Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bringing Professional Women Back Into the Workforce

Workforce Management

After working at Goldman Sachs for 14 years, Janet Hanson felt isolated and removed from other working women. She founded 85 Broads (a nod to Goldman’s Manhattan address), a network of 17,000 women around the globe, and recently, Broad Impact, a consulting firm. Here are her views on how to find and keep great female employees.
By Jessica Marquez

Janet Hanson knows a lot about what companies need to do to recruit and retain experienced women. After working for Goldman Sachs for 14 years, she left to take time off with her kids. During that time, Hanson recalls that she felt isolated and removed. As a result, she founded 85 Broads, a network of 17,000 women around the globe, whose purpose is to give women a voice and a venue to connect. (The group’s name is a reference to Goldman’s Manhattan address.)
After working to help Lehman Bros. recruit and retain women, Hanson recently founded Broad Impact to help companies in various industries to reach out to women. Here are a few pointers to employers on what they need to do to get talented women and keep them:
Constantly nurture your best talent. "Big firms have to do a better job of monitoring their talent," Hanson says. "This is not just doing the year-end performance review." Employers need to make sure that they communicate with their best employees about possibilities of promotion and leadership opportunities. Getting talented women is just part of the challenge. Keeping them is a whole other issue, Hanson says.
Give women the opportunity to network. This is not about creating a committee and giving women a task. For young women, networks provide a sense of being part of something important early on in their careers. But employers can use networks to give experienced women leadership positions. It can be a venue for senior women to meet other women outside of their divisions and become role models for one another. "It’s about recognition," Hanson says.

Full Story: http://www.workforce.com/archive/feature/24/87/02/248724.php

More Than Half Of Campus Hate Crimes Involve Race

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
By Charles Dervarics
Nov 25, 2008, 07:21

Reports of increased hate crimes nationwide – including incidents on college campuses after Barack Obama’s victory – are prompting calls for universities to step up hate crime reporting and for more federal action on the issue.

“Even as we celebrate the demonstration of diversity in this country by electing the first African American president, the vestiges of a tragic period in our history continues to rear its hideous head,” said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP Washington bureau, at a conference Monday focusing attention on hate crimes nationwide.

Within higher education, four North Carolina State University students scribbled anti-Obama comments in a tunnel reserved for free speech expression. One comment said, “Let’s shoot that (N-word) in the head.” A University of Alabama professor said an Obama poster on her office door was replaced by a poster defaced with a death threat and a racial slur.

Hate speech on school buses and the beating of a New York teenager on election night by four white men shouting ‘Obama’ are among other recent youth-focused hate incidents.

“Schools and colleges are the third most frequent location for hate crimes,” said Michael Lieberman, Washington counsel for the Anti-Defamation League.

Full story: http://diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_11996.shtml

Monday, November 24, 2008

Commentary: LBJ, King opened door for Obama's election

By Luci Baines Johnson
Special to CNN

Editor's Note: Luci Baines Johnson is the younger daughter of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th president of the United States. She is chairman of LBJ Asset Management Partners, Inc. and vice president of BusinessSuites, a nationwide office business service center. She also serves as a trustee of Boston University. She has four grown children, Lyndon, Nicole, Rebekah and Claudia, one stepson, Stuart, and eleven grandchildren.

(CNN) -- Forty-four years ago on November 2, 1964, I returned to Austin, Texas, with my parents and gave my last campaign speech at a rally in front of the Texas Capitol.
After campaigning in 26 states for five months I never got to vote for Daddy on November 3 -- I was just 16 and too young to vote.
My father's dream was to open the doors of opportunity to all Americans regardless of the color of their skin or the quantity of their pocketbook.
On November 4, Barack Obama made good on those dreams. He walked through the doors of opportunity -- flung open by Lyndon Baines Johnson, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the millions of men and women who supported the Great Society -- and succeeded because of the "content of his character, not the color of his skin."
When Daddy signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law, he said he feared he was handing his beloved South over to the Republican Party for a generation, but if that was the price he had to pay for social justice he gladly did it. Sadly it's been more than a generation since he said those prophetic words.

Full story: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/23/johnson.lbj.obama/index.html


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008

Prayer Breaks Sought by Muslim Employees to be Instituted; Total of $365,000 to be Paid in Two Cases
MINNEAPOLIS – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that a federal district court in St. Paul, Minn., recently approved consent decrees that settle two religious discrimination lawsuits against a leading St. Cloud, Minn.-based chicken processor, Gold’n Plump Poultry, Inc., and an employment agency, The Work Connection, which referred workers to it.
Under the decree preliminarily approved in the Gold’n Plump case, the employer will add a paid break during the second half of each shift which -- in addition to a break early in the shift and lunch breaks otherwise required by applicable law -- will accommodate the religious beliefs of Muslim employees who wish to pray during the course of the work day. The timing of the added break will fluctuate during the year so as to coordinate with the religious timing for Muslim prayers.
In addition to other related relief, Gold’n Plump will provide $215,000 in monetary relief to a class of Somali Muslims who claimed religious discrimination, including discharge and discipline. An additional $150,000 will be paid to class members under the consent decree entered in The Work Connection case. EEOC attorneys estimate that the total number of individuals receiving monetary relief in the cases after claims processing will be in the 40 to 80 range.
The decree in The Work Connection case has also been given preliminary approval and entered by the court. The EEOC had alleged in The Work Connection case that, in order to be referred for work at Gold’n Plump’s facilities in Cold Spring, Minn., and Arcadia, Wis., applicants were required to sign a form stating that they would not refuse to handle pork in the course of their jobs. In addition to stopping use of the “pork form,” The Work Connection will offer placement at Gold’n Plump to job seekers previously turned away for refusing to sign the form.
The EEOC held that both companies violated the religious discrimination prohibition of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The decrees in both cases prohibit retaliation by the employers and provide for training and reporting to the EEOC.
The consent decrees were the result of a series of mediation sessions conducted by federal Magistrate Judge Jeanne J. Graham of the St. Paul Division of U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota and by retired federal Magistrate Judge Jonathan G. Lebedoff. The EEOC joined the mediation as part of the conciliation process. Final approval and entry by the court of the consent decrees will occur after claims for relief are processed, and the court approves individual monetary distributions.
“Both of these cases reflect the EEOC’s determination, especially in this post-9/11 era, to be sensitive to the high level of religious diversity in the American labor force and to assure that all employers and employees do their best to accommodate our rich tapestry of religious beliefs and practices,” said Ronald S. Cooper, the EEOC’s General Counsel in Washington, D.C. “We are especially pleased that the employers shared our determination to reach a just and equitable result and that everyone will be able to avoid the burdens and delay of protracted litigation.”
Cooper noted that the EEOC participates in the Interagency Workgroup on Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian American Communities convened by the U.S. Department of Justice to address issues of concern to those communities in the wake of the events of 9/11.
John Hendrickson, the EEOC regional attorney for the Chicago District, which includes Minnesota, added, “These were complicated cases in which real differences posed real challenges. But everyone came to the table with the goal of finding a solution which would accommodate the needs of Gold’n Plump and The Work Connection to continue to conduct business and, at the same time, respect and accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs and practices of their employees. In the end, cooperation and common sense prevailed, and today’s consent decrees are the result.”
The EEOC’s lawsuits were filed Sept. 8, 2008, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, St. Paul Division. (EEOC v. Gold’n Plump Poultry, Inc., 0:08-cv-05136-DSD-JJG; EEOC v. The Work Connection, 0:08-cv-05137-DSD-JJG). The EEOC cases are docketed as related cases to a private case previously filed in the same court by certain of the class members. (Aware Daud, et al. v. Gold’n Plump Poultry, Inc. and The Work Connection, 0:06-cv-04013-DSD-JJG). In addition to Hendrickson, the EEOC was represented by Associate Regional Attorney Jean Kamp and Nicholas Pladson, an EEOC trial attorney in the Minneapolis Area Office.
On July 22, 2008, the EEOC issued a new Compliance Manual Section regarding religious discrimination, harassment and accommodation. The EEOC issued this section in response to an increase in charges of religious discrimination, increased religious diversity in the United States, and requests for guidance from stakeholders and agency personnel investigating and litigating claims of religious discrimination. Religious discrimination charge filings with the EEOC nationwide have risen substantially over the past 15 years, doubling from 1,388 in Fiscal Year 1992 to a record level of 2,880 in FY 2007.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.

