Monthly Archives: February 2017


How Artists of Color Put Race and Politics Center Stage at the Grammys

From Beyoncé to Chance the Rapper, here are the performances, speeches and moments that made last night’s Grammy Awards ceremony as socially relevant as ever.

Yale University Renames College That Bears Name of White Supremacist

After more than a year of student protests, Calhoun College will now be called Hopper College.

Meet Ernesto Yerena Montejano, the Artist Behind the Ubiquitous ‘We the Resilient’ Protest Poster

Chicano/Native/Yaqui artist Ernesto Yerena Montejano explores questions of identity, gender norms, politics and spirituality in his vibrant illustrations, prints and collages. Here, an intimate portrait of the man behind the “We the Resilient” image you keep seeing at protests across the country.


WATCH: Black Musician Befriends, Tries to Convert White Supremacists in ‘Accidental Courtesy’

ICYMI: Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn Used the Worst Propaganda Ever to Vilify 1.6 Billion Muslims

Islamophobic Rhetoric Inspires Lewd Puns on These Muslim V-Day Cards

Thousands Join Milwaukee’s Day Without Latinxs, Immigrants and Refugees March

Chicago School System Sues State for Allegedly Underfunding Education for Students of Color


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Hate Crime Murder Fugitive Nabbed After 17 Years

Hate Crime Murder Fugitive Nabbed After 17 Years

Mexico has turned over to the United States a man suspected of involvement in two hate crime murders more than 17 years ago in California. The case is the first of its kind where civil rights criminal charges were filed against members of a street gang, authorities say.

Merced “Shadow” Cambero Jr., 38, an alleged former member of the “Avenues” street gang, was arrested in Baja, Mexico, where he was living under a fictitious name, and turned over to U.S. law enforcement agents on Feb. 3.

Cambero was arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on federal hate crimes charges related to the racially motivated murders of two black men in Highland Park, a neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles.

“Despite this defendant’s efforts to avoid prosecution over the course of many years, his appearance in court today demonstrates that law enforcement and my office will be tenacious in pursuing justice against such criminal conduct,” Eileen M. Decker, the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, said.

Kenneth Kurry Wilson, 38, was fatally shot in Highland Park on April 18, 1999. Cambero is one of two “triggermen” accused in that homicide. ]

Cambero and other members of the “Avenues” street gang also were accused of fatally shooting Christopher Bowser on Dec. 11, 2000, while he waited for a bus in Highland Park.

Cambero and other gang members were indicted in 2004. The other defendants were apprehended and subsequently convicted. They each were sentenced in 2006 and 2007 to life in federal prison without parole, while Cambero became a fugitive and fled the United States.

The criminal civil rights conspiracy charge alleges that Cambero participated in a 1997 attack on men playing basketball in a park in Los Angeles.

The hate related crime spree by the gang continued, authorities say, when several members ambushed a black man in 1998 and struck him in the head with a metal object and attacked another black man in a park in 1999.

The gang members also shouted racial slurs at a black woman in a supermarket and a black man walking down a street in 1999, the indictment alleges.

“The victims in this case were targeted simply because of their skin color and because members of the gang wanted to rid their neighborhood of African Americans,” the U.S. attorney said. “The heinous conduct with which this defendant is charged has no place in this nation, and the Department of Justice will stand steadfastly against hate crimes like those charged.”



Trump Won’t Answer Questions About Surge in Post-Election Hate Crimes

February 17, 2017

At press conference, president tells one reporter to sit down after asking, and then blames incidents on ‘the other side.’

President tells reporter to sit down, blames ‘other side’

One of the truly disconcerting aspects of the wave of post-election hate incidents that followed Donald Trump’s ascension to the presidency in November has been Trump’s near-complete silence on the matter – particularly given that many of the incidents appear to have been inspired by him and feature references to his name.

At Thursday’s press conference in Washington, the president was pressed once again – twice – on the subject, including direct question about the recent spate of phoned-in bomb threats at Jewish community centers. And both times, he failed to give anything resembling a coherent answer, let alone a clear statement opposing hate crimes committed in his name.

Late in the event, Trump called on reporter Jake Turx, who asked him:

So, first of all, my name is Jake Turx of Ami magazine and, I, despite what so many colleagues might be reporting, I haven’t seen anybody in my community accuse either yourself or anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic. However, what we are concerned about and what we haven’t really heard you address is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how in this climate you’re going to take care of it. There have been reports out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people who are committing anti-semitic acts or threatening to —

Trump cut him off:

You know he’s said that he’s going to ask a very simple, easy question. And it’s not. It’s not a fair question. Sit down. I understand the rest of your question. So here’s the story, folks.

Number one, I’m the least anti-Semitic person you’ve seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person. In fact, we can very well relative to other people running as a Republican —

Quiet, quiet, he lied about getting up asking a straight, simple question, so, you know, welcome to the world of the media.

Let me just tell you something, that I hate the charge. I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me, and you heard the Prime Minister. You heard Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday. Did you hear him? Bebe, he said, “I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time. Then he said, forget it.” So you should take that instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question.

However, a short while later, as the conference was wrapping up, Sirius XM reporter Jared Rizzi asked the president: “I’ll follow up on my colleague’s question about anti-Semitism. It’s not about your personality or your beliefs. We’re talking about a rise in anti-Semitism around the country. Some of it by supporters in your name. What can you do to deter that?”

Trump blamed it on “the other side”:

And some of it — and can I be honest with you? And this has to do with racism and horrible things that are put up, some of it written by our opponents. You do know that? Do you understand that? You don’t think that anybody would do a thing like that.

Some of the signs you’ll see are not put up by the people that love or like Donald Trump. They’re put up by the other side. And you think it’s, like, playing it straight? No. You have some of those signs and anger that is caused by the other side. They’ll do signs and they’ll do drawings that are inappropriate. It won’t be my people. It will be the people on the other side to anger people like you.

Earlier in the week, at a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump was asked a similar question:

Mr. President, since your election campaign and even after your victory, we’ve seen a sharp rise in the anti-Semitic incidents across the United States, and I wonder, what do you say to those among the Jewish community in the states and Israel, and maybe around the world, who believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones?

Trump replied with a rambling discourse on his Electoral College victory.

“Well, I just want to say that we are very honored by the victory that we had, 306 electoral college votes,” he said. “We were not supposed to crack 220, you know that, right? There was no way to 221, but then they said there’s no way to 270. And there’s tremendous enthusiasm out there.”

Trump proceeded to call for an end to racism and “every other thing that’s going on.”

“I will say that we are going to have peace in this country,” he continued. “We are going to stop crime in this country. We are going to do everything within our power to stop long-simmering racism and every other thing that’s going on. A lot of bad things have been taking place over a long period of time.”

The SPLC has been tracking the wave of hate incidents that, one month after the election, totaled 1,094 cases. Of those, over 440 were directly connected to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign – either through the invocation of his name, as when violent perpetrators chant his name to intimidate minorities or leave it as a graffiti-styled threat, or through invocation of his campaign slogans, such as people shouting at immigrants: “Make America white again!”

“Mr. Trump claims he’s surprised his election has unleashed a barrage of hate across the country,” said SPLC President Richard Cohen in November. “But he shouldn’t be. It’s the predictable result of the campaign he waged. Rather than feign surprise, Mr. Trump should take responsibility for what’s occurring, forcefully reject hate and bigotry, reach out to the communities he’s injured, and follow his words with actions to heal the wounds his words have opened.”


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World Radio Day

February 13 is World Radio Day, which celebrates the radio as a way of educating people, providing information, and promoting freedom of expression across cultures.

Stacked up vintage radios against a wooden wall.
Vintage radios that served their purpose during times of peace and war.

Celebrate World Radio Day

Each year the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrates World Radio Day by planning activities with broadcasters, organizations and communities around the world.

Public Life

Radio Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

About World Radio Day

Despite being over 100 years old, the radio is one of the most popular ways to exchange information, provide social interchange, and educate people all over the world. It has been used to help people, including youth, to engage in discussions on topics that affect them. It can save lives during natural or human-made disasters, and it gives journalists a platform to report facts and tell their stories. The first World Radio Day was officially celebrated in 2012.

World Radio Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Mon Feb 13 2012 World Radio Day United Nations observance
Wed Feb 13 2013 World Radio Day United Nations observance
Thu Feb 13 2014 World Radio Day United Nations observance
Fri Feb 13 2015 World Radio Day United Nations observance
Sat Feb 13 2016 World Radio Day United Nations observance
Mon Feb 13 2017 World Radio Day United Nations observance
Tue Feb 13 2018 World Radio Day United Nations observance
Wed Feb 13 2019 World Radio Day United Nations observance
Thu Feb 13 2020 World Radio Day United Nations observance

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Buchi Emecheta in 1985. Her books, she said, “are about survival, just like my own life.” Credit George Braziller Inc.

