Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 19, 2010 -- Diversity, Civil Rights Briefs

WASHINGTON - A federal jury in Scranton, Pa., has convicted Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak, both of Shenandoah, Pa., of a hate crime arising out of the fatal beating of Luis Ramirez. The jury found the defendants guilty of violating the criminal component of the federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it a crime to use a person’s race, national origin or ethnicity as a basis to interfere, with violence or threats of violence, with a person’s right to live where he chooses to live. In addition, the jury found that Donchak conspired to, and did in fact, obstruct justice.

Continues -- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/October/10-crt-1154.html
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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The US Department of Education has received nearly 7,000 complaints this fiscal year--an 11 percent increase over last year and the largest year to year increase in more than a decade.The source of the jump can be attributed to issues like the disciplinary rate between ethnic groups.

Continues -- http://www.wifr.com/news/headlines/National_Spike_in__105149979.html?ref=979
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CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga-- About a dozen civil rights activists met in front of the Clayton County courthouse Sunday night singing and praying on the eve of the much anticipated trial of Troy Dale West, Jr.

The 47-year-old auto body shop owner from Poulan, Georgia is accused of punching and kicking Army Reservist Tasha Hill outside a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Morrow last September.

The 35-year-old says as she and her 7-year-old daughter were leaving the restaurant she cautioned West to be careful after the door almost hit them. She said West went ballistic and started beating her and using racial slurs

Continues -- http://www.11alive.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=158751&catid=40
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Two remarkable women served on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement in Richardson ... Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC, intense stories of 52 courageous women in this monumental struggle for social change.

Continues -- http://www.fenwaynews.org/announcement/women-in-the-civil-rights-movement/
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US DOJ and LGBT Civil Rights -- Last week, Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez joined the Mayor of Cleveland, Frank Jackson, and U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach, to celebrate LGBT Heritage in Cleveland. During remarks delivered at the celebration and awards ceremony held in the City Hall Rotunda, Assistant Attorney General Perez said:

“From our nation’s founding, individuals have fought for their rights, facing dozens of defeats for each victory. Progress has so often been painfully incremental. But each victory, however small, was motivation enough to keep moving. And so it has gone with the fight for LGBT equal rights. For decades now you have stood up to challenge discrimination, misconception and sometimes hatred. And hard-fought victories have been won. But the people in this room know that we have not yet reached our goal.”

Continues -- http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/1014


Saturday, October 16, 2010

From the Land of Emmett Till: New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Asserts Gov. Haley Barbour Could Free Mississippi Scott Sisterrs

Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi has to decide whether to show mercy to two sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott, who are each serving double consecutive life sentences in state prison for a robbery in which no one was injured and only $11 was taken.

“This should be an easy call for a law-and-order governor who has, nevertheless, displayed a willingness to set free individuals convicted of far more serious crimes. Mr. Barbour has already pardoned four killers and suspended the life sentence of a fifth,” Herbert writes.

The Scott sisters, African Americans have been in prison for 16 years. Jamie, now 38, is seriously ill. Both of her kidneys have failed. "Keeping the two of them locked up any longer is unconscionable, grotesquely inhumane," Herbert writes.

The sisters were accused of luring two men to a spot outside the rural town of Forest, Miss., in 1993, where the men were robbed by three teenagers, one of whom had a shotgun. The Scott sisters knew the teens. The evidence of the sisters’ involvement has always been ambiguous, at best. The teenagers pleaded guilty to the crime, served two years in prison and were released. All were obliged by the authorities, as part of their plea deals, to implicate the sisters.

No explanation has ever emerged as to why Jamie and Gladys Scott were treated so severely. Persons close to the family have said this resulted from an ongoing fight between their father and the county sheriff, however.

In contrast, Governor Barbour has been quite willing to hand get-out-of-jail-free cards to men who unquestionably committed shockingly brutal crimes. The Jackson Free Press, an alternative weekly, and Slate Magazine have catalogued these interventions by Mr. Barbour.

"Some Mississippi observers have characterized the governor’s moves as acts of mercy; others have called them dangerous abuses of executive power."

The Mississippi Department of Corrections confirmed Governor Barbour’s role in the five cases, noting that the specific orders were signed July 16, 2008:

• Bobby Hays Clark was pardoned by the governor. He was serving a long sentence for manslaughter and aggravated assault, having shot and killed a former girlfriend and badly beaten her boyfriend.