Department of Labor Issues Final FMLA Regulations

From the Wage and Hour Administration Website:

The revised Final Regulations (PDF) respond to over 4,600 public comments received in response to the Department’s February 2008 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) (PDF) , which proposed changes to the current FMLA regulations. The NPRM was developed in response to several U.S. Supreme Court and lower court cases invalidating portions of the current regulations, the passage of amendments to the FMLA included as Section 585(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (Public Law 110-181), and a comprehensive review of the Department’s fifteen years of experience administering the FMLA, including two previous Department of Labor studies of the FMLA (in 1996 and 2001) and over 15,000 public comments received in response to a Request for Information (RFI) (PDF) published in the Federal Register on December 1, 2006, and summarized in the Department’s June 2007 Report on the RFI (PDF).
The Final Regulations (PDF) implement two important new military family leave entitlements for eligible specified family members:
(1) Up to 12 weeks of leave for certain qualifying exigencies arising out of a covered military member's active duty status, or notification of an impending call or order to active duty status, in support of a contingency operation, and
(2) Up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember recovering from a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty. Eligible employees are entitled to a combined total of up to 26 weeks of all types of FMLA leave during the single 12-month period.
The Final Regulations (PDF) will become effective on January 16, 2009.

Additional information on the Final Regulations:
Final Regulations (PDF) (HTML)
Press Release
Fact Sheet on the Final Regulations (PDF)
Additional information on the military family leave amendments to the FMLA:
FMLA and the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008
Title I of the Family and Medical Leave Act, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008
Additional information on the FMLA:
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) Website
Assistant Secretary Lipnic's Testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families, Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (PDF)
Report on the Request for Information Website
FMLA Compliance Assistance Information from the Wage and Hour Division
The Family and Medical Leave Act


Statement about Race at Bob Jones University

At Bob Jones University, Scripture is our final authority for faith and practice and it is our intent to have it govern all of our policies. It teaches that God created the human race as one race. History, reality and Scripture affirm that in that act of creation was the potential for great diversity, manifested today by the remarkable racial and cultural diversity of humanity. Scripture also teaches that this beautiful, God-caused and sustained diversity is divinely intended to incline mankind to seek the Lord and depend on Him for salvation from sin (Acts 17:24–28).
The true unity of humanity is found only through faith in Christ alone for salvation from sin—in contrast to the superficial unity found in humanistic philosophies or political points of view. For those made new in Christ, all sinful social, cultural and racial barriers are erased (Colossians 3:11), allowing the beauty of redeemed human unity in diversity to be demonstrated through the Church.
The Christian is set free by Christ’s redeeming grace to love God fully and to love his neighbor as himself, regardless of his neighbor’s race or culture. As believers, we demonstrate our love for others first by presenting Christ our Great Savior to every person, irrespective of race, culture, or national origin. This we do in obedience to Christ’s final command to proclaim the Gospel to all men (Matthew 28:19–20). As believers we are also committed to demonstrating the love of Christ daily in our relationships with others, disregarding the economic, cultural and racial divisions invented by sinful humanity (Luke 10:25–37; James 2:1–13).
Bob Jones University has existed since 1927 as a private Christian institution of higher learning for the purpose of helping young men and women cultivate a biblical worldview, represent Christ and His Gospel to others, and glorify God in every dimension of life.
BJU’s history has been chiefly characterized by striving to achieve those goals; but like any human institution, we have failures as well. For almost two centuries American Christianity, including BJU in its early stages, was characterized by the segregationist ethos of American culture. Consequently, for far too long, we allowed institutional policies regarding race to be shaped more directly by that ethos than by the principles and precepts of the Scriptures. We conformed to the culture rather than provide a clear Christian counterpoint to it.
In so doing, we failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves. For these failures we are profoundly sorry
. Though no known antagonism toward minorities or expressions of racism on a personal level have ever been tolerated on our campus, we allowed institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful.
On national television in March 2000, Bob Jones III, who was the university’s president until 2005, stated that BJU was wrong in not admitting African-American students before 1971, which sadly was a common practice of both public and private universities in the years prior to that time. On the same program, he announced the lifting of the University’s policy against interracial dating.
Our sincere desire is to exhibit a truly Christlike spirit and biblical position in these areas. Today, Bob Jones University enrolls students from all 50 states and nearly 50 countries, representing various ethnicities and cultures. The University solicits financial support for two scholarship funds for minority applicants, and the administration is committed to maintaining on the campus the racial and cultural diversity and harmony characteristic of the true Church of Jesus Christ throughout the world. http://www.bju.edu/about/race.html

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Looking to the Past to Ban Legacy Admissions

November 20

When critics question legacy admissions — special preferences for the children of alumni — they tend to focus on fairness, not legality. Politicians and others have periodically asked why colleges should give any assistance to those who are more likely to have other advantages anyway, given that their parents were well educated.
But legal challenges have been few. In the 1980s, the U.S. Education Department considered complaints that legacy admissions systems discriminated against Asian American applicants, but ruled that this was not the case because, as more Asian Americans became graduates of elite colleges, their children would benefit much as the children of white alumni have benefited over time.
But this week — for the second time this year — a law journal is publishing a legal analysis that suggests that legacy preferences are illegal. The new issue of the Santa Clara Review features an article — whose lead writer would like to find plaintiffs to test his theory — arguing that the 1866 Civil Rights Act bars legacy admissions at public and private institutions. An article earlier this year in the Washington University Law Review argues that the “nobility clauses” of the U.S. Constitution ban legacy admissions at public institutions.
In both cases, the lawyers and legal scholars who wrote the articles say that the statutes they cite effectively bar hereditary advantages and that legacy admissions are such an advantage, even if the authors of the statutes weren’t thinking about how one gets into Harvard.
Several advocates for colleges that use legacy admissions said that they hadn’t heard of the latest arguments and so couldn’t comment on them. But it would be an understatement to say that colleges with legacy preferences generally don’t like to talk about them (except, perhaps during reunion weekend).

Full story: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/11/20/legacy

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Officials: Obama Eyes Top Choice for Atty Gen

Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008

(WASHINGTON) — Washington attorney Eric Holder is President-elect Barack Obama's top choice to be the next attorney general and aides have gone so far as to ask senators whether he would be confirmed, an Obama official and people close to the matter said Tuesday.
Holder, a former U.S. attorney who served as the No. 2 official in the Justice Department under President Bill Clinton, would be the nation's first black attorney general. (See pictures of Barack Obama's victory celebration in Chicago.)
An Obama official and two Democrats in touch with the transition team confirmed that Holder is Obama's top choice but the Obama official said the decision has not been finalized.
Holder did not return messages seeking comment Tuesday. Asked Monday by The Associated Press whether he expected to be nominated, he responded in an e-mail: "Who knows?"
In the past week, Obama aides have asked Senate Republicans whether they would support Holder. In particular, the aides questioned whether Holder's confirmation would be delayed because of his involvement in the 2001 pardon of fugitive Marc Rich by Clinton at the end of his presidency.

[Full story: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1860375,00.html

Tool: Employer Pay Equity Self-Audit

Workforce Management

Business and Professional Women/USA, an advocacy organization for working women, adapted this audit from a Department of Labor document to help employers gauge whether they are paying men and women employees equally. The organization notes that discrepancies can lead to costly lawsuits.

