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April 14, 2016 0

Jackie Robinson Set the Stage

By Ken­neth Jacobson

April 15 is the 69th anniver­sary of the entry of Jackie Robin­son into the major leagues. To com­mem­o­rate that his­toric event and that his­toric fig­ure, PBS is run­ning a new two-part doc­u­men­tary  look­ing at how this grand­son of slaves rose from hum­ble ori­gins to inte­grate Major League Baseball.

In some ways, the story of Robin­son and the inte­gra­tion of base­ball is a lit­tle hard for us to under­stand in 2016. Soci­ety in gen­eral has come a long way: the civil rights rev­o­lu­tion, the elec­tion of an African-American pres­i­dent, and the lead­ing role that African-Americans play in our major Amer­i­can sports. And base­ball no longer occu­pies a unique place as the national pas­time that it held in the 1940s.

Jackie_Robinson,_Brooklyn_Dodgers,_1954

Still, in a year where major sto­ries include num­bers of cases of unarmed African-Americans killed by police, where the right to vote cre­ated by the 1965 Vot­ing Rights Act is under attack, where the school to prison pipeline is in the news, the Jackie Robin­son story has much to teach us.

In 1947, base­ball was king in Amer­ica. The fact that base­ball had never allowed an African-American to par­tic­i­pate in the major leagues was a blot on America’s rep­u­ta­tion, but only one of many that char­ac­ter­ized the coun­try before the civil rights era.

Robin­son was truly the har­bin­ger of change in America.

His break­through on April 15, 1947, which was rec­og­nized as a huge step for­ward. It took place seven years before the land­mark seg­re­ga­tion case Brown vs. Board of Edu­ca­tion and 17 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It started a process, which took years to ripen and which still is not over, of right­ing the great wrong of Amer­i­can history.

The great les­son of the Robin­son expe­ri­ence is that while laws have the great­est impact in chang­ing soci­ety, cul­ture can set the stage and cre­ate a cli­mate for the accep­tance of new, more inclu­sive laws. We’ve seen that in our time with the legal­iza­tion of gay mar­riage, which was pre­ceded by a num­ber of years of greater cul­tural accep­tance of les­bian and gay peo­ple through tele­vi­sion and the internet.

Back then, the emer­gence of Robin­son, the first African-American major lea­guer,  who han­dled  hos­tile fel­low major lea­guers and crowds with such grace and strength, to be fol­lowed over the next few years of other suc­cess­ful black major lea­guers, helped to cre­ate a sense that African-Americans deserved to be treated like other Amer­i­cans in our demo­c­ra­tic soci­ety. It was not a rev­o­lu­tion – it took years for the law to change – but it set the stage for the revolution.

Cul­ture mat­ters. How we teach our chil­dren, how the media por­tray var­i­ous minori­ties, how our reli­gious, busi­ness and polit­i­cal lead­ers speak about “the other” have a cumu­la­tive affect that cul­mi­nates in a more equal society.

Nobody bet­ter rep­re­sents this idea than Jackie Robinson.

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April 11, 2016 0

Time to Require Equal Pay for Equal Work

Diverse Business Team Discussing Work In Office

It’s April 12, 2016 – Equal Pay Day, the sym­bolic date that women need to work until to catch up with what men had earned by last Dec. 31.  The fact is that women who work full time, are paid an aver­age of 79 cents for every dol­lar paid to men — and on aver­age, African Amer­i­can and Latina women are paid even less.   It’s not a day to cel­e­brate, but it is a teach­able moment to focus on the need­less, costly, and dis­crim­i­na­tory gen­der wage gap – and on what we can do about it.

One high-profile exam­ple of unequal pay is that mem­bers of the U.S. Women’s Soc­cer team, the best team in the world, are paid less than their US male team coun­ter­parts.  Five mem­bers of the team recently brought a wage dis­crim­i­na­tion suit against U.S. Soc­cer with the Equal Employ­ment Oppor­tu­nity Com­mis­sion (EEOC).

