Posts tagged with "equality"

LGBTQ Illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Opposing Anti-LGBTQ Legislations

Major Health, Education, and Child Welfare Organizations Oppose Anti-LGBTQ State-Based Legislation

 

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular. In too many states, lawmakers are focusing on passing bills that attack our nation’s most vulnerable, instead of focusing on how to help the American people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The signers note: “As organizations committed to serving the best interests of all youth, we are deeply alarmed at the torrent of bills introduced in state legislatures around the country this year that would directly harm transgender people and particularly transgender youth. These appalling proposals would compromise the safety and well-­being of the young people we all have the duty and obligation to support and protect. All of our nation’s children deserve equal protection and treatment when accessing health care, and when attending school. These anti-­transgender bills promote discrimination and do harm to students, their families, and their communities.”

“While states should be focusing on finding ways to ensure that every young person has a chance to succeed, we are instead seeing a majority of states introducing harmful legislation that excludes, discriminates against, and outright harms transgender youth who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David“Anti-transgender sports bills are in search of a problem that does not exist and just the latest iteration of a years-long losing fight against equality.  In fact, anti-equality legislators when challenged are unable to name any instances of alleged cheating in their states to gain a competitive edge. That is because there are none. The notion is preposterous, nonsensical, and impractical. Other legislation is attempting to deny medically necessary gender-affirming care that helps to mitigate the life-threatening anxiety, depression, and dysphoria that are disproportionately experienced by transgender youth. Amidst an epidemic of fatal violence against transgender people, it is imperative that we do everything in our power to foster a more inclusive, less discriminatory society that guarantees acceptance of and equality to all. I thank every child health and welfare organization for stepping up and speaking out against the anti-transgender legislation that would have a profound effect on our young people.”

As organizations committed to serving the best interests of all youth, we are deeply alarmed at the torrent of bills introduced in state legislatures and in Congress this year that would directly harm transgender people and particularly transgender youth.  These appalling proposals would compromise the safety and well-being of the young people we all have the duty and obligation to support and protect.

All of our nation’s young people deserve equal protection and treatment when accessing health care, and when attending school and participating in extracurricular activities, including sports. These anti-transgender bills promote discrimination and do harm to students, their families, and their communities.

Since state legislatures began meeting this year, we have already seen more than 65 bills introduced seeking to deny transgender youths’ access to gender-affirming medical treatment, preventing them from participating in sports teams consistent with their gender identity, and denying access to sex-segregated spaces that include restrooms and locker rooms. Similar legislation is even being pushed in the U.S. Congress.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality, is alarmed by the spate of anti-transgender legislation proposed across the country. We have found that less than a quarter of transgender and gender-expansive youth can definitely be themselves at school and only sixteen percent of transgender and gender-expansive youth feel safe at school. Every child deserves equal access to education, academic success, and a future in which they are empowered to fulfill their true potential, and these laws contravene that fundamental principle, which has long guided our nation’s education policy.

Transgender youth are already at a heightened risk for violence, bullying, and harassment. In addition, students who would be affected by these bills are among our most vulnerable to experiencing depression and engaging in self-harm, including suicide. These bills exacerbate those risks by creating an unwelcoming and hostile environment in places where students should feel the safest and most supported. Research has shown that when transgender youth have access to gender-affirming services, competent care, and affirmation, their risk of depression, anxiety, and other negative mental health outcomes is greatly reduced.

We stand in opposition to proposals that harm transgender youth, including limiting access to medically necessary, best-practice care, forbidding students from using the restroom at school consistent with their gender identity, and preventing transgender youth from playing sports alongside their peers. On behalf of our members and communities, we call on legislators across the country to reject these harmful measures.