In a time when women make up nearly half the workforce, many think that the issue of equal pay no longer exists. Business and Professional Women/USA begs to differ.
According to the organization, the latest Census Bureau estimate reports that full-time year-round female workers make 77 cents for every dollar a male earns. For minority women this statistic worsens, as African-American women make 66 cents, Latinas make 55 cents and Asian-American women make 80 cents. "Given the current rate of change, it will be another 50 years before women achieve equal pay," according to the organization, which believes that gender discrimination "is not only a women’s issue but a business issue."
"Employers play a major role in helping to end the wage gap and to treat women fairly in the workplace," according the group. Employers will suffer from pay discrimination not only because of expensive lawsuits but also because women—whether as customers or employees—will have less money to spend and invest, the group argues.
BPW/USA believes in the three-pronged approach to addressing the issue of pay equity. "We believe that legislation should be passed to enact tougher laws; businesses should be held accountable for their unfair pay practices and mindful of what they pay their employees; and women should be given the knowledge and tools to empower themselves to get even at work."
The employer pay equity self-audit was developed to assist employers in analyzing their own wage-setting policies and establishing consistent and fair pay practices for all. BPW/USA encourages employers to answer all of the questions in the audit to further examine how they are doing with paying and promoting their female employees fairly.
For more information about BPW/USA, please go to www.bpwusa.org.
Employer Pay Equity Self-Audit
1. Conduct a Recruitment Self-Audit
Does your hiring process seek diversity in the qualified applicant pool for positions?
2. Evaluate Your Compensation System for Internal Equity
Do you have a method to determine salaries and benefits?
Do you write position descriptions, seek employee input and develop consensus for position descriptions? In unionized workplaces, do you involve union leaders?
Do you have a consistent job evaluation system? Are jobs scored or assigned grades? Are positions where women and minorities work scored or graded according to the same standards as jobs where men or non-minorities work?
Could a method be used for ensuring consistent pay for people with substantially similar levels or experience and education who hold jobs calling for substantially similar degrees of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions, even though job titles may be different?
3. Evaluate Your Compensation System for Industry Competitiveness
Do you have a method to determine the market rate for any given job? Do you ensure that market rates are applied consistently? (i.e.—Can you be confident that men are not being compensated at or above market rates while women are compensated at or below market rates? Can you be confident that non-minority workers are not compensated at or above market rates while minority workers’ compensation is at or below the market rates?)
Would your company benefit from a fresh approach that updates position descriptions; assesses skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions of various jobs; assigns grades or scores; and ensures consistent application of market rates and external competitiveness?

Full story: http://www.workforce.com/archive/feature/24/91/83/index.php

Regulation Requires Federal Contractors to Use E-Verify

Workforce Management
November 14, 2008

Federal contractors will be required to use a government-run electronic employment eligibility verification system starting early next year under a regulation announced Friday, November 14.

The Department of Homeland Security said the 274-page rule will go into effect January 15, 2009. Companies that win a federal contract of more than $100,000—and subcontractors with contracts of greater than $3,000—will have to enroll in E-Verify, the electronic verification mechanism, within 30 days of being awarded the work.
The firms will have to check the eligibility of existing and new employees who directly work on federal contracts. The regulation was first issued as an executive order by President Bush in June. The original regulatory proposal received 1,600 public comments.
Currently, about 92,000 companies use E-Verify. The contractor rule could add an additional 150,000 to 180,000 employers.
Under the system, new-hire information from I-9 forms is electronically compared with Social Security and DHS databases.
Many employer groups have criticized E-Verify for being inaccurate, inefficient and unable to detect identity theft. They argue that the 4.1 percent error rate in the Social Security database could lead to millions of people being incorrectly ruled ineligible for work.
Supporters of E-Verify say the system confirms 96 percent of queries instantly and has an error rate of less than 1 percent. The program, which is voluntary, has become a foundation of the Bush administration’s stepped-up work-site enforcement efforts.
The crackdown intensified after the demise of comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate in 2007. Observers say the federal contractor requirement is a way for the DHS to significantly boost E-Verify participation.
“The administration is trying to accomplish through regulation what it cannot accomplish through legislation,” said Eric Bord, a partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius in Washington.
[Full Story] http://www.workforce.com/section/00/article/25/95/84.php


BAMN E-MAIL - 11/18/2008

The year 2008 has put the new civil rights movement on the edge of victory in our 12 year fight to defend affirmative action.
By our independent mobilization, we kept Ward Connerly off the ballot in three crucial states. In Oklahoma, Connerly withdrew his petitions in the face of challenges to his fraudulent signatures filed by BAMN and by the ACLU. In Missouri, a coalition, including SEIU, ACORN, BAMN and others, organized signature blocking on a statewide basis—which prevented Connerly from even filing in that state.
Most importantly, in Arizona, BAMN, acting almost alone, organized the effort to block Connerly's signature gatherers. By our campaign, we forced those petition gatherers to resort to even more fraudulent tactics than usual. The state election authorities then disqualified almost half of the signatures submitted by the Connerly's Arizona Civil Rights Initiative—resulting in the ACRI being kept off the 2008 ballot, where it could have served as a rallying-cry for every racist inside and outside of the McCain-Palin campaign.
In the wake of the massive publicity over Connerly's fraud—and in the wake of the tide of votes for Obama—Connerly's attempt to ban affirmative action then lost in a fourth state—Colorado. In what Connerly had billed as Super Tuesday, his dishonest attempt to ban affirmative action won only in Nebraska. Even there, it won only because BAMN did not have enough resources to launch its own campaign against it.
Having seen the results in Colorado and the massive celebrations over the election of our first black President, Connerly drew the appropriate lessons. He fell on his sword and announced his planned retirement. If he follows through on the retirement, his unlamented departure will leave the anti-affirmative action movement without its most effective fund raiser, speaker, and front man. While there are a few pretenders to his racist throne, it seems likely that his rich backers will not want to fund a renewed effort in 2010, after the failures of 2008, after the pro-Obama celebrations, and after the drubbing that the Republican Party took because of its racism.
We must, of course, be vigilant. If Connerly or some pretender attempts to gather signatures for the 2010 elections, we must respond with a signature-blocking effort that is faster, stronger, and more widespread than the victorious efforts we made in 2008. We now know how to beat him—and we should vow that never again will he or anyone else succeed in their fraudulent signature gathering.
But even if there are no new petitions in 2010, Connerly has left with one poisonous parting shot. With media fanfare that is richly undeserved, Connerly has proclaimed that the election of Barack Obama shows that we no longer need affirmative action. Beyond the far right, few really believe this myth. But it is dangerous and must be combated—in part because the media and every racist force in the country so rapidly repeat it.
The simple truth, however, is that Obama would never have been at Harvard Law School without affirmative action. Even more fundamentally, tens of millions of white voters would never have voted for Obama or any black candidate if the way had not been paved by tens of thousands of black and Latino doctors, lawyers, teachers and political leaders. These products of affirmative action shattered the myth of racial inferiority that the old Jim Crow had spread. In a word, the election of Barack Obama shows that we need more—not less—affirmative action.
What Barack Obama himself does is now of crucial importance. If he carries through on his stated opposition to the attempt to ban affirmative action through state referenda, we can reverse the bans that now exist. On the other hand, if he is silent, it will make it possible for the right wing to snatch a future victory from the jaws of their current defeat. We can profoundly influence the choice Obama makes by continuing our fight to defend affirmative action.
Much remains to be done. In three crucial states—California, Washington and Michigan—all forms of affirmative action have been outlawed. In almost every other state, political and legal threats by Connerly and his supporters have scared timid college and university administrators into cutting back almost every existing affirmative action program. And the Supreme Court has made affirmative action almost illegal in contracting, employment, and elementary and secondary education. Though Connerly has been defeated, separate and unequal—the new Jim Crow—retains a powerful hold on American law and on American politics.
We must use our victories to roll back the right-wing's achievements. We must redouble our demands that colleges and universities use every lawful means to maintain and increase the enrollment of black, Latino/a, Native American and other minority students. In the same year that we have elected a black man as President, we can not let our universities continue excluding tens of thousands of qualified black, Latino, and Native American students. Nor can we continue the scandalous under-representation of women students in the sciences, engineering and other areas where sexism remains especially strong.
We must also fight on a national basis to reverse the bans on affirmative action in California, Washington and Michigan. President-elect Obama rightly spoke out against these bans—and he won because of the hope for racial equality that he came to symbolize. Every student organization, every student government, and every educational or political leader should publicly ask President Obama to make his opposition to Connerly real by issuing an executive order or regulation banning state initiatives that prevent local governments from maintaining or enacting affirmative action programs. We can not let a national civil rights policy be thwarted by state's rights initiatives. Nor can we leave the fate of Michigan's Proposal 2 in the hands of courts that have been packed by George W. Bush.
The experience of the last year shows that we can defend affirmative action if we fight. In fact, the new civil rights movement is powerful now precisely because we fought and won when the liberals said it was impossible. They said affirmative action was dead when the right filed suit against the University of Michigan. But we built a mass campaign—culminating in the march of 50,000 on April 1, 2003—and won the great victory in Grutter.
They said we should not—or could not—keep Connerly off the ballot in Michigan. But our fight against his fraud kept him off the 2004 ballot and almost succeeded in keeping him off Michigan's 2006 ballot. His electoral victory in November 2006 showed how right we were to attempt to keep him off that ballot.
In 2008, the terrain had shifted in a positive direction. Many beyond BAMN recognized the importance of keeping Connerly's proposals off the ballot. Especially in Missouri, some organizations even attempted to block Connerly's petitioners. But the liberals still said we should not mention affirmative action or directly attack the racism of his petitions.
However, in every state—including in Missouri and in the crucial state of Arizona—BAMN's young volunteers were the most effective signature-blockers because we told petitioners and voters the plain truth about the racist and segregationist aim of his petitions.
For twelve years, BAMN has led the way forward because it has recognized that Connerly could only be defeated by an integrated, mass movement led by the most militant young fighters from the black, Latino, Native American communities. To build that movement, we have to call racism by its right name—and fight it, in all its forms.
Our method is battle-tested. Our victories are real. We now have the power to defeat the new Jim Crow and to move towards the dream of an equal and integrated Nation that so many have fought for so courageously and for so long. In their names and for our future, it is time for us to move forward.
Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)(510) 502-9072 www.bamn.com myspace.com/nationalbamn california@bamn.com

