Seriously though Laverne Cox will be speaking at the University of Tennessee on February 11th and I am so excited
Rikki we HAVE TO GO!
Seriously though Laverne Cox will be speaking at the University of Tennessee on February 11th and I am so excited
Rikki we HAVE TO GO!
Indigenous People’s Day Photo Project 2013
Photo Credit: Andrew Burlingham
South Puget Sound Community College’s Diversity & Equity Center
I’m working at a YMCA camp as the director of their girls camp for the summer. Bringing sociology to the YMCA by developing curriculum for educating the staff about race, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Sporadic posting until I start teaching again in the fall!
This is a great example of how universal design can benefit all people with disabilities as well as those without disabilities. I would hope, also, that they include providing gender-neutral facilities as well into their universal design principles.
OH MY GOSH THE DIFFERENT TEXTURED CONCRETE INSTEAD OF THE STUPID YELLOW BUMPY THINGS.
THE STUPID YELLOW BUMPY THINGS ARE FROM HELL AND WHOEVER THOUGHT THEY HELPED PEOPLE IN WHEELCHAIRS WAS WRONG.
Those yellow bumps - tactile paving - are guides for people who are blind and/or have vision impairments. They weren’t intended as aids for wheelchair-users (unless those wheelchair users are also blind). That said, they really suck for wheelchair users, and it’s nice that designers are finding ways to meet both blind people’s and wheelchair users’ (and blind wheelchair users’) needs!
this is the coolest thing I’ve seen all year
The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of prisoners at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, describing the for-profit prison as a filthy, dangerous facility “operating in a perpetual state of crisis” where prisoners are at “grave risk of death and loss of limbs” and often resort to setting fires to receive medical attention.
The class-action lawsuit describes how prison officials have known of these conditions for years but failed to protect the health and safety of prisoners. The facility in Meridian, Miss., is supposed to provide intensive treatment to the state’s seriously mentally ill prisoners, many of whom are locked down in long-term solitary confinement.
The lawsuit describes a facility where prisoners are often locked in filthy cells and ignored even when they are suffering from serious medical issues. Many cells lack light and working toilets, forcing prisoners to use trays or plastic bags that are tossed through slots in their cell doors. Rats often climb over prisoners’ beds. Some prisoners even capture the rats, put them on makeshift leashes and sell them as pets to other prisoners.
Although designated as a facility to care for prisoners with special needs and serious mental illness, the East Mississippi Correctional Facility denies prisoners even the most rudimentary mental health care services. One prisoner is now blind after the facility failed to provide his glaucoma medications and take him to a specialist. Another prisoner had part of his finger amputated after he was stabbed and developed gangrene.
Prisoners also are underfed. According to the lawsuit, a correctional health expert notified the Mississippi Department of Corrections of this problem after reviewing prisoner records that showed a pattern of prisoners losing significant amounts of weight at the prison – some more than 20 or 30 pounds.
Despite evidence demonstrating the adverse effect of long-term solitary confinement on prisoners’ mental health, the prison continues to place prisoners in isolation for weeks, months or years at a time with little stimulation or access to showers and medical care. Prisoners in solitary confinement frequently set fires or flood their cells to get attention for medical treatment.
This is not just this jail, btw.
This is most jails.
fuck america. may god curse all the fuckers in power.
Yes but, gawd bless our “freedoms”.
When will people understand (and care) that all jails in this country are for-profit?
If you think this is a special case?
If you think “prison is supposed to be bad”?
If you think these people are no one you know?
WHO are they?
WHY is this happening?
WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Janette Simon has four chicken legs and five kids to feed. Her freezer is bare.
And her latest trip to the food pantry yielded little else for dinner this night: a bag of day-old croissants, a box of Corn Flakes, and some canned goods.
She slathers barbecue sauce on the chicken, slides the pan in the oven, and begins her nightly ritual of distracting her five children from hunger. The 44-year-old single mother often skips dinner herself. She hides Ramen noodle packets in her closet to ration food.
She tells her two youngest kids to play outside “so they ain’t thinking about eating.” “That’s what I have to worry about,” she says. “I gotta look at these kids with their sad faces and no food.”
On the 13th of every month, she has counted on seeing a $600 payment on her food-stamp debit card. But now, that payment is a month late. Simon and thousands like her in North Carolina had enough to worry about before a computer glitch began to fray this basic part of the social safety net. Last July, government computers across the state repeatedly crashed, preventing caseworkers from processing food stamp applications and recertifications for weeks.
Eight months later, North Carolina officials are still scrambling to clear the resulting backlog.
so messed up.
The glitches often take months or even years to fix because technology for poor people is not considered a high priority, according to David Super, aGeorgetown University law professor who studies government technology projects.
After hiring dozens of engineers and programmers from tech industry giants like Google and Oracle, the federal government largely fixed problems with the health-care website in about two months. But many states have taken much longer to fix computer errors with welfare programs. Colorado’s troubled system for food stamps and Medicaid has been plagued by glitches and delays for the past decade.
