Tag Archives: Discrimination

Experts Urge Action to Mitigate ‘Risk of Extinction From AI’

It “should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war,” says a new statement signed by dozens of artificial intelligence critics and boosters.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 5-30-2023 by Common Dreams

A growing number of experts are calling for a pause on advanced AI development and deployment. Graphic: deepak pal/fickr/CC

On Tuesday, 80 artificial intelligence scientists and more than 200 “other notable figures” signed a statement that says “mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”

The one-sentence warning from the diverse group of scientists, engineers, corporate executives, academics, and other concerned individuals doesn’t go into detail about the existential threats posed by AI. Instead, it seeks to “open up discussion” and “create common knowledge of the growing number of experts and public figures who also take some of advanced AI’s most severe risks seriously,” according to the Center for AI Safety, a U.S.-based nonprofit whose website hosts the statement.

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Chinese Immigrants Sue Florida Over DeSantis’s Discriminatory Law Banning Home Purchases

“All Asian Americans will feel the stigma and the chilling effect created by this Florida law, just like the discriminatory laws did to our ancestors more than a hundred years ago.”

By Julia Conley. Published 5-22-2023 by Common Dreams

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2022 Student Action Summit at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Accusing Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of enacting an unconstitutional law that would not have been out of place at the turn of the last century, a group of Chinese American immigrants on Monday filed a lawsuit against the state over S.B. 264, which restricts most Chinese citizens from purchasing homes in Florida.

The law is set to take effect on July 1, but the plaintiffs and the groups representing them—including the ACLU, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), the Chinese American Legal Defense Alliance (CALDA), and the ACLU of Florida—hope to block the measure in the courts.

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Judy Heumann, ‘Mother of Disability Rights Movement,’ Dies at 75

“Disability only becomes a tragedy when society fails to provide the things we need to lead our lives—job opportunities or barrier-free buildings, for example,” Heumann told one reporter.

By Julia Conley.  Published 3-6-2023 by Common Dreams

Judy Heumann as a panelist at TASH’s Outstanding Leadership in Disability Law Symposium and Awards Dinner, George Washington University’s Marvin Center, July 25 2019. Photo: Taylordw/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Disability rights advocates were joined by labor leaders, progressive politicians, and other advocates for justice on Monday in mourning the death of influential activist Judy Heumann, who began decades of advocacy work fighting for employment as a teacher and was credited with paving the way for numerous federal laws to protect people with disabilities. She was 75 and died on March 4.

Known as the “mother of the disability rights movement,” Heumann’s first experience with advocacy work came in 1970 after she was denied employment at a New York City public school, with the school citing her “paralysis of both lower extremities” as the reason and saying she would not be able to evacuate students and herself in case of a fire. Continue reading

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‘Huge Victory’: Starbucks Agrees to Begin Contract Talks With 230+ Union Stores

“We’ve been ready to bargain since day one,” said one union leader, “but now we’re operating together on a national level to make sure all of our voices are heard, together.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 9-26-2022 by Common Dreams

Employees at a Starbucks location in Oak Creek, Wisconsin joined the wave of unionization efforts at the coffee chain on February 11, 2022. (Photo: CMRJB/Twitter)

Starbucks Workers United celebrated a “huge victory” Monday after the coffee giant committed to begin the bargaining process with nearly 240 unionized stores across the United States, progress that organizers attributed to relentless grassroots pressure from employees as the corporation dragged its feet.

Starbucks announced that it “has sent 238 letters” inviting Workers United—the union representing Starbucks employees—to join management “at the table and negotiate in good faith in each location where there is certified Workers United representation.” Continue reading

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Following Trump’s Lead, GOP Pushes Bill to Make Federal Workers Fireable ‘At Will’

“Efforts to try to change the civil service aren’t just Trump,” warned one public policy expert, “and if Republicans take control of Congress following the midterms, this may very well go from idea to specific action.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 7-29-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. Congressman Chip Roy speaking with attendees at the 2019 Young Americans for Liberty Convention at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol in Austin, Texas. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy’s introduction Friday of a bill to make federal bureaucratic personnel at-will employees further stoked fears that marginalized workers will suffer discriminatory firings under a future Republican administration or even GOP-controlled Congress. Continue reading