Progress in Recent Years

  • In August 2014, Pres­i­dent Obama signed two direc­tives aimed at clos­ing the wage gap for Fed­eral work­ers.   First, an Exec­u­tive Order pro­hibiting fed­eral con­trac­tors from retal­i­at­ing against employ­ees for shar­ing their salary infor­ma­tion, mak­ing it eas­ier for women to dis­cover and address pay­check inequity. And, sec­ond, the Pres­i­dent instructed the Depart­ment of Labor to cre­ate new reg­u­la­tions requir­ing fed­eral con­trac­tors and sub­con­trac­tors to report salary infor­ma­tion to the gov­ern­ment, expos­ing salary inequities and thereby encour­ag­ing con­trac­tors to close the wage gap on their own.
  • And in Jan­u­ary, the EEOC issued com­ple­men­tary “Pro­posed Enforce­ment Guid­ance on Retal­i­a­tion and Related Issues.” ADL joined two dozen other national orga­ni­za­tions on a let­ter, drafted by the National Women’s Law Cen­ter, sup­port­ing the pro­posal and sug­gest­ing way to clar­ify the pro­tec­tions and safe­guards even further.

 

Learn, Raise Aware­ness – and Pro­mote Fairness.

On this Equal Pay Day, let’s com­mit to spread­ing the word about the dis­crim­i­na­tory pay gap between men and women – so we can close it.   Here are two great ways to get the word out:   MTV Pay Equity

  • MTV’s Emmy Award-winning “Look Dif­fer­ent” anti-bias cam­paign has cre­ated the “79% Work Clock” — a clock that chimes every day at 3:20 p.m. – sig­ni­fy­ing 79% of the 9–5 work­day, or the time, after which, women are no longer paid for equal work.  Their web­site includes a 79-Percent Cal­cu­la­tor to help indi­vid­u­als find the cor­rect time set­ting for their per­sonal work clocks based on their work hours and race — and to learn more about the gen­der wage gap in America.
  • The Anti-Defamation League recently devel­oped a High School les­son plan on the gen­der wage gap that pro­vides an oppor­tu­nity for stu­dents to reflect on their own opin­ions about sex­ism, under­stand the gen­der pay gap and its var­i­ous man­i­fes­ta­tions, and con­sider ways that it can be overcome.

Although we’ve made some progress in the fight for equal pay, much more needs to be done.  ADL and a broad coali­tion of civil rights and women’s groups sup­port The Pay­check Fair­ness Act (PFA HR 1619/S 862)), which would give teeth to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which made it unlaw­ful for busi­nesses to pay men and women dif­fer­ent salaries for per­form­ing sub­stan­tially the same work. The PFA would make it ille­gal for com­pa­nies to retal­i­ate against employ­ees for dis­cussing salary dif­fer­ences and open­ busi­nesses up to civil lia­bil­ity for salary inequity.

By rais­ing aware­ness and demand­ing leg­isla­tive action, we can speed the day when the alarm clock rep­re­sent­ing the wage gap rings later and later in the day – until we will not need it at all.

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April 5, 2016 1

Anti-Immigrant Ideologue Michelle Dallacroce Calls It Quits

In an April 4th press release, vir­u­lently anti-immigrant activist Michelle Dal­lacroce has claimed that she will no longer be pub­licly active “in the polit­i­cal arena of ille­gal immi­gra­tion” and is per­ma­nently shut­ting down two anti-immigrant orga­ni­za­tions she founded in Arizona.

Dal­lacroce stated in her release that oth­ers within the anti-immigrant move­ment sab­o­taged her and tried to “destroy the rep­u­ta­tion” of one of her groups, the National Orga­ni­za­tion for Vic­tims of Ille­gal Alien Crime (NOVIAC), and this was why she was leaving.

Michelle Dallacroce twitter

Michelle Dal­lacroce

How­ever, Dallacroce’s rea­son for call­ing it quits may have more to do with how she tried but failed to upstage another anti-immigrant orga­ni­za­tion that cov­ered the same ground as NOVIAC. In other words, she may have lost an anti-immigrant group turf war.