“Almost everyone using the Obamacare website was not poor,” Super said in an interview. “In contrast, technology that serves the poor has gotten less and less attention and has been working badly for many, many years.”
Can we talk about this part of the article? lets talk about this part of the article.
Thanks for this important commentary!
|—||Douglas Rushkoff, Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take it Back (via probablyasocialecologist)|
Homeless folks have real solutions to the housing crisis
February 27, 2014
When Bill de Blasio took office on January 1, he inherited a broken, bloated and expensive homeless shelter system that cost almost $1 billion to operate in 2013. He also inherited neighborhoods dotted with vacant buildings and lots that represent both potential housing and jobs. For New York’s homeless, there is a Kafkaesque paradigm where so-called affordable housing is in fact unaffordable due to the federal government’s Area Median Income guidelines.
Those who can’t afford housing are the same unemployed, or low-wage workers, seniors, disabled and just poor New Yorkers in the shelter system. On bitterly cold nights this winter, the shelter-industrial complex housed more than 50,000 adults and children — enough to fill Yankee Stadium. That didn’t include those using the domestic violence shelter system and the untold numbers of homeless folks sleeping in churches, mosques and synagogues. Nor does it include the thousands sleeping in trains, public transit facilities or parks. It doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands doubled or tripled up with friends and family hoping for a break so that they don’t have to go into the shelter system.
Real Roots of the Problem
Homelessness has been framed as the result of individual dysfunction and pathology. “Oh, they’re mentally ill, or they need to get a job,” — this mantra has been repeated by politicians and media for two decades. Picture the Homeless encourages the de Blasio administration to look at the big picture, to take into account rising rents and stagnant incomes at the bottom of the wage scale. Forces like gentrification, property warehousing and disinvestment in effective housing programs such as Section 8 have led us to where we are today.
The bottom-line cause of homelessness is the high cost of housing. Real estate development here has been geared to business interests, hotels and high rises, offices and office towers. When there is new housing construction, it’s for the super rich. Banks and landlords keep buildings empty while they wait for neighborhoods to gentrify, and to get rid of protections on rent-stabilized apartments.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg took away the homeless priority for permanent housing solutions like Section 8 and public housing, replacing them with time-limited rental subsidy programs (first Housing Stability Plus and then the Advantage programs) that were doomed from the start.
Past administrations have cried poverty when asked why they don’t prioritize housing for homeless people, but that’s a lie. The money’s there, it’s just being wasted on a politically connected shelter-industrial complex. A billion dollars a year could house a lot of people. Most shelters get two to three times as much money per month for each homeless household as it would cost to pay their rent.
In 2011, we partnered with the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development to devise and execute a replicable methodology for how the city could conduct a vacant property census. We found enough empty buildings and lots to house up to 200,000 people, and that was just in one-third of the city. But the city doesn’t keep track of vacant property and the little bit of money that is out there is being used to house people in shelters.
Every homeless person is different, and it’s true that mental illness and substance abuse play a role in some people losing their housing, but plenty of very wealthy people have issues of substance abuse or mental illness. The root issue is poverty. Public policy needs to address the systemic causes of homelessness. No mayor or president can implement a policy to stop people from having mental illness or losing their jobs, but they can make it so that everyone can afford housing.
There are numerous factors that contribute to record levels of homelessness, like how people coming home from jail with a record are excluded from housing, so there’s nowhere for them to go. Banks are still redlining in certain communities. Institutional racism is also a huge problem — over 90 percent of homeless families in shelters are African-American and/or Latino. Predatory lending has been targeting people of color. Ninety-nine percent of the people who go into housing court get no legal representation, so many of them end up losing their homes.
There’s no cohesive overall plan between government agencies that serve low-income people, and that adds up to a lot of resources being wasted. There’s no unity or collaboration between housing courts and the welfare and shelter systems. HRA, DHS, NYPD — it’s a whole lot of alphabet soup that doesn’t add up to anything.
People say homeless people should go get jobs — but people have jobs! The pay just doesn’t match the rental market. Very low wages, including social security and other income forms for folks who aren’t working, plus inadequate income supports, plus high rents, equal homelessness. It’s simple math.
At Picture the Homeless, we don’t just complain about problems. Homeless people know what’s not working, and they know what needs to change. That’s why our organizing campaigns have concrete policy demands of the new administration.
For starters, it’s unacceptable that the city has no idea how much property is currently vacant. We have to have conduct an annual citywide count of vacant buildings and lots, so we know what kind of resources are out there to develop new housing — and who’s keeping housing off the market. Legislation that would empower the city to do such a count was stalled for three years in the City Council under Christine Quinn. We were heartened to see it identified as a necessary solution on Bill de Blasio’s campaign website, as well as a priority for the City Council’s Progressive Caucus.