Monday, November 17, 2008


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
November 10, 2008

Federal Agency Says Prep School Fired Employee for Protesting Unequal Pay for Women

CLEVELAND – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that a jury here has returned a unanimous verdict against Lake Ridge Academy finding that an employee who voiced concern about unequal pay for women was unlawfully fired in retaliation.
The jury reached its unanimous verdict in the EEOC lawsuit after hearing testimony which proved that James Whiteman was fired in retaliation for opposing sex-based wage discrimination. The jury awarded back pay of $50,000, front pay of $50,000, and compensatory damages of $500,000. While the jury was deliberating the matter of punitive damages, the parties agreed to settle the case for a total of $950,000. The EEOC’s suit was filed in U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, in August 2007 (1:07-cv-02615). Whiteman also filed a private lawsuit against the school and both cases were heard together.
Whiteman had been employed at the North Ridgeville, Ohio-based preparatory school as chair of an accreditation study and was fired after requesting information from Lake Ridge’s Head of Schools and the Chief Financial Officer regarding possible pay inequity when he noted that males were being paid more than females for similar education and work history.
In addition to the protections against retaliation that are included in all of the laws enforced by EEOC, Title VII also prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin, and protects employees who complain or oppose such discrimination from retaliation.
“In this case, the people have spoken,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Jacqueline McNair, whose Philadelphia District also includes Cleveland. “The jury’s verdict in this case should make it clear to employers that retaliation has no place in the work environment.”
Whiteman’s private counsel, Gregory Gordillo of Gordillo & Gordillo, LLC, added, “James Whiteman had nothing to gain and everything to lose by standing up for female teachers that were afraid to do it themselves. He is a true hero and the resolution of this case is true justice. I am so honored to have represented him.” Gordillo can be contacted at (216) 875-5500.
According to its web site www.lakeridgeacademy.org, “Founded in 1963, Lake Ridge Academy is an independent, co-educational day school that serves Northeastern Ohio and the only independent school on Cleveland’s West Side,” and “enroll[s] qualified students in grades K-12 without regard to race, color, religion, nationality or ethnic background.”
Retaliation charge filings with the EEOC totaled 26,663 in Fiscal Year 2007, up 18 percent from the prior year to a record high level – and double the number of retaliation filings in FY 1992. Retaliation is now the second most frequent charge filing with EEOC office nationwide.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site http://www.eeoc.gov.

Race and red tape

The Economist
Nov 13th 2008
From The Economist print edition
One unsung benefit of financial deregulation is greater colour-blindness

THIS is a bad moment for financial deregulation in America and a good one for race relations. Yet might the two be connected? New research* by a trio of academics at Brown University shows that when American states liberalised their uncompetitive banking markets between the mid-1970s and 1994, one of the little-noticed side effects was a reduced wage gap between blacks and whites.
It has been widely documented that black workers in America earn less than their white peers, partly because the average black worker has less education and experience than his white counterpart. But even after stripping out all observable differences between workers, there remains an unexplained shortfall in the wages of black workers compared with white ones. Economists call this the “racial wage gap”.
At least some of this appears to be because of bias. A recent paper has documented that American firms are one-and-a-half times as likely to interview a person they think is white than one they think is black, even if both have identical qualifications. To reduce this bias, there are common responses such as affirmative-action policies and education. Since Gary Becker, a Nobel-prize winning economist, wrote “The Economics of Discrimination” in 1957, the role of competition has also been central to economists’ thinking about how to ease discrimination at work. [Full story:

Need Help Getting a Job in the Obama Administration? Talent Bank May Be the Answer

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Karen Branch-Brioso
Nov 17, 2008, 11:03

The Warren Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law is teaming up with a group of liberal philanthropists to help minorities and women win jobs in President-elect Barack Obama’s administration.

The Diversity in Democracy Project, also dubbed the Talent Bank Project, has already collected about 1,000 resumes as of Friday, according to Steve Phillips, a San Francisco employment lawyer and donor to progressive causes.

“The enthusiasm is off the charts,” says Phillips, who also presides over PowerPAC, a nonprofit advocacy and political organization that has also chipped in with Phillips and others to pay for the $100,000 project.

Organizers will accept rèsumès through Nov. 21, from minorities of all types who are often underrepresented in presidential administrations: Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, gays and lesbians, the disabled and women.

Interested applicants should send rèsumès to warreninstitute@berkeley.edu.

The project will use assessment tools provided by the Korn/Ferry International executive recruiting firm to help match applicants’ resumes with jobs. And then a bi-partisan board, led by Phillips, will winnow down the list and offer a pool of candidates matched up to administration jobs.

The list of final candidates will be presented to the transition team in early December, Phillips said. [Full story: http://diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_11968.shtml ]

Hate crimes up on campuses, group says

By Susan Snyder
Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted on Sat, Nov. 15, 2008

La Salle University has disciplined a fraternity and suspended several students over an off-campus fight last weekend in which several black students said they were assaulted and subjected to racial slurs that drew on the presidential election.
The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, also known as Fiji, has lost its privileges pending the outcome of the investigation, and 12 to 15 students are expected to face disciplinary charges, school officials said. University officials declined to say whether the students were members of the fraternity.
Meanwhile, students at St. Joseph's University were planning a candlelight vigil and other events to strike back against racially charged graffiti found in a campus classroom on Oct. 29.
At Lehigh University, the Black Student Union and others called for curriculum changes and the hiring of a chief diversity officer following reports of racial taunts being made toward black students after the election.
The actions come as two national groups report a surge of similar acts on campuses and elsewhere around the country, all in the wake of Barack Obama's election as president. [Full story:


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ruben Navarrette Jr.: Now, what about affirmative action?

November 15, 2008

Did the hot-button issues of affirmative action and racial preferences come up in this election? It depends where you look.

