Schools prepare for Trump by creating safe spaces for undocumented students


From the

Amid the concerns for immigrant families about the new Trump administration schools all across the United States are taking steps to protect students.

During the 2016 election cycle, Donald Trump promised to deport undocumented immigrants and build a wall to keep them out of the States. What many are most afraid of is that he will undo Obama’s executive decision, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative. This is the what grants temporary deportation relief to so many young undocumented immigrants.

District of Columbia Public Schools chancellor, John Davis, wrote a Q&A for the District community that reminded both staff and families that students will not be asked about their immigration status. He also told families about DCPS-sponsored workshops that will fill them in on the details about their immigration rights.

It doesn’t end there. School boards in Minneapolis, Denver, and Los Angeles have all taken steps to set up safe havens and informed families that ICE agents are not permitted on campus.

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Stunning Film Adaptation of ‘Fences’ Opens on Christmas Day


With his ten plays in The Pittsburg Cycle, playwright August Wilson mastered, narrated and documented the African-American experience throughout the twentieth century in the United States. From “Gem of the Ocean” to “Radio Golf,” each play set in a different decade revealed new challenges, joys, and nuances of the Black experience. August Wilson forced you to see; to bear witness to Black lives, by presenting full and complete human beings in his narratives….

It has been a long road for the film adaptation of August Wilson’s sixth play in his Pittsburg Cycle, and it seems now that the timing has never been so ideal. Set in the 1950’s, Wilson’s critically acclaimed “Fences” comes sparkling to life on the film screen with Denzel Washington in the director’s chair and starring as patriarch Troy Maxson; a middle-aged garbage collector who, despite living a respectable life, struggles deeply with internal dissatisfaction, defeat, and bitterness. Not to be outdone by Washington’s commanding performance, Viola Davis holds her own, exploding onto the screen as his wife, Rose, a long-suffering but hopeful woman, desperate to keep her family together amid racial turmoil, financial issues and dreams deferred.

The playwright August Wilson, shown in 2003, sought a black director to make a film version of “Fences.” Credit Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Incredibly faithful to the original play which first debuted on Broadway in March of 1987, through Washington’s lens, Troy and Rose’s story gets expanded and stretched out spectacularly as if August himself were walking the audience through the narrative. Both Washington and Davis have mastered (having acted in the play in the 2010 Broadway revival) these characters – the dichotomy of what it means to be Black in America during this particular moment. To be at once joyful and deeply tormented…

Read the full review here and a the story of long road to making the film here.

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Inside a Report on Slavery and Its Legacy

The names of the slaves line the pages of the 19th-century ledger books. Hundreds of names. Harriett. Warwick. Godfrey. Squire Lockett. Nathan York. Robert. Solomon. Alfred.

A ledger that includes slave policy information is on display at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Credit George Etheredge for The New York Times

In the 1840s, New York Life, the nation’s third-largest life insurance company, sold 508 policies on enslaved men and women. The beneficiaries? Slaveholders, who collected cash after a slave’s untimely death.

I spent much of the year looking at institutions, particularly universities, that benefited from this painful period of American history; the idea was to better understand how the legacy of slavery reverberates through our own times. So as I studied the names in the fraying New York Life ledgers at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, I wondered: Could we identify their descendants?…



Read the complete story about how NYT reporter Rachel Swarns investigated and wrote about life insurance policies that allowed slave owners to recoup their slave’s “value” in the event of the slave’s untimely death.

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Obama: ‘America has not overcome legacy of slavery and Jim Crow’


Image courtesy of Comedy Central

During an interview with Trevor Noah, the host of “The Daily Show,” President Barack Obama spoke about the state of race relations in the United States.

The president noted that, in terms of race, the country “by no means overcome the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow and colonialism and racism.”

“Those who are not subject to racism can sometimes have blind spots,” he admitted when Noah, who is biracial as well and from South Africa, asked him how he approached conversations on race. However, the president noted that just because some people have a “lack of appreciation” for the lived experiences of others does not mean that they cannot learn or do not want to learn about it.

Read the entire article here

Watch the complete interview here

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Join abhm this wednesday for a book talk @ the villard square library!