• Michael David Graham had his life sentence for murder suspended by Governor Barbour. Graham had stalked his ex-wife, Adrienne Klasky, for years before shooting her to death as she waited for a traffic light in downtown Pascagoula.

• Clarence Jones was pardoned by the governor. He had murdered his former girlfriend in 1992, stabbing her 22 times. He had already had his life sentence suspended by a previous governor, Ronnie Musgrove.

• Paul Joseph Warnock was pardoned by Governor Barbour. He was serving life for the murder of his girlfriend in 1989. According to Slate, Warnock shot his girlfriend in the back of the head while she was sleeping.

• William James Kimble was pardoned by Governor Barbour. He was serving life for the murder and robbery of an elderly man in 1991.

More at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/16/opinion/16herbert.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

Monday, October 11, 2010

Diversity Business Book Uses Storytelling and Personal Anecdotes; Targets Inexperienced Supervisors, Managers

Susan Klopfer, diversity author
News Release
Contact: Susan Klopfer
Group Klopfer~ Mount Pleasant, IA
Cell 505-728-7924 ~ sklopfer@gmail.com
Author Bio: www.susanklopfer.com

Diversity Business Book Uses Storytelling and Personal Anecdotes; Targets Inexperienced Supervisors, Managers

A new business book that gives advice on how to manage diversity targets inexperienced supervisors and managers. Profit From Diversity: Getting Along With Others, set for Nov. 15 publication, is geared to business leaders who have little or no training in diversity management, author Susan Klopfer said.

“This is why I emphasize story-telling and include a unique glossary – one with down-to-earth definitions of diversity-related key words,” said Klopfer, who also weaves in personal examples throughout the book’s glossary to “make points relevant” for readers.

“For instance, I share my own story about travelling to Germany and getting off the plane to hear a language I don’t speak, and how the sound of people talking seems amplified. I recount feeling frustrated and even dizzy while trying figure out how to use the phones at the airport. When I found it difficult to follow instructions, even though I was trying to use a German language tourist book and getting a lot of help from Germans, I became silently angry at myself and the situation.

"But then I took a few deep breaths, sat down for a couple of minutes, and recognized I was simply experiencing some ‘culture shock’ – an encounter that anthropologists and other social scientists have written about for many years. After a few minutes, I was okay and in a better mood to figure out the telephone system. Next came learning how to signal taxis!”

Whether a person enters a host culture as a short-time visitor or as an immigrant, culture shock can be a devastating response, Klopfer continues. “Studies show that from 30 percent to 60 percent of expatriates or people who make a permanent move outside of their own country suffer serious culture shock, manifesting as anxiety and stress. Business managers, supervisors and all employees need to understand this kind of information so that we can have empathy and understanding to work better with others in the growing global markets.”

Profit From Diversity: Getting Along With Others, was written for anyone in business who wants to learn more about using diversity successfully to grow their company, including personnel, marketing, management, supervision − but also has important messages for educators, ministers, health and mental health professionals, lawyers and students, as well as anyone else who is interested in the world around them, Klopfer states.

The first part of the Iowa author’s book revolves around stories of four different people who work in business organizations and are confronted with diversity issues involving ethnic differences, gender discrimination, empowerment and change management.

“I learned about what real people were going through, while interviewing them at their businesses, as part of my research. Through their true accounts, readers will learn more about what it feels like to be the ‘different’ person at work, for instance the person who comes to this country from an Island culture and goes to work in a small town where she is asked to prepare a ‘special dinner’ every year so her co-workers can learn more about her culture.”

The problem with this particular practice, Klopfer explains, is “while it seems like a friendly-enough gesture, everyone focuses on this employee’s ethnic differences, which actually keeps her at a distance, making it harder for her to become a part of the team and contribute her unique talents to the team.”

Managing diversity is tricky. A company executive might believe she is managing diversity simply because the company employs minorities, women or others who are not part of the majority culture, usually white males, Klopfer said.

“There is far more to be done to make and keep a company diverse, and to use this diversity to benefit the company’s bottom line. Real problems arise – and employees representing diversity may leave or do not contribute their unique talents, for many reasons – when diversity is not managed well. White males are sometimes shut out, for instance, and not allowed to make their unique contributions when diversity management is not the focus.”

