Equity

When Academy Award-winning filmmaker Shirley Clarke made her groundbreaking avant-garde documentary Portrait of Jason in 1967, it was the first-ever feature film about being a black gay man. Her subject was raconteur, entertainer, and self-professed hustler Jason Holliday (nee Aaron Payne), whom Clarke interviewed for twelve hours straight in her Chelsea Hotel penthouse.

Update on October 29, 2015 at 2pm EST: Teach for America reached out to Code Switch with comments on this post. We've updated this post with portions of their response that directly address criticisms raised below, and more broadly illuminate TFA's path forward.

UIS

  People in the transgender community deserve the same rights as anyone else. So said more than 80 percent of respondents in a national survey conducted by the

University of Illinois Springfield Survey Research Office.

A Muslim pop culture website: The idea seemed so obvious, Zainab Khan waited years for someone else to make one. A place for jokes about nosy aunties, sharing hijab hacks and Ramadan recipes, and advice on navigating Minder (yup, there's a Muslim Tinder).

The Legacy Project

Learning about the past to change the future: it's a goal of many academic institutions. But when it comes to the LGBT community - not enough has been done to memorialize and honor figures who've been overlooked due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. That's the opinion of Victor Salvo - founder and director of The Legacy Project.

I remember catching Andrew Ahn's short film Dol (First Birthday) at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in 2012. Having attended a few dol parties myself, I was familiar with the intimate cultural milieu of Ahn's film about a Korean-American family celebrating a child's milestone first birthday: the adorable little boy dressed in traditional costume, the dining table laden with Korean dishes, and, after the meal, the mat spread on the floor before the child, strewn with objects representing his future career paths.

So far, this season of Empire has been all about whether Lucius Lyon, the diabolical record executive played by Terrence Howard, is going to be convicted of a murder he committed in the show's first season. Last week, the rest of the Lyon family staged a big outdoor rally/concert to drum up public support for Lucius, who is behind bars ahead of his pending trial.

Growing up during the crack era in East Baltimore, author D. Watkins saw firsthand how the drug destroyed communities. "It trashed my neighborhood," Watkins tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm old enough to remember before crack really hit, and once it did hit, it changed a whole dynamic of how drug culture worked."

Suddenly, Watkins says, teenage kids — himself included — were selling crack on street corners. But the drug wasn't leaving the neighborhood with each sale. "Everybody's parents were junkies," he says. "And all the kids were selling or using."

"A young black man, Henry Dumas, went through a turnstile at a New York City subway station," reads an invitation by Toni Morrison for a posthumous book-launch party she threw for Dumas in 1974, six years after he died. "A transit cop" — who was white — "shot him in the chest and killed him. Circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear. Before that happened, however, he had written some of the most beautiful, moving and profound poetry and fiction that I have ever in my life read."

Back in the heyday of Jet magazine, that weekly digest of short, fizzy articles about black life, there was a back-page feature simply called "Television." It was a no-frills rundown of nearly every black person who would be appearing on prime-time TV over the coming week, just their names, which show and what time.

The PGA Tour makes a stop in Atlanta this week. Top golfers like Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson will compete for the FedEx Cup. The course that hosts the event — the East Lake Golf Club — is in the middle of a once-struggling neighborhood known for poverty, crime and a troubled public housing project. The golf club has played a central role in a sparking redevelopment, and the neighborhood has avoided some of the typical pitfalls that come with such a transformation.

The hip-hop drama chronicling the ups and downs of record mogul Lucious Lyon and his family became the breakout hit of last year, and the breakout hit of the show was Taraji P. Henson's character, Cookie Lyon.

Cookie is the ex-wife of drug dealer turned hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon (portrayed by Terrence Howard), and the character is famous for speaking without a filter.

Every time Pope Francis washes the feet of prisoners, embraces an orphan, speaks of social justice and "the least of these," it reflects the Catholic Church as I would like it to be, the church of the Scriptures. Pope Francis has not altered doctrine or dogma; yet words and deeds have their own kind of power. His U.S. itinerary includes stops at a Harlem school and a Philadelphia correctional facility. It's a visit that may bring me closer to a faith that has not always been so welcoming to black Catholics like me.

If you stand just past High School Hill on Route 9 in Irvington, N.Y., and look west toward the Hudson River, you'll see a beautiful white house with lots of columns and terra cotta tiles that evoke a Mediterranean elegance. It is one of many mansions nestled on these leafy green streets; memories carved in stone from a time when this suburban town was the jewel of the "Hudson Riviera." Kykuit, Shadowbrook, and Nuits, Sunnyside, Hillside, and Strawberry Hill — these were the homes of robber barons and writers, judges and doctors, the 1 percent of the Gilded Age and the early 20th century.