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Why are so many big tech whistleblowers women? Here is what the research shows

The vast majority of high-profile big tech whistleblowers in recent years have been women.
Elke Meitzel/Image Source via Getty Images

Francine Berman, UMass Amherst and Jennifer Lundquist, UMass Amherst

A number of high-profile whistleblowers in the technology industry have stepped into the spotlight in the past few years. For the most part, they have been revealing corporate practices that thwart the public interest: Frances Haugen exposed personal data exploitation at Meta, Timnit Gebru and Rebecca Rivers challenged Google on ethics and AI issues, and Janneke Parrish raised concerns about a discriminatory work culture at Apple, among others.

Many of these whistleblowers are women – far more, it appears, than the proportion of women working in the tech industry. This raises the question of whether women are more likely to be whistleblowers in the tech field. The short answer is: “It’s complicated.” Continue reading

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SCOTUS is about to decide whether a public school football coach can pray on the field

When is a prayer after a public-school game constitutional?
TerryJ/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Charles J. Russo, University of Dayton

The Supreme Court has consistently banned school-sponsored prayer in public K-12 schools, whether at the start of the school day, during graduation ceremonies or before football games. Under the Equal Access Act, the Supreme Court has affirmed that students may organize prayer and Bible study clubs during non-instructional hours. Even so, school staff and outside adults may not actively participate.

Lower courts have mostly forbidden public school teachers from openly praying in the workplace, even if students are not involved. Yet the Supreme Court has not directly addressed such a case – until now. Continue reading

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Over 200 ‘Vigils for Democracy’ Planned Across US to Commemorate January 6

“We must not forget what happened last January 6,” say organizers, “and we must demand action from our leaders to prevent another attack on our democracy.”

By Julia Conley  Published 1-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Makeshift Fence Memorials to Capitol Police Officers Brian D. Sicknick and Howard Liebengood o January 12, 2021. Photo: Elvert Barnes/Wikimedia/CC

To mark the one-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and demand free and fair elections, more than 200 grassroots-organized candlelit vigils are planned for Thursday in cities and towns across the United States.

The vigils will be held in nearly every state in the country, with some gatherings including voter registration drives and voter outreach events to counteract what organizers say is an effort by “the same faction that attacked our country on January 6” to restrict voting rights and attack fair voting districts all while “quietly preparing future attempts to sabotage free and fair elections and with [them] our democracy.” Continue reading

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Why learning about gender diversity is urgent

To avoid bigotry and discrimination, we must learn about the broad human spectrum of gender-diverse experiences, now and in the past

By Chrissy Stroop.  Published 12-23-2021 by openDemocracy

Imae: Sonzal Welfare Trust/Facebook

This week, openDemocracy published a story about Indian-administered Kashmir’s transgender community. The article focused on the longstanding cultural role that transfeminine Kashmiris have played (and still play) as matchmakers and wedding performers, as well as on the bullying and marginalisation that they experience, in most cases beginning with their own families.

The article ends on a note of hope, observing that living as their authentic selves outside a performance context is becoming a realistic option for some young transwomen, and quoting an Islamic cleric who is opposed to anti-trans discrimination. Continue reading

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Legalized Apartheid: The Israeli Supreme Court Just Cemented Jewish Supremacy into Law

Only a few years old, the nation-state law has already proven it can serve as a legal tool for discrimination, racial segregation, and outright apartheid.

By Jessica Buxbaum  Published 7-16-2021 by MintPress News

Israel arrests dozens of Palestinian students in the occupied West Bank in joint operation involving army, police and Shin Bet security agency. Photo: Md Rashedulislam Rashed/Twitter

In November of last year, an Israeli judge invoked the controversial Jewish Nation-State Basic Law when striking down a lawsuit against the city of Karmiel over funding transportation for two Palestinian students.

In his ruling, the chief registrar of the Krayot Magistrate’s Court, Yaniv Luzon, said that establishing an Arabic-language school in Karmiel or funding transportation for Palestinian Arab students would “damage the city’s Jewish character” and may encourage Palestinian citizens of Israel to move into Jewish cities, thereby “altering the demographic balance.” Continue reading

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