Housing

The housing crisis is particularly acute for the 79 million Americans with a criminal record: People with convictions are nearly 10 times more likely to experience homelessness compared to the general public. While federally subsidized housing could provide support to these individuals, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) contributes to the problem by permitting each public housing authority (PHA) wide leeway to discriminate against people with convictions. But some advocates have successfully gotten their local PHAs to change course: A 2016 policy change in New Orleans has been able to open up public housing for people with convictions by providing a clearer rubric for PHAs to use during screenings and appointing a board to review applications.

John Miller ‘Chose To Lie About Something That’s Well-Documented’

Janine Jackson: In March of this year, John Miller—then deputy commissioner of intelligence and counter-terrorism for the New York Police Department—told a New York City Council meeting that “there is no evidence” that the NYPD surveilled Muslim communities in the wake of September 11, 2001—”based,” he said, “on every objective study that’s been done.” At that point, media had extensively documented the unconstitutional discrimination of the NYPD’s so-called “Demographics Unit,” including installing police cameras outside mosques, and reporting store owners who had visible Qurans or religious calendars. And the NYPD had agreed to disband the unit in the face of multiple federal lawsuits.

Netherlands: Struggle For Affordable Housing Intensifies

Progressive sections in the city of Amersfoort, Netherlands took to the streets demanding affordable housing on January 30. Activists from various youth & student groups, feminist groups, trade unions and political parties marched for housing rights on the call of #Woonrevolte Amersfoort, a housing rights coalition. Different housing coalitions have announced protest actions in other cities of the Netherlands in the coming days and weeks.

Backlash Over The Equality Act Is Fueling State-Level Attacks On Trans Youth

The Equality Act — the landmark piece of LGBTQ legislation passed for a second time by the House of Representatives this week — faces near insurmountable odds to pass and become law as currently written. Support for it in the Senate is currently nowhere near the 60-vote threshold that would be needed to pass the bill with the filibuster. And though, if passed, the Equality Act, would codify critical and comprehensive updates to our federal civil rights laws, it’s reintroduction at this time is fueling a harmful backlash against transgender people as we contend with systematic governmental assaults on trans youth in state legislatures. It has been incredibly moving to see our representatives in Congress speak out against anti-LGBTQ discrimination and defend trans lives in the face of cruel efforts to demean and dehumanize us.

Exposed: State Department Official Posted In Nazi Charlottesville Chats

Washington, DC – Today, an investigation by reporter Michael Hayden for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)’s Hatewatch revealed that US State Department official Matthew Q. Gebert has been active in the neo-nazi movement over the last several years. Leaked Discord chat logs obtained by Unicorn Riot also prove that Gebert’s username was posting in racist groups throughout 2017 and indicate he may have attended the deadly Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville.

“Women On Death Row: Invisible Subjects Of Gender Discrimination”

California has the largest female death row in the U.S., with 23 condemned women imprisoned at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla. Four women have been executed in the state since 1893. California has the largest female death row in the U.S., with 23 condemned women imprisoned at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla. Four women have been executed in the state since 1893, with the last, Elizabeth Duncan, killed in 1962.* Texas is second with six women on its death row. There are 54 condemned women in the U.S. as of October 2017, about two percent of the total death row population. Since 1973, 181 women have been sentenced to death in the United States.

Glasgow: Thousands Of Women To Strike Over Pay Discrimination

Thousands of women council workers across Glasgow plan to bring the city to a standstill this week in what is believed to be the biggest equal pay strike seen in the UK. More than 8,000 workers, mostly women who have never been on a picket line, will take part in the two-day action that starts next Tuesday and will affect homecare, schools and nurseries, cleaning and catering services across the city. While Glasgow city council insists there is no justification for the planned disruption, which it says will jeopardise the care of its most vulnerable residents, unions say that a failure of negotiations has left the women with no choice but to strike and make visible the decades-long pay discrimination that has affected this largely unseen workforce.

Digital Denied: Systemic Discrimination Keeps Communities Offline

By Dana Floberg for Freepress - Internet access is a necessity for engaging in our communities, searching for employment and seeking out educational opportunities — but too many people are still stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide. And that divide disproportionately impacts people of color. Indeed, the racial divide in home-internet adoption — including both wired and wireless service — leaves people of color behind the digital curve. People of color comprise 32 million of the 69 million people in the United States who lack any form of home-internet access. On Tuesday, Free Press released a new report, Digital Denied, which exposes this undeniable gap and explains how structural racial discrimination contributes to it. Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner authored the study. Systemic discrimination creates serious income inequality in this country. Whites have far higher average incomes than Blacks or Latinos. Low-income families are less able and willing to buy internet subscriptions. And many families who are willing to pay for service find they can’t due to racially biased barriers like credit scoring. Given how stark racial and ethnic income discrepancies are, it’s no surprise that people of color lag behind in internet adoption.

Court: Cities Can Sue Banks Over Discriminatory Practices

By Bill Chapell for NPR - The city of Miami can sue Wells Fargo and Bank of America for damages under the Fair Housing Act, the Supreme Court says, allowing a lawsuit to continue that accuses the big banks of causing economic harm with discriminatory and predatory lending practices. The 5-3 vote saw Chief Justice John Roberts form a majority with the court's more liberal justices. Justice Anthony Kennedy, widely seen as the court's "swing" justice, sided with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. The court's newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, wasn't involved in the case. After lower courts had issued back-and-forth opinions on whether Miami's lawsuit should continue, the Supreme Court says the city should be allowed to make its case. "But the justices said that to win damages, the city must prove a direct link to the revenue loss and increased costs," NPR's Nina Totenberg tells our Newscast unit, "and that is an extremely high bar to clear." The ruling comes nearly two years after the Supreme Court sided with civil rights groups who argued that, as we reported, "claims of racial discrimination in housing cases shouldn't be limited by questions of intent."

Maryland HBCUs Fight Almost 50 Years Of Discrimination

By Popular Resistance. Maryland's four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have never been desegregated. Despite findings by the Department of Education and Federal Court that the HBCUs have not received adequate funding when compared to Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) and have had their programs duplicated by PWIs, drawing students and faculty away from the HBCUs, the state has refused to make amends. Below you will find a timeline of this struggle and an interview with two alumni, Rashad Staton and DeJuan Patterson, who are organizing to raise awareness of this injustice. The current court case is the most significant discrimination case in education since Brown v the Board of Education, yet it is receiving little attention in the media. And this fight goes beyond equity in education

Border Agent Questioned Me About My Work For ACLU

By Hina Shamsi for ACLU - Last week, I was flying home from a work trip and faced Customs and Border Protection questioning unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in over 25 years of travel into and out of this country, including more than 10 years of travel for my work as an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union and other rights groups. Compared to the hardship and suffering of the tens of thousands of people impacted by President Trump’s Muslim ban executive order, it was nothing. But it said something personal to me about the tenor of these dark times. I was coming back from the island nation of Dominica, where I had gone for meetings and depositions in our torture victim clients’ lawsuit against the two psychologists behind the CIA torture program.

When Algorithms Decide What You Pay

By Julia Angwin, Terry Parris Jr. and Surya Mattu for ProPublica - YOU MAY NOT REALIZE IT, but every website you visit is created, literally, the moment you arrive. Each element of the page — the pictures, the ads, the text, the comments — live on computers in different places and are sent to your device when you request them. That means that it’s easy for companies to create different web pages for different people. Sometimes that customization is helpful, such as when you see search results for restaurants near you.
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