Sincerely,

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

American Counseling Association

American School Counselor Association 

Association of Title IX Administrators 

Child Welfare League of America 

Mental Health America

National Association for College Admission Counseling 

National Association of School Psychologists 

National Association of Secondary School Principals  

National Association of Social Workers  

National Education Association 

National PTA

LGBT flag illustration by Symara Wilson for 360 Magazine

HRC Press Call

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Alphonso David and State Legislative Director Cathryn Oakley hosted a press call to preview the state legislative landscape for 2021. With a number of anti-LGBTQ bills being introduced, heard, and voted on now and in the coming months, Alphonso David and Cathryn Oakley discussed the recurring themes the Human Rights Campaign is seeing in anti-LGBTQ legislation across the country, and shared additional political and electoral context around these fights.

Upon viewing the state legislative landscape, it can be observed that national organizations are pushing anti-LGBTQ bills across the U.S. The discriminatory bills are mongered by fear, not facts, and the opposition to such bills has been becoming desperately vocal. Despite the broad popularity of supporting LGBTQ equality from the general American public and preference for pro-quality candidates – even by Republican voters – these bills still are being introduced. States who pass these anti-LGBTQ laws risk major harm to their queer residents’ lives. Bills like these have posed economic, reputational, and legal harm to states who consider passing them, as evidenced by the result of anti-LGBQT legislation in states such as North Carolina, Texas, Indiana, and Idaho, among others.

Fortunately, the HRC has a strong record of defeating anti-equality legislation in states. Their team is hard at work monitoring and leading the fight against anti-equality bills across the country this year. For example, senseless anti-transgender sports and medical care bills are being introduced in state legislatures across the country as the latest iteration of the political fight against LGBTQ equality. The HRC is looking lead LGBTQ+ friendly progress and combat National anti-LGBTQ+ groups like the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom and the Eagle Forum who are leading the charge, rather than legislators or constituent concerns.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Listen to the full recording of today’s press call here.

First Jewish American Heritage National Park Made Law

Yesterday marks a significant win in the decades-long effort to recognize and celebrate the philanthropic legacy of Julius Rosenwald and his impact on American democratic equality.  With the president’s signing of the Julius Rosenwald and Rosenwald Schools Act of 2020, a process begins that would lead to the establishment of the first National Park Service site to honor a Jewish American and celebrate the contribution of a Jewish American to our society, while preserving a selection of iconic Rosenwald Schools.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation first highlighted the threatened natureof the Rosenwald legacy by placing Rosenwald Schools on its 11 Most Endangered Historic Places List in 2002. The National Trust supported the preservation of Rosenwald Schools for many years, providing workshops, conferences, and technical assistance – including a publication: the Grassroots Guide to Preserving Rosenwald Schools.

The heightened awareness created by the endangered list designation and Rosenwald Schools initiative  ultimately led to a partnership between the National Trust, the Campaign to Create the Julius Rosenwald and Rosenwald Schools National Historical Park, and the National Parks Conservation Association, which together collaborated to achieve the successful enactment of the Julius Rosenwald and the Rosenwald Schools Act of 2020 (H.R.3250).  Within this effort the Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund established a grant fund that has provided over $2.5 million in matching grants to advance Rosenwald School preservation, including planning, engineering studies, architectural plans, archaeology, research, and rehabilitation.

“Rosenwald Schools unearth a fascinating and true history of African American activism, achievement, and resilience in the United States,” said Brent Leggs, executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.  “Their permanent preservation and interpretation broadens our understanding of the civil rights fight for equality in twentieth century America and the enduring power of interracial cooperation.”

BACKGROUND
Born in 1862 in Springfield, Illinois not far from the residence of then President Abraham Lincoln, Julius Rosenwald made his fortune as co-owner of Sears, Roebuck and Company. His own parents, however, had fled persecution in Germany in the late 1900s, and he began to channel his experience of hatred and bigotry into the creation of the Rosenwald School Fund, which had a lasting impact on education in America.  A prominent philanthropist, Rosenwald joined the board of esteemed black educator Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute in 1912.  Together, these two champions of social justice, one a former slave and the other a first-generation American refugee from persecution, used architecture and innovation to address the crisis in education facing Black families across the South.