The new administration could immediately utilize a small portion of the Department of Homeless Services’ (DHS) shelter budget (even just 1 percent would be almost $10 million!) and create permanent rental subsidies so homeless people can get out of shelters. That funding could also support a pilot project for innovative housing models like community land trusts, which have the potential to create permanently-affordable, democratically-controlled housing for folks at all income levels, as well as supporting small businesses and incubating jobs that pay a living wage.
The city should take all the property whose owners owe taxes on water or violations, and put it into a land bank and develop it for those who really need it. Property that the city acquires through the Third Party Transfer program should be prioritized for nonprofit housing developers, including community land trusts. And the city should create and expand community land trusts that will be permanently affordable to the people who live there.
The new administration could also limit what is considered “affordable housing” to the city of New York. Right now, “affordable housing” can go to folks making upwards of $80,000 a year, because it’s based on Area Median Income calculations that factor in affluent parts of Westchester and Long Island.
The Koch brothers are quietly seeking to ban new mass transit in Tennessee.
In the 19th century, the father of modern gynecology, J. Marion Sims, conducted his research experiments on enslaved Black women. Sims performed the invasive and torturous procedures without anesthesia. J. Marion Sims’ justification for choosing not to anesthetize his test subjects was that he did not believe Black women felt pain at all. In an 1857 lecture, he stated that it was “not painful enough to justify the trouble”.
The Tuskegee Institute and the Public Health Service began a study of the natural progression of syphilis involving 600 Black men (399 with syphilis, 201 uninfected) in 1932. The infected men involved in the study were never made aware of their condition upon diagnosis and believed they were being treated for “bad blood”. In exchange for their participation, the men received free medical examinations and burial insurance. They were never treated for the disease. These trials went on until 1972 when the study was exposed by The Associated Press. The remaining victims and their family members won a $10,000,000 reparations settlement which guaranteed them lifetime health coverage and burial insurance.
The Pellagra Incident
Pellagra is an ailment commonly caused by a lack of niacin (vitamin B-13) in the human diet. The symptoms include skin lesions, sunlight sensitivity, dementia and ends in death. At the turn of the twentieth century, millions of people in the United States died from this disease. Scientists claimed that the cause of the disease was a toxin found in corn. In 1915, the U.S. Surgeon General ordered government funded experiments on Black prisoners afflicted with pellagra. Poor diet and niacin deficiency was found to be the cause. However, these life-saving findings were not released to the public until 1935 because the majority of Pellagra-induced deaths affected Black communities.
In 1945, African-American Ebb Cade, a 53-year-old truck driver, was secretly injected with plutonium, the substance used to make nuclear bombs. After breaking several of his bones in automotible accident, he was rushed to the emergency room. Unbeknownst to Ebb Cade, he was in the care of doctors that were also U.S. Atomic Agency employees. For six months, he was held in the hospital under the belief that they were treating his injuries. During that time, he was injected with more than 40 times the amount of plutonium an average person is exposed to in a lifetime. The doctors and researchers collected bone samples and extracted 15 teeth to monitor the effects of his exposure. Ebb Cade grew suspicious of his broken-bone treatments and escaped from the hospital. Unfortunately, Cade suffered from the brutal effects of intense radiation until he died from heart failure eight years later at the age of 61.
In the early 1950′s, the United States government conducted an experiment to see if mosquitoes could be weaponized. The CIA and the U.S. military released nearly a half million mosquitoes carrying yellow fever and dengue fever viruses into several Black communities in Florida. In the predominantly Black community of Avon Park, dozens of Black people became ill, eight dying as a result of this government-issued mosquito attack.
In June 1990, more than 1500 six-month old Black and Hispanic babies in Los Angeles were given what seemed to be a standard measles vaccination. The parents were not told that this particular vaccine, Edmonston Zagreb measles vaccine (EZ), was still in its research phase and not approved by the FDA. The EZ vaccine already had a reputation in Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Haiti, triggering an increased death rate among infant girls, most not living past the age of two. The Center for Disease Control would later confess that the infants were injected with an experimental vaccination without their parent’s knowledge. Presently, it is believed that many of these families are still unaware that their babies were used as guinea pigs.
In the year 2000, Federally funded researchers from John Hopkins University, the EPA, HUD, The Kennedy Krieger Institute and Department of Agriculture spread sludge from a sewage treatment plant on the lawns of nine low-income families, and a vacant lot in Baltimore and East St. Louis. The families and residents were told the sludge was safe and not informed about the toxic mixture of human and industrial waste the sludge contained. The research was conducted to see if the toxic waste absorbed into the water supply could effectively reduce lead levels in children.
In December 2012, at least 500 children in Gouro, Chad were forcibly given the MenAfriVac during school resulting in dangerous side effects including convulsions, and paralysis. Parents were not notified of any plans to vaccination their children at school and parental consent was never requested. The forced vaccinations were part of an aggressive healthcare initiative sponsored by several internationally revered organizations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization and UNICEF.