New baseball season brings fresh protests against Cleveland Indians mascot
One fan, left, showed his support for Chief Wahoo while a local American Indian leader, Sundance, protested.
April 6th, 2012
04:49 PM ET

New baseball season brings fresh protests against Cleveland Indians mascot

By Stephanie Siek, CNN

Cleveland (CNN) – It's the Cleveland Indians home opener and the grounds outside Progressive Field are a sea of red and blue jerseys. As the crowds of celebratory fans walk toward the ballpark’s entrance, they pass a small group of protesters holding signs that say that the team’s name and mascot, Chief Wahoo, are racist and offensive.

About 10 people stand in a small park next to the stadium, quietly holding signs that say "People Not Mascots" and "Stop Teaching Your Children Racism." Every once in a while, someone in the stream of baseball fans pauses to shout mockingly, "Chief Wahoo Rules!", "You killed Custer" or just "Shut up!"

Robert Roche, executive director of Cleveland's American Indian Education Center and a Chiricahua Apache tribal member, says it's been like this each of the 30-some years he's been protesting. The shouting gets angrier and more frequent the closer it gets to game time, with many of the hecklers fresh from the nearby bars.

"If you stand here long enough," Roche says, “you'll see that racism is alive and well in Cleveland."

Not long after, a man in dressed in a feather headdress, face paint and a sweatsuit airbrushed with images of Chief Wahoo walks past and makes faces at the protesters. People in the crowd around him break out in war whoops.


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Filed under: Community • Discrimination • History • Native Americans • Race • Sports • What we think • Where we live
'Fatshion' bloggers find beauty in all sizes
Designer Angela Zampell says her Mode Merr line is for "stylish women from xxs-xxxl."
April 2nd, 2012
10:30 AM ET

'Fatshion' bloggers find beauty in all sizes

Editor's note: This is the fifth part of a six-week series on the perceptions of beauty. Last week, we looked at body image issues among men. Next week, we'll look at beauty across cultures.

For more on beauty and self-acceptance, read Kat Kinsman's essay, "Learning to love my big nose."

By Kat Kinsman, CNN

(CNN) - Lesley Kinzel is not a size zero. She's not a size 6 or 16 either. She wears a U.S. size 26, has no plans to change that and she'd be more than happy to share her style advice with you.

Kinzel, a 35-year-old associate editor at xoJane.com and author of the upcoming "Two Whole Cakes," is part of an increasingly popular online movement that celebrates fashion for larger women - without a tent dress or body-camouflaging cardigan in sight. The authors of so-called "fatshion" blogs - with names like Fat Girls Like Nice Clothes Too, Manolo for the Big Girl, Curves to Kill and Thicker Than Your Average Girl - seek to send an empowering message to their plus-sized sisters: We're here, we're fat, we look just fabulous - and you can, too.

"Fat" is a loaded word, often wielded as a weapon, but Kinzel hopes to lessen its power to wound.

Read the full story

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Filed under: Community • Girls • How we look • Technology • Women
Trayvon Martin's death leaves town divided, struggling with stigma
Beyond Sanford's historic downtown is a town where nearly everyone has a different viewpoint on the Trayvon Martin case.
March 29th, 2012
02:16 PM ET

Trayvon Martin's death leaves town divided, struggling with stigma

Editor's note: The killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has sparked a national dialogue on race; now CNN wants to hear from you. At 8 p.m. ET Thursday at CNN studios in New York, Soledad O'Brien is hosting a town hall meeting called "Beyond Trayvon: Race and Justice in America." The special will air at 8 p.m. ET Friday on CNN.

Join the conversation in a live blog of the broadcast starting at 8 p.m. ET Friday on CNN's In America blog.

By Mallory Simon, CNN

Sanford, Florida (CNN) - Nearly everyone in Sanford agrees on one thing: The death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is a tragedy.
But his death has taken on a whole new meaning here, where media outlets from around the world have descended, to figure out just what happened more than a month ago when neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.

This once-quiet and quaint town is now the center of a controversy that has put residents in the position of examining just what the racial undertones of the case say about their hometown. And it makes them wonder whether they will forever be known as the a place where an unarmed black kid heading home from the store with Skittles and tea was killed by a Hispanic man claiming self-defense.

For some, the case has become a rallying cry, a chance to air what they believe are years of grievances and cases of injustice between the police, the courts and the black community. For others, it has forced them to defend their town as a place that is not an inherently racist, a place where a young black man cannot be killed without consequence.

Read the full story

Group sought wedge between blacks, gays to fight same-sex marriage
"The strategic goal ... is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks," says an internal National Organization for Marriage memo.
March 29th, 2012
11:17 AM ET

Group sought wedge between blacks, gays to fight same-sex marriage

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - A national group opposed to same-sex marriage aimed to fight it by driving "a wedge between gays and blacks" and identifying "glamorous" Latino artists and athletes to advocate traditional marriage, according to newly released confidential memos.

The strategies were among several pursued by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which has actively campaigned against same-sex marriage efforts.

The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization, said it obtained the documents, part of a civil action in Maine, on Monday and published them on its website.

"This court-ordered disclosure shows NOM fighting a losing battle with strategy and tactics that are racially and ethnically divisive, filled with false political calculations, and out of touch with the majority of fair-minded Americans," Human Rights Campaign said in a statement.

Most of the memos were written in 2009. The president of NOM did not dispute the authenticity of the memos, saying in an online statement, "Gay marriage is not a civil right."

Read the full story

March 28th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Hoodie's evolution from fashion mainstay to symbol of injustice

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN

(CNN) - Whether you're a high schooler or Ted Kaczynski, a soccer mom or a Rocky Balboa fan, you've likely embraced the hooded sweatshirt at some point in life.

