Airbnb Unites with NAACP to Combat Discrimination and Expand Room at the Inn

(image via npr.org)

by Karen Grigsby Bates via npr.org

Since its inception nearly a decade ago, Airbnb has faced questions from people of color as to whether the company’s worldwide “vacancy” sign really applied to them. The company has been plagued by allegations and several lawsuits, predominantly but not exclusively from African-Americans, claiming discrimination.

Now, as part of its attempt to turn that image around, Airbnb has announced a partnership with the NAACP. The goal is to put teeth in the home-sharing company’s anti-discrimination efforts and to expand the number of people of color who are hosts on the site. The company has revised its policies and introduced more stringent penalties for hosts found to discriminate.

A settlement in California this year involving an Asian woman resulted in the discriminatory host being banned from the site for life. A similar incident in North Carolina involved a black would-be guest. Earlier this year, Airbnb hired Laura W. Murphy, the former director of the American Civil Liberties Union‘s Washington legislative office, to help shape the new policies and put practices in place that would make Airbnb more inclusive.

The announcement comes amid the NAACP’s attempts to bring the organization closer to the younger activist audience that it hopes will be its next generation. While it continues to fight for things traditionally associated with the NAACP — voter enfranchisement, equal opportunities in education and housing — the 108-year-old organization is also stretching in new directions. The NAACP describes the Airbnb partnership as “a landmark national agreement” that will encourage more people in communities of color to consider becoming Airbnb hosts.

“Our fastest-growing communities across major U.S. cities are in communities of color and we’ve seen how home sharing is an economic lifeline for families,” Belinda Johnson, Airbnb’s chief business affairs officer, said in a statement. And it’s not just host families who benefit: the company says Airbnb guests spend money in the neighborhoods where they’re renting.

The partnership is notable in another way: Airbnb has committed to sharing 20 percent of the revenue from its community outreach efforts with the NAACP. It will also work with the NAACP to educate communities of color on the benefits and mechanics of home sharing as part of its planned outreach.

Airbnb also seeks to expand its employee base nation-wide, and has been working with the NAACP to increase the percentage of employees from underserved populations, from its current 9.6 percent to a target goal of 11 percent by the end of the year.

To read full article, go to: Airbnb Unites With NAACP To Expand Room At The Inn : Code Switch : NPR

U.S. Justice Department Sues North Carolina over State’s Discriminatory “Bathroom Law”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch  (photo: nytimes.com)

Attorney General Loretta Lynch (photo: nytimes.com)

article by Del Quentin Wilber  via latimes.com

The Justice Department sued North Carolina on Monday to stop what it called discrimination against transgender individuals, raising the stakes in a cultural and legal battle that has ramifications for other states and the 2016 election.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch personally announced the lawsuit, which argues that North Carolina’s so-called bathroom law violates parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal laws, and that the state is engaging in a “pattern or practice of sex discrimination.”

Lynch stepped in hours after North Carolina’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, had sued the Justice Department to prevent it from blocking implementation of the state law, which requires public agencies to deny transgender people access to multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing rooms consistent with their gender identity.

At a news conference, Lynch linked the dispute to past civil rights struggles over equal access to housing, water fountains and other facilities.  “This action is about a great deal more than just bathrooms,” she said. This is “about the respect we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we … have enacted to protect them.”

She added, “This is not the first time we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation.”

The federal lawsuit names the state of North Carolina, McCrory, the state’s Department of Public Safety, the University of North Carolina system and its Board of Governors as defendants.

Continue reading

Retired Police Officer Moses Vines Uses Football To Help Kids Fight Online Bullying

Coach Moses Vines

In recent months, spurred by both a historically strained relationship between Black communities and recent police killings, tension between law enforcement and those they are sworn to protect has reached an unprecedented high.

But retired police lieutenant Moses Vines is using his experience in the police department for the most unlikely of reasons — to instill a sense of self-worth in children and combat online bullying.

‘Coach Mo,’ as he is called by most of his athletes, recruited fellow police officers in 2007 to help him create the Metropolitan Wolverines, a nonprofit organization established to end discrimination against youth often sparked by body image. The organization, which refuses to turn a child away due to size, aims to “serve the community by providing a sense of self-worth, pride and moral development to those who would likely be shuttered out of most leagues in the Washington D.C./metropolitan area,” according to BrightSideShorts.com.

In 2007, after noticing overweight children being ostracized, the newly retired Police Lieutenant of the Fourth District created the Metropolitan Wolverines, a nonprofit organization established to end discrimination against youth often sparked by body image. The organization, which refuses to turn a child away due to size, aims to serve the community by providing a sense of self-worth, pride and moral development to those who would likely be shuttered out of most leagues in the Washington D.C./metropolitan area.

Through a combination of guidance from the former police officer and his staff, most of whom are also law enforcement, and serve as positive and constant male figures in the boys children’s lives. With an emphasis on positive sportsmanship and academics, Coach Mo is changing the landscape of community outreach and esteem in communities that have historically lacked both.

Vines was recently recognized by The Bright Side (Driven By Carmax) for his dedication to creating brighter futures for the children he leads, both by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and providing them with the guidance they need to excel in school.

You can read more on Coach Mo’s organization here.

article via newsone.com

Barack Obama Becomes 1st U.S. President to Pose For LGBT Magazine Cover

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama, already known as the first U.S. president to advocate for gay rights during an inauguration speech, just became the first Commander-In-Chief to pose for the cover of an LGBT magazine.

Gracing the cover of OUT magazine’s OUT 100 issue as “Ally of the Year” comes as no surprise — Obama is likely to go down in history as one of the most progressive presidents, if not the only one who has fought so tirelessly for LGBTQ rights. Shortly after taking office, Obama signed a bill repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. And in June, after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide, Obama delivered an emotional address to the nation, calling it a “victory for America.”

“This is the first time a sitting president has been photographed for the cover of an LGBT title, a historic moment in itself, and a statement on how much his administration has done to advance a singularly volatile issue that tarnished the reputations of both President Clinton and President Bush,” OUT’s editor-in-chief Aaron Hicklin wrote.

Obama granted the magazine an interview that highlighted his own upbringing and how it affects his perspective on equality.

“My mom instilled in me the strong belief that every person is of equal worth,” Obama told Hicklin. “At the same time, growing up as a black guy with a funny name, I was often reminded of exactly what it felt like to be on the outside. One of the reasons I got involved in politics was to help deliver on our promise that we’re all created equal, and that no one should be excluded from the American dream just because of who they are. That’s why, in the Senate, I supported repealing DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act]. It’s why, when I ran for president the first time, I publicly asked for the support of the LGBT community, and promised that we could bring about real change for LGBT Americans.”

He also discussed how daughters Sasha and Malia have helped him recognize the generational shift in attitudes towards the LGBTQ community, urging for the end of damaging conversion therapy for young people that doesn’t allow them “to be who they are.”

“To Malia and Sasha and their friends, discrimination in any form against anyone doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t dawn on them that friends who are gay or friends’ parents who are same-sex couples should be treated differently than anyone else,” Obama said. “That’s powerful. My sense is that a lot of parents across the country aren’t going to want to sit around the dinner table and try to justify to their kids why a gay teacher or a transgender best friend isn’t quite as equal as someone else. That’s also why it’s so important to end harmful practices like conversion therapy for young people and allow them to be who they are. The next generation is spurring change not just for future generations, but for my generation, too. As president, and as a dad, that makes me proud. It makes me hopeful.”

You can read the full interview here.

article by Christina Coleman via newsone.com

%d bloggers like this: