Nelson Chenault / The Clinton Foundation

The fatal shooting last year of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer rocked the celebrated Chicago poet and publisher Haki Madhubuti.

Recently, we've been talking a lot about onscreen diversity and how much browner TV has gotten in the past few years with shows like Empire, Master of None and Dr. Ken and showrunners like Shonda Rhimes and Nahnatchka Khan injecting more people of color into the system.

Hi Code Switch readers! I'm here from NPR Music, where I mostly cover jazz. I thought you might be interested two big performances we recently featured in which the artists took a moment to talk about police intimidation and violence against African-Americans.


Earlier this month, people across the country and state recognized Transgender Day of Remembrance. It was created by activists as a way to honor those who have been murdered in a hate crime. Transgender people say their biological sex does not match the gender they identify with. Studies show they are much more likely to face violence and discrimination than the general population.

Millenials of color — even highly educated ones — are finding it hard to get ahead and build wealth. But why?

In the current issue of Washington Monthly, reporter Mel Jones dives into why the racial wealth gap persists for a generation of young black and brown Americans who've had educational and work opportunities rivaling those of their white peers.

St. John's and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine have plans for a new women and children's medical center. The plot of land along 9th street contains the foundations of homes burnt during the 1908 race riot

Seminole patchwork is not well-known outside the state of Florida. The Seams looks at culture through clothing — and within this hand-sewn and folded patchwork is the story of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Alex Wroblewski

Chicago writer Jamie Kalven focuses on patterns of police abuse and impunity in Chicago. He heard about an attempted cover up of the details in the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old wielding a  knife.

It's art imitating life, really. All American Boys is a young adult novel that looks at a specific instance of police brutality from the perspectives of two high school classmates: Rashad, who is savagely beaten by a local policeman who (wrongly) suspects him of shoplifting and assaulting a white woman, and Quinn, who sees the beating and initially pretends he didn't. It's a fictional reflection of real-life police encounters with young black men that ended badly.

It's time to stop dancing around the issue. Thanksgiving food is trash. Sitting down to a standard Thanksgiving meal means negotiating between dry and bland or lukewarm and sticky. But it doesn't have to be. If there's one thing we learned the first time around, it's that Thanksgiving is all about "borrowing" from others.

A week after protests over racism at their school became the biggest story in the country, 300 students, faculty and community members marched through the University of Missouri, Columbia campus behind a banner that read "Mizzou United, Columbia United." Their goal: to keep talking about what's been going on here, and why.

Housing Action Illinois

Estimates of the homeless populations in the state and the nation were released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, pointing to an 11 percent drop nationally and a slight decline in Illinois.

I talked with Bob Palmer, policy director at Illinois Housing Action, to find out more about those numbers.

Washington University in St. Louis

There are actions governors can take about their concerns over Syrian refugees, but keeping them out of their states — even temporarily — is not one.  So says the emeritus professor whose textbook on immigration is used by about 185 law schools in the country.

A YouTuber named James Wright Chanel has been all over the Internet praising Patti LaBelle's sweet potato pies; a video he uploaded of himself bursting into song upon tasting the singer and cookbook author's name-brand concoction has been viewed over 2 million times.

Valerie Everett

The first installment in a series on homelessness looks at a campaign to get the city and public schools to target the needs of homeless Chicago students.

On a weekday morning, in an upscale area of Arlington, Va., the suburban silence is as thick as the foliage save for the hum of a leaf blower or an occasional car. In one of the homes, Sheba Velasco is thinking of snacks for the children. She's their nanny.

Then the phone rings.

Thousands of miles to the west, it's very early in the morning, and a young man has been caught trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

"First of all" Velasco begins, "may I ask that he is from Nebaj? He speaks Ixil?"

This week, anti-racism demonstrations at the University of Missouri's flagship campus in Columbia have been front and center in the news. One of the newsmakers was a journalist covering the story who inadvertently became part of it.

After anonymous threats targeting black students at the University of Missouri were posted online Tuesday evening, saying things like, "I'm going to shoot any black people tomorrow, so be ready," the fear on campus grew quickly.

Some black students were so scared that they left their dorms to stay with friends off campus. Others didn't go that far, but did stay inside and away from windows.

Around this time in 2014, ABC had just canceled the sitcom Selfie, starring everybody's ideal boyfriend John Cho and Karen Gillan. Cho was the first Asian-American male to play the lead in a rom-sitcom — he called his role "revolutionary" — and fans lamented that the show was just finding its legs when it got cut.


University of Illinois Springfield researchers are taking an unusual tack at getting funds to do research. They have created a crowdfunding account to pay for testing kits. They plan to investigate hepatitis c in homeless people in central Illinois.

UIS professors Kanwal Alvarez and Josiah Alamu need to raise at least $500 and hope to get $2,000.

Alvarez says UIS researchers have not used the fundraising method previously.

Finding someone to spend your life with can be hard under any circumstances, but young observant Muslims will tell you that here in the U.S., it's doubly so. They have to navigate strict Islamic dating rules while interacting with the opposite gender in a Westernized world. Now, a handful of young Muslims think that a new app called Ishqr provides a partial solution.

In 1994, I read a book called Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times. It updated classic fairy tales with politically correct jargon aimed at comically — and of course, ineffectually — minimizing the disadvantages of Red Riding Hood's sight-impaired grandmother or the height-challenged Rumpelstiltskin.

This summer, football players at Northwestern University came very close to successfully forming a union — not to demand that they be paid, but to demand better scholarships and safety protocols. Had their bid succeeded, it might have changed college athletics — and, indeed, higher education — in some fundamental ways.

By now, you've probably heard about the video from Monday of protesters at the University of Missouri asking a student photographer — shooting on assignment for ESPN — to leave them alone, chanting, "Hey hey, ho ho, reporters have got to go!" and pushing him away.

The word "diversity" gets thrown around a lot in these parts, and recently, it has come under a lot of scrutiny; it's easy to invoke, but what does it actually mean?

In 1890, a shoemaker from Louisiana named Homer Plessy indentified himself as "black" on the decennial U.S. Census population survey. Plessy did this even though, as a Creole who was one-eighth black, he was light-skinned enough to pass for white.