Buchi Emecheta, a British-based Nigerian writer who, in “Second-Class Citizen,” “The Joys of Motherhood” and other novels, gave voice to African women struggling to reconcile traditional roles with the demands of modernity, died on Jan. 25 at her home in London. She was 72.

The cause was dementia, her son Sylvester Onwordi wrote in the British magazine New Statesman.

Ms. Emecheta (pronounced BOO-chee em-EH-cheh-tah) came to the attention of British readers in the early 1970s when New Statesman began running her accounts of the travails of a young Nigerian woman in London. Adah, a thinly disguised version of the author, lived in a dreary apartment, worked menial jobs to support her young children and abusive husband, studied at night and weathered the slights meted out by a racist society. Buoyed by ambition and pluck, she remained undaunted.

“In the Ditch,” a novel based on those columns, appeared in 1972.

With the publication two years later of a second Adah novel, “Second-Class Citizen,” critics in Britain and the United States hailed the arrival of an important new African writer. Like her immediate predecessor Flora Nwapa, Ms. Emecheta revealed the thoughts and aspirations of her countrywomen, shaped by a patriarchal culture but stirred by the modern promise of freedom and self-definition.

“Scarcely any other African novelist has succeeded in probing the female mind and displaying the female personality with such precision,” the Sierra Leonean scholar Eustace Palmer wrote in African Literature Today in 1983.

In several novels set in Nigeria, including “The Bride Price” (1976), “The Slave Girl” (1977), “The Joys of Motherhood” (1979) and “Double Yoke” (1983), Ms. Emecheta dramatized, in often harrowing detail, the dire poverty and tight web of family obligations that thwarted aspiring women, their worth determined by the number of sons they could bear.

“Emecheta’s women do not simply lie down and die,” The Voice Literary Supplement wrote in 1982. “Always there is resistance, a challenge to fate, a need to renegotiate the terms of the uneasy peace that exists between them and accepted traditions.”

She was born Florence Onyebuchi Emecheta on July 21, 1944, in Yaba, near Lagos, to Jeremy Nwabudinke and Alice Okwuekwuhe. When she was 9, her father, a railway worker, died of complications of combat wounds he had suffered in Burma during World War II.

After being kept at home while her younger brother went to school, in accordance with tradition, Florence won a scholarship to Methodist Girls’ High School at 10. Her mother died a year later, and she was passed from one distant relative to another in Lagos while she attended school. One day she was beaten in front of her class when she announced that she wanted to be a writer.

It was a cherished dream, born when she visited the family’s ancestral village, Ibuza, and listened to a blind aunt telling stories about their people, the Ibo.

“I thought to myself, ‘No life could be more important than this,’” Ms. Emecheta told The Voice Literary Supplement. “So when people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I told them I wanted to be a storyteller — which is what I’m doing now.”

At 16 she married Sylvester Onwordi, a student to whom she had been engaged since she was 11. When he went to Britain to study accounting she followed, with their two children in tow. Three more children would follow in rapid succession.

Mr. Onwordi, a failure at school, took out his frustrations on his young wife, whose early attempts to write he regarded with suspicion. When asked to read the manuscript of her first novel, “The Bride Price,” he burned it. After painstaking reconstruction, it was published after her Adah novels.

Much to her husband’s astonishment, Ms. Emecheta left the marriage and, from 1965 to 1969, worked as a library officer at the British Museum. Aided by a government grant, she studied nights at the University of London while working as a youth counselor for the Inner London Education Authority. She received a sociology degree in 1972.

As her novels attracted critical attention, Ms. Emecheta began lecturing at universities in the United States. In Nigeria, she was a visiting professor of English at the University of Calabar in 1980 and 1981.

Ms. Emecheta said that editors had cut a large section of the book without her permission. It was based on research she had carried out surreptitiously after taking a job as a cleaning woman at Sandhurst, the royal military academy, for that purpose. She and her son Sylvester started their own press, the Ogwugwu Afor Publishing Company, whose first title was “Double Yoke,” in 1983.

That year she received a publicity coup when the literary journal Granta listed her among the 20 best young British novelists, placing her alongside such rising stars as Martin Amis, Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie.

Ms. Emecheta took an experimental leap with the postcolonial fantasy “The Rape of Shavi” (1984), about an airplane carrying Western passengers that crashes in a mythical sub-Saharan country. Once repaired, the plane returns to Europe, carrying with it the king’s son. Disaster ensues.