Voters in Nebraska and Colorado weighed in on ballot initiatives to ban racial preferences. Those in Nebraska voted "yes" on the ban, following the lead of California, Washington and Michigan, which had approved similar initiatives. Those in Colorado voted "no," making it the first state in the country to reject such a measure.
Even so, the topic of racial preferences didn't surface much during the main event: the presidential campaign. Nor did the softer concept of affirmative action, which need not be a hard preference of one aspirant over another. It could simply mean government, colleges or industries considering an applicant's race as one factor among many.
There were a couple of sightings.
During a Democratic debate in April, ABC's George Stephanopoulos reminded Barack Obama that he had suggested his own daughters shouldn't benefit from affirmative action since they're not disadvantaged. Stephanopoulos asked Obama how he would change those policies so that affluent African Americans aren't given advantages over less-affluent whites.
Obama said that his priority would be "providing ladders of opportunity" and making sure "every child in America has a decent shot in pursuing their dreams." He also said that he supported affirmative action as "a means of overcoming both historic and potentially current discrimination."
CNN's Wolf Blitzer recently asked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin if, given Obama's victory, it was "time to get rid of affirmative action in our country."
Palin said she believed in "equal opportunity for everyone" but that — as long as every American is treated equally — there are probably "some specific policies that I'm sure ... we can move beyond." She also said that she was very proud of America for the "progress our nation has made in not allowing race to be ... a prohibitive factor in an election" and that she was happy to see what Obama accomplished not just for himself "but also for our nation (and) for our children."
Frankly, the answer was much better than the question. This idea that the election of Barack Obama should be the death knell for affirmative action is absurd. One thing has nothing to do with the other. That kind of thinking starts with the epidemic of Americans patting themselves on the back for being enlightened enough to elect an African-American president. [Full editorial: http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20081115/OPINION05/811150308/1006/OPINION ]

Obama and affirmative action

The Boston Globe
November 15, 2008

THE NIGHT Barack Obama won the election, the old common sense about race in America suddenly died. Now the United States is a place where a black man can become president. This new fact could spark a revolution, if the country asks how much more progress is possible.
One step is to look at affirmative action in light of Obama's victory.
Angry claims about affirmative action handouts and quota queens could give way to a simpler question: Who is missing out on the American dream, and what can be done about it? This wouldn't be about making up for past injustices. It would simply fulfill America's destiny as a land of opportunity.
Republicans often argue that education is the real civil rights issue of the 21st century. That's largely true. Greater public investment in early-education programs, K-12 schools, and public colleges could help more people thrive.
But even the best schools can't change society alone. The country has to help children and adults overcome severe disadvantages. Racism is one. But also poverty, incarceration, homelessness, drug addiction, physical abuse, and mental illness.
The country must also accept its own changing face. Asked if his daughters should benefit from affirmative action, Obama reasonably said no, pointing out the obvious privileges that his children have. But the relevant question is not what America might do for the Obama girls, but what they could one day do for an increasingly diverse nation where by 2050 "minorities" will make up more than half of the population, according to Census Bureau predictions. This future America will need more police officers, medical researchers, software engineers, and neighbors who can help build multicultural prosperity.
Time is running out - at least legally. [Full story: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2008/11/15/obama_and_affirmative_action/ ]

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Discrediting the “Model Minority” Stereotype

Inside Higher Ed
November 13, 2008

Chinese Americans are not as homogeneous as they are sometimes portrayed — this is particularly apparent in their college-going rates and enrollment patterns — according to a new study from the Asian American Studies Program at University of Maryland at College Park and the Organization of Chinese Americans.
“Some of the popular beliefs about Chinese Americans simply don’t withstand our findings, as you might expect with most stereotypes,” Larry H. Shinegawa, director of the Asian American Studies Program at Maryland and co-author of the study, said in a press release.
More than half — 51.7 percent — of Chinese Americans 25 or older have earned some sort of college degree. This is, proportionally, nearly twice as much as the rest of the U.S. population, 27 percent of whom have a college degree. In contrast, 18.5 percent of Chinese Americans have not graduated from high school, compared to 15.9 percent of the general population. Among Asian Americans, they have the second highest proportion of individuals without a high school degree. Only Vietnamese Americans, at 27.8 percent, are less likely to graduate high school.
Shinegawa said there could be any number of reasons for this disparity. He chalks some of these figures up to generational differences among Chinese Americans. Newer immigrants to the United States, he noted, contribute greatly to the number of individuals without high school diplomas. Moreover, he said, as immigrant families reunite, those who are more recent immigrants may not have the educational attainment of their relatives who immigrated earlier. [Full story: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/11/13/chinese]

Hope and a diverse nation

The Boston Globe
By Steve Crosby and Robert L. Turner
November 13, 2008

IN AMERICA, presidential elections are the ultimate act of community. Millions vote, and, though the contest is usually close, the winner is embraced as everyone's president.
Barack Obama's victory says a great deal that is good about the nation, about its optimism and its readiness to grow. Not least, it says something positive about race relations in America.
According to CNN exit polls, of those who said race was a significant factor in their voting decision, the support for Obama and John McCain closely mirrored the overall national totals - fully as many voters apparently liked the idea of electing the nation's first black president as disliked it. More telling, in the long run, is that the number was low - age was cited as a significant factor by more than twice as many voters as race.
Still, the election has put race more profoundly - and more hopefully - in the forefront of American consciousness than at any time since 1968. Frank talk about the economic and social value of diversity and inclusion, both domestically and in the globalized economy, helped propel Obama's candidacy.
But as we have found in Massachusetts, the elevation of an African-American to the highest political office provides an opportunity for progress - a culture and a tone - but solves little by itself.
Education gaps, health outcomes, hate crimes, unemployment rates, crime and incarceration statistics, foreclosure rates and housing discrimination have not resolved themselves in Massachusetts overnight. Progress in these areas will probably continue to be slow unless the community rises up with a determination to act as a community. An elected leader and a handful of committed activists can help, but significant progress will rely on broad sectors of the population rallying to take advantage of the opportunity. [Full story: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/11/13/hope_and_a_diverse_nation/]

Group Hires Lawyer To Address Dearth of Black College Football Coaches

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Lois Elfman
Nov 13, 2008, 05:50

The number of Black college football coaches is going in the wrong direction, according to the latest hiring report card issued Wednesday by the Black Coaches and Administrators (BCA).

Hiring committees are more diverse and coaches of color are being interviewed for football head coaching positions, but the number of hires is still dismal, the report card shows.

“Interviewing is not the measure of true success. Interviewing is not hiring. The true measure of progress and success will be when athletic directors stop merely interviewing candidates of color, and when athletic directors actually hire head football coaches of color,” said Charlotte Westerhaus, vice president of diversity and inclusion of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) .

For the 2007-08 season examined in the fifth BCA hiring report card, there were only four head football coaches of color hired to fill 31 job openings. The 2008 season in both the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Division, began with eight coaches of color, six of whom were African-American.

When compared with the representation of head coaches of men’s Division I college basketball the statistics are striking. In basketball 58 percent of the players are African American and 25 percent of the head coaches are African American. In college football, African Americans make up 50 percent of the players but only 6.7 percent of the head coaches. [Full story: http://diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_11964.shtml]

Women Executives on Work/Life Balance: Flexibility, Networks, Outside Interests

Published: November 12, 2008 in Knowledge@Wharton

The oft-used term "work/life balance" can mean different things to different people -- and different things to the same person at various points in her career, according to a panel of Wall Street executives at the recent Wharton Women in Business Conference.
The five women on the panel -- which was titled, "For the Long Haul: Wall Street Women on Balancing Life and Work after VP" -- all acknowledged that striking a perfect balance between work and personal life is rarely possible for a first-year associate on Wall Street, but they also agreed that balance is possible with time.
"It's very hard coming right out of business school to achieve work/life balance," said Carol A. Schafer, a managing director in Wachovia Securities' Equity Capital Markets group who also spent 17 years at JP Morgan. "You want to be able to work for an organization that sets you up for work/life balance in the future, one that respects personal life, personal time, has a good mentoring organization -- a good women's organization." A first-year associate can't tell an employer, "Here I am. I'm great. I'm smart, and I demand work/life balance," Schafer noted, but "it's pretty achievable over time."
She added that work performance is critical, especially at a career's start, and will pay off with greater lifestyle flexibility. "If you really want to be there for the long haul, have good opportunities presented to you, be able to achieve work/life balance over time and move around to get a broad experience, you've got to be a consistently good performer. That's what gives you leverage.... Become indispensable and everybody [will] want you to be a part of their network. It's what opens all the doors." [Full story: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=2090]