Between 1917 and 1932, the Rosenwald School Fund, working in partnership with local Black communities, helped to finance the construction of more than 5300 state-of-the-art school buildings for community and academic use.  The schools served as a lifeline for students and educators whose progress was held back by the separate and unequal school system that ruled the Jim Crow South.  By 1928, one-third of the South’s rural African American school children and teachers were educated in Rosenwald Schools.  Notable former students include poet and activist Maya Angelou and the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), among many notable others.

“History shows us,” Leggs continued, “that countless ordinary citizens were the vanguards of collective action and human innovation.  These stories and landmarks serve as a testament to our progress, and they remind us that our work is not complete.”

Passage of the bill was a multi-year effort, but yesterday it was signed into law.  The legislation,  sponsored by Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), directs the Department of the Interior to conduct a special resources study of sites associated with the life and legacy of Julius Rosenwald, with a special focus on Rosenwald Schools and determine how they might be designated as a new unit within the National Park System.  Once established, the Rosenwald park unit would become the first of over 420 National Park Service sites to honor the life and contributions of a Jewish American.

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.  http://savingplaces.org | @savingplaces

About the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund
The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is a multi-year initiative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in partnership with the Ford Foundation, the JPB Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and other partners, working to make an important and lasting contribution to our cultural landscape by elevating the stories and places of African American achievement and activism. Visit http://www.savingplaces.org/actionfund

Ruth Bader Ginsburg illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

By Cassandra Yany

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday after her long battle with cancer. The 87-year-old Supreme Court justice was a trailblazer who continuously worked to end gender discrimination and preserve our civil liberties. 

The Supreme Court announced Friday that Ginsburg passed away at her Washington D.C. home due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. She had previously overcome lung, liver and colon cancer. In July, she revealed that the cancer had returned, but that she would continue to serve on the Supreme Court.

Ginsburg’s revolutionary career started when she graduated at the top of her class from Cornell University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in government. Two years later, she attended Harvard Law School with her husband, Martin Ginsburg. There, she was one of only nine women in her class of over 500 students, according to NPR.

During their time at Harvard, Martin was diagnosed with testicular cancer, so Ruth would take notes for the two of them and help him with his work, all while trying to juggle being a new mom. When Martin landed a job at a firm in New York, the family packed up and Ruth finished her education at Columbia University. 

Once Ginsburg finished school, she began to experience the discrimination that came with being a female lawyer. According to TIME, she was unable to secure a position at a premier law firm or one of the Supreme Court clerkships, regardless of the fact that she had been the first students to serve on both the Harvard and Columbia Law reviews, and graduated at the top of her class. These jobs were instead easily given to males who had ranked lower than her in school. This led her to work a lower court clerkship and teach at the Rutgers Law Newark campus.

At Rutgers, she co-founded the Women’s Rights Law Reporter. While she was there, she learned that she wasn’t earning the same wage as one of her male counterparts. The dean attributed this pay disparity to the fact that the male professor had a family to support, while Ginsburg’s husband already had a good-paying job. This type of discrimination caused her to hide her second pregnancy.

After her son was born, Ginsburg began teaching at Columbia, becoming the university’s first tenured female professor. There, she also co-authored the first case book on discrimination law. She later went on to co-found the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1972.

During her work as a lawyer, Ginsburg established that equal protection under the law, as stated in the 14th Amendment, should extend to gender. She won five out of the six cases that she argued before the Supreme Court on gender discrimination. She often chose to find this prejudice in cases where males were the plaintiffs being discriminated against, as seen in the 2018 film On the Basis of Sex. 

In 1980, Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg as a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She became the second woman on the Supreme Court, and the first Jewish justice since 1969 when she was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993. During her time, she eliminated almost 200 laws that discriminated against women. 

Ginsburg also fought for the rights of immigrants, the mentally ill, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. She approved gay marriage in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, stating that if you can’t deny a 70-year-old couple the right to marriage due to their inability to procreate, you can’t deny a gay couple of that right either.

Ginsburg supported women’s reproductive rights, fighting for the coverage of contraceptives despite anyone’s religious beliefs. At the time of Roe v. Wade, she litigated a case where a pregnant Air Force captain was told she would have to have an abortion in order to return to her job. She noted the hypocrisy present in this case— that the U.S. government was encouraging abortion – and found that it served as a clear example of why women should have the right to make their own life decisions.

