This week: Chirlane McCray, Eviction, and Reproductive Justice

February 14, 2016

Here’s our pick of news, writing, and research this week that investigates political questions at the intersections of gender, race, and region.

1. Chirlane McCray and the Limits of First-Ladyship
In the New York Times Magazine, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah writes this profile of New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray and “what two years in Gracie Mansion have meant for a woman who aspired to be the ‘voice for the forgotten voices.'”

2. When States Run Welfare, Black Children Are the Ones Who Get Hurt
Premilla Nadasen in The Root: “Twenty years ago, Bill Clinton signed legislation dismantling the federal Aid to Families With Dependent Children welfare program… how would we assess the program two decades on, especially in light of Republican presidential candidates’ call for more devolution and state control? The most damning evidence about the inequalities resulting from state control is a recently released report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights based on its investigation of the Mississippi Child Care Development Block Grant, the federal child care subsidy program. The commission found widespread evidence of racial discrimination in the distribution of child care subsidies that has disproportionately harmed low-income communities of color. Overall, Mississippi has reduced the number of children served by 53 percent over the past eight years. Only 15 percent of the state’s eligible children are served, and the state has been reluctant to shift TANF funds into the child care subsidy program, instead leaving that money unspent.”

3. Black Lives Matter Partners With Reproductive Justice Groups to Fight for Black Women
On February 9, “leaders from Black Lives Matter, Trust Black Women and New Voices for Reproductive Justice connected to discuss the intersectionality of the movements to save the lives of Black women and how activists and politicians can align and amplify the message.” In Colorlines, Kenrya Rankin shares excerpts from that conversation between Regina Mahone, the managing editor of RH Reality Check, Monica Raye Simpson, executive director of SisterSong and director of the Trust Black Women Partnership, Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, and La’Tasha D. Mayes, founder and executive director of New Voices for Reproductive Justice.

4. Forced Out: For Many Poor Americans, Eviction Never Ends
Matthew Desmond in the New Yorker: “Each eviction case had two parts. The first ’cause of action’ dealt strictly with whether a tenant would be evicted. Next came the second and third causes of action, which dealt with what was owed to a landlord: unpaid rent, court fees, and other damages. Most tenants who were sued for eviction were taken to court twice, once for the eviction and then for the debt. But even fewer tenants showed up for their second hearing, which meant that landlords’ claims for what was owed them usually went unchallenged… When tenants have legal representation, their chances of keeping their homes increase dramatically. A program that ran in the South Bronx from 2005 to 2008, for example, provided legal assistance to more than thirteen hundred families and prevented eviction in more than eighty-five per cent of the cases, saving New York City hundreds of thousands of dollars in estimated shelter costs. But, unlike in criminal court, in civil court the poor have no right to appointed counsel.”

5. Here’s a list of smart women political scientists. They know stuff, too.
“Women Also Know Stuff. Does that sound obvious? It’s not, alas. We’re a group of political scientists who started that website when, as we consumed media reports on politics, we noted a gaping absence of… well, women… A systematic review of international relations scholarship shows that, in scholarly citations, women are consistently cited less often than men. Another study found that male authors were less likely than female authors to cite the work of female scholars. And women are often underrepresented as invited speakers in research colloquia or on panels at conferences… That’s why we started our website: to offer online ‘binders full of women’ in political science, making it easy to find those scholars.”

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