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A partial transcript of Palin on 'Situation Room'

Election Center 2008
November 12, 2008

BLITZER: Let's talk about affirmative action right now. It's a sensitive subject. Now that there is a president-elect who is African-American, do you believe it is time to get rid of affirmative action in our country?
PALIN: I am one to believe in equal opportunity for everyone. And there probably are some specific policies that it is time that America can kind of turn that page, understanding that with the intent of treating everybody equally and providing equal opportunity in the work place and in education, there are some specific policies that I'm sure we can move beyond. And here again, as Barack Obama prepares to take this office of Washington and of Lincoln, what progress our nation has made in not allowing race to be prohibitive at all -- a prohibitive factor in an election.
I'm so proud of America and very happy to see what Barack Obama -- he has accomplished this for himself, but also for our nation, for our children to know that race is not a factor, cannot be a factor, cannot be a ceiling or a prohibition towards progress. [Full transcript: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/12/palin.blitzer.transcript/index.html]

Lehigh U. president to discuss racist comments

The morningcall.com
Of The Morning Call
1:10 PM EST, November 11, 2008

Lehigh University has called a town hall meeting tonight to discuss reports of racist comments made toward black students in the aftermath of Barack Obama's election as the first black U.S. president.Lehigh President Alice P. Gast said in a campus-wide e-mail obtained by The Morning Call that several students have reported several incidents of "racist and hateful comments" directed at them since last Tuesday, when Obama won the election. Gast met Friday with the students who were targeted."I am deeply saddened by the incidents that have been reported to me," Gast wrote. "Rather than celebrating a landmark event in American history, we are addressing hateful acts of racism and ignorance."
The campus meeting, hosted by the university's Council for Equity and Community, is at 8 p.m. today in the Perella Auditorium of Rauch Business Center.
Gast said there would be "additional events and actions to address these incidents and to allow us to show each other what we value as a community." She also urged students to "take an active role."Last week some first-year students, all black women, "were targeted and called racial and sexist names by other Lehigh students," according to CalvinJohn Smiley, a Lehigh graduate student and former undergraduate.

[Full story: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-lehigh-1111,0,2807556.story]

Nebraskans approve affirmative action ban

The Cavalier Daily
Colorado voters faced similar proposition; University will continue to practice affirmative action in admissions decisions
Shea Connelly, Cavalier Daily Senior Associate Editor
Published: Monday, November 10 2008

On Election Day last week, 58 percent of voters in Nebraska supported a measure to end the practice of affirmative action in public employment, public education and public contracting.
Colorado voters faced a similar choice on their ballot this year, and although votes are still being counted, the votes to keep the practice currently outweigh the alternative, 51 to 49 percent.
Bill Harvey, University vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity, noted that he was pleased that voters in Colorado looked at the proposition on their ballot carefully enough to understand that “there is a need and opportunity for us to provide a chance for people who are historically not represented to get a chance to be involved in higher education and employment.”
Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity based in Falls Church, Va., which supports banning some kinds of affirmative action, however, holds a different perspective. He noted that his organization recently conducted and released a study showing the “heavy weight” the University of Nebraska College of Law gives to race in its admissions policies.
“African-Americans and, to a lesser extent, Latinos were admitted with much lower qualifications than whites and Asian-Americans,” Clegg said. “We think that’s unfair and divisive and really serves no one’s interests, so we oppose that.”
Clegg noted, however, that the term “affirmative action” means different things to different groups of people, and his organization does not oppose all forms of affirmative action. He cited President John F. Kennedy’s reference to the term affirmative action in a 1961 executive order in which he urged employers to take “affirmative action” to avoid engaging in prejudicial policies as an example of a type of affirmative action that his organization approves.
On the other hand, he said, “we think that actually taking race or ethnicity into account in deciding who gets admitted into a school or who gets hired or who is awarded a government contract is discrimination, and it’s wrong no matter what racial or ethnic group is being discriminated against,” Clegg said. “In 2008, it is untenable to have a legal regime where people are sorted according to skin color and some people are treated better and others worse on that basis.”
In contrast with Clegg, Shirley J. Wilcher, executive director of the American Association for Affirmative Action, said affirmative action is still necessary.
“Until we have no evidence of discrimination, affirmative action will continue to be necessary,” she said. “Diversity is still a compelling interest with demographics indicating that by 2042, a majority of Americans will be minorities. It is important to ensure colleges and universities have qualified students of all backgrounds.”
Wilcher also said people supporting the bans on affirmative action have been engaging in “deceptive practices” in order to convince other people to also support the bans.
“People thought they were signing an initiative that was pro-civil rights,” she said, when they were actually signing a petition to ban affirmative action.
Wilcher said the future of the United States depends on qualified people of all races being able to graduate from college and to ascend to positions of leadership. [Full story: http://www.cavalierdaily.com/news/2008/nov/10/nebraskans-approve/]

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Connerly Will Not Challenge Colorado's Rejection of Affirmative Action Ban

Feminist Daily News Wire
November 10, 2008

Ward Connerly a California businessman whose efforts have led to affirmative action bans in California, Michigan, Washington, and Nebraska may cease his nationwide anti-affirmative action campaign. Connerly told the Colorado Independent in a phone interview that he will focus his time on other issues, particularly prison reform.Colorado rejected a proposed state constitutional ban (Amendment 46, see PDF) on affirmative action by a slim margin of 51% to 49%. The ban would have prevented taking race and gender into account in public employment, public contracting, and public education. ...

According to the Associated Press, Connerly has not ruled out another try in Colorado or other states. However, in his interview with the Colorado Independent, Connerly implied that his focus would shift to prison reform. "I don't want to mislead you. I don't want to say I am no longer going to be interested in race equality in our public policies," he said. "I think this whole business of what we are doing to people who are incarcerated is far more pressing." [Full story: http://www.feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=11375]

Sara Lee Program Opens Door for Parents Returning to Workforce

Workforce Management
November 3, 2008

The Illinois company is launching 'returnships,' four- to six-month internships at the food maker for midcareer professionals who have been out of the workforce for a few years.

Sara Lee Corp. CEO Brenda Barnes has created a program that gives parents who left the workforce to raise children the opportunity to test the waters when they’re ready to return to the corporate world.
Sara Lee announced October 23, it’s launching “returnships,” four- to six-month internships at the Downers Grove, Illinois,-based food maker for midcareer professionals who have been out of the workforce for a few years.
Barnes knows the challenges such professionals face. In 1997 she resigned as president of PepsiCo Inc.’s North American beverage business to spend more time with her three school-age children. At the time, she came in for criticism that she might be hurting other mothers’ chances of climbing the corporate ladder. [Full story: http://www.workforce.com/section/00/article/25/87/65.php]

Missing America’s Job Bank

Workforce Management
November 3rd, 2008

The Bush administration has sought to help out workers and businesses in these trying times by launching a new Web site with a number of resources. But www.EconomicRecovery.gov has shortcomings. And they call into question yet again the administration’s decision last year to shut down the public job board America’s Job Bank.
The new site offers assistance on topics including unemployment insurance, local job openings and retirement security information.
“We want to make information easily accessible and quickly available to American workers affected by the economic downturn,” Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said in a statement.
Kudos to Chao and other officials for trying to create a helping hub for workers, who confront decimated 401(k) retirement accounts, ever-clearer signs of a recession and an unemployment rate that climbed 1.4 percentage points from September 2007 to September 2008, to 6.1 percent.
But key information is not necessarily “easily accessible” or “quickly available” on the new site. [Full story: http://workforce.com/wpmu/globalwork/2008/11/03/missing_americas_job_bank/]

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ward Connerly Dealt A Loss in Colorado; Nebraska reviews new law

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Robin Chen Delos, Diverse and Nate Jenkins,
Associated Press
Nov 10, 2008, 06:56

Colorado voters narrowly rejected banning affirmative action at public colleges and universities. The measure would have made it illegal for state government to consider race, ethnicity or gender in education, hiring or contracting decisions.