With “Gwendolen” (1989), published in the United States as “The Family,” Ms. Emecheta returned to more familiar fictional territory, telling the story of a Jamaican girl sexually abused in Jamaica by her uncle and in England by her father, whose child she bears.

Through the female protagonist of “Kehinde” (1994) and the male protagonist of “The New Tribe,” Ms. Emecheta explored the predicament of Nigerians with their feet in two cultures.

“My books are about survival, just like my own life,” she told the Nigerian magazine The Voice in 1996.

Ms. Emecheta, who received the Order of the British Empire in 2005, wrote a memoir, “Head Above Water” (1986), and several books for children, including “Tich the Cat” (1979) and “The Moonlight Bride” (1981).

In addition to her son Sylvester, survivors include another son, Jake Onwordi, and a daughter, Alice Emecheta.




Al Jarreau in 1986: “I try to be receptive and to be listening, and to not be afraid to try something new.” Credit David Corio

Al Jarreau, a versatile vocalist who sold millions of records and won a string of Grammys for his work in pop and R&B as well as his first love, jazz, died on Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 76.

His death was announced by his manager, Joe Gordon, who said that Mr. Jarreau had been hospitalized for exhaustion two weeks ago. On the advice of his doctors, he had canceled his tour dates and retired from touring.

Mr. Jarreau did not begin a full-time musical career until he was nearly 30, but within a few years he had begun attracting notice for a vocal style that was both instantly appealing and highly unusual. Critics were particularly taken by his improvisational dexterity, in particular his virtuosic ability to produce an array of vocalizations ranging from delicious nonsense to clicks and growls to quasi-instrumental sounds.

Although he made his initial mark in the jazz world, Mr. Jarreau’s style, and his audience, crossed stylistic barriers. His music incorporated elements of pop, soul, gospel, Latin and other genres. It was a mark of his eclecticism that he won six Grammys across three different categories: jazz, pop and R&B. He was also among the performers on a Grammy-winning children’s album, “In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record.”

If Mr. Jarreau’s highly accessible, intensely personal style defied easy classification, that very accessibility — and, perhaps, the mere fact of his considerable commercial success — left some jazz purists skeptical.

Mr. Jarreau performing last year at the 50th Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Credit Anthony Anex/European Pressphoto Agency

Reviewing a concert by Mr. Jarreau at the Savoy in New York in 1981, Stephen Holden of The New York Times encapsulated what many saw as both the pros and the cons of Mr. Jarreau’s singular style:

“Al Jarreau may be the most technically gifted singer working in jazz-fusion today,” Mr. Holden wrote. Of the evening’s performance, however, he continued: “Mr. Jarreau’s concert lacked the emotional range of great jazz. He is such a prodigious talent that the absence of even the slightest blues inflections kept his music from cutting deeply.”

But critics’ reservations never deterred Mr. Jarreau, who prided himself, as he told The Los Angeles Times in 1986, on his “jazz attitude,” which he defined as “the idea of being open to each and every moment as a chance to create something different.”

Alwin Lopez Jarreau was born in Milwaukee on March 12, 1940, into a musical family. His father, a minister, was a fine singer; his mother played the piano in church. Young Al began singing at 4, harmonizing with his siblings. As a youth he sang in church, as well as with street-corner harmony groups and local jazz bands.

Mr. Jarreau earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ripon College in Wisconsin in 1962, and a master’s in vocational rehabilitation from the University of Iowa in 1964. Afterward he moved to San Francisco, where he worked as a rehabilitation counselor for people with disabilities.

But Mr. Jarreau found he could not resist the pull of jazz and before long was singing in local nightclubs. By the late ’60s, he had quit his day job and embarked on a nightclub career, first on the West Coast and eventually in New York.

He reached a national audience with the album “We Got By,” released by Warner Bros. in 1975 to critical praise and commercial success.

Though advertised as his debut, it was actually his second album. A decade earlier, Mr. Jarreau had quietly recorded an album, later released on the Bainbridge label under the title “1965.” Though Mr. Jarreau took legal action, without success, to block its belated release in 1982, it is esteemed by jazz connoisseurs today.

Appearances on “Saturday Night Live” and other television shows raised his profile, as did extensive touring. In 1981 he had his biggest hit with the song “We’re in This Love Together,” which reached No. 15 on the Billboard pop singles chart.

Al Jarreau – We’re In This Love Together (Official Video) Video by RHINO

He won his first Grammy in 1978, for best jazz vocal performance, for his album “Look to the Rainbow.” He won his last in 2007, for best traditional R&B vocal performance; the award was shared by Mr. Jarreau, George Benson and Jill Scott for their collaborative performance “God Bless the Child.”