Actress Viola Davis took home an Emmy on Sunday night for her role as defense lawyer Annalise Keating on ABC's How to Get Away with Murder. The moment marked the first time in the Emmys' 67-year history that the award for Best Actress in a Drama went to a black woman.

A few years ago, a good friend and I were walking near downtown Philadelphia, not far from my old elementary school, Thomas C. Durham, on 16th and Lombard. The school was built on the edge of a black neighborhood in South Philly in the early 1900s, and its design earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places when I was in the third grade. I nudged my friend to take a quick detour with me.

"My parents are both Indian," Ravi Patel explains during an interview as he fixes a cup of chai for a visitor. "And we were born here. And while they grew up the Old School way, not dating, having family put them together, we're like, American. Even though in many important ways we're very Indian."

There's a poem by Yi-Fen Chou in the 2015 edition of Best American Poetry, which came out on Tuesday. That's also when it came out — in the book's biographical notes — that Yi-Fen Chou is not a Chinese poet. He's a white guy named Michael Derrick Hudson. Hudson wrote in his bio that he uses the pen name as a strategy to get his poems published.

Ken Chen, executive director of the Asian American Writers' Workshop in New York, offered this commentary on All Things Considered:

When Pope Francis travels to the U.S. later this month, he'll give 18th-century Spanish priest Junipero Serra the Catholic Church's highest honor: sainthood. But for many Native Americans in California, sainthood for Father Serra isn't a slam dunk.

In the late 1700s, Serra helped Spain colonize California by converting tens of thousands of Native Americans to Catholicism. For many of their descendants, he's the man responsible for destroying their ancestors' traditional way of life.

As a medical student, Damon Tweedy noticed that many of the diseases he learned about in class were more prevalent among black people than white people, and that the black patients often fared worse than their white counterparts.

Tweedy, now a psychiatrist and the author of the memoir Black Man in a White Coat, theorizes that those differences spring from the fact that many black patients feel shut out and distrustful of a health care system that has a history of mistreating them.

WUIS/Rachel Otwell

Marriage for same-sex couples is now the law of the land. While it took effect in Illinois in 2014, the United States Supreme Court made it available across the country earlier this year. So what's next in the push for rights in the LGBT community? That's a question I posed at a recent conference in Springfield:

Growing up in the 1950s, Margo Jefferson was part of Chicago's black upper class. The daughter of a prominent doctor and his socialite wife, Jefferson inhabited a world of ambition, education and sophistication — a place she calls "Negroland."

That afforded her many opportunities, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic says. But life was also undercut by the fear that her errors and failures would reflect poorly on her family and, subsequently, her race.

Back in June of this year - a young white man walked into an historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. It is a fixture in the local civil rights movement there. The man proceeded to take part in a bible study, and then shoot 9 people dead.  The event has added to the national dialogue concerning race and violence in this country. 

Presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to deport all 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally, along with their U.S.-born children, sounds far-fetched. But something similar happened before.

During the 1930s and into the 1940s, up to 2 million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were deported or expelled from cities and towns across the U.S. and shipped to Mexico. According to some estimates, more than half of these people were U.S. citizens, born in the United States.

It was just after sunset on a muggy Friday evening earlier this month, and my wife and I were standing outside a Hardee's in Seneca, S.C. We were at a vigil for Zachary Hammond, a white teenager killed by a police officer during an attempted drug arrest in the restaurant's parking lot, three miles from where we live and teach at Clemson University.

We all harbor biases — subconsciously, at least. We may automatically associate men with law enforcement work, for example, or women with children and family. In the workplace, these biases can affect managers' hiring and promotion decisions.

So when Pete Sinclair, who's chief of operations at the cybersecurity firm RedSeal, realized that — like many other Silicon Valley companies — his company had very few female engineers and few employees who weren't white, Chinese or Indian, he wanted to do something about it.

Will Smith from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was my first American friend. Ours was an unlikely friendship: a shy Indian kid, fresh off the boat, with big glasses and a thick accent, and a high school b-ball player from West Philadelphia, chillin' out maxin' and relaxin' all cool. And yet, I was with Will all the way, unnerved when he accidentally gave Carlton speed, shaken when he got shot in Season 5, and deeply embarrassed every time he wiped out in front of Veronica.

It was just after sunset on a muggy Friday evening earlier this month, and my wife and I were standing outside a Hardee's in Seneca, S.C. We were at a vigil for Zachary Hammond, a white teenager killed by a police officer during an attempted drug arrest in the restaurant's parking lot, three miles from where we live and teach at Clemson University.

There's been a lot of heated conversation over Jeb Bush's use of the word "anchor babies" in remarks about immigration reform, and his subsequent attempt to dig himself out from under the criticism over those initial remarks.

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