Just over 50 percent of voters opposed the measure, while 49.4 voted for it, according to local media reports. Election officials just Friday finished counting ballots from Tuesday’s vote.

Young people were a key factor in the campaign to convince voters against approving the ballot measure, pushed through by California businessman Ward Connerly, who backed a similar measure that passed last week in Nebraska.

“Young people turned out in record numbers against this measure, especially on college and university campuses,” said Carmen Berkley, president of the United States Student Association, a group that organized against the initiative. The measure was defeated by a two-to-one margin in areas with large student populations, according to the association.

A wide coalition of labor, education, religious, business and media organizations opposed the ban. “We’re all very excited. I think we’ve proven here in Colorado that Ward Connerly can be defeated and when voters know the truth about his initiative they’ll knock it down," says Jessie Ulibarri, economic justice program director for Colorado Progressive Coalition, a group that opposed the measure.

Connerly’s affirmative action bans have passed previous years in California, Washington and Michigan. Nebraska passed a law prohibiting race and gender from being taken into consideration in state hiring and promotion.

Nebraska’s educational institutions, cities and counties are beginning to scour their programs to see if they violate a ban on race- and gender-based affirmative action approved last week by voters.

At Southeast Community College in Nebraska, Jose J. Soto may have to change his title: vice president of affirmative action. [Full story: http://diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_11935.shtml]

Colleges reach out to poorer students

Boston Globe
Critics question commitment to diversify
By Peter Schworm, Globe Staff November 10, 2008

CAMBRIDGE - Williams College recruiter Elizabeth Tilley touted the elite liberal arts school's scenic campus and small classes, many of which are no bigger than the group of nine high school students gathered around a table at Prospect Hill Academy Charter School to hear her pitch.
But before long, Tilley turned to the elephant in the room: On a whiteboard, she wrote the price of a year at Williams - $50,000. Several students winced and groaned.
"Right, I see it on everyone's face. How are we supposed to pay for that," said Tilley, the college's assistant admissions director. "But with financial aid, it's possible." For students from low- and moderate-income families, she said, Williams waives nearly the entire cost.
"Duuude," senior Julian Baynes said, as a disbelieving smile crossed his face.
Tilley's recent visit to Prospect Hill, where two-thirds of the students qualify for free and reduced-cost school lunches, illustrates a growing push by top-tier colleges to recruit economically disadvantaged students. Using socioeconomic data to target promising candidates and flying in prospective students for campus visits, colleges say they are redoubling efforts to let students like Baynes know they can attend virtually for free.
Yet a host of education specialists question elite colleges' commitment to economic diversity, citing evidence that top colleges are becoming increasingly stratified by income. While they applaud colleges for expanding financial aid policies, even allowing students to attend without taking out loans, they say colleges must do more to puncture the perception that expensive private colleges are reserved for the wealthy. [Full story:

Analysis: How Colorado Became the First State to Reject a Ban on Affirmative Action

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Monday, November 10, 2008

Ward Connerly's campaign against affirmative action took a hit last week, as Colorado voters narrowly rejected a ballot measure banning preferences based on race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin. The one-percentage-point defeat, the first time a state had rejected such a measure, can largely be credited to Barack Obama, political scientists and other experts say.
Voters in Washington, Michigan, and now Nebraska have all passed similar bans with about 58 percent of the vote, while California voters approved theirs with 54 percent of the vote.
Mr. Connerly, a longtime activist against affirmative action, expressed his disappointment at the defeat, but he has already begun efforts to get a similar measure on the ballot in Missouri for 2010. And he is eyeing Arizona and another attempt in Colorado, among other states. But in an interview, the 69-year-old former member of the California Board of Regents said he planned to spend more time campaigning on other issues, such as prison reform, which could divert attention from the anti-affirmative-action movement. [Full story: http://chronicle.com/daily/2008/11/7031n.htm?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en]

Call for affirmative action

The StraitsTimes
Nov 9, 2008
Call for affirmative action
PARIS - FRANCE'S first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy backed a petition on Sunday calling for affirmative action in France, one of the world's most racially mixed countries but whose rulers are almost exclusively white.
'Power (in France) has often had the same face: that of men who are white and ageing,' she told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, which published the petition drawn up by an Algerian-born French business leader.
'That is why I can identify with this appeal. Without political measures we will be waiting too long,' said President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife, who said she could not sign the petition because of her position but that she backed it entirely.
The petition was titled 'Oui, nous pouvons!', the French translation of Obama's campaign slogan 'Yes We Can', and said that the African-American's 'election illustrated by a cruel contrast the failings of the French Republic'.
'By neglecting its own diversity, France has driven to despair a whole swathe of its youth and has prevented it from being proud of its country,' it said.
It called on the state and on employers to put in place 'policies that promote (ethnic) diversity' that should come with an obligation to show concrete results. [Full story: http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/World/Story/STIStory_300329.html]

For Veterans Day, U.S. Department of Labor encourages employers to participate in second nationwide month-long job fair ‘blitz’

VETS News Release: [10/28/2008]
Contact Name: Mike Biddle or Otto HeckPhone Number: (202) 693-5051 or x4676
Release Number: 08-1535-NAT

For Veterans Day, U.S. Department of Labor encourages employers to participate in second nationwide month-long job fair ‘blitz’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In observance of Veterans Day, the U.S. Department of Labor’s HireVetsFirst initiative announced plans for a nearly month-long blitz of more than 120 veterans job fairs to be held in 31 states.
"The qualities America's service members are known for — discipline, strong work ethic, leadership and technical skills — are highly valued by employers," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "These job fairs are part of our effort to help America's service men and women transition back to civilian life when their tours of duty end and are an excellent opportunity for employers looking for great workers."
"America's military service members are part of the best military this nation has ever seen," said Charles S. Ciccolella, assistant secretary of labor for the department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS). "The Department of Defense and the military services invest billions of dollars in their training and education each year. When they leave the military, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines can readily translate their skills, education, training and experience into good civilian jobs. Even more important for America's employers are the skills the military inculcates into our service members, such as loyalty, selflessness, leadership, discipline, the ability to follow instructions and perform under pressure and to get the job done. In fact, these are the most important skills that employers tell us they are looking for when they hire someone. Today, employers are hiring our military veterans, not only because it's the right thing to do — even more importantly to them is that they recognize these are the people who will bring success to their companies and businesses."
A list of job fair locations by state and more information about the HireVetsFirst campaign are available at http://www.hirevetsfirst.gov/. For more information on all of the veterans' employment programs offered by VETS, visit http://www.dol.gov/vets/.

Women's Group Not Hot on Summers

The Washington Post
By Garance Franke-Ruta
Posted at 11:23 AM ET on Nov 6, 2008 Category: Transition

A group founded by supporters of former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) weighed in today against the potential appointment by President-elect Barack Obama of former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Larry Summers to the same position in an Obama administration.
"Larry Summers has a clear and unequivocal record of sexism and misogyny," said the group's co-founder Amy Siskind in a statement. "Summers' work history demonstrates a clear inability to work well with others, especially women."
Another founding member of the group, The New Agenda, which has taken pro-Sarah Palin stands in the past and advocated against media sexism during the primary, is Dr. Nancy Hopkins of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hopkins famously clashed with Summers at a January 2005 MIT forum on women in the sciences after Summers, who was then president of Harvard University, said that the paucity of women in the hard sciences might be a reflection of their "intrinsic aptitude." [Full Story: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/11/06/clinton_supporters_not_hot_on.html]

