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Silicon Valley's new conversation on diversity
CNN's Soledad O'Brien (left) hosted an SXSW panel discussion on the aftermath of CNN's Black in America 4 documentary.
March 20th, 2012
04:39 PM ET

Silicon Valley's new conversation on diversity

By Laurie Segall, CNNMoneyTech

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Silicon Valley's startup field is dominated by young, mostly white men from a handful of elite universities. NewMe, an accelerator program for minority-led ventures, aims to shake up the scene.

Three months after CNN's Black in America 4 aired, chronicling the stories of NewMe's first class, several of the documentary's participants reconvened at last week's South by Southwest (SXSW) gathering in Austin. In panel discussions and informal chats, they tackled the question: Has anything changed?

"I think the most important thing [the documentary] did is that it started a conversation that did not exist. That's huge," said Hank Williams, who used his time at NewMe to work on Kloudco, a cloud-based data management service.

"I don't know how much we impacted Silicon Valley, but it's starting a larger discussion around the nation," said Gokit founder Hajj Flemings. "There are a lot of people looking to make career shifts."

Read the full story on CNNMoney

My son knows he could be Trayvon
Drew Oglesby and his best friend, Slater.
March 20th, 2012
01:22 PM ET

My son knows he could be Trayvon

Editor's Note: Christy Oglesby is the quality assurance manager for CNN/U.S.  She lives in Atlanta with her 13-year old son, Drew.  She wrote this in 2012 when the U.S. Justice Department decided to investigate Trayvon Martin’s death. We're resurfacing this piece in light of  a verdict in the George Zimmerman case. Listen to a CNN Radio interview with Oglesby and her friend, Sandra Bemis, whose son is pictured above.

By Christy Oglesby, CNN

(CNN) – I spend a lot of time gasping. I’m the mother of a boy, a testosterone-poisoned boy. Whether it’s rock climbing or four-story tall cliffs that beg him to jump to the sea, my son just isn’t interested in activities that don’t require me to sign a waiver promising not to sue someone.

I spend a lot of time praying. I have to. My son is black. His race gives me much more to fear than his fearlessness. Today, people are learning that the U.S. Justice Department will investigate Trayvon Martin’s death. That’s the black Florida teenager who was killed by a neighborhood watchman last month.

Trayvon didn’t have a gun. He was just walking home from a convenience store to the home of his dad's fiancee. The neighborhood watch captain said Trayvon looked “suspicious.” George Zimmerman said he shot Trayvon in self defense. I’ve worried about my Drew dying like that since a few days after giving birth to him 13 years ago.

It’s tough finding the balance between encouraging a black boy to storm the world with confidence and at the same time to fear for his life. But that’s what I must do. I know that at this very moment some have just sucked their teeth in disgusted disbelief and decided that I’m exaggerating. I wish that I was. I’m not. If I were, Trayvon would be alive. FULL POST

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Filed under: Black in America • Discrimination • Ethnicity • Gender • Race • What we think
Southern Miss takes disciplinary action against students for derogatory chant
Southern Miss. pep band members yelled the chant at Angel Rodriguez, right, during a game in Pittsburgh on Thursday.
March 20th, 2012
12:57 PM ET

Southern Miss takes disciplinary action against students for derogatory chant

By Gustavo Valdes, CNN

(CNN) – Five members of the University of Southern Mississippi pep band have had their scholarships revoked and have been removed from the band after they yelled a derogatory chant at a Puerto Rican player during an NCAA basketball tournament game last week.

The school announced the disciplinary action in a statement Tuesday, saying the five "have been forthcoming, cooperative, contrite and sincerely remorseful."

"They acted rashly and inappropriately, and now see the gravity of their words and actions," Vice President for Student Affairs Joe Paul said. "This is a teachable moment, not only for these students but for our entire student body and those who work with them."

Read the full story

Engage: Frequency of teenagers texting skyrockets
March 20th, 2012
12:10 PM ET

Engage: Frequency of teenagers texting skyrockets

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

Report: Teens send an average of 60 texts per day - San Francisco Chronicle

Latino population rate slows under crippling economy - Los Angeles Times

New York Assemblywoman vying to become state's first Asian American in Congress - Wall Street Journal

Native American tribe to revive traditional village in Northern California - New York Times

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New Jersey church 'safe haven' for Indonesian immigrant
Saul Timisela (center) at Reformed Church of Highland Park, where he plans to stay until his immigration case is resolved.
March 20th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

New Jersey church 'safe haven' for Indonesian immigrant

By Mary Snow, CNN

(CNN) – A bed, space heater and a place to put his clothes are all Saul Timisela have in a room he calls home. But his new refuge inside New Jersey’s Reformed Church of Highland Park is the only thing that stands between him and deportation.

"I feel safe," says Timisela, who moved into a Sunday school classroom on March 1, when he defied an order to return to his native Indonesia. His wife has since joined him.   "All the members are so welcoming,” adds Timisela,  who says he’s prepared to stay in the church until his case is solved.

When and if that happens is a question mark. In the eyes of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Timisela is an "immigration fugitive" who was "ordered removed" from the U.S. in 2006 but failed to leave. He says he was unaware of that 2006 order. He’s now inside a church, and it’s unlikely that immigration officials would raid it. FULL POST