New York City Parks Department at Center of Sex Abuse Scandal

n 2016, state investigators found that a New York City Parks Department supervisor, Jeffrey Blount, had pressured a woman employee into having sex with him, threatening to fire her unless she agreed. According to the New York Times, this was not the only time investigators found that Blount had sexually abused and harassed women whom he supervised. Instead of being fired, he was allowed to resign, and as part of his agreement with the city, officials promised not to mention his history of sexual abuse and harassment to any prospective future employer—a common practice that allows abusers like Blount to continue to find work, potentially putting other unsuspecting coworkers at risk.

Blount was not the only New York City employee who, after being found to have sexually harassed fellow workers, was allowed to resign with few consequences for their future employment prospects.

via New York City Parks Department at Center of Sex Abuse Scandal

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First Female Grand Canyon Park Superintendent Resigns Due Some Very Bullshit-Sounding Circumstances 

However, Lehnertz soon found herself battling accusations against her. In October, the inspector general of the Interior Department investigated claims that she issued a wrongful one-day suspension, “bullied or retaliated against male leaders,” and wasted park funds on renovating a park residence. All that sure smacks of a good old-fashioned bitch hunt by a bunch of dudes waving misandry banners.

via First Female Grand Canyon Park Superintendent Resigns Due Some Very Bullshit-Sounding Circumstances 

Thousands of ICE Employees Have Access to Massive, Nationwide License Plate-Tracking System

Records obtained by the ACLU of Northern California in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit show that local city governments are piping automated license plate reader (ALPR) data to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the organization wrote on Wednesday.

The ACLU-NC wrote the records show that more than 9,000 ICE officers have been granted access to an ALPR database run by a private company, Vigilant Systems. More than 80 law enforcement organizations in more than a dozen states have also begun sharing license plate data with ICE, and in some cases “local police [have handed] driver information over to ICE informally, violating local law and ICE policies,” the ACLU-NC wrote.

via Thousands of ICE Employees Have Access to Massive, Nationwide License Plate-Tracking System

Irish PM brings partner to meet Mike Pence and delivers pointed remarks on sexuality | US news | The Guardian

The Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, who is openly gay, brought his partner to a meeting on Thursday with the US vice-president, Mike Pence, a conservative Christian once dubbed “the face of anti-LGBTQ hate in America”.

Varadkar, who is in Washington this week to reaffirm the longstanding shared history between the two countries, brought his partner, Matt Barrett, to a St Patrick’s Day breakfast at the vice-presidential residence at the Naval Observatory.

Varadkar tweeted that he and Matt had received a “warm reception” at Pence’s home, but in pointed remarks to Pence and gathered media, he also called out various forms of discrimination.

via Irish PM brings partner to meet Mike Pence and delivers pointed remarks on sexuality | US news | The Guardian

It’s High Time Congress Pass the Equality Act | American Civil Liberties Union

On Wednesday, the Equality Act — legislation that would provide LGBTQ people with explicit and comprehensive nondiscrimination protections — was iintroduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with the support of nearly 300 members of Congress. If passed, it would transform the civil rights landscape in the United States.

The harsh reality — despite increasing support among the public and representation in popular culture — is that discrimination remains a persistent problem for LGBTQ people across the country. From discrimination and harassment of LGBTQ youth in our nation’s schools to older same-sex couples who are denied housing in retirement communities because of their sexual orientation, this is something that LGBTQ people confront throughout our lives and in every corner of the country.

via It’s High Time Congress Pass the Equality Act | American Civil Liberties Union

A feminist’s guide to raising boys | Life and style | The Guardian

It’s always the things you think will be a doddle that end up causing most heartache. When I was asked to write about being a feminist and a mother to three boys, I imagined dashing off something witty, yet touching and wise, and never thought for a moment I’d end up losing my temper (several times) or in tears, or storming away from meals, and feeling like a failure. Did not see that coming.

How do you raise boys? My extremely authoritative sources for this article were: my friends; my children (I interviewed two of them, but the middle one refused and now says, “Is it a gender thing?” every time it seems funny); my husband; some brilliant books; and a huge number of conversations, including one in the pub with a friend who is, genuinely, a professor of feminism. In no particular order, this is what I learned.

via A feminist’s guide to raising boys | Life and style | The Guardian

Misty Copeland Honors Mentor, Ballerina Raven Wilkinson

“To be a black ballerina today … is extremely difficult. So I cannot imagine what it was like for Raven in the 1950s,” said Misty Copeland when reflecting on her friend, mentor and shero, Raven Wilkinson.

In 1955, Wilkinson became one of the first black women to dance with a classical ballet company. Pursuing a career in ballet during the Jim Crow Era was no sashay across the stage—Wilkinson had plenty of naysayers, and even a run-in or two with the Ku Klux Klan. Still, Wilkinson danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo for six years, and in that time was even promoted to soloist.

Copeland, who herself made history as the first black principal ballerina at the American Ballet Theater, learned who Raven Wilkinson was by watching a documentary on the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

via Misty Copeland Honors Mentor, Ballerina Raven Wilkinson

Mikaela Shiffrin Isn’t Tired Of Winning, But She’s Maybe A Little Tired Of Eggs

Despite all of that history-making, the 23-year old from Vail, Colorado, insists she’s trying to keep the accolades out of her head and focus on her turns. But when you’re bashing records this constantly, how is that even possible?

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Last week, over FaceTime from her hotel room in the Czech Republic, Shiffrin and I talked gross eggs, 1.5-hour naps and why walking away from the last Olympics with two medals left a sour taste in her mouth. (This interview has been condensed and edited for space and clarity.)

via Mikaela Shiffrin Isn’t Tired Of Winning, But She’s Maybe A Little Tired Of Eggs

Shannon Lee Goessling, OVW Nom, Says Arming Women Prevents Rape

Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women is a former prosecutor and rightwing culture warrior who notably believes that women who are armed with guns are less likely to be raped. Surely this will all end well.

While the nomination of Shannon Lee Goessling was announced in June and a hearing date has not yet been set, anti-violence organizations are mobilizing to play defense. Part of that has included publicizing her record on violence against women and related issues that would come under her purview in the office. Goessling does not have a long career working on issues of violence against women; even as the White House highlights Goessling’s time as the “head [of] the Crimes Against Women and Children Unit in Georgia’s largest county,” her own LinkedIn profile states that she was only in that position for nine months.

via Shannon Lee Goessling, OVW Nom, Says Arming Women Prevents Rape

Sexual Abuse of Immigrant Youth in Federal Custody is Rampant, According to HHS

These numbers point to a reality that has been clear for a long time: that putting immigrants in detention creates conditions that are ripe for abuse and exploitation. The HHS numbers echo a ProPublica report from July 2018 that found hundreds of incidents of abuse at ORR-run shelters housing immigrant children, from sexual abuse to other violent incidents. In 2017, one worker at a Southwest Key detention center in Mesa, Arizona was charged with sexually abusing at least eight immigrant boys under his care, and last year, another worker at a Phoenix shelter run by Southwest Key was arrested after he was alleged to have molested a 14-year-old girl. As Lisa Fortuna, the director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Boston Medical Center, told ProPublica at the time of the ORR shelter system report: “If you’re a predator, it’s a gold mine.”

via Sexual Abuse of Immigrant Youth in Federal Custody is Rampant, According to HHS