Ginsburg’s passing gives Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump the ability to appoint a new justice, despite her dying wish to not be replaced until after a new president is elected. This opportunity could make the Supreme Court more right-leaning and jeopardize cases like Roe v. Wade that are at the forefront of equal rights movements. 

This comes four years after McConnell’s 11-month Republican blockade of President Obama’s nominee for the court, where he argued “that a president shouldn’t be able to seat a new justice in the final year of their term.” Obama noted this in a statement released early Saturday, where he said “A basic principle of law— and of everyday fairness— is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment.”

After the news broke Friday night of Ginsburg’s death, hundreds of people gathered outside the Supreme Court to pay tribute and create a memorial on the building’s steps. Many signs have since been left outside of the court honoring her legacy.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday morning that there will be a statue built in Ginsburg’s hometown of Brooklyn to “serve as a physical reminder of her many contributions to the America we know today…”

Trump issued a proclamation Saturday ordering flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of interment “As a mark of respect for Ruth Bader Ginsburg…”

RBG will be dearly missed by Americans on both sides of the aisle. We have lost a longtime champion of equal rights, but her legacy will never be forgotten.

Rita Azar Illustrates a Video Games Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Colin Kaepernick x Madden 21

by Justin Lyons

Colin Kaepernick is officially back in Madden.

For the first time since 2017, football fans and Colin Kaepernick fans will have the chance to use the ex-49ers quarterback in the signature football game from EA SPORTS.

The announcement came from EA SPORTS themselves, saying, “Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback. The team at EA SPORTS, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game.”

Though Kaepernick is not signed to a team in real life or in Madden, he is available to sign to any team in Franchise mode. He’s also available in Play Now mode.

His jersey is also available in The Yard, a mode new to Madden this year that allows users to express themselves creatively. His signature celebration, which is available upon scoring with Kaepernick, depicts the quarterback raising his fist in the air to signify Black Power.

Kaepernick has been rated 81 overall, which is good for the 15th best quarterback in the league, tied with Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

According to EA SPORTS, that number was determined using data-driven simulations. They did take into account the fact that Kaepernick has not played since 2016, but his mobility and big play ability earned him the 81 overall rating.

EA SPORTS also said players looking to have complete control over their Franchise mode can change his rating however they see fit, including bringing him up to 99 overall. Adjusting his stats to 99 overall would make his only company the likes of Aaron Donald, Christian McCaffrey, Michael Thomas, Stephon Gilmore and the only 99 rated quarterback in the game, Patrick Mahomes.

Kaepernick was among the first in professional sports to kneel during the American National Anthem in protest of police brutality. Kaepernick opted out of his contract after the 2016 season, and not one of the 32 NFL teams has made a move to acquire him.

Largely suspected of being a victim of blackballing, Kaepernick has since worked as an activist in the community, especially with children. He has led rights campaigns and camps and was the face of a Nike campaign in 2018 that carried the slogan “Believe in something. Even if means sacrificing everything.”

Roger Goodell encouraged teams to sign Kaepernick in a conversation on ESPN in June, just weeks after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

The killing of George Floyd seemed to awaken large corporations throughout the United States, leading many to make statements, including the NFL.

Though criticized for not speaking out sooner, the NFL and Commissioner Goodell released a statement via Twitter on June 5 saying, “We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter.”

NFL teams cancelled practices and scrimmages in the past month after the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Action taken after these events could remove the stigma NFL owners appeared to have when it came to signing Kaepernick, and fans who believe in his message and talent would love to see him on the field again soon.

Community illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Alt-Right Billboard Petition

The internet has given everyone a voice, and Change.org has become one of the most popular platforms for using that voice.

One of the site’s petitions that seems to be picking up steam, almost reaching 100,000 signatures, is a petition to remove a billboard advertising WhitePrideRadio.com and AltRightTV.com.

According to the post on Change.org, Harrison Sign Co., a sign company based out of Harrison, Arkansas, has posted several racist billboards over the past few years.