Meet Reggie Jackson, Robert S. Smith and Fran Kaplan, co-contributors to the third edition of A Time of Terror: A Survivor's Story

Meet Reggie Jackson, Robert S. Smith and Fran Kaplan, co-contributors to the third edition of A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story

Join us this Wednesday, December 14th from 6:00- 7:00 p.m. at the Villard Square Library for a book talk on Dr. Cameron’s autobiography A Time of Terror: A Survivor’s Story. Meet Reggie Jackson, Robert S. Smith and Fran Kaplan, co-contributors to the third edition of A Time of Terror by the late Dr. James Cameron and the only account of a lynching ever written by a survivor. The program will include readings from the book, an explanation of how it came to be, and a discussion of its relevance for today’s readers. A book signing by the co-contributors will follow the event.

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This Definitive History of Racist Ideas Should Be Required Reading

By Lawrence Ross for

Ibram X. Kendi; the cover of his book, Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Ibram X. Kendi; the cover of his book, Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

There are some books that just demand space on your bookshelf—not just because they’re interesting but also because these books break new ground in a way that will enrich your intellectual life. A new book on racism, Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, written by Ibram X. Kendi, Ph.D., a University of Florida professor of Africana studies, is such a book.

The winner of the 2016 National Book Award for nonfiction, Kendi has done something that’s damn near impossible: write a book about racism that breaks new ground, while being written in a way that’s accessible to the nonacademic. If you’ve ever been interested in how racist ideas spread throughout the United States, this is the book to read. The Root talked to Kendi about what inspired the book, why white people have a hard time dealing with their own racism and whether racism can ever be eliminated.

Read the entire interview here

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3 Adults and Baby Died In A Jail Run By Potential Homeland Security Head

By Ryan J. Reilly Senior Justice Reporter, The Huffington Post

screenshot-2016-12-01-10-11-18…Four people, including a newborn baby, have died at the Milwaukee County Jail since April. One man, a 38-year-old with mental health issues, died of “profound dehydration.” For a facility with a population cap of 960 that previously averaged a couple of deaths per year, the string of deaths is concerning.

[A court-appointed medical monitor, Dr. Ronald Shanksy, has interviewed staffers at the jail that Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke runs.] During his visit, Shanksy said he was alarmed by the “extremely large number of vacancies” at the facility, particularly for medical positions.

“Questions certainly can be raised about the occurrence of these four recent deaths and the relationship to officer shortages … as well as the health care staffing vacancies and the adequacy of oversight of staff,” Shanksy wrote.

Now Clarke may be overseeing a much larger operation. Clarke was in New York City once again this week to meet with President-elect Donald Trump. He’s reportedly in the running to take over the Department of Homeland Security, and said he would accept a Trump cabinet position if asked.

Clarke’s national profile rose a few years ago when he began making regular appearances on Fox News in late 2014 to talk about policing after the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the police killing of Michael Brown. Since then, he’s made a name for himself by providing a voice for those who want to believe there’s nothing wrong with our criminal justice system and to ignore America’s historic racial inequalities.

screenshot-2016-12-01-10-11-46Clarke, who grew up in a white neighborhood and attended a mostly white private high school, has said African Americans sell drugs “because they’re uneducated, they’re lazy, and they’re morally bankrupt.” He calls Black Lives Matter “Black Lies Matter” and compared them to the KKK. He once claimed that “police brutality ended in the 1960s.” Clarke made an appearance in July at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where RNC delegates gave him a standing ovation as he proclaimed “Blue Lives Matter” and celebrated the acquittal of a Baltimore officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray….

A recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial said Clarke’s office had been “shamefully silent” about the deaths and hasn’t provided records regarding outside investigations that the county is legally required to have. 

“Maybe Clarke thinks the peasants of Milwaukee County don’t need to know what’s happening at the jail. Maybe he’s hoping for a call from President-elect Donald Trump (for whom he campaigned so eagerly while people were dying in his jail) so that he can walk away from doing his job,” the editorial said. “Whatever his faulty reasoning, he’s wrong. Clarke owes the public answers about the deaths and about the state of inmate care at the jail. And the public deserves a sheriff who will do his job.”

Read the full article here.

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