Saturday, November 8, 2008

UCI prof risks job by refusing sexual harassment training

The Orange County Register
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A prominent UC Irvine biologist who generates millions in research funding might be placed on an unpaid leave for refusing to take sexual harassment prevention training he calls a “sham” that offends his sensibilities and casts suspicion on his reputation.
UCI has already relieved Alexander McPherson of his duties supervising scientists in his lab, where he studies proteins, the “building blocks of life.” The campus also ordered that his teaching responsibilities be reassigned, but the order was rescinded.
Campus officials say McPherson, 64, could be placed on leave if he doesn't attend a training course Nov. 12 to comply with Assembly Bill 1825. [Full Story: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/mcpherson-training-uci-2218752-state-says]

Assessing Diversity among Campus and Conference Leaders for Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Schools

Media Contact: Jessica Bartter jbartter@bus.ucf.edu, 407-823-4884 The Buck Stops Here:

Assessing Diversity among Campus and Conference Leaders for Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Schools in the 2008-09 Academic Year

Orlando, FL… November 6, 2008 – With the firing of Ty Willingham at the University of Washington and the resignation of Ron Prince at Kansas State, the 2008 regular season of college football will conclude with the controversy over the poor record of hiring African-American Division IA (Football Bowl Subdivision – FBS) head football coaches still continuing to make headlines. Their departure will leave only four African-American and two other head coaches of color. College football is still far behind other college and professional sports. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida today released The Buck Stops Here: Assessing Diversity among Campus and Conference Leaders for Division IA (FBS) Schools in 2008-09. This study examines the race and gender of conference commissioners and campus leaders including college and university presidents, athletics directors, and faculty athletics representatives for all 120 FBS institutions. The study also includes head football coaches, offensive and defensive coordinators, assistant coaches, and football student-athletes. Finally, the faculty as a whole is examined. Richard Lapchick, who is the primary author of the study as director of The Institute, said, “The leadership which is the power structure in college sport remains overwhelming white. In FBS institutions, this includes 92.5 percent of the presidents, 87.5 percent of the athletics directors, 92.6 percent of the faculty athletics reps, 83.3 percent of the faculty and 100 percent of the conference commissioners. Only 3.5 percent of the faculty are African-American and 3.4 are percent Latino.” This year’s figures represent a slight change for people of color as presidents (up 0.8 percent), athletic directors (down 0.8 percent), and head coaches (up 0.8 percent). During the past year the percentage of women serving as president increased by 3.3 percent, decreased for athletic directors by 0.8 percent, and decreased two percent for faculty athletic representatives. Two Latina women and one Asian woman were hired as presidents. Lapchick went on to say that, “While the percentages are slightly better, the general picture is still one of white men running college sport. Overall, the numbers simply do not reflect the diversity of our student-athletes. Moreover, they do not reflect the diversity of our nation where we have elected an African-American as President for the first time.” [Full press release: http://www.tidesport.org/Grad%20Rates/2008-09_FBS_Demographics_Study.pdf ]

No Retreat on Affirmative Action Under Obama, Black Think Tank Predicts

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Ronald Roach
Nov 6, 2008, 06:12

An administration under President-elect Barack Obama will protect race-based affirmative action in education and employment, political pundits said at a post-election analysis discussion convened Wednesday at the nation’s leading think tank on African-American affairs.
Responding to the idea floated by some observers that a post-racial Obama administration might lend support to class-based affirmative action over race-based affirmative action, a leading analyst on race in American politics said he does not expect the new president to abandon racially conscious affirmative action, which is widely accepted and legally permissible in higher education.
Obama has told news media interviewers over the past year that affirmative action would not be necessary for his two young daughters because of the privileged life he and his wife have provided for them. He has said that class-based affirmative action in higher education is appropriate for economically disadvantaged Whites as well as for non-Whites.
Dr. Ronald Walters, a professor of government and the director of the African American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland, told an audience at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C. that “some people have drawn the conclusion because of what he said about his daughters” that Obama favors class-based affirmative action.
“He’s not come up with a class-based notion of affirmative action” to supplant racially conscious affirmative action, according to Walters. [Full story: http://diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_11930.shtml]

Colorado voters reject affirmative action ban

By COLLEEN SLEVIN – 17 hours ago
DENVER (AP) — Colorado voters became the first in the nation to reject a ban on state affirmative action programs, narrowly defeating a measure that California businessman Ward Connerly has helped pass in four other states.
But with so many factors in play this historic election, it's not clear whether Colorado's vote is a turning point for such measures or an anomaly.
"More than anything else, more than anything, it was the tendency to just vote no," Connerly said, blaming a complicated state ballot and the groundswell of support for Barack Obama, the nation's first black president-elect.
By 51 percent to 49 percent, Coloradans rejected a proposed constitutional ban on considering race or gender in state hiring, contracting and college admissions. The Election Night tally showed voters about evenly divided, and The Associated Press didn't declare a winner until Friday, when more votes had been counted. [Full story: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iP2emAr4F0x_XR8HdB1CZGy1YCKQD94ADUJ00]

Take a Bow, America

The New York Times

The markets are battered and job losses are skyrocketing, but even in the midst of a national economic crisis, we should not lose sight of the profound significance of this week and what it tells us about the continuing promise of America.
Voters said no to incompetence and divisiveness and elbowed their way past the blight of racism that has been such a barrier to progress for so long. Barack Obama won the state of North Carolina, for crying out loud.
The nation deserves to take a bow. This is not the same place it used to be.
Election night brought a cascade of memories to Taylor Rogers, who is 82 and still lives in Memphis, where he grew up. He remembered a big crowd that jammed a Masonic temple in Memphis on an April night 40 years ago.
“It was filled with people from wall to wall,” he said. “And it was storming and raining outside.”
The men and women, nearly all of them black, were crushed against one another as they listened, almost as one, to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. give his final speech. [Full story: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/08/opinion/08herbert.html]

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


American Association for Affirmative Action
Celebrates the Election of Barack Obama, First African-American President;
Denounces the Passage of Nebraska Anti-Affirmative Action Initiative
“Change has truly come to America”

The American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), a national membership organization of equal employment opportunity (EEO), affirmative action and diversity professionals, congratulates Barack Obama on his historic election as President of the United States of America. AAAA President ReNee S. Dunman stated: “We who have devoted our careers to the inclusion of all who are able and qualified to serve in America’s workplaces celebrate the fact that a son of Africa and America, of Kenya and Kansas will ascend to the presidency of these United States.” America affirmatively acted to select leadership, talent and ability, without regard to the superficial trappings of race and color. “This is the promise of America, whose spirit is embodied in the Constitution. This is the future of America. Barack Obama has also shown us that hope is not a vain exercise. The investment and sacrifice made in the anti-slavery and civil rights movements by all who gave their lives -- black, white, men and women, young and old, have yielded a momentous dividend today, she added.” While we observe the historic significance of Barack Obama’s success, Ms. Dunman emphasizes that the struggle for opportunity has not ended, however. “Where there is inequality and exclusion, affirmative action remains essential in promoting equal opportunity in the workplace, higher education and contracting.”

AAAA denounces the passage of the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative, “Initiative 424.” “We are troubled by Mr. Connerly’s scorched-earth campaign to end equal opportunity in America,” said Ms. Dunman. “At a time when we are celebrating the election of the first African-American president in the history of the United States, we must continue to fight to keep the doors of opportunity open in the states.” AAAA commends the valiant efforts of the Nebraska Board of Regents and other agencies and groups who fought to resist the passage of this initiative. “The Michigan Proposal 2 has not been able to defeat the course of opportunity, diversity and excellence there and we firmly believe that the Nebraska initiative will be equally ineffective.” Overall, Ward Connerly’s “Super Tuesday” effort to pass anti-affirmative action ballot initiatives in five states was “a colossal failure.” “We must commend the national organizations as well as the local efforts to defeat these regressive measures,” stated Ms. Dunman.

Founded in 1974, the American Association for Affirmation Action (AAAA) is a national not-for-profit association of professionals working in the areas of affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity. AAAA helps its members to be more successful and productive in their careers. It also promotes understanding and advocacy of affirmative action to enhance access and equality in employment, economic and educational opportunities.

American Association for Affirmative Action
888 16th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20006

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama—as prepared for delivery

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
Chicago, Illinois

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.