“The billboards have done tremendous damage to our community by giving the impression that our citizens support their messages and don’t object to their presence,” the post said.

The post also said that the community has worked to remove previous billboards found to be equally offensive, but this one still stands.

Commenters and residents have also taken to Change.org to express their discontent with the billboard.

One commenter by the name of Amber Harris said, “This sign is an embarrassment to our community and a stain on our town. Our community deserves better. Our minorities deserve better.”

Another commenter, John Henderson, said, “This does not represent the view of the people of Harrison. It is bad for the reputation and economy of the town.”

The petition has a goal of 150,000 signatures. If you’d like to help by adding your signature, you can click right here.

Gabrielle Marchan illustrates Dianne Morales for 360 MAGAZINE

Dianne Morales

As of late, one of our team members had the opportunity to sit down with New York City mayoral candidate Dianne Morales for an interview. After eight years under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City will see someone new in the position in 2021, and Morales, a member of the Democratic Party, is jumping at the opportunity.

360: What are the major points of inspiration throughout your life, so far, that have led you to where you are today?

Morales: At my core is a commitment to community, and I learned community at home. I am the youngest of three girls and the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. My mother, a secretary for the Leather Workers’ Union, and my father, a building manager on the waterfront, created a working-class life for us in Bed-Stuy. But our home was not just for me and my sisters. My grandmother, Mami, lived with us my whole childhood. In fact, she and I shared a bed until the day that I left home for college. Our home was a resting place, a layover, a transition point for whoever needed it. There was always someone new sleeping on the couch or joining us at the dinner table. Whether they had just arrived from Puerto Rico, were in between jobs, had just returned from the military or from being incarcerated, there were always other people staying with us while they “got back on their feet.” My parents opened their arms and their front door to whoever needed it. I never questioned this way of life. I was taught, “If you have, then you provide.” We took care of each other. I saw, firsthand, the opportunity created when we each take responsibility, not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors and for our communities. This belief has spurred me on through 30 years in the public sector, as an educator, a foster care worker and a leader of nonprofits.

As I established my own home in Bed-Stuy as a single mom, my children and I recreated the dynamic my parents had built. We always have a few extra people living in our home – whom we often refer to as our “chosen family.” These extended family members have filled my home with love and reciprocal support. In a twist of fate, since the pandemic hit, I have shared my home with my parents and my children. I envision a New York City where we take care of each other, where everyone is welcome to the dinner table, where neighbors provide more support than extra sugar and all of us have a warm place to rest our heads. Although NYC is vast with diversity, we are all inextricably bound together and are only as strong as our most vulnerable link.

360: How can a mayor, as opposed to any other civic official, lead unique positive changes for equity?

Morales: Over the past several months there is a mantra I have been repeating consistently: a budget is a reflection of our values. The mayor has executive power over what gets funded in the city and by how much. Funding for services that contribute to true public safety (access to housing, medical/mental healthcare, economic stability, job training, education) will provide access and opportunity to those who have historically been left behind by our elected officials. Line by line, the budget reveals the values of a city and government. The NYC budget passed in June was a failure. It failed the residents of NYC, who have been raising their voices in protest and demanding a divestment from law enforcement since May 29. It failed those whose lives have been lost at the hands of the NYPD. It failed communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by violence and brutality.

The budget highlights the need for NYC leadership to put New Yorkers first by investing in communities. The NYC Mayor also has the ability to work to desegregate public schools and impact the quality of education provided to over 1.1 million students, many of whom are students of color living in poverty. This alters the course of a student’s life and provides an entry point to economic mobility and a true career trajectory. New Yorkers deserve a bold, transformational leader who is unapologetically committed to prioritizing justice in the budget’s bottom line. I fundamentally believe that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Our city needs a mayor that is in tune with her people and provides a vision for and direction for what is possible.

360: What are some of the most pressing or urgent issues that need attention within New York City, and how would you address them?

