Race & Ethnicity

Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Friday, November 9, 2012
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The Democratic Core in Election 2012

By WGBH News   |   Thursday, May 10, 2012
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May 10, 2012

BOSTON — Latinos, African Americans, millennials, gay voters: All were key supporters in Obama's run for the White House in 2008. But will they come out in force in November — and could the Republicans win their vote? WGBH News and NPR have followed this story and bring you voices from these communities and analysis on the current political climate.

In 2008, young voters chose Obama 2-to-1 over John McCain. But over the past 4 years, the millennials have been losing steam as they face student loan debt and a stagnant job market. Mitt Romney and Obama have been trying to appeal to these young voters, from parachuting into college campuses to slow jamming on late night television.
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Gov. Deval Patrick and Obama both made history by becoming the first African Americans in their political roles. They've been balancing their message on race ever since.
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But: Could the president's announcement that he supports same-sex marriage alienate some Black voters? An October 2011 Pew poll found a majority of African Americans oppose it.
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Latinos have become the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the country, and a pivotal one forthe presidential race. Several Boston voters said they're sticking with the incumbent — but Romney's choice of running mate might turn the tide.
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Gay and lesbian voters have been largely supportive of the Obama administration, but some felt the president was moving too slowly on the issue of same-sex marriage. Now that he's "come out" in support ... what's the reaction?
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obama announces support for same-sex marriage

MBTA Cuts: The Impact on Communities of Color

By WGBH News   |   Tuesday, May 1, 2012
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Basic Black continues WGBH News' focus on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority with a discussion exploring the significance of the MBTA in communities of color.

In regards to proposed service cuts, Marvin Venay, executive director of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, warned, "You’re looking at a reduction in families’ access to work, you’re looking at families’ access to even health care and you’re also talking about education."


Racial Disparities and the MBTA

By Phillip Martin   |   Thursday, April 26, 2012
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April 26, 2012

BOSTON — The door closes behind me and I slip $1 into one slot and 50 cents into another. I’m on the #28 bus heading to Dudley Square. Many residents of Boston’s Black and Latino neighborhoods who use mass transit each day pass through that historic depot. The station, among the city’s oldest, is located at the heart of those communities, and all area buses — like the road to Damascus — lead there.
 
The problem with elevated rail
 
Beginning in 1901, Dudley was the main stop for direct train access in Boston. Like Chicago’s famous "L," the Orange Line traveled above the city on an elevated rail line until it was torn down in 1987 and moved to the Southwest Corridor. It’s what happened after that that has made so many people in Boston’s minority neighborhoods question the fairness of mass transit policy.

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Kirsten Greenidge and "Luck of the Irish"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
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April 24, 2012

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Playwright Kirsten Greenidge's latest play, "The Luck of the Irish", is about an upwardly mobile African American family in the 1950s that moves from inner-city Boston to a white part of town.

DJ Henry and siblings
"Luck of the Irish"(Hungtington Theatre)

BOSTON — In the late 1950s, Lucy and Rex Taylor, a well-to-do African-American couple living in Boston’s South End, aspire to move to a nearby suburb to provide a better life for their two daughters. Unable to purchase a home in a segregated neighborhood themselves, they pay Patty Ann and Joe Donovan, a struggling Irish family to “ghost-buy” the house on their behalf and then sign over the deed. Fifty years later, Lucy’s granddaughter Hannah lives in the house with her family, where she grapples with the contemporary racial and social issues that stem from living in a primarily white community. When Lucy dies and leaves the house to Hannah and her sister Nessa, the now elderly Donovans return and ask for “their” house back.

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Danroy Henry Sr.: 'Of Course We Suspect'

By WGBH News   |   Friday, March 16, 2012
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Mar. 16, 2012
 
BOSTON — On Monday, dozens of previously unreleased items from the night Pace University student DJ Henry was fatally shot were made public, including dashboard video, depositions and 911 tapes. But does the evidence offer any clarity about what really happened that night? DJ’s father Danroy Henry Sr. joined Emily Rooney on Greater Boston to answer that question. Read WGBH complete coverage.
 
 
WGBH: Have you looked at all the new evidence?
 
Henry: We haven't watched all of these videos and listened to the audio. It's just painful.
 
WGBH: The new video is from a police car that arrived at some point after DJ was shot, and it shows him lying on the ground while minutes go by before he receives medical treatment. Was that a surprise to you?
 
Henry: We knew it. People told us who were there, that morning. They were horrified by the lack of treatment, by the inhumanity of that… And frankly [the police] never denied that it was true, they just attempted to debate the duration of it. So this is just confirming evidence for people who have doubted that, who thought that that was sensationalized.
 
WGBH: A lot of confusion comes through in the affidavits about what really happened that night. You've challenged the police account of events. Do these documents support your point of view?
 
Henry: Really the only question we’re trying to answer is whether or not what Aaron Hess did was justified somehow. … If this is their best stuff… is there any justification for Aaron Hess using deadly force in this evidence?  And we would argue no, quite the contrary. Emily, shouldn't the circumstances around the use of deadly force be clearer than that? I I mean shouldn't they just be clearer than that? And that's really our point.
 
WGBH: If Hess thought his life was in danger by DJ's car, you could see him feeling like he had to defend himself.
 
Henry: [Officer] Ronald Beckley… says he shot at Hess. He wasn't responding to a commotion in the roadway…. What he shoots at is a guy shooting at a car. He observes this guy in black on a car and the first threat he perceives is the guy on the car shooting — is Aaron Hess, not DJ.

… If you just think about what Hess claimed to have been justification — that he had to stop this kid from running down people because he had, in his view, had already run three people and he had to stop him — that just isn't supported by the evidence. [DJ] didn't run anyone over. The car went about four car lengths. Hess shot almost immediately. He had his gun out. He claims he didn't have his gun out [but the affidavits say] he had his gun out. … and he was the only one who shot and stopped DJ. Everybody else didn't shoot. They exercised either appropriate restraint or they saw no threat. And the only other person that shot was shooting at Hess. So it's clear to us there was no threat.
 
WGBH: Do you think the police are withholding any evidence?
 
Henry: We know that someone took DJ's phone home after it would have been considered evidence and then claimed to have brought it back… we know that these dash cams [in the cruisers on the scene] should have been operating but we weren't. … We suspect that there were some irregularities with the autopsy. So of course we suspect. Why wouldn't we?
 
WGBH: The federal Department of Justice is looking into the investigation. What will you do if they come back and say the New York police and courts were right?
 
Henry:
We'll deal with it. What other choice would we have? We'll deal with it. There are no real victories for us here. We're not getting DJ back.
 



About the Authors
WGBH News
The WGBH News team comprises the WGBH radio newsroom, The Callie Crossley Show, The Emily Rooney Show and WGBH Channel 2 reporters and producers from Greater Boston and Basic Black. 
Phillip Martin Phillip Martin
Phillip W. D. Martin is the senior investigative reporter for WGBH Radio News and executive producer for Lifted Veils Productions. In the past, he was a supervising senior editor for NPR, an NPR race relations correspondent and one of the senior producers responsible for creating The World radio program in 1995. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in 1998. Learn more at liftedveils.org.

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