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March 12th, 2012
08:42 PM ET

Re-creating civil rights march to highlight voter & immigration issues

Editor's note: Gustavo Valdes is a CNNE journalist who covered the reenactment of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march for his network. He turned the English language video above exclusively for In America. You can follow him @gustavocnn.   One of the focuses of the march was new voter ID laws, which will be the center of an In America documentary airing on CNN in July.

(CNN) – The six-day re-enactment of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march ended on the steps of the Alabama Capitol Friday with supporters calling to repeal voter ID laws and Alabama's HB56, a strict anti-immigration law.

This year's march, to mark the 47th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, focused on two main issues. One was the new voter ID laws, which organizer the Rev. Al Sharpton believes will keep many African-Americans from voting this fall.  The other focus was new state laws cracking down on illegal immigration. FULL POST

March 12th, 2012
02:16 PM ET

Opinion: Why are millions of Americans locked up?

Editor's note: Bryan Stevenson is executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama-based nonprofit that provides legal representation for indigent defendants and for people it believes have been denied justice in the courts. He is a professor of clinical law at New York University Law School. Stevenson spoke at the TED2012 conference this month in Long Beach, California. TED is a nonprofit dedicated to "Ideas worth spreading," which it makes available through talks posted on its website.

By Bryan Stevenson, Special to CNN

Montgomery, Alabama (CNN) - I'm an attorney and I represent incarcerated people, both in my home state of Alabama and across the United States.

I spend every day with people who are poor, disadvantaged, condemned and marginalized. I am persuaded that we can and should do better to create more hopeful and encouraging solutions to poverty, crime and inequality in this country.

In the last 40 years, our society has witnessed unprecedented technological change, incredible innovation and a great deal of promise and success in many areas.

Read Bryan Stevenson's full column

Engage: The words ‘under God’ in pledge of allegiance ignites debate over student rights
March 12th, 2012
12:42 PM ET

Engage: The words ‘under God’ in pledge of allegiance ignites debate over student rights

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

What happens when thousands of people go to court and refuse to plead out – The New York Times

Idaho state senator joins a growing list of openly gay congressional candidates – The Advocate

Little Havana’s Calle Ocho festival sets record with giant flag representing all the countries of the world – The Miami Herald

Do the words "under God" deny non-religious students inclusion in a patriotic ceremony – The Atlantic

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Report highlights colleges graduating Latinos
A report says Latinos will represent nearly a quarter of the college age population in 2025.
March 12th, 2012
11:50 AM ET

Report highlights colleges graduating Latinos

By Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) - A report released Wednesday by Excelencia in Education revealed the top colleges graduating Latinos in the U.S.

The report titled "Finding Your Workforce: The Top 25 Institutions Graduating Latinos" included information on public, private and for profit and non-profit institutions graduating the most Latino students.

According to the report, Miami Dade College in Florida awards the most associate degrees to Latinos, while Florida International University, the University of Phoenix, and the University of Texas at El Paso each led in two or more academic levels (including associate, undergraduate graduate, and/or doctoral.

Read the full story on CNN's Schools of thought blog

Opinion: I am a book trafficker
The Tucson Unified School District says it hasn't banned books, but it does admit to boxing and moving seven titles.
March 12th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Opinion: I am a book trafficker

Editor’s Note: Tony Diaz is the Founder/Director of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say.  He is also the author of The Aztec Love God and a contributor to Mamiverse.com. On Monday, March 12, he begins his “librotraficante” journey from Houston, Texas to Tucson, Arizona.

By Tony Diaz, Special to CNN

(CNN) –The word “librotraficante” should not make sense in the U.S. Yet here it is 2012, and I find myself translating “book trafficker” into English.

But that’s what I do.

One of my first jobs as a child was to translate English into Spanish for my mother and father. I remember being in second grade and translating for my father as he bought a used car. I didn't like the way the salesman talked down to my father, and I didn't like the way he talked down to me– even though I was just a kid. However, I knew we needed the car, and I knew I needed to concentrate on finding just the right words to leave with that car.

I embraced education, books, reading and writing because I wanted the right words to use in any given situation. I knew words could solve most things. Words are powerful that way.

My parents were migrant workers in Texas until my father found a job with the railroad in Chicago. He worked hard to send me to school, and would tell me to study hard so I would not have to work hard like he did. He endowed me with the broad shoulders and the broader imagination it would take for me to flourish on the South Side of Chicago.

But even as I excelled in high school and college, there was still something missing. It seemed that no matter how much my parents worked, no matter, how much I struggled, we never moved on from that moment I experienced at the car lot, me in second grade, the system looking down on my dad and me.

I discovered what I was missing when I stumbled upon a memoir titled ‘Down These Mean Streets’ by the late Piri Thomas. I was a junior in college.

That book about growing up in Spanish Harlem changed my life in countless ways. How had I gone that long without reading a book by a Latino author? Easy. None were available to me- back then. I thought this had changed. It’s why I committed my life to writing.

I was wrong. Things haven’t changed. In Arizona, things have only gotten worse.

FULL POST

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