Morales: New York’s problems all stem from structural oppression by Race, Gender and Class, so our solutions must go deeper, all the way to the root causes. Too many New Yorkers are living in a time of scarcity, and that’s been going on since long before the virus hit. The are working two jobs, just barely surviving and always one misfortune away from losing everything. Instead of this “Scarcity Economy,” we need a “Solidarity Economy,” and that requires bold action. First, transforming public safety in the city by providing access to the same critical resources found in wealthy communities will be a critical step toward creating the long-term change we need for all to live in dignity. True public safety includes ensuring that every New Yorker has access to “life essentials,” like quality transportation, affordable housing, excellent and equal education and human-centered healthcare. All New Yorkers deserve access to these fundamental resources in order to live in dignity, and it is the necessary floor needed to break through glass ceilings.

Next, we must enhance and overhaul vital infrastructure requiring multi-part, creative solutions that address the deeper issues embedded in the fabric of NYC. To break the racist cycle of poverty that divides our city into the “haves” and the “have-nots,” we will establish a guaranteed minimum income. We will push for universal healthcare and eliminate inequities in the health system faced by women, and especially women of color. We will work to address the persistent segregation of our schools and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by replacing school safety officers with trained mental health professionals. The driving force behind all policy initiatives is the experiences, needs and voices of women of color. Particularly, Black women. As the Combahee River Collective wisely wrote in its 1977 statement, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” We know that if New York does right by Black women, the entire city will be better for it.

360: How can you use your personal experiences with serving as a single mother and observing the many other challenges that face New York City residents to enact policy reform?

Morales: So many of New York’s problems have impacted me directly, and so much of who I am and what I know comes from being a mom. My greatest joy is being the mother of my two children, Ben and Gabby. They constantly push me, teach me and nourish me. As a single parent, I share experiences with hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers. A 2018 study found that single-parent households are the second largest household type in New York City. I navigated New York City’s systems – economic, health and education – on my own. I balanced a budget for my family each month, figuring out how to make it work. My greatest challenge was parenting my children through the NYC education system. The rigid and unforgiving education that my children received did not allow any space for their learning differences. They did not see themselves in the white-centric curriculum and we struggled to find support during their developmental years. Advocating for my children was a full-time job on top of my paying-full-time-job. Again and again I have stood with parents for a more equitable and life-affirming education for our kids. It is with this same community spirit of coalition building, advocacy and bettering of our social safety nets that I will push for policies that support all types of families in NYC.

360: What is one of the most significant components of your background or experiential knowledge that separates you from any other candidate?

Morales: I am, in so many ways, the average New Yorker. I was born and bred in Bed-Stuy. I am an Afro Latina single-mom of two children who survived the New York City public school system. I am a first generation college graduate who came back home to my city after school. I am a woman of color who discovered that I was not being paid the same as my white male counterparts. I’ve watched my neighborhood change, I’ve seen Starbucks replace the corner bodega, and I have spent my weekends marching side by side – 6 feet apart – with my fellow New Yorkers demanding justice for those killed at the hands of a racist policing system. Because I am the average New Yorker, my voice reflects the voices of thousands of others. We share our lived experiences, frustrations and joys. I love New York City because I see our full potential for all of us.

360: How does your previous extensive work with social service nonprofits inform your motivations and goals to serve as Mayor?

Morales: For decades, I worked within the community to address structural inequities burdening communities of color. I worked alongside those experiencing the symptoms of our broken system most acutely – poverty, lack of access to education, homelessness and mental health services. I witnessed firsthand the day-to-day struggles of New Yorkers that are perpetuated by cycles of poverty and oppression. I worked from the ground, up and from the inside, out. But as I hammered away, I recognized these structural and institutional barriers, and began to ask, “So how do we burn them down?” It felt as though I was only tinkering around the edges of the problem and providing Band-Aid solutions to deep, deep wounds. The core, perpetuating issues were centralized and foundational. I realized that if I want to create lasting, effective change, I must address these systemic and political problems at the root. As Mayor, I would carry with me the voices of those I have served.

360: In outlining your points of action and reform for New York City, how does the COVID-19 pandemic affect any of these potential strides for change?