For all its comfort and simplicity, the hoodie leads a dual life. Utilitarian and homogenous in form, hooded garments have been wardrobe staples of monks and hip-hop stars, Silicon Valley programmers and tycoons alike.

Yet it still carries a social stigma that has made it the object of legislative bans and political speeches. Now, amid widespread outcry over the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, the hoodie has become a symbol of social injustice.

Read the full story

Opinion: Why black people don't trust the police
A memorial to Trayvon Martin outside The Retreat at Twin Lakes community where he was shot by George Zimmerman.
March 26th, 2012
07:30 AM ET

Opinion: Why black people don't trust the police

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs Watch him on Tuesdays on CNN Newsroom in the 9 am ET hour.

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor

(CNN) - I don't trust cops and I don't know many black people who do.

I respect them. I sympathize with them. I am appreciative of the work they do.

But when you've been pulled over for no good reason as many times as I have; when you've been in handcuffs for no good reason as many times as I have; when you run out to buy some allergy medication and upon returning home, find yourself surrounded by four squad cars with flashing lights and all you can think about is how not to get shot, you learn not to trust cops.

Read LZ Granderson's full column

March 22nd, 2012
02:56 PM ET

Did Trayvon Martin's shooter use a racial slur?

(CNN) - As outrage over the killing of a Florida teenager continues to spread online, social media and news outlets are debating whether the shooter uttered a racial epithet in one of his 911 calls. And if so, what he might have said.

Zimmerman, whom authorities described as white and family members say is Hispanic, said he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense, according to police. Martin, who was black, was walking to his father’s fiancee’s house in Sanford, Florida, after a trip to a convenience store and was not armed.

Many people at CNN have listened repeatedly to the call but have been unable to reach any consensus on what was said. An audio engineer enhanced the sound on the 911 call but said it was difficult to improve the quality or to replicate the background noise. CNN continues to analyze the tape and consult outside experts.

In the video above, listen to a nonenhanced recording of relevant audio of Zimmerman’s call at 1:48, after he says, "He's running."

Read the full post on CNN's This Just In blog

March 21st, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Demands for justice in Trayvon Martin case fueled by social media

By Stephanie Siek, CNN

(CNN) - Social media is fueling a rush of publicity and activism around demands for justice in the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager shot last month by a white self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman in Florida. Local police have declined to arrest the watchman, George Zimmerman.

There are more than 50 petitions at Change.org related to Trayvon Martin, according to the activism website's  Communications Director, Brianna Cayo-Cotter. She said the cause is shaping up to be one of the most popular ever hosted on the site.

"By far the largest is the one started by Martin's mother, and it is one of the most viral campaigns ever," said Cayo-Cotter. "Our tech team is working round the clock to keep the site from crashing because of the numbers of people coming the site to sign the petition that Trayvon’s mom started."

Much of that traffic is driven by links to the petitions from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, Cayo-Cotter said. The #TrayvonMartin hashtag attracted tens of thousands of mentions on Twitter, peaking Tuesday. News organizations' postings about the contents of 9-1-1 calls from the time of the Feb. 26 shooting have caused interest to pick up further. On Facebook, a group called "Justice For Trayvon Martin" has more than 18,000 "likes."


Ex-NBA star returns to inner city, brings hoop dreams
Penny Hardaway, left, stepped in to help his friend Desmond Merriweather, whose son, Nick, rose up in the state title game.
March 16th, 2012
01:13 PM ET

Ex-NBA star returns to inner city, brings hoop dreams

By Wayne Drash, CNN

Memphis, Tennessee (CNN) - With just over three minutes left in the state championship, Coach Penny Hardaway called a timeout.

He didn't like what he was seeing. Down by 15 points, his middle schoolers were quitting. It stood against everything he had instilled in them:

Don't use the inner city as an excuse to fail.
You can overcome your circumstances.
Always dream big.

The former NBA All-Star and greatest basketball player in Memphis history huddled his team of 12 together. He looked them in the eyes. He could see his reflection from 25 years ago: young teens from the city's roughest projects longing for positive mentors.

"Just give me all you got," he told them.

Read the full story

Texas federal court settles redistricting map case, but fighting continues
U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez says he and others hoped to see an even amount of “Latino opportunity districts” in the new plan.
March 16th, 2012
10:55 AM ET

Texas federal court settles redistricting map case, but fighting continues

Editor's note: The next Latino in America documentary anchored by Soledad O’Brien focuses on Latino voters. Click the Latino in America tag below or follow @cnnlia for more updates on other Latino in America stories. This is the third part of a CNN In America documentary series on American voters. Airing October 2012.

By Robert Howell, CNN

(CNN) - Redrawing Congressional voting district maps is never easy. But in Texas, in the midst of this election year, the already contentious process has been made even more volatile with its mix of race and politics.

When 2010 Census numbers showed that Texas’s population had grown enough to gain four new congressional seats, the process of drawing new maps began. U.S. Representative Charlie Gonzalez, also the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, says with nearly 70% of Texas’s population growth coming from Latinos, he and others in the community had hoped to see a proportional amount of “Latino opportunity districts” in the new plan.

The early maps–created by the Republican-controlled state legislature–left many Democratic lawmakers and minority groups unsatisfied—so much so that they sued in federal court to have the maps redrawn. The protracted fight has caused national ripples as well. The presidential primary has been pushed back twice.

After months of legal wrangling, the case was finally settled late last month by a federal court in San Antonio, but not everyone is happy with the results.

“In this case, the racial gerrymandering, this is probably the worst in 50 years.” That is how lawyer Luis Vera sums up the disputed maps that have come out of the redistricting battle in Texas. FULL POST

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