Dal­lacroce founded NOVIAC in Feb­ru­ary 2016. Pre­vi­ously, she was the founder and head of the so-called Moth­ers Against Ille­gal Aliens (MAIA). Her new anti-immigrant orga­ni­za­tion, NOVIAC, was actu­ally quite sim­i­lar in nature to a rival anti-immigrant group, The Remem­brance Project, founded by Maria Espinoza in 2009. Espinoza’s orga­ni­za­tion attracted pub­lic­ity to the anti-immigration move­ment by pro­mot­ing pro­pa­ganda about crime vic­tims allegedly killed by undoc­u­mented immi­grants. The Remem­brance Project also gained national atten­tion when pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump invited mem­bers of the group onstage at one of his cam­paign ral­lies in Novem­ber 2015. The Remem­brance Project sub­se­quently helped Trump stage meet­ings with the fam­i­lies of vic­tims whose assailants were undoc­u­mented immigrants.

Dal­lacroce seemed to eye her rival’s Trump con­nec­tion envi­ously. As part of her effort to pro­mote NOVIAC, Dal­lacroce report­edly sent a set of doc­u­ments via email, snail mail and through a rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the Trump cam­paign out­lin­ing the goals of the orga­ni­za­tion. In one doc­u­ment, dubbed the “NOVIAC Pro­posal,” she urged the Trump cam­paign to take three steps: assign an ille­gal immi­gra­tion spokesper­son for the cam­paign; cre­ate a per­ma­nent orga­ni­za­tion called the National Orga­ni­za­tion for Vic­tims of Ille­gal Alien Crime; and develop and imple­ment a NOVIAC web­site. The packet also included a let­ter to Trump encour­ag­ing him to con­sider the pro­posal and a let­ter addressed to “all Vic­tims of Ille­gal Alien Crime” encour­ag­ing them to endorse the project as well.

Though Dal­lacroce gave credit to The Remem­brance Project for keep­ing “vic­tim family’s sto­ries” alive, she asserted that “these vic­tims’ sto­ries are too impor­tant to the fab­ric of Amer­ica to be left to grass­roots orga­ni­za­tions.” She added that NOVIAC would “legit­imize these fam­i­lies on a NATIONAL LEVEL [empha­sis in orig­i­nal] to com­pete with other nation­ally rec­og­nized victim’s organizations.”

Appar­ently, Maria Espinoza did not appre­ci­ate Dallacroce’s attempt to encroach on her orga­ni­za­tion. Accord­ing to Dal­lacroce in a Face­book post that was sub­se­quently removed, she and her sup­port­ers were blocked from The Remem­brance Project’s Face­book page in mid-March after Dal­lacroce left a com­ment and a link on the Col­orado Remem­brance Project’s Face­book page adver­tis­ing NOVIAC (how­ever, the link does not seem to have been removed). In the since-deleted Face­book post­ing, Dal­lacroce alleged that Espinoza had full knowl­edge of her “NOVIAC pro­posal” to the Trump cam­paign but that Espinoza refused to par­tic­i­pate and would “rather block, obstruct and deny access,” than work together.

In her press release about call­ing it quits, Dal­lacroce asserted that today’s anti-immigration move­ment is filled with “lies, decep­tion and manip­u­la­tion” that did not exist when she cre­ated MAIA in 2006. With­out nam­ing The Remem­brance Project, she accused other peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions of “steal­ing the intel­lec­tual prop­erty and ideas from our orga­ni­za­tion, in order to sab­o­tage my good name and to destroy the rep­u­ta­tion of the newly found [sic] orga­ni­za­tion NOVIAC.”

In real­ity, it appears that Dal­lacroce is bow­ing out of the anti-immigrant movement—at least for now—because she did not receive the sup­port she expected for NOVIAC. While it is unclear what Dal­lacroce will do next, she and Espinoza do share a com­mon thread. While their orga­ni­za­tions claim to stand up for the vic­tims of crimes, they actu­ally serve to demo­nize immi­grants and pro­vide a plat­form for bigotry.

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