Morales: As we know, COVID-19 is a catastrophe that illuminates all of the cracks and splinters in our broken systems. At first, many claimed the COVID-19 was a “great equalizer,” affecting all people, regardless of race, class or gender. Instead COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income communities. This is not a coincidence or personal failing, but rather the direct result of racist systems, putting structural oppression in stark relief. While some New Yorkers are able to escape crowded areas, arm themselves with personal protective equipment and work remotely, others, namely people of color, are on the front lines providing essential services to our city.

As COVID-19 has had devastating consequences that will leave a lasting impact for years to come, it has also provided us with a unique moment. As we saw after the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, being homebound and isolated forces us to pay attention. We have paused. We have slowed down. With fewer distractions and a center of focus, folks all across the country have had the veil lifted. People are noticing the interconnected webs of oppression I have lived with and that I have been fighting to dismantle my entire life. In this moment, we need leaders in office who are of, by and for the movement for social change. There is a momentum and hunger for justice that can no longer be ignored. As we overcome the challenge of the disease, I will never let the city forget who is truly essential. Together we will create a world in which front-line workers are truly valued as indispensable. A world where we accompany our applause and platitudes with a livable wage, unquestionable dignity and real community power.

360: What are some of the most rewarding takeaways you have gained from leading several momentous organizations?

Morales: I’ve learned firsthand about the barriers and challenges that people have to overcome in order to gain access to opportunities that are alleged to be available to everyone. I also have watched as community members care for one another to bridge the gaps in access to those opportunities. This is testament to the power of our communities to be true partners in determining the solutions they face when given the resources to do so. Finally, I have been able to bear witness to what is possible when people finally gain access and opportunity and how that has the potential to change the trajectory of people’s lives and transform families and communities.

360: Regarding the national and global movement, Black Lives Matter, how will you utilize your unique identity to empower minorities in the City of New York?

Morales: Like many people of color, I have lived years of my life trying not to take up space. I have seen the ways that my identities – my Blackness, my Latina roots, my politics, my womanhood – make people, namely white people, uncomfortable. In these spaces I would constantly ask myself, “Do I seem too opinionated, too articulate, too aggressive?” I would contort and deflate myself to fit into tight corners and small boxes. I would shrink myself so that others could feel big. When making the decision to run for Mayor of NYC, I decided it was important for me to run as my full, unadulterated, unapologetic, multi-hyphenated self. There would be no more shrinking, questioning or self-doubt. I recognize that by the very nature of stepping into this space, I am opening up a path of possibility. As the first Afro-Latina running for mayor of New York City, I recognize the awesome responsibility I hold. I know that when I speak, unfairly or not, I am representing all Afro-Latina women. Missteps become mass stereotypes. Accolades become communal achievements.

This is both beautiful and deeply terrifying. But in moments of fear, I am guided by a greater purpose to bring with me those whom have been devalued and made to feel small, as I have been; to elevate the voices of those with shared experiences and claim our rightful place in democracy and representation in leadership. People like me, individuals and communities of color, women of color, we must be at the forefront of our politics and policies. I am deeply committed to divesting from racist systems and investing in Black and Brown communities. I am committed to reimagining public safety on our streets and in our schools. I am committed to shifting wealth opportunities to those who have been historically marginalized. I am committed to redressing and repairing the wounds of oppression that scar our city. I am in this race to stand taller in the face of a world that tells me to shrink. I am here to tell them that Black lives are beloved. We matter today and every day forward.

360: To all of the NYC citizens following your efforts to better numerous communities, what are some of the best ways individuals can support your campaign?

Morales: The best way to help me is to join the campaign with a small contribution. I am not a career politician, and unlike other candidates, I have not spent decades cultivating a war chest of people, networks and resources to kickstart my run for mayor. I want to be responsive to the people, not the special interests.. My campaign was born out of my home in Bed-Stuy, out of conversations with my neighbors, friends and colleagues. Our campaign is 100% powered by the people, not the 1%. We are an intersectional coalition of Black and Brown, Latinx, LGBTQIA and working class New Yorkers. We are backed by the people being hit the hardest at this moment in time. I am so incredibly humbled that in the middle of a pandemic, without employment, people are finding a way to donate to our campaign. I know what is at stake and the choices they have had to make to do so. If donating to our campaign is not possible for you during this financially uncertain time, we understand. Visit my website, dianne.nyc, for information and volunteer opportunities. Spread our mission to your fellow New Yorkers. Reach out to join our team. Remember me in November 2021.