In between, in 1982, Mr. Jarreau earned a Grammy for best pop vocal performance by a male artist for the title track of his album “Breakin’ Away.” That year, he also received the Grammy for best jazz vocal performance by a male artist, for his version of Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo à la Turk,” from the same album.

Among Mr. Jarreau’s best-known recordings was the theme song for the long-running television series “Moonlighting,” for which he wrote the lyrics to Lee Holdridge’s music. He appeared on Broadway as a replacement in the role of the Teen Angel in the 1994 revival of “Grease.”

Mr. Jarreau’s first marriage, to Phyllis Hall, ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, the former Susan Player; a son, Ryan; two brothers, Marshall and Appie; and a sister, Rose Marie Freeman.

Mr. Jarreau canceled a number of concert dates in 2010 after experiencing heart and breathing problems during a European tour. He was hospitalized for 11 days but resumed his touring schedule after his release, and had continued to perform until recently.

Shortly after his 2010 hospitalization, he said in an interview that his health problems had not been as serious as reports suggested, but joked that he appreciated the attention they received in the media because it proved that he was a celebrity. “I figured,” he said, “‘Yeah, maybe I have arrived.’”

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“On this International Day, I urge commitment to end bias, greater investments in science, technology, engineering and math education for all women and girls as well as opportunities for their careers and longer-term professional advancement so that all can benefit from their ground-breaking future contributions.” — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Unfortunately, women and girls continued to be excluded from participating fully in science. According to a study conducted in 14 countries, the probability for female students of graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and Doctor’s degree in science-related field are 18%, 8% and 2% respectively, while the percentages of male students are 37%, 18% and 6%.

In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212 (draft A/70/474/Add.2) declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.


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Best Evidence Yet for an Intermediate-Mass Black Hole

Sky & Telescope

An intermediate-mass black hole might be lurking within a dense stellar cluster – a discovery that could point toward how these oddities form.

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Two Pulsars Blowing in the Wind

Sky & Telescope

New images of two pulsars show beautiful, complex clouds of charged particles that illustrate the power dynamics in and around these spinning neutron stars.

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Juno Swoops Past Jupiter’s South Pole

Sky & Telescope

NASA’s Juno spacecraft continues to give us amazing views of Jupiter, now from its fourth perijove pass.

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Black Hole Feeds on Star for a Decade
Sky & Telescope
Unlucky stars serve as brilliant but short-lived snacks when they wander too close to supermassive black holes. But one such black hole is still gnawing on its stellar meal after a decade.

Read more…


This Week’s Sky at a Glance, February 10 – 18
Sky & Telescope
The Moon wanes away from full this week, opening a window of dark-sky observing in the evening.

Look up…

Green Comet Makes Close Earth Flyby

Sky & Telescope

Green-glowing 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova will make an unusually close pass by Earth on Saturday. Watch it boogie across the morning sky this week!

Grab your binos…

February’s Deep Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Sky & Telescope

North American observers can watch the Moon flirt with Earth’s shadow on the evening of February 10th.

Clear skies…

Tour February’s Sky: How To Find Monoceros
Sky & Telescope
Download our monthly astronomy podcast to spot Venus and Mars in the west – and a celestial unicorn hiding in plain sight among the stars.

Tune in…

Last Call for S&T’s 2017 Astronomy Tour in Chile

Sky & Telescope

Don’t miss the chance to see world-class observatories by day and the amazing southern sky by night during next month’s stargazing and astronomy tour in Chile.

Read more…

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How the Super Bowl Became a Battle for America’s Soul

The subtle—and not-so subtle—roles race, xenophobia and Islamophobia played in Super Bowl LI.

Shonda Rhimes is Turning Luvvie Ajayi Book Into a Comedy Series

Rhimes’ Shondaland production company acquired the rights to Ajayi’s book, “I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual” and will develop it as a scripted comedy for ABC Studios.

Army Files Court Papers to Greenlight Dakota Access Pipeline

“Trump and his administration will be held accountable in court,” said an attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux.


WATCH: Senators Are Reading Coretta Scott King’s Letter About Jeff Sessions

The Courts Versus Donald Trump: The Latest on the Muslim and Refugee Bans

Desi MC Lushlife Reminds Us That Pre-Trump America Was Far From Perfect

An Interfaith Group of Clergy is ‘Blessing’ New and Existing Abortion Clinics

Federal Court Judge in Michigan Dismisses Flint Residents’ Lawsuits


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