Editor's note: To hear more from Dawn Loggins and her journey, watch Martin Savidge's full report tonight on AC360 at 8p/10p ET
By Vivian Kuo, CNN
Lawndale, North Carolina (CNN) - It's before sunrise, and the janitor at Burns High School has already been down the length of a hallway, cleaning and sweeping classrooms before the day begins.
This particular janitor is painstakingly methodical, even as she administers a mental quiz on an upcoming test. Her name is Dawn Loggins, a straight-A senior at the very school she cleans.
On this day, she maneuvers a long-handled push broom between rows of desks. She stops to pick up a hardened, chewed piece of gum. "This annoys me, because there's a trash can right here," she says.
The worst, she says, is snuff cans in urinals. "It's just rude and pointless."
With her long, straight dark blonde hair and black-rimmed glasses, Dawn looks a bit like Avril Lavigne. But her life is a far cry from that of a privileged pop star.
She was homeless at the start of the school year, abandoned by her drug-abusing parents. The teachers and others in town pitched in - donating clothes and providing medical and dental care. She got the janitorial job through a school workforce assistance program.
Read the full story
Editors Note: David M. Hall is the author of “Allies at Work: Creating a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Inclusive Work Environment.” He teaches courses on LGBT issues and bullying prevention, and tweets @drdavidmhall.
By David M. Hall, Special to CNN
(CNN) – Every June, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community celebrates pride month.
But this year marks a turning point from previous celebrations as American attitudes are changing, and more gays and lesbians are supported and included in our society.
The LGBT community feels a greater sense of belonging today more than ever before thanks to a number of laws, policies and procedures changing the national discourse.
By Michael Martinez, CNN
Los Angeles (CNN) - The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday unanimously repealed a resolution made seven decades ago supporting the internment of Japanese Americans shortly after Japan's Pearl Harbor attacks, which led the United States to enter World War II.
The five-member board heard emotional testimony from Japanese-Americans who were incarcerated in the internment camps or whose parents were placed in the camps.
They recounted the racial hysteria of the era.
Editor's note: Hakeem Jeffries is an assemblyman who represents the 57th Assembly District in central Brooklyn, New York. He's running for the Democratic nomination in New York's 8th Congressional District.
By Hakeem Jeffries, Special to CNN
(CNN) - More than 50,000 people in 2011 were arrested in New York City for possessing small amounts of marijuana - the majority of whom were black and Latino - at a considerable judicial and financial cost. New York City spends about $75 million every year on arresting people for recreational marijuana possession.
But what many people don't know is that the state decriminalized this offense more than 30 years ago, making private possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana a violation punishable by a $100 fine. Possession of the same amount in public view remains a criminal misdemeanor.
Despite this change in law, arrests for small quantities of marijuana over the last decade have skyrocketed, with more than 400,000 people arrested and unceremoniously run through the criminal justice system. Marijuana possession is now the No. 1 arrest category in New York.
Read Hakeem Jeffries' full column
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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