To learn more about Dianne Morales, you can click right here. To learn more about her stances and solutions, you can click right here. To support Morales through donations, you can click right here. You can also support her on Twitter and Instagram.

Misbehavior Trailer

Check out the official trailer for MISBEHAVIOUR, the charmingly provocative true story of how two very different groups of women made their voices heard in the fight for equality, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“The Morning Show”) and Keira Knightley (Pride and Prejudice).

In 1970, the Miss World competition took place in London, hosted by US comedy legend, Bob Hope. At the time, Miss World was the most-watched TV show on the planet with over 100 million viewers. Claiming that beauty competitions demeaned women, the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement achieved overnight fame by invading the stage and disrupting the live broadcast of the competition. Not only that, when the show resumed, the result caused uproar: the winner was not the Swedish favourite but Miss Grenada, the first black woman to be crowned Miss World. In a matter of hours, a global audience had witnessed the patriarchy driven from the stage and the Western ideal of beauty turned on its head.

Directed by: Philippa Lowthorpe

Cast: Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jessie Buckley, Keeley Hawes, Phyllis Logan, Lesley Manville, Rhys Ifans, Greg Kinnear

New National Scorecard on Juvenile Record Policies

Juvenile Law Center today launched Failed Policies, Forfeited Futures: Revisiting a National Scorecard on Juvenile Records – a national report evaluating state juvenile records policies. The organization will be holding a national press zoom call on the scorecard today at 12:30 pm EST.

The report updates a project the organization launched in the fall of 2014 – the nation’s first-ever, comprehensive evaluation of state juvenile record confidentiality and expungement laws against best practices for record protection. The 2014 study showed that over 50% of the states failed to adequately protect juvenile records, thereby limiting opportunities for youth exiting the juvenile justice system.

Six years later, Juvenile Law Center’s new report shows some reform but remaining widespread deficiencies in the legal protections necessary to keep juvenile records secure.

The report’s primary author, Staff Attorney Andrew Keats, emphasized the importance of reforming juvenile record laws. “Kids make mistakes,” said Keats. “The role of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate them to prevent future mistakes and ensure they can become productive members of society. These goals are frustrated by ongoing access to juvenile record information by law enforcement, schools, businesses and the public, long after a youth’s system involvement has ended.”

While some states acted quickly to reform their laws following release of the 2014 report, too many states continue to provide easy access to juvenile records, which push young people with system involvement—primarily Black and Brown youth—deeper into the criminal justice system and poverty. Juvenile Law Center hopes this new report will return a spotlight to this issue and drive states to do better by their youth. While overall incarceration rates of young people are down substantially since 2014, lax records laws will continue to impede opportunities for future success going forward.

“The collateral consequences of unprotected juvenile records fall most heavily on Black and Brown youth, who are far more likely to face obstacles to securing housing, employment, and a college degree than their white counterparts,” said Riya Saha Shah, Managing Director. “If we want to advance equity, strong juvenile records laws must be part of the solution.”

Mr. Keats and Ms. Shah are available for comment and interview. Please join them both at 12:30 pm EST for a national national press zoom call on the scorecard:

Meeting ID: 764 9954 1320

Passcode: Lm3N15

Juvenile Law Center advocates for rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for youth in the child welfare and justice systems. Founded in 1975, Juvenile Law Center is the first non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. We fight for youth through litigation, appellate advocacy and submission of amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs, policy reform, public education, training, consulting, and strategic communications. Widely published and internationally recognized as leaders in the field, Juvenile Law Center has substantially shaped the development of law and policy on behalf of youth. We strive to ensure that laws, policies, and practices affecting youth advance racial and economic equity and are rooted in research, consistent with children’s unique developmental characteristics, and reflective of international human rights values.