Klopfer says her book cites important social research, but also has “plenty of interesting true stories and accounts.” It is written “at a high school level with the goal of making it easy to read and interesting for just about anyone."

Profit From Diversity: Getting Along With Others is set for publication by CreateSpace in both e-book and print book formats to coincide with American Education Week that is annually observed beginning in the third week of each November. Susan Klopfer is a Missouri award-winning journalist and author of three civil rights books. She is a former acquisitions and development editor for Prentice Hall.


Diversity Briefs: Disabled Still Get Cool Reception in U.S. Workplace

Bloomberg Business Week
Executive Health
Kessler Foundation, News Release

FRIDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- While many American companies say that hiring people with disabilities is important, few of them actually hire these job seekers or take steps to provide a welcoming work environment, a new survey finds.

The national poll of 411 senior executives and human resource managers found that 70 percent of respondents' companies have diversity policies or programs in place, but only two-thirds of those with programs include disability as a component.

Only 18 percent of companies offer an education program designed to integrate people with disabilities into the workplace, and only 19 percent of companies have a specific person or department that oversees the hiring of people with disabilities, compared with 40 percent in 1995.

Among the other findings:

Only 7 percent of companies with disability programs offer a disability affinity group (a group promoting disability awareness).
Slightly more than half of respondents estimated what percentage of new hires in the past three years were people with disabilities, and on average the number they came up with was 2 percent.
The survey was released Tuesday by the Kessler Foundation and the National Organization on Disability (NOD). October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Only 21 percent of people with disabilities ages 18 to 64 are working either full- or part-time, compared to 59 percent of people without disabilities, according to data released in July 2010 by the two groups. Those findings suggest little progress has been made since the Americans With Disabilities Act was implemented in 1990, the researchers said in a Kessler Foundation news release.

"America's success in the global economy depends on how well we put to use the productive capacity of every person's talent, skill and ability. This new survey reveals that most employers are not aware of the unique contribution that workers with disabilities can make and do little to recruit them," Carol Glazer, NOD president, said in the release.

"The shockingly high unemployment rate among people with disabilities suggests that employers seeking dependable workers have a rich and ready talent pool of workers from which to draw," she added.

More information

The U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy offers work information for people with disabilities.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Kessler Foundation, news release, Oct. 5, 2010

LGBT Social Justice News: Suspects charged in NYC attack of Gays

USA Today reporters Oren Dorell and Haya El Nasser report that eight teenage and adult males were arraigned Sunday on a range of charges including sexual assault, robbery, intimidation and hate crimes. Two were held in lieu of $100,000 bond, and the others were held without bond. Police said a ninth member of the Latin King Goonies, as the group called itself, was still at large.

Dorell and El Nasser say that police said the attack happened Oct. 3. They said gang members heard a rumor that one of their recruits was gay and found the teen, stripped him, and beat and sodomized him with a plunger handle until he confessed to having had sex with a 30-year-old man in the neighborhood.

"The gang members found a second teen they suspected was gay and tortured him, police said. Then they lured the 30-year-old man to an abandoned house, where they burned, beat and tortured him for hours and sodomized him with a miniature baseball bat, police said.

"The incident came on the heels of an Oct. 3 beating at the Stonewall Inn gay bar, a symbol of the gay rights movement since protests over a 1969 police raid there, and a string of suicides attributed to anti-gay bullying, including a New Jersey college student's Sept. 22 plunge off the George Washington Bridge after his sexual encounter with a man in his dorm room was secretly streamed online."

USA Today, story continues

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bullying Problem On The Increase, Says Diversity Expert

Did You Know?

Bullying among our youth is a significant problem--and it is steadily increasing. Many experts fear bullying has become so widespread and common, adults are blinded to its extensive harm. Here are the facts:

It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. Source: National Education Association.

A survey conducted by the American Association of University Women reported that 85% of girls and 76% of boys have been sexually harassed in some form and only 18% of those incidents were perpetrated by an adult.

Young bullies carry a one-in-four chance of having a criminal record by age 30. Study by Leonard Eron and Rowell Huesman.

American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.

One in seven students is either a bully or victim.

56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.

71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
One out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school.
Mean behavior among kids is a universal problem. In a poll of 232 kids in kindergarten through 8th grade at a Connecticut elementary school, every child claimed to have been the victim of at least one schoolmate's or sibling's meanness in the previous month.

Compiled by Diversity Expert, Dr. Maura J. Cullen